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In rural Guj, Congress got more seats, but BJP got more votes

Congress may thump its back for the tough fight it put up against the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party in Gujarat, especially in the urban and semi-urban areas, but BJP is still a force to reckon in villages, small cities and towns. Data from the Election Commission of India suggests that the saffron party actually got 76,614 more votes than Congress and its allies put together in 134 seats that are predominantly rural.The 182-member Assembly has 134 seats that are either rural or semi-urban. Of these, BJP won 57, Congress won 71, its ally Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) won two, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one and Independents won three seats, of which Jignesh Mevani was supported by Congress.Congress and its allies got 74 seats in these areas, 17 more than BJP, however they got 98,90,064 votes in rural and semi-urban areas, while BJP got 99,66,660 votes. Congress got 95,71,855 votes, BTP got 2,22,694 votes, while Mevani bagged 95,497 votes.Data indicates that Congress won by thinner margins and BJP won by a wider margins.Dinesh Shukla, a former professor of Political Science at Gujarat University, attributes this phenomenon to BJP’s expertise in dividing opposition votes so votes that should have gone to Congress are shared by planted candidates. Notwithstanding this, the Ahmedabad-resident admits that BJP is a force to reckon with in rural and semi-urban areas, while it continues to monopolize purely urban seats. “But you have to consider that it managed to bag these seats after PM Narendra Modi’s relentless campaign,” added Shukla.In Shukla’s opinion, Congress’s lead holds lessons for BJP – that Modi magic is on a decline and Congress is on the road to resurgence in Gujarat. One also has to consider the rise of Rahul Gandhi, as fence voters may now be encouraged to vote to for Congress. Gujarat Congress spokesman Kailash Gadhvi said that Congress’s hold is stronger in rural areas as BJP’s victories are in seats that are more semi-urban than rural.It terms of votes-share within the party, Congress and allies got 77.53% of the total vote; BJP got 67.69%.While there was neck and neck competition for rural votes, there was a virtual monopoly in urban votes. BJP continued to have an iron hold with 47,57.767 votes, while Congress got 28,67,082 votes, about 40% less than BJP got.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Over 5.5 lakh voters chose NOTA option

While Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 witnessed some of the most interesting trends not just in terms of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming back to power, though being nowhere close to its performance, and Congress improving its vote share, there is NOTA (None of the Above) too which has garnered voters attention. Over 5.5 lakh voters constituting 1.8% votes preferred NOTA, that allows voters not to choose for any of the candidates contesting in their constituency.According to numbers released by the Election Commission, NOTA ranked in 1.8 per cent or 5,51,294 of all votes polled in the Gujarat Assembly election. Interestingly, NOTA ranked higher than parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that contested the Gujarat elections as well.Of the 29 seats of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), only three seats garnered votes more than NOTA whereas in the 26 seats, NOTA received more votes than AAP.In Mandvi, nearly 5,000 votes were given to NOTA whereas Gujarat Chief Minister’s constituency Rajkot West had 3,309 votes to NOTA. Rapar in Kutch had 4,614 votes to NOTA whereas in Ghatlodia, 4,173 votes were given to NOTA.

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Thane Zilla Parishad Results: Shiv Sena-NCP combine outshine BJP

Shiv Sena has performed magnificently in the 53 seats of Thane Zilla Parishad. Shiv Sena, which had fought the poll in alliance with the opposition Nationalist Congress Party, has so far taken a lead.Since its establishment in 1962, Shiv Sena has witnessed a historical win in Thane today. According to the results declared till 4 pm, Shiv Sena defeated the BJP, who had planned to get their hold over the Zilla Parishad. Shiv Sena won 27 of the 53 seats of Zilla Parishad.BJP for the first time had fielded candidates in all 53 seats and had extensively campaigned. Party MP from Bhiwandi Kapil Patil and legislator from Murbad Kisan Kathore had played key roles in the selection of candidates.Also readWill follow my mind, Amruta Fadnavis to trolls who criticised her for attending Christmas-themed eventOn the other hand, Shiv Sena, which is in power at the Centre and in Maharashtra, allied with NCP in a bid to checkmate BJP. Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde led the party’s campaign and extensively travelled to campaign in all 53 seats. The party has claimed victory in Asangaon defeating the BJP. The Shiv Sena-NCP alliance defeated BJP in Ambernath Taluka Panchayat Samiti while in Shahapur Panchayat Samiti as well, Shiv Sena has come to power by winning 17 seats.Also readCongress, NCP may come together for Thane Zilla Parishad pollsIn the Shahapur-Dolkhamb Panchayat Samiti ward, all three seats have been won by NCP. In Sakadbav ward, Shiv Sena’s Balya Mama Mhatre has defeated BJP’s Ranjana Ughda.Further, the Shiv Sena-NCP combine also trounced BJP in Kalyan Panchayat Samiti. Around 7.03 lakh voters from across Bhiwandi, Murbad, Shahpur, Kalyan, and Ambernath cast their votes on Wednesday. Bhiwandi has the highest number of voters at around 2.57 lakh, who voted for 21 seats.Also read’Pak meddling in Gujarat polls’ remark: BJP is intellectually bankrupt, says its Maharashtra ally Shiv SenaWith nearly 49,857 voters voting for four seats, Ambernath had the least number of voters.A BJP leader from Thane, who did not want to be named, admitted that it was a setback for the party which had bagged eight of 10 municipal corporations and got maximum seats in the recently held second phase of the gram panchayat elections in the state. Of the 3,666 gram panchayats that went to the polls on Monday, the BJP has claimed victory in 1,311.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Money power: 397 crorepatis in fray for Gujarat polls

Close to 400 or nearly a quarter of the candidates contesting in the Gujarat Assembly elections are crorepatis, according to an analysis of their poll affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch (GEW).Of the 1,828 contesting candidates, election affidavits of 83 candidates were not analysed. Affidavits of 1,745 candidates were analysed, of whom 397 have declared assets worth Rs1 crore or more.Of the 977 candidates contesting in the first phase, 198 have declared assets of more than Rs1 crore. Of the 851 candidates in the fray in the second phase, 199 are crorepatis as per the disclosures made by them in their election affidavits.The BJP, which has won the last five Assembly elections in the state and is vying for the sixth one, has fielded 142 crorepati candidates. The Opposition, which has been out of power since 22 years and is hoping to end its losing streak, has given tickets to 127 such candidates.The analysis reveals that crorepati candidates also rule the roost in the smaller outfits. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has fielded 17 crorepatis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 13, and the Bahujam Samaj Party (BSP) five.As many as 56 of the independent candidates in the fray are also worth more than Rs 1 crore, while the remaining such candidates belong to lesser known outfits.The analysis reveals that 131 of the 397 candidates have declared assets worth over Rs5 crore, while 124 others have shown that the own movable and immovable assets in the range of Rs2 crore to Rs5 crore.In a sharp contrast, six candidates have declared that they have ‘zero’ movable or immovable assets. All six are in the fray as independent candidates.The analysis shows that 13 candidates have declared that their annual income is more than Rs1 crore, based on the last Income Tax returns filed by them.Daskroi Congress candidate richestPankaj Patel, the Congress nominee from Daskroi seat in Ahmedabad district, is the richest candidate in fray in the Gujarat elections. Patel, who is taking on sitting MLA Babu Jamna Patel, has declared assets worth Rs231.93 crore in his election affidavit.Congress MLA Indranil Rajguru, who is contesting against chief minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West seat, is the second richest with assets worth Rs141.22 crore.Former finance and energy minister Saurabh Patel, who is fighting from Botad seat in Saurashtra, has declared assets worth Rs123.78 crore, making him the third richest candidate.BJP candidate from Wadhwan seat in Surendranagar, Dhanjibhai Patel, is the fourth richest with assets of Rs113.47 crore.Ashok Lal, Congress candidate from Jamnagar South seat, has declared assets of Rs109.03 crore, and is the fifth richest.60% candidates class 12 or belowIn terms of educational qualifications, of the total 1,828 candidates trying their luck in the assembly polls, 1,098 nominees have passed class 12 or below. These 1,098 nominees have either passed only 5th, 8th, 10th or 12th class. 119 candidates mentioned that they were only literate, while 23 others declared that they were illiterate.118 women in frayAlso, there are only 118 women candidates in the fray, which is just 6% of the overall number, according to the analysis.Of the total candidates, 658 are in the age group of 25 and 40 years, 889 between ages of 41 and 60, and 193 of them between 61 and 80.(with agency inputs)In crores397 candidates have declared assets worth Rs1 croreFirst phase977 candidates contesting in the first phase, 198 have declared assets of more than Rs1 crore.Second phase851 candidates in the fray in the second phase, 199 are crorepatisPartywise break upBJP: 142CONG: 127NCP: 17AAP: 13BSP: 5INDEPENDENT: 56

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Congress’ student wing to demand reduction in GST for educational institutes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nationalist Student Congress (NSC), student wing of the NCP, will soon submit a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley to reduce the GST on higher educations and its auxiliary services.Many higher educational institutions boast sprawling campuses, some of which host residential students as well. These institutions are likely to incur additional heavy expenditures on some of the services, like security, housekeeping, or catering, as these services will be charged 18% GST. In such a scenario, in all probability, these institutions will pass this tax burden on to the students, thus making higher education more expensive.The NSC students’ wing will be launching an agitation to demand a reduction in the steep GST on students’ hostel facilities including services, like security, housekeeping, or catering, which has made higher education more expensive.“The students are required to pay more for laundry, food in the hostel mess, medicines, stationery, and other services and products that they buy on the campus. ”All such services attract a levy of 18 per cent,” said Amol Matele, President of the Nationalist Student Congress (NSC), student wing of the NCP. “The NSC will soon submit a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley and if the centre fails to reduce the GST, we will be left with no alternative but to launch a state wide agitation” he further added.

Shiv Sena pursues growth plan, gears up for solo fight in next elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena is slowly and steadily pursuing its plan to spread its presence in all 288 assembly and 45 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra before taking a final call to go solo in the elections slated for 2019. Even though the saffron party is sharing power with the ‘’big brother’’ BJP in the state since December 2014, the Shiv Sena is stepping up its attack against the government on a number of issues taking the space of opposition too. The party president Uddhav Thacleray at the recent meeting with the senior leaders has told the cadre to warm up for further strengthening the organisation at the grassroots to take on mighty BJP.Party MPs, legislators and senior leaders have been assigned district and region wise responsibilities to counter BJP’s strategy to penetrate upto the booth and block level. Thackeray is personally keeping an eye on organisational work and he has been in constant touch with the district chiefs. Thackeray has already completed Marathwada tour and will visit Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara between November 24 and 26. These districts, where BJP has made sufficient inroads while weakening the hold of the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.Notwithstanding the setback in the recent civic and local body elections in which BJP has gained a top slot, Shiv Sena has made it amply clear that it will raise issues faced by common man and encash unrest due to demonetization, Goods and Services Tax, technical glitches in the implementation of much ambitious farm loan waiver scheme, rising farmers suicides and their plight due to low prices for agriculture produce and more importantly curb on development expenditure following paucity of funds.Shiv Sena leader, who is engaged in pursuing party’s roadmap for consolidation, told DNA,’’ Party president Uddhav Thackeray has been quite clear that despite efforts to corner Shiv Sena especially by BJP it will continue to raise issues faced by people. This has been time and again proved be it the issue of amendment to the Land Acquisition, changes in Labour Laws, rehabilitation of farmers affected by Mumbai Nagpur expressway or by Metro rail and other infrastructure projects in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra. Shiv Sena voiced their concerns and made government to make necessary changes.’’ He informed that Thackeray will conduct similar tours in rest of Maharashtra ahead of next assembly and parliamentary elections.Meanwhile, Thackeray has told BJP that the Shiv Sena will not compromise on nomination of former Shiv Sena leader and chief minister Narayan Rane during the election to the state legislative council slated for December 7. Besides, the party will continue to oppose Rane’s induction in the state cabinet as he has rebelled against Shiv Sena and also attacked the party supremo Bal Thackeray.Rane recently quit the Congress party to float his own outfit and extended support to BJP. He is now NDA partners.

Gujarat Elections: Congress-NCP likely to cement ‘broken alliance’ to take on BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic turn, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party has likely to cement its earlier broken alliance for the Gujarat assembly elections scheduled on December 9 and 14.Congress had already sealed the deal with JD(U) led by tribal leader and MLA Chhotu Vasava by giving them three seats mostly in the tribal belt in Gujarat. Congress wants a grand alliance with all secular parties in Gujarat elections.Congress already declared it’s first list of the candidates that had also included the NCP sitting MLA constituency. So, NCP had also declared to go solo by contesting all 182 seats of Gujarat assembly.However, according to sources, Congress did not want to split the secular and anti-government votes that can favour the BJP in the fierce and prestigious contest under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.”As a course correction, senior NCP leader Praful Patel and Congress Gujarat president Bharatsinh met over seat sharing on Tuesday. In the meeting, Congress agreed to relent 8 to 9 seats to NCP against its earlier demand of 11 seats. Initially, Congress had only offered four seats,” said source who is privy to this backdoor development. NCP leader Praful Patel is already in Delhi while Bharatsinh Solanki would reach on Wednesday to take final approval from his party high command in Delhi.”We will address the joint press conference to declare the Congress-NCP and Sharad Yadav led (JD-U)grand alliance for Gujarat elections.Congress party has realised that in 2019 Lok Sabha elections not a single party would form the government. It is the collation era so all small and big secular parties have stuck to the grand alliance to fight against BJP. Congress has to take the lead and take all small parties together,” Senior NCP leader told DNA requested anonymity.Interestingly, after its formal break with Congress in 2014, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar first time addressing joint Congress -NCP workers rally on his birthday on December 12 in Nagpur.”Sharad Pawar is the senior most leader and astute politician. He understands in which way the political wind is blowing and accordingly, he takes the stand. Now, Pawar Saheb’s willingness to fight with Congress is a most welcoming stand for us. We want to capitalise the failure of BJP government. Besides, people have lost the trust in this incumbent government. Nagpur rally will be one of the biggest rally that will send the signal to a future grand alliance,” said Congress leader.

Congress, NCP hope to jointly encash unrest against BJP in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finally, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have realised together they can stay afloat and take on mighty BJP in Maharashtra in the run-up to the next assembly election slated for 2019.Both the parties have also hinted that together they can pose a formidable challenge to BJP led government in the state especially when the rift between the BJP and Shiv Sena is widening. They do feel that with a combined fight they will be in a position to regain lost grounds. Both initiated exercise to remove trust deficit and revive friendship.After successive defeats in the local and civic body elections by BJP, the Congress and NCP have decided to together go to the voters, hit the roads and mobilize support against the disenchantment of the saffron party-led government in the state. Interestingly, Congress and NCP have hinted that they are not averse to help Shiv Sena or seek latter’s support against BJP.As a part of a joint exercise, Congress and NCP will organise morcha on December 12, the second day of the two-week monsoon session at Nagpur. Incidentally, December 12 is birthday of NCP chief and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar who has agreed to address the joint rally.Besides, Congress and NCP propose to jointly field a strong candidate in the election to the state legislative council slated for December 7. There are indications that they may rope in Shiv Sena to give a tough fight against BJP. The sole objective of the trio is to defeat former chief minister Narayan Rane if he is fielded by BJP in the council election. Rane has recently left Congress, floated his own outfit to support the NDA.State Congress president Ashok Chavan told DNA,”There is a growing resentment against the BJP led government in the state. As a responsible Opposition, Congress, NCP and other liked minded parties will flag off prevailing issues such as plight of farmers including rising farmers suicides, goof up in the implementation of ambitious farm loan waiver scheme, burgeoning malnutrition deaths, slow pace of investment flow, lack of job creation and deteriorating law and order.’’ He hoped that opposition will also bring to the notice of voters that the government was busy in making mere announcements but its performance at the ground level is quite miserable.Jayant Patil, group leader of NCP in the state assembly admitted that Congress and NCP are well placed to encash resentment against the government at the Centre and in Maharashtra.”The people on the ground have realised that the government has failed to fulfil its poll promises and they feel that they have been deceived by the present establishment. Both Congress and NCP have proposed to jointly take on the BJP led government in and outside the state legislature,’’ he noted.State Congress party spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan, however, cautioned that the electoral understanding between Congress and NCP will be considered in due course of time but at this juncture both will have to encash unrest among the public. “This unity of action will lead to more cohesion among the two,’’ he opined.

Political Parties bat for GST rate cut be passed on to consumers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Political Parties have appealed to the Centre that the GST reduction should be passed on to the ultimate consumers. They have cited that despite GST Council’s move to cut a tax on 178 items to 18% from 28% and in case of restaurants to 5%, the consumers at the retail level have not felt a substantial change.This is despite repeated call given by the finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia that company has to ensure that their entire distribution chain-wholesalers, retailers- pass on this tax cut.Adhia has also asked fast moving consumer goods to ensure that the tax cut is passed to consumers if they want to escape action from the Anti Profiteering Authority.BJP MP from Northeast Mumbai Kirit Somaiya in his letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has complained that several traders and entrepreneurs are not passing on the benefits to the ultimate consumers. He has quoted some examples of AC restaurants and chain food outlets who have allegedly manipulated the prices and value of their products to pocket the difference of reduction to 5% from 18%.Further, Somaiya said that several restaurants are yet collecting 18% in the name of GST or old sales tax slab rates. ‘’I thank the government to reduce GST to 5% from 18% in restaurants, bring down GST on consumer used items to 18% from 28% and provide relaxation in 200 items. However, the officials from the ministries of finance, consumer affairs, and the state governments should be asked to take appropriate action to see that the government’s initiative to slash GST rates as passed on to the ultimate consumers,’’ he noted.The Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik also cited that the restaurants continue to recover from the consumers GST at the previous rates so also the consumer goods companies. ‘’The government will have to immediately look into the issue especially when GST has been touted as seamless taxation across the country. As far as restaurants are concerned, they pay GST on purchases but they do not get set off on final sale. This has to be looked into,’’ he opined.Both Somaiya and Malik argued that the ministry of consumer affairs need to act swiftly which will help consumers to benefit from the tax cut.

India BJP minister criticised for peeing in public

A ruling party minister admits to urinating in the open despite an appeal for Indians to use toilets.

Gujarat elections 2017: EC to notify second phase of polls today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The formal notification for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, which are slated to be held on December 14, will be issued on Monday. The first phase of polling is scheduled for December 9.As per the election schedule announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the gazette notification, which marks formal commencement of the election process in 93 Assembly constituencies going to polls in the second round, will be issued on November 20.A senior official said that the process for conducting the Assembly elections in 93 constituencies of central and north Gujarat will begin with issuance of the notification on Monday.Incidentally, the last day for submission of nominations for 89 seats going to polls in the first phase is November 21. The BJP has declared candidates for 60 of the 89 seats, while Congress is yet to announce any candidate. The BJP has also announced names of 46 candidates, who will contest in the second phase. The Congress’s initial list is expected to be announced by Sunday night, according to party insiders.In addition to BJP, which has won five straight Assembly elections in Gujarat since 1995, and Congress, which is looking to end its 22-year-old drought in the state, a number of other parties are also in the fray.These include Aam Aadmi Party, Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Sharad Yadav-led Janata Dal (U). The last two are in talks with Congress for seat sharing.SCHEDULE FOR PHASE-2Notification – Nov 20Last day of nominations – Nov 27Scrutiny of nominations – Nov 28Last day for withdrawal – Nov 30Date of polling – Dec 14Date of counting – Dec 18

Gujarat Election 2017: Congress to announce its first list today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition Congress is likely to announce its first list of candidates for the upcoming assembly elections on Sunday, just two days before the last day for submission of nominations for the first phase of polls on December 9.The party had originally announced that it would declare its first list on November 15. However, talks with potential allies such as Nationalist Congress Party and Sharad Yadav-led Janata Dal (U) over ticket distribution, and delay in reaching an agreement with PAAS, delayed finalisation of candidates. OBC leader Alpesh Thakor too is believed to be pressing for more tickets for his candidates. Party sources, however, said the initial list, comprising most of the sitting MLAs, as well as top party leaders in the state such as Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia, Siddharth Patel, and others would be announced on Sunday.

Kerala minister Thomas Chandy resigns over encroachment charges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who is facing encroachment allegations, Wednesday resigned from the CPI(M)-led LDF government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan.The resignation comes a day after the Kerala High Court dismissed Chandy’s petition challenging a report of the Alappuzha district collector on alleged encroachments by a company in which he has a stake.This is the third minister in the Vijayan cabinet to resign after the LDF government came to power in May 2016.Earlier, A K Saseendran of the NCP had resigned after a sleaze audio clip with a woman went viral and E P Jayarajan (CPI-M) quit on nepotism charges.Chandy, a three-time MLA of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had been inducted into the cabinet 8 months ago following the resignation of A K Saseendran.NCP had only two MLAs. The resignation letter was handed over to the chief minister by NCP state President, T P Peethambaran Master, after consulting the matter with party’s national leadership.Chandy, who left for Alappuzha, after attending the cabinet meeting, told a Malayalam television channel that even though the chief minister did not seek his resignation and there were no circumstances for the same, a coalition partner’s (CPI) “adamant” stand made the chief minister to ask him to “rethink.””The chief minister said we are not asking you to resign, but take a decision after consulting with your leadership,” Chandy said.Earlier, talking to reporters after cabinet meeting, Vijayan said the issue had been left to the NCP’s national leadership. A businessman-turned-politician, Chandy, had been facing heat since the past few days as allegations surfaced that his company had violated rules to construct a parking area and a road through a paddy field to his Lake Palace resort in Alappuzha district.Alappuzha District Collector, T V Anupama had in her report to the state government stated that large-scale violations of Kerala land conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act had been committed by the resort.The Kerala High Court had observed that it was “extremely improper” for a minister to file a petition against his own government.There was a violation of the collective cabinet responsibility by the minister, it had held.Opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP had been on a warpath since the past one month demanding Chandy’s resignation over the encroachment allegations.

NCP to improve focus on Vidarbha where it bagged 1 seat in 2014

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party has decided to increase focus on Vidarbha region that sends 62 legislators to the 282-member state assembly.NCP chief Sharad Pawar will be on a four-day tour of Vidarbha starting November 15. The party currently has only one MLA from the region, which was dominated by the BJP with 44 legislators in 2014 state elections. While the Congress has 10 MLAs, four belong to the Shiv Sena.Pawar is likely to visit Gadchiroli, Wardha, Chandrapur, Yavatmal districts in Vidarbha. “The BJP came in power with the promise of implementation of Dr Swaminathan report on fair prices to farm produces. However, the reality is different, said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.The NCP leader said Vidarbha has reported the most cases of farmer suicide in Maharashtra despite the chief minister hailing from the region. “Moreover, in Yavatmal, while spraying pesticides over crops, several farmers lost their lives because faulty products were allowed in the market. There is huge anger among farmers,” said Malik.Earlier, NCP’s senior leader Ajit Pawar and party’s state unit president Sunil Tatkare had also toured the belt, which often faces drought-like conditions, extensively.“The assembly and Lok Sabha elections are far away, but we want to connect with the people of this region by raising their issues. People had a lot hope from BJP so they voted en masse to it in last elections. But what happened?” asked the NCP leader.Malik said farmers have a lot of faith in NCP. “Pawar saheb has done a lot of good work during his tenure as the agriculture minister. They are still waiting for the farm loan waiver benefit.“The government had promised farmers would get money on eve of Diwali. Now, it has been more than 20 days, people are still waiting for farm loan waiver,” said another NCP leader.BJP DOMINANTVidarbha sends 62 MLAs to the state assembly
In 2014, BJP won 44 seats from here and Congress was a distant second with 10 seats
While Shiv Sena has four MLAs, NCP has only one from the belt

BJP India’s wealthiest party with Rs 893 crore, Congress second in total assets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The value of declared assets of the Bharatiya Janata Party has increased from Rs 122.93 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 893.88 crore in 2015-16 while that of Congress has risen from Rs 167.35 crore to Rs 758.79 crore, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Election Watch.The value of assets of Trinamool Congress has seen a jump from Rs 0.25 crore to Rs 44.99 crore during this 11-year period, according to the figures as mentioned in the report that the ADR released at a press conference here, quoting declarations by the parties before the Election Commission.The total value of assets of CPI(M) has increased during the period by 383.47 per cent from Rs 90.55 crore to Rs 437.78 crore, ADR national coordinator Anil Verma said.The increase in value of assets of CPI(M) has been the lowest — from Rs 5.56 crore to Rs 10.18 crore, Verma said. The value of assets of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has gone up from Rs 43.09 crore to Rs 559.01 crore and that of Nationalist Congress Party from Rs 1.6 crore to Rs 14.54 crore, as per the report data.While declaring the data,Verma added that the declarations under ‘other assets’ are not easily verifiable. “While details are specific under fixed assets, loans and advances, FDR/deposits, TDS and investments, details are not available about assets under the heading ‘other assets’.”The increase in assets of the seven national parties from 2004-05 to 2015-16 has had the highest rise under ‘other assets’ among all asset heads — from Rs 108.655 crore to Rs 1605.114 crore,” Verma said.”BJP has the highest capital at present after declaring Rs 868.889 crore, followed by Rs 557.38 crore of BSP and Rs 432.64 crore of CPI(M),” Verma said.

Mukul Roy not joining Congress, says Adhir Chowdhury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after expelled TMC leader Mukul Roy met West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chowdhury kicking up speculations, Chowdhury brushed aside possibilities of Roy joining Congress or him floating a new political party along with Roy. Talking to DNA he said it was a courtesy meeting.“No. There has been no such interest shown by Mukul Roy of late of joining Congress. Earlier there had been one and I had discussed it with AICC leaders because I was interested in him joining Congress as I think Roy is a good organiser. AICC leaders, however, were not too keen and it didn’t materialise. This time it was a pure courtesy visit. He had expressed his will to meet me. So what would I have said? I might have opposing political ideologies but I am not that narrow minded. I meet freely with many politicians of the Opposition camps,” Chowdhury said. He also said that Roy had said how sad and shocked he was by the way he was treated by the TMC leaders.Roy had met Chowdhury in New Delhi on Saturday for about two hours. Sources also said that Roy had met expelled CPIM leader Ritabrata Banerjee and there was a possibility that Roy was trying to muster up all resources to join the new party Nationalist Trinamool Congress Party (NTCP). Chowdhury turned down such probability as well. “I am the state president of a national political party. Why would I like to become the secretary of a newly formed party that no one is sure about?” Chowdhury said.
ALSO READ After Mukul Roy quits TMC, many consider following in his footsteps Talking about the recent attempt to assault state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, Chowdhury said that it was an infringement of democratic rights. “There can be a difference of principles among supporters of different political parties but if the Mamata Banerjee-led government thought that BJP should be banned in West Bengal they should say that. But attacking a state president of a political party while he is visiting a particular place is definitely depriving one of one’s fundamental right,” Chowdhury added.

Farm loan waiver: NCP to widen protest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said that if chief minister Devendra Fadnavis failed to give the farm loan waiver before Diwali, the party will widen its agitation and call for a non-cooperation movement. Addressing the press conference, Pawar said that farmers will also stop paying government taxes after November 5.Criticising the government, Pawar said “We travelled across the state and got feedback from the farmers regarding the farm loan. They are not happy with the procedure and the delay in decision-making. Farmers have to fill a two-page online form. The local Internet service providers are charging between Rs 200-Rs 500 to fill the form on behalf of the farmers. Besides, the last note in the form says that if there is discrepancy in the information that is filled out and if it turns out to be fraudulent information then a criminal case will be filed against the farmers. This sort of written agreement has been taken from the farmers. It has never happened before,” Pawar pointed out.Pawar further said that they will have a meeting in Aurangabad on November 5 where the NCP will take a call on the non-cooperation plan. “We are not in hurry. We will give enough time to the government to act on its given promises. Moreover, I personally spoke with various bank authorities and they told me that the current farm loan amount will not go beyond Rs 12,000 crore against the claim of Rs 35000 crore by the state government. After Diwali, we will not extend any kind of support to government,” he said.

Cabinet approves proposal for MU School of Economics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has decided to transform the Mumbai University’s Economics department as Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy (MSEPP) on the line of London School of Economics. The state cabinet approved the proposal on Thursday.”We have decided to allot a fund of Rs 25 crore; where each year Rs 5 crore fund will be released. While the Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy will have to raise another Rs 125 crore to strengthen this institution. It will be a world class department. The Economics department started back in 1921, one of the oldest departments in India,” the cabinet note read.Nawab Malik, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson, said MU is still suffering with result publication of various courses and said, “Our humble request to the government is that first put the accountability, then run the current department smoothly, then think of turning the department the world famous,” Malik said.According to the cabinet decision, the Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy will closely work with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).”MSEPP will invite guest lecturers from Cambridge University. Senior government officials and subject experts will also deliver lectures,” the note said.”Mumbai is the financial capital of the India, but most of the financial and economical institutions are out of Maharashtra. We should not lag behind in this sector, therefore, we have decided to transform the present Economics department of Mumbai University into the Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy. It is one of the milestone decision taken by our government,” a senior BJP minister said requesting anonymity.What it will offerMSEPP will run a regular MA course in economics and public policy.Apart from this, there will be a number of post-graduate diploma courses.Most of the diploma courses will be job oriented, while regular courses will be research oriented.

In 2015-16, 80.5% of BJP’s total income was from unknown sources: ADR report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2015-16, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised 80.5 per cent of its total income from unknown sources while the Congress raised 71 per cent of its total income from unknown sources in the same period, a new report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed.BJP’s total declared income was Rs 570.86 crore and Congress’s income was Rs 261.56 crore. Out of its total income, the BJP collected Rs 460.78 crore from unknown sources and Congress party collected Rs 186.04 crore from unknown sources, the report said.ADR analysed the income and expenditure data of national and regional political parties submitted to the Election Commission of India. “Unknown sources are income declared in the income tax returns, but without giving source of income from donations below Rs 20,000. Such sources include ‘sale of coupons’, ‘relief fund’, ‘miscellaneous income’, ‘voluntary contributions’, ‘contribution from meetings/morchas’ etc. The details of donors of such voluntary contributions are not available in the public domain,” the ADR report said.While voluntary contributions was the most preferred form of fundraising for the BJP, ‘sale of coupons’ was the most preferred form of fundraising for Congress party, the report said.The report added that seven national parties raised a total of Rs 1,033.18 crore in 2015-16. Of this, parties spent Rs 754.45 crore and declared an unspent amount of Rs 278.73 crore.The BJP had the highest income followed by the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (Rs 107.48 crore), the Bahujan Samaj Party (Rs 47.39 crore), the Trinamool Congress (Rs 34.58 crore), the Nationalist Congress Party (Rs 9.14 crore) and the CPI (Rs 2.18 crore).ADR also mentioned that compared that BJP’s income during financial year 2014-15 was highest among all the National Parties. The party had declared a total income of Rs 970.43 cr and its income decreased by 41.17% to Rs 570.86 cr during financial year 2015-16.

Govt was trying to use judiciary as shield on triple talaq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today claimed the Supreme Court’s verdict on triple talaq is a blow to the “plans” of the government of “using the judiciary as a shield” on the issue. The party also suggested that the government could make a draft legislation and based on suggestions by parties, a law could be enacted on the issue. The Supreme Court today set aside the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims, saying the practice was void, illegal and unconstitutional. “They (government) did not want to lose a section of their vote bank by taking a decision over this contentious issue. Thus, they were seeking an escape route using the judiciary as a shield. But, the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to their plans,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said. “The government should make a draft legislation and circulate it among all parties. Based on the suggestions and objections received, a law can be enacted,” Malik said. The apex court held that the triple talaq was against the basic tenets of Quran. “In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ triple talaq is set aside,” a five-judge constitution bench said in a 395-page order.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Narendra Mehta: The man who delivered Mira Bhayandar win to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last year, around this time Narendra Mehta’s name splashed across social media as his wife rammed her Rs 5.5 crore Lamborghini into an autorickshaw the day he gifted it to her. He was roundly criticised for his ostentatious display of wealth and the party was under pressure to do something about the businessman turned politician. The party bosses kept their calm and their faith in him. Today, he has delivered a spectacular win for the party winning 61 out of 95 seats in a civic body that was dominated by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).Mehta, who handles construction, health care and education projects, attributes the party’s victory to strong organisational network, tacit support of party leadership, especially the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and enrollment of new voters in the jurisdiction of civic body. He was at the forefront to put in place a comprehensive poll strategy, which was weaved around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Sabka saath sabka vikas theme.Mehta, who joined politics as an independent in 1997 and has served as the mayor of the MMRC before joining BJP in 2009, also effectively sold to the voters that BJP rule in the civic body will help seek much needed funds from the Central and state government to boost growth. He harped on the inaction by Congress and NCP during its 25-year rule to fast track development and reminded voters how the BJP sanctioned Rs 12,000 crore to the civic body since last two and half years when BJP held the mayoral post.Notwithstanding the social media chatter over his wife’s Lamborghini, Mehta is not new to controversy. He and other five officers of Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation were booked for allegedly demanding Rs 2 crore from a builder in 2015. While the complaint was an old one,action was taken in January. Mehta had stoutly denied the allegations.In a role reversal of sorts, Mehta himself alerted the state Anti-Corruption Bureau when director of a Delhi-based contractual bus company tried to offer him a bribe of Rs 25 lakh and got him arrested.Though a class 8 dropout, Mehta is the founder of the Seven Eleven Group of companies that has a 100-bed hospital, and a CBSE school besides mega affordable township project Apna Ghar to its credit. Now onus is on Mehta to deliver a long list of poll promises which include construction of concrete roads, stadium, chowpatty, 24×7 water and development of more colleges.CONTROVERSIESIn 2016, Narendra Mehta was in the news when his wife rammed a newly purchased Rs 5.5 crore Lamborghini into an autorickshaw
In 2015, Mehta and five other officers of Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation were booked for allegedly demanding Rs 2 crore from a builder. Mehta, however, stoutly denied the allegations

Corruption allegations: 10 days on, no probe against Maha ministers Subhash Desai, Prakash Mehta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a week after Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis promised independent probe into allegations against Industries Minister Subhash Desai, the government has failed to appoint a committee.DNA had exposed how Desai denotified thousands of acres of land violating stipulated conditions. The Opposition had raised the issue subsequently in the legislature session and had alleged a scam of Rs 50,000 crore. An embattled Desai even sent his resignation to the CM, but Fadnavis had rejected it saying he needn’t resign till the charges are proved against him. He had announced that the government will appoint an inquiry committee to probe into the charges in a bid to placate the Opposition.Apart from Desai, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, too, had faced charges of corruption and CM had announced a probe by Lokayukta against him as well.But even a week later, there is no sign of investigation and the Opposition is now questioning the CM’s sincerity. Nationalist Congress Party state chief Sunil Tatkare said that the CM has made the announcement in the House and hence the Opposition wants to believe the government is committed, but the delay indicates otherwise.”On the last day (August 10) of the Monsoon session of the state Assembly, the CM promised impartial and independent probes against Desai and Mehta. It’s been 10 days since and there is no action on it,”We don’t know if the government has forgotten or the promise was simply a tactic to buy time. It shows how serious this government is when the charges are levelled against their own ministers,” said Nationalist Congress Party state chief Sunil Tatkare.”Is there some kind of political settlement being worked out between the two parties to save each other’s ministers? Silence on part of the CM will only erode his own credibility,” Tatkare said.Sachin Sawant, Congress spokesperson, said that neither Desai nor Mehta had resigned despite grave allegations and also raised doubts whether the probe was going to be indeed impartial and independent.UNDER SCANNERIn an exclusive report, DNA on August 7 had exposed that Industries Minister Subhash Desai had allegedly denotified 60,000 acres of land without mandatory auction.

As PM Modi set to meet CMs for 2019 polls, NCP mocks BJP’s early preparation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah are set to meet the chief ministers of all party ruled states on Monday to discuss strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said the meeting is a clear indication of saffron party?s insecurity. Speaking to ANI, NCP leader Majeed Memon said Prime Minister and BJP chief are struggling to have meetings with their party ruled state chief ministers because they are worried about 2019 mandate. ?They want to make sure that they would win again. Amit Shah has a dream that BJP will not only continue for next five years but would be there to rule for 50 years. It is his prediction. I am afraid that he can predict that he would remain alive for how many years. BJP is rushing for preparation of 2019 polls is a clear indication of doubt that they entertain within themselves with regard to winning the mandate again in 2019,? he said. Another NCP leader Nawab Malik also took a dig at the BJP for early preparation for the Lok Sabha polls ?The way BJP has started preparation for Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister and BJP president is going to meet the chief ministers of their party, it is indication that there is recession in the country, no job creation is there. The BJP knows that it will cause an adverse affect on poll that is why they are preparing themselves. It shows early poll will be there in the country,? Malik told ANI. Prime Minister Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will meet chief ministers and deputy chief ministers of all party ruled states on Monday to discuss core issues including the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Besides 13 chief ministers and six deputy chief ministers, a few cabinet ministers may also attend the meeting. The meeting is called days after Shah met party leaders in New Delhi to discuss the strategy for 2019 elections. During the meeting, which was attended by eight Union Ministers, Shah set target of 350 plus seats for BJP in 2019 polls.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Winning elections at any cost ‘new normal’ in politics, says EC; Congress urges for election finance reforms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Election Commission in a scathing commentary on Indian politics has stated that winning the elections at all cost, without ethics, is a new normal.”Democracy thrives when elections are free, fair and transparent. However, it appears to a cynical common man. We have been scripting narrative that places maximum premium on winning at all costs to the exclusion of ethical considerations. Winning the elections at all cost, without ethics, is new normal in politics,” Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat said, while addressing a press conference on Thursday. The comments are significant in context of the fiasco which happened during by-poll in Tamil Nadu which was ultimately cancelled and the RS elections in Gujarat, where Congress MLAs switched sides before the elections and finally veteran leader Ahmed Patel managed to barely scrape through. There were allegations of large scale use of money power to influence the MLAs in Gujarat. “In this narrative, the poaching of legislators is extolled as smart political management strategic introduction of money for allurement, tough-minded use of state machinery for intimidation – all commended as resourcefulness. It is this creeping new normal of political morality that should be a target for the exemplary action by all the political parties, politicians, media and civil society organisations, constitutional authorities and all those having faith in developing quality for a better election,” said EC Om Prakash Rawat. The elections watchdog’s comments have come in the wake of the recent report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), according to which, the corporate houses donated a total of Rs. 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16, making up 89 per cent of the total contribution from the known sources. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the most corporate donations at more than Rs. 705 crore.At least five political parties considered for the report were the BJP, Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM).”Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, five national parties received a total of Rs. 1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above Rs. 20,000 out of which 89 per cent of Rs. 956.77 crore was from corporates/business houses,” the ADR report said.Congress calls for reforms: A day after Election Commissioner (EC) O.P. Rawat said that winning the elections at all costs is the new normal, the Congress, backing the statement, suggested that the EC should initiate reforms regarding the electoral finance reforms. Speaking to ANI on the same, Congress leader Manish Tiwari further said that the laws made by the current government regarding the funding to political parties need to be looked into.”The kind of laws which this government is enacting- making corporate donations anonymous through the process of bonds, removing the cap on the amount of their net profit, which a company can donate to an political party- are all retrogressive steps in their entirety,” he said. He urged the EC to kick-start a debate in the country to look into the electoral finance reforms.

Election Commission sheds light on ‘creeping new normal of political morality’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Election Commission has stated that winning the elections at all cost, without ethics, is a new normal in politics. ?Democracy thrives when elections are free, fair and transparent. However, it appears to a cynical common man. We have been scripting narrative that places maximum premium on winning at all costs to the exclusion of ethical considerations. Winning the elections at all cost, without ethics, is new normal in politics,? Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat said, while addressing the press conference. He also stated that it is this creeping new normal of political morality that should be a target for the exemplary action by all the political parties, politicians, media and civil society organisations, and constitutional authorities. ?In this narrative, the poaching of legislators is extolled as smart political management strategic introduction of money for allurement, tough-minded use of state machinery for intimidation – all commended as resourcefulness. It is this creeping new normal of political morality that should be a target for the exemplary action by all the political parties, politicians, media and civil society organisations, constitutional authorities and all those having faith in developing quality for a better election,? he said. The elections watchdog’s comments have come in the wake of the recent report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), according to which, the corporate houses donated a total of Rs. 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16, making up 89 per cent of the total contribution from the known sources. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the most corporate donations at more than Rs. 705 crore. At least five political parties considered for the report were the BJP, Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). ?Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, five national parties received a total of Rs. 1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above Rs. 20,000 out of which 89 per cent of Rs. 956.77 crore was from corporates/business houses,” the ADR report said. Every year, the national political parties are required to submit the details of donors who made donations of more than Rs. 20,000 in a financial year to the Election Commission (EC). ?Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, BJP’s and INC’s voluntary contributions above Rs. 20,000 from corporate/business houses was 92 per cent and 85 per cent, respectively,? the report said. However, the CPI and the CPM have the lowest share of corporate donations at 4 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was not considered for analysis in the report as the party has stated that it received no charitable contributions above Rs. 20,000 from any donor during the particular period.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J&K NCP chief praises Modi govt, attacks Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>J&K NCP chief Thakur Randhir Singh today welcomed the Centre’s policy to combat militancy in the state, saying Kashmir is an integral part of the country and the problem is “only because of Pakistan”. “We welcome the steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team to curb Pakistan-sponsored militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. The involvement of National Investigation Agency to crackdown on terror funding is praiseworthy,” Singh said at a function to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi here. He said it was easy to get freedom from the British but difficult to preserve it “because of hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China”. Blaming the Congress and National Conference for the turmoil in Kashmir, the Nationalist Congress Party leader said corruption and nexus among corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and contractors has “ruined” the nation and the state. “The handing over of political legacy to the heirs was started by Nehru family in the country and (NC founder) Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in the state. The two families are responsible for the present turmoil in the valley,” he said. Singh paid rich tributes to Gandhi and other stalwarts on the occasion of 75th anniversary of the ‘Quit India’ movement and said “this day reminds us of the role and sacrifice of the youth who fought the British to achieve freedom for the country”. “The power of the youth needs to be tapped and groomed in a positive direction to take the country to new heights,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NCP, JD(U) MLAs give both camps the jitters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the two MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the lone JD(U) legislator said that they voted for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election. Looking at how close the contest is, the two votes could very well be the deciding factor.In what was seen as a huge jolt to Ahmed Patel’s re-election bid, NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja had said on the eve of polling that they have been asked to vote for the BJP candidate.After casting his vote, NCP MLA Jayant Patel told reporters that he had voted for Ahmed Patel, while Jadeja, who is late Godmother Santokben Jadeja’s son did not reveal who he had voted for.”You will come to know who I voted for once voting is over,” Jadeja said.Lone JD(U) MLA in the Gujarat assembly Chhotu Vasava also initially did not reveal who he had voted for. However, he later said that his vote had gone to Ahmed Patel.Vasava, who represents Jhagadia constituency, is facing many serious criminal cases. This is his sixth straight term in the assembly, though he barely attends the assembly.Vasava said he voted for Patel because the ruling BJP failed to do anything for the poor and the tribal population despite ruling the state for more than two decades.He also told a news agency that Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar had not issued any whip to him to vote for any particular candidate.”The decision to vote for Ahmed Patel was my own,” he said.Adding a twist to the development, JD(U) claimed later in the day that Vasava had toed the party line and voted for the BJP.

Ahmed Patel confident of victory ahead of Gujarat RS Polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is contesting for a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, on Monday said that he trusts his party MLAs commitment, adding he will definitely win the elections by defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). ?I trust my MLAs completely. Our MLAs are very committed as they did not leave even their homes on the occasion of Rakshabandhan, although we were keen to make every possible arrangement. They are not ready to go anywhere because they want to cast their votes first. I am going to win and BJP?s one candidate will lose,? Patel told media here. He added that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has also announced its support towards him. ?The BJP not only wants a Congress free India, but they want to remove the SC and ST reservations and wants a minority free House,? Patel said. Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday said that it will support Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat. Speaking to ANI, NCP leader Majeed Memon said their party president Sharad Pawar has made it extremely loud and clear that they are going to support Congress candidate Ahmed Patel, who is contesting for a Rajya Sabha seat. However, earlier in the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed confidence that the BJP will win all three seats and Congress? Ahmed Patel will lose in the upcoming Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections. ?The BJP will win three seats and Ahmed Patel will definitely lose,? he told the media here. He further said that at a time when people are dying due to floods, the Congress MLAs are hiding in resort. At least 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs were camping at a resort in Bengaluru since July 29 to prevent their possible poaching by the ruling BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. ?People are dying in flood and MLAs are enjoying in resort. Their (Congress) MLAs are not under their control. They don’t trust them,? he added. All the Gujarat Congress MLAs returned back to the state earlier in the day. All the MLAs were holed in to Bengaluru’s Eagleton Resort, after six of the Gujarat Congress MLAs quit the party and joined the BJP. As soon as the MLAs landed at the state capital they were taken to the Neejanand Resort in Gujarat’s Anand district, located 77 km from Ahmedabad. The Gujarat Rajya Sabha election is slated to be held tomorrow for three seats. The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput against Congress’ Ahmed Patel.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hindu nationalism risks pushing India into war with China: Chinese state media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anti-China sentiments are rising in India with an upsurge of nationalism ever since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said China’s state-run Global Times in an article.”Since India’s defeat in the Sino-Indian War of 1962, some Indians have been stuck in a zero-sum mentality in dealing with China. The war-inflicted lingering pain on India and it became a hard knot to untie, leading to an ingrained suspicion of the Chinese strategy,” said the Global Times.”Nationalist fervour that demands revenge against China has taken root in India since the border war. The election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fuelled the country’s nationalist sentiments,” it added.In diplomacy, New Delhi is demanded to act tougher in foreign relations, especially toward countries like Pakistan and China, it said.”The (Doklam) border row this time is an action targetted at China that caters to the demand of India’s religious nationalists,” it claimed.”The Modi Government can do nothing if religious nationalism becomes extreme, as shown in its failure to curb violent incidents against Muslims since he came to power in 2014,” it said.The article warned that such a situation will put India’s own interests in jeopardy adding, “India should be careful and not let religious nationalism push the two countries into war.”

Athawale’s statement contradictory to beef ban policy- NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Nationalist Communist Party (NCP) on Saturday said that statement by Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on beef ban is contradictory to the state policy. NCP leader Majid Memon told ANI that ?this is a very bold statement by a Union Minister against the beef ban. Such statement is contradictory to the policy of state on beef ban. It would be necessary for the cabinet minister or the Prime Minister to examine the merit of the statement?. Athawale has condemned violence in the name of cow vigilantism and said that no one has the authority to challenge the law. Athawale, while addressing a press conference, asserted that one should reach out to law for justice instead of violating it. “Everyone has the right to go to the police or knock the doors of the court. But, no one has the right to challenge the law. These cow vigilantes should get punished,” said Athawale. “Everybody has the right to eat beef. In the name of cow vigilantism, one should not violate law,” he added. The Minister’s comment comes a day after a 40-year-old man was reportedly thrashed by four men in Nagpur’s Bharsingi area on the suspicion of carrying cow meat. The incident took place on Wednesday at 11.30 a.m. Bharsingi comes under the jurisdiction of the Jalalakheda Police Station. The police team reached at the spot as soon as they got the information. No arrests have been made as of yet though. An investigation into the case is underway.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

First land deal inked for Mum-Nagpur E-way

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has earmarked Rs 10,000 crore for payment towards acquisition of 10,000 hectares of land for the ambitious 700-km Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway. The MSRDC formally started the payment process on Thursday with the signing of the transfer deed of 5.59 hectares of land by six farmers from Hingana near Nagpur. The state transport authority transferred a total of Rs 2.60 crore towards the land purchase in the bank accounts of the six farmers.Radheshyam Mopalwar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, MSRDC, told DNA, “The process of registration of self deeds for land transfer will be carried out on a daily basis in all 10 districts through which the express way passes. We intend to complete this exercise in two and half months across 392 villages.” Mopalwar insists that individuals handing over their lands are not project-affected persons but beneficiaries of the expressway.The MSRDC’s move comes at a time when farmers from 20 villages in Nashik and Ahmednagar are protesting against the land acquisition and have threatened to step up agitation. The MSRDC has declared the land purchase price ranging between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 87 lakh per acre, and it varies from village to village.The rates fixed are for basic jirayat (non-irrigated dry) land. The rate for seasonally irrigated land be will be 1.5 times more, and it will be twice the amount for perennially irrigated land. The value of trees, structures, wells and orchards on these lands will be paid over and above these rates.Once complete, the MSRDC project will provide seamless connectivity across Nagpur, Wardha, Amravati, Washim, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Jalna, Ahmednagar, Nashik and Thane.Meanwhile…The Friday meeting between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on the expressway has been postponed owing to BJP’s Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind upcoming visit. Pawar has clarified that his party was not against development but was of the view that destroying the future of farmers for a project will not be fair.

ACB books Bhujbal son for land fraud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) here on Thursday filed an FIR against 17 persons, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s son Pankaj Bhujbal, nephew Sameer Bhujbal and retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Uttam Khobragade in an alleged land misuse case. The accused allegedly bought a plot of government land in Oshiwara in the northwestern suburb of Andheri, and constructed a commercial complex instead of the residential project it had been earmarked for. According to ACB officers, between 2002 and 2004, Sameer and Pankaj, both Directors of Bhavesh Builders Private Ltd, bought the plot and formed Oshiwara Tulsi Co-operative Housing Society for residential purpose. The society’s members, including chief promoter Prashant Sawant, have also been booked. Co-accused Shirish Shrugarpure, Land Surveyor, Suryakant Deshmukh, Assistant Land Record Surveyor, and MHADA official Suresh Karande, allegedly did not verify the documents.Five other government officials, including Uttam Khobragade, then Vice President and CEO of MHADA, sanctioned the project. “The said fraud caused losses worth crores of rupees to the state exchequer…. The government officials have been given kickbacks and we will be scrutinising their bank account details”, said an ACB official. Khobragade, Sameer and Pankaj Bhujbal, could not be reached for comments.

Mayawati’s_slight_opposition_due_to_Kovind’s_association_with_RSS_NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday said Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati?s slight opposition to Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind?s nomination as presidential candidate is due to his affiliation with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Reacting to Mayawati?s ?Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have selected a name from a non-political background which will be better? remark, NCP leader Majeed Memon said the former cannot openly oppose a Dalit candidate so she went the other way. ?Since Mayawati has to take care of her Dalit vote bank, she cannot openly oppose a Dalit candidate. So, she has just gone the other way by saying that a Dalit is welcomed, but not a Dalit from a particular political ideology which of course is now being hinted at the RSS. So, she is opposing because this candidate happens to be a RSS man,? Memon told ANI. While on the other hand, refraining from commenting on Mayawati? remark, JD (U) leader Neeraj Kumar said they only hope that the election of the first citizen of India (President) should take place without any controversy popping up. ?We hope and want that the election of the first citizen of India (President) should take place without any controversy erupting,? Kumar told ANI. Despite expressing her support for National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential nominee Kovind, Mayawati yesterday said the Centre should have taken all Opposition parties in ‘good faith’ before announcing the name. Further giving her opinion over Presidential Elections, Mayawati stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have selected a name from a non-political background which would have been better. “My small advice towards this is- it could have been better if the BJP would have selected a name from a non-political background,” Mayawati added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NCP-reacts-on-Darjeeling-issue @ 6/19/2017 2:13:05 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has an alliance with the Gorkha people who are protesting in Darjeeling over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland. ?West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tried her best to resolve this issue. Does BJP want Mamata Banerjee to suffer? If that is so then it?s unfortunate,? NCP leader Majeed Memon told ANI. Another NCP leader Nawab Malik said that the people in the hill are having an alliance with the BJP. ?Since the violence is not coming to an end in Darjeeling, the Gorkhas are having an alliance with the BJP. It is the responsibility of the Centre to intervene to maintain peace in Darjeeling,? Malik said. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Mamata over the law and order situation in Darjeeling where the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has been leading a violent protest. Rajnath took to Twitter and informed that Mamata had apprised her of the situation prevailing in Darjeeling. “Spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Sushri Mamata Banerjee this morning. She has apprised me of the situation prevailing in Darjeeling,” he tweeted. He further appealed to the people to help maintain peace in the conflict-hit region. “I appeal to the people living in Darjeeling and nearby areas to remain calm and peaceful. Nobody should resort to violence,” he added. Meanwhile, GJM chief Bimal Gurung has said that Mamata was trying to divert their agitation into a different direction by claiming that the movement in Darjeeling hills was supported by insurgent groups of the north-east and some foreign countries. He asserted the struggle for a separate Gorkhaland state would be intensified and if the police tries to stop them, it would only create more trouble. As many as 36 policemen were injured on Saturday in clashes with the GJM supporters. The GJM announced an indefinite strike from Monday encompassing Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts and the Dooars protesting against Mamata’s decision to make Bengali language compulsory in state-run schools. The strike was called even after the Chief Minister assured that the new rule would not be imposed in the hill districts. The protestors are also asking for a separate Gorkhaland, a long pending demand of the people of the hills.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Presidential Poll: Naidu, Rajnath meet Yechury, no names discussed

Fri, 16 Jun 2017-04:53pm , New Delhi India , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday met CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury over the presidential elections.”They did not come forward with any name. They said that they want our support. Support can be given to a particular individual. We want such a person who can uphold the Constitution. We would have certainly thought about such a person, but they did not suggest any name. So, there is nothing to think when they did not suggest any names,” Yechury told ANI.”They said they will hold consultations and come up with a name after three to four days. After three to four days, nomination will begin. They said the government wants our cooperation. There should be a base for that cooperation. We will think about it when they will suggest a name. The two ministers had come on behalf of the government without any name,” he added. Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat paid a courtesy call to President Pranab Mukherjee.
ALSO READ Presidential polls: No consensus as BJP did not mention any name, says Ghulam Nabi Azad after Venkaiah, Rajnath meet Sonia GandhiThe ministers earlier in the day met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence to discuss matters related to next month’s presidential elections. Both of them have already spoken to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra. Naidu yesterday spoke to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu over the same. The TDP chief said his party will stand by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in this regard. The last date of nomination is June 28.

Naidu, Rajnath meet Yechury, hold parleys over presidential polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday met CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury over the presidential elections. ?They did not come forward with any name. They said that they want our support. Support can be given to a particular individual. We want such a person who can uphold the Constitution. We would have certainly thought about such a person, but they did not suggest any name. So, there is nothing to think when they did not suggest any names,? Yechury told ANI. ?They said they will hold consultations and come up with a name after three to four days. After three to four days, nomination will begin. They said the government wants our cooperation. There should be a base for that cooperation. We will think about it when they will suggest a name. The two ministers had come on behalf of the government without any name,? he added. Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat paid a courtesy call to President Pranab Mukherjee. The ministers earlier in the day met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence to discuss matters related to next month’s presidential elections. Both of them have already spoken to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra. Naidu yesterday spoke to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu over the same. The TDP chief said his party will stand by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in this regard. The last date of nomination is June 28.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rajnath, Naidu meet Sonia to discuss Presidential candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday reached Congress president Sonia Gandhi?s house to discuss matters related to next month’s presidential election. Both ministers will also hold separate consultations with Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in the afternoon, today. Both of them have already spoken to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra. Naidu yesterday spoke to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu over the same. The TDP chief said that his party will stand by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in this regard. The last date of nomination is June 28.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Security stepped up at Kerala House amid rumours of ‘beef

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security at Kerala House on Jantar Mantar road here was stepped up following reports of a political party planning a ‘beef festival’ there in the evening. Delhi Police said they received an information from Kerala House officials about the matter and security was stepped up as a precautionary measure. “We were alerted by the Kerala House officials about an unverified information they received that some people belonging to a political party were planning to celebrate beef festival there at 6.30 PM. “So we have deployed police force to handle them,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police B K Singh. Police sources, however, said the information appeared to be a rumour. There was report that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has planned a ‘beef festival’ at the Kerala House in the evening. Party MP D P Tripathi, however, termed the report as “baseless”. Last week, a “cow vigilante” group, claiming to belong to the Bharatiya Gauraksha Kranti, allegedly barged into Kerala House to protest the beef festivals recently held in the southern state. Kerala House Resident Commissioner Vishwas Mehta had sought more security for the state guest house to protect it from “groups with vested interests”, who could create trouble over the ongoing beef controversy. Two years ago, Kerala House was mired in a similar controversy after the Delhi Police raided its canteen on receiving a complaint that it served beef. However, the Kerala government and the canteen authorities denied the charge, saying it was buffalo meat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Security beefed up at Kerala House amid rumours of ‘beef fest’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security at Kerala House on Jantar Mantar road here was beefed up following reports of a political party planning a ‘beef festival’ there in the evening. Delhi Police said they received an information from Kerala House officials about the matter and security was stepped up as a precautionary measure. “We were alerted by the Kerala House officials about an unverified information they received that some people belonging to a political party were planning to celebrate beef festival there at 6.30 PM. “So we have deployed police force to handle them,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police B K Singh. Police sources, however, said the information appeared to be a rumour. There was report that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has planned a ‘beef festival’ at the Kerala House in the evening. Party MP D P Tripathi, however, termed the report as “baseless”. Last week, a “cow vigilante” group, claiming to belong to the Bharatiya Gauraksha Kranti, allegedly barged into Kerala House to protest the beef festivals recently held in the southern state. Kerala House Resident Commissioner Vishwas Mehta had sought more security for the state guest house to protect it from “groups with vested interests”, who could create trouble over the ongoing beef controversy. Two years ago, Kerala House was mired in a similar controversy after the Delhi Police raided its canteen on receiving a complaint that it served beef. However, the Kerala government and the canteen authorities denied the charge, saying it was buffalo meat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Naga rebel group NSCN-K Chairman SS Khaplang passes away at 77

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Chairman of Naga rebel group NSCN-K, S S Khaplang, who had engineered many attacks on the security forces including the killing of 18 Army soldiers in Manipur, died tonight at Takka in Kachin state of Myanmar at the age of 77.Official sources said that the leader of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) who had been ailing for quite sometime, died following a cardiac arrest.Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang was a Hemi Naga from Myanmar and was based mostly in that country where the outfit maintains several camps.Since 1980s, the outfit has engaged in subversive activities, including attacks on security forces, extortion and looting.The NSCN-K was involved in the killing of 18 Army soldiers in an ambush in Manipur on June 4, 2015. Following the Manipur ambush in 2015, the Indian Army carried out cross-border raids on NSCN-K camps located inside Myanmar killing several militants. The ambush on the Army convoy was carried out by the group despite it being involved in peace negotiations with an interlocutor of the central government.Subsequently, the government has snapped the dialogue and in September 2015, the NSCN-K was declared as an unlawful organisation for five years.Born in April 1940 in Waktham village, east of Myanmar’s Pangsau Pass, Khaplang joined the Naga nationalist movement as early as 1964 and was one of the key people in the formation of the NSCN.However, Khaplang split and formed his own group NSCN(K) in 1988.He formed the group following differences with the NSCN (IM) leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. Swu died in June 2016 in a Delhi hospital.Khaplang also entered into a ceasefire with the central government in 1997 but abrogated it on March 28, 2015.Meanwhile, Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) Secretary General Neingulo Krome said the news of Khaplang’s sudden demise has come as a “rude shock”.This was so especially at a time when the Naga people are extremely in need of elderly and experienced wisdom of their national movement leaders, to set right the course of the Naga destiny, which is being misinterpreted and re-interpreted in the present day scenario of internal conflicts, he said.”We will always treasure and cherish his commitment to do what the upcoming Naga generation wants as the Naga national movement is for the well being of future Naga generation who should live in dignity and peace,” he said in his condolence message. There was no immediate reaction from the rebel group or key tribal bodies including Naga Hoho and Naga Mothers’ Association.

Maha farmer agitation: Fadnavis asks ministers to highlight Rs 30,000 crore loan waiver

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked his ministers not to be defensive on the issue of farmers’ agitation and counter the opposition. He also asked the ministers to reach out to the people while taking up the government’s decision to waive crop loan worth Rs 30,000 crore and concentrate on further strengthening the party organisation.Fadnavis at a marathon meeting held at his official residence Varsha on Tuesday night wanted ministers to expose allies including Shiv Sena and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party for politicising the farmers’ agitation to gain mileage.Besides, Fadnavis asked ministers to explain to the farmers the government’s move to finalize an ambitious plan of disbursement of farm loan of over Rs 52,000 crore during current year. The Maharashtra minister of housing Prakash Mehta told DNA, the Chief Minister reviewed the ongoing farmer outreach programme involving the ministers and party office bearers. The emphasis is on the government’s endeavour to solve the agrarian crisis and ensure sustainable development. The government will waive loan worth Rs 30,000 crore.Besides, CM asked to make further concentrate on strengthening of the party organisation at the level of 90,000 booths across the state. The focus will also be given to increase membership.’’Mehta said the chief minister’s message was the Team BJP can take on the divided opposition by further reaching out to the people and it can face any eventuality including an early assembly election in the state. ‘’CM wanted that the government and party organisation can put up a united face to take on opponents,’’ he added.Fadnavis gave the ground-level situation of the ongoing farmers agitation and the bandh organised on June 5. He pointed out that the involvement of political parties was more than the farmers and the offences registered by the police were largely against the political activists.Both the government and party organisation will soon launch publicity campaign to highlight their ‘pro-development, pro people’ decisions.

All eyes on Election Commission’s EVM challenge today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Election Commission will organize the EVM challenge in New Delhi today where political parties will try to prove that the machines can be rigged. However, only the Nationalist Congress Party and CPI(M) have shown willingness to participate in the challenge. The Commission has pulled out 14 Electronic Voting Machines for the challenge from its strong rooms in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand where assembly polls were held recently. The challenge was organised after several major opposition parties had claimed that the faith of people in the machines has eroded. After the UP assembly polls, BSP, Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and others had questioned the EVMs alleging that they were tampered with. However, when the poll body invited all parties to participate in the challenge, the AAP and Congress raising some issue with the existing framework of challenge, decided not to take part. The challenge will begin at 10 AM and end at 2 PM and the challengers will get four hours each to tamper with the EVM machines. The NCP and CPI (M) have nominated three representatives each. The members of a technical committee which helps the ECI to evaluate the EVMs, will judge the proceedings. Meanwhile, CPI (M) has said, it will not try to hack EVM during the challenge, but will suggest precautionary measures to ensure transparent polls. But, the Aam Admi Party has planned to organize its own EVM challenge today to show that EVMs can be tampered. Yesterday in a crucial development, the Uttarakhand high court barred all political parties, individuals, media and even social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, from criticising the use of EVMs in the recently conducted assembly polls. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Uttarakhand state congress committee vice-president Ramesh Pandey, who sought quashing of the EVM challenge saying it was “illegal unconstitutional and beyond the jurisdiction of Article 324.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

EC wrote to NCP informing about selection of EVM for hackathon challenge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday wrote to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) stating that a total of 14 randomly selected Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) have been brought for the hackathon challenge. The Election Commission in its letter said that the machine are randomly selected and brought sealed from different polling booth from five state which went on polling recently. Total eight political parties have accepted the challenge of the Election Commission to hack the EVM. The NCP has nominated its three representatives for participating in the challenge. “The AAP and the Congress raised some issue but as per existing framework of challenge, they did not express their interest in participating,” stated EC in a press note. The NCP have not chosen any EVMs as per the framework and has left it to the polling commission. Earlier, the poll panel had asked the opposition parties and experts to prove that the EVMs, used in the assembly elections, can be tampered with. However, the EC put forth terms and conditions for the parties attempting to tamper the machines. The EC said that only those parties, national and regional, that took part in the recently concluded assembly elections can hack the EVMs. The poll panel said that the EVMs need to be picked from its warehouses in Delhi at parties’ own cost. Each political party was allowed to pick at least four EVMs of their choice from any four polling stations out of the five poll-gone states. The EVMs involved in the election petition or those sealed will not be allowed in the hackathon. The poll panel said that if the EVM becomes non-functional after the tamper attempt or if the tamper result is same as the one put out by EC or if the challenger violates the rules-set, the challenge will be struck down.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cattle slaughter ban: Meghalaya leader Bernard Marak quits BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Bernard N Marak from Meghalaya has quit the party over Centre’s cattle slaughter ban.A few days back Marak had promised that BJP would come up with provision to provide beef at a cheaper rate in the North-east.Marak’s decision comes two days after Nationalist People’s Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma wrote a letter condemning the move. NPP is BJP’s ally in Meghalaya and Manipur. Amidst the controversy on cattle slaughter ban, BJP leader Nalin Kohli on Wednesday said that the issue of banning cow slaughter has to be decided by the respective states and the Centre’s recent notification on sale of cattle has nothing to do with it. Kohli, who is in-charge of the party’s affairs in Meghalaya, said the state governments can decide on cow slaughter ban keeping in view the local food habits even as he admitted that in this state, a majority of the BJP leaders eat beef. The comment assumes significance as the BJP’s Meghalaya unit has views divergent to its central leadership since its local leaders eat beef.(With PTI inputs)
ALSO READ Cattle slaughter ban: Kerala CM to call all CMs’ meet, summon special session of assembly

‘EVM hackathon more of an exercise than a challenge’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the EVM hacking challenge to be held by the Election Commission (EC) approaches, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has said that its participation on June 3 will purely be from an academic point of view. NCP has stated that there are no intentions to oppose the EC’s claims, take credit or gain brownie points. The party also does not plan to go the AAP way of public demonstration to drive home its point, but keep it a low-key affair.NCP has roped in two IT and cyber law experts who will be accompanied by the party MP Vandana Chavan on June 3 before the poll panel. NCP’s move is crucial, especially, since the party was not keen to blame the EVMs for poll debacle but rather to be acquainted with the functioning of EVMs.NCP is currently a part of UDF government in Kerala while the party is in opposition in Maharashtra with its presence in few other states.Chavan told DNA, “The party does not treat it as a challenge but sees it as an academic exercise to know about EVMs better. This is a golden opportunity to closely watch how EVMs function and examine the possibility of tampering and malfunctioning. Besides, we will be able to discuss vulnerable points and personally find out whether EVMs can be tampered with.”Initially, NCP was the only party to take part in the hacking challenge. Now, the CPM too plans to join the bandwagon. “NCP’s presence in the elections held to five state assemblies was negligible. The party was stunned to know the mismatch between the total number of votes polled and the votes counted for the Pune Municipal Corporation elections. We brought this to the EC’s notice but the latter said it was the jurisdiction of state poll panel,”she said.However, Chavan said the party was quite happy that the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verifiable paper record (VPR) will be made applicable in the 2019 elections across India. VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballot-less voting system.”During the meeting on June 3, NCP plans to suggest ways on how to make VVPAT more voter-friendly and also that voters need to be given more time while casting their votes,” Chavan added.PARTY’S STANCENCP has roped in two IT and cyber law experts who will be accompanied by the party MP Vandana Chavan on June 3 before the poll panel
The party has stated that there are no intentions to oppose the Election Comminssion’s claims
Following suit, the CPM too has planned to join the EVM challenge NCP has roped in two IT and cyber law experts who will be accompanied by the party MP Vandana Chavan on June 3 before the poll panel
The party has stated that there are no intentions to oppose the Election Comminssion’s claims
Following suit, the CPM too has planned to join the EVM challenge

EVM Hacking Challenge: Only NCP has shown interest, says EC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party is the only party which has shown interest in taking part in the EVM hacking challenge organised by the poll panel on June 3, a Commission spokesperson said here.The challenge, announced by the EC to counter allegations of EVM tampering levelled by parties such as Aam Admi Party and BSP, will be held on June 3 between 10 am and 2pm. He said a total of eight parties had responded to EC’s letter of invitation for the June 3 event.”NCP expressed interest in participating in the EVM challenge. AAP and Congress raised some issue as per the existing framework of challenge but have not expressed their interest in participating. “The CPI, CPI(M), BJP and RLD expressed their interest to observe (the challenge),” he said. The All India NR Congress wrote that it will not participate in the challenge, the spokesperson said.On Saturday last, the Commission had announced that the challenge to hack and tamper with the electronic voting machines (EVMs) would take place on June 3 and the seven recognised national and 49 state parties can apply till this evening to participate in the challenge. After the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the BSP and AAP had questioned the reliability of the machines.Later, several opposition parties, except the AAP, had urged the EC to revert to paper ballot, saying the faith of the people in EVMs has eroded. A demand of the AAP to tamper with the motherboard of the machine was rejected by the Commission. It said change in circuits would mean the EVM is no longer the one used by the Commission.

NaMo alone can’t get us majority: Eknath Khadse

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when the Opposition is still recovering from Modi’s campaign that put Uttar Pradesh in the BJP’s kitty, senior Maharashtra BJP leader and former state revenue minister Eknath Khadse has said that the ‘Modi card’ may not be enough for the party to win a majority in Maharashtra if mid-term polls were to be held.On the contrary, he told DNA, the party and the state government will need to work extra hard to reach out to people to explain the benefits of their pro-development decisions.Khadse, who is nursing a grouse over being sidelined by the party after he resigned from the ministry over a controversial land acquisition by him and his family in Pune, has called upon party workers to be ready for any eventuality, including a mid-term poll. As part of this, he has been emphasising the need to step up efforts to reach government decisions to the voters.”The Devendra Fadnavis-led government has been quite proactive in taking a number of decisions to expedite the state’s development. However, even after completion of almost three years in power both the government and the party are falling short of explaining these decisions to the voters in general,” Khadse told DNA.Khadse praised the government for rolling out accident insurance schemes for farmers but pointed out that most farmers are yet to know its details. “This scheme will really benefit the farmers but they have to explained how they can avail it,” he said.According to him, mid-term elections could take place as early as December this year, or in 2019.The BJP fell short of a majority in the 2015 Maharashtra elections, and is dependant on estranged ally Shiv Sena to continue in power.BJP’s ruling ally Shiv Sena and opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party were quick to react, saying they were prepared for mid-term elections. The Shiv Sena, which has been relentless in its broadsides against the state government, as well as the BJP, hinted it has already asked district units to carry out extensive tours to meet voters and to ramp up organisational work.For its part, the BJP has decided to send party ministers, MPs, legislators, and senior leaders across 90,000 booths in the state to consolidate the party’s position, especially in the wake of its strong performance in the recent statewide civic and local body elections.Former finance minister and senior NCP leader Jayant Patil said Khadse’s statement clearly shows that all is not well in BJP. ”It indicates that differences are widening and discontent is brewing within the BJP. NCP has already declared that it was prepared to face mid-term poll,” he said.Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the timing of Khadse’s statement is crucial, given the differences between the BJP and the government and also within the saffron party.”Congress is ready for mid-term poll. People are disappointed with the performance of the state government and they may return to Congress for the formation of power,” he said.

1,251 candidates in fray for Bhiwandi, Malegaon & Panvel polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 1,251 candidates are in fray for the municipal corporation elections in Bhiwandi, Malegaon and Panvel scheduled to be held on May 24. The Bhiwandi-Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC) is currently ruled by the Congress-led alliance, while the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) is helmed by the NCP-AIMIM alliance. For the Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC), it will be the first election after it came into existence in October last year. Total 12.96 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in Bhiwandi, Malegaon and Panvel, which collectively have 252 seats. The results of the elections will be declared on May 26, the State Election Commission said. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are in the fray. AIMIM has fielded nine candidates in Bhiwandi and 37 in Malegaon, the commission said. MNS has fielded seven nominees in Bhiwandi and 25 in Panvel. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has put up 22, Janata Dal (United) four, Janata Dal (Secular) 10 in these three civic bodies, according to the election commission. BJP has fielded 189, NCP 90, Congress 152, Shiv Sena 144 candidates across the three civic bodies. There are 355 independents trying their luck. Some local and registered parties are also in the fray. Of the 18 municipal corporations which completed their five-year term this year, elections to 10 bodies were held in February, while Latur, Parbhani and Chandrapur went to polls last month. The BJP, which is in power in the state, has posted successive wins in the local bodies polls since December last year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

IIMC’s ‘yagna’ before seminar call raises alumni hackles

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is once again in the eye of a storm. The controversy, this time, is over a seminar titled “Current Status Of Nationalist Journalism” which the IIMC is going to conduct in collaboration with a media organisation called Media Scan on Saturday. The event, will be proceeded by an elaborated ‘Yagna’ session.The ‘Yagna’, that will be held before the inaugural session of the seminar, has stirred up outrage among IIMC alumni on social media, who have termed it as an attempt to “saffronise” the institute. Some of the alumni have even changed their profile pictures saying “reclaim IIMC”.”Educational institutions should maintain a distance from religious activities. The only purpose of organising such activities inside an educational institute must be to promote a particular ideology,” asked Prakriti Sharma, an alumnus.The institute, however, said that it has only “supported” the media organisation — Media Scan, by providing it with space to conduct the seminar. “The programme is being organised by ‘Media Scan’ and the institute has no role in it. Being the premier media institute we have just provided them with space for the seminar,” said IIMC Director General KG Suresh.”Most importantly, there are no classes in IIMC these days as the academic session is over and even the staff will not be there on Saturday. So, it’s not meant to ideologically influence either of them,” he added.However the IIMC Director General’s remarks did little to assuage the alumni. “The theme (of the seminar) is even more problematic. What do they mean by ‘nationalist journalism?’ This is a sheer attempt to further propagate the jingoist debate of national and anti-national,” said Rohin Verma, another alumnus.The alumni also protested the inclusion of the former Bastar IG, SRP Kalluri as a member of the seminar. “The person who is infamous for hounding journalists who were critical of him during his tenure is now going to speak on media,” said an alumni, who wished to remain anonymous….& ANALYSISA clash has broken out between KG Suresh and students, ever since he took charge as the DG of IIMC. Some students have been alleging that Suresh has been “promoting of single ideology” at the institute. Suresh, however, has been denying the allegations saying, “a section of leftist students is trying to malign the name of the institute.”

Prez Polls: Here’s why Sharad Pawar turned down Sonia Gandhi’s offer to contest as United Oppn candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi had asked the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar to contest presidential elections scheduled for July as as a united Opposition candidate. But 76-year old Maratha leader turned down the offer.On March 10, a day before the UP and other state Assembly election results were declared, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with Pawar on March 10. Later on April 26, Sonia Gandhi invited him to discuss presidential election and the formation of a national front against the BJP. A top Congress source said Rahul himself sought a meeting with Pawar. While confirming that Pawar was their first choice to contest presidential elections, Congress sources here said, they felt, he was perhaps the only top political leader with good equations across political spectrum and capable to win over NDA partners as well, thus breaking them away from the BJP.Talking to DNA in Mumbai, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said Pawar has declined the offer. “Pawar Saheb declined the offer and conveyed that he will support any Opposition candidate other than himself.”Malik said, “The NDA ally Shiv Sena had also jumped in, extending support to Pawar’s candidacy. Pawar told his supporters in Solapur that the NCP was small party so he cannot dream of becoming the president.Sources in NCP said that Pawar was inclined to contest, but he doesn’t see numbers cobbling up in his favour. “If both the ruling and Opposition parties propose his candidature, then he may take up the top Constitutional post,” said a source in his party. He said the stature of Pawar doesn’t demand him to contest the election.Rahul Gandhi is egging on Pawar to take the responsibility as the seniormost leader in the Opposition. Congress general secretary C P Joshi claimed his party can’t fight Modi alone on its own and alliances will have to be entered in every state if the BJP and Modi are to be ousted in the next parliamentary elections. Pawar is today perhaps the only top political leader and also has a good number of friends in the corporate world to not only put brakes to the entire corporate sector rallying behind Modi but also raise funds much needed in the elections.

People in Tripura will reject BJP’s communal designs: CPI(M)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CPI(M) today trashed BJP chief Amit Shah’s claim that there was a “long misrule” in Tripura and his party would put an end to it saying the people of the state will reject the “communal” designs of the Centre’s ruling party. Countering the allegations that Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is involved in chit fund scandals, the CPI(M) said the BJP is living in “fool’s paradise” if it feels the Marxist leader’s image can be “tarnished”. Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat also accused the BJP of unleashing violence in the northeastern state to spread its wings there. The BJP — which formed governments in northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in the recent past — fancies wresting power from Sarkar when Tripura goes to polls next year. “Shah has declared the BJP would oust the Left Front government in the assembly elections. BJP’s and RSS’ communal and reactionary designs will be firmly rebuffed by the people of Tripura,” Karat said. The Marxist leader made the remarks in an editorial of latest issue of party mouthpiece ‘People’s Democracy’. Karat alleged that to fulfil its desire of “uprooting” the Left Front from power in the state, the BJP is “working overtime” to create conditions of confrontation. He also cited recent incidents of clashes between cadres of the two parties. “However, unlike in the other north-eastern states, the BJP is faced with a CPI(M) which has a strong and deep rooted base among the people,” he cautioned. Karat further accused RSS-BJP workers of propagating a Hindutva agenda and spreading disinformation about the state government. He charged the combine with trying to disrupt the unity among tribals of the state for achieving its “narrow” political gains by seeking to rope in tribal “extremist” parties like the Indigenous People’s Front of India and Indigenous Nationalist Party of India. Referring to the BJP’s reported challenge to Sarkar that he hands over chit fund cases to CBI to prove his “honesty”, Karat said, “The BJP is living in a fool’s paradise, if it believes it can tarnish the image of Sarkar.” Karat sought to deflate the BJP’s reported allegation, saying Sarkar had written to the Centre immediately after the exposure of the chit fund scams namely – Saradha, Rose Valley and others – demanding a probe by the central agency into the cases. The CBI, he added, is investigating five out of the total 37 cases in this connection. The rest 32 cases are being investigated by a Special Task Force under the supervision of the Tripura High Court, Karat added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Tej Bahadur should have been treated as whistle blower Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Condemning the dismissal of Border Security Force (BSF) soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav who uploaded a viral video of poor food condition of the Army, the Congress Party on Thursday said that the former should have been treated like a whistle blower, rather than being suspended. ?It is extremely unfortunate and regrettable. He was trying to expose the inadequacies in the entire nutrition system of the BSF. The superiors did not listen to him. He should have been treated as a whistle blower rather than being sacked,? Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told ANI. He added that by pointing out to the substantive food that was served to the soldiers, who were performing arduous duty, Yadav was actually doing a national service. ?It is extremely unfortunate that a government which claims to be committed to transparency actually behaves in such a high-handed manner with somebody who is trying to expose in order to transform the system,? he added. Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar said Yadav?s request should have been understood. ?This is a very unfortunate incident. He shared his problems which would have been given importance instead of suspending him,? he added. A day after the BSF dismissed the viral video of poor food conditions for the army, Yadav today said his fight is for all the soldiers, adding that he is confident of getting justice. “I have given proof of the food but I did not get justice. I will go to the court. I am confident of getting justice. I will fight for the soldiers till my last breath. Complaints had come earlier as well but no one paid heed to that. It was my duty to reveal it to the government,” Yadav told ANI. Yadav said he raised his voice so that the coming generation does not face the same situation in the army. “The officials had kept me locked and I was not allowed to talk to my family. I was given my phone when I went to the court,” he added. A visibly disappointed Yadav earlier in the day requested the government to support him and asserted that if he did not get the support, he would move the judiciary. Yadav yesterday said that he will move the High Court over the matter and seek justice. He received his dismissal orders yesterday and moved out of the cantonment with his belongings in a three-ton truck. The Summary Security Force Court (SSFC) dismissed Yadav from service for posting a video regarding substandard food being served to the jawans. Bahadur was found guilty of all the charges and awarded dismissal from service. As per the BSF Act and Rules, he can now submit a petition or appeal against the punishment to the higher headquarters within three months. During the proceedings, all opportunities were given to the individual for his defence. Bhadur had earlier uploaded a video about quality of food in BSF which had gone viral on social media. In the video that had sparked a nationwide outrage, Yadav, a BSF soldier of the 29 battalion Seema Suraksha Bal, was seen exposing the rot in the system by revealing the deeply ingrained corruption in the higher order, saying that the troops are not even getting basic three square meal.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Savarkar didn’t want cow burden: Sharad Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst a raging debate on cow slaughter across many states in the country, Nationalist Congress Party chief and former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar invoking Hindutva icon Vinayak Savarkar said that cows should not become a burden on farmers.“There is no need to debate Savarkar’s sacrifices in the freedom struggle. But there is a second thing that the same Savarkar said publicly that cow is a useful animal, but you protect it till it is resourceful, and once it is no longer resourceful, it should not become a burden on farmers, thus, if someone kills a cow to eat its meat, he should not be held guilty. We cannot ignore his thinking,” Pawar said quoting Savarkar.The veteran politician was speaking at National Museum in the national Capital while inaugurating the Hindi version of his autobiography, ‘Apne Sharton Par’ (On My Own Terms) on Tuesday.Pawar’s remarks and invocation of the Hindutva ideologue seemed to be a veiled jibe at RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Pak using Jadhav as ploy to hide its attitude towards terrorism NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Slamming Pakistan for sentencing alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday said Islamabad has taken this step to deviate attention hovering over the former?s attitude towards terrorism. NCP leader Tariq Anwar said injustice is being done with Kulbhushan and the Indian Government should take a definite action soon. ?This is the way to delay it. It has happened for the first time that an accused has not been provided even a lawyer to put forth his arguments and was left unheard. It looks Pakistan has taken this step to conceal its attitude towards terrorism,? Anwar told ANI. Echoing similar sentiments, another NCP leader Majeed Memon said India will not rest till it gets justice for Kulbhushan. Memon hoped that Government of India will throw its weight while preparing the appeal and would provide the best legal advice to Kulbhushan?s family. ?The information that has been received is that Kulbhushan is entitled to prefer an appeal, either before the Army Chief or the President of Pakistan. Certainly, we must have access to the reasoning and judgement which has slacked upon him imposition of death sentence as also the evidence and the charge. I hope, very soon, the Government of India will have access to all these documents,? Memon told ANI. Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, while speaking in the upper house of parliament yesterday said Jadhav has the right to appeal against his death sentence within 60 days. However, Asif also defended the Pakistan Government?s decision to execute Kulbhushan, saying that all legal processes had been observed in the ex-Naval officer?s trial. “Jadhav’s confession was a public document. He came from the approval of the Indian government.there is no doubt that India is fuelling terrorism in Pakistan,” Geo News quoted Asif, as saying. Asif also said the death sentence of Kulbhushan should serve as a warning to those engaged in terrorism in the country. “Those plotting against Pakistan will not be spared,” he said. Earlier, Jadhav was given the death sentence by the Pakistan Military, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan said in a statement. Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 through an operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his alleged involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, the ISPR said. Earlier in March 2016, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the former Indian naval officer was arrested by Pakistan for allegedly engaging in subversive activities was possibly kidnapped from Iran and denied any possibilities of him being involved in subversive activities in Pakistan. The accused, used to run a business in the Iranian port city of Chabahar. He was seen in a video confessing that he was an official of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BNP wants Teesta water sharing agreement during Hasina’s India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) wants the Teesta water sharing agreement to be signed between New Delhi and Dhaka during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ongoing four-day visit to India. Dhaka Tribune quoted BNP spokesperson Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir as saying that they would not accept any treaty or agreement with India except for the long-pending Teesta water sharing deal. He said the Teesta water sharing issue is at present the country?s main problem, adding the BNP has already clarified its stance about the Prime Minister?s India visit. The BNP had earlier said that they were not in favour of signing a deal or agreement on defence cooperation during the visit. India is likely to offer USD 500 million Line of Credit to Bangladesh for defence exports from the country during Hasina?s visit. Fakhrul said the people of Bangladesh will not accept a defence deal or agreement as the two countries have many unresolved issues including border killings and trade gap which cannot be left aside. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015 expressed confidence of finding a “fair solution” to the long-pending Teesta and Feni river water sharing issue. The waters of the Teesta river is crucial for Bangladesh, especially during the lean period between December and March, when the water flow temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusecs from 5,000 cusecs. The Teesta River originates from the Pahunri Glacier and flows southwards through gorges and rapids in the Sikkim Himalayas. The river flows through Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh where after coursing through about 45km of irrigable land, it merges with the Brahmaputra River. In 1983, an ad-hoc water sharing agreement was reached between India and Bangladesh, whereby both countries were allocated 39 percent and 36 percent of the water flow respectively. However, the deal fell through when the then newly elected Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, refused to approve the treaty, fearing that the loss of higher volume of water to the lower riparian would cause problems in the northern region of state, especially during drier months.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC grants bail to NCP leader in disproportionate assets case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court today granted bail to Nashik Agriculture Produce Market Committee chairman Devidas Pingle arrested in a disproportionate assets case by the ACB last December. Justice Mridula Bhatkar granted bail to Pingle, a former NCP MP from Nashik, stipulating that he would live outside the Nashik city limits for four months and not participate in the APMC affairs till conclusion of his trial. A former Nationalist Congress Party MP from Nashik, Pingle had been arrested on December 21 last year and had moved the high court for bail after filing of the chargesheet in the case. The former MP was booked on a complaint that accused him of demanding a part of the dearness allowances received by the APMC employees. The prosecution alleged an amount of Rs 57.73 lakh was seized by the ACB from a car ferrying the money to the accused last October. Defence counsel Aniket Nikam argued that his client Pingle was innocent and he faced the case of political vilification. Nikam said the chargesheet in the case had been filed and further custodial detention of the accused was not necessary. The high court, on February 14, had rejected Pingle’s bail plea while observing that the corruption was a serious crime and must be dealt with strictly. The ACB’s case is that the cash was being carried by three men, who were working for Pingle and that the said cash was withdrawn from the banks, on his behest. The ACB claimed the recovered amount was the arrears of APMC employees’ DA, who had handed over their money to Pingle. According to the agency, Pingle allegedly forced his employees to hand over their arrears to him and threatened that if they failed to do so, they would not be given their salaries as per the newly-approved 6th Pay Commission. The prosecution opposed Pingle’s bail, alleging that his associates were already forcing witnesses to refrain from deposing against him. The prosecution apprehended that if Pingle is granted bail, he might tamper with the evidence against him. Pingle’s counsel sought bail on the ground that the case against his client was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and that there was no provision in the Act which makes custody of the accused mandatory.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP flays journalists’ arrest; says press freedom being curbed in Kerala by Left

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP today flayed the arrest of a TV channel journalists allegedly for airing the purported sleaze talks of a minister leading him to quit and said “the press freedom is being curbed in Kerala” by the government.Five persons, including the CEO of ‘Mangalam’ channel, were arrested late last night allegedly for tricking erstwhile Transport Minister A K Saseendran to talk to a woman in sexual undertones in a sting operation using a female reporter of the channel.Speaking to the reporters here, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan alleged that the press freedom is being curbed in Kerala under the CPI(M)-led LDF government.Noting that Saseendran has filed no case related to the incident, he alleged the channel employees were arrested to tell media persons that they would be put behind bars if matters hurting the government’s interests are reported.”It is a warning to the media. The audio clip aired by the channel says it was Saseendran who had engaged in a lewd phone conversation with a woman. So he should be interrogated,” he said.The police had last week lodged an FIR under various sections of Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code against nine persons, including channel’s CEO Ajit Kumar, on a complaint by the youth wing of Nationalist Congress Party, for airing the “obscene conversation.” On its opening day March 26, the channel had aired an audio clip of the purported talk of erstwhile minister Saseendran, NCP representative in the LDF cabinet, with a woman, following which he had resigned the same day.It had later tendered an apology for airing the contents and admitted it was a “sting operation” involving one of their woman journalists and not a housewife, as it had claimed earlier.The state government had on March 30 ordered a probe by a Special Investigation Team into the incident.The government had also earlier set up a judicial panel under former district judge to probe the matter.Rajasekharan also slammed the government over the police action against the parents of an engineering college student Jishnu Pranoy, who allegedly had committed suicide. The police had allegedly acted against Pranoy’s parents for trying to stage an indefinite fast in front of the DGP’s office in Thiruvananthapuram.He said the party has called for a dawn-to-dusk strike in the state tomorrow in protest against the “police brutality” against Jishnu’s mother.

Sleaze audio clip issue: TV channel CEO, 8 others booked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A top executive and eight employees of a private Malayalam TV channel were today booked in connection with the airing of alleged sleaze talk involving a Kerala Minister, who quit over the issue, police said. The FIR has been registered against nine persons, including ‘Mangalam’ channel’s CEO and Managing Director R Ajit Kumar, on a complaint by the youth wing of Nationalist Congress Party for airing “obscene conversation”, they said. Making its debut, the channel had on March 26 aired the audio clip of the purported talk of Transport Minister A K Saseendran, NCP representative in the LDF cabinet, with a woman, following which he had resigned the same day. In a twist to the episode, the channel had yesterday tendered an apology for airing the contents and admitted that it was a “sting operation” involving one of their women journalists and not a housewife, as it had claimed earlier. In the complaint, the Nationalist Youth Congress (NYC) has accused the channel of having misused electronic media and airing “obscene conversation”. Police said the FIR had been registered under sections of IT Act and Indian Penal Code. NYC also filed a complaint before the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) against Mangalam channel, alleging it had violated rules under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act and had no right to function. NYC state unit president Mujeeb Rahuman stated that the content of the conversation the channel had aired was “inappropriate” to viewers, including children. “The contents of the said conversation were obscene and vulgar and the channel aired it after completely knowing the said fact,” the complaint said. Mangalam had violated the programme code and “does not qualify to continue as channel”, it contended. The state government had yesterday ordered a probe by a special investigation team into the alleged sleaze talk incident. It had earlier announced a judicial inquiry by a former district judge. Saseendran had said his resignation should not be seen as an acceptance of guilt and it was to uphold “political morality”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cyient founder B V R Mohan Reddy among Padma recipients

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mr. B V R Mohan Reddy, Founder and Executive Chairman, Cyient and Former Chairman, NASSCOM, was among the well known personalities to receive the Padma Shri from the President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, at an award ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Thursday. He received the award for his contribution in the engineering research and development industry in the country. The award is also a recognition for a first generation entrepreneur for building a sustainable global technology company. The award acknowledges his effort in building a digitally-empowered society. Mr. Reddy is the only awardee in the trade and industry category this year. Among the others conferred the Padma awards were former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma (Posthumous), BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar and former ISRO chairman Professor U R Rao. They received the country’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan. The Padma Bhushan award, the nation’s third highest civilian award, was conferred on yoga guru Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati, Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Tehemton Erach Udwadia, a doctor who is considered the father of laproscopic surgery in India. Cricketer Virat Kohli, Bollywood singer Anuradha Paudwal and many others were conferred the Padma Shri award. The ceremony was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan and other dignitaries.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Celebrity MPs should understand that it is not an ‘ornamental seat’ NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal questioned the frequent absence of celebrities nominated to Rajya Sabha, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday backed the former saying that the lawmakers should not think that it is just an ?ornamental seat? and they do not have to bother about work. ?There are about dozen nominated members who are picked up by the Government of India and nominated by the President at the instance of the Council of Ministers because they have excelled in their respective fields. When they are given this honour it is expected that they would share their excellence, experience, knowledge, wisdom by means of House proceedings. It is not just an ornamental seat that they have just become MP and taken oath thereafter they never bother to work and contribute to the Rajya Sabha. This is what we have been experiencing. Present celebrities are hardly seen in the House. What is worth and utility of their occupying the seat,? NCP leader Majeed Memon told ANI. He further said that the government should appoint such people who are willing to work and contribute. Echoing similar views, another NCP leader Tariq Anwar said the nominated MP?s have been given an important responsibility and therefore their non-participation in the House proceedings is wrong. ?Naresh Agrawal has raised very important issue. Nominated members are celebrities and are nominated by the President but it does not mean that they won?t contribute in day to day activities of parliament. They have to give their time. They have been given an important responsibility and their non participation is not right,? Anwar told ANI. Agarwal yesterday questioned the continued absence of sportspersons and Bollywood stars, nominated to Rajya Sabha. Raising the issue during zero hour, Agarwal said, “There are 12 nominated members in RS according to provisions of the Constitution. The council of ministers recommends their names after which President nominates them. These people have been nominated to represent Parliament but we don’t see them (in the House).” “If they are not interested, shouldn’t they resign,” he asked. Agarwal had raised the issue through a ‘point-of-order’ when the House met for the day. Besides Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha, other nominated members include Anu Aga, Sambhaji Chhatrapati, Swapan Dasgupta, Roopa Ganguly, Narendra Jadhav, M. C. Mary Kom, K. Parasaran, Gopi Suresh, Subramanian Swamy and KTS Tulsi.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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