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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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Ask me about defamatory remarks, says Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite being cross-examined eight times by Arvind Kejriwal’s counsel, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said that not one question has been put to him by them on the alleged defamatory remarks made by the Delhi Chief Minister.Speaking in the Delhi High Court on Thursday, Jaitley who has filed a libel suit against the CM for the “defamatory remarks,” said to Kejriwal’s counsel. “You are not asking any question on the two defamation cases. Instead, you are travelling all throughout the world. This is the question where relevancy comes.”Appearing for Jaitley, his counsels, senior advocate Rajiv Nayyar and Sandeep Sethi, said that the defendants have been using “delaying tactics” and even after eight proceedings of cross-examination, the case does not see any finality.”We have had eight hearings, but the case does not see any finality,” they said, requesting Joint Registrar Rakesh Pandit to set three hearings to complete the cross-examination.The court, however, did not allow the request and said that a decision on this would be taken only after the hearing on the next date, i.e. November 30.Appearing for Kejriwal, his counsels, senior advocate Anoop George Chaudhary and Anupam Shrivastav, sought more time for the cross-examination.The court was hearing a defamation case filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for their remarks accusing the former of “financial bungling” during his tenure as President of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).During the course of the hearing, Jaitley claimed that suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad had also made “false and motivated complaints” against him. He also testified that several cricketing clubs were affiliated to the sports committee of DDCA and one such club was of the Syndicate Bank.”The DDCA office bearers had committed no wrong. It was the bank which changed its decision. This is apparent from the documents which are on record. Notwithstanding this reality, Kirti Azad made a motivated complaint against the DDCA office bearers. It is, therefore, that I call it motivated,” Jaitley said in answer to a question.Meanwhile, the court has sought Jaitley’s response on three applications, each filed by Kejriwal, Ashutosh and Raghav Chaddha, seeking special audit report of DDA for the financial year 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015.

SC rules stringent bail provision in PMLA unconstitutional

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a stringent provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), deeming it unconstitutional. SC bench led by Justice Nariman deemed section 45 of the act as unconstitutional, reports ANI. The Modi government had strongly defended the provision dealing with stringent bail conditions, saying it is an effective tool to curb the menace of black money. According to News 18, the apex court accepted the contention of petitioners that this provision is bad in law, as it adheres to the principle of ‘jail is rule and bail an exception’. In essence, SC has set aside all orders in which bail was denied using the stringent provision and those case have to be heard afresh. Here’s what the section 45 in PMLA is45. Offences to be cognizable and non-bailable.—(1) 1Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), no person accused of an offence punishable for a term of imprisonment of more than three years under Part A of the Schedule shall be released on bail or on his own bond unless—(i) the Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release; and(ii) where the Public Prosecutor opposes the application, the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail: Provided that a person who is under the age of sixteen years or is a woman or is sick or infirm, may be released on bail, if the special court so directs: Provided further that the Special Court shall not take cognizance of any offence punishable under section 4 except upon a complaint in writing made by—(i) the Director; or(ii) any officer of the Central Government or State Government authorised in writing in this behalf by the Central Government by a general or a special order made in this behalf by that Government.28 (1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or any other provision of this Act, no police officer shall investigate into an offence under this Act unless specifically authorised, by the Central Government by a general or special order, and, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.(2) The limitation on granting of bail specified in 29 *** sub-section (1) is in addition to the limitations under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or any other law for the time being in force on granting of bail.

Israel-India relations and the rise of Hug Diplomacy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The importance of personal equations in diplomacy is arguable. In an ideal world, the affairs of the state must be guided by its interests and not of those who rule it. But this is not an ideal world, which is why, when two leaders meet, much is made of their personal chemistry. In the case of Modi and Netanyahu, it has gone to a whole new level.Modi got the reception reserved for the Pope and the US President. Netanyahu was on the tarmac with his entire cabinet to welcome him. They met like old friends. Netanyahu even tried his hand at Modi-style acronyms – I-square plus T-square – India and Israel, Talent and Technology (with a silent P-square in the equation perhaps, Pakistan and Palestine). On his part, Modi praised Israel as the leader in innovation. These aren’t just niceties. There’s an unmistakable element of personal admiration here. Modi appreciates, even emulates, the Israeli no-nonsense way of doing business.One of the things that the Indian Prime Minister has consistently done is reach out to the diaspora wherever he goes. From Madison square to Wembley, his team has organized events equaling rock-star shows in scale and buzz. He went to the Tel Aviv Convention Centre bearing gifts of OCI cards and better flight connectivity. Why should a politician spend this kind of effort and energy on wooing people who aren’t even his potential voters?The only other Indian Prime Minister who did something like this, in his own style, was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The country that has mastered this outreach is Israel, tapping into resource and influence of Jews the world over.Jews are only 0.2 percent of the world population. Yet they repeatedly make up half of the top hundred lists of the powerful and the rich. There are almost as many Jews in the US as in Israel, a lobby that pushes for the cause of the latter.Google and Facebook have major set ups in Israel, their founders Larry Page, Sergei Brin and Mark Zukerberg are all Jewish. From media magnates to Nobel prize winners, top bankers to successive presidential advisors, Jews in positions of power give back to Israel. The most influential couple in the white house right now, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, are practicing orthodox Jews. Indian PM Modi, very early in his term, took a leaf out of the Israeli book to leverage people of Indian origin abroad.He also adopted Israel’s no holds barred approach in dealing with terrorism. Both countries have for long been cooperating on homeland security, counter terrorism and defense. But guns without guts don’t get results.India neither has the legal framework to carry out operations like the Israelis do, nor has shown the political will to go the whole hog. The surgical strikes of last November against Pakistani terror launchpads along the line of control were reminiscent of the precision strikes Israel has launched against terrorists. Notwithstanding the debate in India about whether last year’s strikes were the first of their kind conducted by the Indian army, the fact is that this govt shed the baggage of convention and propriety and showed an element of brazenness, just like the Israelis.And then there’s business. Just shy of 5 billion dollars in bilateral annual trade right now, but as Netanyahu said the sky is the limit. Modi wants to take the best practices from the start up nation. But he’ll also have to adjust the attitudes back home. As an Israeli businessman told me, there is a basic difference in approach. When Indians yes, it could mean both yes and no. When Israelis say no, they mean it. Businessmen from Israel have often struggled to figure things out in negotiations with Indians. Modi’s meeting with CEOs is an indication that he wants to help them tide over the challenges.At last count, Modi and Netanyahu had hugged each other 7 times in 24 hours before the cameras. That’s saying something, even by Modi’s standards.How much of this embrace has been extended to cultural, security and trade ties will be evident in the days ahead.Courtesy: The Jerusalem Post

Despite incursions, operational command of ITBP to Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Notwithstanding a 20-25 per cent increase in the number of transgression bids along the Sino- India border, there is no move to hand over operational command of the border guarding force ITBP to the Indian Army. Top government officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs said there has been an increase in transgression by 20 to 25 per cent this year along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, the officials said this was largely due to the perception issue of LAC which had not been properly demarcated and did not rule out the possibility of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel also stepping across the line at times. Asked whether there was any proposal for handing over operational command of the ITBP to the Indian Army, the officials said there was no such move “as of now”. The Army, through the defence ministry, has been routing requests for many years to the home ministry for handing over the operational command of the ITBP to it for better coordination between the forces along the LAC. Asked about the situation in Sikkim, the officials said the ITBP was not deployed along the border in the northeastern state and therefore, they were not in a position to comment on the issue.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UP Elections 2017: Fear over the city, a’ la Azam Khan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Call him mantriji, Aali Jinab or simply a politician cast in the old-time mould of a temperamental, autocratic ruler, Azam Khan’s word is law in Rampur. The seven-time Samajwadi Party (SP) legislator and Uttar Pradesh’s powerful minister for public works has over the years acquired the status of an emperor who brooks no dissent.Like yesteryear emperors, his confidants say, he slips from the back gate of his home in an old car or on a motorcycle past midnight to personally oversee development and plan his next moves. He has the eye of Mughal emperor Shahjahan, adds another aide on a poetic note.Born to Mohammad Mumtaz Khan, Khan started out as a leader of bidi workers and rickshaw pullers. The series of victories and the proximity to the SP top order make Azam’s word final in Rampur. There is no second-rung leadership challenging him, and his own unpredictable nature means no one can claim proximity to him either. You never know when his mood swings.After agreeing to an interview, at his ashram inside the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jowhar University, often referred to as his personal fiefdom, he gets irritated after just a few questions. Asked about why no other Muslim leader was being allowed to come up in the SP and resorting dynastic politics by fielding his son, Abdullah Azam, from the nearby constituency of Suar-Tanda, he abruptly ended the interview. “You have come here with an agenda to help the BJP. You are in search of headline against me,” he ruthlessly asked this correspondent to leave the campus — and then the city — as soon as possible. That is the mood of a melancholic emperor.As Khan contests another election, it’s a view that people in Rampur endorse. Notwithstanding his power, there is a question mark over his victory.”We have our Aali Jinab saab. We have hopes from him. Inshallah, his party will win again,” said Mohammad Usman who works in a welding shop on Diamond Street in Rampur city. The contest, he said, was between the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is fielding Tanveer Ahmed Khan.Most voters are not so outspoken, however. The fact that many are keeping surprisingly silent about who they will vote for suggests that not all is well in the Khan kingdom.The SP government’s failure to effectively handle communal violence and also Khan’s autocratic attitude and the failure to release “innocent” Muslim youth from jails, nine of them from Rampur itself, have cast doubts on his victory.Khan’s decision to crack down on the illegal plywood business has also left people angry. “The BSP and Congress may not have done anything for us but at least they didn’t destroy livelihoods of people. About 1 lakh people working in the wood business are without a livelihood because factories have been shut down,” said Umesh, a mechanic.Similar sentiments were expressed by a gardener at the Raza Library campus. “What can I do with these parks and roads… it is to beautify for you who have come from outside. I need food and my sons need jobs,” said the aged gardener.With another election under way, tales abound about his quest for power and his enormous clout.No other beacon fitted vehicle can move in the vicinity of Rampur. Officials at the district magistrate office told DNA that they once had to politely tell Shivpal Yadav, fellow minister and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother, to remove beacons from his vehicle. Khan had ordered that they were not allowed in the city.He has stamped his name in stone – literally. At every corner of the city, all local municipality projects are dedicated to Azam Khan with his name carved in stone.A few years ago, UP Police had to scramble to trace his buffaloes that had one missing from his farmhouse in Rampur. The entire Rampur police force was at the crime scene literally within minutes of the theft being reported, insiders told DNA.The probe was led by district chief superintendent of police Sadhna Goswami himself. Since 2012, when the SP came to power, Rampur has seen six district magistrates, since Khan hardly allows any officer to stay put. Officers talk of Azam’s sharp tongue, and the dressing-downs in public, though no complaint reaches Lucknow even unofficially.

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