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Shashikant Pandya, Deesa MLA and BJP Hindutva face, may find place in cabinet

The BJP in Gujarat polls played a soft Hindutva card but many strong Hindutva faces were in fray this time. Among these, Deesa’s winning candidate Shashikant Pandya, 54, is believed to be a dark horse. Pandya, a RSS Pracharak, is a bachelor and is believed to be very close to PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Pandya was among the Karsevaks who participated in demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Pandya said, “I had gone in 1990 for Kar Seva, but we were dragged by police in riverbed of Sarayu near Ayodhya. Mulayam Singh Yadav kept us in jail for many days. All Kar Sevaks had to face very tough time in Tihar prison. Then, I was one of the crowd who climbed up to the peak of the controversial structure of Babri Masjid and demolished it.”Pandya had also participated in BJP’s movement to unfurl the Tricolour in Lal Chowk of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir during the tense days. Keeping the Hindutva image of Pandya in mind, BJP leaders offered him the ticket for Assembly polls from Deesa constituency in Banaskantha.Pandya said, “Deesa was hit by massive flood in July this year and people faced a lot of hardships. I and other RSS volunteers camped in the affected areas and helped locals. This was the turning point, and perhaps the high command considered me to be a candidate for the Deesa seat. Over 50 RSS Swayamsevaks stayed put in Deesa for poll campaigning and that helped me win against Congress sitting MLA Gova Rabari.”A senior BJP leader in Gujarat said, “Pandya is very promising leader. He is very close to PM and Amitbhai. It is possible that he may get berth in Vijay Rupani’s cabinet and may become minister of state for home. His Hindutva image makes him a dark horse in the race of Gujarat politics.” Pandya was a standing committee chairman in Deesa Municipality. He is an Arts graduate and is associated with the construction business and agriculture activity. He won with a margin of more than 14,500 votes against Rabari.A BJP leader from Banaskantha said, “Some senior leaders of BJP did not want Pandya to win and they tried a lot to make him lose in the polls. However, Pandya is a grassroot level worker and has been associated with RSS and BJP for more than 30 years. It was his Hindutva image and work that earned him the victory, walking against all odds.”

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Gujarat University exam leaves students in chaos

Semester 1 students of B.Com, BBA, BA, B.Sc, MA and M.Com were baffled when their examination centre was changed at the last moment on Thursday.While the university claims that the centre was changed because of the sudden visit of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) at one of its colleges, students allege that their one hour was wasted.Himanshu Pandya, V-C, Gujarat University, said, “At the last moment, NAAC team members had a visit at one of the college. Since it is a technical issue, we had to cooperate with them. But none of the students suffered a loss in their exam hours..”University also changed the seating arrangement a night before the BCom examination. The second phase of examination that was to begin on Thursday led students in chaos. Failing to take into account the actual capacity of examination centres, the department allocated a higher number of students to colleges leading to chaos. Eight government colleges wrote to the varsity that they will not be able to accommodate the higher number of students which forced the varsity to change the seating arrangement at night before the examination starts. More than 50,000 students appeared for exams at more than 70 centres.SEATUniversity also changed the seating arrangement a night before the BCom examination. Eight government colleges wrote to the varsity that they will not be able to accommodate the higher number of students which forced the varsity to change the seating arrangement at night before exam starts.

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Sterling Biotech case: ED raids 7 locations

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday carried out raids in the National Capital Region in connection with a Rs 5,383-crore money laundering case against the directors and the associates of Gujarat-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech. The agency carried out raids at seven locations and seized documents and computer hardware from the associates.Names of top IPS and IRS officers and people close to a Congress leader have cropped up in relation to the scam.Sources said the agency carried out searches at the residences and the offices of Sanjeev Mahajan, Ghanshyam Pandya, and Lakshmi Chand Sharma. All three are allegedly close to a Congress leader and were allegedly involved in money laundering, the source said. The ED alleged that Sterling Biotech group used 300 benami to divert funds. CBI director Alok Kumar Verma has said that Rakesh Asthana’s name has also cropped up in connection with the case.BIG FISHNames of top IPS and IRS officers and people close to a Congress leader have cropped up in relation to the scam.
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Mumbai LGBTQ community to celebrate pride month in January

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The LGBTQ community will be celebrating the pride month come January, and a ‘Pride Concert’ will be held in Mumbai this year to celebrate the occasion. This year, the Rainbow Voices Mumbai, a LGBTQ choir group from the city, has invited LGBTQ choir groups from across the World to perform at the event. The last day for accepting applications is November 30 and individuals from eight countries have already applied. The theme of the concert is ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’, based on a popular Hindi song of the 1980s which promotes unity in diversity.In October, the invitations via LGBTQ friendly organisations were sent out to different choir groups throughout the world. “We have received applications from UK, USA, France, Singapore, and other countries. We are hoping to have at least a dozen individual members from all over the World for the event that will be held on January 27 at G5A, in Kamala Mill Compound,” said Ashish Pandya, the spokesperson for Rainbow Voices Mumbai. The tickets will be priced between Rs 300-500 and to raise funds for the organising of the event, the group has posted an appeal online too.”This year we have invited individual members from LGBT choirs across the world to join us in our 2018 concert – ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara/Let our Voices Unite’. Our Goal for this performance is to create awareness about the issues faced by the LGBT community to find its identity in Modern India. With the transformative power of music we wish to imagine a future free of discrimination, oppression, ignorance and prejudice, and to encourage compassion and activism,” said Pandya.In January 2017, a pride concert was held at NCPA, which was attended by London’s Pink Singers, one of the longest LGBTQ choir group in Europe. Later, the Rainbow Voices Mumbai even did a concert with them and performed in London pride.

Gujarat elections 2017: No impact of Hardik Patel CDs beyond titillation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Listen to this. It’s hilarious. I cannot open it in front of family, but it is a must watch,” says Vikas Pandya, a young tour operator, opening up a video message on WhatsApp in the corner of a pan parlour at Station Road.The video shows a bearded youth wearing goggles targeting Hardik Patel in choicest of expletives for daring to stand up against Modi and trying up with Rahul Gandhi. Within 10-12 seconds he is forced to close it amid a huge roar of laughter making others curious.”There has been a sudden deluge of such videos, mostly related to Hardik Patel and Rahul Gandhi in past one week,” says Pandya signalling that the poll season has finally arrived in Gujarat.But will such gullible videos have an impact on polls? People have different take.For Patidar community, instead of harming, the videos and messages against Hardik Patel have helped the movement and generated a deluge of sympathy.Hardik’s lawyer Yashwantsinh Vala rubbishes it as cheap tactics by the BJP’s dirty tricks department in desperate bid to counter Hardik’s popularity.When the CDs related to Modi’s spy case and Sanjay Joshi case could not have an impact, what impact will these fake CDs have, he asks.”People were long expecting this. They knew that BJP will bring out some CD related to Hardik. Had there been a corruption case it would have mattered, but not this. Many BJP leaders are themselves against it,” Vala says.To back his claim, Vala cites example of Hardik’s rally on Saturday that got massive response in BJP chief Amit Shah’s hometown Mansa in central Gujarat.At the rally, Hardik challenged BJP to bring out a CD of their development in last 22 years instead of producing CDs of a 22-year-old youth.According to Professor Pradeep Singh Choondawat in the Department of Sociology, MS University, Baroda, individual-centric videos, especially on vulgar lines or related to sex, do titillate but don’t have much impact.”Such messages have become so rampant that they do not affect the minds of people. Message becoming viral does not mean change in people’s mind as they are literate and aware about social issues and often pass it as a joke,” says Prof Choondawat.For a message to make impact, there needs to be discussion and debate and it needs to be backed with evidence, he says.Regarding serious messages on religious lines like the recent video in Gujarat trying to portray fear of minority community through a girl and his family, Prof. Choondawat says they do have impact on some segments of people in a limited way who take them seriously and already have some view about it.”But it is very limited on scale and needs a debate in the society at large to have a lasting impact,” he adds.

This Hardik doesn’t have an easy time when Patel and Pandya trend on Twitter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, Hardik Patel, the Patidar leader was trending on Twitter because of a video, allegedly featuring him, sitting in close proximity with a woman. People immediately jumped to the conclusion that Patel was involved in a sex CD, and the trolling began.Most of the tweets were directed at @hardik, which unfortunately isn’t Patel’s Twitter handle. The @hardik handle belongs to Mumbai resident Hardik Shah, who put out a tweet on Tuesday. “PSA: Hardik Patel’s twitter handle is @HardikPatel_. Please tag him. Also Sex is really a fundamental right, so stop making a big deal about it. #bait.”While speaking to DNA, Shah said that the tweet would not make too much difference. “I don’t think that tweet will make a lot of difference – folks who tag me (mistakenly I guess) – probably do not understand how they should use Twitter. Besides – a lot of friends actually keep mentioning me just to pull my leg – so I typically play along. If you notice, I did put #bait out there – hoping no one will actually take it. I should have used #HardikPatel – but that would unleash the troll army on me.”Patel isn’t the only case of mistaken identity Shah faces. He was also trolled when cricketer Hardik Pandya underwent a radical transformation, and was a laughing stock because of his haircut.For his sake, we do hope that Shah doesn’t face that much of a brunt, but social media is a cruel place.

Politics of caste: No one’s territory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If there is one factor that surely influences the political scenario in the country, it is caste. It is ingrained in Indian genes and there is hardly any option strong enough to combat it. When it comes to Gujarat politics, none of the castes have a given leader, It has not accepted anyone to head them. Then again, the dominance of sub castes makes the equation a little complicated, says the assessment of political analysts and veteran politicians.The recent rise of three young leaders from three different castes and people throwing their support behind them is an excellent example. Yet, the million dollar question rules: will they be accepted from across the spectrum of their caste and sub caste (as no one has had a successful stint as a caste leader before), though caste dominates our politics, questions Kartik Bhatt, political analyst.Caste issue at its peakBhatt explains that 80s was the era when caste politics was at its peak. This was the decade when national and state level caste politics started taking center stage. Then chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki introduced KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivadi & Muslims) theory into politics that consolidated the Congress vote bank. In 1984, the Solanki government introduced 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes and this expanded the Congress vote bank, but they also paid a cost for it. Patels started deserting the party.Citing the 1984 Lok Sabha elections, he added, when the whole nation stood with the Congress after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Patidars voted for BJP’s Patel candidate AK Patel in Mehsana. BJP had won only two seats at the national level and one was Mehsana.Taking this argument ahead, political analyst Hemant Shah’s experience suggests that caste leaders have limited affect on very small pockets in the state. He added have not heard or read of any leader has or had influence over on his/her entire caste across the state. Citing an example, he said Koli community leader Purshottambhai Solanki could have an influence over Kolis in Bhavnagar and Amreli district, but South Gujarat Kolis will not take him seriously.Just because of this, the party can’t avoid caste fabrics at the grassroot level, especially the sub caste dominance. Citing another example, he said Shankarsinh Vaghela is an OBC leader but he has a fan following in upper caste Rajputs This does not mean Rajputs and OBCs from across the state will follow him and vote for him or his candidate.How leaders are madeCaste leaders are either born from caste movement or welfare work, believes veteran politician Narpatsinh Chavda. His experience says that in central Gujarat, Natwarsinh Zala and Narendra Mahida became leaders because of their welfare. In North Gujarat, an Anjana Patidar leader rose from the cooperative movement in the dairy sector.Chavda goes to the extent saying that in those days, politicians could not imagine projecting themselves as caste leaders. “I don’t remember Chiman Patel ever publicly claiming of being a Patel or Patidar leader, but on the contrary, was accepted by all castes,” he said.On this, Shah says Chimanbhai was a charismatic leader, his son Siddharth may not be that influential or appealing, whereas Shaktisinh Gohil, a Rajput leader was influencing and this itself shows that it was an individual capabilities.‘It always existed’Caste did exist, even when it was claimed that Gujarat had turned into a Hindutva laboratory, says Bhatt, In the past 22 years, the party tickets were distributed on a caste base. I don’t remember a BJP or Congress giving a ticket to Anjana Patel, where Kadva Patel dominated or a Koli Patel was given tickets where the upper caste Patels were huge in numbers. On surface, it sounds like a Hindu consolidated vote bank, but under cover, it was caste politics.Agreeing to this theory, political analyst Mukesh Khatik felt that once again the state was returning to a more hard core caste politics with the rise of Patidar leader Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. But, how deep the impact of their leadership is can be gauged only after results are out.There is no doubt that these leaders, Patels, Thakore and Mevani have risen from caste remains, but they are getting support because they are raising issues that pinches people at large, is the assessment of Hemant Shah. So in the long run, they are less likely to remain caste leaders.CASTE MAKES A DIFFERENCEA political leader wishing anonymity cited three recent examples to explain the caste effect in politics. The first instance was Congress national vice president Rahul Gandhi attending a Thakor community rally led by new leader Alpesh Thakor. The second is party’s national leader Kapil Sibbal holding a midnight meeting with Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leaders and the third is BJP’s national president had to intervene in the growing dissent against party’s state unit president and Bhavnagar (West) MLA Jitu Vaghani, where Karadiya and Nadoda had launched an agitation.WHERE CASTE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN ACTIONVisavadar in JunagadhIt has been said that only Patidar candidates win from this constituency. Excluding 1962, the only time non Patidar Madinaben Nagori from Congress won the seat, it has always been a stronghold. This was the only reason that BJP’s stalwart Kesubhai Patel selected this seat to contest in 1995. He got re elected in 1998. Since 1995, BJP did not lost this seat till 2012, when it lost to Keshubhai who contested on a GPP ticket. The one time BJP’s stalwart, said to be a Patidar leader, could not help his son Bharat Patel win the seat in 2014, after which the seat fell vacant.Bhavnagar south in SaurashtraThis constituency can be said to have the fastest changing caste equations in three decades. Where once INC(O)’s Gandhi Manilal defeated INC’s Doshi Ratilal in 1975, the next election in 1980 saw one time ruler and king late Krishna Kumarsinhji Gohil’s Son Shivbhadrasinh from BJP defeated by Patel Trambklal of INC in 1980. In the next five years, equations changed and Congress’ Koli candidate Shashi Jamod won it from Janata Party’s Patel Thakarsinhbhai. It is constituency that has a mix of Rajputs, Patidars, Koli, Baniyas and Brahmins. Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil (picture bottom right) first won the seat in 1990 and was re elected in 1995. Then, it was represented by Sunil Oza from the Brahmin community, Gohil grabbed it back from BJP. After delimitation, new consituencies were carved out as Bhavnagar East-West and Rural, the Patidar community dominance increased on Bhavnagar (West), forcing Gohil to switch to Bhavnagar Rural. BJP state unit presindent Jitu Vaghani (picture top left) won West in 2012. Gohil was defeated by BJP’s Koli community leader Purshottam Solanki in Bhavnagar Rural in 2012.Kheralu in north GujaratTwo castes dominate the constituency. Thakor is a sub caste under the Other Backward Class and there are the Anjana Patels. Other than 1962, it has been a Thakor or Anjana Patel bastion. Shankarji Okhaji Thakor was elected from this seat as an Independent, Congress and even a Janata Dal candidate. Caste factor is so important that Ramilaben Desai, who got elected on a BJP ticket in 2002, suffixed her name with Anjana when she contested on a Congress ticket in 2007. To win this seat, BJP had to field Dabhi Bharatsinhji, who is a leader of the Thakor community.EllisbridgeThere is no doubt that excluding Muslim-dominated pockets, the rest of Ahmedabad has become BJP’s Hindu fort. But, when it comes to fielding candidates, caste domination is compelling the party to select either Brahmins or Baniyas. It was only in 1967, when independent RK Patel won. From 1975 to 1990, this seat was represented by Babhubhai Vasanwala. For the first time, when BJP fielded its candidate in this seat, it selected Haren Pandya, who defeated Congress’ Dashrath Patel of INC. But, Pandya’s wife Jagruti Pandya lost the election 2012 on a GPP symbol. It is represented by Jain MLA Rakesh Shah from BJP now.TRIBAL BELT: NO LEADER STOOD FIRMThe Eastern Gujarat belt is called the tribal belt and spreads from Danta Taluka of Banaskantha in north Gujarat to Dangs in the south, Nizar of Tapi district, Kaprada and Umargam of Valsad district. There are 27 assembly seats reserved for STs. With each constituency, the equation of the tribal sub caste changes and so does the influence on the constituency.CONG CARDLate Amarsinh B Chaudhary was projected as a tribal leader by the Congress. For the first time, he got elected to the state Assembly in 1972 from Vyara seat of Surat (now Tapi). He served as CM from 1985 to 1989, in 1990 was defeated and forced to change his constituency to get reelected.BJP’S ATTEMPTAfter Ram Silanyas Yatra in the late 80s, BJP decided to make inroads in the tribal belt for the first time and deputed its general secretary Suryakant Acharya to create a cadre in the tribal belt. In the 1990 elections, the party won seven seats in the tribal belt. After this, the RSS and its sister organisations’ active presence increased its tally in the tribal belt only by three seats, taking it to 10 in the 2012 elections.

Winning farewell for Ashish Nehra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even before the first ball was bowled by New Zealand bowlers here at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Wednesday, it was pretty clear that the ball will remain wet throughout the game.Visiting skipper Kane Williamson was considering himself to be the lucky one to have won such an important toss where India have been asked to bowl second in intense dew. But then, the Indians had other ideas as Rohit Sharma and local boy Shikhar Dhawan blasted away anything and everything that came their way right from the word go.Knowing well that India have never beaten New Zealand in a T20I till date, the two combined well to register a record 158-run partnership to neutralise Kiwis’ toss advantage by posting a massive 202/3.The chase was never going to be easy for the visitors and when both their openers – Martin Guptill (4) and Colin Munro (7) – were back in the pavilion with just 18 on the board, the writing was more or less on wall.Williamson (28) and Tom Latham (39) did try to resist in between but the entire team could only score 149/8 at the end. More than the Indian bowlers, the credit should go to fielders who not only managed to grab three deep catches but also created a few run out chances despite the presence of heavy dew in the outfield.New Zealand fell short by 53 runs to lose their first ever T20 game to India in six contests. It was a fitting farewell gift to veteran pacer Ashish Nehra on his home turf. He was given his full quota of four overs despite the fact that the wet ball was slipping out of the hands. As he came on to bowl the last six balls of the match, each and every cricket fan present inside the Kotla stadium lit their mobile torch in his honour.A young fan also managed to sneak in to the field to touch his feet as if he was thanking him for all his services to the game. Yes, Nehra has retired after playing 17 Tests, 120 One-dayers and 27 T20 games for India for a combined tally of 235 international wickets.New Zealand should blame themselves for sloppy fielding. They not only dropped both Sharma and Dhawan early on but kept repeating their poor fielding throughout.Dhawan was put down by Santner in the second over while Sharma got a life in the seventh over. The two batsmen capitalised on the chances given to them and shared the highest partnership for any wicket by India in T20Is.Both Sharma and Dhawan got out for 80 each on a wicket that has historically been considered a paradise to the batsmen. Apart from the first over, which yielded just two runs, their spinners Michell Santner and Ish Sodhi were the only ones who were spared of Indians’ wrath.It was not until leggie Sodhi gave New Zealand their first breakthrough in the form of Dhawan after the left-hander came down the track and edged the ball that was grabbed by wicket-keeper Tom Latham. This late fall prompted Virat Kohli to promote Hardik Pandya up in the order.However, this experiment lasted only two ball as Pandya was undone for a naught, again caught by Latham behind the stumps. Kohli then took the onus on himself by smashing 26 off just 11 deliveries to help India get past 200.His dispatched three sixes during his short but exciting knock on his home ground. Sharma’s dismissal, meanwhile, was nothing less than an on-field confusion. He was initially given not out but a review from Williamson changed the decision and Rohit departed.Did you know?The 158-run opening partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma is India’s highest ever for any wicket, and third highest for the first wicket the worldover

Murder of RTI activist in Gujarat: SC cancels bail of BJP’s Dinubhai Solanki

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today cancelled the bail of former Gujarat BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki, an accused in the 2010 murder case of RTI activist Amit Jethwa, till the examination of eight key eye witnesses and ordered day-to-day trial.A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also allowed the re-examination of 26 witnesses and directed Solanki to surrender to the police forthwith.”The bail of the accused shall remain cancelled till the examination of eight key witnesses in the case. The trial shall be held on day-to-day basis and the accused (Solanki) will not enter Gujarat unless required in the case,” the bench said.The HC had ordered retrial in the matter, which was challenged by Solanki in the apex court.On April 6, the Supreme Court had expressed regret for not having heard a plea for rescinding bail of the former Gujarat MP in the case and had expressed concern over witnesses turning hostile in the matter.While perusing the CBI report, the court had said that the witnesses in the case have complained about having received threats.Solanki is the prime accused in the murder case of Jethwa who was shot dead in broad daylight outside the Gujarat High Court premises in July 2010.The CBI had chargesheeted Solanki, who represented Junagarh constituency in Lok Sabha at that time, in the case along with six others including his nephew Shiva Solanki and sharp-shooter Sailesh Pandya.Jethwa had filed numerous RTI applications and a PIL in the high court against illegal mining in and around Gir forest sanctuary.The case was transferred to the CBI in 2012 by the Gujarat High Court after his father alleged no action by the state police.

Will Agariyas chose voting over their daily bread?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This December as Gujarat goes to polls, close to 50,000 agariyas (saltpan workers) of the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) will be forced to make a tough decision – earn their daily bread or cast their franchise.The agariyas migrate to the LRK for eight months from nearby villages every year to make salt. During this time, they live in the desert, far away from civilisation and often in poor condition. As the LRK is part of the Wild Ass Sanctuary, the land does not come under village revenue limits. This means there will be no polling booth in the desert. The LRK straddles five districts and eight Assembly seats in Gujarat.Interestingly, all of them have a voter ID card but most don’t cast their votes as polling booths are in villages, far away from the desert.The Election Commission on its part is now trying to get in touch with NGOs to help arrange for transportation for the agariyas. But as things are still in the planning stage, those working with agariyas say they are not hopeful the facility will work out at least this election”The agariyas migrate to the desert to make salt. They belong to villages that border these deserts. Invariably the polling booths are set up in villages and not every agariya is keen to drive 70 km just to vote,” said Harinesh Pandya of Agariya Heet Rakshak Manch, an organisation that works with agariyas.The LRK plays host to around 6,000 to 10,000 agariya families every year and the agariyas are spread all over the desert.”Due to administrative reasons, the EC is not able to set up booths in desert. This means the agariyas will have to travel several distances just to come and vote. These are extremely poor people and between earning a day’s bread and choosing to vote, it is obvious what they will choose,” said Pandya.Bharatbhai Somera, who himself belongs to an agariya family and has worked with them for 17 years said the biggest losers are women.”The agariya women stay in the desert and the men folk use bikes to travel the long distance. Their food and grocery is also brought once every 15 days. So, when there is an election, the men may still make an effort to vote but the women will not as it will mean travelling too much. Moreover, every family will have just one bike and how many people can travel on one bike,” said Somera.He said the political parties sometimes arrange vehicles but that too only for those who live close to the village. “If a family has migrated to a part of a desert which is far from the village, I don’t think they ever come to vote,” said Somera.COLLECTOR TRIES TO FACILITATE TRANSPORTUdit Agarwal, Surendranagar collector said as LRK was not revenue land, it was not possible to set up a polling booth there. “That would be violation of rules. But we are trying to get in touch with some NGOs to arrange transportation for these people on polling day,” said Agarwal. He said the administration had also carried out voter awareness activities even in the LRK.EC CARRIED OUT A SURVEYEC has carried out a survey in Surendranagar to map the number of agariyas in LRK that falls in the district to know the number of migrant voters. Interestingly, the Agariya Heet Rakshak Manch said similar such surveys were also requested to map the migrant agariya population in other four districts but that has not been done.

The lost sheen: Of empty stands & Ranji Trophy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The last time Sawai Mansingh Stadium witnessed fan frenzy was when Baroda and Gujarat touched down in the Pink City to play Ranji opener on October 6, 2016. At one point of time, security personnel found it hard to control the euphoric fans who had collected in large numbers to see their heroes they had often seen on television.“Everyone wants to see international-level players and that is why on all 4 days of this game we had spectators in a Ranji game…but, you cannot have such stars in all the teams that play domestic matches,” said Irfan Pathan referring to Baroda versus Gujarat match in which alongside Pathans also featured popular players like Hardik Pandya, his brother Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Parthiv Patel.With Team India playing almost throughout the year, it has become almost impossible for Indian international stars to play in domestic season. But it was not so sometime back. Reminiscing the olden days, former Ranji Trophy player and state selector Vinod Mathur recalled his debut Ranji match and said, “I played my first Ranji game in 1971 at Mayo College ground in Ajmer and spectators had turned out in huge numbers. In those days the atmosphere used to be pulsating even during domestic tournaments.” While former Ranji player and state selector Sanjay Vyas remembered playing his first match in 1979 in front of more than half-full SMS Stadium. “At smaller venues wherever we played the stadium used to be packed,” he said. He further added that now, games are devoid of star players and that is also a cause of low spectator count. “When Sachin Tendulkar played Ranji match at Lahli in 2013, it was a houseful. Definitely stars are crowd-pullers,” he pointed out.TELEVISION TURNED IT AROUNDMathur pointed out the coming of television as the major factor behind dwindling fan attendance in stadiums during domestic games. “We are exposed to a steady diet of international games throughout the year on TV that cricket fans tend to show little interest in a Ranji game. Add to it the poor facilities that act as a deterrent.” Watching Tendulkar, Kohli and the likes in the comfort of home has easily elbowed out the low-on-facilities stadium experience and domestic tournaments devoid of star players. “We used to go and watch domestic matches and treasured every experience of watching our state players. I was so excited after a handshake with Salim Durrani during a match between Rajasthan and MCC, such was the craze while I was growing up,” Mathur said. Sanjay Vyas recalled how as a kid he used to rush to the stadium to watch Parthasarty Sharma play. Vyas echoed the same sentiments.MEDIA’S COLD SHOULDERMoreover, majority of cricket enthusiasts show little interest in their state team’s performance and even don’t know players who represent their state. Former cricketers blame local media for it. “Around 10 years back as a part of the selection panel of U-19 team we had gone to Mumbai to select the team for the Sri Lanka tour. Media was all over the airport asking about their local junior players,” lamented Mathur. Speaking in the same vein, Vyas said that media in Rajasthan is very negative. “Press in Delhi, Mumbai present even their junior stars as heroes, but here the culture is all together non-existent,” he added.

Ishrat encounter: Accused says he was falsely framed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IPS officer PP Pandey has moved a discharge application before the CBI court in connection with the alleged encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others.The officer claimed that he was falsely framed and there are no evidence against him and so he should be discharged from trial.The court also asked the victim’s advocate to file the submission on October 11, the next date of hearing.IPS officer PP Pandey, an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, in his application said that he was falsely framed. His advocate Nirupam Nanavati submitted before additional sessions judge JK Pandya that there were no direct or indirect evidence against the applicant as he was not even present at the crime scene.Vehemently opposing the discharge application, CBI’s special public prosecutor RC Kodekar submitted that the statements of the accused’s gunmen and police inspector BH Patel indicated his involvement in the encounter. There was also evidence of accused meeting victim Ishrat and one Javed, when they were in illegal custody, said the advocate.In June 2004, the Ahmedabad crime branch had gunned down Ishrat Jahan and three others at Kotarpur.Allegations were that the victims were LeT operatives and were out to kill the then Chief Minister of the state and Hindu leaders. Ishrat and Javed’s family approached the high court alleging a fake encounter.The court concluded that it was murder and transferred the investigation to the CBI. CBI has filed two charge sheets in the case.

Chaos in schools on first day of baseline exams

This year, the baseline test is held in three subjects including First language, Mathematics, and Science between September 7 to 12 <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As baseline exams for students of Class 2-11 kick started on Thursday, several schools complained shortage of paper and thus photocopying them from other schools at the last minute.This year, the baseline test is held in three subjects including First language, Mathematics, and Science between September 7 to 12. After some instances of paper leaks in the past, the state education department asked schools to conduct the exams at the same time.Rajesh Pandya, Vice President, Teachers Democratic Forum (TDF) said that the baseline test was a complete chaos this year. While some schools faced a shortage of paper, the other schools asked teachers to evaluate papers on the same day. At a time when semester exams are approaching, these exams are stating no purpose” added Pandya.Nandkumar, Principal Secretary, School Education could not be reached for a comment.

Remain united, fight for truth, Sonia, Rahul tell party MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi met the party’s lawmakers from Gujarat in New Delhi on Monday and asked them to remain united and to fight for truth and ideology in Mahatma Gandhi’s home state.Forty-three Congress MLAs, who voted for party’s senior leader Ahmed Patel in the recently held Rajya Sabha elections, were in the Capital to meet the party’s top leadership. The MLAs will also visit Tirupati on Wednesday before returning to Gujarat.Sonia Gandhi chaired the meeting of the MLAs held at her residence at 10 Janpath, which discussed the party’s strategy for the state assembly elections, which are likely to be held in November or December.Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, and party’s Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot also spoke at the meeting.Both Sonia and Rahul congratulated the MLAs for remaining united to get Ahmed Patel re-elected to the Rajya Sabha.”Our party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul ji told the legislators that the Congress was not contesting for power, but for restoring values in Mahatma Gandhi’s Gujarat,” party spokesperson and MLA Shaktisinh Gohil said.Gohil said that the party leadership told the MLAs to continue opposing the anti-democratic forces in a united manner, so as to rally public support in the assembly elections.The party MLAs were asked to keep their differences aside, to revive grass-root connect with the people and enthuse booth-level workers.”The political issues to connect with masses were also identified, which the party will take up robustly. There is unemployment, widespread closure of industries, lack of investors and the farce of Vibrant Gujarat Summit. There are many such issues which we would bring forth through our campaigns – social media, audio visual and print,” said party general secretary Ashok Gehlot.A senior leader said that the issue of alliance with like-minded parties for the polls also came up during the discussion.”Had a good meeting with Congress MLAs and leaders from Gujarat today,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted after the meeting.Even as Congress leaders appeared buoyant after the meeting, the ruling BJP lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for allegedly insulting the MLAs.Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said that TV visuals showed Congress MLAs standing behind barricades when Rahul Gandhi came to speak with them.”It appeared as if they were standing at a ST stand and seeking tickets,” Pandya said, accusing Rahul of behaving like a ‘Sultan’ and insulting the Congress MLAs.Congress has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades, and is hoping to ride on anti-incumbency and other factors to upset the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state in the coming elections. However, rampant internal factionalism is a big challenge for the party. The exit of former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela is also seen as a huge blow to Congress ahead of the elections….& ANALYSISCongress has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades, and is hoping to ride on anti-incumbency and other factors to upset the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state in the coming elections
However, rampant internal factionalism is a big challenge for the party
Exit of former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela is also seen as a huge blow to Congress ahead of elections
MLAs have therefore been asked to put differences aside and enthuse booth level workers

The sad decline of the Indian typewriter

The art of using a typewriter – and why the profession is dying in India.

Indian, Indian-American plead guilty in US call centre scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian national and an Indian-American have pleaded guilty to the charges of their involvement in a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme in the US perpetrated by India-based call centres. Montu Barot, 30, an Indian national who most recently resided in Illinois, and Indian-American Nilesh Pandya, 54, from Texas, have pleaded guilty in the multi-million call centre scam in which as many as 54 individuals and five India-based call centres have been charged, the Department of Justice said yesterday. Co-defendants Bharatkumar Patel, Ashvinbhai Chaudhari, Harsh Patel, Nilam Parikh, Hardik Patel, Rajubhai Patel, Viraj Patel, Dilipkumar A Patel, Fahad Ali, Bhavesh Patel and Asmitaben Patel previously pleaded guilty on various dates between April and July this year. According to admissions made in connection with their respective pleas, Barot, Pandya, and their co-conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which individuals from call centres located in Ahmedabad, impersonated officials from the IRS and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and engaged in other telephone call scams, in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout the US. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call centre operators targeted US victims who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government. Victims who agreed to pay the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing stored value cards or wiring money. Upon payment, the call centres would immediately turn to a network of “runners” based in the US to liquidate and launder the fraudulently-obtained funds, federal investigators alleged. According to Barot’s guilty plea, beginning in or around June 2012, Barot served as a runner and coordinated the liquidation of victim scam funds by other runners as per the instructions of conspirators from both India-based call centres and those within the United States. Barot communicated via phone, text and email in furtherance of the criminal scheme with both domestic and India-based associates, and he and his conspirators used reloadable cards containing funds derived from victims by scam callers to purchase money orders and deposit them into various bank accounts as directed, in return for cash payments or commissions. He also admitted to sending financial ledgers to his conspirators detailing the movement of scam victim funds.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pakistan thrash India in Champions Trophy

Pakistan produce an emphatic display to thrash rivals India by 180 runs and win the Champions Trophy at The Oval.

Watch | Superstitious much? Two Gujarat ministers attend function felicitating exorcists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two Gujarat cabinet ministers waded into a controversy after they attended a felicitation function of exorcists in Botad district.The event was held on Saturday and the issue came the fore on Sunday after a video of the event went viral on social media.As per the invitation card, the event was organised by the local BJP unit at a temple in Gadhada town of Botad district on Saturday.In the video, Gujarat Education and Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama along with local MLA and state Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Atmaram Parmar can be seen on the the dais watching a couple of exorcists beating themselves with metal chains on live music near the stage.Later, around 100 exorcists can be seen shaking hands with the ministers on the stage as part of their felicitation. Taking a strong exception to the ministers’ presence at the event, prominent rationalist Jayant Pandya said he would write to the chief minister Vijay Rupani to stop ministers from attending events that promote superstition.”This is for the first time I have seen ministers attending such an event, where exorcists were felicitated. This is very shameful. I will write to the CM to stop government functionaries from attending such programme which spread superstition” said Pandya, who heads the NGO ‘Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha’.However, unfazed by the controversy, Chudasama said on Sunday that those present on the occasion were “worshipers of divine power”. “I attended the programme because it was a gathering of worshipers of divine power, not those who spread superstition,” he said on Sunday in his defence when asked by reporters here.

Row erupts over two Gujarat ministers felicitating exorcists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two Gujarat cabinet ministers waded into a controversy after they attended a felicitation function of exorcists in Botad district. The event was held yesterday and the issue came the fore today after a video of the event went viral on social media. As per the invitation card, the event was organised by the local BJP unit at a temple in Gadhada town of Botad district yesterday. In the video, Gujarat Education and Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama along with local MLA and state Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Atmaram Parmar can be seen on the the dais watching a couple of exorcists beating themselves with metal chains on live music near the stage. Later, around 100 exorcists can be seen shaking hands with the ministers on the stage as part of their felicitation. Taking a strong exception to the ministers’ presence at the event, prominent rationalist Jayant Pandya said he would write to the chief minister Vijay Rupani to stop ministers from attending events that promote superstition. “This is for the first time I have seen ministers attending such an event, where exorcists were felicitated. This is very shameful. I will write to the CM to stop government functionaries from attending such programs which spread superstition” said Pandya, who heads the NGO ‘Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha’. However, unfazed by the controversy, Chudasama today said that those present on the occasion were “worshipers of divine power”. “I attended the programme because it was a gathering of worshipers of divine power, not those who spread superstition,” he Chudasama today in his defence when asked by reporters here.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ahead of Gujarat polls, Amit Shah to visit state to strengthen grass-root organisation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah will visit Gujarat on May 31 to take part in the party’s ‘Vistarak’ initiative, an exercise aimed at establishing direct contact with people ahead of the State Assembly polls to be held later this year.Under this initiative, around 48,000 BJP vistaraks (full-time workers) would visit each of the 48,000 polling booths across the state to canvass for the party between May 28 and June 5. These party workers would also educate people about the pro-people schemes launched by the BJP-ruled state as well as the Centre, Gujarat BJP Vice President I K Jadeja told reporters.”Those who would join as vistaraks include Party Chief Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, State party in-charge Bhupender Yadav and several other local leaders, MPs, MLAs and ministers in state government,” he said. While some of the key leaders, like Shah, Rupani and Nitin Patel would work as vistarak for one day, some leaders would reach out to people on all the days between May 28 to June 5.
ALSO READ 3 years of Modi govt: We have virtually finished casteism, family rule and appeasement, says Amit ShahAccording to Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya, Shah will join as vistarak on May 31. “Our party president Amit Shah would visit a booth in tribal dominated Chhota Udepur district as one of the vistaraks. On the same day, he will attend a function of intellectuals in Vadodara,” Pandya said. “Apart from distributing leaflets about government schemes and interacting with people, these vistaraks will collect phone numbers of 50 to 100 people from each booth and add them in a WhatsApp group, so that we can convey important messages directly,” he added.According to Pandya, the exercise is aimed at realising Amit Shah’s dream of winning 150 seats in the Assembly polls by uprooting Congress at the booth level.

Amit Shah to work as BJP ‘vistarak’ in Gujarat on May 31

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah will visit Gujarat on May 31 to take part in the party’s ‘vistarak’ initiative, an exercise aimed at establishing direct contact with people ahead of the state Assembly polls to be held later this year. Under this initiative, around 48,000 BJP vistaraks (full-time workers) would visit each of the 48,000 polling booths across the state to canvass for the party between May 28 and June 5. These party workers would also educate people about the pro-people schemes launched by the BJP-ruled state as well as the Centre, Gujarat BJP vice president, I K Jadeja told reporters. “Those who would join as vistaraks include party chief Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, state party in-charge Bhupender Yadav and several other local leaders, MPs, MLAs and ministers in state government,” he said. While some of the key leaders, like Shah, Rupani and Nitin Patel would work as vistarak for one day, some leaders would reach out to people on all the days between May 28 to June 5. According to Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya, Shah will join as vistarak on May 31. “Our party president Amit Shah would visit a booth in tribal dominated Chhota Udepur district as one of the vistaraks. On the same day, he will attend a function of intellectuals in Vadodara,” Pandya said. “Apart from distributing leaflets about government schemes and interacting with people, these vistaraks will collect phone numbers of 50 to 100 people from each booth and add them in a WhatsApp group, so that we can convey important messages directly,” he added. According to Pandya, the exercise is aimed at realising Amit Shah’s dream of winning 150 seats in the Assembly polls by uprooting Congress at the booth level.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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