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Looking forward-2018: A possible make or break year for Rahul Gandhi

Indian politics in 2017 virtually followed the trajectory of the past couple of years. A predominately saffron domination interspersed by pockets of opposition resistance. But overall the polity has slowly shifted towards right with BJP slowly and steadily becoming the numero-uno force in India, with its government in 19 states of the country, either directly or in alliance. Yet, as we turn the chapter of another year, the opposition is hopeful of breaking the pattern, of putting up a real fight in 2019 general elections. Is it a misplaced bravado, just a delusion based on one-off Gujarat results? 2018 will provide strong clues in that direction. The elections to crucial battleground states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are lined up in the coming year. These states in total have 93 Lok Sabha seats and in 2014 BJP had won a staggering 79 of those seats. Hence these states are vital in the national perspective and 2018 would be a fair indicator if BJP can repeat its stupendous performance in the next general elections. Karnataka is only the major state which is currently under Congress control. Slated to go to polls in April, it is number 1 in Amit Shah’s priority as he looks to reclaim the state under saffron fold. Shah is spending New Year’s Eve in Karnataka and already the state unit has launched a spirited campaign to dislodge Siddaramaiah. And here is where Rahul Gandhi needs to act, and act fast. In Gujarat, we saw he did a commendable job in galvanising the rural discontent against BJP government for Congress. But he failed to sway the swing voters who finally made all the difference. PM Modi’s masterstroke of changing the narrative in the last phase saved BJP from blushes. Rahul Gandhi needs to be proactive in Karnataka from the word go. Congress morale is currently in high after an improved performance in Gujarat. But a reversal in Karnataka can again get them to square one. Also readLooking forward – 2018: Amit Malviya sees a positive disruption in social mediaFor Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Rahul needs to fix the leadership issue. Congress needs a strong state leader to counter BJP’s aggressive onslaught and rock-solid organisation in each of these states. Empowering the younger generation is the only way out. In Madhya Pradesh, Congress is heavily divided into several factions. Each work on their own accord, without any central planning thus giving Shivraj Singh Chouhan a free pass. Can Rahul manage the senior leaders and give a free-hand to Jyotiraditya Scindia? It may determine the fate of Congress in the state. Mandsaur agitation showed the extent of farmer’s anger in MP. A charismatic leader may just tip the scale in Congress’ favour in this BJP stronghold. Similarly for Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot needs full backing of the High Command to oust Vasundhara Raje government, which has been plagued by many problems recently. Former CM Ashok Gehlot did a stellar job for the party in Gujarat. It will be up to Rahul to give him a respectable position without upsetting the current equation in Rajasthan and giving Pilot the full authority to run the campaign, like Captain Amarinder did in Punjab. Also read2017: A year of roller-coaster India-China relationshipIn Chhattisgarh, post the Ajit Jogi era, Congress has seen a bit of void in leadership talent. Here Rahul’s job is to scout for a leader who can take on the formidable Raman Singh. It’s not that winning these states is any guarantee to winning the General election. In 2003, BJP did commendably well in these states and then slumped to an unexpected loss in 2004. But for 132-year-old Congress gasping for life, state victories or even improved performance in some of the states will provide much needed fillip to its sagging fortunes. And more importantly, it will earn Rahul Gandhi much needed respect among his peers. That he is not merely a leader who is the President of Congress by dint of his surname, he actually has the mettle to challenge the Shah-Modi campaign. It will help Congress to get the opposition united in 2019. A BSP in UP or DMK in Tamil Nadu or even the Left, TMC may only be inclined to support Congress, if they think Rahul Gandhi has a realistic chance of becoming the next PM of India.That’s why 2018 is so politically important. A clean sheet for BJP in this year would mean Congress staring down the barrel before the 2019 LS Polls. It would significantly reduce Rahul’s legitimacy to stake claim as being the natural leader of the opposition camp. Many regional satraps will be more than willing to occupy that position. Hence 2018’s Congress fight with BJP will have the larger subtext of Rahul Gandhi establishing himself as first among the equals in the opposition camp. He has several tricky decisions to make, about how to counter BJP’s Hindutva agenda and countering their development message. Truly a tricky year in offing for the Janeu-dhari Brahmin which may make or break his political career.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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No meat kits for Maharashtra yet

Even as cow vigilantism is making ripples across India, the Maharashtra government has faltered in its plan to deploy portable cow meat detection kits to ascertain at the earliest if a suspected meat consignment is of a cow or a buffalo.These kits, which were to be deployed in all the 45 mobile forensic support vehicles in police commissionerates and district units, would enable on-the-spot results as compared to the usual three days laboratory tests.This would have helped defuse the law and order situation in case of suspected beef seizures and prevent losses to suppliers, transporters and restaurant owners in case the seized meat didn’t ultimately turn out to be beef.However, sources said this had not been done as the kits, which were originally meant to be pressed into service by July-end, had not been purchased so far.”After a large number of seizures of suspected beef, it was planned that these kits would be purchased and used. Though the number of samples sent for testing have declined from over 200 per month around a year ago to just about 100 per month now, it is necessary to deploy these kits to prevent any violence or conflagration in case of any suspected beef seizures,” said a home department source.”Compared to the around two days it takes for the testing in our laboratories due to the scientific processes involved, these kits, which detect the gene present in cow meat protein through the ELISA method, gives a result in around half-an-hour,” he added.It had been proposed that on a experimental basis, one such kit, which could test up to 25 samples, would be deployed on each of the 45 mobile vans. Ironically, after the Maharashtra government plan to operationalise these kits, police establishments in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh had also enquired with them about it.The official noted that they had trained around 100 police personnel — with a science background — in the protocols of forensic evidence collection to be posted with these vans. The Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories (DFSL) is also recruiting staff for these posts.He added that the DFSL had already written to the home department and the director general of police (DGP). “Though we have DNA testing facilities in five of our labs at Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad, transporting these samples to these establishments leads to a loss of time and effort,” the official explained.Meanwhile, SP Yadav, director general (legal and technical), when asked about the delay, said, “That is in the procurement process.” He added the issue had been referred to the government, and hence it was not possible to say when these kits would be operational.Fact fileMaharashtra has forensic science labs in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Amravati, Nanded, Kolhapur and Aurangabad While the killing of cows, calves is banned under Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976, the Amendment Bill in 1995, extended it to bulls and bullocks

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Once again, monkeys are dubbed ‘vermin’ in Himachal Pradesh

The Centre has once again declared rhesus macaque monkeys as ‘vermin’ in ten districts of Himachal Pradesh, thus allowing the state forest department to cull them for preventing crop loss, conflict with humans, and property loss. The fresh notification, brought out by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), will be valid for an year and will be applicable only in non-forest areas.MoEF&CC had issued a similar notification in May 2016 that expired after one year. Himachal Pradesh forest department, though, did not cull a single monkey between 2016 and 2017, its senior officials told DNA. In Bihar and Uttarakhand, too, they had issued similar notifications, declaring nilgai and wild boars as vermins in the respective states.After the 2016 notification became void, Virbhadra Singh-led government sent a fresh proposal to the environment ministry seeking to declare monkeys as vermin again. The proposal was accepted after due appraisal, a ministry official said. The issue of crop losses caused by monkeys was also poll issue in the recent assembly elections. In their electoral campaigns both the Congress and the BJP had promised farmers of appropriate action.”We have issued a fresh notification, it is not an extension of the old one. Apart from Himachal Pradesh, Bihar had also sought renewal of the notification to declare Nilgai as vermin but their proposal has not been accepted. They are yet to provide impact studies. Uttarakhand has not sought any order to declare wild boars as vermin again,” said a senior ministry official on the condition of anonymity.When asked as to why the state government sought a fresh notification when no monkey was culled, GS Goraya, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Head of Forest Force, Himachal Pradesh, said, “Though we did not cull any monkey, we reached out to farmers to create awareness and have succeeded to an extent in curbing the solid waste issue. Open dumping of food waste is the main attraction for monkeys.” He added, “Culling is also difficult as religious sentiments are attached with monkeys. Unless any Panchayat passed a resolution to cull monkeys, we do not want to cull them.”According to Goraya, of the total population of 2.5 lakh around 1.26 lakh monkeys have been sterilized since 2006, of which 50 per cent are females.Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi who had moved Supreme Court against the earlier orders of Centre, said, “Conflict with wild animals is a direct result of mismanagement of forests. The forest department has waste tens of crores of public funds on counterproductive sterilization and now they they want to kill the same sterilized monkeys.”ELSEWHEREIn Bihar and Uttarakhand, too, MoEF&CC had issued similar notifications, declaring nilgai and wild boars as vermin in the respective states.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

CBI hunts for builders who got government land

Days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered two separate cases probing a land scam involving more than 300 acres of land in Majiwade village, Thane, the agency will now check records of 64 plots to identify the builders who were granted these lands by government bodies.CBI says unknown officials from M/s Provident Investment Company Limited (PICL), Finance Department of Madhya Pradesh and Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) connived with various unknown builders and private individuals to usurp the land.The land is worth thousands of crores and belongs to the Government of India (GoI). Earlier in the month, the CBI had registered two FIRs to probe the alleged transfer and sale of the land by PICL and Madhya Pradesh government to private builders.The matter stretches back to 1925 and involves the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior and textile baron Mathuradas Gokuldas.”On September 3, 1925, Mathuradas Gokuldas, a Hindu-Undivided Family, mortgaged plots amounting to 314 acres at Yeoor Revenue Village and Majiwada Village of Thane to the erstwhile state of Gwalior Darbar. The deed of indenture was again executed in 1938 and the Gwalior Darbar was represented by its Finance Minister and PICL, which transferred and assigned the mortgage to PICL. By then, PICL was looking after the financial investment portfolio of the erstwhile princely state,” says a CBI official.The loan given to Gokuldas was from the funds of the Gwalior State Railways, which after independence, merged with Indian Railways. Under Federal Financial Integration, all properties mortgaged by Gokuldas were transferred to the Central Government. “After 1947, PICL became the PSU undertaking of the Madhya Pradesh government and was assigned the management of mortgaged properties located in Bombay, Thane and Pune on behalf of GoI,” said the officer.As per the records of Talathi, the ownership of the 64 plots is still with GoI. “They were either given on long lease or sold to unknown builders,” said the CBI officer. “NOC for development was given by the said government bodies. We are now checking all land records from TMC to ascertain which builders were provided these lands.”In 2012, Mumbai High Court directed the CBI to probe into the matter while hearing a case pertaining to the destruction of records of prime properties in Mumbai. After five years of investigation, CBI filed cases under sections of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption against the unidentified officials of all the three bodies and unidentified builders.The agency will also register another case about Gokuldas’ land in Pune was sold to private builders.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

Inter-faith marriage disrupted : BJP removes Ghaziabad chief Ajay Sharma

The BJP has removed its Ghaziabad city unit president Ajay Sharma from the post for disrupting the marriage of a Hindu woman with a Muslim man in the Rajnagar area here claiming that it was a case of “love jihad”.Sharma has been removed from the post and Ghaziabad city unit general secretary Man Singh Goswami has been appointed as the officiating city president, according to a letter by BJP Uttar Pradesh State General Secretary Vidyasagar Sonkar.”I have received the letter from the state head office and will obey the instructions,” Sharma said.A large group of BJP workers led by Sharma, and some people belonging to right-wing groups protested outside the marriage venue on December 22.The marriage between the man and the woman, who were friends and worked in a multinational company, was later solemnized in a court.Police said they used mild force to disperse the protesters.

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CBI officer held for illicit Tatkal software scam

The CBI busted a railway ticketing racket on Wednesday by arresting one of its own programmers. The scam impacted lakhs of citizens across the country as many failed to get confirmed tickets, especially tatkal ones, because of it. It also exposes the vulnerability of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) software.Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer with the CBI since 2012, was arrested from Delhi. His associate Anil Kumar Gupta was nabbed from Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur and is being brought to Delhi on transit remand.The agency has registered a case of criminal conspiracy under Sections of the Information Technology Act for making an illegal railway ticketing software. The accused had developed a tatkal (ticketing at short notice) software with distributor Gupta. They sold the software to tour and travel operators across the country.Travel operators using this software booked tickets in advance and created a shortage.Garg received payments through Bitcoin and hawala routes. Before joining the CBI, he worked as a programmer with the IRCTC from 2007 to 2011, and knew the vulnerabilities of the ticketing software of the Railways. Garg knew that the software used by the Railways allowed him to book hundreds of tickets in the morning. He used 800 to 1,000 customer IDs at one go.The CBI has also identified 10 travel agents who were using this software. They include three of Mumbai and seven of Jaunpur.Garg was using proxy and foreign servers to remove any trail.It was also alleged that Garg was collecting money for the use of the software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth. It was also revealed that Gupta on behalf of Garg was allegedly receiving money from dealers for the use of the software through Bitcoin and hawala networks.Searches were conducted at 14 places, including Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur, which resulted in recoveries of Rs 89.42 lakh, gold jewellery valued at Rs 61.29 lakh, 15 laptops, 15 hard disks, 52 mobile phones, 24 SIM cards, 10 notebooks, 6 routers, 4 dongles, 19 pen drives and other incriminating material from the premises of the accused and others.

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2 Romanians held in Delhifor ATM fraud in Mumbai

A Romanian couple has been nabbed from Delhi in connection with the debit card skimming case in which almost 100 people who used an ATM in Mumbai’s central suburb of Mulund lost money from their accounts which collectively amounted to Rs 38 lakh.According to the Navghar police, they had earlier nabbed two local men who were instrumental in providing logistical support to the foreigners who skimmed cards at the ATM and withdrew money in Delhi.ATM skimming involves thieves using hidden electronics to steal personal information stored on cards. Think of it as identity theft of debit cards.The police said the accused foreign nationals came to the country on a tourist visa from Romania and had installed a skimmer — a thrice in the ATM in Mulund. After copying card data, they started withdrawing money from ATMs in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.”We got our first lead when we got CCTV footage of the foreigners along with the two locals. We apprehended the latter. During their interrogation, they pointed us to the foreigners. We tracked the foreigners using their phones, and our team in Delhi nabbed them. We have also got CCTV footage of the time when they are withdrawing money,” said a police officer”The two locals were also involved in a similar case in Kurla two years ago in which three Romanian nationals were arrested,” he added.The police got in touch with the Romanian embassy in New Delhi, seeking details of the recently nabbed couple’s passports.As many as 100people who used an ATM in Mulund were in for a shock when they got text messages saying money had been withdrawn using their cards, even when the cards were in their possession. The victims had approached Navghar police station and lodged a case.The accused couple will be brought to the city on Friday. This is the second instance in two weeks where Romanian nationals were found to have been instrumental in committing cyber fraud.Last Friday, the Pune police nabbed three Romanian nationals for allegedly cloning ATM cards and withdrawing money to the tune of Rs 28 lakh from over 100 bank accounts after stealing details of more than 1,000 cards. They had also used skimmers.Earlier, the Mumbai police had arrested a Bulgarian national involved in skimming and cloning the cards.

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Uttar Pradesh: Man gives Triple Talaq to wife for waking up late

While triple talaq bill is scheduled to be tabled in the Parliament on Thursday, a woman in Uttar Pradesh today woke up to find her husband uttering the three dreaded words.Gul Afshan, a resident of Azimnagar in Rampur district, said that her husband Qasim thrashed her and divorced her by uttering talaq thrice because she woke up late in the morning. The wife alleged that later, Qasim escaped from the house after locking her up inside. The police had to break in. Narrating her six-month-old abusive marriage, she said that he used to beat her from the very beginning.The police said that they can’t do anything as the woman has not filed a complaint against her husband as of now. “The woman has not filed an FIR as yet. We will take action against him once the complaint is lodged,” said Sanjay Yadav, Azimanagar SHO. The incident comes to light just ahead of the introduction of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill.Also readMuslim Women Bill that criminilises triple talaq to be introduced in ParliamentThe bill, which seeks to criminalise the practice of triple talaq, will be tabled in the Lok Sabha by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday. While the Supreme Court and Centre have called for the scrapping of the triple talaq, terming it “illegal and unconstitutional”, some Muslim women are still facing the brunt of this age-old practice. Earlier, the Supreme Court declared the practice of instant divorce as void and unconstitutional and termed it as arbitrary and violative of the right to equality of Muslim women.

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Jairam Thakur to take oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister today; PM Modi to attend grand ceremony

BJP leader Jairam Thakur is all set to take oath as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Jai Ram Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla at 11 AM.Governor Aacharya Devvrat will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA will reportedly swear-in as Cabinet Ministers today. The five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hilly state was elected to lead the state after the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal failed to register a win from his constituency.The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.Along with many senior leaders and workers of BJP state unit, thousands of people are expected to witness the swearing-in ceremony.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMFor the first time in the history of the state, Prime Minister will attend an oath taking ceremony.Massive security and other arrangements have been made ahead of the grand function. Besides seating arrangements, eight to ten LED screens have been installed outside the venue. SPG will look after the security arrangements.Also readHimachal CM designate Jai Ram Thakur lists out priorities Union Health Minister JP Nadda, Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Incharge for Party Affairs Mangal Pandey have reviewed the arrangements in Ridge Maidan.

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Sachin Pilot calls Vasundhara Raje sops poll gimmick

Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot on Tuesday took a jibe on Chief minister Vasundhara Raje touring to the bypoll-bound constituencies where she is showering sops and making new announcements. Terming it a poll effect, PCC chief blamed the government for not paying heed to the concerns of common man in its past four-year rule.Pilot made the scathing attack on Raje in Ajmer on Tuesday where he is campaigning extensively ahead of the bypoll. Focusing on rural belt, he visited more than a dozen gram panchayats, including Kumharia Bandanwada, Padanga, Satwadia, Jamola and held dialogue with rural folks.Addressing separate gatherings during his visit, Pilot attacked the government. “The Chief Minister has never taken care of this area in the past four years. As polls are nearing she is making populist announcements to allure people. She declares to open a college somewhere and assures to make roads and bridges at some other place, but the truth is people of the state have been deprived of basic amenities in the BJP’s rule”.Citing example of the government’s insensitivity, Pilot narrated plight of farmers and poor sections of the society. “Farmers are committing suicides due to debt, and in the CM’s constituency (Jhalarapatan) a farmer died due to severe cold while coming to his field for irrigation purpose at night . The government has deceived farmers as it had promised to provide electricity in the day time to the farmers, but even after four years this promise has not been fulfilled,” said Pilot, adding that government is privatising education and health sector which the Congress will oppose.

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Mahakal temple says specific dress code required to enter sanctum sanctorum; rejects disabled mountaineer’s claims

A day after Arunima Sinha, the first female amputee to scale Mount Everest, alleged that her disability was mocked at when she visited the Mahakal temple here, the temple authorities today said a specific “dress code” had to be followed to enter the sanctum sanctorum.Madhya Pradesh’s Women and Child Development Minister Archana Chitnis has ordered an inquiry into the incident.Sinha, a former national-level volleyball player, had yesterday said she felt “greater pain” while visiting the temple than climbing Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,844 metres.The temple authorities said men had to be clad in “dhotis” (shola), while women had to wear a saree to enter the sanctum sanctorum during the “bhasma aarti”, a unique practice observed at the temple in the early hours every day.”According to the temple traditions, women wearing a saree and men in dhotis are allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum during the bhasma aarti in the morning,” the temple’s administrator, Avdhesh Sharma, said.He added that Sinha had come to the temple at around 4.30 am on December 24 and was told about the tradition by the priests and security personnel there.Sharma said generally, those not wearing a dhoti or a saree were allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum, but the entry was restricted during the “bhasma aarti”.He said entry to the sanctum sanctorum during the “bhasma aarti” was only allowed through pre-booked slots and added that Sinha had reached the temple on a short notice.The temple authorities also made public the CCTV footage, in which the security personnel were purportedly seen talking to Sinha.However, Sinha told reporters that the footage also showed a man entering the temple’s sanctum sanctorum wearing jeans.”Not allowing a person wearing jeans or pants in the sanctum sanctorum is wrong. In the footage, a man is seen entering the restricted area wearing jeans. Why was I not allowed? Only because I am a disabled woman? I am a devotee of Lord Shankar,” she said.The 29-year-old mountaineer also said she did not intend to seek an apology from anyone over the incident.Recounting her unpleasant experience, she had earlier said her disability was mocked at when she visited the temple.”I am very sorry to tell you that I felt greater pain in visiting Mahakal temple (at Ujjain) than scaling the Everest. My disability was mocked at there (at Mahakal),” Sinha had tweeted yesterday.She had also tagged the Prime Minister’s Office and the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s office in her tweet.Sinha was pushed out of a running train by robbers in April, 2011, while she was resisting a robbery attempt. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. She is the first Indian amputee to climb the Everest.Meanwhile, Chitnis apologised to Sinha for the incident and said the mountaineer was the pride of the country.In a statement, the minister said she had asked the Ujjain divisional commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the incident.Chitnis said she had also told the officials that such incidents should not take place in the future.She added that she would talk to the priests at the temple and also visit Lucknow soon to meet Sinha.The temple houses one of the 12 “jyotirlingas” in the country.

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NHM recruitment in UP: Candidates find glaring discrepancies in written exam result

Glaring discrepancies have been found in the results declared for recruitment of about 4700 nurses and other staff under the National Health Mission (NHM) in Uttar Pradesh.In the results declared on December 22 for the written test, those who got 64 out of 90 marks were declared failed while those who obtained 3 and 8 marks were declared passed. The results went viral on social media indicating towards a possible scam in the recruitment process. Also readUnnao: Cataract surgery on 32 patients done under torchlight; CMO suspendedThose who failed to clear the test even after obtaining good marks have decided to file a lodge a complaint with the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and also take legal recourse. They have demanded results to be withheld and written exam copies to be re-evaluated. The written exam for about 4688 contractual posts of Staff Nurse, ANM, PRO, Lab Technicians etc was held on November 5 2017 all over the state. The results for the same were declared on December 22. But after detection of irregularities, candidates are now raising questions over the evaluation of examination copies. The Principal Secretary Health Prashant Trivedi has assured to look into the anomalies brought to his knowledge. “I have issued directions to check results again,” said Trivedi. Trivedi said that written exam was only a part of the selection process and only those who have cleared the interviews and other technical processes will be selected for the NHM. “The final result and selection process are yet to be completed,” he clarified. “Only those candidates would be selected who cleared all the selection criterion. We will ensure that no bogus candidates gets job under the current NHM recruitment drive to fulfil existing vacancies,” he added.

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Yogi Adityanath announces Metro for Agra, Kanpur

Addressing his first public meeting on Monday, right after the inauguration of the Magenta Line of Metro in Noida, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced new Metro projects for Agra and Kanpur in the state.During the inauguration, Adityanath said: “I thank the PM for giving UP the offering of this new Metro line. We are going to bring Metro to Kanpur and Agra. The inauguration of the Magenta Line will prove to be a milestone towards realising the dream of development for Noida and Greater Noida. The PM has given a new meaning to politics of this nation. He is always telling us one thing: We have to move ahead on the path of development. We should ensure no citizen is unhappy. There is no question of discriminating against anyone.”He further said that the work to set up an airport at Jewar has also been expedited, which will be a boom for the people and will bring development to the district.”We have been planning two major expressways in the state. It is an achievement to have the Prime Minister in the state. He has given a new direction to politics and till even a single individual remains unhappy, we should make efforts to solve his problems,” Adityanath said during the meeting.Attacking the previous governments in the state, Adityanath claimed that under their rule, Noida, Greater Noida, and Yamuna Expressway region were only meant to make money. “My government is taking public welfare projects on a priority basis. As per Modi’s directions, we are working on the principle of participation of all and development for all (sabka saath, sabka vikas),” Adityanath said.Referring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.Aditynath further said that in the nine months of his rule, he has been taking decisions without any partisan attitude or self interest. “All decisions are in public interest,” he added.The UP CM referred to agriculture in the state and claimed that sugarcane farmers’ dues were being paid on time while the power supply, too, had improved. Adityanath further said that his government was tough on criminals as well.REALITY ISSUEReferring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.

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Himachal CM designate Jai Ram Thakur lists out priorities

All decisions taken by the outgoing Congress government three months before the imposition of the model code of conduct would be reviewed, Himachal Pradesh chief minister designate Jai Ram Thakur said today.”We will review all the decisions taken by the Congress government, three months before imposition of the code of conduct, and ascertain if they were prudent and taken in a transparent manner,” Thakur said in an informal chat with mediapersons. Referring to the priorities of his government, the BJP leader said “deteriorating law and order, critical financial health of the government and tardy implementation of centrally sponsored schemes are areas of grave concern and the government would focus on these”.A major challenge was restoration of trust of people in the police, improving the financial position by pruning wasteful expenditure and aggressively implementing centrally sponsored schemes to provide maximum benefits to the people, he said. Thakur said that “tired and retired officials would have no place in the government” and a decision in this regard would be taken immediately after taking oath on December 27.Also readHimachal: Mandi wins the battle for CM after 54 years, Jai Ram Thakur to take oath on 27th Dec Asked about induction of ministers, he said the process was on in consultation with the party high command. The cabinet would be a mix of experience and young talent, he said. Thakur said that efforts would made to promote tourism. He also inaugurated a blood donation camp on 93rd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As many as 111 persons donated blood at the camp which was organised by Umang Foundation.

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Faith is important but blind faith is not desirable: PM praises Yogi Adityanath for ignoring ‘Noida jinx’

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today came in for praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for shrugging off a superstition that any chief minister who visits Noida does not assume the high office again.Those who entertain such superstitions have no right to be the chief minister, Modi said here. Adityanath visited Noida twice in three days rubbishing a widely believed myth in UP’s political and bureaucratic circles that a chief minister visiting Noida would face problems retaining his or her post.Also readDelhi Metro’s Magenta line a milestone in Noida’s development, says Yogi AdityanathIn the city to inaugurate the Metro’s Magenta line, Modi pointed to the saffron robed Adityanath and said that looking at his dress, the CM appeared to be superstitious, but had actually shown that he had the courage to break superstitions. A priest-turned-politician, Adityanath, could be seen smiling as Modi lavished praise. The prime minister said that Noida was not the only place to which superstitions had attached themselves.Recalling his days as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi said there were 6 to 7 places in the state where no chief minister went out of the fear that whoever does so would lose his seat. “I ignored this and visited all such places,” Modi said and pointing that he remained Gujarat CM for nearly 20 years. In the modern scientific world there is no place for superstition, the prime minister asserted.Significantly, Adityanath’s chief ministerial visits to Noida came eight years after the last by the then CM Mayawati. In the ensuing election Mayawati’s BSP lost and her successor Akhilesh Yadav did not vist Noida.Several chief ministers in the past have not visited Noida, something attributed to the “jinx” about the city.

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Uttar Pradesh police keep strict vigil on Christmas in the wake of Hindu Manch warning

Uttar Pradesh police on Monday kept strict vigil across the state to ensure Christmas festivities passed off peacefully in the wake of the Hindu Jagran Manch warning against celebrating the festival, officials said.All SPs were put on maximum alert in the districts after the Manch, an RSS-affiliate, recently issued a circular threatening all Aligarh schools against celebrating Christmas saying, they would be doing it “at their own risk”.No untoward incident was reported from any school or church till late evening and that traditional festivities passed off peacefully in Aligarh, Senior Superintendent of Police (Aligarh) Rajesh Pandey said.In Lucknow, the day was celebrated with usual pomp and fanfare at the St Joseph’s Cathedral with nearby markets decorated with balloons and Christmas trees.There were grand celebrations at the All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad, the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Meerut, the Christ church in Bareilly and the St Mary’s church in Varanasi, which were decorated tastefully for the occasion.Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar had directed all district police chiefs to ensure that the freedom of practising one’s religion is protected and appropriate action taken to that end.The Manch was in the news last month when it announced its decision to launch a “reverse Love Jihad” by setting a target of 2,100 Muslim brides for Hindu boys in the next six months under a campaign called “beti bachao, bahu lao”.Last year, the right-wing group launched its “anti-love jihad” and “save Hindu girl” campaign in Uttar Pradesh, where they planned to hold classes in all schools run by its parent organisation to “educate” youngsters about the “ill-effects” of marrying a Muslim.

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BJP leader bats for those who were martyred in 1857 war of independence

A BJP Lok Sabha member has urged the Centre to identify those who fought for the country’s Independence since 1857, and give their family members monetary and other government benefits.Sharad Tripathi, an MP from Uttar Pradesh, said many of those who fought against the British rule in 1857, recognised by many as the country’s first war of Independence, are not known much among the masses.”I believe that India’s fight for Independence began in 1857 leading to the freedom in 1947. The government should do a study and recognise such heroes as martyrs. Their family members should be given benefits,” he told PTI.Earlier this year in Parliament, Tripathi had demanded that a martyrs gate be built in the national capital in the honour of freedom fighters who laid down their lives between 1857 and 1947.A list containing the names of such freedom fighters should be released by the government as currently, there is no such authentic record, he said.While the names of Indian soldiers who fought the World War-II were inscribed by the British on the India Gate, there is no such commemoration for the Indians who died for the country’s freedom from 1857 to 1947, he had said.

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Ockhi-hit Tamil Nadu villages to give Xmas a miss

Fishing villages of Thoothoor in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari are giving this Christmas a miss as over 305 fishermen and their boats are still missing after being hit by Ockhi cyclone on November 30.”There won’t be any celebration of Christmas. We are going to hold prayers on Sunday night in the memory of those missing fishermen. Other than church activities, there will not be any function or celebration outside,” Fr Bebinson, parish priest of St Thomas Forane Church, Thoothoor.Of the 305 missing fishermen, 157 are from eight fishing villages in Thoothoor region while 98 are from other districts of Tamil Nadu and about 50 are from Assam, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. As of now, only seven dead bodies of Kanyakumari fishermen were recovered.Fishermen from Thoothoor region are known for deep-sea fishing, venturing up to 1600 nautical miles, staying in the sea for 30-40 days.The families of missing fishermen are hoping that they would return before the Christmas but the hope is fading with each passing day, said Fr Bebinson. In last few days, as many as 60 fishermen hit by the cyclone were rescued by local fishermen who went on a search mission and brought to shore along with their damaged boats, he said, adding that fishermen set out in 200 boats in search of their missing brethren in the sea. “We will wait until this month end for the missing fishermen to return. After which we will hold memorial service for them,” he said.The case of migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal who go along with the fishermen in the deep sea fishing vessels as helpers are tragic. The migrant works who were basically working in the hotels started venturing along with fishermen as they got good pay, said Fr Churchill, general secretary of South Asian Fishermen Fraternity.”Sadly, there is no exact number of migrant workers went into the sea. We compiled the missing fishermen list from the survivor’s account. In some boats, none of them survived so we don’t know how many migrant workers were there in it,” he said.Fr Churchill said the fishermen suffered worst in the cyclone Ockhi than 2004 tsunami. “In five minutes, everything was over in tsunami whereas the fishermen caught in the cyclone were stranded and faced a traumatic death after swimming endlessly with the hope of being rescued,” he said.

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BJP will see a pan-India win over Congress in 2019, says Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, the minister in-charge for BJP for Karnataka is on a three day visit the state from December 23. Before he left the national capital, DNA speaks to him about his views on Gujarat polls, its impact on other elections and BJP’s position in election year 2018 vis a vis that of Congress.2018 BJP faces elections in many states where it has been in power for long time. How do you see anti-incumbency playing out there.We will win hands down in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but before that along with Karnataka, three North Eastern states- Tripura, Meghalya and Mizoram will go to polls and we will do wonderful in all these three states also. So by 2019, we will have 22 plus states with us. Out of four states, we will win at least three or even all four we can win. We will retain Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. So by 2019, it will be a pan India BJP hurting Congress.Is the defection of Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Congress leader from Assam to BJP two years back is a big boost for BJP in North East?Congress is not serious to retain their folks and good people. People are coming to us and in our party, we give good roles. In Manipur, N Biren Singh (current BJP Chief Minister) was a senior Congress minister, was the right hand of Ibobi Singh (then Chief Minister) but anybody can see the changed Birender Singh now aftern he joined BJP. So people change completely when join BJP. The way he has united Nagas, Kukis and Maitis altogether in keeping peace in the state is really a very difficult task that he has completed..Tripura is a Left bastion. In another Left-ruled state Kerala, BJP has tried hard to expand but not with much success. What is your hope in Tripura?In Tripura, there is a mass upsurge against the Communist government. Besides people from both Trinamool Congress and Congress are leaving their parties and joining the BJP. So it will be a fight between Left and the BJP the Communists. We will give a surprise there. We will win Tripura also.You are the Minister in-charge of BJP for Karnataka. What BJP’s hopes this time in Karnataka, which it lost to Congress in 2013.BJP is 100 percent going to win in Karnataka this time. Last time we lost not for any other fault but because we were a fractured party. Our party had got divided into three factions. Now everybody is together. Everybody has learnt the lesson. Congress has, in last five years, given anti people governance, bad governance. They have made Bengaluru city a pot-holed city, a garbage city. And therefore people are angry, the farmers, the youth are angry.They (the state government) have allowed terrorism. Law and Order is so bad that day in a day out Hindu activists are being killed by terror outfits and Karnatka government has not nabbed even a single accused. They have failed miserably. So People are angry and we are going to win. People will give us decisive mandate.BJP has not done so well in rural areas in Gujarat polls. Will Gujarat rural divide will also be seen in Karnataka, where there are 150 rural seats.In Karnataka, people will unitedly vote for us because the rural support was always with us there and in Lok Sabha Bengaluru city and other cities voted us. This time urban areas are also voting for BJP because they have suffered heavily at the hands of Congress. Gujarat was a different ball game. It was not rural- urban issue. It was the worst kind of politics done by Congress, which was piggybacking on Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani. They tried to divide the society. Here also in Karnataka, they are trying to divide the society on caste and other lines. But I am very happy that Karnaktaka is standing united and they will defeat this divide politics. They (Congress) want to divide and rule, we want to unite and make Karnatka progress. That is what is our slogan.In Gujarat we were fighting for sixth term. After winning five terms consecutively, winning the sixth term is a rare feat no other party could achieve. Congress has never been able to do it anywhere. And therefore we will win this time.How do you see the corruption issue panning out in Karnataka with B S Yeddyurappa as your prime face vis a vis corruption charges against him in past?Corruption (under Siddaramaiah government) and the death of various honest officials and their testimonials is the real issue. Congress is looting the sate Left, Right and Centre. People remember B S Yeddyruappa’s government as a good governance model and so those bogus charges do not stick to BJP.In Karnataka, Yeddyurappa is considered a strong Lingayat face. What about other communities like Vokaligga.He is strong Karnataka leader and he is loved by all communities. All are coming together. First time you will see people are not voting their caste but casting their vote in Karnataka for development.2G case verdict has enthused Congress. How do you assess its impact electorally?What has happened in 2G. Licenses got cancelled because it was a clear case of corruption. The Supreme Court judgement (that had cancelled 122 2G spectrum licences in 2012) is important. What this CBI court has done, they are going to challenge. So let us wait for future. But the issue is very simple. In 2G, Congress did corruption. There was a bad policy. And therefore our stand was vindicated when the licenses were cancelled. And when we auctioned, we exactly received 1lakh 76 thousand crore rupees in auctions.So the BJP will continue to target Congress on corruption in Karnataka even after 2G verdict.Yes: Absolutely.There has been internal dissension in BJP state unit. BS Yeddyruappa versus others particularly with K S Ishwarappa.There were different opinions but we listened to everybody and chalked out a common strategy and therefore now there is now a united BJP team and there is no issue now.Why did BJP declare Yeddyurappa the CM face in Karnatka so much in advance. In many states did not declare CM face at all while in some like Himachal declared it at the last moment.It’s a strategy not a policy issue. Every state election is a different election. So every state will have a different strategy. And therefore here, we have already made it very clear that Yeddyurappa ji will be CM.Will the BJP declare CM faces in other states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as well?Election in those states fall in December, which is one year away. So Let us talk about these four states that are going to polls now. So like in Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, whether we will have alliances or whether we will declare CM face is a state specific strategy issue and that will define our targets.Since Congress has also declared that incumbent Chief Minister Siddharmaiah is the party face, do you see it as a clash of personalities in Karnataka?It’s not a fight just between two personalities. It’s a fight between personalities, parties and principles. And on all these three, principles, personalities and parties, we are much ahead of Congress.Anything that you want to say on your own.The politics of Modi ji has won the hearts of people. It’s politics of development. He is responding to the aspirations of the poor class—like good health service, good houses, good education. Now the poor class are also aspirational class and they are voting for Modi ji. That is our most treasured trove. The plan of the poor, which was with the Congress has already shifted to Modi ji after demonetization, Mudra Yojana, Ujjawala gas and many other schemes that are directly benefitting the people,Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the BJP has a foundation of lies and Modi vision got exposed in Gujarat. Your Take?This narrative of one liner scripted by somebody else does not work in the long term. BJP has proved and Modi ji has provided a good governance. We have brought a change in the society at many levels and therefore the people are with us.What is BJP’s over-all plank in these state polls.Over all plank is development. Overall plank is new India. That is what we are aiming at.There have been accusations by the Opposition and in the run up polls, BJP goes all out for polarization. What do you say?We donot believe in polarization. The only plank is development, growth and prosperity for all sections of society.

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Himachal: Mandi wins the battle for CM after 54 years, Jai Ram Thakur to take oath on 27th Dec

The second largest district of Himachal Pradesh with ten assembly seat, it was after a 54- year wait that Mandi has won the battle for chief ministership.No legislator from Mandi, a district with cultural affinity with Kangra and Kullu and topographic similarities with Shimla and Sirmaur districts, has ever become chief minister. Congress leader Karam Singh won five assembly elections from Chachiot from 1952 to 1972 and was a strong contender for the post of chief minister in 1963 and 1967, but missed out and Dr Y S Parmar became the chief minister.Sukh Ram, whose son Anil Sharma is now a BJP legislator, was another senior Congress leader who was in contention for the top job in the state. He also never managed to become the chief minister. The BJP, this time put up a stunning show in the district, winning 9 of the 10 Assembly seats. The saffron party’s chief ministerial face P K Dhumal lost his own election leaving the field wide-open. Finally, it was again Chachiot, or Seraj after delimitation, that again came to the fore with its five-time MLA Jai Ram Thakur, who will now be sworn as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on December 27. Also readThe Accidental CM: Meet Jai Ram Thakur, new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh He will take oath in a star-studded ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah among others. The 52-year-old Thakur leader edged past party stalwarts in the race to the top office and will be the first leader from the politically-significant Mandi region to helm the hill state. Thanking the party leadership and workers after his election Thakur said that swearing in ceremony would take place on December 27.Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who along with Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed as a central observer by the BJP, announced that Thakur was chosen to be the next chief minister as thousands of party workers began celebrating.The Seraj MLA, a throughbred RSS man, emerged as the frontrunner for the top post after the shock defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal in the state Assembly polls, the results of which were announced last week. A former chief minister, Dhumal, was still in the reckoning for the chief minister’s post till last night, when he opted out. Union minister J P Nadda was another top contender. Thakur, a former state unit chief and rural development and panchayati raj minister in a government headed by Dhumal, was elected the leader of the BJP legislature party today.The decision was taken at a meeting of BJP MLAs.His name was proposed by senior leaders Suresh Bhardwaj and Mahender Singh and seconded by others. “It is expected that Thakur will take oath as the state’s next CM on December 27 at a ceremony where Prime Minister Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and a galaxy of top leaders would be present,” a source said. Thakur along with senior party leaders handed a letter staking his claim to form the government in Himachal Pradesh to Governor Acharya Devvrat who invited him to do so.The five time MLA will be the first chief minister from Mandi, the second largest district of the state. Himachal’s chief ministers and political leaders mostly belong to or hailed from Shimla, Kangra and Sirmour districts. Mandi has 10 Assembly seats, second only to Kangra’s 15. In this election, the BJP put up a stellar show in Mandi, winning 9 of the district’s 10 seats.Seen largely as a low-profile man, Thakur is from a farming family of Mandi. He did his post-graduation from Panjab University in Chandigarh and decided to join politics when he was in his 20s. Thakur contested on a BJP ticket in the 1993 Assembly polls. He lost, but went on to win in 1998 from the now delimited constituency of Chachiot (Seraj) and every Assembly election after that. A soft-spoken man, Thakur’s strength is that he is seen as a leader who has managed to straddle the party’s warring factions in the state.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Sitharaman and Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla yesterday to hold fresh consultation with the BJP central leadership. Earlier, the two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs. The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the Assembly polls.

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PM Modi thanks people of Arunachal, UP for bypoll results; says happy with BJP’s vote-share rise in Bengal’s Sabang

Congratulating the Bharataiya Janata Party (BJP) for winning Assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Arunachal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked people for supporting the party. While the BJP wrested the Pakke-Kessang and Likabali Assembly seats from the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh, it successfully retained Sikandra Assembly seat in UP. In West Bengal, the BJP increased its votes share in Sabang constituency from 2.6% in 2016 to more than 18% this year. “My gratitude to the people of Sikandra for once again supporting BJP. Our commitment to serving India’s villages and taking them to new heights of progress is unwavering. I congratulate CM @myogiadityanath Ji and the @BJP4UP Team for their stupendous efforts,” Modi said in a tweet. Also readSabang bypoll: Seven-fold increase in vote-share for BJP augurs well for its future In another tweet, he said, “I thank the people of Likabali and Pakke Kesang in Arunachal Pradesh for reposing their faith in BJP. We derive immense strength from this affection and remain committed to transforming the Northeast. @BJP4Arunachal.””Happy to see a significant rise in the BJP’s vote share in Sabang, West Bengal. I thank the people for their support and assure them that BJP will leave no stone unturned in serving West Bengal. I appreciate the @BJP4Bengal Karyakartas for their effort,” he added. Also readSikandra bypoll: BJP retains seat, wins by 7000 votes The BJP however, did not do well in the RK Nagar bypoll where NOTA got more votes than its candidate. BJP’s Karu Nagarajan secured 1,417 votes in the election won by independent TTV Dhinakaran. In Sikandra, BJP’s Ajit Singh Pal secured 73,284 votes against his nearest rival, Seema Sachan of the Samajwadi Party (SP). The Sikandra bypoll was necessitated following the death of its sitting BJP MLA and Ajit’s father, Mathura Prasad Pal, on July 22.Also readArunachal Pradesh bypoll: BJP wins both seatsIn Arunachal’s Pakke-Kessang seat, BR Waghe of the BJP won by a narrow margin of 475 votes, defeating his lone rival and former deputy chief minister, Kameng Dolo of the Congress.In the Likabali seat, BJP’s Kardo Nyigyor won by a slender margin of 305 votes, defeating his nearest rival, Gumke Riba of the PPA.

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The Accidental CM: Meet Jai Ram Thakur, new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh

As the trends for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections came in on December 18, it was clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was headed for a comfortable win. When the results for all the seats were declared, the BJP had won 44 out of the 68 seats, ousting the Congress from power.But as the fate would have it, BJP’s CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost his seat from Sujanpur constituency to Congress’ Rajinder Rana. The next in line, BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti also lost from Una constituency. Then started the BJP’s search for a new face. Many contenders emerged and finally the saffron party chose soft spoken Jai Ram Thakur as the next CM of the hilly state.Ending days of suspense, BJP announced on Sunday that the five-time MLA will be the new Chief Minister of the state.The 52-year-old leader won the Assembly election from Seraj. Apart from securing his own win with huge margin, Thakur is also said to be instrumental in BJP sweeping 9 out of 10 seats from Mandi region, losing one to an independent candidate. Thakur comes from a humble background and was born in a farming family in Tandi village of Mandi district in 1965. The youngest of five children, Jai Ram was a bright student but had to drop out for two years after matriculation in 1980 due to poor financial condition of the family. He, however, went on to complete his MA from Panjab University in Chandigarh. He joined the RSS’ student wing ABVP right after graduation, thus making his entry into student politics. At the time when L K Advani took out his Ram Rath Yatra, Jai Ram also became active in the Ram Mandir movement. He is, however, not known for aggressive politics and is considered BJP’s ‘gentle face’ for his soft-spoken and non-aggressive brand of politics. Thakur contested his first election at the age of 28 on a BJP ticket in 1993. He lost his first election but again secured the BJP ticket in 1998 from Seraj, which was then known as Chachiot Vidhan Sabha. This time he won comfortably and defeated Congress veteran Moti Ram Thakur by 6,000 votes, thus marking his entry to the Assembly. There has been no looking back for him since then. He won consecutive elections from Chachiot in 2003 and 2007, before the constituency became Seraj after delimitation. Thakur was made Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister by then Chief Minister Dhumal in 2008. He was also the BJP’s state president between 2007 and 2009. In 2012, he won from Seraj while the BJP lost power to the Congress. In the latest election, Thakur won from Seraj by a margin of over 11,000 votes. He is married to Sadhana Thakur, a Kannadiga who was born and brought up in Jaipur, and have two children with her. Soft-spoken Thakur is considered a consensus builder in the Himachal Pradesh BJP. Even as his supporters raised slogans in his favour against Dhumal during BJP’s Central Observers’ visit to the state, he chose to remain silent. Today, it was Dhumal who proposed his name during the BJP legislature party meeting. Two other senior leaders from the party, Shanta Kumar and JP Nadda also supported the proposal, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the BJP’s Central Observer, said. After the announcement of his name, Thakur thanked everyone, signalling that he would take all leaders of faction-ridden Himachal BJP along in his journey. Himachal is famous for throwing out incumbent government’s after a single term in office. Can Thakur break that trend? That will be his biggest challenge. Watch: Jai Ram Thakur to be new Himachal Pradesh CM

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President Ram Nath Kovind arrives in Hyderabad for his first southern sojourn

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday arrived here as part of the annual southern sojourn.Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E S L Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, his cabinet colleagues and senior officials received the president and his wife Savita Kovind at Hakimpet Air Force Station.”The president, who arrived in the city today as part of the winter sojourn, will stay at the Rashtrapathi Nilayam located in Bollarum in Secunderabad till December 27,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (North Zone) B Sumathi told PTI.Kovind is scheduled to visit Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday to inaugurate the Indian Economic Association (IEA) summit at the Acharya Nagarjuna University at 10.30 am.He will later visit the Andhra Pradesh government’s Transitional Headquarters (secretariat) at Velagapudi, where he will inaugurate the AP Fibre Grid project.Kovind is also scheduled to inspect the Real-Time Governance Centre at the Andhra Pradesh secretariat.

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Sikandra bypoll: BJP retains seat, wins by 7000 votes

The Yogi Adityanath led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued its good show in Uttar Pradesh as it comfortably won the Sikandra bypoll on Sunday. BJP won the Sikandra Assembly by defeating Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party by 7,000 votes.The bypoll was held after the seat fell vacant as sitting BJP MLA Mathura Prasad Pal passed away on July 22 . The BJP then nominated Pal’s son Ajit Pal Singh against Samajwadi Party’s Seema Sachan and Congress’ Prabhakar.Around 12 candidates were in fray including five independents in the Sikandra constituency which falls in Kanpur Dehat district. Around 53% of 3.21 lakh total electorate had cast their votes in the by election.The Kanpur Dehat district is mainly known for bandit queen Phoolan Devi’s vengeance after her rape in 1981 Behmai massacre where she and her gang killed 21 upper caste Rajpats.

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Rajasthan Bus Accident: Survivors say minor was rashly driving bus

Survivors of the bus that met with an accident on Saturday in Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan believe they were lucky enough to have escaped the clutches of death. The state government said that an action would be taken against the bus owner and also announced compensation to the families of the deceased and injured. Kamlesh Devi, a victim of the bus accident, was travelling from Uttar Pradesh to Ramdeviji Temple with her daughter, mother-in-law and pregnant sister-in-law and her two kids. Lying on the hospital bed she said, ” “I am married for six years. I have one daughter. But my family wants a son. So, I was coming to the temple to seek a baba’s (traditional healer) blessing so I give birth to a boy.” She also adds that three of her family members were with her but is clueless of the rest. Anurag Prajapat, 13, was travelling with his father vinod to Ramdevji temple to seek blessings. “I am unable to straighten my hands and we wanted to seek blessings at the temple so I get cured,” he said. His father was admitted to a ICU of a hospital.Also readRajasthan: 32 killed as bus falls into riverAnurag and his father were coming from Madhya Pradesh to visit the temple. He said that the bus was being driven rashly by a teenager.33 people were killed on Saturday when a private bus fell into Banas river from a nearly 100-foot high bridge in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, police said. The bus was ferrying passengers from Lal Soth to Sawai Madhopur. According to media reports, the bus was being driven by a 16-year-old conductor who was allegedly speeding and lost control over the vehicle.Injured passengers were rushed to nearby hospitals. District officials are supervising the rescue operations. “There were around 50 passengers in the bus. The injured have been taken to nearby hospitals,” a senior police officer said.The bus had left Sawai Madhopur at 5 am. After breaking the railing of the bridge the bus fell into the river at around 6 am. Passengers were from other states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam. Several of them were going to offer prayers at a temple in Malarna Chour in the district, Police said.

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Suspense over new Himachal Pradesh CM continues, BJP MLAs to meet tomorrow

Amid the suspense over the new Himachal Pradesh chief minister, a meeting of BJP MLAs has been convened tomorrow and they would be addressed by the central observers, the party’s state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti said today.According to senior party leaders, announcement regarding the new chief minister would be made soon, may be at the meeting of the MLAs, but there was no official communication about it yet.The two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs.Also readPM Modi meets BJP MPs from Gujarat, HimachalUnion Health Minister J P Nadda and five times MLA Jai Ram Thakur are the front runners for the post and announcement of the leader would be made after perusing the report of the observers, party leaders had said.The two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharamana and Narendra Singh Tomar — would arrive here tomorrow and address the MLAs, Satti said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsThe leadership issue cropped up following the shocking defeat of the BJPs chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal, which threw the leadership race wide open.Dhumal who was defeated from Sujanpur by Rajinder Rana of the Congress.Satti, who himself lost from Una, said that inspite of “unexpected results” in some constituencies the performance of the party was spectacular.”After feedback from candidates at a meeting in Bilaspur, ahead of counting, we were expecting at least 42 seats. The party won 44 seats,” he said.The state BJP chief said the performance of the BJP in tribal areas was satisfying as it grabbed two out three seats reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates.

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Ghaziabad: Cops thrash right wing fringe group for blocking inter-religion wedding

A Right Wing group was lathicharged by the Ghaziabad Police on Friday when it tried to intervene into an inter-religion wedding ceremony in Kavi Nagar, calling it an anti-national act and love jihad. Police said no complaint has been lodged in the case.According to a Hindu Yuva Vahini member, the incident took place around 1 am, when a Muslim man was about to marry a Hindu girl.”We heard about a Hindu girl marrying a Muslim boy. We intervened to save the girl’s life and asked the boy to change his religion. We also told the girl’s family what it was and that the boy was only interested in their money,” Balraj Doongar, president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, Northern Uttar Pradesh region, said.Doongar further said the girl’s father failed to understand it. “We tried to give him an example also as these Muslims men and boys target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities. It is their strategy to convert Hindu girls. They make them anti-national and turn them against fellow Indians, which is a threat to the country,” Doongar said.Locals reported the incident to police, who allegedly lathicharged the Right Wing group. The group, however, has requested the authority to register a complaint against the policemen for attacking its members.

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‘Not Indian Vedic tradition’- Andhra Pradesh asks temples not to celebrate New Year

In a controversial decision, the Andhra Pradesh government has asked for a ban on upcoming New Year festivities on January 1 in all the temples across the state.There are currently around 15,000 major temples in the state. In a circular issued by the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Department through the Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Trust (HDPT), it has suggested the Hindu temples to not celebrate New Year on January 1 and spend lavishly for the same. Dr C Raghavacharyulu, the Secretary of HDPT, said: “India got independence 70 years ago. But we have been following the English calendar that was made a habit during the British rule. Wishing on 1st January and celebrating it as a festival is not Indian Vedic Tradition.” Even temples have been asked not to wish devotees Happy New Year on New Year’s eve. This decision comes close in heels to several right wing organisations raising questions over Christmas celebrations in schools across the country. However, in most states, government’s have assured that Christmas festivities would go on without a hitch. “It came to my notice from the Honorable Commissioner of Endowments that even Hindu temples are following the British tradition. They are wishing the devotees on 1st January and are spending lakhs of rupees on floral decorations. The Commissioner is of the opinion that it is not proper to spend money received as donation from devotees for western tradition. It should be spent only for Indian tradition,” Raghavacharyulu added. He also said the Ugadi festival, which is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra (lunar) in April, should be celebrated as per the Indian tradition. The notification has been issued on December 21st. According to reports, the notification has been sent to Commissioner and other top officials of the Endowments Department and they have been asked to ensure that temples comply with the order. The TDP government in Andhra Pradesh led by Chandra babu Naidu is part of ruling NDA in the centre. With ANI inputs

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Rajasthan: 32 killed as bus falls into river

At least 32 people were killed on Saturday when a private bus fell into Banas river from a nearly 100- foot high bridge in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, police said. The bus was ferrying passengers from Lal Soth to Sawai Madhopur.Injured passeners have been rushed to a nearby hospital. District officials are supervising the resuce operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences to the families of the affected.Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje also tweeted that the state government has been closely monitoring the situation and rescue operations are on.Congress president Rahul Gandhi has tweeted, “Saddened by the tragedy. My condolences are with the families of the deceased. I would appeal to the state government to offer immediate help to the affected.”Fog is believed to be the cause of the accident. Despite it being Saturday, there were many passengers on the bus who were going to offer prayers at a temple in Malarna Chour. “There were around 50 passengers in the bus. The injured have been taken to nearby hospitals,” a senior police officer said.The bus had left Sawai Madhopur at 5 am. After breaking the railing of the bridge the bus fell into the river at around 6 am. Passengers were from other states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam. Several of them were going to offer prayers at a temple in Malarna Chour in the district, Police said.

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Bill awarding death penalty for hooch trade passed by UP Assembly

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly today passed a bill to award death penalty and life imprisonment to those dealing in spurious liquor.The UP Excise (Amendment) Bill 2017, which was tabled in the House yesterday by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna repealing the ordinance brought by the government in September in this regard was passed by a voice vote.The bill provides for death penalty, life sentence and fine to the tune of Rs 10 lakh and not less than Rs five lakh in case of death caused due to consumption of spurious liquor.It also provides for rigourous imprisonment up to 10 years and not less than six years in case of disability caused by consumption of spurious liquor and fine to the tune of Rs five lakh and not less than Rs three lakh.Earlier in September, the state government had promulgated an ordinance for amending the UP Excise Act with some cases of death and disability due to hooch being reported in the state.Also readChief Minister Yogi Adityanath amends 107-year-old law for capital punishment in hooch death cases in UPToday’s bill seeks to further strengthen the penal provisions to deal with those involved in illicit or spurious liquor.After Delhi and Gujarat, UP will be the third state where bootleggers may be sent to the gallows, if consumption of spurious liquor leads to a loss of life.Also read2 arrested in connection with Azamgarh hooch tragedyHooch tragedies take a heavy toll every year in Uttar Pradesh.In July, 17 people died in Azamgarh after they consumed spurious liquor. In 2015, 28 people were killed in a similar incident in the Malihabad area of Lucknow.The Assembly also passed UP Criminal Law Composition of Offences and Abetment of Trials (Amendment) Bill 2017.The bill pertains to abetment of certain proceedings pending before the magistrate till December 31, 2015.There are about 20,000 such pending cases.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanth had yesterday announced in the House that the government will bring a bill to abolish political cases.

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Uttar Pradesh Assembly: Opposition stages walkout over government’s ‘insensitivity’ towards farmers

Members belonging to the opposition Samajwadi Party and Congress accused the BJP government of harassing farmers, who were using soil from their own land for dwelling units, in the name of checking illegal mining.The matter was raised in the state Assembly during Question Hour by SP member Parasnath Yadav, who was supported by Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu and by Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chowdhury.They alleged that farmers were being harassed for using soil from their own field for domestic purposes on the pretext of checking illegal mining.Also readOpposition stages walkout after UPCOCA Bill passed in Uttar Pradesh AssemblyThe police harass them and leave only after extorting money from innocent farmers, members charged.Responding to their charge, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said there was no ban on digging of earth by farmers in their own field and they can carry up to 10 trolleys of soil.”A government order is also being issued in this regard,” he said.However, dissatisfied with his reply, SP and Congress members staged a walkout, terming the government as “insensitive” towards farmers.

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Opposition stages walkout after UPCOCA Bill passed in Uttar Pradesh Assembly

Even as opposition continued its protest and staged a walk out, the Bill on Uttar Pradesh Control of Organized Crime Act (UPCOCA) was passed in the UP Assembly by voice vote.Now it will go to the UP Council where Yogi Adityanath government may find the sailing tough to get the Bill passed since Samajwadi Party is in majority in the Upper House.Initiating a debate on the Bill, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assured agitated opposition members that political leaders will not be targeted under the provisions of the Bill as his government has already ensured adequate check and balances to check its misuse.He pointed that investors were shying away from investing in Uttar Pradesh due to poor law and order. “The new Act will give more powers to security forces in checking organized crime to instill confidence among people and industrialists,” said he. The Chief Minister also claimed that there was tremendous improvement in the law and order situation under his government.“It is a ‘black law’ and will bring state of emergency in Uttar Pradesh. Provisions of the Bill will be invoked against even journalists if they wrote anything against the ruling party,” said Ram Govind Chadhary, the Leader of opposition.Also readUttar Pradesh government tables UPCOCA to curb crime; opposition cries foulChaudhary questioned that when the Chief Minister himself claims that law and order situation bettered in the state then where was the need for bringing in the UPCOCA?The Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress members staged a boycott when the Bill was put to voice vote and subsequently passed.

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Avalanche warning for several districts in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand

A medium danger to unlikely danger avalanche warning was issued on Thursday for some avalanche-prone districts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In a series of tweets, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said it has avalanche warning from the Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) for several districts in three states. The warning bulletin issued by SASE, valid from 5 pm December 21 to 5 pm December 22, has warned of avalanche for altitude above 3000 mtrs for Laddakh Division and for altitude above 2500 mtrs in other districts. Medium danger level warning (Level 3-Yellow) has been issued for following Ganderbal in Kashmir, the NDMA said. A low danger level warning (Level 2) has been issued for Kargil.Also readDeath toll in J&K avalanche up to 3; 2 still missing”Unlikely Danger level warning (Level 1) for following Distts- Jammu Division- Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar and Udhampur. Kashmir Division- Anantnag, Kulgam, Badgam, Baramulla , Kupwara and Bandipora. Laddakh Division- Leh. Himachal Pradesh- Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla. Uttarakhand- Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh and Tihri Garhwal,” the NDMA said.Also readThree Army jawans missing after avalanche in KashmirEarlier, three soldiers were killed after they were swept by avalanche along the LoC in Kashmir on December 13. Their bodies were found a week later.

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Post Doklam stand-off, SSB increases presence on India-Bhutan border

In view of the Doklam stand-off between the Indian and Chinese armies, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on Wednesday said it has increased its strength along the India-Bhutan border. SSB Director General Rajni Kant Mishra said, “Following Doklam stand-off, SSB is slightly increasing its presence in the eastern part of Sikkim along the India-Bhutan border.”According to the newly-appointed SSB chief — a 1984 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IPS officer — several border outposts have been set up along the border.The force continues to be in an expansion mode and has grown almost three times since it became a combatised border guarding force in 2001, especially so after Doklam stand-off. With an addition of a Sector headquarter headed by a DIG at Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh in 2016, all 18 sector headquarters sanctioned to SSB are in operation. After Doklam two more battalions have been raised, and thus the total number of available battalions is currently 69 — Only 4 short of the authorised number of 73 battalions. Mishra said that four more battalions are also in the process for raising and they will be functional by December 31, 2017.SSB has raised eight more Border Out-Posts (BOPs) increasing the total number of BOPs from 627 in January, 2017 to 635 in November 2017.The SSB guards the 1,751-km India-Nepal and 699-km India-Bhutan borders since its inception.Also various modernisation works were carried out by the force since the stand-off. This year, the force has acquired two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of Netra II version and is in the process of acquiring two Laser Based Explosive cum Narcotic Detectors.The force has got fresh authorisation from MHA for 9,917 Assault Rifles, 22 Automatic Grenade Launcher, 324 Underbarrel Grenade Launchers, and 14 Multiple Grenade Launcher, and they will be procured by March, 2018.A multi-purpose boardroom has also been established at Force Headquarters improving our connectivity with our field units through advanced video conferencing facilities. Safe movement of our troops will be ensured by adding seven numbers of mine protected vehicles, 15 Light Armed Troop Carriers and 12 Bullet Proof Vehicles to fleet.Besides, 114 numbers of “smart plus” equipments, 92 numbers of Radio set and two Ku-Band VSAT from BSNL will soon be procured, go a long way in strengthening existing robust communication network.Two week ago, sources in intelligence agencies stated that there has been a sudden surge in Chinese incursion along the Indo-Chinese border, after Doklam. In the months of October and November, when heavy snowfall starts making the Indo-Chinese border almost inaccessible, and the presence of troops starts thinning, a sudden surge in Chinese activity has made Indian security establishment wary about the future.In the past two months, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) transgressed into India as many as 29 times through vehicles and at least thrice via aerial route. The transgressions happened across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladkah and Uttarakhand, especially in Trig Height, Despang Area, Pangong Tso in Ladakh and Rimkim in Uttarakhand.Claiming the incursions as serious in nature, sources privy to the development said, on October 11, two Chinese choppers entered Tunjan La height in Rimkhim Uttrakhand 4.5 km inside Indian territory. In November, 15 such incidents were reported in Ladkah and Uttarakhand region. Sources said that generally, the number of transgression decrease during winters. However, this time, there is no stopping.Since the stand-off, the PLA have pitched 386 tents just 200 metres away from the Doka La stand-off point, intelligence agencies said. Each tent has a capacity of four men. Besides, there are 30 tents that can accommodate two men each.”They have also built 59 shelters, 110 bunkers, 10 hangers and stationed two mobile communication vehicles,” said the source.The Doklam dispute had began on June 16, when a construction party of the PLA started building a road near the disputed tri-junction of Indo-Sino and Bhutan border jutting near the Chumbi valley. It continued for 70 days during during which the soldiers of both the armies held their respective positions in what India described as “no war, no peace” mode. New Delhi and Beijing eventually agreed to pull back their troops towards the end of August.

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PM Modi meets BJP MPs from Gujarat, Himachal

Even as the choices for chief ministers of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are shrouded in secrecy, BJP MPs from both states met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.”Met party MPs from Himachal Pradesh. Had a wonderful interaction with BJP MPs from Gujarat,” Modi said in tweets.The two sets of MPs felicitated the Prime Minister for the two victories; the party retained Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term and recaptured Himachal after a gap of five years.Also present were party president Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The party’s state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav was also present for the Gujarat MPs’ meet, while Union Minister JP Nadda and MP Anurag Thakur were present in the meeting with Himachal MPs.Within the party, the thinking seems to be that there are no ‘moral grounds’ for making Prem Kumar Dhumal the CM, given his electoral loss. He is also just two years shy of the BJP’s 75-year caveat for retirement. The two other top contenders are Nadda and Jai Ram Thakur, a five-time winner.In Gujarat, however, Vijay Rupani is likely to stay on as CM as insiders believe removing him would look like capitulation to Patidar pressure, not to mention that he was projected as the Chief Minister face. Rupani won by a huge margin, beating one of Congress’s strongest candidates.Apart from Vijay Rupani, the other names doing rounds are that of MoS road transport and shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, Vajubhai Vala, the incumbent governor of Karnataka. Ranchodbhai Chanabhai Faldu, who is a Patel leader and won the Kalavad seat is also being projected as a Patidar face.

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Stalwarts tune in to ‘ZEE UP-UK’ in Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, high-profile political leader and MP Amar Singh joined Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra at the launch ceremony of ZEE Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, in Lucknow on Wednesday.With this, ZEE Media added a new regional channel to its bouquet and became the largest private player in the country.Besides the two chief ministers, several Cabinet ministers from UP and Uttarakhand, MPs, MLAs, top bureaucrats and prominent members of the society were present at the Crystal Hall of Taj Vivanta to witness the launch of this top-notch ZEE regional channel.Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra said that the new channel will focus on “aap ki baat” (what affects and impacts the common people) in the new regional channel. It will make an attempt to connect the people with the government for quick redressal of their grievances.Speaking on the occasion, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying that the recent elections managed to turn Rahul Gandhi a thread-wearing Hindu visiting one temple after the other. “Gujarat victory will give a new direction to the country. People have accepted BJP’s development plank and rejected the dynastic rule,” he added.On this auspicious launch, Subhash Chandra played the role of a simple ‘anchor’ asking tough questions to the UP Chief Minister. He began by asking what would be the Yogi government’s expectations from ZEE UP & UK. “My biggest expectation from the ZEE regional channel would be that it plays a positive role in the development of the state and gives space to successful stories to make a positive impact on society,” the CM said.Chandra assured thechief minister that Zee UP-UK will exactly play that role for the development and growth of the two states.On the Yogi government’s attempt to woo investors in UP and holding an investors’ meet, Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra expressed concerns about the law and order situation in the state. “My government has accorded top priority to control crime and improve the law and order situation. Over 25 criminals have been shot dead in police encounters and over 1,400 sent behind bars. We are bringing in new Act UPCOCA to check organssed crime effectively. We have already taken several steps to provide security cover to investors and introduced a new industrial policy and single-window system to create an investor-friendly environment in the state,” said the CM.Replying to Chandra’s question on widespread corruption at all levels, particularly in government schemes, Yogi Adityanath said that his government has introduced an e-office system to hold ministers and bureaucrats babus accountable. “Files would be cleared by ministers and bureaucrats within three days, or else they will held accountable for delay. This system would be implemented at all levels to weed out corruption, from top to bottom,” the CM assured.Chandra also sought to know the Yogi government’s plan to promote tourism. He pointed out that in a country like Thailand, tourism contributes 30 per cent in its per capita income, and if UP promotes tourism, it may surpass even the national average. “With the help of the Central government, the state government is promoting eco, spiritual and religious tourism. UP will top in the country in the coming days in attracting foreign tourists in the state,” assured Adityanath.On the occasion, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also thanked Subhash Chandra for launching a new regional channel in the Hill State.

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After Gujarat, Amit Shah turns focus on Bengal, to draw roadmap to strengthen BJP in state

After emerging victorious in the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections, Central leadership of BJP has instructed to go all out in strengthening the party organisation in West Bengal.Sources said that on December 19, BJP national president Amit Shan had given such instruction in a meeting with party national secretary from Bengal and former state president Rahul Sinha.Shah had reportedly said that that state leaders needed to pay attention towards completion of party’s booth committee formation.In the meeting which was conducted late in the evening Shah had first taken stock about the party’s activities in Bengal.Later he said that along with the campaigns, meetings and rallies it should also be ensured that booth committees were paid due attention. The first task would be to build at least a 10-member booth committee in all the booths and later work on increasing the number.Sinha had also been instructed to mobilise all the party state frontal organisations and different cells. Sinha has also been handed over the task of seeing that more and more defection from different parties to BJP takes place as well as eminent personalities and intellectuals should also join the party.It was also found out that Shah wants to make the Gujarat and HP victory as the turning point for the West Bengal BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections and he would conduct a meeting with the state BJP leadership in January 2018 and draw up a roadmap. Shah is also likely to visit West Bengal next month.Sinha said that from the importance the Central leadership was paying to West Bengal it is clear how serious and focussed our leaders in Delhi are about Bengal.

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India Hindu group warns schools over Christmas celebrations

Hindu Jagran Manch sent letters to schools in Aligarh city, asking them not to celebrate Christmas.

Airline trainee molested by hotel’s staff in Gurugram

A trainee flight attendant was allegedly molested by a receptionist of a guest house in the posh DLF area in Gurugram, following which he was arrested, police said on Tuesday.The 22-year-old woman who works with Indigo airlines was residing at Hotel Siris Inn, the accommodation provided by the airlines.She informed the reception that she was checking out when the accused, Shiv Kumar, 24, a native of Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri, barged into her room and asked if she was happy with the services,” Station House Officer of DLF phase-II Sudeep Kumar said.”The victim said a tap in the washroom was not working and Kumar asked her to show it. When they went inside, he molested her. After she screamed for help, the accused tried to flee from the spot,” Kumar said. The accused was arrested by the police and later sent to judicial custody.

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JP Nadda questions govt for not implementing Clinical Establishment Act

Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday questioned the Delhi government for not implementing the Clinical Establishment Act that tightens the noose over the functioning of private hospitals, clinics and path labs.”Why Delhi government has so far not implemented the act? I have also written a letter to all the state CMs to enforce the act in their respective states. The states should adopt the act at the earliest. The model act is extremely important in dealing with the clinical establishment in the city,” said Nadda.The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, has been enacted by the Centre to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribe minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them.”We have also asked them to alter the act, if needed but should not leave the area unattended,” the minister added.The Delhi government is already considering to implement the act. A letter has been sent to Delhi Health Secretary with the suggestions regarding the act. However, the decision is yet to come out.”The plan has been sent to the health secretary. We will have a meeting with all the stakeholders to finalise it,” said Dr Kirti Bhushan, Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Delhi government.At present, the state government regulates the nursing homes and private hospitals under the Nursing Home Cell. The cell was established in the department to register private nursing homes and hospitals as per the Delhi Nursing Home. Inspections are carried out to see that the nursing homes maintain the standards and norms as per the rules in the said Act. Efforts are made to prevent the functioning of the nursing homes providing inferior quality service and suggesting appropriate action against the unregistered nursing homes.The act is already implemented in four states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, and all Union Territories except the NCT of Delhi since March 1, 2012.The act is applicable to all types (both therapeutic and diagnostic types) of clinical establishments from the public and private sectors, belonging to all recognised systems of medicine, including single-doctor clinics. The only exception is clinical establishments run by the Armed Forces.

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Focus shifts to Karnataka and Northeast polls

Gujarat secured. Himachal Pradesh wrested. The BJP has shifted its focus, strategising for Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Karnataka where elections will take place next year.The party believes that a dip in groundnut prices, which cost it dearly in Gujarat’s rural pockets, will help it in Congress-ruled Karnataka, where it has been highlighting “no steps” taken by the Siddaramaiah government to compensate farmers.”In Gujarat, we had assured farmers that the entire produce will be bought by February, and prices have only dipped marginally. In Karnataka, the Congress is doing nothing to restore groundnut prices or buy the produce from farmers. It will be a major issue during the Assembly polls there,” said a Union Minister, who declined to be named.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally in Karnataka on January 28, concluding a 75-day Nav Karnataka Nirman Parivartan Yatra. Undertaken by the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, BS Yeddyurappa, it was launched by party chief Amit Shah. Modi is expected to attack the “failure and corruption” in Siddaramaiah.Modi also made a brief stopover in Mangalore on Monday, which was interpreted as a message that Karnataka is next on the radar.BJP leaders insisted that the party is serious about making a concerted bid to wrest Karnataka, which is the gateway to South India. Karnataka was incidentally the first Southern state to witness a lotus bloom in 2008. The BJP’s poll in-charge for Karnataka, Prakash Javadekar, will visit the state for four days from December 23 to December 26. Meanwhile, Modi visited Mizoram and Meghalaya last week and inaugurated various development projects.He also inaugurated a new BJP Meghalaya unit office there.The BJP is already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast and has set up a North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in 2016.Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland will go to the polls in February 2018, and later in the year in October, elections will take place in Mizoram.The BJP is looking at adding all three states to its tally. The BJP has already sent in research teams in the three states. The Congress, on the other hand, is up for a tough contest in an effort to save its presence in the region.In Tripura, both parties are in for a tough contest against the Communist Party of India (Marxist) whose Manik Sarkar has had an uncontested run for the last 19 years. While the BJP will focus on development in the state where over 65% of the people live below the poverty line, the Congress’s poll pitch will be inclusive development to woo the tribal vote.In Meghalaya, apart from the Jaintia vote bank, the BJP will focus on wooing Christians. Modi has focused on scams. In contrast, the BJP has allies in the Nagaland, where it will face severe attacks on the Naga Peace Framework, and face questions on the territorial integrity of neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Mizoram.Battles aheadThe BJP is already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast and has set up a North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in 2016. Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland will go to the polls in Feb 2018, and later in the year, Mizoram will go to polls

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BJP gears up to make a mark in states not won

In the midst of celebrations after retaining Gujarat and snatching Himachal Pradesh from the Congress, the BJP has not lost sight of the 2019 General elections. The party is now preparing to make deep inroads into Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and the East coast.After a ‘close shave’ in Gujarat, BJP has decided not become complacent. Realising that 2019 might not be a cakewalk for the party, it has renewed its efforts aiming at winning 120-odd seats, and called it Project Coromandal. These seats open a window to make up for the losses it might incur in the northern states.Though the project is a rough reference to a geographical area stretching along the east coast — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal — the North East too has been included in this as a logical political extension.”We cannot afford to be complacent. In UP, we bagged 71 of 80, and in MP we won 27 out of 29. But the point is that we might not be able to better these numbers in 2019 Lok Sabha elections; we may lose some. We need to expand to regions and states where we have not yet made inroads into and where there is scope of expansion. This way we would be able to make up for the losses in the states where we performed spectacularly,” said a senior BJP leader.In the six states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, out of a total of 190 parliamentary seats, BJP bagged only 15 in 2014 despite a saffron sweep in the rest of the country. The party wants to change that in 2019.BJP’S PERFORMANCE IN 2014 POLLSIn the six states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, out of a total of 190 parliamentary seats, BJP bagged only 15 in 2014 despite a saffron sweep in the rest of the country

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How Yogi Adityanath delivered the Hindu votes for BJP in South Gujarat

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath played an important role in writing the script for the BJP retaining power for sixth time in a row in politically crucial Gujarat Assembly elections.After becoming CM, in just nine month Yogi Adityanath catapulted himself to top among the list of BJP star campaigners and earned a place in party’s top front-line leadership with his administrative and oratory skills.It was a part of the well-thought strategy of the BJP President Amit Shah to press Yogi Adityanath into campaigning, particularly in South Gujarat, to unite Hindu voters. The main aim was to woo UP and Bihar migrants population working and settled in Southern Gujarat industrial belt.Also read’What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdictThere are about 60 lakhs UP and Biharites who are working in this part of Gujarat. In many seats from Umagaon to Vadodara in South Gujarat, Hindi-speaking voters from UP and Bihar play an important and decisive role in deciding the fate of candidates.Also readGujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will boost morale, says Ashok ChavanKnowing his image among the core BJP vase, Amit Shah had given a specific task to Adityanath to campaign aggressively in Southern Gujarat targeting voters from UP and Bihar to ensure victory of BJP candidates. Till 2012 polls, 70-75% votes from this region used to go to the Congress but Amit Shah’s strategy changed the equations in BJP’s favour. From November 26 to December 12, Yogi Adityanath made as many as eight whirlwind tour to Gujarat, mainly concentrating on the Southern Gujarat districts.Amidst his hectic campaigning back home in Uttar Pradesh for party candidates in crucial urban local bodies’ polls, Yogi Adityanath held rallies in as many as 29 districts in Gujarat where Hindi-speaking people from UP and Bihar are working and settled.Results show that Yogi Adityanat not only succeeded in countering the influence of Patidar movement but also JHA effect (Jignesh Mewani, Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakur) to help the party unite Hindus against their caste affiliations.Barring a few day meetings, most of his rallies, meetings and road shows were well attended in Assembly constituencies of Valsaad, Navsari, Surat, Pardi, Chikhli, Gandevi, Kabeelpur, Bhuj, Sukhpur, Mankuwa, Bidada, Mudara etc.“Party’s strategy for this part of Gujarat was viewed with success even before polling and results were out when gatherings at Yogi’s meetings swelled in numbers,” disclosed a senior BJP state leader who accompanied the Chief Minister during his Gujarat campaigning.For Yogi Adityanath, it was an opportunity to go up the ladder in the party leadership hierarchy. “He proved his political mettle in Gujarat elections beyond doubts,” pointed the party State General Secretary Vijay Pathak.The BJP’s victory in Gujarat has overnight enhanced the political stature of Yogi Adiyanath and bracketed him among top five leaders in the party central leadership. From BJP MP to UP Chief Minister to earning this distinction, it took only nine month to this firebrand Hindutva leader in achieving this rare feat.

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Watch-Pakistan never conspires: Farooq Abdullah rejects PM Modi’s charges

Without taking name of Congress’ leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah said on Tuesday the grand-old party would have won Gujarat elections, had some of its leaders avoided using wrong words.”I do not want to take any names, but if some people wouldn’t have said certain wrong things then the Congress would have won in Gujarat,” Abdullah said, suggesting that Congress lost due to Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Also readGujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will boost morale, says Ashok ChavanRegarding Himachal Pradesh’s result, the NC president said it was nothing new for the state as it was a regular pattern there. ” In Himachal Pradesh, one party unseats the other every five years, it is nothing new,” he told media before entering Parliament house to attend winter session.On being asked if a conspiracy to defeat Prime Minister Modi in elections was made in Pakistan, Abdullah said, “Pakistan never Conspires”. The BJP stood victorious in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections with 44 seats while the Congress pocketed 20 in the total 68 constituencies. In Gujarat, the BJP won the election for the 182-member assembly with a clear majority of 99 seats.

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Gujarat elections 2017: How Amit Shah’s team brought it home for the BJP

Team Amit Shah has delivered once again, wresting Gujarat in a tightly-contested election. This time, it came good on its promise to retain the high-stakes’ bastion of Gujarat. In that group, two men, who besides being the party’s strategists and implementers of stratagems devised by Shah, are also his most trusted lieutenants: national general secretaries Bhupendra Yadav and Anil JainBattle-hardened partymen, both have seen action in previous elections, including Bihar and UP, and enjoy the unquestioned trust of the party’s top bosses. Silently and diligently, they have powered the war efforts of the party under the overall leadership of their party chief while marshaling local resources—men and materials —in Gujarat.Yadav and Jain came together once again in Gujarat to script a crucial win for the party. While Yadav was the party in-charge of the state, Jain was called in two months before the polls to the state.The two came together for the first time in Bihar, and then again in Uttar Pradesh.Jain assiduously oversaw several departments such as media, social media, the feedback system and war room, among others. Booth-level arrangements and constituency-wise meetings were handled by Yadav. The war room was operated of ‘Kamalam’, the official address in Gandhinagar.An extensive feedback system had been put in place by the party. To bolster outreach, national media in-charge Anil Baluni and Sanjay Mayukh had been stationed at Ahmedabad’s media centre. Sambit Patra, a national party spokesman, also camped in the state to handle media and public debates.

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Govt tables bill in Lok Sabha to let NRIs vote in Indian polls

The Central government on Monday tabled a bill in the Lok Sabha to ensure that more than 10 million Indian passport holders who are overseas get to exercise their right to vote in future through proxy. The draft law also seeks to make the election law gender neutral by replacing the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to benefit service voters.According to the provisions of ‘Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ introduced by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, can now appoint a proxy voter to cast their votes. The Narendra Modi-government had submitted before the Supreme Court that the Cabinet would consider a draft bill seeking to allow e-voting by NRIs, armed forces personnel, and security forces working outside their constituency.As of now, overseas Indians with Indian passports are able to vote only if they are physically present in the constituency. However, in the 2014 elections, only 11,846 voters registered, Election Commission statistics reveal. This may allow the ruling BJP to translate the euphoria of events such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Madison Square event in New York and elsewhere into votes in the next general election.An expert committee of the Election Commission working on the issue had in 2015 forwarded the legal framework to the Law Ministry to amend the electoral laws to allow overseas Indians use proxy voting. The bill said the necessary provision of coming to India to cast ballot caused ‘hardship’ to overseas electors.Another provision in the amendment bill relates to spouses of service voters. As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law. The draft bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender neutral.Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters. According to Election Commission for 2014 electoral rolls, , 11, 846 oversses electors had registered. Out of the total 11,846 registered overseas electors, 11 ,448 (96.64%) are registered in the State of Kerala and the rest 398 (3.36%) are registered in the States of Punjab (138), Tamil Nadu (112) Puducherry (56), Goa (27), Delhi (13), Haryana (12), Daman & Diu (9), Gujarat (7), Chandigarh & Madhya Pradesh 6 (6 each), West Bengal (4), Chhattisgarh & Himachal Pradesh (2 each), and Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar PradeshThe Opposition Congress had submitted to the EC that the privileges not being given to Indian voters must not be extended to NRI voters either. In the petition, the party favoured sending ballot papers by electronic mail or the acceptance of self-attested ballot papers as valid votes. The party has emphasized that internet voting is prone to misuse and rigging and therefore cannot be a viable voting mechanism.Other bills introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday included getting permission to transport bamboo, The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The government has proposed to do away with the practice of nominating practising dentists who do not have required qualifications to the Dental Council of India.(ends)OTHER PROVISIONThe draft law introduced in the Lok Sabha also seeks to make the election law gender neutral by replacing the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to benefit service voters.NRI population abroad 10037761 Countries with large NRI populationsAustralia213710Bahrain350000Canada200000Germany42500Italy97719Kuwait579058Malaysia150000Nepal112500Oman718000Qatar500000Saudi Arabia1789000Singapore350000Thailand90000UAE1750000UK1500000USA927283Out of 214 countries, 101 countries have provision of external voting.Few Countries where external voting is allowed Voting methodUnited States of AmericaVaries by state. External voting managed on state levelUnited KingdomMixed (postal, proxy)TurkeyPersonalSouth AfricaPersonalNew ZealandPersonal, postal, faxMalaysiaPostalIsraelPersonalItalypostalGermanyPostalEstoniaE-voting, personal, postal

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Rahul Gandhi lauds party’s performance, claims decency its strength

Accepting the people’s verdict in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi struck a conciliatory note and lauded party workers for putting up a fight with “dignity and courage”.Though it lost, in what can be considered a moral victory, the party has managed to rake in 80 seats, the maximum since it last held power in the state in 1995.”My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated to everyone that the Congress’s greatest strength is its decency and courage,” he said on Twitter.He said that the Congress party accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states.”I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me,” he said.Party communication department chief Randeep Surjewala took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra asking him “not to dream of Congress Mukta” India and took potshots at BNP, saying Rahul has pushed the BJP in the trap of 99, an allusion to the 99 seats that the BJP looked set to win. In Hindi, it translates into getting trapped in a vicious cycle that never end.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Amit Shah says drop in seats due to Congress’s ‘malicious’ campaign

Deriding the Congress for having “outsourced” its election efforts in Gujarat — an obvious reference to Hardik Patel and company — a visibly elated Amit Shah explained away the drop in seats to the “malicious” Congress campaign and the casteism that it raked up.Speaking to mediapersons after the results became clear, Shah rejected the Patidar phenomenon or the Hardik Patel factor as consequential enough to have caused a problem for the party. “This victory for the party in two states is a win for the tireless efforts put in by crores of BJP workers. It is a victory of the policies of the Prime Minister and that of the pro-poor schemes of the Central government. It is a victory of politics of development and performance over dynasticism, casteism and appeasement. Since Narendra Modi has become the PM, he is trying to weed out these three demons that have ill-affected the polity of India, and after UP results, these results have proved that a new era of politics of performance has dawned after 70 years of independence,” he said.”I offer a heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us another opportunity to serve them,” he added.”Casteism was fanned in India, and in such a vicious atmosphere, increasing vote share as well is a big achievement. I have not seen such levels of nasty campaigning in my whole political career: using bad words for the Prime Minister, things have come to this.””We have won in areas which are supposed to be the bastions of Hardik and company,” he said.Shah took solace in the increase in the vote share of the party compared to 2012. “We are going to make a government in Gujarat for the sixth time. Last elections, we got 47.85 per cent votes, and this time we have 49.10 per cent. Under such a hugely casteist campaign by the Opposition, people’s support for the BJP has gone up,” he said.He added, “The result is that all main leaders of Congress have lost. People have put faith in Narendra Modi and they want to join the bandwagon of Modi’s developmental politics. We have another four states elections to face in the near future and in these four states, we shall certainly make governments. In 2019, we shall achieve the PM’s vision of New India.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Down 16 seats in vote of caution; bags Himachal

In the end, it was left to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver, once again, Gujarat. Facing its toughest electoral contest in over 22 years, the BJP fell back on its most-trusted mascot to help it cross the finishing line in the state.The Narendra Modi-led BJP bucked strong anti-incumbency to retain Gujarat, while at the same time displacing the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.With Monday’s results, the BJP is now in power in 19 states while the Congress remains at the helm in only four — Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram and Meghalaya.The BJP won its sixth straight Assembly election in Gujarat — but with its lowest tally ever — helped in no small measure by Modi’s 34 rallies. While the Congress’s vote share went up from 38 per cent in 2012 to over 41.5 per cent, BJP’s vote share also increased from 47.85 per cent to 49 per cent. However, when compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the party swept all 26 seats, the BJP’s vote-share fell by almost 11 per cent, from 60 per cent to 49.In the hill-state of Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 44, up 18 seats from 2012, to dethrone the Congress, which came down to just 21 seats, down 15 from its 2012 tally, in the 68-member House.However, in a shock for the BJP, its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost to his erstwhile aide Rajinder Rana from the Sujanpur constituency. Outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh, however, won from Arki while his son Vikramaditya Singh also won.However, while the Saffron party leaders suggested that victory and not size of the win matters, knowing Modi and his style of functioning, political observers expect some tough decisions in the offing.For Modi understands well that the next general election is only about a year away and nothing can be left to chance.A loss of 16 seats — the party’s tally went down from 115 to 99 in a House of 182, while Congress won 77 seats — BJP leaders say will certainly lead to intense soul-searching and pointed questions from the prime minister.”Election results show the country is ready for reforms,” PM Modi said while addressing party leaders and workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Monday evening.The Sensex couldn’t agree with him more. After counting of votes began at 8 am at 37 centres, Sensex crashed by over 800 points in early trades as initial trends showed that the two parties were neck-and-neck. However, it soon recovered as it became more or less clear that the BJP would emerge as the winner. For the opposition Congress, which went for broke under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi (who was anointed party president after the campaigning had ended), the results point at two things: First, there are signs of revival but that revival could be a long, tough road ahead. Second, every time it can’t fall back on the likes of Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor to put up a decent fight against the BJP.Counting of votes came with its own share of twists and turns. At one point, the BJP was leading in 108 seats, but the eventual tally was 99.A quick analysis of the results shows that different regions of the state voted differently. While suffering heavy reverses in Saurashtra, the BJP managed to hold on to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot, winning 33 out of 37 seats on offer. The Congress improved its tally in Ahmedabad city from two to four, but failed to open its account in three of Gujarat’s largest cities.The BJP improved its tally in north and central Gujarat, the two regions where Congress had won 44 out of 93 seats in 2012. This time, the BJP increased its numbers in the two regions to 53 seats, while its tally in south Gujarat dipped from 28 to 25 seats. The rallies by Patidar reservation leader Hardik Patel hurt the BJP in rural areas, but failed to deliver any gains to Congress in urban seats. In Morbi, Gir Somnath and Amreli, the party could not win a single seat.Incidentally, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which had led to huge protests in Surat, Rajkot and other places, and was repeatedly raised by Rahul Gandhi in his campaign speeches, didn’t seem to have yielded any major electoral gains for the party.

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What the verdicts mean…

The early jitters in the stock market on Monday morning showed how nervous investors were. The markets were confident of a BJP victory, thanks to the exit polls, but when early counting trends showed the party neck-and-neck with Congress, the Sensex tanked more than 800 points. Later, as counting progressed, it recovered.
Despite taking tough measures such as demonetisation and the brouhaha over GST rollout, the government has managed to keep voters under its wings. Now it can stick to its policy trajectory, with reforms and fiscal consolidation topping the agenda.

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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 19 December 2017 1:30 ISTMust read’FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawalForget sharing your data with banks, in Goa you need to share Aadhaar for paid sex<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>For IndiaThe issue of quota could be back in the political discourse with the Congress’s promise of reservation to Patidars having helped it to consolidate in Patel belts of Gujarat. In order to consolidate its Hindu vote-bank, the BJP’s call for Ram temple will reach a crescendo before 2019 elections. The Hindutva message will be pushed further and deeper. Reacting to Rahul Gandhi reworking his party’s strategy from minority outreach to soft Hindutva, the BJP will scale up Hindutva, along with issues like the ‘Triple Talaq’ in the run-up to 2019. This also means that despite being in office for three years, the Modi government is yet to suffer any substantial anti-incumbency wave. It can breathe easy in 2019 when it faces the next general elections. Trading community’s woes will now get more attention, especially after the results in the Saurashtra region, the diamond hub. The message is, reform with caution. Also, the middle class needs to be kept in mind. The echo of Monday’s results will be heard far beyond the boundaries of the two states and will impact upcoming elections in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. For GujaratGujarat has given one message loud and clear: The voter cannot be taken for granted. BJP got simple majority, but that’s about it. Congress has gained but doesn’t get to rule the state. Were it not for PM Modi, the BJP would have come close to experiencing defeat. Gujarat trusts Modi, but wants the party to work on unresolved issues. Congress could not encash 22 years of anti-incumbency, dissent over GST and Patidar support. Rahul fought gallantly, but will need the rank and file to convert narrow defeats into victory. It must now fight hard on people’s issues. For Himachal PradeshAn end of the road for BJP stalwarts Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal. While Shanta Kumar was already out of the race, the defeat of two-time CM Dhumal and BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti has sent shock waves through the party. With the last-minute decision of declaring Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate backfiring, the BJP will now think of projecting leaders with a stronger grassroots connect in future Assembly polls. For modi-shah & the bjpThe iron grip of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on the party will continue. Modi remains the principal vote-catcher of the BJP, while Shah remains the ‘Shah’ of strategy. There will be more centralisation of power within the BJP. The loss of over a dozen seats will act as a wake-up call for the duo. They will now have to re-assess the impact of hard reforms measures on the rural electorate (results in rural Gujarat being a pointer). For Rahul & CongMonday’s results can boost opposition morale in the run-up to the crucial seven state elections in 2018 and the general elections in 2019. Unlike in Gujarat, the Congress state leaderships in Rajasthan and Karnataka are popular. A stronger Congress can also become the nucleus around which all other non-BJP regional parties can gather. Congress has recorded its best performance in Gujarat and this will definitely be a moral booster. It has taken away some 16 seats from the BJP in Gujarat — the credit for which should go to party president Rahul Gandhi. For Hardik & PatidarsDuring the campaign, Hardik Patel was confident that the Patidars would back him, and, therefore, Congress would defeat BJP. That hasn’t happened. He has said that the agitation will be more intense if BJP wins; but he must now introspect as the Patidars in urban areas haven’t voted for Congress, and those in rural areas voted against BJP because they suffered an agrarian crisis. With BJP back in power, Patidars may not get the reservation quota. For Economy & ReformsThe early jitters in the stock market on Monday morning showed how nervous investors were. The markets were confident of a BJP victory, thanks to the exit polls, but when early counting trends showed the party neck-and-neck with Congress, the Sensex tanked more than 800 points. Later, as counting progressed, it recovered. Despite taking tough measures such as demonetisation and the brouhaha over GST rollout, the government has managed to keep voters under its wings. Now it can stick to its policy trajectory, with reforms and fiscal consolidation topping the agenda.

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Assembly Elections 2017 result: It’s a victory of PM Narendra Modi’s development politics, says Nitin Gadkari

The BJP’s performance in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls is a victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development politics over “dirty caste politics” of Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.”All sections of society have voted above caste politics. This is a win of development politics of the Prime Minister. In Gujarat, OBC, patidar, dalit all were used for caste politics by the Congress but caste politics could not get success,” senior BJP leader said.Gadkari said the success of the BJP in both the states is “people’s approval of our policies, work done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development agenda”.He said, “As far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, after he became Congress president, he has lost Himachal Pradesh and could not bring the Congress in power to Gujarat.” Gadkari accused the Congress of leaving no stone unturned in portraying the BJP and the central government in bad light and added that “despite the Congress’ dirty caste-based politics, people have reposed faith in the BJP”.”This will strengthen our policies,” he said and added that in Gujarat the BJP is ruling the state since 1989 and after years of governance, the people have reposed faith in the party.Asked about opposition charges of EVM tampering, the senior party leader questioned as to why they raised the issue only after losing elections.”When they lose elections they raise EVM issue. Were EVMs functioning properly when Congress got lead in several seats? “When you (Congress) won Punjab then EVM was functioning properly and when you lose then EVM malfunctions,” Gadkari, who is the minister of Road, Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation, said.He said victory or defeat in politics and elections should be embraced with an open heart and such kind of allegations were not proper.

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Himachal Elections 2017: Prem Kumar Dhumal leads BJP to emphatic win but loses his seat

As the BJP in Himachal Pradesh celebrated its success in the hill state, one man looked crestfallen. For the party’s chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal, was among those defeated in the state that soundly voted for the saffron party.Dhumal, 73, was expected to run the state if the BJP came to power. The BJP won, but the people voted against him.The former chief minister was defeated from Sujanpur by his Congress rival and former confidant Rajinder Rana.But the veteran BJP leader still wields considerable influence over the state, and it may be too early to write him off.Dhumal, who moved from farming to teaching English and then politics, is largely seen in the small peace-loving hill state as the common man’s representative — quite unlike his political rival and outgoing Congress chief minister ‘Raja’ Virbhadra Singh, who came from an erstwhile kingdom.Also readHimachal Elections 2017: From PM Modi to Virbhadra Singh, who said what after BJP’s thumping win The gentle, soft-spoken and humble man from the lower hills has risen from the ranks in the BJP and was expected to become its chief minister for the third time.He helmed the state earlier from March 1998 to March 2003, when he headed the BJP-Himachal Vikas Congress coalition government, and again from January 2008 to December 2012.Also readHimachal Assembly Election 2017: How Congress went on to lose another stateHis supporters say Dhumal’s amiable nature and easy availability are his USP.An MA in English and a law graduate, he has been a three-time MP and a two-time Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMBorn into a non-political, farming family on April 10, 1944, in the Samirpur village of Hamirpur, the son of an ex- serviceman taught English in a private college before embracing politics.His son, Anurag Thakur, who took over from him as BJP MP from Hamirpur, describes him as a simple man with a deep sense of commitment.”We look up to him for his dedication, hard work and commitment towards public life. As a child we felt we did not get enough time to spend with him in the family, but now feel proud that he has given his life for the service and welfare of the people of the state,” Thakur told PTI.Dhumal started his political career with the RSS’s students’ wing, the ABVP. He became vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing, in 1982.The BJP picked him as its candidate for the Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency in 1984 after state stalwart Jagdev Chand declined to contest from there. Dhumal lost the election, but won the seat in 1989 and 1991, before losing to Vikram Singh Katoch in 1996.After the death of Jagdev Chand in 1993, Dhumal became active in state politics. He was BJP president in the state in 1993 and became its chief minister in March 1998 when he won the Bamsan constituency by a margin of 18,000 votes.Often referred to as “sadak wale mukhya mantri” — or the CM who built roads — Dhumal was known for ushering in development, building up infrastructure such as a road network, the lifeline of the hill state.He stepped down as an MLA in the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly after winning the Hamirpur seat in a 2007 Lok Sabha by-election, held after the expulsion of the BJP’s Suresh Chandel, who figured in the cash-for-questions scandal — a controversy about MPs being bribed for asking questions in Parliament.In another by-election — this one in May 2008 — Dhumal was replaced by his son, Thakur.In the run-up to the polls, Dhumal, who became state chief minister for the second time in 2007, faced stiff competition from younger leaders eyeing the CM’s chair.But the veteran leader, who changed his constituency from Hamirpur this time, emerged as the front-runner once again.In a break from tradition, BJP chief Amit Shah announced his name as the party’s chief ministerial candidate a few days after launching its campaign in October this year.Dhumal, however, is two years away from the 75-year upper age limit fixed by the BJP top brass for retirement from active politics.The party seemingly chose him because he fitted into the state’s caste combination. He is from the dominant Thakur community, comprising 28 per cent of the electorate.His other competitors for the top slot included Shanta Kumar, who is in his 80s, and J P Nadda. Nadda, a Union minister, is 57, but belongs to the Brahmin community which comprises only 18 per cent of the electorate.Some believed he might have lost the election because of the change in the constituency.Dhumal and Singh have been alternating as chief ministers for the last two decades, as the state has seldom broken its tradition of electing the same government twice in a row.While Dhumal is considered the strongman from the lower hills, Singh holds sway over the higher hills.The Congress in the 2012 assembly elections won 36 seats with a 42.8 per cent vote share while the BJP won 26 seats with a 38.4 per cent vote share.

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Himachal Elections 2017: From PM Modi to Virbhadra Singh, who said what after BJP’s thumping win

Unseating Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday registered an emphatic win over the ruling party in the 68-member Assembly. The latest trend showed that the BJP has won 34 seats while it was leading on 10 other seats. Its rival Congress won 19 seats and was leading in 2 other constituencies, as per the latest trends. The BJP’s win turned sour as its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal and its state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti both were defeated in their respective constituencies. While Dhumal was lost the Sujanpur Assembly seat to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by about 3,500 votes, Satti was defeated in Una by Satpal Singh Raizada by over 3,000 votes.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh won from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMHere is how local and national leaders of the two parties reaction to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results:Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Also readHimachal Pradesh Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP wins battle, Virbhadra Singh accepts defeatThe results in Himachal Pradesh show that if if do not work for the development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after 5 years people will not accept you.Watch: PM Modi speaks at BJP Headquarters after party’s win in Gujarat, HimachalAmit Shah, BJP PresidentThe two-third lead in Himachal Pradesh shows that people there want to join PM Narendra Modi in the journey to development.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP CM candidatePersonal loss is not of much importance.The gain that victory has brought to state BJP is important. Thankful to people of the state for voting for BJP. In politics, sometimes one wins, sometimes one loses. I was not expecting to lose, I will do analyse this. Rajinder Rana, Congress (Who defeated Dhumal)It’s a symbol of people’s confidence in Congress. Thankful that they made me victorious. We have never stepped back from serving people in Sujanpur and we will always serve them.Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the CM, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya keeps winning in future, like he won today.Vikramaditya Singh, CongressI’ll always stand with government, whichever party it might be of, and serve people. As a son, I am sad we couldn’t make it possible for him (Virbhadra Singh) to become the CM 7th time. We’ll analyse our drawbacks in meeting.Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister We are sad about Prem Kumar Dhumal losing but we are happy that people of Himachal Pradesh voted for the BJP.(With ANI inputs)Watch: BJP President Amit Shah speaks after Gujarat, Himachal win

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BJP MP who predicted party’s loss in Gujarat eats humble pie; says PM hero, he is zero

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sanjay Kakade on Monday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory over Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections terming himself ‘Zero’ and latter the ‘Hero’.While addressing the media here, Kakade said, “I personally feel happy and elated for this victory of Prime Minister Modi; he has left the Gandhi family and Nehru behind in gaining people’s love. According to me, only ‘Modi factor’ has worked.”“I also accept that Prime Minister Modi is ‘hero’ while I’m ‘zero’ in comparison to him. In my earlier statement, I have said that BJP’s situation looked tight during the campaign; only because of ‘Modi magic’ everything worked well,” he added.Also readPune: BJP RS MP Sanjay Kakade predicts party’s loss in GujaratFurther hailing Prime Minister Modi’s rule, Kakade stated, it is for the first time that BJP has ruled for 27 years in a state.“It has happened for the first time in India that a certain party has ruled for 27 years in a state. This clearly shows that every community has accepted Modi ji from heart and mind.“I’m even confident with states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as we will win there too; because the Chief Ministers in both the states are working towards progress,” he further stated.

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Stop trying to derail India from path of development: PM Modi’s top quotes after saffron sweep

PM Narendra Modi addressed the BJP workers in the party headquarters in New Delhi after it was clear that they have won both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. A visibly buoyant Modi expressed his delight after the massive victory in the two states. BJP swept Himachal Pradesh to come back to power and won with a smaller mandate to form government in Gujarat for the sixth time. Here are the major things PM Modi said after the twin win:1. Earlier Gujarat was riddled with caste considerations. BJP got rid of it and started a path of development. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: How GST tweak saved the day for BJP2. Some people have again started to play caste politics in the last few months. People have rejected it but they need to be cautious3. After 2014, there is hunger for development. Even if you do not like BJP, do not try to derail India from path of development. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 polls4. Gujarat election result in historic. So many conspiracies were hatched, misinformation was spread5. Elections results show that the country is ready for reform, is looking towards parties that perform in a positive way and believes in transformation6. I bow down to people of Gujarat and Himachal, who chose the path of development.7. The results in Himachal Pradesh show that if you don’t do development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after 5 years people will reject you.8. During UP elections it was said BJP would lose due to GST effect in urban areas, same was said in Gujarat elections and local body polls in Maharashtra.With ANI inputs

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Vasundhara Raje hails BJP’s victory, credits Modi-Shah for clean sweep

Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today said there was no alternative to the party in the country.Raje said it was the victory of Modi’s leadership and Shah’s organisational skills.”The people of Gujarat have once again voted for development. They once again reposed faith in the BJP leadership. It shows there is no alternative to the BJP in the country. “Results in Himachal Pradesh have proved that the country is moving ahead to become Congress-free,” Raje said in a statement.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot said the BJP made tall claims of winning 150 seats in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi s leadership was accepted by the people of Gujarat, he said.The BJP inched towards a record sixth straight victory in Gujarat assembly polls, and was set to evict the Congress in Himachal Pradesh, tightening the party’s grip over the country’s politics with general elections only 18 months away.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 pollsThe Gujarat results proved to be a seesaw, with BJP and Congress running neck and neck in the morning trends. At midday, BJP pulled ahead, but by 5 p.m. it apeared that although the party will emerge victorious it will be with a slim majority. “I assure (people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.According to Election Commission tally at 5 p.m., the BJP had won 70 seats and was leading in 29 for a possible total of 99 in the 182-member Gujarat assembly. At the start of the campaign, the BJP had said it was aiming for 150 seats. In the outgoing assembly it had 115 seats. The Congress won 62 and was leading in 15 for a possible total of 77, compared to 61 previously.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: It is a face-saving win but moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat, says Mamata BanerjeeCongress President Rahul Gandhi virtually conceded defeat, saying the party “accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states.” He thanked his party members for fighting “anger with dignity.” The BJP called the results a vote for development pushed by Modi, who was the tireless star campaigner in both states.The Congress took solace in the fact that it bettered its tally in Gujarat, the home turf of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Shah expressed satisfaction with the result, saying that the party’s vote share in Gujarat had gone up to 49.10% from 47.85% in 2012. The Congress vote share was 41.5% in Gujarat, compared to 38.93% in 2012 was 38.93%.

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Assembly elections 2017 results?: Nitish Kumar congratulates PM Modi, Amit Shah on Gujarat, Himachal victory

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The Janata Dal (United) president also took a dig at the Congress, saying that while the party was aiming to defeat the BJP in Gujarat, it “ended up losing even in Himachal Pradesh”, where it was in power.”Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the victory in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, which had claimed it would wrest power from the BJP in Gujarat, has ended up losing even Himachal Pradesh,” Kumar tweeted in Hindi.An official release issued here said the chief minister spoke to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in the morning over phone and extended his greetings on the poll victory to them.Once considered a potential political rival of Modi, Kumar now maintains a cordial relationship with the prime minister, following the formation of a JD(U)-BJP coalition government in Bihar in July.The Grand Alliance, comprising the RJD, JD(U) and Congress, had come to power in Bihar after the 2015 Assembly polls. The anti-BJP coalition had, however, collapsed over corruption charges surfaced against the then deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, the son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad.The reunion of the JD(U) and the BJP came four years after Kumar had severed ties with the saffron party in June, 2013 over the elevation of Modi as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

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Gujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Rajnath Singh takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday took a direct dig at newly appointed Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the assembly elections verdict in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”Won’t say anything now as he has recently been made party president, ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ (Abhi toh kuch nahi bolunga kyunki woh haal hi mein adhyaksh bane hain lekin),” Rajnath Singh told ANI.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time and wrest power from Congress in Himachal Pradesh.However, Rahul Gandhi on Monday said he is not disappointed with the party’s loss in the state assembly elections.According to ABP News, the Congress President reportedly made the statement while interacting with party MPs inside Parliament in New Delhi.Rahul Gandhi had personally spearheaded the Congress’ campaign in Gujarat, which is home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. He raised issues such as lack of jobs, Goods and Service Tax, and Demonetization. The Congress President, however, did not focus his energy on the Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh.

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Assembly Elections 2017: Manohar Parrikar takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘he scored zero in his opening innings’

Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi over the impending defeat in the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Goa Chief Minister Manohhar Parrikar on Monday said the newly-elected Congress President “scored zero in his opening innings.” “In his opening innings he scored zero” Parrikar said. He was commenting on the results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where the poll trends are hugely in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). According to official trends of the Election Commission at 2:42 pm, the BJP has 28 seats and leading on 70 others in Gujarat. The Congress, on the other hand, has won 21 and is leading 57 other seats. The BJP has ruled the state for the last 22 years. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has won 5 seats while leading in 39 other constituencies. The Congress, which ruled the state for 5 years, has won one seat and is leading on 18 seats.

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Assembly elections 2017 results: Spectacular win for BJP, have proved PM Modi’s hard work, says Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on Monday expressed confidence on the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) sweeping Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, adding this would be a spectacular victory for the party.While speaking to media here, Chouhan said, “This country will progress towards development only because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The spectacular victory in Gujarat and the way Himachal Pradesh has been snatched away from the Congress party has proved our the prime minister’s hard work and dedication for the country.””Not forgetting Amit Shah, who is another idol in the BJP we all look up to. I would also like to thank him for his loyalty and for being an inspiration in the party,” he added.Further thanking the people for their trust, Chouhan said, “I promise we will never fail on our endeavours and continue ‘vikas’ (development) of the state.”The Election Commission official trends for Gujarat polls show BJP winning on 10 seats and leading on 83 seats while Congress has won 7 seats and is leading on 69, at the time of filing this report.The BJP is also leading in Himachal Pradesh as it has won on 3 seats and leads on 40 seats, while Congress has won on one seat and is leading on 20.The counting of votes for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh and 182 constituencies in Gujarat began on Monday morning.The hill state went to polls on November 9 while elections were held in two phases in Gujarat on November 9 and 14 respectively.

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