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In Mann Ki Baat, PM focuses on youth, millenials

In the final episode of the monthly radio broadcast Mann Ki Baat in 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi specifically targeted the youth and the millennials – those born on January 1, 2000, onwards — and told them to get registered as voters and use their right to vote in every election.Calling them ‘New India Voters’, he exhorted them to cast their votes saying it will prove to be the ‘bedrock of New India’. The Prime Minister has been regularly dwelling on his concept of New India, which he had outlined in 2016.In his address to the party’s MPs during the parliamentary meet on December 20, after a tough Gujarat election, PM Modi had asked them to rope in the youth and millennials, who would soon be ready to vote. Referring to the robust social media campaign of the Congress, he had told the MPs to get active and engage with the millennials on social media, which they understand the best.”The 1st of January, 2018…in my view, is a special day… People born in the year 2000 or later; those born in the 21st century, will gradually begin to become eligible voters from the 1st of January, 2018. The Indian Democracy welcomes the voters of the 21st century, the ‘New India Voters’. I congratulate our youth & urge them to register themselves as voters. The entire nation is eager to welcome you as voters of the 21st century. As voters of this century, you too must be feeling proud,” said PM Modi.Referring to them as “My New India Youth”, the PM asked them to come forward and deliberate on how this New India — free from the poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from filth and poverty — would be formed.Referring to #Positive India, using which he earlier had asked people to share their positive experiences, PM Modi listed feedbacks which spoke on how various government schemes had improved their lives. One feedback spoke about the glory of surgical strikes and the valour in Doklam.The PM also announced proudly that on this Republic Day, leaders of all ten ASEAN countries would be coming to India as chief guests.”But 26th January, 2018, will especially be remembered through the ages. This is unprecedented in India’s history… ASEAN completed its 50 years of formation in 2017 and in 2017, 25 years of India’s partnership with ASEAN was completed. On 26th January, the arrival of great leaders of 10 nations of the world as a unit is a matter of pride for all Indians,” the PM said.

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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!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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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

Mann ki Baat highlights: PM Narendra Modi shares his 2018 vision, says new India will be free from corruption

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses nation in last and final edition of Mann ki Batt for the year 2017. PM Modi took to Twitter to invite people to share ideas for the programme for his radio show. In the previous edition of ‘Mann ki Baat’ on November 26, Prime Minister Modi acknowledged his gratitude for the soldiers and saluted martyrs of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. Also readFixing accountability: PM Modi asks 6 pointed questions to BJP MPs on Namo App He said that ‘the nation remembers the “brave women and men” who lost their lives.’ He also spoke about spreading positivity in the coming new year. PM Modi’s address has been broadcasted live on All India Radio. Listeners can also tune in to the program on Doordarshan and live stream it on the official YouTube channel of Narendra Modi.Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly pollsHere are the highlightsAlso readLok Sabha Bill seeks to curb big, fat Indian wedding11:30: PM Modi concludes 39th edition of Mann ki Baat11:30: India looks forward to welcoming ASEAN leaders for Republic Day 2018 celebrations. This is the first time that so many leaders will attend the celebrations as the chief guests, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.11:30: PM Modi talks about Haj Yatra benefits for Muslim women. 11:27: This Republic day, India will have 10 chief guests, PM Modi says. 11:20: PM Modi announces the biggest cleanliness survey that will begin in January. 11:18: New India will be free from poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from dirt & poverty: PM Narendra Modi11:18: PM Modi cites example of Sabrimala temple while talking about cleanliness11:17: PM Narendra Modi sets tone for 2018, says let’s welcome the new year with positivity and hope. 11:16: PM Modi talks about positive events happened in 2017. He shares positive messages from listeners across the nation. 11:14: We need to free nation from poverty, says PM Narendra Modi11:13: As it is said in India- ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ (Service is one’s prime duty), let us rekindle this spirit of service in our hearts: PM Narendra Modi11:10: PM Modi pitches for organising mock parliament across nations, where youth representatives can discuss the methods to make development a mass movement and transform India 11:07: First January is special. We welcome those born in the 21st century to the democratic system as they will become eligible voters: Prime Minister Narendra Modi11:05: PM Narendra Modi pays tribute to Guru Gobind Singh. 11:00: PM Narendra Modi wishes Happy New Year to the citizens10:58: PM Modi’s radio programme has emerged as the most trending hashtag on Twitter in 2017 in the news and governance category, the micro-blogging platform said on Thursday.10:56 PM: This is the 39th edition of the Prime Minister’s radio programme. The programme on the last Sunday of every month is broadcast on All India Radio, DD National and DD News.

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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!
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
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

BJP all set to ‘show strength’ in refinery foundation ceremony

The programme schedule of foundation ceremony of Pachpadra refinery by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 14 is not out yet but the administration has made the preparations faster. Here, the Bharatiya Janata Party has started to formulate a strategy to show its strength in the program of the prime minister. Despite years of the strong hold, Congress in Marwar won only two of the 33 assembly seats in the last assembly elections. That is why BJP has focused on Marwar to keep the victory alive. In order to make Marwar ‘Congress-free’, the BJP state president himself has visited Barmer and Jodhpur five times in the last three months. Efforts are being made to strengthen the BJP from booth functioning to the state level.State president of BJP, Ashok Parnami arrived in Jodhpur on Saturday afternoon. He took a meeting of the Jodhpur division MLAs regarding Prime Minister’s program. In this meeting, while giving the lesson to strengthen the BJP in their area, they have been given the target of mobilizing supporters of Modi in the program. The BJP wants to showcase a big power in the presence of the Prime Minister during this program. The MLAs of Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pali, Jalore and Sirohi have been given a target to bring crowds in buses along with the activists in the program. While Talking to media, he targeted the Congress and especially the former chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, about the refinery. Describing the leadership of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje as proficient, he said that she has done good for the people by saving 40,000 crores in refinery cost.It is worth mentioning that former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot presented the Pachpadra refinery as his ambitious project before the last assembly elections. Then the Congress had also demonstrated power at the earlier foundation ceremony. On the same lines, describing as the huge achievement of the Vasundhara government for reducing the cost of this project and renewing the MOU with HPCL, BJP is working on the strategy to surround the previous government.Here, Barmer-Jaisalmer former MP Harish Chaudhary has also come out in front opposing the re-foundation ceremony of the refinery by the Prime Minister. He said that the then national president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi, has done foundation ceremony of the refinery on September 22, 2013. Now, what is the justification to again have a foundation ceremony by the Prime Minister? He said that the strategy is being formulated to protest the foundation ceremony. Soon, it will be announced at the state level to protest against this program.

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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

PM to launch Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao nationwide on Jan 22

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Jhunjhunu on January 22. He will formally launch ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission that will be now implemented in every district in the country. The PM will also inaugurate ‘national nutrition mission’. Till now, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission is running in 161 districts including 14 from Rajasthan. Jhunjhunu, which once boasted the highest sex ratio has the lowest sex ratio in the state, now. The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission that began from Haryana two years ago has brought a welcome change in people’s attitude. On the third anniversary, it will be implemented in the entire country.The changed face of 10 districtsIn Rajasthan, 14 districts were selected for the mission, where the sex ratio was highest. After two years, at least ten districts have shown remarkable progress. Jhunjhunu has converted from the lowest sex ratio district to the highest sex ratio district in the country. Still, four districts, which had shown improvement in the first year of the mission, are back to square one. Sawai Madhopur, Karauli, Bharatpur and Jaisalmer are at the bottom. Yet, Rajasthan has been able to maintain its number one position in ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission for which the state recently received Nari Shakti award from the President.Prime Minister Modi will facilitate 10 districts collectors from different parts of the country who did excellent work in the implementation of the mission. The PM will also directly communicate with officials in every district through video conferencing. Rajasthan’s women and child development department will be the nodal agency for the entire programme.The other flagship programme ‘national nutrition mission’ will also be expanded in every state. Earlier, it was operational in only eight states. In Rajasthan, it will cover 24 districts in place of 19 districts, at present. Later, in a phased manner, all districts in the country will be covered by 2019-20. In the current financial year, 315 districts, next year 235 and remaining will be covered in 2019-20.The mission will focus to remove stunting, malnutrition, anemia and low weight at birth through better coordination and monitoring. The states will be encouraged to achieve the targets. “A video conference was held with district officials regarding the Prime Minister’s visit. They have been given necessary instruction. The PM will launch Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and national nutrition missions on January 22. At present these programmes are operation only a few states,” said Shuchi Sharma, director, ICDS.

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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

Raj brand ambassadors for ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’

To spread the reach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, the BJP will appoint brand ambassadors in all the 41 organisational districts across the state. Along with it, in every mandal, 1,000 workers of the party will have to take a selfie with their daughters and also a hospital will be adopted at the mandal level.Moreover, the state BJP’s frontal unit ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Prakalp’ has given all the workers a two-month work plan, under which 11 types of programmes will have to be organised within two months at mandal and district level. The plan was chalked out during the meeting of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Prakalp Pramukh, Dr Meena Asopa. Besides, under the ‘Selfie With Daughter programme’, selfies should be taken with daughters of at least 1,000 party workers. The name of the person who took the selfie, his mobile number, address and selfie will be saved in a pen drive and will be sent to the state headquarters.The mandal unit of the border area will also be organising a programme with the Army personnel. Apart from this, each mandal unit will have to adopt the hospital in its area and on January 9, a programme will be organised under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign.To further ensure the success of the campaign, the district unit of the prakalp has been instructed to collect data from the girl students of colleges and universities in their area. Apart from this, the movie, Smile Pinki will be shown in schools and colleges and Kanya Pooja along with other programmes will also be held.Instructions were also given about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s event to be held in Jhunjhun on January 22. The teams of prakalp will have to be present at the programme. The entire team of the parkalp will be wearing the apron with the logo of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Abhiyan on it.Selfie with girlUnder the ‘Selfie With Daughter’ programme, selfies should be taken with daughters of at least 1,000 party workers Their details will be saved in a pen drive and sent to BJP state HQs.

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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

Centre working on data protection law, better connectivity

In the wake of continuous cyber threats, the government is working on a law for data protection, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed Rajya Sabha on Friday.He stressed on the need for cyber security and clarified that there was no proposal to make internet availability a fundamental right. However, he said that the government is committed to providing easy access of internet to all.Responding to queries, he said a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna has been set up in this regard.”We are in the process of framing a data protection law. The paper has been circulated and field hearing is going on and very soon, we will come up with a data protection law,” he said.”We are alive to cyber security and our Prime Minister has said publicly that cyber war is a bloodless law,” he added.The minister said the government is working towards 100 per cent internet connectivity and encouraging competition in the sector to ensure better services.He said that in 2011, there was a plan to connect every village in the country to internet and optical cable fibre laying, but it did not go anywhere. However, since NDA government came to power, 2.53 lakh kms of optical cable fibre has been laid.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
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
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
“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!
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened
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

Modi’s Pak comment: After Jaitley’s clarification, Govt and Oppn end stalemate in RS

The stalemate in Parliament over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and others at a poll rally in Gujarat ended today, with the government saying the commitment of the former Prime Minister was not questioned.The proceedings of both Houses of Parliament were repeatedly disrupted over the past week on the issue, with the Opposition demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister over his “conspiracy with Pak” remarks and seeking an apology. In Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister did not question his predecessor’s commitment to India.When the Upper House reconvened at 2 PM after adjournment due to protests over union minister Ananthkumar Hegde’s controversial remarks on secularism and changing the Constitution, Jaitley said the Prime Minister in his statements or speeches “did not question the commitment to this nation either by Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, or Hamid Ansari, the former Vice President”. “Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem, as also their commitment to this nation,” Jaitley said.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanksHe said many statements had been made on all sides during the elections, and added that the government “does not want the stalemate as a result of this to continue”. Responding to his statement, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “I want to thank the Leader of the House that he issued a clarification on the issue which was causing the deadlock for the last one week.” Azad sought to assure the government on behalf of the Congress that the party dissociates itself from any statement made against the personality of the Prime Minister, apparently in reference to those made by its MP Mani Shankar Aiyar.”If during the elections (recent assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh), any member of our party gave such a statement that was against the stature of the Prime Minister, then our party dissociates itself from any such statement and we would not want any word to be said against the stature of the Prime Minister,” Azad said. The Congress had suspended Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for calling Prime Minister Modi a “neech aadmi” or a lowly person.After the two statements, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu thanked all members of the House for their cooperation in resolving the stalemate. However, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal stood up to object, charging that the fate of the proceedings in the House could not be decided based on statements by only two people. To this, Naidu said, “We discussed it in the morning in the business advisory committee. Every member of the House is important. Let us not sidetrack the issue”.

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PM Modi takes break from Himachal schedule; has coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a break from his busy schedule to have a cup of coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House.News of the prime minister’s visit spread, and soon the venue was swarmed with supporters wanting to take a picture with the prime minister.Earlier, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla.Governor Aacharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA also took oath 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 also witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.

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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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Fast courts off track?

It has been five years since Nirbhaya gang rape stirred the nation, following which the victim’s mother demanded creation of fast-track courts and a law to hang juveniles in heinous crimes. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the state governments vide his letter dated April 23, 2015 to allocate funds for this activity, it is shocking that at present there is not a single fast-track court functional in the state.On the contrary the 83 functional fast-track courts in the year 2005 have been reduced to zero now.A total of 83 FTCs were approved in the year 2000, following the report of the 11th Finance Commission. Out of these, all were functional till 2011, the year when this experimental scheme was supposed to end. The central government in 2005, decided to continue its support for the next 6 years (till 2011).This is also the year when the central government stopped financial support to the FTCs, after that the states were supposed to continue FTCs with expenses met from their own funds. The 14th Finance Commission has also endorsed the proposal of establishing 1,800 FTCs for a period of five years for cases of heinous crimes; cases involving senior citizens, women, children, disabled and litigants affected with HIV AIDS and other terminal ailments and civil disputes involving land acquisition and property/rent disputes pending for more than five years at a cost of Rs 4,144 crore. The 14th finance commission has allocated 214 crore rupees to Rajasthan government for the establishment of fast track court.Pendency of casesAccording to government data till December 2016, more than 14 lakh cases are pending across all the courts in the state. As per an estimate close to 2/3rd of these cases are more than 3-years old and more than 2/3rd of these cases are pending in the district & sub-ordinate courts. ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ is used whenever there is an undue delay in disposal of cases.Prime Minister’s appealThe Prime Minister vide his letter dated 23rd April 2015 urged the state governments to allocate funds for the activities mentioned in the 14th FC recommendations from their state budget from 2015-16 onwards. This issue was also discussed in the CM/CJ Conference on the 05th April 2015 and 24th April 2016, wherein it was resolved to strengthen the existing coordination and monitoring mechanism between the state government and the Judiciary for effective implementation of the recommendations of the 14th FC. The Minister of Law and Justice has further urged all the Chief Ministers of the States and the Chief Justices of the High Courts to implement the resolution of the Conference vide letters dated 03rd June 2015, 26th September 2016 and 2nd May 2017 respectively.Supreme Court’s takeIn its judgment in the Brij Mohan Lal case, the Supreme Court has endorsed the position of the Central Government and held that the continuation of FTCs is within the domain of the states with their own funds.Purpose of fast-track courtsFast track courts are meant to expeditiously clear the colossal scale of pendency in the district and subordinate courts under a time-bound programme. A laudable objective of the five-year experimental scheme is to take up sessions and other cases involving undertrials on top priority.

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Secularism was in DNA of Indians much before it was enshrined in constitution: Venkaiah Naidu

Praising the Parsi community for its contribution towards the nation building and the country’s economy, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said secularism was in the DNA of every Indian much before it was enshrined in the Constitution.Naidu was addressing the members of the Parsi community at the concluding ceremony of the three-day Iranshah Utsav at Udvada in Valsad district of Gujarat, about 200 kms from here yesterday.”‘Sarva dharma sama bhava’ (equality of all religions) epitomises India’s secular ethos. India is a land of diverse cultures and religions. Secularism was in the DNA of every Indian much before it was enshrined in the Constitution,” he said. “The values of tolerance and respect for all religions have been part of the Indian ethos from time immemorial.Unless there is social cohesion, communal harmony and religious tolerance, the progress and development of the country will suffer,” Naidu added. The contribution of the Parsi community in the economy of the country is significant, which is why India’s economy ranks third in the world now, he claimed. He also lauded the community for making “invaluable contribution” towards the nation building and in diverse fields.Also readYoga does not have a religious connotation: Venkaiah Naidu”Freedom fighter Dadabhai Naoroji, industrialist JRD Tata, nuclear scientist Homi Bhabha, music conductor Zubin Mehta are a few among the several stalwarts, who contributed towards India’s growth and glory,” Naidu said. “Although Parsi community represents a minuscule portion of our total population, the contribution made by them in the overall economic development of the country has always remained in the forefront,” he added. According to Naidu, the government would endeavour to make Udvada a global destination for tourism.Udvada Utsav, which started in 2015 on the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showcases the glorious history of Parsis over 1,300 years. Vada Dasturji Khurshed K Dastoor, high priest of Iranshah Atash Behram, Udvada and member of National Commission for Minorities, said, “Shreeji Pak Iranshah (Atashbehram) is the link between the past and present times of the Parsi community. It is the witness to the religious pride of our illustrious forefathers and proof of inspiration for younger generation.”

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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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PM Modi meets Atal Bihari Vajpayee on b’day, sends x-mas wishes to citizens

Keeping up with the tradition of December 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the day by wishing countrymen ‘Merry Christmas’, remembering Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya on his 156th birth anniversary, as well as praying for the good health of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 93rd birthday.PM Modi visited Vajpayee at his residence in Lutyen’s Delhi where he held interactions with his family.”Birthday greetings to our beloved Atalji. His phenomenal as well as visionary leadership made India more developed and further raised our prestige at the world stage. I pray for his good health,” Modi tweeted.A few days ago, Modi had recalled Vajpayee while taking stock of party’s electoral wins at BJP MPs parliamentary meet.Modi had said how Vajpayee congratulated him in person on party’s performance in 1998 Lok Sabha election in Gujarat when he barely had joined the BJP from RSS and was not widely known in the party.President Ram Nath Kovind also joined the PM in wishing Vajpayee. “Birthday wishes to our much-loved and respected former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” he tweeted.Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu also conveyed his ‘heartfelt greetings’ and wished Vajpayee on his birthday. “Convey my heartfelt greetings to Bharat Ratna, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, on his birthday, today,” he tweeted.PM Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh were among those who visited Vajpayee’s residence at Krishna Menon Marg in Delhi to wish him on his birthday. BJP workers in Kanpur performed a havan on Monday morning and prayed for Vajpayee’s good health and long life.Since 2014, Vajpayee’s birthday has been celebrated by the Government as ‘Good Governance Day’.In his Christmas greeting, the PM asked the countrymen to “remember the noble teachings of Lord Christ”. He also paid tributes to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on his 156th Jayanti and recalled his ‘strong and unforgettable’ impact on India’s history.His efforts to further education and a spirit of patriotism will always be remembered, PM Modi said.RemembrancePM Modi also paid tributes to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on his 156th Jayanti and recalled his ‘strong and unforgettable’ impact on India’s history. In his Christmas greeting, the PM asked the countrymen to “remember the noble teachings of Lord Christ”.

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Multi-layered security marks PM Modi’s visit

From lone wolf attacks to suicide bombers, in face of varied threat perceptions, the Noida police and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) managed to secure the Prime Minister’s Monday visit to the “jinxed city” quite successfully.Heavy security arrangements with police dogs, bomb detectors, and snipers keeping a hawk-eye vigil, were ensured.Senior CISF officers and Delhi Metro guards said multi-layered security was ensured by the SPG, CISF, local police, and other related agencies. They said repeated sanitisation of the to-be-inaugurated Metro line was carried out with the help of dog squads and anti-sabotage teams.”Armed Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) and commandos were deployed along the line for immediate reaction to any possible mishap. Spotters were also placed at critical locations and a tight vigil was maintained in cooperation with other agencies concerned. We were prepared for every suspected threat perception,” a senior officer said.Also, as many as 5,155 security personnel were on duty across Noida. The area was divided into 15 zones and additional security personnel were brought in from Meerut, Hapur, Ghaziabad, and other parts of the state.”The route, through which the PM’s convoy was scheduled to pass, had traffic restrictions from 7 am till evening. Additional traffic cops were deployed to regulate traffic for smooth flow. The contingent of forces included eight superintendents of police (SPs), 20 additional superintendents of police (ASPs), 65 deputy superintendents of police (DSPs), 140 inspectors, 440 sub-inspectors, 150 head constables, 1,750 constables, 17 traffic inspectors, 130 traffic sub-inspectors, 102 traffic head constables, and 333 traffic constables,” said Suniti, Superintendent of Police (Rural), Gautam Budh Nagar.Besides, 10 companies of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (UP-PAC) and 10 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were also deployed, she said.DOG SQUADSenior CISF officers and Delhi Metro guards said multi-layered security was ensured by the SPG, CISF, local police, and other related agencies. They said repeated sanitisation of the to-be-inaugurated Metro line was carried out with the help of dog squads and anti-sabotage teams.

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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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Madhya Pradesh: ‘My disability was mocked,’ says amputee mountaineer of Mahakal temple visit

Arunima Sinha, former national level volleyball player and the first amputee to scale Mount Everest, on Monday said she felt “greater pain” while visiting the Mahakal Temple here than scaling the Everest.Recounting her unpleasant experience at the temple on Sunday, she said her disability was mocked at.”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),” she said on Twitter.Sinha also tagged the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chief Minister’s Office in her tweet.Temple sources said the sports person was stopped twice by security personnel while trying to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and that she broke down while arguing with them.Mahakal Temple’s administrator Avdhesh Sharma said that he came to know about the incident only through media reports.”I have come to know about this from media reports. Arunima has not filed any complaint with the police or the temple administration,” he said.”There is a ramp for the disabled and I will ask the security personnel why they stopped her. We are also checking the CCTV footage to identify the guilty,” the temple administrator added.Sinha was pushed out of a running train in April, 2011, while resisting a robbery attempt. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee.

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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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Happy Birthday Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Looking back at some of his great orations

As former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee turned 93 today, greetings poured in for the veteran statesman, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the first to meet him at his residence in the national capital.”Visited Atal ji to convey birthday greetings to him. Spent time with his family as well,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.Earlier in the day, Modi credited Vajpayee’s phenomenal and visionary leadership which “further raised our prestige at the world stage. I pray for his good health”.Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also wished Vajpayee on his birthday. Naidu posted a poem in Hindi on Twitter by the former prime minister, who is keeping indifferent health and has not been seen in public for a long time. The poem urged people to remain united and not to give up hope in tough times. BJP president Amit Shah and Home minister Rajnath Singh also visited Vajapayee’s residence to greet him.”Visited Atal ji’s home to wish him on his birthday,” Shah said in a tweet. “Warm wishes to our beloved leader and guide, Shri Atalji on his birthday today. Atalji is a towering and visionary leader who introduced good governance, development and politics of performance in Indian polity. I pray for his good health and long life,” Home minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet. Also readAtal Bihari Vajpayee: Master orator and statesman par excellence turns 93 todayAtal Bihari Vajpayee is fondly remembered by people across the aisle for his oratory. With nuanced poise, taking his sweet time, Vajpayee often conveyed a message which earned applauds from supporters and grudged admiration from critics. On his 93rd birthday, here’s a look back at Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s iconic speeches Also readBJP to celebrate Vajpayee’s 93rd b’day as ‘Sushasan Yuva Mahotsav’1. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’ speech as PM during the confidence motion debate in 19962. AB Vajpayee’s speech in UN as Foreign Minister in 19773. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s speech about Veer Savarkar4. Former PM’s view about Pakistan:5. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s speech on urea scamApart from these speeches, Vajpayee also expressed his views candidly in many interviews. Here’s one freewheeling interaction in Aap Ka Adalat that used to be aired on Zee TV.The common thread in all these speeches was his clarity of thought and the ability to deliver his message without any rancour. At a time, when political discourse often tests the limit of public decency, Vajpayee’s speeches were truly a class apart. With PTI inputs

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Master orator and statesman par excellence turns 93 today

Former Prime Minister of India and stalwart of the BJP, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is celebrating his 93rd on Monday.A political persona known for his exemplary leadership and contribution to Indian politics, Vajpayee is the only non-Congress leader who served the nation as the prime minister and completed his full term.As the BJP veteran turn 93, here is a review of his political journey:Vajpayee was born to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee on 25 December, 1924, in Gwalior. He completed his schooling from Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi, Bara, Gwalior and went on to Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College), where he graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He then completed his post-graduation with an M.A. in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur, and was awarded a first-class degree.His activism started with Arya Kumar Sabha of Gwalior, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj, of which he became the General Secretary in 1944. He also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940-44 and became a “full-time worker” in 1947, technically a pracharak.He gave up studying law due to the partition riots, and was sent as a vistarak (probationary pracharak) to Uttar Pradesh and quickly began working for the newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.Vajpayee’s first exposure to politics was in August 1942, when he and his elder brother Prem were arrested for 23 days during the Quit India Movement, when he was released only after giving a written undertaking, expressly declaring not to participate in any of the anti-British struggle.In 1951, he was seconded by the RSS, along with Deendayal Upadhyaya, to work for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a Hindu right-wing political party associated with the RSS. He was appointed as a national secretary of the party in charge of the Northern region, based in Delhi. He soon became a follower and aide of party leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee.In 1954, Vajpayee was with Mookerjee when he went on a fast-unto-death in Kashmir to protest against perceived inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors to the state. Mookerjee died in prison during this strike. In 1957, Vajpayee lost to Raja Mahendra Pratap in Mathura for the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India, but was eventually elected from Balrampur.After the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya, the mantle of the leadership of Jana Sangh fell on the shoulders of a young Vajpayee, who became the national president in 1968 and, along with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and LK Advani, led the Jana Sangh to national prominence.From 1975 to 1977, Vajpayee was arrested along with several other opposition leaders during the Internal Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the Indian National Congress party. In 1977, heeding the call of social reformer Jayaprakash Narayan for all the opposition parties to unite against the Congress, Vajpayee merged the Jana Sangh into the newly formed grand-alliance, the Janata Party.Following Janata’s victory in the 1977 general elections, he became the Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet. As foreign minister, that year Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.By the time the Janata government crumbled in 1979, Vajpayee had established himself as an experienced statesman and a respected political leader. However, the Janata Party was dissolved soon after Morarji Desai resigned as Prime Minister in 1979.Subsequently, Vajpayee joined many of his Bharatiya Jana Sangh and RSS colleagues, particularly L. K. Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, to form the BJP in 1980. He became the party’s first President, and emerged as a strong critic of the Congress (R) government that followed the Janata government.Vajpayee has served as the Prime Minister of India between 1996 and 2004 in three non-consecutive terms.In the 1996 general elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. The then president Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Vajpayee to form the government. Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India, but the BJP failed to muster enough support from other parties to obtain a majority. He resigned after 13 days, when it became clear that he could not garner a majority.The 1998 general elections again put the BJP ahead of others. This time, a cohesive bloc of political parties joined the BJP to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister.However, in mid-1999, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) under J Jayalalithaa withdrew its support to the government. The government lost the ensuing vote of confidence motion in the Lok Sabha by a single vote on 17 April 1999.As the Opposition was unable to come up with the numbers to form the new government, the Lok Sabha was again dissolved and fresh elections were held. Vajpayee remaining the Prime Minister until the elections were held.In the 1999 general elections, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, in the aftermath of the Kargil operations, thereby securing a comfortable and stable majority. On 13 October 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time.A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament of India) ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha (upper house). He also served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns.On 25 December, 2014, the office of the President of India announced the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, to Vajpayee. In a special gesture, the President of India conferred Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his residence on 27 March 2015.Furthermore, the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 announced that Vajpayee’s birthday would be celebrated as Good Governance Day annually.

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AIIMS doctors write to PM Modi for redress of safety & infra issues

Resident doctors of AIIMS backed protests by their counterparts in Rajasthan for higher pay and promotions, and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “live their life for a day” to understand their stress.The AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) wrote to the PM on Sunday and urged him to understand the pressure on doctors at government hospitals due to poor infrastructure and misbehaviour of patients’ families and attendants during emergency situations.”We are lucky to have an active PM like you… Now RDA AIIMS requests you to put (on) white apron and spend one day as a government doctor to understand the tremendous amount of pressure we face, the agony of patients who did not get treatment, the dying healthcare system due to lack of resources and infrastructure,” AIIMS RDA president Harjit Singh Bhatti wrote in the letter.He said it will also set an example to ministers who level allegations against doctors for cheap publicity. “Your one day as a government doctor can be a turning point for the healthcare system as it will restore faith in the medical profession,” the letter read.THEIR GRIEVANCESThe docs urged the PM to understand the pressure on them at govt hospitals due to poor infrastructure and misbehaviour of patients’ families during emergencies.

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Jai Ram Thakur is BJP’s Chosen One in Himachal

The BJP chose low-profile Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur as Himachal Pradesh’s next Chief Minister. He will be sworn in as the 13th CM of the hill state at the historic Ridge Maidan on Wednesday, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.The move also ends an old rivalry for the top post between upper and lower areas as Thakur comes from central Mandi district.Contrary to speculations that BJP’s central leadership may push Union Health Minister JP Nadda’s name in the wake of a bitter rift between former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and Thakur’s lobby, not a single slogan was shouted during the meeting of newly elected MLAs that took place in the presence of central observers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narender Singh Tomar at Hotel Peterhoff on Sunday.Thakur’s name was proposed by Dhumal and he was elected unanimously as the new leader after being seconded by Nadda and another two-time CM Shanta Kumar.Thakur is considered to be a soft-spoken and a solid organisation man. It was his influence in Mandi that helped the BJP bag nine out of the 10 Assembly seats from the area.Thakur, who will turn 53 on January 6, belongs to the Rajput community which has a significant presence in the hill state.He has won his 5th consecutive Assembly election from Seraj, earlier known as Chachiot in Mandi district, defeating Chet Ram of the Congress.Mandi is second only to Kangra that sends 15 MLAs to the Vidhan Sabha.Thakur’s dominance in his constituency could be judged from the fact that despite the remoteness and difficult topography, 56 out of 58 panchayats in Seraj constituency were connected by road even as there was a Congress government in the state.”We will try to meet the expectations of the people of Himachal Pradesh. Our dream of a Congress-free Himachal Pradesh has been realised,” Thakur said in his first remarks after being elected as new CM.He was always called CM in the waiting even during the last tenure of Dhumal till 2012.But this time around, he emerged as a favourite for the top post after the defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial face Dhumal from Sujanpur.Thakur served as rural development and panchayati raj minister in the Dhumal government from 2010 to 2012.The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats.With Dhumal’s key men already having lost the election and Nadda’s name not eliciting any warm response, Thakur with the complete backing of Shanta Kumar clinched the deal.The BJP has named a Thakur face its CM candidate at a time when, after losing polls, Congress’ Virbhadra Singh seems to have played out his last political innings. Nadda was a Brahmin, which is the second dominant community in Himachal Pradesh after Rajputs.

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Use of Sri Lanka President Rajpaksa’s portrait by rival leads to tussle

The use of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s portrait by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has led to a tussle with its rival faction which is claiming that the picture of a member of another party cannot be used for campaigning.The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) reportedly used the portrait of Rajapaksa for campaigning for the upcoming council elections.A senior minister representing the government from the SLFP said it is be illegal to use the image of Rajapaksa for campaigning as he is a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and not the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).”They can’t use the image of a member of another party for campaigning,” the senior minister said.The Rajapaksa loyalists who are in the SLPP remain careful not to identify themselves officially with the SLPP as they run the risk of being removed by the SLFP for breach of party discipline by promoting interests of another party.Both factions, however, say that their common enemy is the United National Party (UNP) of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.The party was split with Rajapaksa loyalists who call themselves the Joint Opposition forming a new party SLPP.The SLFP’s mainstream is currently led by President Maithripala Sirisena. The two factions went separate ways after the failure of the unification talks in order to face the February 10 election for 341 local councils.Both factions accuse each other of trying illegally to use the image of Rajapaksa, the man who ended the war with the LTTE.”We object to the use of the former President’s image by the SLFP,” Ranjith Soysa, a Rajapaksa loyalist legislator said.The two factions would go into coalition arrangements after the elections to gain control of the councils.

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4 soldiers killed in Keri sector: Army says no mutilation of bodies

The Army today clarified that the bodies of its personnel killed in firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir were not mutilated and the injury marks were due to splinters and gunshots. An Army major and three soldiers were killed yesterday after Pakistani troops targeted the Army patrol at Brat Galla in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. “The injuries suffered are due to splinters and gunshots sustained due to firing by the enemy on the patrol,” Army sources said here. Responding to media reports, they said that there has been no mutilation of bodies.Congress slams govt’s Pak policy: The Congress today attacked the Centre over the killing of four Indian soldiers along the LoC by Pakistani troops, saying the incident raises questions over the government’s ability to protect the country’s borders.Also readArmy Major, 3 soldiers killed in Pak firing in Keri sector, J&K CM pays tribute Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said yesterday’s incident along the Line of Control (LoC) was an outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “flip-flops and somersaults” on Pakistan. Pakistani troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, yesterday. Tewari claimed that there have been 900 attempts of incursion by Pakistan this year, out of which 780 cases have been reported along the LoC and 120 along the International Border (IB).”There were 583 major ceasefire violations in 2014 (between June-December), 400 in 2015, 450 in 2016 and 900 this year. The prime minister points fingers at others, accuses people who have occupied top posts of committing treason but this government seems incapable of protecting our borders,” the former union minister told reporters. Modi, during the Gujarat assembly polls campaign, had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the Assembly polls in the state.The government and the Congress are involved in a face- off over prime minister Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh. Tewari said that the BJP government’s Pakistan policy is driven by “flip-flops, somersaults and adhocism” and demanded that the prime minister comes clear on his agenda behind his 2015 stopover in Lahore or the Centre’s decision to allow ISI personnel at the Pathankor terror attack site.He said India’s neighbourhood policy was in tatters under the BJP dispensation as apart from the “frequent” Pakistani shelling along the border and incursions, the new Nepalese government was overtly tilting towards China. “In Sri Lanka, growing Chinese influence is a matter of concern. Maldives has signed an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with China disregarding India’s position. China has constructed permanent structures in Dokalam,” he said.

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PM Modi meets students from Jammu and Kashmir; discusses girl education, Swachh Bharat

A group of 30 school girls from Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday.The students are currently on a tour to various parts of the country, as part of the Indian Army’s Operation Sadbhavna.In the meeting, Prime Minister Modi interacted with the students on various issues such as their dreams and aspirations, girls’ education and Swachh Bharat.During the meeting, the girls posed various questions to the Prime Minister, to which he explained the various steps being taken for girls’ education. He further explained the various spin-off benefits, including on health and tourism that can accrue through the Swachh Bharat Mission.Prime Minister Modi also explained the students about the benefits of concentration-improving Yoga.He further appreciated the increasing number of youths from Jammu and Kashmir making it to the civil services and showing great potential in sports.The Prime Minister asserted that India has a bright future, and the children and youths of Jammu and Kashmir have a lot to contribute to the nation.

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Upbeat Congress rocks Parliament

Already up in arms on the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insinuatory remarks against former PM Manmohan Singh of conspiring with Pakistan to influence Gujarat polls, the Congress got a shot in the arm when the CBI court acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum case on Thursday.An upbeat Congress stepped up their attack forcing two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha and continued to protest in the Lok Sabha that managed to function amid disruptions because of BJP being in the majority. Outside the House too, the Congress was on offensive with many of its MPs venting out their anger.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad who was seeking clarification from the government on PM Modi’s “false allegations” against Singh raised the issue of 2G in tandem almost immediately after he was told about the judgement.”The second clarification we are seeking is Rs. 1,76,000 crore worth 2G scam because of which we are here (opposition benches) and they (BJP) are there (treasury benches). Prove it here, where has it gone?” asked Azad.Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu was quick to rebut Azad by disallowing his submission.”This is not the issue. You have not given any notice. This is not the way Azad ji,” said Naidu instructing nothing will go on record. The citing May 22, 1990 ruling of then Rajya Sabha Chairman Shankar Dayal Sharma, Naidu said the Chair’s ruling on not allowing suspension of a Question Hour or allowing a discussion was final.But the Congress members refused to relent and started swelling the well of the House, forcing Naidu to adjourn the House till 2 p.m.When the House met again at 2 p.m., Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal came in support of the Congress raising the point of order — whether CAG reports can be leaked to newspapers before they are tabled and can the House summon people responsible for tarnishing those in constitutional offices on the basis of CAG reports.Agarwal also asked whether the image of those in constitutional offices can be tarnished on the basis of CAG reports when ‘99% of the points’ raised in them are settled after they reach the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for scrutiny.Naidu disallowed him too for suddenly raising the issue without quoting the rules. But the pandemonium did not stop forcing Naidu to call it a day.House adjournedCongress members refused to hear RS chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and started swelling the well of the House, forcing Naidu to adjourn the House till 2 p.m.

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Shed ‘raaj-hatth’, clarify remarks against Manmohan: Congress to PM Modi

The Congress today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shed his “raaj-hatth” (stubborness) and clarify in Parliament his ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh to end the stalemate and enable a discussion on issues such as the Rafale deal.With no end in sight to the current impasse on the issue, the proceedings in Parliament continued to be disrupted.Congress leader Anand Sharma held the “obduracy” of the prime minister and the attitude of the government as being responsible for the impasse in Parliament, that continued with a washout of the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha for a fourth day today.He also accused the government of wanting to continue the standoff so that issues of critical concern to the people are not taken up.Sharma alleged that the government does not want the opposition to raise issues of acts of “commission and omission” and the wrong decisions of the prime minister.He said that the government does not want that it is exposed on the floor of the House on issues such as the Rafale scam which the opposition wants to discuss.”It is the responsibility of the PM to clear doubts regarding his accusations. It is his duty to restore the dignity of the office and in the interest of parliamentary democracy that this deadlock comes to an end,” Sharma told reporters.”We urge the prime minister to shed his ‘raaj-hatth’ (stubbordness) and clarify his remarks against Singh and Ansari, which he made to win Gujarat polls,” Sharma said.The stalemate, he said, continues primarily because of the attitude of the government and obduracy of the prime pinister, who refuses to register the seriousness of the situation resulting from his “baseless and unwarranted aspersions” for electoral gains.He said, as one who is occupying the constitutional office, it is the duty of the prime minister to restore the dignity of the office of the institution.Whatever is said in politics, never before a prime minister has pointed any finger of suspicion on the commitment to the country of former prime ministers or former vice presidents or even the former Army chief.”It is in national interest, in interest of parliamentary democracy that this deadlock is brought to an end.”It is unfortunate that prime minister has still not apologised for his ill-thought accusations against the former PM Manmohan Singh who was PM for 10 years and dedicated his life for this country,” he said.Sharma, however, said it is being conveyed by government that the prime minister is not willing to take back his words.He “disappointed” the opposition today when it was his day for the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress leader said.Sharma said the opposition also wants to raise other issues concerning the economy and job losses.The Indian economy has suffered losses due to some “wreckless” decisions of the prime minister, he alleged.

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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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Justice Karnan walks out of Presidency Jail after six months of imprisonment

Former Calcutta High Court judge, Justice CS Karnan was released from Presidency Correctional Home of Kolkata on Wednesday after serving his six months’ sentence for contempt of court.After his release on Wednesday morning, Karnan headed for his residence at Rajarhat, at the eastern fringes of the city. Justice Karnan was the first sitting judge to be jailed.Raj Kanojia, the IPS officer who was heading a team of police officers to hunt Justice Karnan down when he was on the run after Supreme Court sentenced him for six months is now the principal secretary, department of Correctional Administration, West Bengal. He told DNA that it was an interesting case. “It was an interesting case tracking down a sitting judge. We had to be careful with him at the same time we had to comply with the court order. We had to do a lot of planning and briefing. The team comprised senior officers only. Our prime objective was to pull it off without embarrassing the court or police,” he said. He also said that after he took over as the principal secretary, he used to occasionally enquire about Justice Karnan’s stay as an inmate out of his academic interest and found out that his stay at the Presidence Correctional Home was largely uneventful. “There was nothing untoward in the last six months but I was told that he had lost weight. I never heard of him complaining about the food and the stay,” Kanojia told DNA.Sources close to the judge said that Justice Karnan would not give up on his fight for the backward class and would continue to raise his voice against atrocities faced by Dalits. Justice Karnan had been hitting the headlines for several years now. He was the first judge of a High Court to write to the National Commission for SCs and STs in 2011, alleging harassment by other judges.In 2014, he had reportedly barged into a court at the Madras High Court where a hearing was in progress and hit out at the judiciary for being biased. It was then the Supreme Court had ordered his transfer to the Calcutta High Court.In 2017, he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in which he alleged that at least 20 sitting and retired judges had indulged in corrupt practices. In March 2017, a bailable warrant was issued against him which he had termed as an ‘attempt to ruin his life as a Dalit judge. The Supreme Court also requested him for a certificate of mental fitness. He refused to cooperate with the doctors who had come to his residence for his mental check-up which led the apex court to sentence him for six months on May 9. After that he kept on evading arrest by moving from one state to another for 42 days, before he was finally arrested on June 20 from Coimbatore and brought to Presidency Correctional Home.

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Yogi Adityanath may finally break ‘Noida jinx’ by joining PM Modi there on Dec 25

Almost all Indians are superstitious by nature but none more so than politicians. Given the precarious nature of power almost every politician has a superstition that does not change over time. In fact, if anything, it increases till it turns into their minds as “fact.” This is the case of the self-imposed ban by many UP politicians on visiting Noida. Whether it has been the BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) or Samajwadi Party (SP), all UP chief ministers have avoided visiting this area, as it is believed that whoever did so would lose power.This powerful jinx though may see its end with the current BJP dispensation. According to sources, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath may visit Noida for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Magenta line of the Delhi Metro which goes from Botanical Garden to Kalkaji. If the Chief Minister really does do so it may finally signal the end of the jinx.If Adityanath really does break this jinx he will be breaking a superstition that goes back all the way to 1988 (see box). In 1988 then UP Chief Minister Vir Bahadur Singh lost power days after visiting Noida. The theory of a jinx then took hold and has held firm since then. BSP leader Mayawati did try to break the jinx when she visited Noida four times as chief minister. However, she lost the 2012 assembly election, and one of the factors that was blamed was the ‘Noida jinx.’The fear of a jinx was so strong, that during his entire five-year term, then CM Akhilesh Yadav stayed away from the area. This fear was all the more ironic as Akhilesh was considered the modern face of the Samajwadi Party. But while he may have used video calls to inaugurate or launch projects in Noida and Greater Noida, he never visited. In August 2012, Akhilesh inaugurated the Yamuna Expressway from Lucknow and avoided travelling to Noida. The following year too, he inaugurated many infrastructure projects in Gautam Budh Nagar without visiting the city.But the fact that Akhilesh stayed away from Noida but still lost the election may help the current UP CM make up his mind. In any case, he still has a few days to decide. Prime Minister Modi’s Noida visit is only on December 25.However, people around Adityanath believe that he will break the jinx and visit Noida. Says a source, “Yogi is a modern age leader and does not believe in any superstition.” The proof of that will be seen on December 25.UP CMS & THE NOIDA JINX1988 Vir Bahadur Singh lost power days after visiting Noida. 1989 ND Tiwari lost power after visiting Noida 1995 Mulayam Singh was out of power within months of his Noida visit.1997 Mayawati lost power after visiting Noida. 1999 Kalyan Singh lost power after visiting Noida 2001 Rajnath Singh inaugurated the DND flyover from Delhi.2012 Mayawati went to Noida in October 2011 to inaugurate the memorial Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal. She lost the 2012 Assembly Elections.

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PM Narendra Modi visits Ockhi-affected Kanyakumari

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met Cyclone Ockhi-affected fishermen and farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district. He also chaired a a review meeting to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the devastating natural disaster that left dead and several missing.After visiting cyclone-hit Lakshadweep in the morning, Modi reached Kanyakumari by an IAF helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram. Here, he was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami, his Deputy O Panneerselvam and other senior officials.After the state officials made a presentation on the impact of the cyclone on the district, Modi interacted with around 25 fishermen representatives from eight coastal villages of Kanyakumari district and six parish priests, who also handed him a memorandum with 12 demands. They included widening the search operation for missing fishermen in the deep sea, satellite phones for fishermen, establishment of a naval base with helipad in the district and reservation for fishermen youth in the coast guard and Navy. Fr Andrews Cosmos, the vicar of Thoothoor Forane parish, who participated in the interaction with the PM and said that Modi gave a patient ear to the affected fishermen.However, according to some of the victims, the Prime Minister did not give any concrete assurance and simply said: “I will look into it”. When one Rebisha of Chinnathurai fishing village broke down into tears, talking of the loss of four men in her family – father, brother and two brother-in-laws — Mr Modi assured her that he would look into it.Twenty days after the cyclone hit the coastal district, as many as 350 fishermen are still missing with the families hoping that they would return to the shore before the Christmas if they are alive.Modi’s visit has come days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep. After the meeting, Palanisami who had presented two separate memorandums, said that he has asked the Centre to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national disaster and sought a Rs 9,300 crore relief package.”We have requested the Prime Minister to set up a permanent Coast Guard station along with a helipad in Kanyakumari district. We also demanded setting up of a fishing harbour with cold storage facilities and a communication centre to transmit messages of weather warning to the fishermen,” he said.HC STEPS INThe Madras High Court directed the Centre and TN government to inform it about the fate of 551 fishermen from Kanyakumari reported missing. Justices R Subbiah and A D Jagadish Chandra ordered the two governments to submit their replies by December 22. Petitioner Anto Lenin submitted that thousands of fishermen had ventured into the sea on November 29-30 from Kanyakumari district when the cyclone hit southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast.

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Min backtracks, says Aadhaar not mandatory for property deals

The central government on Tuesday ruled out any move to make Aadhaar mandatory for property transactions. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said the rural development ministry had advised states and union territories to explore the possibility of Aadhaar authentication for registration of properties under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908.However, he clarified that such a move was not mandatory but would be based on consent.Earlier last month, the minister had favoured linking Aadhaar to property transactions in a way similar to the linkage of the national ID number with bank accounts. He had said such a move would go a long way in sucking out black money from real estate and also help in cracking down on benami properties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also indicated several times that the government would crack down on benami property. Aadhaar linking with property could form a part of that drive. Puri was the first union minister to state that Aadhaar linkage with property transactions would be made mandatory.However, on Tuesday in response to questions, the minister said, “At present, there is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory in property transactions.” To other questions, including one on whether the government had set any time-frame for linking the unique identification number for property dealings, he said, “(The question) Does not arise.” So far, up to 140 government schemes have made linking with Aadhaar mandatory to avail their services.

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Election controversy clouds Winter Session of Parliament : BJP and Congress to spar over Pakistan dinner controversy

Senior Congress leaders on Tuesday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise for the insinuation he made involving former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the latter attended a dinner party organized by veteran Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that was also attended Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, said that the Congress wants Prime Minister to express regret and clarify the statement in the Parliament. “Prime Minister should undo what he has done. He should take back his words,” said Anand Sharma.The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Gulam Nabi Azad, along with Sharma met Finance Minister Arun Jately and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar to discuss the matter. Highly placed sources in the government said that Prime Minister Modi is neither going to reply on this issue, although there is a small possibility that Finance Minister Arun Jately may respond on this issue on the floor of the house. BJP is also expected to be aggressive on the issue and may recall previous incidents of Narendra Modi being attacked by Congress leaders.Sources in the Congress said that proposition has been suggested to the Centre they are waiting for the government’s response. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be in Lok Sabha on Wednesday and Rajya Sabha on Thursday. PM Modi had insinuated that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly elections in Pakistan.The dinner organized by former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyyar was also attended by former Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Army Chief and many retired bureaucrats from the Indian side.

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Cyclone Ockhi effect: PM visits affected areas in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday was received by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi K Palanisamy and Governor Banwarilal Purohit following his review meeting in Lakshadweep to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi.”I am here to assure you that India stands shoulder to shoulder with all those affected by Cyclone Ockhi. We will leave no stone unturned in the rescue and relief operations. Centre is providing all possible assistance. Navy and Coast Guard are monitoring the situation. Some of our people are stranded in foreign nations. The MEA and various embassies are working to bring them back. Some people also got stranded on parts of India’s western coast. We have rescued many of them. Due to Cyclone Ockhi, our farmers, fishermen and villages have been affected. When the cyclone struck, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited affected areas and taken stock of the situation,” the PM said.The deadly cyclone recently hit the coastal states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, leaving many people dead and several missing.Also readCyclone Ockhi | PM Modi holds meeting with officials in LakshadweepThe review meeting was attended by several officials of the state and the top representatives of various agencies involved in the relief and rescue work.Prime Minister Modi also met families of victims affected by Cyclone Ockhi in Lakshadweep’s Kavaratti. He was greeted by school students on his arrival. He also met few fishermen and farmers too.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi, seeks special package for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and LakshadweepEarlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi flew from Lakshadweep to Thiruvananthapuram and met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who received him at the airport.Prime Minister Modi had arrived yesterday in Mangaluru to review the operations.”Leaving for Mangaluru, Karnataka. Tomorrow, I will visit Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala and extensively review the situation that has arisen due to #CycloneOckhi. I will meet cyclone victims, fishermen, farmers, officials and public representatives,” the prime minister tweeted last night.The cyclone left a trail of destruction in southern and western India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, killing 115 people and leaving over 100 missing.

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‘What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdict

The BJP on Tuesday slammed Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his ‘jolt’ remark agint the ruling party for the Gujarat Assembly elections results.The Congress chief, while talking to reporters, said that the Gujarat verdict is a massive jolt for BJP. He also said that the result in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised questions over his credibilty.The BJP, in a strong comeback, said that there is no question of any ‘jolt’. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar took a dig at Gandhi and said that, ‘It’s a jolt for Congress. We are in 19 states now.’Attacking the newly-elected Congress chief, Javadekar said that ‘those calling ‘vikas’ crazy are saying all this due to frustration.’Union Minister Ananth Kumar also echoed his colleague Javadekar’s sentiments and said that, ‘Credibility of Congress and Rahul Gandhi is at an all time low, while PM Modi’s credibility is at an all time high not just in India but globally.’The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for. It is also the first time in 22 years that the BJP has ruled Gujarat that its tally has fallen below 99.The Congress won 77 seats, up by 16 seats Gandhi called it a “very good result” for the Congress, and a moral victory.

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Cyclone Ockhi | PM Modi holds meeting with officials in Lakshadweep

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting at Kavaratti in Lakshadweep to review the situation arising due to Cyclone Ockhi which left a trail of destruction in the Union Territory.PM Modi, who reached the island this morning, was received by top officials of the Lakshadweep administration and public representatives, including Lakshadweep MP Muhammed Faizal.”PM @narendramodi reviewed the situation arising due to #CycloneOckhi at a high-level meeting in Lakshadweep,” a tweet by the Prime Minister’s Office said.Earlier today, youngsters of Lakshadweep extended a warm welcome to the prime minister, it tweeted said.Besides, PM Modi will visit the cyclone-battered areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala today.During his visit to the southern states, PM Modi will visit coastal Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram where he will meet officials and public representatives as well as the cyclone victims, including the fishermen, and farmers’ delegations.Parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep were severely affected by the cyclone late last month and early this month.The prime minister has constantly been monitoring the situation arising out of the natural calamity in the southern parts of the country.A PMO statement had yesterday said the Centre released the second instalment from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) for Kerala and Tamil Nadu to supplement the efforts of these states in dealing with the situation.”During financial year 2017-18, the amounts of the central share of the SDRF to the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu were Rs 153 crore and Rs 561 crore respectively,” it had said.

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Apologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra Modi

Congress continued its protests in the Parliament on Monday, disrupting proceedings in both Houses for the second day. The party had raised objection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that suggested former prime minister Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to influence Gujarat elections.While Lok Sabha was adjourned within minutes on Monday, Rajya Sabha was first adjourned within 10 minutes after it assembled at 11 am. At 12 noon, when it reassembled, it was adjourned again as Congress continued with sloganeering and would not allow any legislative business to continue.Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded a clarification by Prime Minister on his remarks about Singh, a sitting member of Rajya Sabha.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu insisted on taking up a question, but some Congress members did not allow him to continue. As the chaos continued, Naidu remarked, “I don’t want this kind of thing to be seen by the people,” and adjourned proceedings for the day as Congress members were seen walking into the Well.With both Houses adjourned, there was little activity as the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results reached finality.Earlier, soon after Rajya Sabha assembled for the day, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned proceedings till noon after Congress members stormed the Well demanding an explanation from Modi for his remarks made at an election rally.Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was not acceptable that every notice was being rejected.”Charges have been levelled against the former prime minister, who is a member of Rajya Sabha,” he said, demanding that a motion be allowed to get a sense of the House on the issue. “Let charges be proved,” he demanded.”The voice of the Opposition cannot be muzzled. The House has to function according to convention.”Azad demanded that Narendra Modi come to the House and explain his remarks. Sharma added that neither the Prime Minister, nor any minister was beyond questioning.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP workers celebrate Modi, their ‘Tiger’

Even as votes were being counted to declare the Gujarat Assembly election verdict, workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered in hordes as early as 9 am outside the party headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road on the chilly Monday morning.The party office bore life-size hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As the day proceeded, the stretch from bungalow number 5 to 11 was strewn with flower petals, paper, placards, balloons and the remains of fire-crackers. Enthusiastic party workers expecting a win carried BJP flags and saffron caps and had their faces smeared with gulal (colour) as they shouted slogans such as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Modi Zindabad”.The celebrations also had a tinge of patriotism with Vande Mataram being played in the background. As the leads from various constituencies started coming in, party workers burst cartons of fire-crackers, often posing for the camera. A large number of party supporters, organised in different groups, danced to thumping dhol beats, raising slogans of “Ghar Ghar Modi”.“I have campaigned in Surat for three months without sleeping for days. The youth is with Modiji,” said Aakash Gupta, 24, a volunteer. Saffron supporters holding a life-size hoarding of Modi had it signed as “Ek Hai Tiger”.“I am a Modi Bhakt and I say it openly. Gujarat is what it is because of Modi. Congress must remember now that people have rejected them for indulging in appeasement and politics of caste,” said Sanjay Chauhan, a supporter. Hoping for a sweeping victory, Harpreet Singh, a Yuva Morcha member of the party’s Delhi wing, said, “We have ordered 1,000 kg boondi ladoo to make sure each supporter has the sweetmeats to enjoy the fruit of their labour of so many months.”

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Gujarat elections 2017: One rebel leader eats words, other remains defiant

After BJP’s victory in Gujarat assembly election, the party’s MP Sanjay Kakade, who had predicted BJP’s loss on Monday stated that he is happy that prediction has gone wrong. Giving credit of Gujarat victory solely to the prime minister Narendra Modi,” Kakade said, adding, “Modi is real hero and I am zero.”Kakade had predicted dismal performance of BJP in Gujarat elections. He had claimed that his team had carried out a survey in Gujarat and as per the outcome of the survey, the BJP would get enough number of seats to form government in the state.However, after the results were out on Monday, Kakade stated that he is happy for party’s win and gave credit to Modi. “There was an anti-incumbency factor in the state and I had said that in spite of negativity against the party in the state, if it still wins, the will be only because of Modi.”Meanwhile, Nana Patole, the MP who rebelled and quit the party said, “The BJP has miserably failed to achieve 150 plus target set by Amit Shah. This despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing over 34 poll rallies and the party pulling in chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Union cabinet ministers and ministers from the state governments. The BJP’s performance has been a reality check for the party.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Celebration muted at BJP HQs despite win

While the BJP is set to form the government for the sixth consecutive term, this is for the first time that the party’s total seat share has come down to double digits. The most shocking result came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state and party’s national president Amit Shah.Poll celebrations during the Modi-era in the state, until 2014, were far granter in scale, with winners and party workers pouring in at the party headquarters, beating drums, playing garba, chanting Modi slogans and bursting crackers throughout the verdict day. The headquarters itself would be dressed in saffron colour and gulaal.However, this time around, visitors to Shri Kamalam, the BJP headquarters near Gandhinagar, were disappointed to see it relatively deserted. There were no leader being cheered by exhilerated supporters, and a few who arrived there were huddled behind closed doors. A few workers from Gandhinagar reached the spot to mark their presence and soon Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, too, arrived to address a press conference. The CM left, the crowd dispersed and for Shri Kamalam, the day came to an end by 6 pm.During the press conference, Rupani said, “We accept the verdict and will try to live up to Gujarat’s expectations in the coming five years, as the people have given us another opportunity to serve them.

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PM Modi to make whirlwind tour of Ockhi affected states on Tuesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Lakshadweep,Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Tuesday to assess the damage caused by cyclone Ockhi, which left a trail of destruction in the two states and the Union Territory.The Prime Minister, on a one-day visit, would review the situation arising in the aftermath of the cyclone and status of relief operations at Kavaratti, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram, official sources said. Modi would fly to Agatti from Mangaluru at around 7.35 AM and leave for Kavratti. After nearly an hour’s programme, he would return to Agatti and fly to Thiruvananthapuram, official sources in Lakshadweep said. On reaching the state capital at around 1.50 PM, he would take a helicopter to Kanyakumari, where he will meet officials and assess the damage caused by the cyclone.The Prime Minister would also get a first hand report from the some of the affected fishermen, district officials at Kanyakumari told PTI. Modi would return to Thiruvananthapuram and visit Poonthura, a nearby fishing village from where some of the deceased fishermen hailed. The Prime Minister would then meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and some of his cabinet colleagues, including revenue minister E Chandrasekharan and Fisheries minister J Mercykutty at the Raj Bhavan, according to sources in the Chief Minister’s office.Chief Secretary K M Abraham would also give a presentation on the calamity and the devastation caused in coastal regions of the state capital, including Poonthura, Vizhinjam, Pozhiyur and Adimalithura. After the meeting,the Prime Minister will leave for Delhi.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi, seeks special package for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and LakshadweepThe Kerala Chief Minister had earlier met Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and sought central assistance of Rs 1,843 crore. The state also wanted the Centre to declare the devastation caused by the cyclone as a national disaster. According to government estimates, 70 persons have so far lost their lives in Kerala in the cyclone and around 105 persons are still missing.Meanwhile,search operations are continuing for the missing fishermen with the state government seeking support of local boat owners. The government has decided to extend the search operations up to Goan shores. The cyclone that hit the state on November 29-30 had also caused large-scale damage to crops and property.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: How BJP managed to minimise effect of GST and demonetization in urban pockets

Once again, it was the urban voter who stood rock solid behind Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat assembly polls, giving the party 42 out of 48 seats from cities.Observers attribute ‘There Is No Alternative’ (TINA) factor behind BJP’s continued hold in cities as Congress does not have proper organisation and credible faces that could convert the dissent into votes. BJP won 12 of 16 seats in Ahmedabad city, all 12 seats in Surat, all six seats in Vadodara, all three seats in Rajkot, two each in Bhavnagar and Jamanagar, and one each in Mehsana, Navsari and Gandhinagar.Experts say there is practically no political opposition to BJP in cities of Gujarat and voters have no way to go. This is exactly what had happened in the elections to urban local bodies, which BJP had swept in early 2016, said Prof Dinesh Shukla a former Professor of Political Science at Gujarat University. “This has reinforced the fact that BJP is predominantly an urban party. Congress does not have an organisation that can even remotely compare with that of BJP. Sewa Dal is not active. While RSS has cadre that reaches out to voters. Results are also an indication that demonetization and GST were not such big issues that seemed at one point of time,” said Shukla.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress’ bitter-sweet defeat is story of missed opportunity BJP swept these seats, even as these areas are facing adverse effect of demonetization and GST, which has aggravated economic slowdown and stopped net job creation. Jayendra Tanna, President of Gujarat Traders’ Federation said that even the business community, which had suffered setbacks because of GST and demonetization, has voted for BJP and now the ball is in BJP’s court to ensure that interest of this section of society is taken care of. “Businessmen who had protested against the shortcoming and complicated compliance of GST, got swayed away by the cosmetic changes the government did in GST in the run up to the elections. They felt that the government is sensitive about their hardships. Now it is government’s turn to ensure that small businessmen do not suffer,” said Tanna.He feels that non-business community voted for BJP as it was influenced by the campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi rather than genuine issues that affect the masses. “These issues, that affect the masses on daily basis, were never debated during the campaign. They got swayed by a campaign that did not cater to their day-to-day requirements,” said Tanna.

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From PM Narendra Modi to Jignesh Mevani: Who said what after BJP’s narrow Gujarat win

The Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP is all set to come back to power for the sixth consecutive time after a lower margin victory in Gujarat assembly elections.BJP crossed 92 seats it requires for a majority in the 182 assembly constituencies in Gujarat.Soon after the results were announced, political leaders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to young Patidar leader Hardik Patel have come forward expressing their views on their win or loss.Soon after the results were announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took to Twitter to hailed the massive victory as ‘Jeeta Vikas, Jeeta Gujarat’.”Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” said PM Modi on Twitter.”I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.For Congress, it was yet another major loss for them and newly elected President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accepted the loss and thanked his party workers for fighting ‘anger with dignity’.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,” Gandhi tweeted.”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’ greatest strength is its decency and courage,” he added.BJP chief Amit Shah hailed the party’s win as “victory of development over dynasty and polarisation”.”We have once again emerged triumphant. I offer heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us anther opportunity to serve them,” said Amit Shah”This is a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation,” he added.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh took a direct dig at newly appointed Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the assembly elections verdict.”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.Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday said the victory is “of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development”.”It is a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development. It is the victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” said Irani.When Smriti Irani was asked about Congress giving a tough fight in Gujarat she was quick to reply and said, “jo jeeta wohi sikander”.While Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the election results reflect “people’s unshakeable faith in the agenda of development and classless society”.”I would like to give credit for this victory to the people of Gujarat and I also give assurance that in the coming five years, BJP will work towards what the people of the state wants,” Rupani said.”The party’s vote share has increased and despite the tally of seat share leaning in favour of the Congress, the BJP maintained a lead of over 8 percent. The Assembly elections showed people’s unshakable faith in the agenda of development, caste-less and classless society,” he added.However, young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the BJP(BJP) has won Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering. “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable,” Patel was quoted as talking to the reporters.Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who won the Vadgam constituency, said will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly. “I express my gratitude to the people of Vadgam for all their support. Now I will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly,” Mevani said after his win.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that it was a lesson for those who indulged in “divisive and caste politics” to reject the Gujarat Model of development.”The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka,” Adityanath told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.However, the results of the Gujarat assembly elections result did not go down well with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The TMC chief on Monday attacked BJP saying it was a moral defeat for the Hindutva-party the people of the state have “belled the cat for 2019″.”It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” Banerjee tweeted.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.”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.Goa Chief Minister Manohhar Parrikar said the newly-elected Congress President “scored zero in his opening innings.” “In his opening innings he scored zero” Parrikar said. Earlier on Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the results of the Gujarat Assembly polls would not have any impact on the Assembly election in the state, which is due early next year.”The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka,” he told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday took to Twitter to mock BJP’s victory in Gujarat.”BJP getting limited to double-digit in Gujarat is the beginning of the end for the party. It is the result of neglect of the villages, poor and rural people. This is the BJP’s so-called victory,” Akhilesh tweeted.Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said: “I think it’s clear in Gujarat: the BJP has won but the Congress has not lost.”

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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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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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Gujarat Election 2017: Remember Alpesh Thakore’s mushroom remark? BJP has ‘sweet’ comeback for the jibe

Celebrations kicked in for the Bhartiya Janata Party as numbers in Gujarat started moving in its direction. After putting Himachal Pradesh in its kitty, BJP is all set to rule Gujarat once again. While party workers across the nation are celebrating with fire crackers and sweets, BJP’s Delhi unit spokesperson Tajinder Singh Bagga has found out his own unique way to join the festivities. Referring to Congress leader Alpesh Thakor’s jibe on PM Modi, Bagga brought a cake with pictures of mushrooms on it.Bagga, displaying the cake, in front of the cameras said, “This is a simple, inexpensive cake but it is a befitting reply to those who brought politics to this level.”Also readAs BJP heads for win, here are 5 Gujarat-based stocks to keep an eye on”We will cut the cake here and distribute it here, everyone is invited. Every citizen is invited,” he further added.Also readGujarat Election 2017: As BJP gets back in business, Adani Group gains after initial lossOn the last day for campaign in Gujarat, prominent OBC leader and Congress candidate Alpesh Thakor levelled a bizarre allegation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that PM’s complexion has turned fair after eating mushrooms imported from Taiwan, each of which cost Rs 80,000. “Someone told me that you can’t eat what Modi ji eats, because it’s not a food for the poor,” Thakor said during an election rally. He further said, “One mushroom costs Rs 80,000, and he eats five mushrooms a day. That is why I wonder how he turned so fair. He was as dark as me,” Thakor added.Also readApple increases iPhone prices in India over 5% increase in import duty on mobiles”The Prime Minister who eats mushrooms worth Rs 1.20 crore in a month, you can imagine how many crores of money his workers must be eating up,” said the OBC leader.

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Assembly Elections 2017: Congress leader Ashok Gehlot says results depict victory for Rahul Gandhi’s campaign

As the BJP appears to be on its way to retain power in Gujarat, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot today said he saw the results as a “victory” for the party due to the response its chief Rahul Gandhi’s campaign got from the people.Gehlot, the Congress election in-charge for Gujarat, said Gandhi ran a nice campaign in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trends from 181 seats in the state, gave the BJP a lead in over a 107 seats while the Congress was following with 65.The simple majority mark in the 182-member Assembly is 92. The Congress, however, appears to be on its way to improve its 2012 tally.”The way the Congress campaigned and the way Rahul Gandhi did bus trips, we put up a very nice campaign. Whatever the results, the country will see this as the Congress’ victory,” Gehlot said.”Through the campaigning and manifesto, we have been successful in reflecting the feelings of the people of Gujarat and we believe we have been successful in that,” he said.To a question, Gehlot said the saffron party tried to turn the direction of the campaign by raising the ‘son of the soil’ issue. “The BJP tried to turn the campaign in another direction by its ‘son of the soil’ comments and saying that he (Modi) is a prime minister from Gujarat. We have given a very nice message to the people of Gujarat,” he said.He said it is not the culture of the Congress to make such comments.”Rahulji (Gandhi) had said that Congress people will not make such commments against the prime minister. The manner in which the prime minister made comments against Manmohan Singhji, Soniaji and Rahulji, we did not want to respond to them in the same language,” he said.

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Gujarat Election 2017: Exit polls are ‘nonsense’, BJP will definitely lose, says Jignesh Mevani

Jignesh Mevani candidate from Vadgam constituency and Dalit leader on Sunday rebuffed the exit polls while saying that Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)’s debacle in the Gujarat Assembly Elections is certain.”These exit polls are fake and rubbish. These are nonsense. The BJP is definitely going to lose this time and will not form the government,” he said.After the two-phase Gujarat assembly elections concluded on December 14, the exit polls of various media houses predicted that the BJP would secure a big win in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf.Most of the exit polls showed that BJP would secure more than 100 seats out of total 182 in Gujarat.The results of the Gujarat assembly polls will be declared on December 18.

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Salman Khan set to push Nitin Gadkari’s e-cycles drive

You could soon see Bollywood superstar Salman Khan pedalling on the newly-built cycle track on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, promoting a healthy lifestyle as the brand ambassador of the government’s initiative to popularise e-cycles. Modi cabinet’s ‘go-getter’ minister Nitin Gadkari, a passionate advocate for electric vehicles, said the government wants to encourage cycling as a healthy mode of transportation. An e-cycle, which comes equipped with a small electric motor, can be used to cover greater distances than plain bicycles. “Salman Khan has discussed the issue with me. He is also looking into the aspects of manufacturing e-cycles. It will create huge awareness among the masses,” the road transport and highways minister told PTI. The ‘Being Human Foundation’ of Salman Khan, an avid cycler himself, is in talks with e-cycle manufacturers for a tie-up, sources said. The minister said some two to three years back when he started talking about environment-friendly fuel, people thought he was nuts, but now they are beginning to realise its advantages. “Bringing e-vehicles besides other environment-friendly fuel is my dream,” the minister said. Gadkari said the first leg of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which includes India’s first 14-lane highway, has a 2.5-metre wide cycle track and is set for launch any day now after being completed in record 14 months as against the scheduled 30 months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 31, 2015 had laid the foundation stone of the Rs 7,566 crore expressway, saying it will bring people “freedom from pollution”, the way Meerut showed the way towards freedom in 1857. The minister said almost all new highways and expressways will have separate cycle tracks and people will be encouraged to use those for last mile connectivity, thereby benefiting them health-wise as well. “I appeal to the countrymen to use bicycles as much as possible. It has huge health benefits and will go a long way in minimising vehicular pollution. “We have already proposed to make cycle tracks on all major roads across the country, including on highways. I am doing this in my constituency Nagpur also,” Gadkari said. He said cycling is the best form of transport to curb vehicular pollution and the government will not lag behind in creating world-class infrastructure for it, matching advanced countries. “In five years, I think we will be at par with advanced nations,” he said, adding when people in countries like Netherlands could do this, why not those in India. The image of a smiling Prime Minister Modi sitting on a bicycle, an unusual gift from his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, in June this year is still fresh in public memory. Rutte, 50, who usually pedals to work, had praised Modi for sustainable initiatives like ‘Clean India’ and ‘Make in India’. In Netherlands, known as the the flower shop of the world, cycling is a way of life with 18 million bicycles for just 16 million inhabitants, as per the Dutch government.

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Rapists of minors should be hanged within 6 months: Swati Maliwal

Lamenting the “delay” in carrying out sentence of December 16 gang-rape and murder incident, Delhi Commission for Women Chief Swati Maliwal claimed the long winding legal process allowed the criminals to feel they can get away with such henious crimes.She urged the prime minister to bring in a legislation wherein at least those convicted of raping minors are given death penalty within six months.Nirbhaya, a para-medical student, was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. The incident took place while she was returning with a friend after watching a movie.She died 13 days after the incident at a hospital in Singapore.Of the six men arrested in the case, one of the accused Ram Singh hanged himself in prison in March 2013, while another man, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted in August. Last year, he was released from the correction home after serve the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home.The other four — Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh — were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court in September 2013. The Supreme Court also upheld the high court’s decision.”It’s the fifth death anniversary of Nirbhaya incident and the fact is that nothing has changed in this country.Everyday girls and women are being brutally raped in this country,” she said.Maliwal also highlighted the need for having fast-track courts in the city so that rapists are punished forthwith.Also, there is a need to upgrade the delivery mechanism of the forensic department as well as the accountability of the police, she said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The system has made the criminals confident enough to believe that they can get away with any crime perpetrated against a woman or a child.”It is very unfortunate that even Nirbhaya herself has not got justice in this country. Nirbhaya’s mother is still running from pillar to post in order to ensure that her beloved daughter can get justice,” Maliwal said.The DCW chief said that at least in case of rape of minor girls, there should be a law in this country in which such rapists should be punished and given death penalty within six months.She also made an appeal to the prime minister to constitute a high-level committee on women’s safety in Delhi, having the Union home minister, the lieutenant governor, the chief minister, the police commissioner and the DCW representatives as its members, to take effective decisions on issues of women’s safety.Drawing the prime minister’s attention to the Nirbhaya fund, which has remained unutilised till date, Maliwal urged him to devolve the fund immediately to the states failing which the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme will lose its relevance.

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Five years of Nirbhaya case: Mamata Banerjee calls for keeping society safe

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today urged people to resolve to keep the society safe, recalling the brutal gang-rape and murder of a paramedic student in Delhi five years back.”Remembering #Nirbhaya on the 5th anniversary of brutal Delhi incident. We cannot compensate her loss but let us resolve to keep our society safe,” Banerjee wrote on Twitter.The 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on December 16, 2012 in a moving bus in Delhi, and later died in hospital.Earlier in the day, Delhi Commission for Women Chief Swati Maliwal lamented the long-winding legal process allowed the criminals to feel they can get away with such henious crimes.She urged the prime minister to bring in a legislation wherein at least those convicted of raping minors are given death penalty within six months.Nirbhaya, a para-medical student, was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. The incident took place while she was returning with a friend after watching a movie.She died 13 days after the incident at a hospital in Singapore.Of the six men arrested in the case, one of the accused Ram Singh hanged himself in prison in March 2013, while another man, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted in August. Last year, he was released from the correction home after serve the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home.The other four — Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh — were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court in September 2013. The Supreme Court also upheld the high court’s decision.”It’s the fifth death anniversary of Nirbhaya incident and the fact is that nothing has changed in this country.Everyday girls and women are being brutally raped in this country,” she said.Maliwal also highlighted the need for having fast-track courts in the city so that rapists are punished forthwith.Also, there is a need to upgrade the delivery mechanism of the forensic department as well as the accountability of the police, she said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The system has made the criminals confident enough to believe that they can get away with any crime perpetrated against a woman or a child.”It is very unfortunate that even Nirbhaya herself has not got justice in this country. Nirbhaya’s mother is still running from pillar to post in order to ensure that her beloved daughter can get justice,” Maliwal said.The DCW chief said that at least in case of rape of minor girls, there should be a law in this country in which such rapists should be punished and given death penalty within six months.She also made an appeal to the prime minister to constitute a high-level committee on women’s safety in Delhi, having the Union home minister, the lieutenant governor, the chief minister, the police commissioner and the DCW representatives as its members, to take effective decisions on issues of women’s safety.Drawing the prime minister’s attention to the Nirbhaya fund, which has remained unutilised till date, Maliwal urged him to devolve the fund immediately to the states failing which the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme will lose its relevance.

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Five years of Nirbhaya case: DCW chief writes to PM on things remaining stagnant

Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal on Friday expressed the need to increase the punishment of rape cases of children to death penalty within six months of the crime. Maliwal wrote a detailed letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which she also stressed on the need to increase resources for police and forensic labs across the country.Mariwal’s letter to the prime minister comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the December 16 Delhi case in which a physiotherapy student was gang raped and murdered by a group of six people onboard a bus. The victim was accompanied by a friend who was also beaten up. Both of them were thrown out of the bus on the roadside.Maliwal also tweeted on the victim late Friday. “At the time of the incident, the nation cried for change, but in all this time things remain the same,” she said, further alleging that the money from the Nirbhaya fund that was established has not been used properly.”A report in UK’s The Guardian said that 24,923 rapes reported nationwide, 3,035 occurred in the large cities. “The number of reported rapes elsewhere in the country was more than seven times higher (despite some cases arguably going unreported) than the number of those reported in the main cities. But the police seem to be selective about what they investigate,” the report added.So why are so few rape cases reported? Studies suggest that women report crimes if female police officers are present. In March this year, the government admitted a shortage of women in the force, saying that only 7% of the total police strength in India comprised women.Secondly, the Indian police is short-staffed. A 2013 Indian Express report said that the rural police in the country did not even meet the 1960 standard, while a revelation in the Lok Sabha in 2016 showed that India was short of half a million police officers across the country.

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Japanese tourist drugged, valuables stolen in Varanasi, as attacks on foreigners continues in UP

It’s not the best time to be a foreign tourist if you’re visiting Uttar Pradesh. In October this year, a Swiss couple was thrashed in Fathepur Sikhri near Agra. A few weeks later, a German national was beaten up by a man at a railway Station in Sonbhadra district a few days ago because he unintentionally ignored a man’s greeting. Four days ago, 11 French tourist were molested and assaulted in Mirzapur. And now the latest attack: a Japanese tourist was drugged and his valuables, including passport, were taken away from him in Varanasi.According to ANI, a case has been registered with the Varanasi police. The tourist says he was allegedly drugged before his valuables were stolen. “The culprit decamped with my belongings, including cash, camera, mobile, passport, visa and other documents’.A case has been registered against unknown persons.Also readFrench tourists assaulted in Mirzapur: Sushma Swaraj seeks report from UP government The attack on the tourist will also be an embarassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been vocal about his friendship with Japan and its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe called Modi as a visionary leader and said that Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global.Also readFortnight after attack on Swiss couple, German national beaten up in UP; accused arrested”Dear friend PM Modi is a far sighted leader. He made a decision of making New India and chose Japan as a partner, we completely support it. Japan is committed for ‘Make In India’,” he added.”If we merge Japan’s Ja and India’s I then it became ‘Jai’. If we work together nothing is impossible,” Abe said.Also readAttack on Swiss couple in UP: One person arrested near Rajasthan border; matter of shame, says culture minister Mahesh SharmaAttacks on foreign touristsEarlier this week, the group of French tourists was assaulted by a group of local boys in Ahraura area of Mirzapur. The injured tourists were shifted to the Mirzapur hospital for further treatment.The incident comes to light after a German national was beaten up by a man at a railway Station in Sonbhadra district a few days ago because he unintentionally ignored a man’s greeting.Also, a Swiss couple was thrashed at Fatehpur Sikri on October 26.The incident had sparked outrage with Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and KJ Alphons seeking a report from the state government.While Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had slammed the attack, he also ordered an inquiry.The Swiss couple, 24-year-old Quentin Jeremy Clerc and Marie Droze, were attacked near the railway station at Fatehpur Sikri by a a group of boys. The locals started chasing them and harassing them. They insisted they wanted to take selfies with Marie. When the couple refused, they rained stones and sticks on Jeremy. Marie too wasn’t spared in the brutal attack.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Sabarkantha, Mehsana see highest voting, Dahod lowest

Sabarkantha and Mehsana districts saw the highest turnout of voters in the second phase of the Gujarat assembly elections on Thursday, official sources said. The overall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Of the 2.23 crore registered voters, 1.54 crore exercised their right to vote, said officials.Voting figures released by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer show that Sabarkantha district, which comprises four seats, recorded 77% turnout, the highest among all districts. Out of 9.85 lakh eligible voters, 7.58 lakh exercised their right to vote.Mehsana, the epicentre of the Patidar reservation stir, saw 75% turnout. Being the hometown of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former chief minister Anandiben Patel, and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who contested from Mehsana assembly seat, Mehsana district is a battle of prestige for the BJP. Another north Gujarat district of Banaskantha saw the third highest turnout at 74%.Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.Surprisingly, the tribal-dominated Dahod district recorded just 60% voting, the lowest among the 14 districts. The turnout was in sharp contrast to tribal-dominated districts of south Gujarat, each of which had recorded more than 70% voting in the first phase. In some of the pockets, the turnout was as high as 84% in the first phase.Ground reportOverall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.

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Winter Session: As Congress sulks over Pak allegations, PM seeks cooperation at all-party meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought the opposition’s cooperation for a constructive Winter Session of Parliament which starts tomorrow even as the Congress insisted on an apology from him for attacking his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat poll campaign.Speaking at an all-party meeting on the session’s eve, Modi again pitched for simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies saying that holding elections once in five years will boost development.Briefing reporters on Modi’s remarks, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the prime minister appealed to leaders of all political parties to help build a consensus on the matter.Modi has been pushing for simultaneous polls, saying an almost uninterrupted cycle of polls across the country hampers government works due to enforcement of model code of conduct and deployment of officials in elections.”He also sought their cooperation to make the session meaningful and constructive,” Kumar said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress files anticipatory complaint with EC against PM Modi’s ‘roadshow’Congress leaders raised the issue of Modi’s claim during a speech in Gujarat that Singh colluded with Pakistan to influence the state polls, and said they will raise it in Parliament. “We will raise the issue in Parliament. Either the government prove the claim or the prime minister apologise. Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” its leader Anand Sharma said.

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Manmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament session

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday called on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.Singh met Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, on the eve of the winter session of Parliament.Naidu tweeted about the meeting.Singh is a Congress Rajya Sabha member from Assam.Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Singh of colluding with Pakistan to ensure the BJP’s defeat in the Gujarat assembly polls.Singh hit back at Modi for allegedly spreading “falsehood and canards” to “score political points in a lost cause”.The opposition parties are likely to raise the issue in Parliament.

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Gujarat elections 2017: ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and 500-metre walk – When PM Narendra Modi stood in queue to cast his vote

Amid loud cheers and ‘Modi, Modi’ chants, it was a grand homecoming for Prime Minister Narendra as he visited Sabarmati’s Ranip to cast his vote in the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections on Thursday.Hundreds of voters lined up on both sides of the roads leading up to the booth number 115 in Ranip area to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.Smiling and waving to the crowd, PM Modi stood in the queue to cast his vote. Later, he walked around 500 metre right outside the polling booth to his cavalcade showing his inked finger to the loud cheers. Many were seen clicking photos of the Prime Minister.The Congress has termed the walk as a ‘roadshow’ and called it a breach of the poll codes. Addressing the media, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala slammed the Prime Minister. Another party leader Ashok Gehlot said that ‘the Election Commission it seems is working under pressure from PM and PMO.”There are reports that the poll panel will look into the allegations made by the Congress. Earlier in the day, senior-most BJP leaders were seen casting their votes in the second phase of Gujarat elections.The biggies include BJP president Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and LK Advani.After an acrimonious campaign, voting for the second and final phase of the Gujarat assembly elections is under way today in 93 seats in North and Central Gujarat.Around 2.22 crore voters are eligible to exercise franchise today to choose between the two main contenders, the BJP and the Congress.A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for the second phase.The first phase of voting, held on December 9, covered 89 seats of the 182-member House.The election is being seen as a “prestige battle” for Prime Minister Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi.In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BJP won 115 seats while the Congress bagged 61. The votes will be counted on December 18.

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PM Modi inaugurates INS Kalvari; dedicates it to the people of India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Mumbai today (i.e. Thursday), inaugurated INS Kalvari at Gateway of India.INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine that has been built for the Indian Navy by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited. “It is the first of six such submarines that will be inducted into the Indian Navy, and represents a significant success for Make In India,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted after the inauguration.The Indian Navy, too, shared some images, calling the submarine a ‘deadly predator’.Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines handed over by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited, are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai as part of Project-75 of the Indian Navy. The submarines have been designed by a French firm.The remaining five boats of the Project 75 would be delivered by the yard to the Navy by 2020. India has just 15 submarines, a mix of Russian-origin Kilo class vessels and German HDW submarines..The name “Kalvari” translates to “Tiger Shark.” The new boat was built under the “Project 75” initiative to help bring more indigenous military building programs to India.Kalvari can carry 18 torpedoes and travel 1,020 km underwater. The 66-metre submarine can dive up to a depth of 300 metres to elude enemy detection.This Scorpene submarine is designed to operate in all theatres of war, including the tropics.

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On the election trail with Gujarat’s women bikers

Why are girls dropping out of school in the Indian prime minister’s home state? The BBC and four women bikers hit the election trail to find out.

Gujarat elections 2017: Manmohan Singh attacks PM for second time

In a video statement released Wednesday, former prime minister Manmohan Singh targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the second time, accusing him of spreading “falsehood and canards” to score political points. Strongly rejecting the “innuendos and falsehoods” made by the PM, Singh said he did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi, nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else at the dinner.The remarks drew sharp reaction from BJP chief Amit Shah who questioned Singh’s silence on Sonia Gandhi’s ‘Maut Ka Saudagar’ remark and the “monumental loot” during the UPA-II Union government.Singh, who had on Monday attacked Modi over his suggestion of Pakistan meddling in Gujarat polls, today sought an apology from the PM for what he called his “ill-thought transgression”.The former PM said he was deeply pained and anguished by the “falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than Prime Minister”.”Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable,” he said, adding that he sincerely hoped that the Prime Minister would show “maturity and gravitas”, as expected of the high office he holds.The former premier also asserted that Modi “is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former prime minister and Army Chief”, and described it as sad and regrettable.In a sharp reaction, BJP national president Shah asked asked why the “angry” Congress veteran was silent when a “monumental loot” took place during his tenure at the Centre. “We want to ask respected Manmohan Singh ji why was he not angry and anguished when a CM of his country was called ‘Maut Ka Saudagar,” Shah said.

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PM Modi to dedicate INS Kalvari to the nation today

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will dedicate to the nation, the naval submarine INS Kalvari, at Mumbai on Thursday. The INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine that has been built for the Indian Navy by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited. The project has been undertaken with French collaboration. The submarine is named after the vicious tiger shark in a Rs 20,000 crore deal that was signed in October 2005.It is the first of the French Scorpene-class submarines which can use torpedoes as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles above and below the surface. Indigenous vesselThe INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine that has been built for the Indian Navy by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited. It is the first of six such submarines that will be inducted into the Indian Navy, and represents a significant success for the “Make in India” initiative.The project has been undertaken with French collaboration. Its design is based in the French Scorpene-class (by DCNS of France).The name “Kalvari” translates to “Tiger Shark.” The new boat was built under the “Project 75” initiative to help bring more indigenous military building programs to India.Kalvari can carry 18 torpedoes and travel 1,020 km underwater. The 66-metre submarine can dive up to a depth of 300 metres to elude enemy detection.This Scorpene submarine is designed to operate in all theatres of war, including the tropics.Crew31Length202 feet(61.57 meters)Beam (Width)20 feet(6.10 meters)Draught (Height)19 feet(5.79 meters)Surface Displacement 1,725 tonnesSubmerged Displacement 2,060 tonnes

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