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Tag: prime-minister

Congress blasts Modi govt’s foreign policy after Pulwama attack

The Congress today slammed the government over a terror attack on a CRPF camp in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was a sign of failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy.Party spokesperson Sushmita Dev said here that such recurring attacks send a message that anti-national forces do not fear India. During elections, Modi says India is a strong nation. But the number of casualties in ceasefire violations was going up, Dev said at a press conference. “It is a sign of failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy,” she said, adding the Congress wanted him to take strong steps to deter India’s external and internal enemies.Modi had claimed he had a 56-inch chest and that he would teach Pakistan a lesson, Dev said. “What that lesson could be he should decide. The Congress will support him if he takes any step in the interest of the nation. But he must do something immediately.” Citing a report on a “secret dialogue” between national security advisers of India and Pakistan, she said the government should inform Parliament about the dialogue it was engaging in concerning defence and foreign policy.Also readPulwama encounter: 5 CRPF jawans martyred, 2 terrorists killed”You have a talk after Christmas and an attack happened today in Pulwama. We are unable to accept these two. We do not oppose dialogue (with Pakistan) but what is the result of this if an attack dampens the image of the country in the world,” Dev said. She said the Congress expected the Modi government to have “consistency” in its foreign policy. “We have been repeatedly saying India is coming across as a nation with a wishy washy foreign policy. India is being increasingly taken more and more lightly,” she said.The government, by taking the Opposition along, should give a message to the world at large that “India cannot be taken lightly”, she said and added such incidents put the country in a “weak light”. Two heavily armed militants stormed the 185th battalion camp of the Central Reserve Police Force in Awantipora in Pulwama around 2 am, killing a personnel and leaving two others injured.

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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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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
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“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!
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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.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
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!
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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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Parliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks

Days after the bitter war of words between the Congress and the BJP during Gujarat Assembly Elections, it seems both parties have reached a truce in Parliament on Wednesday.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while addressing the Rajya Sabha said that, ‘PM (Narendra Modi) in his speeches didn’t question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former Vice President Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India.’Jaitley’s statement in the Upper House comes after the continuous demand by the Congress lawmakers for an apology by the Prime Minister for his ‘Pakistan meddling in Gujarat polls’ remarks in which he had named his predecessor Manmohan Singh also.In a quick reply, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ‘Thank leader of the house for clarification on what has been issue of contention. I,on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity,also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future.’During an election rally on December 11, PM Modi had raised questions over a reported appeal by former director-general of the Pakistan Army Sardar Arshad Rafiq, that Congress leader Ahmed Patel be made Gujarat’s Chief Minister in case the Congress wins the elections.He had also said that, ‘There were media reports on Saturday about a three-hour closed-door meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.’He had also linked the ‘secret meeting’ with now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark.”The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was ‘neech’. This is a serious matter,” he said.The Congress was demanding PM’s apology on the issue during the Winter Session of Parliament.”Either the government should prove the claim or the Prime Minister must apologise… Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said prior to the beginning of the Winter Session.

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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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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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Samajwadi Party workers protest at station, slam PM Modi, CM Yogi Adityanath for taking credit

Nearly 200 workers of the Samajwadi Party (SP) stormed into the Botanical Garden Metro station in Noida on Monday and boarded a train as a mark of protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for taking all the credit for the newly inaugurated Magenta Line. The line was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.Nearly a 100 SP workers led by party leader Surendra Singh Nagar reached the Metro station in the evening to stage the protest. They alleged that the work on the project was started by former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, but the PM and the present CM were taking credit for it.”We travelled by Metro train to Kalindi Kunj and returned and told people that the Magenta Line was started by the SP government. Instead taking full credit, the current government should have praised Yadav for the gift of Metro that he gave to the people,” Nagar said.On Monday, PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Delhi Metro Magenta Line, which connects Noida to Kalkaji Temple. The PM was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who made his maiden visit to Noida and broke the much-hyped “jinx”of CMs not visiting the district.

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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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Vijay Rupani, others to be sworn in today

Gujarat Chief Minister-elect Vijay Rupani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and about 18 to 20 ministers are expected to take the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.Rupani and Patel will take oath as CM and deputy CM respectively at the swearing-in ceremony to be held at 11:00 am in Sachivalaya Campus in Gandhinagar. Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.”Three stages have been erected in the dome. The centre-stage is for CM, deputy CM, and others who will be taking oath. One stage is for VVIP guests such as the PM, Amit Shah, visiting Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and the other stage is for other politicians, sadhus, religious leaders, and other invitees,” the official said.Highly placed sources in the government said that about 18 to 20 ministers, including 7 or 8 holding Cabinet rank, and remaining state rank ministers, will take oath along with CM Rupani and deputy CM Patel.Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar. Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.Officials said that PM Modi is slated to have lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon before leaving for Delhi.A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally. The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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PM Modi pitches for infra, transport

Launching a 12-km stretch of Delhi Metro’s newly built Magenta Line, Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly pitched for use of public transport and took potshots at previous Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh for not visiting Noida due to superstition.Flagging the importance of connectivity, the PM said on Monday that the Metro line is not only for the present but also for future generations, and emphasised the need to reduce petrol imports by increasing the use of state-of-the-art mass transit systems.Modi did not name either SP’s Akhilesh Yadav or BSP’s Mayawati but lauded UP CM Yogi Adityanath for breaking the Noida jinx. “Due to his dress, some people find it fashionable to believe that CM Yogi Adityanath is not ‘modern enough’ but what he has done today is something which was never done by any of the previous CMs of Uttar Pradesh. Faith is important but blind faith is not desirable,” the Prime Minster said.Adityanath, sharing the dais with the Prime Minister, was all smiles as the latter praised him.Modi also slammed previous Chief Ministers for their “corrupt” activities and alleged they were only “spreading superstition” about political leaders losing power if they visited Noida.”If anybody thinks not going to a place will prolong their CM tenure and visiting a place will curtail it, such a person does not deserve to be a Chief Minister. Unfortunately, there were superstitions associated with Noida and in his own style, Yogi Adityanath has risen above it,” he said.Adityanath’s chief ministerial visits to Noida came eight years after the last by then CM Mayawati. Before the 2012 UP polls, she had visited Noida and the BSP had lost. Her successor Akhilesh Yadav never visited Noida and skipped inaugurating a key development project’s inauguration just before the Assembly polls in UP early this year. Samajwadi Party, however, lost the elections.The Prime Minister recalled that when he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, people told him about a few inauspicious places, but he was clear that he would go there in the first year itself.”Driven by blind faith and superstition, leaders never went to places for decades. How unfortunate is that,” Modi said, reminding that he remained Chief Minister for four terms in Gujarat.Pitching for use of public transport to save on fuel and petroleum import costs, the Prime Minister said travelling on a Metro train should be a “prestige” issue.Lamenting that development is seen through the prism of politics based on the interest of parties many times, the Prime Minister said governance cannot happen when the dominant thought process begins at ‘Mera Kya’ and ends at ‘Mujhe Kya.'”We have changed these mindsets. For us, decisions are about national interest and not political gains,” he said. Countering the allegations of Opposition parties that his government was not working for the poor, Modi said, “the top ten industrialists would not travel on Metro. You will”.Terming NDA’s first Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee the ‘Bharat Marg Vidhata, the Prime Minister said that it was on December 24 in 2002 when he took a ride on Metro and since then, the Metro network in NCR has expanded considerably.He said that the work on railway infrastructure and road network expansion are happening at a historic pace under the NDA government, and that the country is making strides in the renewable energy sector.

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Goa unit of Shiv Sena writes to PM on Mahadeyi, dubs Parrikar as ‘Bad Santa Claus’

The Shiv Sena in Goa has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking his intervention to stop Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar from taking the step of allowing Karnataka to divert the waters of the Mahadeyi river.In the letter, the party’s Goa spokesperson Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik has termed the move by Parrikar on Christmas as that of being a “Bad Santa Claus” who is snatching the future of our children, which is river Mahadeyi.”Santa Claus distributes gifts to bring smiles on the faces of children but our Parrikar, who is a “bad Santa Claus”, has instead snatched the future of our children by agreeing to divert the water of River Mahadeyi,” the letter states. Naik in the letter said that the party wanted to express to the PM its displeasure over Parrikar’s behaviour.”This is the festival to give joy to people. Birth of Lord Jesus Christ symbolises hope, but Parrikar s action of agreeing to give Mahadeyi river water to Karnataka has resulted in the state losing its hope for a better future,” said Naik. The spokesperson in the letter stated that “the river is a gift for us from nature and our forefathers have worshipped and preserved it. It is our duty to pass it on to our future generation, and not to use it for our petty political gains.”Also readGoa CM Manohar Parrikar announces free medical facilities for outstation patientsThe letter went on to request the office of the PM to act like a “real Santa Claus” by impressing upon “Bad Santa Claus” to take back his decision to allow Karnataka to divert the Mahadeyi river water. “You would spread a message of hope, love and peace, if you do so on the occasion of Christmas,” the letter told the PM. The Sena’s letter is in response to the letter written by Parrikar recently to BJP’s Karnataka president BS Yeddyurappa softening the former’s stand on the water sharing issue.

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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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UP government releases 93 prisoners on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 93rd birthday

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh today released 93 prisoners from various jails of the state on the 93rd birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”It was decided to set free 93 prisoners convicted in different cases on the 93rd birthday of the former prime minister. These prisoners have completed their tenure in jail but could not be released due to non-payment of fine imposed on them,” Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar told PTI.To ensure that they walk free, the prisons department was asked to see if the fines could be paid by NGOs, trusts and others, after verifying their credentials.The names of convicts to be set free was picked up in a random manner from a list of 135 such prisoners who are not named or were serving imprisonment in another case, the official said.Former prime minister Vajpayee had represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha five times — 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004.The BJP stalwart was the first and till now the only non-Congress leader who completed a full term as prime minister.He was also the first External Affairs Minister to deliver a speech in Hindi in the UN General Assembly in New York.

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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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BJP leaders credit Mumbai AC train run to PM Narendra Modi’s ‘visionary mantra of vikas’

BJP leaders from the city on Monday attributed the inaugural run of the city’s first air-conditioned suburban service to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “visionary mantra of vikas”, calling it “vikas” in the “true sense”.”This is vikas (progress) in the true sense which is now underway and we are travelling in this grand train. It is a result of Modiji’s vision which lays emphasis on speedy execution of mass transportation projects. It’s a dream come true for Mumbaikars,” Vinod Tawde, senior BJP leader and minister in the Maharashtra government said.Tawde was present at the flagging off along with other BJP leaders such as MPs Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar and MLC Praveen Darekar.Shelar termed the development as “historical” and credited it to Modi’s mantra of governance which is committed to providing comfort to commuters.”This train is a bonanza to travellers and we hope such trains play a crucial role in minimising the number of cars on the roads and help solve traffic problems,” Shelar said.BJP MP Kirit Somaiya called it a historical day and said that credit went to PM Modi for getting the train on track after a wait of ten years.”In the coming 10 years, all rakes on the suburban system will have at least one air-conditioned coach,” he said.However ally and Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant rejected such talk and said that the credit of the train went to railway officials.He said, “The credit goes to railway officers and I have already congratulated them yesterday. Earlier, we stood like a pillar behind the BJP government, but they forget sometime.”Jubilant passengers and supporters of the BJP present at the occasion shouted slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” with many attributing the choice of date as an ode to former PM and Bharat Ratna awardee Atal Bihari Vajpayee who is celebrating his 93rd birthday today.

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Delhi Metro’s Magenta line a milestone in Noida’s development, says Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said the step to inaugurate a stretch of the new Magenta line of the Delhi Metro would prove to be a milestone towards development of Noida and Greater Noida.Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the metro line in Noida, the chief minister said, “This step to inaugurate Metro’s magenta line will prove to be a milestone towards realising the dreams of development for the Noida and the Greater Noida region.”He added the Uttar Pradesh Government would soon bring new metro lines in Kanpur and Agra as well.Also readPM Narendra Modi inaugurates much-awaited Magenta Line of Delhi Metro”Today is Christmas and it is also the birth anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving Uttar Pradesh the offering of this new metro line on this occasion,” Adityanath further said.Prime Minister Modi on Monday inaugurated the new Magenta line of the Delhi Metro.The prime minister, along with Adityanath, also travelled on a patch of the new route – from Noida to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary station.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know The 12.64-km stretch runs between Kalkaji and Noida’s Botanical Garden and accounts for a travel time of 19 minutes, thus facilitating easy access for commuters from South Delhi to Noida, and vice versa.The coaches will reportedly have an LED display, power charging capacity and colourful seats, while the stations will portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks.Further, driverless trains are to be introduced along with the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology, which would facilitate the movement of trains within a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.The Magenta line also marks the usage of the first platform screen doors (PSDs), which are glass-made screens installed near the edge of platforms that open only when a train arrives and shut after it departs.

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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates much-awaited Magenta Line of Delhi Metro

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the much-awaited Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. The Delhi Metro’s magenta line will cut down the travel time from south Delhi to Noida to just 45 minutes. At present the metro takes around 52 minutes to commute on the mentioned route. Magenta line, a mainstay of Delhi Metro’s Phase-3, runs 12.64km section from Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden. However, with the time, more metro trains will be added to Janakpuri West on this line. Currently on the Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre), the station will now perform as a junction between Yellow and the upcoming Magenta Line (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden). According to Delhi Metro, the Botanical Garden station will bear an interchange load of 97,780 passengers per day from the Yellow and Magenta lines, which is projected to increase up to 123,020 by 2021.The Botanical Garden-Kalkaji section will comprise of nine stations. Apart from Kalkaji Mandir, all other stations will be elevated.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know Launching a 12-km stretch of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line here, he said governments incur a lot of cost in creating infrastructure but when it is ready it benefits generations to come. Addressing a public meeting, Modi said by 2022, when India celebrates its 75 years of Independence, he wants to cut down on imported petroleum products. He said a multi-modal transportation system will ensure that use of fuel is cut down, which will help the common man save money and also be useful for the environment.On December 24, 2002 then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a ride on the metro, Modi recalled. “It was a historic moment. Since then, the Metro network in NCR has expanded considerably,” he said. We live in an era in which connectivity is all important, the prime minister said. “Without connectivity, life comes to a standstill. This Metro… is not only for the present but also for future generations,” he said. There was need to change the mindset so that people prefer using public transport than their private vehicles. He said travelling on a metro should be a “prestige issue”.With agency 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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Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line to be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will inaugurate the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro, which is expected to make commuting between South Delhi and Noida hassle-free.PM Modi will reportedly address the gathering at the Botanical Garden Metro Station after taking a ride along the new section of the transport network.The 12.64-km stretch runs between Kalkaji and Noida’s Botanical Garden and accounts for a travel time of 19 minutes, thus facilitating easy access for commuters from South Delhi to Noida, and vice versa.The coaches will reportedly have LED display, power charging capacity and colourful seats, while the stations will portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks.Further, driverless trains are to be introduced along with the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology, which facilitate the movement of trains within a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know The Magenta Line also marks the usage of the first platform screen doors (PSDs), which are glass-made screens installed near the edge of platforms that open only when a train arrives and shut after it departs.On a related note, a driverless metro train on Tuesday rammed into a nearby boundary wall during a trial run, due to alleged negligence by the maintenance officials.The accident, which occurred at the Kalindi Kunj Metro depot along the Magenta Line, reportedly happened when the train was being moved from the workshop without testing the brake system. As a result, when the train was moved up the ramp for washing, it rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall.However, no casualties were reported.

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Centre denies NDMA lacks direction

“It is not true. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to the PIL. The ministry further informed a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice-chairman of the authority. “At present, there are four members in the NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre stated, adding that “weekly meetings were held regularly.””
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 25 December 2017 3:52 ISTMust readCops’ neighbourhood watch schemes failed to uncover sex racketYogi Adityanath meets distressed homebuyers, promises quick action<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Centre has refuted the claim made in a PIL that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) members were working on their own, without any direction and coordination, due to vacant posts.The bench was hearing a PIL by a lawyer who claimed that several key posts, including that of the vice-chairperson and secretary of NDMA, were lying vacant for the last two years.“It is not true. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to the PIL. The ministry further informed a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice-chairman of the authority. “At present, there are four members in the NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre stated, adding that “weekly meetings were held regularly.”

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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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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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Thakur vs Dhumal battle heats up in Himachal Pradesh

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gearing up to announce the name of the new Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister on Sunday, a sharp rift has emerged between former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur.It is believed that central observers Nirmala Sitharaman will reach Shimla on Sunday morning to formally announce the name after consultation with top party leaders. Following the announcement, it is believed that the new Chief Minister will take an oath at the Ridge Ground in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.With top state leaders, including former CM Shanta Kumar and Virender Kashyap, categorically telling Sitharaman that “only elected member should be made the Chief Minister”, the Dhumal faction is reportedly now trying to project Anurag Thakur’s name as deputy Chief Minister as a compromise formula.On Friday, a large number of youth BJP supporters shouted slogans in favour of Dhumal at Hotel Peterhoff where central observers were meeting state party leaders. With most of the newly-elected MLAs endorsing the name of Jai Ram Thakur, Dhumal supporters continued to push for the Anurag as deputy to the new leader.It is another thing that there is no taker for Anurag’s name in the Thakur camp. All this while, Anurag was not in the picture. This made veteran BJP leader Kumar lose his cool and calling for suspension of any such elements in the party.The dhumal group is citing offers made by at least three elected MLAs announcing to vacate their seat for him to seek re-election.But this is also a fact that most of his supporters including close aide Ravinder Ravi and his MP son Anurag’s father-in-law Gulab Singh Thakur have lost elections this time around. And that’s the reason why majority of the total number of 44 newly-elected legislators are of the view that 52-year-old Jai Ram Thakur is the real representative of the young generation.Thakur is a five-time elected MLA and has been seen as a Chief Minister-in-waiting for a long time. And not to forget, he was also the first one to hit the ground running and took a flight to Delhi as soon as news of Dhumal’s came on the counting day.Last but not the least, it has been learnt that Dhumal could well be offered a place in the Rajya Sabha in an apparent move to reward him for being leader of the party in last elections.The scheduleObservers Nirmala Sitharaman will reach Shimla on Sunday morning to formally announce the name of the CM after consultation with top party leaders. The new Chief Minister will take an oath at the Ridge Ground in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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MMRDA blinks, cedes BKC plot for bullet train terminal

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has blinked first in the long stand-off over the land reserved for the International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and ceded it to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. An underground terminal for the bullet train and IFSC will now be accommodated on the same plot.This development comes after the Railways informed the MMRDA earlier this week that the alternate site for the terminal, near Mithi River in BKC’s G Block, was not feasible. It insisted on the same plot which the state government had reserved for IFSC.UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA, told DNA, “We were informed by the Railways that the Mithi River site is not feasible, and now we have told our consultant to prepare a new design. There will be some complications but a new design will be prepared to accommodate both.”MMRDA and the state government were reluctant to give up the plot, citing that MMRDA needed vacant land for IFSC.MMRDA had also pointed out that the land rate at BKC is very high.It wanted to monetise land parcels there to garner funds for crucial infrastructure projects under Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). However, the bullet train project is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project, and on the Centre’s demand, the State changed its decision.Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train in Gujarat in September 2017. The high-speed corridor will be elevated, and bullet train will ply at 300 km to 350 km per hour. The 12 proposed stations between Mumbai and Ahmedabad are BKC, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. The distance would be covered in two hours and 58 minutes.

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Deputy Russian PM Dmitry Rogozin calls on PM Narendra Modi

The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Rogozin, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday afternoon.Prime Minister Modi warmly welcomed Rogozin on his third visit to India this year.He noted with the satisfaction of the marked increase in high-level exchanges this year. Prime Minister Modi also recalled his own visit to St. Petersburg in June this year for the Annual Bilateral Summit.Both the leaders discussed the steady expansion and diversification of bilateral ties, particularly noting the standout collaboration in the energy sector and the common pursuit of high-technology cooperation.Rogozin also conveyed the greetings of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Prime Minister Modi, to which he heartily reciprocated.The deputy Russian Prime Minister also called on the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Rogozin, who arrived in India today, met Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj ahead of the IRIGC-TEC meeting.The Russian delegation comprised of senior government officials and representatives of trade and industry.

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Yogi Adityanath ignores ‘Noida jinx’, visits city to oversee preparations ahead of PM’s visit

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ignored the long standing ‘Noida Jinx’ by visiting the most advanced city in the state, which is also part of the NCR region, on Saturday.Before leaving for the ‘jinxed’ city, the Chief Minister stated that he and his government do not believe in ‘superstition’. “My government is here to serve the people of the state than to believe in such superstitions. I would continue to work for the development of state even if I have to lose my chair,” said Yogi Adityanath.The Chief Minister visited Noida to oversee preparations and review security and other arrangements for the launch of the much-publicized Magenta Metro Line from Botanical Garden in Noida to Kalkaji. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the new Metro train on Sunday, to celebrate the birthday of the ailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.Also readYogi Adityanath to break ‘Noida jinx’, will meet PM Modi on Dec 25 Jinx and superstition surrounding Noida began in 1988 when ex-Chef Minister late Veer Bahadur Singh visited Noida and lost his chair and elections. In 1989, the former Chief Minister Narain Dutt Tiwari too lost his government after visiting Noida in the wake of controversial shilanyas near the disputed site in Ayodhya.Kalyan Singh was the third victim of the ‘Noida jinx’ when he too lost his government in 1993 assembly polls after visiting Noida. The BSP withdrew support from the Mulayam government in 1995 after he visited the ‘jinxed city’.Since then the superstition went deep in the minds of all subsequent Chief Ministers and they were wary and scared of visiting Noida for the fear of losing their governments. Be it Rajnath Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, or next generation politician Akhilesh Yadav, they all stayed away from Noida due to the jinx attached to it.Mayawati was the only exception when she had dared to break the jinx by visiting Noida in 2011 to inaugurate Dr Ambedkar Memorial Park. But she too lost assembly polls in 2012 within a year. Though Akhilesh had promised to visit but he refrained from visiting Noida during his tenure as the Chief Minister launching all related projects from his official residence 5, Kalidas Marg.When the 45-year-old BJP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was reminded of the ‘Noida Jinx’, officials confided that he laughed over it saying that his government’s priority was development of the state than to pay and heed to any superstition related to Noida. He said that he will break the jinx.On Saturday, he kept his promise and landed at Noida by a chopper around 3 pm. From there he straight away drove to the Millennium City where Sunday’s flag off ceremony of Magenta Metro line is to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Not for granted! More checks for rural funds

The Central government will no longer give direct funds to higher education institutions under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UAB), a plan meant to connect them to villages and find solutions to rural India problems. Institutions like IITs and NITs will now have to fight for funds by coming up with implementable technology to address issues like sanitation, water and electricity.The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) issued a circular on December 18 to all education institutions, asking them to manage the scheme with their own funds and with the help of the local administration.UAB is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea, launched by the NDA government in 2014 as a flagship programme of the HRD Ministry. The scheme is meant to address the twin objectives of transformative rural development and introduction of greater social relevance in the higher education sector.The policy under UAB has been changed after the government realised that institutions, which are the main centres for technological research, were not utilising funds properly for working with villages.”We found that many institutions, including IITs, were not serious about UAB, so we have decided to stop giving funds to them at the initial level.We don’t want them to use the money for their excursions to villages,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.”We want only those institutions that are seriously interested in working for the rural sector to register for the programme. This will weed out all non-serious participants,” he said.”The entire financial assistance for funding solutions would flow from district authorities, with UBA funding a small portion of the financial gap. UBA component of the resources for customising or installing an existing technology would be provided through challenge method,” the circular said.”There shall be an open call to all higher education institutions to participate, rather than the adoption of pick and chose method. Selection of institutions shall be based on challenge method, according to the fulfilment of criteria like adequacy of qualified faculty, campus, facilities and academic merit, adequacy in number of students, work done in rural areas by institution, proven aptitude of faculty for rural development etc.”

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Rajya Sabha adjourned till Wednesday over impasse

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu met Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress deputy leader in the House Anand Sharma and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel in his chamber to break the logjam in Rajya Sabha as Congres has sought an apology by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks during Gujarat elections against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.Earlier in the day, Naidu adjourned the House soon after it convened following a demand by the Congress.Azad sought an adjournment and pitched for an end to the tussle that continues since December 15.”The House should be adjourned till a solution is found,” he said, adding that the Congress members do not want to enter the Well to force an adjournment.The meetings took place after Naidu adjourned the House till December 27 for a long weekend and Christmas break.Sources said Naidu insisted on normal functioning of the Rajya Sabha when it reconvenes on December 27.He was learnt to have asked Leader of the House Arun Jaitley and Azad to continue with the negotiations to end the stalemate.Both sides have dug in their heels over the issue, with the Congress demanding an apology from Modi for his remarks during the Gujarat election campaign that Manmohan Singh had connived with some Pakistani current and former officials to influence the polls.The Congress has softened its stand a bit, and saidModi should at least give a clarification about his remarks.Even Naidu said recently that there was no question of an apology by anybody as the subject of confrontation was an event that happened outside the House.The day so farNaidu adjourned the House soon after it convened following a demand by the Congress Azad pitched for an end to the tussle that continues since December 15 The meetings took place after Naidu adjourned the House till December 27 for a long weekend and Christmas

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‘Silenced’ in Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar uses Facebook to spread message

A day after Sachin Tendulkar was not allowed to speak in the Parliament, the cricket legend took to social media to convey his message. With the Rajya Sabha being adjourned for the second successive day on Friday, he took to Facebook to talk about the importance of sports and fitness in daily life.On Thursday Congress leaders raised a ruckus and did not allow the nominated Member of Parliament to speak in the House. Tendulkar, in his maiden speech on the floor of the Upper House on Thursday, had moved a Short Discussion Motion on the future of sports in India and right to play. Rajya Sabha proceedings were once again disrupted by protesting Congress members on Friday. Also readStumped! Amid uproar, Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar fails to make debut speech in Parliament Sachin then posted a video saying India needed a proper plan and structure in place to become a sporting nation.”It is my endeavour to transform India from being a sport loving nation to a sport playing nation. I urge you all to participate in this effort and help make my dream, our dream. Always remember, dreams do come true! Jai Hind,” he wrote with the video. Here is what Sachin Tendulkar said:On Thursday, As Tendulkar stood up to begin the discussion, Congress MPs created a ruckus demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology for insinuating that his predecessor Manmohan Singh was colluding with Pakistan.Tendulkar, a Bharat Ratna winner, remained standing for 10 minutes, tight-lipped, as Opposition members raised slogans, ignoring Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s calls to come to order.Naidu reminded them that the nation was watching the uproar they were causing in the Rajya Sabha and called on them to let Tendulkar speak. But unruly Congress MPs paid no heed to his requests.”We’re discussing about sports and you don’t have the sporting spirit,” Naidu scolded, before ordering the live telecast of House proceedings to be cut off.

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Bill on triple talaq likely to be tabled in Lok Sabha today

A bill which seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The bill has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha amid protest by Congress against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks. Congress protested in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, over PM Modi’s insinuations against Manmohan Singh of colluding with Pakistan, and staged a walkout after they were not given permission to speak.Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, on December 15, said that the Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make instant triple talaq void and illegal.’Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’, prepared by an inter-ministerial group makes giving instant triple talaq “illegal and void”. It also provides for a jail term of three years for the husband in such cases, according to reports. It also makes a provision for alimony for the woman on whom instant triple talaq has been pronounced and grants her the custody of her children, say reports.Also readMuslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Govt tells Parliament The Supreme Court, in August, by a majority of 3:2, had ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.Once the law is made to make triple talaq an offence, the victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system for the redressal of their grievances and for action to be taken against the husband.Also readNCW chief welcomes cabinet’s approval of triple talaq bill(With inputs from ANI)

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Judgement to leave impact on 2018 states’ polls

With the trial court exonerating all accused in 2G spectrum case, it’s a journey back from ‘national loss’ to ‘notional loss’ in the contentious issue, which shook the politics of the nation in years preceding the last general election.As the court acquitted the accused, citing lack of evidence, the judgement comes as a moral booster for Congress just days after the Gujarat results.The alleged scam in 2G was not only a prime reason for decimation of UPA II in 2014 general election but also came handy to the BJP in successive assembly polls as including the Gujarat state elections, which concluded last week.With Congress now able to shed its corruption tag related to 2G, the judgement will have ramifications for Assembly elections due next year.BJP had lapped up the issue to taint Congress as steeped in corruption in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. BJP used the issue to paint Manmohan Singh as not only a “weak” Prime Minister under who corruption “thrived” but frequently suggested even his “complicity” into the matter.With Congress now able to shed its corruption tag related to 2G, the Thursday’s judgement will have ramifications for assembly elections due next year in over half a dozen states particularly in Karnataka, Madhya Pradess, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan where the issue of corruption will be one of the major poll planks.The result will also have a crucial impact on Tamil Nadu politics, where DMK appears to be in a resurgent mode. With both former telecom Minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi discharged or corruption and money laundering charges, the DMK will have a confident face while internal turmoil roils its principle rival AIADMK post J Jayalalitha’s death.With taint over, DMK is no more politically untouchable even for BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in first week of November visited the home of ailing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi. Political possibilities for DMK are now wide open after the judgement.

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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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KNOW YOUR MLA: Maninagar MLA promises LED streetlights, cardiac dept

Traditionally a BJP bastion and a seat from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested thrice, it was very difficult for MLA Suresh Patel, who has won the second time in a row, to look at areas that needed development. Two years, and now Patel, who won with a margin of 75199 votes, has charted out plans for his constituency.Quick enough to respond when asked his priorities, he said, “Modification of LG hospital by setting up a department of cardiology, completion of work to ensure no waterlogging during monsoon and LED lights on streets are my priorities. Since the PM used to represent this constituency, the place has seen much development work. Since I took over this seat over the last two years, we have installed machines and improved roads to reduce waterlogging. Over 50% of work has been done. The remaining work will be finished in a year.”Suresh Patel of BJP took over the seat in 2014 after Modi quit as the legislative assembly member of Maninagar.

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Sena flexes muscles, vows to go it alone in 2019 LS elections

Flexing its muscles after the BJP’s narrow margin of victory in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, the Shiv Sena is planning to go solo in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.The Sena is testing the waters for contesting all 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and is looking at roping in disgruntled BJP leaders and former allies like farmer leader and Hatkanangale MP Raju Shetti.“We are examining the possibility (fighting Lok Sabha elections after snapping alliance with BJP),” confirmed a senior Shiv Sena leader while speaking to DNA.He also added that the issue was likely to be discussed in the state executive of the party scheduled on January 22.Last week, Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray created a flutter by stating that they would quit the BJP-led government next year and come to power on their own merit. Sources said the announcement may be made during the party’s annual Dusshera rally.“We have been working on this for some time. The Shiv Sena is strengthening the party organisation (in all Lok Sabha seats),” the Shiv Sena leader said.He claimed they could rope in disgruntled elements in the BJP and leaders of smaller parties like Shetti, who have broken his alliance with the BJP.The Sena functionary was however non-committal on whether the party would enter into an understanding or a tie-up with the NCP or the Congress, as had been done in some local body elections like the Thane Zilla Parishad and the council polls in Nandurbar to consolidate the anti-incumbency vote.Shiv Sena sources said while the party had a smaller stake in Delhi, the BJP would be hurt at the national level if they decided to go it alone in Maharashtra.The Sena is seen as the BJP’s only natural ally in the NDA due to the common agenda of Hindutva, but of late, their differences have only grown.EMBITTERED ALLIESLast week, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray created a flutter by stating that the party would quit the BJP-led government. Sources said the announcement may be made during the party’s annual Dusshera rally. So far, however, the Shiv Sena is non-committal on whether it is considering a tie-up with the NCP or the Congress.

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Blood young faces, boost BJP roots: PM Modi is ‘atal’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned emotional at the BJP’s continued electoral successes, fondly referred to his association with former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and called for strengthening the party at its roots. The PM pitched for young faces ahead of the 2019 general elections.Addressing the BJP parliamentary party here on Wednesday, he also urged leaders not to be affected by the Opposition’s “disinformation” campaign against the party, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said.Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that Gujarat’s election outcome was “a moral victory” for the Congress and “a massive jolt” for the BJP, and has “raised questions on Modi’s credibility”. The BJP won a sixth straight term in Gujarat on Monday, but got 16 seats less, compared to the 2012 Assembly electionsModi asserted that it was a big win for his party in his home state. No party in power at the Centre has done this well in elections across the country in over three years of tenure as the BJP has , he said, referring to the BJP’s winning streak in Assembly elections.”This is no mean achievement. We have won for the sixth time in a row and are spread in 19 states, a feat that even Congress could not achieve during Indira Gandhi’s peak when her party ruled in 18 states,” PM Modi reportedly told BJP parliamentarians.He exhorted them to start preparing for the 2019 polls by strengthening party’s base.Modi also referred to his association with party president Amit Shah, who was present at the meeting, and spoke about how he groomed Shah, 14 years younger to the Prime Minister, they said.In his address, Shah attacked the Congress over its claim of a moral victory in the Gujarat polls, saying it was a “laughable exercise” for the opposition party to see victory in defeat.BJP MPs who attended the meeting said, the PM traced the party’s journey from 2 seats in 1984 to the present and became emotional when he fondly recalled Vajpayee and said that had he been healthy, he would have been happy to see the party rise to such glorious heights.Modi remembered how Vajpayee congratulated him in person when the party did well in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat when he had joined the BJP from the the RSS and was not widely known in the party.The PM got emotional for a second time when he spoke about the faith the people of Gujarat have put in the party and him and increased its vote share to 50%.Giving his own example of travelling to eight states immediately after wrapping Gujarat campaign on December 12 and at the same time delivering responsibility as the PM, Modi asked the MPs to shirk off laid back attitude and work for the country and the party.”Hum yahan satta bhogney ke liye nahi aaye hain, balki desh ko aagey le jaane ke liye chuney gaye hain. Mein abhi 8 rajyon ka daura kareke aaya hun, agar aap mujhse aur kaam chahte hain to mujhe bataiye mein tayyar hun. (We have not come here to indulge in fruits of power but have come to serve the country and take it forward. I have just come back after visiting 8 states, if you want me to do work more, I’m ready to do it), the PM reportedly told BJP MPs.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress must concede defeat; voters gave a clear cut mandate to us, says BJP

The Gujarat BJP today said the Congress must concede its defeat in the just-concluded polls in the state because voters gave a “clear cut” mandate to the ruling party to form the next government.The BJP’s statement came in the wake of assertions by Congress leaders that their party has recorded a moral victory in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Congress president Rahul Gandhi yesterday said the Gujarat election results were a “zabardast jhatka” (a massive jolt) to the BJP, which narrowly won the polls.Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani said the opposition party must admit defeat in the state polls, which saw the BJP winning 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 in 2012, and the Congress bagging 77, a gain of 16 seats.Vaghani accused Congress leaders of trying to protect their newly elected president by only projecting the rise in seats and not highlighting defeat, both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”While fighting the election in Gujarat, the Congress did not say they want to be in the opposition after the polls. They used to say that entire Gujarat is unhappy (with the BJP) and people were impressed with Rahul Gandhi. Now, when they lost, they must admit their defeat,” he told reporters here.Referring to the Congress’ defeat in Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP has come to power, he said, “The Congress just cannot win (polls). Neither in states where they were in power nor where they were in the opposition.””We will be forming the government here for the sixth consecutive term. Though the Congress tried to lure voters through promises which can never be implemented, people gave us a clear cut mandate. The people of Gujarat are smart and did not fall prey to Congress tactics,” he added.”To save Rahul Gandhi, the Congress does not even talk about their defeat in Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP took the reins from them.”In Gujarat, too, the Congress talks only about the number of seats they won. This is their tactic to help Rahul escape responsibility for the party’s defeat,” he said.Vaghani exuded confidence the BJP would do well in Gujarat during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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FIR registered against Hardik Patel for holding roadshow in Gujarat without permission

An FIR was registered on Wednesday against Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel and around 50 of his supporters for holding a roadshow on the city outskirts on December 11 without permission, police said.The Ahmedabad Police registered the case in connection with the roadshow held in Bopal area.”Hardik, who heads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), and his supporters were booked under IPC section 188 for disobeying the police order,” Bopal Police Inspector I H Gohil said.Hardik and his supporters, who were on their bikes, had organised a roadshow on December 11, despite being denied permission by the district authorities, he said.”Today, we have lodged an FIR against him and 50 other bikers for disobeying the police notification,” Gohil said.This is the first FIR against Hardik after the state Assembly elections.Three days before the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, the rally-cum-roadshow on motorcycles and cars was organised, which started from Bopal and culminated at Nikol area on the other end of the city, covering a distance of around 15 km.While Bopal area falls under the jurisdiction of rural police, Nikol area is under the city police limits.After the roadshow, Police Commissioner A K Singh had expressed displeasure over Patel’s move and said that legal action would be taken for holding the event without permission.Singh had denied permission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to hold roadshows in the city during the campaign which the leaders of the two parties had obeyed.

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PM Modi turns emotional in BJP Parliamentary meet, stresses on booth level network to win 2019 polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for strengthening the BJP at its roots for a win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and also pitched for promoting young faces inside and outside the party.Addressing the BJP parliamentary party here, Modi pushed for promoting the new generation for a “New India”, a vision for 2022 promoted by his government. He also urged party leaders not to be affected by the opposition’s “disinformation” campaign against the BJP, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters. Booth level work, which is the root of a poll campaign, is the mother of an election victory, Kumar quoted Modi as saying.”He called for strengthening the party at its roots across the country,” Kumar said.Party sources said Modi turned emotional a few times as he recalled how the party organisation was built in Gujarat and young leaders were groomed by their seniors, including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.With the Congress claiming a “moral victory” for scoring its highest tally and pushing the BJP’s to its lowest score in the last many elections, Modi asserted that it was a big win for his party in his home state. No party in power at the Centre had done this well in elections across the country in over three years of tenure as the BJP had done, he said, referring to its winning streak in Assembly elections.<<iframe allowfullscreen=”” frameborder=”0″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/g7S-wj4AHL8″ width=”100%”/>Modi fondly recalled how Vajpayee congratulated him in person when the party fared well in a Lok Sabha election from Gujarat, noting that he, then a relatively new entrant to the BJP from the RSS and a general secretary in charge of the state, was not widely known in the party, sources said. Seeking the promotion of young leaders at every level in the organisation, Modi referred to his association with party president Amit Shah, who was present at today’s meeting, and spoke about how he groomed Shah, 14 years younger to the prime minister, they said.”Modi called for strengthening the party at its roots across the country. He said the work at the booth level is most important, beside people’s blessings to the party, for creating a wave in its favour,” Kumar told reporters after the meeting. Modi wanted younger generations to be connected with party work, social work and for building the nation. He noted that the “millennial generation” would be eligible to vote from 2018. In his address, Shah attacked the Congress over its claim of a moral victory in the Gujarat polls, saying it was a “laughable exercise” for the opposition party to see victory in defeat.By getting more than 49 per cent of the votes, the BJP had received its highest share in the last many elections, including in 2012, when it won 116 seats against the 99 this time.

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Manmohan Singh-Pakistan remark: Nobody will apologise as incident did not happen in House, says Vice President Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, addressed the controversy surrounding the allegations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against former PM Manmohan Singh of conspiring against Pakistan.“This is not the way. Nobody is going to give apology. Nothing happened in the House. The statement was not made here,” Naidu said in the upper House.The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm after an uproar by the opposition in the house over the allegations that the Congress had conspired with Pakistan for the BJP to lose in Gujarat. PM Modi had made the allegations following a dinner party hosted by senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that had ‘top Pakistani officials present.’ However, Singh listed those who attended the dinner hosted in honour of visiting former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. “None of them could be accused of any anti-national activities,” he said.Also readParliament attack anniversary: Modi, Manmohan Singh shake hands after row over ‘Pak meddling’ allegationsOn Monday, 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.Also readApologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra ModiCongress 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.

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Metro rams wall during trial

Days ahead of its inauguration, the country’s first driverless train, meant for the Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line, rammed a depot wall during a trial run in south Delhi’s Kailindi Kunj on Tuesday.According to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the incident took place because of the negligence of the staffers, who did not test the brake system before moving the train up the ramp for washing.No injuries were reported. The officials further said that such an incident will not happen once the train is operational as there are automatic signals on the Line to manage the run.The 13.5km Magenta Line, connecting south-southeast Delhi to satellite towns of Noida and Faridabad was to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25.The incident took place at 3.40 pm. After the trial, the train had been moved up a ramp for washing, but it rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall.”It appears that the brakes were not checked by the maintenance staff. We have ordered a high-level inquiry by a three-member committee of officers of the ranks of executive director. Appropriate action will be taken in the case,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC’s chief spokesperson.As per procedure, when a train enters the workshop, the brakes are decommissioned so that the train and its systems, including the brakes, can be freely checked.Once the train is re-commissioned, the brakes should be tested by the maintenance staff in the depot. The train is moved inside the workshop area manually and not by the signalling system.WHAT AUTHORITIES HAVE TO SAY“It appears that the brakes were not checked by the maintenance staff. We have ordered a high-level inquiry by a three-member committee of officers of the ranks of executive director. Appropriate action will be taken in the case,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC’s chief spokesperson. SALIENT FEATURESNo scope of human error Maximum speed of 95 kmphRoute maps available on each door panel Each coach can accommodate a maximum of 380 passengers Each coach has four 18.5 inch LCD screens

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Ganga cleaning funds lying unspent, says CAG

The Centre’s flagship Namami Gange project has been marred by poor financial management and implementation woes in the past three years, a performance audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed. The CAG’s audit, that covered 87 projects worth Rs7,992.34 crore, found that only eight to 63 per cent of the funds were spent between 2014-15 and 2016-17 in comparison with the revised estimate.Out of Rs6,705 crore earmarked during 2015-16 and 2016-17, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the project’s nodal implementing authority, could spend only Rs 1,665.41 crore. This was less than a quarter of the expected year-wise release of funds. “Thus, financial targets set under the Namami Gange Programme were not achieved,” the CAG report said.The report also said that the project was lagging on the rural sanitation front. Except Uttarakhand, the other four states -Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -could not achieve the target of construction of 100 per cent individual household latrines as of 31 March 2017.The national auditor said that multilateral implementation and poor planning were some of the chief reasons for funds lying unutilised with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which is the nodal implementing authority for cleaning the national river. As a result of poor planning and missing of deadlines, large quantities of untreated sewage continues to pollute Ganga across towns and cities along the main stem of the river.”We found that NMCG prepared its budget without any annual action plan. Further, the budget files at NMCG did not contain the details of planned activities and their estimated cost. Thus, NMCG did not follow the prescribed procedure for preparation of budget,” the CAG’s audit report said.As per the target dates, award for the work of all the sewage treatment plants (STP) was to be completed by September 2016, the CAG noted. The NMCG though, is yet to finalise and approve detailed project reports (DPRs) for projects totalling 1,397 MLD capacity as of August 2017. NMCG also informed CAG that there was a sewage treatment capacity gap of 2,109 million litres per day in 106 towns along in the five basin states along Ganga.During its audit of the human resources, the CAG found that except 16 government employees, contractual employees occupied all positions in NMCG and the organization was short on manpower. There was a 44 per cent shortfall and despite an approval from the Union Cabinet, the sanctioned strength has not been increased from 58 to 111.Namami Gange has been a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and of his two Lok Sabha constituencies is Varanasi, which is situated on the banks of the Ganga.MANPOWER CRUNCHDuring its audit of the human resources, the CAG found that except 16 government employees, contractual employees occupied all positions in NMCG was short on manpower.

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PM 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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Gujarat Elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi has credibility problem, BJP ridicules

The Gujarat poll outcome sparked a political war of words today with Congress president Rahul Gandhi calling it a “massive jolt” to the BJP, drawing ridicule from the ruling party that he was “enjoying defeat as victory” under an illusion.The BJP win by a reduced margin yesterday also led its key ally Shiv Sena to launch a stinging attack on its senior partner, saying it was a “warning bell” to those who believed in an autocratic rule and that “the much-touted Gujarat model has shaken.” Gandhi also hit out at Modi’s Gujarat model of development, calling it “good propaganda and able marketing”, but which is “hollow from within.” The BJP fought off a strong challenge from Congress to win the Gujarat assembly polls for the sixth straight time since 1995.Also read’What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdictThe 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 for the first time that the BJP’s tally slipped below the 100 mark since the party formed its maiden government on its own in 1995. The Congress, spearheaded by Gandhi, won 77 seats, up by 16 seats. Gandhi also raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s credibility after he led his party to a narrow victory in his home state. He claimed the Gujarat results indicated that the country was not listening to Modi any more and took a dig at his Gujarat model of development. “I came to know there (in Gujarat) that people actually do not accept Modiji’s model.”It was thought that the Congress will not be able to fight the BJP in Gujarat…You saw the results and it has dealt a ‘zabardast jhatka’ (a massive jolt) to the BJP in Gujarat,” Gandhi told reporters in Delhi. The new Congress president called the poll outcome a “very good result” and a moral victory for his party. “We lost, but we could have won…But fell short by a small margin. “A big question has been raised on Modiji’s credibility. Frankly, Modiji has a credibility problem and he will find it very difficult… Because what he is saying, his forces and his organisation are repeating that.”But the country is not listening to that. This, the Gujarat election has shown. In the coming times, you will see this clearly,” he said. Talking of credibility, he said while Modi spoke “non-stop” about corruption, he never uttered a word about Jay Shah (BJP chief Amit Shah’s son) or Rafale fighter jet deal, which the Congress claims was against the country’s interest and encouraged crony capitalism.”The country wants to know that you talked non-stop of corruption. Jay Shah, son of Amit Shah, turned Rs 50,000 into 80 crore in three months, there has been a scam in Rafale deal, why don’t you talk of this. This is the credibility issue,” he said. Gandhi said Gujarat sent out a message to the BJP and Modi that the “anger” within them would not work. The Congress chief, who vigorously campaigned in Gujarat, said in three months the state and its people taught him one thing that one can defeat opponents only with love and brotherhood, and not anger, money or force. Mahatma Gandhi told this to the country and this feeling is embedded deeply in Gujarat.”Gujarat has given a message to Modi ji and the BJP that the anger within you will not help you and love will defeat it,” he said.To a question about Modi’s assertion that the BJP’s win was an endorsement of his development agenda and economic reforms like the GST, the Congress president said, “It is strange as in his poll speeches he did not talk about development, nor about GST and note ban.” Responding to Gandhi’s attack, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar claimed the poll outcome had actually jolted the Congress. “We (the BJP) won both state Assembly elections and in Gujarat for the sixth time. Actually this is a jolt for the Congress,” Javadekar told reporters shortly after Gandhi’s attack on Modi and the BJP.The Union minister also alleged that the Congress tried to adopt divisive politics in Gujarat. However, people put their faith in Modi and in his development agenda, he said. Javadekar said he was amused to hear that the Congress president had described the results as a big jolt to the BJP. “It seems Rahul is under the illusion and enjoying defeat as victory. This shows his dynastic arrogance and is an insult to the people’s mandate,” he said.Reacting sharply to Gandhi’s remark raising questions on Modi’s credibility, Javadekar said it was the Congress which was losing its credibility among the people in the country, because of which, he added, the party was losing election after election.The Sena attack on the BJP came in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, The Sena said the BJP had “barely managed to pass” the electoral exam but was pretending to have passed with distinction. The BJP won Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress also did not lose, the editorial said. This election result in Gujarat is a “warning bell for those who believe in an autocratic rule,” the Sena said.

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Gujarat Election 2017: 13 women fielded by both BJP and Congress this time, 3 less than 2012

Fewer women were fielded by both the BJP and Congress in Gujarat this time compared to the 2012 Assembly elections, and their number in the new Assembly too has dwindled.Thirteen women, nine from the BJP and four from the Congress, were elected to the Assembly this time, against 16 in 2012.The BJP and Congress fielded 12 and 10 women candidates, respectively, in the 2017 elections.In 2012 the two main parties had fielded 33 women candidates — 19 by the BJP and 14 by the Congress. Among the winners then 12 were from the BJP and four from the Congress.BJP candidate from Choryasi Zankhanaben Patel registered an impressive victory by defeating her Congress rival Yogesh Patel by over 1.10 lakh votes.In another interesting contest, BJP candidate from Bhavnagar-East and sitting MLA Vibhavari Dave defeated Congress’s Nitaben Rathod. Nimaben Acharya and Sangitaben Patil also retained Bhuj and Limbayat seats, respectively.Other women candidates from the BJP who won include Malti Maheshwari from Gandhidham, Suman Chauhan from Kalol (Panchmahals), Manisha Vakil (Vadodara city), Geetaba Jadeja (Gondal) and Simaben Mohile (Akita).Congress MLA Tejashree Patel, who had switched sides during the Rajya Sabha election, was fielded by the BJP from Viramgam, but she lost.Congress fielded women candidates from Bhavnagar (East), Dahegam, Garbada, Maninagar, Navsari, Sanand, Umreth, Unjha, Vav and Rapar.Of them, Unjha candidate Ashaben Patel registered an impressive victory over her nearest BJP rival Narayanbhai Patel by over 19,500 votes. Vadnagar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown, is located in the same constituency.Chandrikaben Baria retained her ST-reserved Garbada seat, defeating BJP’s Mahendra Bhabhor by over 16,000 votes.Geniben Thakor (Vav) and Santok Arethia (Rapar) of the Congress too won this time.

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

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

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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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In a hand-written letter, Ivanka Trump says ‘thank you’ to Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao for Hyderabad visit

Ivanka Trump, the adviser and daughter of US President Donald Trump, has thanked Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for his hospitality during her recent visit to Hyderabad.In a hand-written letter addressed to Rao, she described her visit as an “incredible and inspiring experience”.Last month, Ivanka Trump led a delegation of US administration officials and entrepreneurs at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Hyderabad.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hosted a gala dinner for her at the famous Falaknuma Palace Hotel in the city.Ivanka Trump, in her letter to the chief minister, said she was touched by the warmth of the people of Telangana.”I also want to thank you for the exquisite gift that you presented to me at the Falaknuma Palace. I am deeply touched by your thoughtful gesture and by the warmth of the people of Telangana,” she said in the letter, a copy of which was released last night.She further said that she looks forward to coming to India in the near future.Ivanka Trump, who is also an entrepreneur, was invited by the prime minister during his visit to the White House in June to speak at the GES.

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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 | Congress candidate wins in PM Modi’s own Vadnagar

Congress nominee Asha Patel won from Unjha constituency, which covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar, by a margin of over 19,000 votes. Sitting BJP MLA Narayan Patel had previously defeated Asha by nearly 25,000 votes in 2012. While Patel polled 81,797 votes this time, her BJP rival got 62,268.The Congress rode on the Patidar wave. About 40 per cent Unjha’s population is from the Patidar community. One of the 14 men killed in the Patidar quota agitation two years ago, was from Unjha.Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the party’s star campaigner, had extensively campaigned in Unjha during his Navsarjan Yatra. On his visit to the region, Gandhi also prayed at the Umiya Mata temple, close to Vadnagar – where Modi was brought up. Weeks before the election process began in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for the last 22 years, Modi inaugurated Umiya Dham Ashram in Haridwar for the pilgrims from the region visiting the Hindu holy city on the bank of the Ganges.

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PM Modi to launch Magenta line section on Dec 25

The Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden line of the Delhi Metro, which will reduce travel time between Noida and south Delhi, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, the DMRC said on Monday.The 12.64 km section, part of metro’s upcoming Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West (Magenta) Line, was granted safety approval by the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) last month.Metro’s new generation trains, which can run without drivers, will run on this section where an advanced Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signaling technology that will facilitate the movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds will also be pressed into service.However, for an initial period of two-three years, the trains will have drivers. Currently, for travelling to South Delhi areas, commuters from Noida have to change trains — from Blue Line to Violet Line- at Mandi House Metro Station.After this new section of the Delhi Metro is opened, commuters will be able to travel directly to Kalkaji Mandir Metro Station, which is on the Violet Line, cutting the travel time by about 45 minutes.Once the entire corridor from Botanical Garden till Janakpuri West (38.23 km) is opened, commuters from Noida will be able to go to Gurgaon by changing trains at Hauz Khas station.The Botanical Garden has been developed as the metro’s first-ever inter-change station outside the boundaries of Delhi.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Attacking PM Modi backfired for Congress: Anil Jain

What landed Gujarat once again in the BJP kitty?In Gujarat, it was clear that in the last election, Narendra Modi was the chief minister, but now he is the Prime Minister. It would be expected generally that after 22 years of rule, there would be anti-incumbency and people would want change, but these factors were mitigated and controlled by the incessant efforts of the Prime Minister and party chief Amit Shah. Our president reached out to the grassroots level of ‘panna pramukhs’ and booth-level workers ‘Shakti Kendras’. BJP has the best leadership and the mentality of development is reflected in the over 160 welfare and pro-poor schemes launched for the people. ‘Niyat, Niti and Neta’ (Positive approach, good policy and best leaders) took us to victory.What about Congress campaign?The Congress tried to make the elections about casteism and mislead the election in a negative direction. It also tried to steer the debate away from development. The Congress even took anti-social elements under its wings as their sole motive was that the elections not be fought over the development plank. Surprisingly, they began with setting aside development, saying ‘Vikas has gone mad’. This does not bode well for the future of Indian democracy.What worked against Congress?The three demons of dynasticism, casteism and appeasement politics — hallmarks of Congress’s DNA. Dynasty is the inherent and integral tradition of the Congress party. On the contrary, these demons were rooted out under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.Have these polls been more of a Modi versus Congress rather than BJP?The PM knows the psyche of people of Gujarat and he has a unique connect with the Gujarati electorate. The vicious way in which Congress attacked him on a personal level, people of Gujarat took it as an affront and an attack on their own pride and identity. He has come to be identified with the pride of not just Gujarat, but that of the nation. Deriding him and disrespecting him backfired for the Congress.

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

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

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | 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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