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A dialogue with JC: Gujarat results change game plan of Congress & BJP

How Modi-Shah succeeded in Gujarat?The face of Modi and booth management of Amit Shah…were the biggest reasons for the success. Besides, two more factors contributed – division of Muslim votes and fielding non Patidars against Patidars…they weaved strategy in such a way that they could succeed in forming government for straight six times.How Modi-Shah turned the table in the last leg?They encashed two statements – one that of Kapil Sibal relating to Ram Mandir and the other statement of Manishankar Aiyar. They also encashed issue of Manmohan Singh meeting with Pakistani Ambassador. Public believed that meeting with Pakistani had happened. What transpired what not… it’s different issue. These issues set the gameplan for BJP in the last round.How Congress lost it at the last in Gujarat?We won’t say that Congress missed it but Congress miscalculated in Surat…Congress had great expectations from Surat…but BJP in a smart move sent its senior leaders to campaign in Surat who directly communicated with businessmen and traders and reached to a settlement saying that in future government may give major relaxations. As a result, out of 12 urban seats BJP clinched 11. Congress’ bigwigs lost elections from Surat…Shakti Singh was defeated…third factor was division of Muslim votes. These factors summed up the defeated of Congress.Had Mayawati and Sharad Pawar helped BJP win Gujarat?Definitely, fielding of candidates by Sharad Pawar and Mayawati helped BJP…and it is said that people of Mayawati and Sharad Pawar were given list of candidates o be fielded in Gujarat elections by the higher-ups in BJP. That could be the reason why Congress lost on at least 10 seats where they could have won.Why there were speculations of introducing new CM in place of Rupani?The other party says that those speculations were baseless…this was pre decided that if BJP wins the duo of Rupani-Patel will be at the helm… and that has happened…there is no chance of any change of guard.Why women get less tickets in Gujarat?This is quite saddening. Everyone talks about women empowerment…but Congress and BJP both gave only 10-12 tickets each. The percentage of women candidates was very low. Why Muslim candidates got less support from public in Gujarat?25-30 Muslim candidates contested the elections…but they got less vote percentage. Even in Muslim dominated areas, the percentage was less. This a an issue investigationAfter results, why Rahul Gandhi visited Somnath temple again?By visiting Somnath temple, Rahul Gandhi sent a message that even after losing elections, he will continue with the agenda of soft-Hindutva. He looks to be trying to snatch away Hindutva agenda from Modi.What are the economic and political lessons for Modi from Gujarat elections?The biggest lesson is political – You can’t take Gujarat for granted any more…second takeaway is that at any cost he will have to handle the resentment which has occurred among traders and businessmen due to demonetisation and GST. He has given several relaxations in GST in Guwahati and he will have to dole out more. Besides, Aadhar will not be linked to Real Estate…government is becoming flexible and in coming days we may see more relaxations in the policy of government and business class gets more relief.Will government administer amendments in the current economic policies?There will certainly be some amendments…Modi-Shah-Jaitley will sit together to discuss what reforms can be done in policies without compromising its anti corruption stand.Will Bhupendra Yadav get charge of Karnataka?I am completely convinced that Yadav is the discovery of Amit Shah. Yadav is from Ajmer and never went to any English School but speaks and writes English very well… makes great strategies…Amit Shah picked him …he was associated with Bihar elections, Maharashtra polls, made incharge of Gujarat where BJP won and now he will be sent to Karnataka. After that he will be sent to Rajasthan…certainly Yadav is discovery of Shah.What is the role of RSS in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh?RSS is the reality in the life of BJP…its estimation is correct…RSS had estimated about Gujarat that BJP may win only 64 seats…now it has warned BJP of 2019 elections that BJP may get 40-50 less seats in North India, so focus on East and South…RSS has a comprehensive role. Will Rahul-Hardik partnership remain intact till 2019?Grossly, it looks like that they will remain together till 2019…they may have difference on opinion on an issues in coming times…hardik patel can say that Congress should give post of leader of opposition to a Patidar…Hardik is a moody person but still they looks to remain together.Will Gujarat government send Hardik to jail on any of the issues?It can’t be called vindication but law will take its course…Vijay rupani had said that if BJP forms government, legal action will be taken against him.Why Om Mathur who knows the pulse of Gujarat was not seen active?There is a great contribution of Om Mathur in elections…he had been in the team of Modi-Shah… I think he has become little inactive and disheartened.. and it’s but natural. BJP is in power for 4 years but he could not get anything.What would be the political implications of the acquittal of 2G accused?Congress and DMK gained a lot in terms of public perception..Karunanidhi and his party are the biggest beneficiary…Congress has got an issue against BJP and it may make this an election issue in 2019.What would be the political impact of the conviction of Lalu?There would be little impact on the movement of Lalu…I think this could become a sympathy factor in 2019 elections…this decision has borne a negative impact on Lalu but there will be hardly any impact on the lifestyle of Lalu. He will issue statements from jail and lead agitation from there.Will Congress make election issue out of court decisions on 2G and fodder scams?Congress will definitely leverage on 2G issue…Congress will definitely fan this issue before 2019 elections. Eventually Congress has gained from this decision. What would be the impact of these results on the outcome of coming assembly elections?There is a feel good factor for Rahul Gandhi in states where assembly elections are due. Rahul Gandhi has started speaking well…it will boost morale of workers in the states…but it can’t be said that Congress will be able to form governments in these states.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Big gains for BJP where PM Modi campaigned

PM Narendra Modi travelled across 10,000 km in Gujarat during poll rallies for the Assembly elections. While speaking at these rallies, he played the victim card, bringing up the abusive terms used by Congress leaders to address him and the ill-treatment of Gujarat leaders by the Nehru-Gandhi family. He addressed people at 34 different places, covering all regions in the state. Out of these 34, BJP won in over 18 places, while Congress won over 16 seats – these includes urban areas such as Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.Most rallies that the PM addressed had a crowd of near one lakh people. Modi would begin his speeches by listing the achievements of the BJP-led central and state governments, and would then raise issues attached to the sentiments of Gujarat.As polling dates drew close, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar made the ‘neech’ statement, and PM again became the victim. After that, Congress came under constant attack. Congress leaders meeting Pakistani delegates was also turned into an issue.On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi’s meetings and public rallies were widely attended, but not all of them translated into votes for his party. Gandhi, who formally took over as Congress president two days before Gujarat election results were announced, campaigned extensively in the state. He undertook yatras in Saurashtra, north Gujarat, central Gujarat and south Gujarat.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: How GST tweak saved the day for BJP

Last ditch efforts to placate businessmen affected by Goods and Services Tax (GST) saved at least 20 seats for the BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls, a top business leader in state claimed today. Another trade leader in Surat said that traders did not know that the contest would be so close and they did not want to rub the government in the wrong way and hence did not vote for Congress.From the results and trends available till now, the Congress has won 70 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, while the BJP was victorious in 75 seats. The Congress was leading in 7 other constituencies. The BJP was ahead in 24 other seats.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 pollsCities like Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot which were major centers of protests by businessmen have voted for BJP as the party won most seats in these cities. BJP’s tally dropped marginally in these trader-dominated cities as Congress made some token inroads in urban areas but failed to make substantial gain in these BJP strongholds.The issue of GST cropped up in Gujarat, right from its rollout in July 2016. High rates of taxation and issues related to compliance caused anger in businessmen and tax practitioner communities. Also readGujarat, Himachal Assembly Elections 2017 Verdict: Nation is ready for reforms, PM Modi saysSevere penal provisions, often because of systemic issues, had caused severe dissent among the traders. As the issue snowballed, the central government rushed in a team of tax officials to Surat, Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Following the feedback received, the government initiated massive course correction. “After the meeting, businessmen preferred to stay with BJP. If these measures were not taken, BJP would have easily lost 20-22 seats,” said Shailesh Patwari, President of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.On the other hand, a segment of business leaders believe that even though traders were adversely affected because of GST, they did not vote for Congress as they underestimated the support Congress was getting from the masses. “Traders did not imagine in their faintest of dreams that Congress and Rahul Gandhi would be able to garner so much support. If it had occurred to them, then they have voted aggressively in favour of Congress,” said Jaylal, President of Surat Vividh Vepari Mahamandal and was one of the key players to lead the protests by textile traders in Surat. “Businessmen have to face government authorities day in and day out. So they preferred not to antagonize BJP,” said Jaylal. He said that the elections have key takeaways for trading community and Congress has re-emerged as a credible force in the country. “Even Rahul Gandhi has emerged as a leader who could single-handedly challenged Modi and Amit Shah in their den. We can’t say that he failed. Had the Manishankar Aiyar and Kapil Sibal episodes not happened, then results would have been quite different,” he added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: 68% turnout in Phase 1, EC rejects Congress’ Bluetooth-EVM hack complaint

Over 68 per cent turnout was recorded today in the first phase of polling for 89 Assembly seats in Gujarat where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress’s soon-to-be chief Rahul Gandhi are locked in a bitter, high-stakes battle after a 22-year BJP reign.The final voting figure was set to go up as people stood in queues outside polling centres even after the closing time of 5 pm, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said in Delhi.Four persons were injured in clashes between two groups of the same community at Chorvila village of Sayla tehsil of Surendranagar district. The polls, however, largely passed off peacefully.Opposition leaders expressed apprehensions about electronic voting machine (EVM) tampering, a charge rejected by the EC. The BJP took pot-shots at the Congress saying that the party was looking for excuses.State Election Commission officials said there were reports of technical glitches in EVMs in Surat and some other places, but the polling resumed after the machines were replaced.Sixty eight per cent of the 2.1 crore voters exercised their franchise, Sinha said.Also readGujarat Elections: ‘No question of any challenge’, says CM Vijay Rupani who’s contesting against richest candidate The prime minister thanked the people of Gujarat for turning out in record numbers.”Thank you Gujarat! Gratitude to my sisters and brothers of Gujarat for voting in record numbers today. I am seeing that BJP is headed towards a historic victory, powered by the affection and support of every Gujarati,” he tweeted.Responding to a series of questions on reports of EVM tampering, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Jain said a complaint filed by a Congress candidate in Porbandar regarding his cell phone connecting to an EVM through ‘bluetooth’ was found to be incorrect.Also readHeard EVMs are picking up gravitational waves: Twitter in splits after Congress leader thought Bluetooth could hack EVMsThe complaint was lodged by senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia. In a tweet, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had also asked the EC to look into the reports of EVM malfunctioning.Jain said experts found that the cell phone actually connected to the bluetooth of a polling agent’s mobile.The EVM has “no receptors” and cannot be connected to any other device except the control unit and the paper trail machine, he said, adding it has no bluetooth or USB (pen drive in common parlance) port.Officials said 977 candidates were in the fray from the 89 seats of Saurashtra and south Gujarat, of which 63 were won by the BJP and 22 by the Congress in the 2012 Assembly polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: EC disposes Congress leader’s ‘Bluetooth EVM’ hacking complaint after investigationIn the 2012 elections, the voting percentage was 70.07 while it was 60 per cent in 2007 polls in the corresponding constituencies of the 182-member Assembly.Several key leaders, including Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his opponent from Rajkot (West) Indranil Rajyaguru, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani were among the early voters.Cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara also cast his vote in Rajkot.Prominent candidates in today’s battle included Rupani and Congress’s Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).As the polling process began at 8 am, people stepped out of their houses braving the winter chill and queued up to cast votes.With the marriage season on, brides and grooms, clad in wedding finery, came to polling booths along with their relatives to exercise their franchise. Many such voters were seen in Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Gondal and Surat.A 115-year-old woman from Upleta town of Rajkot, Aajiben Chandravadia, also voted, reports said.As per the turnout data of 8am to 5pm, both Navsari of south Gujarat and Morbi district of Saurashtra recorded the highest turnout of 75 per cent. Porbandar and Botad districts in Saurashtra recorded the lowest turnout of 60 per cent.In Visavadar town of Junagadh district, BJP candidate Kirit Patel allegedly entered into a heated argument with the election officer. “That was a minor incident. Patel was unhappy over some issue related to the timing of the polling,” said an official.In Surat, a person called Ashwin Patel, who claims to be running a parallel Patidar quota agitation, alleged that some persons attacked his car.The election in Modi’s home state is crucial for the BJP and Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and is seen as a prestige battle for the prime minister, who was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and a litmus test for the opposition party’s heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi.Emotive issues of religion and caste competed with that of development and the attacks by the two parties often turned personal as leaders indulged in name-calling.The Congress, in political wilderness in Gujarat for nearly 22 years, is desperate to break the jinx. It has raised questions on BJP’s Gujarat “development model”, demonetisation and GST.The BJP is banking on its performance and Modi’s popularity to counter any anti-incumbency or the impact of the Patidar quota stir. Modi has attacked the Congress over the issue of dynastic politics and corruption and invoked “Gujarati pride’ in his campaign speeches.While Modi addressed about 15 rallies for the first of the two-stage polls, Gandhi spent over seven days in Saurashtra and south Gujarat emerging as the Congress pivot to take on the prime minister on his home turf.EC officials said a total of 26,865 ballot units (on which votes are cast), 24,689 control units which are kept with the presiding officer and an equal number of paper trail machines were deployed.Out of these, 181 ballot units (0.6 per cent of the total), 223 control units (0.55 per cent of the total) and 714 paper trail machines (1.75 per cent of the total) were replaced during polling, they said.Over 6,000 ballot papers were electronically transferred to service voters, a major achievement considering that the practice of e-ballots was new, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said in Delhi.The second phase of polling in 93 seats will be held on December 14 while the counting of votes is scheduled on December 18.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Surat lodged case against Hardik Patel

A case has been lodged with the Surat police station on Friday against PAAS convener, Hardik Patel for politicising a rally which was conducted for social and education purposes.The Election Commission of Gujarat has lodged a case regarding the matter with the Surat police station under the Gujarat Police Act 1951, Section 36(A), Power of Commissioner or the District Superintendent and of other officers to give direction to the public, 72(2).The section says that a cop may arrest someone without warrant and impose a penalty for flouting the rule.As per officials, Hardik was given police permission to conduct a rally in Punagam of Surat on December 3 for social and education purposes. As per permission point number 14, he was not allowed to politicise the rally by using any political names.During his speech in the rally, he used political names, regarding which a complaint was lodged with the Surat police station against him for not following the norms of the permission.The case has been registered and further investigation regarding the matter is going on.WHAT HARDIK DIDDuring his speech in the rally, Hardik used political names, which he was not permitted to do.

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Gujarat elections phase 1: BJP will look to grab early initiative in South Gujarat and Saurashtra

With 89 seats in the fray in the phase one of Gujarat election including the bell-weather Saurashtra region, the result of Gujarat elections 2017 may well get sealed on Saturday. That is, if BJP can even show 70% of its past domination in Saurashtra-Kutch and South Gujarat, areas that are going to poll on Saturday.But with a rampaging Hardik Patel attracting massive crowds in Surat, Rajkot and other urban fortresses of BJP, CM Rupani trapped in a tricky fight and simmering resentment among cotton and groundnut farmers in Saurashtra, the saffron party can barely catch a break or afford to be complacent.For Congress, aided by nitro boost given by the trio of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani, it is harbouring hopes of winning seats in places where they have virtually given walkover in last two decades.As Rahul Gandhi said, a wind of change is blowing. Congress will hope the wind is strong enough to blow away the best laid plans of Shah-Modi. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: BJP released manifesto after we raised questions about it, says Rahul Gandhi(Hardik Patel connecting with voters- PTI)48 seats in Saurashtra and 6 in Kutch are BJP’s best bet to take an early stride in the elections. It hopes the presence of Rupani contesting from Rajkot west and state president Jitu Vaghani will give the party much needed boost and shield them from Patidar anger. Patidars are the second-most largest voting group in this region only next to the Kolis. Reports indicate while the younger Patidars are steadfastly behind Hardik , the older ones haven’t still forgotten the snub they received during Congress’s KHAM formation. Even among the Patels, the Kadva Patels look increasingly galvanising behind Hardik, while BJP still has hope of finally getting a sizeable chunk of votes from Leuva Patels. In Saurashtra and Kutch, BJP won 38 of 54 seats in 2012. What goes in their favour is Keshubhai Patel’s GPP merged with BJP in 2014, which cut significant share of votes in 2012. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Priest says he was attacked for supporting BJP and HindutvaBJP is almost consigned to suffering some losses in places like Rajkot, Jamnagar, Morbi where there is significant impact of Patel agitation. But considering it was leading in 52 of the 54 Assembly segment in 2014 general assembly, the party hopes that it has a sufficient buffer to emerge ontop even after suffering some loss in its fortress. The party’s headache has been only increased with presence of Shaktisinh Gohil of Congress contesting from Mandvi, which is in Kutch. Congress hopes to make inroads in Kutch so far dominated by BJP with Gohil’s presence. (Rahul Gandhi in Kutch- PTI)In South Gujarat, BJP virtually swept in 2012 winning 28 of the 35 seats including all 12 in Surat. It has increased clout in South Gujarat in successive elections under Modi winning 15 in 2002, and 18 in 2007. However like rest of Gujarat, it is finding the going rough in South Gujarat as well. The double whammy of demonetization and GST has taken the sheen off the party’s goodwill among the larger trader class in cities like Surat, Vapi, Valsad, etc. The party hopes that tweaking of GST norms would help it to ride the choppy waters. It enjoyed a nearly 20% gap in popularity in the urban centres. Even if it is down by 10%, the party can hope to win a decent number of seats. But that will be only known on December 18. BJP has given 31 Patidars tickets in phase 1, more than Congress. However Congress too is looking to get Koli-dominated seats by giving tickets to people from that caste. Finally, it all boils down whether Gujaratis get enticed by the message of change brought by Congress or repose faith in NaMo magic. The difference may even be the low blow given by Mani Shankar Aiyar, pun intended. Whatever be the result, the build-up has been the most thrilling in close to two decades. Who would have thought that was possible after the 2014 BJP whitewash?

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Ockhi to fizzle out in sea, won’t affect Surat

Even as news comes that the Ockhi cyclonic system has weakened and is most likely to fizzle out in the sea itself before crossing near Surat, the Gujarat government has been prepapared for the consequences of it hitting the coast of Surat. “Rapid improvement in weather is likely from tomorrow,” said Dr Jayanta Sarkar, director of India Meteorological Department.The cyclonic system was stationed 390 km away from Surat in the south-west direction on Tuesday evening. It was estimated to reach Surat district’s coast and could cause a deep depression, after which the intensity of the cyclone would decrease.Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Chief Secretary Dr JN Singh had already left for Surat to watch over the situation. The givernment had also taken measures to safeguard agricultural produce such as cotton and groundnut stored at state warehouses. Signal 3 was been issued at all ports and all operations have been suspended. All vessels and ships were anchored and exploitation of oil at offshore stations were also stopped.On Tuesday, Singh held a meeting regarding preparations for rescue and relief work. He also gave directions to the district administration through video conference. “Winds can blow at a speed of 60-80 km per hour and parts of the state will receive rainfall,” state revenue secretary Pankaj Kumar said.”Around 7,000 salt pan workers from Bharuch have been shifted to safer places while 900 families from 29 villages in Surat district also have been relocated. Around 13,000 boats that went fishing have returned; only 1,000 are stilll at sea and we are trying to trace them. Of the remaining boats, 700 are from Dwarka, and the rest from Mangrol and Jafrabad ports,” he added.The election commission has also been supervising how to deal with the situation once Ockhi hits. Polls are to be held in south Gujarat and Saurashtra on 9 December – places where Ockhi’s intensity is likely to remain highest in the state. The state has deputed six National Disaster Response Force and two State Disaster Response Force teams for the relief and rescue work. The Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard has also been co-ordinating with the government. More than 13 lakh awareness text messages have been released by the government.Chief electoral officer in Gujarat, BB Swain said, “The cyclone will have no effect over the poll schedule but we have been taking extra care. We have directed all district collectors to make the EVMs under safe locations and polling booths have been equipped with the rain proof shades. We have also ensured transportation of polling staff and polling equipments, including EVMs, in closed vehicles to avoid damage. We are in constant touch with the meteorological department and have been given to understand that intensity of cyclone is likely to be lowest on polling day.”
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Gujarat Elections 2017: Cyclone Ockhi pours cold water on poll campaign

Amid the heat of the Gujarat polls, cyclone Ockhi, eddying menacingly towards the state’s coast, poured cold water on the campaigning today, forcing cancellation of rallies of several top leaders, including those by BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, appealed to BJP workers to extend a helping hand to those that would be likely hit by the cyclone, which is expected to make a landfall tonight on the state’s southern coast in Surat. Shah’s poll rallies scheduled today in Rajula town of Amreli and Mahuva and Shihor of Bhavnagar district have been cancelled, a party release said. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held a poll rally in Anjar but cancelled three in Morbi, Dhrangadhra and Surendranagar due to the impending cyclone.BJP MP Manoj Tiwari’s roadshow in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad was also cancelled due to light showers since early morning, Bapunagar MLA Jagroopsinh Rajput said. The BJP has also called off rallies and press conferences of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Surat today, a party leader said. Former Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, who floated his ‘Jan Vikalp’ front, was also forced to cancel his roadshows and rallies that were to be held in Junagadh, and Mahuva and Palitana towns of Saurashtra, a leader of his outfit said.Though Vaghela was supposed to reach Surat tonight, he dropped his plan due to the approaching cyclone.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missingMeanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Gujarat BJP workers to focus on providing assistance to the people likely to be hit by the cyclonic storm. “With CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to BJP Gujarat Karyakartas (workers) to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens,” Modi tweeted.Inspired by his tweet, BJP leaders in Surat suspended all their campaign-related work and began shifting people to safer places, the ruling party MLA from Surat’s Majura seat, Harsh Sanghvi, said.”We have decided not to do any kind of campaigning until the effect of cyclone remains. Since this morning, all our workers have spread across the city to help people. We are moving them to safer locations. During this work, we will not wear any scarves having BJP’s election symbol,” Sanghvi said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday The latest weather forecast said cyclone Ockhi has moved closer to the southern coast and is about 390 kms from Surat.
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Cyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missing

As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone Ockhi hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the Union Home Ministry said today.Joint Secretary in the ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal also said the cyclone is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days later.”As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons were not known, as per available information, whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet,” he told reporters here.A total of 556 fishermen were also rescued by relief and rescue teams from seas.The state governments are verifying with the affected villages to find the exact number of missing fishermen.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday Altogether 809 fishermen with their boats from Tamil Nadu and Kerala were swept away and reached Maharashtra coast where they were provided food and shelter.While 33 tourists, both domestic and foreign, were safe in Lakshadweep, 250 fishermen could also reach safely in the islands from the high seas after being hit by the cyclone.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Search intensified to find 92 missing fishermenJindal said two merchant ships with eight sailors each were rescued and brought to Lakshadweep by Navy and Coast guard teams.Asked whether the cyclone would affect the election process in Gujarat, Jindal said there was no such possibilities as it has already slowed down.Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today asked fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to cyclone Ockhi.Asking people not to panic in case of a cyclone alert, the NDMA said in an advisory that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into the sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow.Fishermen living along and off South Gujarat and North Maharashtra coasts have been advised not to venture into the sea till tomorrow morning.The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi will move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5 N and Longitude 70.4 E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.The NDMA said light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight.Minor damage to loose unsecured structures and minor damage to banana trees, agriculture near coast due to salt spray is expected. Damage to ripe paddy crops and minor damage to ‘kutcha’ embankments are expected.The NDMA predicted formation of a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal during the next few hours and it will further intensify into a deep depression during subsequent two days.The well marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman sea persists.It is very likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Tamil Nadu, south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next three days.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Don’t panic in case of alert, evacuate when asked, advises NDMA

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today asked people not to panic in case of a cyclone alert and also advised fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to Cyclone Ockhi.In an advisory issued on Tuesday, the NDMA said that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow.Fishermen living along and off South Gujarat and North Maharashtra coasts are advised not to venture into the sea till Wednesday morning.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Mumbai records highest December rainfall in a decadeThe India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also urged the fisherman working on the Maharashtra-Goa coasts to not venture in the sea for the next 48 hours.”Fishermen are advised to return back to the coast and are advised not to go out in the sea during next 48 hours,” an statement issued by Mumbai centre of IMD said.Disaster Management Unit of BMC has said that the cyclone will have no impact on Mumbai City and Suburb and that all Roads and Rails traffic are running smoothly.The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi will move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5 N and Longitude 70.4 E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.Light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight.Minor damage to loose unsecured structures and minor damage to banana trees, agriculture near coast due to salt spray is expected. Damage to ripe paddy crops and minor damage to ‘kutcha’ embankments are expected.Damage is expected in south Gujarat including Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir-Somnath, Bhavnagar districts, Daman, Diu, and Dadra, Nagar Haveli.Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy rainfall very likely over Andaman and Nicobar Islands during next three days.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, has been reviewing the rescue and relief operations being carried out in high seas and coastal areas hit by Cyclone Ockhi.The NCMC yesterday took stock of the preparedness in Maharashtra and Gujarat which are likely to be impacted by the cyclone, an official statement said.(With PTI inputs)
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Cyclone Ockhi: Untimely rainfall and hailstorm damages rabi crops in Maharashtra

The untimely heavy rainfall and hailstorm are likely to damage the Rabi reason crops mainly — wheat, barley, sesame, mustard, peas, maize, linseed, gram, cumin, onion, tomato, potato and oat in Maharashtra.The Rabi crops are sown in winter and harvested in spring. The Rabi season starts from October-end, which also is the onset of winter. The weather bureau of Mumbai has predicted heavy rainfall warning for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts in north Konkan, Nandurbar, Dhule, Nasik and Jalgaon districts in north and central Maharashtra. Cyclone Ockhi had left behind a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands, is currently located over east central Arabian Sea, around 540 km southwest of Mumbai and 720km south-southwest of Surat, Gujarat, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.“This year, we could not get the cotton crops properly because of bollworm. It had damaged the entire cotton crops when we were about to reap. After, this we were expected the losses made in Karip reason can be recovered in rabi. Now, this untimely rainfall due to Ockhi cyclone our rabi crops will also get damaged. It is a double whammy for us,” said Tukaram Patil, a farmer from Jalgaon.Patil said that the government should immediately assess the damage and conduct the panchnama and the compensations should be given to them. “This is a natural disaster. The government should either pay us through our crops insurance or other schemes to farmers. We are literarily devastated,” said Patil.
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Admin braces for Ockhi storm

Gujarat government reviewed pre-calamity preparations on Monday in view of the onset of Ockhi storm, which could reach state’s coast at the midnight of December 5. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and chief secretary Dr JN Singh convened two different meetings in a day at Gandhinagar and ordered the concerned authorities to stay alert taking serious view of the possible natural calamity.The storm had settled at 870 km in South-South West direction at Monday afternoon and is proceeding towards Gujarat. However, the intensity of the same is gradually decreasing, chief secretary Singh said.”The winds can blow at the speed of 50 to 60 km per hour and heavy rain in parts of Saurashtra and South Gujarat are likely due to deep depression. When the Ockhi would reach at Gujarat coast, its intensity is likely to be weaker, but the Gujarat government is fully prepared to combat with the situation. We have alerted all the district administrations of coastal area in state. Control rooms have been made active round the clock at every taluka and district headquarters of coastal zone,” he said.”Our administration has been on high alert since last 24 hours and we are continuously keeping watch over the situation. We request the fishermen to not to go for fishing and other people to not to go close to seashores in state. Moreover, the officials of fisheries department also have been directed to stay put at headquarters,” added Singh.The Chief Minister Vijar Rupani, amidst the busy schedule of poll rallies, reached Gandhinagar and reviewed the condition through meeting with the senior officials of the state government.Rupani said, “As many as 50 boats of fishermen from Kerala have drifted towards the shores of Gujarat due to heavy blow of winds and all have been provided shelter in Veraval. The state administration is fully prepared to combat with the situation and sufficient precautionary measures have been taken.”Revenue secretary Pankaj Kumar said, “The Ockhi may bring heavy rains in parts of Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Dangs, Bharuch, Tapi in South Gujarat, Amreli, Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region and Diu-Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli union territories. One NDRF team each has been deputed in Surat and Navsari districts while two teams have been deputed in Rajkot.”DANGER ALERT“Our administration has been on high alert since last 24 hours and we are continuously keeping watch over the situation. We request the fishermen to not to go for fishing and other people to not to go close to seashores in state,” chief secretary Dr JN Singh said.
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Wish PM Modi found more dignified ways of seeking votes: Manmohan Singh

In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his predecessor Manmohan Singh today said Modi failed to understand the “pains” of his note ban and GST decisions were going to unleash on the people of his own home state.Calling demonetisation an “uninformed, half-baked crusade” and GST a “badly designed and hastily implemented” measure, Singh also lamented the “low-level rhetoric” used by the ruling party.”I wish the prime minister would find more dignified ways of impressing upon the crowds and seeking their votes…,” he said.Also readModi govt can’t match UPA’s 10-year average growth rate: Manmohan Singh “Just as you were recovering from one blow (of demonetisation), came the GST. Nobody consulted you or tried to understand how your dhandha (business) works,” he told a gathering of members of the local business community here.”The prime minister is from Gujarat, and he claims to understand Gujarat and the poor more than anyone else. How is it that he never understood the pains his decisions will unleash on you?” Singh asked.Also readManmohan Singh criticising demonetization to show allegiance to the family: Dharmendra Pradhan”Your business works on trust and relationships. Without trust in each other, Surat will collapse. You extended this trust to the prime minister and his promise of ‘acchhe din’ (good days). The hope symbolised in those dreams now lies shattered,” he said.In Surat alone, 89,000 powerlooms were sold as scrap and it led to a loss of 31,000 jobs, Singh said. “There are countless such examples from industrial clusters and big mandis (markets) from across the country.”Also read’Don’t want pity’: Manmohan Singh refuses to ‘compete’ with PM Modi over humble backgroundChina benefited from this situation, he claimed.”In FY 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1.96 lakh crore. During the same period in FY 2017-18, the imports from China increased to Rs 2.41 lakh crore. This unprecedented increase in imports by more than Rs 45,000 crore, a 23 per cent increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST.”These twin blows damaged India’s MSME sector and our businesses had to turn to Chinese imports at the cost of India jobs,” the senior Congress leader said.On demonetisation, Singh said, “This is an uninformed, half-baked crusade on black money where he (Modi) painted everyone as a thief, while real culprits have gotten away.”The Goods and Services Tax was “badly designed and hastily implemented”, the economist-turned-politician said.Maintaining that demonetisation was not the solution to the problem of black money and tax evasion, Singh said the costs of demonetisation substantially exceeded its benefits, and the decision “proved to be mere bluster to reap political dividends while the real offenders have escaped”.Demonetisation and GST have also “sown a deep-rooted fear of tax terrorism among the business community”, he said.”At a time when the economy has slowed down considerably, despite favourable global macro-economic conditions, the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of the businesses to invest,” he said.”This attitude of suspecting everyone to be a thief or anti-national, the low-level rhetoric is damaging the democratic discourse and has real consequences for how we relate to one another as citizens. Political leaders must stick to the high road,” he said.Singh said on every social indicator, from infant and maternal mortality rates to female literacy, Gujarat has fallen behind the best performing states, including Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu,.He said the recent agitations by the youth cutting across different sections of the society was an indication of the deep dissatisfaction with the performance of successive BJP governments.The former prime minister said a Congress government in the state will hear the voice of every Gujarati regardless of caste, creed, gender or class.Later, talking to reporters, Singh strongly denied Modi’s allegation that the Congress and Congress-led governments hated Gujaratis.”Nothing can be farther from the truth. I realise that many things are said in election times. But when they are gross distortions, they need to be rebutted,” he said, adding that Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister, and the “most famous Gujarati” Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel worked hand-in-hand, and “nothing is gained, as is often attempted by Modi, by pitting the two great leaders apart.”Modi was “denigrating the country” when claiming that Congress party did nothing in 70 years, the former PM said.”I wish the prime minister would find more dignified ways of impressing upon the crowds and seeking their votes without resorting to statements which denigrate our country,” he said.”…While denigrating the past, the prime minister also tends to exaggerate what he will do in future. He was recently quoted in the press as saying that India will become a developed country by 2022,” Singh said, adding that to achieve that, India needed to grow at the rate of 35 per cent per year.The government should get out of the “culture of constant self-praise”, Singh said.”In the ten years of UPA-I and II, when I was the prime minister, we produced 7.8 per cent GDP growth on average. This includes the slow-down in the last two years of our government. When the present government took over, they said they would take growth to 8 to 10 per cent. Modi so far has produced an average of only 7.3 per cent in the first three years,” he said.
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Gujarat elections 2017 | Hardik Patel’s rally in Surat on December 3

Hardik Patel got huge support from Patel community in the rallies he held at Morbi, Rajkot and Junagadh in recent days, and now he has set the target on Surat city. Hardik will hold a roadshow in Katargam, Surat North, Varachha, Karanj and Kamrej constituencies and then will give an address at a public rally to be held at Yogi Chowk area. The PAAS has not received the permission from the authorities yet, but they are firm to hold power performance by PAAS leader in any case.”

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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Gujarat elections 2017 | Hardik Patel’s rally in Surat on December 3 HARDIK_PATEL
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 1 December 2017 6:55 ISTMust readGood news at last for Noida homebuyersGujarat elections 2017: Congress will waive off farm loans if voted to power, says Rahul Gandhi <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel is prepared to create ripples in Patidar community-dominated BJP fort in Surat on December 3.PAAS has announced the programme for Hardik’s visit to city and he will cover five seats of Surat city where Patel community from north Gujarat and Saurashtra region dominates on vote bank. All the seats had gone to BJP in last assembly polls held in 2012. The BJP has changed all the candidates dropping sitting MLAs including a minister, except for the sitting MLA, Kishor Kanani.Hardik Patel got huge support from Patel community in the rallies he held at Morbi, Rajkot and Junagadh in recent days, and now he has set the target on Surat city. Hardik will hold a roadshow in Katargam, Surat North, Varachha, Karanj and Kamrej constituencies and then will give an address at a public rally to be held at Yogi Chowk area. The PAAS has not received the permission from the authorities yet, but they are firm to hold power performance by PAAS leader in any case.
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Surat, Ahmedabad in top 10 for IPC crimes

Of the 19 metropolitan cities with populations of more than 20 million, Surat and Ahmedabad have the dubious honour of being in the top 10, as measured by the highest number of IPC crime cases registered.As per data released on Thursday by the National Crime Records Bureau for 2016, around a total of 5.1lakh crime cases have been registered in the 19 cities, led by DelhiSurat came in at 6th position with 19,844 cases while Ahmedabad was in the 9th position with 16,383 cases in 2016.Ahmedabad saw 103 murders in that period, followed closely by Surat with 102. Cases of attempted murder were 65 in Ahmedabad and 44 in Surat, Ahmedabad has 170 cases of causing grievous hurt, while Surat had 190.Ahmedabad was also a far less safe city for women, with 131 cases of assaults against women with intent to outrage her modesty. Surat had less than half of that, with only 55 cases.However, Surat was marginally ahead in rapes, with 121 registered cases versus 112 for Ahmedabad.Kidnappings were also much higher in Ahmedabad, totalling 376, while Surat, the diamond polishing hub of the nation, had 270.Ahmedabad also had more that twice the number of theft than Surat, with 2,624 cases against 1,174.
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Why BJP is comfortable in Gujarat despite Congress onslaught: Inside party’s formidable messaging machinery

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite all-out attack launched by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat BJP is not ruffled. The confidence stems from the vast machinery it has built in every nook and corner of Gujarat to connect with its primary members. BJP has married its content and messaging strategy aided by technological support.To start with, Surat itself has 3200 WhatsApp groups operated by BJP workers, which are directly linked with each and every office bearer of the party. These groups further diversify when the content reaches primary members for distribution. “In a minute’s time, we have the capacity to touch base with 6 lakh people,” said PVS Sharma, BJP’s in-charge of South Gujarat.BJP has also tweaked its social media strategy. It is heavily banking on WhatsApp and Twitter platforms than Facebook. The war room boys feel that Facebook content is not instantaneous. i.e it doesn’t directly reach all users in real-time. For this very reason, BJP has WhatsApp groups at assembly level, Shakti Kendra and booth levels.
ALSO READ Gujarat Elections | All the ‘kichad’ thrown at me will help lotus bloom: PM Modi BJP has tried to connect with the workers and primary members in a three-pronged manner.Every assembly segment in Gujarat has a dedicated call centre. The job of the call centre through the election is to reach out to all primary members. They are harnessing the data which BJP collected during its missed call campaign. For example, Surat BJP has created a database of 11 lakh individuals who are its primary members.
ALSO READ Gujarat elections: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to fight as independent candidate from Vadgam ConstituencyThe call centres check all the missed calls they received and verified the numbers and personal addresses before connecting with them. It helped them to identify primary members up to booth level.The job of the call centre is to establish a personal connect with the voters. “We make them feel part of BJP’s larger family. From this set, Panna Pramukhs too are identified who are given responsibility of 40 to 45 voters. Their job during elections is to ensure that out of the list, all BJP sympathisers come out to vote.
ALSO READ Paresh Rawal compares PM Modi to Gautam Buddha, urges Gujaratis not to vote along caste lines These call centres are coupled with one war room in each district to monitor political developments in the area. The second component of the electoral strategy is the Audio Bridge, a technology BJP is using to connect all its rural workers. There are 35 constituencies in Surat and BJP has been able to connect almost all rural workers through the Audio Bridge technology. The call is initiated from a BJP district office and workers connect to the number. The Con call has the capacity to handle 1400 people at time. Sources say that the HQ can even monitor the numbers of the calls dropped during con call and they are immediately requested to connect again. Sources say that Audio Bridge was deployed in rural areas specifically because of limited bandwidth capacity.The last leg of the triad is Video Conferencing. It connects Central Offices with field offices of the candidates. The Central Offices have ensured that cameras with 360 degree views are installed to get a ground feel of the camp offices of the candidates. It is this formidable machine which is keeping BJP confident. Insiders say that if they can mobIlise their own primary members, through their elaborate messaging machinery, they will comfortably win this election. Jury is still out on it.

BJP men threatening me to join party, alleges former PAAS leader Nikhil Sawani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti(PAAS), Surat Nikhil Sawani, on Thursday has alleged some of the BJP workers and associated men of giving him threat calls over last few days.Addressing the media, Sawani alleged that a Surat-based businessman, who is close to BJP leader Amit Shah, had threatened him with dire consequences if he did not join the BJP. Sawani had joined the BJP three months ago but quit after Varun and Reshma Patel joined the party.”I am living in fear even in Surat, my hometown. The BJP people can crush me in a road accident. I am scared whenever I meet people associated to BJP. Surat-based A businessman, Mukesh Patel, who has close proximity to BJP national president Amit Shah, frequently calls and asks ms to join the BJP again. He also asks me not to make any statement against the party,” Sawani said.”Mukesh had told me that he will release a morphed video footage of me, where I would be seeing boosing and in a compromising position with a woman. He is trying to malign my image. I told him that I have never indulged in such acts. My former colleagues, Varun and Reshma, had joined BJP and I think they are under the same pressure that I had been under,” added Sawani.Reacting to Sawani’s statements, BJP leader Varun Patel said, “Hardik had said that, apart from him, no other PAAS leader would make any statement. This is a violation. I want to ask Nikhil why is he making such statements. Sawani is lying because BJP is not a party which issues threats to people.””Neither I nor Reshma Patel joined BJP under pressure. We saw that agitation for reservation was going on a wrong track and we decided to part our ways,” Varun Patel added.

Hardik Patel says Congress agreed to Patidar quota demand, asks party to put details in manifesto

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday said that the Congress party has agreed to give Patidars reservation.Addressed a press conference, Hardik Patel said, ” Congress has accepted our issues. They have agreed to give Patidars reservations under section 31 and provisions of section 46.””Congress will bring in a bill when they come in power in Gujarat,” he added.He also said that the Congress will have to put this reservation formula in details, in their manifesto.Stating that they are not openly extending support to Congress, he said, “We will fight BJP. So directly or indirectly, there will be a support to Congress.”Meanwhile, Patidar leader said that he never asked for any ticket and there is no conflict within PAAS.He also said that he never appealed to anyone to vote for Congress, however, since they are talking about their rights, we leave it to people to decide.Last week, in Surat, several PAAS members ransacked the Congress city unit’s office and indulged in sloganeering against the party.”You must have seen on television how some people went on a rampage (on Sunday night when Congress issued its first list). I want to make it clear that I neither sought any ticket in the past nor I will seek in the future. We will not forget the martyrdom of our youths for the sake of three-four tickets,” Hardik had said on Tuesday.

BMC’s babus, netas on Guj poll duty from next month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) day-to-day functioning is likely to take a hit next month as two additional municipal commissioners (AMCs) as well as corporators from political parties will be on poll duty in Gujarat for the assembly elections. While civic officials have been chosen by the government for poll duty, political parties are sending their corporators to campaign for their respective parties.The two AMCs, both IAS officers, will be on poll duty from the first week of December.Requesting anonymity, a senior civic official said that the AMCs’ absence will stall important works in departments like solid waste management, IT, roads where a quick decision is required, and added that it would put additional pressure on deputy municipal commissioners.Congress and BJP are sending their corporators to areas bordering Maharashtra. Ravi Raja, a Congress corporator and leader of opposition in BMC, said, “All our 30 corporators will be on poll duty in Gujarat from next week.”BJP is sending around 15 corporators, mostly Gujaratis, to different constituencies. While BJP group leader Manoj Kotak will be in Porbandar in Gujarat, another BJP corporator Sandeep Patel is going to Surat.Shiv Sena, banking on Marathi voters in Gujarat, is sending its corporators too. Rajul Patel, a Shiv Sena corporator from Andheri is going to Rajkot. A total of 16 Shiv Sena corporators are concentrating on Surat, Valsad, Navsari, Vapi, and Baroda.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress releases first list of 77, packed with Patidars, OBCs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After much delay, the Congress announced its first list of 77 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections late on Sunday night. The list comprises 13 sitting MLAs, and is packed with Patel candidates, clearly indicating that the party is banking heavily on the community. OBCs have also got a significant share of tickets.As soon as the list came out, violence erupted in parts of Surat late on Sunday.The party has repeated sitting MLA Shaktisinh Gohil from Mandvi seat, while Indranil Rajguru will take on Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West constituency. Mohammed Javed Pirzada (Wankaner), Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar), Punja Vansh (Una), Paresh Dhanani (Amreli), Pravin Rathod (Palitana), Anand Chaudhari (Mandvi ST), Punabhai Gamit (Vyara ST), Mangal Gavit (Dangs ST), Ishwar Patel (Dharampur ST) and Jitu Chaudhary (Kaprada ST) are other MLAs who have been repeated.Senior Gujarat Congress leaders such as Arjun Modhwadia (Porbandar), Tushar Chaudhary (Mahuva ST) and Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan) also figure in the list of 77.The candidates declared will contest in the first phase of elections on December 9. This means 12 candidates for the first phase are yet to be declared.Party sources said that the remaining candidates will be declared on Monday. The last day of filing nominations is November 21.Patidars dominate first listSeeking to take advantage of the Patidar community’s disenchantment with the BJP, the Congress has named as many as 22 Patidar candidates in its initial list. They have been fielded mainly from seats in Rajkot, Amreli, Junagadh, and Surat, which are dominated by the community.Incidentally, some of the Patels figuring in the list are connected with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). These include Lalit Vasoya (Dhoraji seat) and Amit Thummar (Junagadh).20 OBCs make the cutOther backward classes also have got a significant share of tickets in the Congress’s first list. Among OBCs, there are 16 candidates from the highly influential Koli community.There are 11 ST candidates, seven SC candidates, three Kshatriyas, three Muslims, one Brahmin, among others in the list.Only two women in listThe list of 77 candidates includes only two women – Bhavna Patel from Navsari and Nita Rathod from Bhavnagar East.Three Muslims get ticketsThe Congress has fielded three Muslim candidates. They include sitting MLA from Wankaner Mohammed Javed Pirzada, Suleman Patel from Vagra, and Iqbal Patel from Surat West seat.Interestingly, Congress has nominated Nitin Bharucha as its candidate from the minority dominated Surat East seat.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress releases first list of candidates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After much delay, Congress finally on Sunday night released its first list of 77 candidates for the upcoming Gujarat elections. Among senior leaders, Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhwadia have been given tickets. The election is to be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, and it’s result will be announced on December 18The first list was announced hours after a fruitful meeting between Congress and PAAS leaders. The leaders said that they have reached an agreement over the issue of granting reservation to Patels, if the Congress is voted to power in the state Assembly election.The official announcement about the nitty-gritty of the reservation formula and the PAAS’ stand on supporting the Congress during the Gujarat polls will be announced by Hardik Patel at a public gathering in Rajkot on Monday PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania said after the crucial meeting on the issue. Hardik Patel was not present in the meeting.”Earlier, we had asked the Congress to clarify how they would grant Patidars a constitutionally valid reservation. Today, we held a crucial meeting on that issue and finally reached a consensus on various options offered by the party to us. Official announcement of this agreement will be made by Hardik tomorrow in Rajkot,” said Bambhania, a key aide of Hardik Patel.Here’s the full list: ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS – 2017 G U J A R A T The CEC of Congress has selected the following candidates for the forthcoming first phase of elections to the Legislative Assembly of Gujarat Sl. No. No & Name of Constituency Selected Candidates 1 2 Mandvi Shaktisinh Gohil 2 4 Anjar V.K. Humbal 3 5 Gandhidham – SC Kishorbhai G. Pingol 4 60 Dasada – SC Naushadji B Solanki 5 61 Limbdi Somabhai G. Patel 6 62 Wadhwan Mohanbhai D. Patel 7 63 Chotila Rutvikkumar L Makwana 8 64 Dhrangadhra Purushottambhai Sabariya 9 65 Morbi Brijesh A. Merja 10 66 Tankara Lalit K. Kagathara 11 67 Wankaner Mohammad Javed Pirzada 12 69 Rajkot West Indranil Rajyaguru 13 71 Rajkot Rural – SC Vashram A. Sangathia 14 72 Jasdan Kunvarji M. Bavaliya 15 73 Gondal Arjun Khataria 16 74 Jetpur Ravi Ambaliya 17 75 Dhoraji Lalit Vasoya 18 76 Kalavad – SC Pravinbhai N. Muchhadiya 19 77 Jamnagar Rural Vallabh Dharadiya 20 80 Jamjodhpur Chiragbhai R. Kalariya 21 83 Porbandar Arjunbhai Modhvadiya 22 84 Kutiyana Vejabhai L Modedara 23 85 Manavadar Jawahar Chavda 24 86 Junagadh Amit Thummar 25 87 Visavadar Harshadbhai Ribadiya 26 88 Keshod Jayeshkumar V. Ladani 27 89 Mangrol Babubhai K. Vaja 28 90 Somnath Vimalbhai K. Chudasma 29 91 Talala Bhagwanbhai D. Barad 30 92 Kodinar – SC Mohanbhai M. Vala 31 93 Una Punjabhai Vansh 32 94 Dhari J.V. Kakadiya 33 95 Amreli Pareshbhai Dhanani 34 96 Lathi Virjibhai Thummar 35 97 Savarkundla Pratap Dhuddhat 36 98 Rajula Amrish J. Der 37 99 Mahuva Vijaybhai Baraiya 38 100 Talaja Kanubhai M. Baraiya 39 101 Gariadhar P.M. Kheni 40 102 Palitana Pravinbhai J. Rathod 41 103 Bhavnagar Rural Kantibhai Chauhan 42 104 Bhavnagar East Ms. Nitaben B. Rathod 43 105 Bhavnagar West Dilipsinh A. Gohil 44 106 Gadhada – SC Praveen Maru 45 107 Botad Manhar Patel 46 148 Nandod – ST Premsinh D. Vasava 47 150 Jambusar Sanjaybhai J. Solanki 48 151 Vagra Suleman Patel 49 153 Bharuch Kiran Thakor 50 154 Ankleshwar Anil Bhagat 51 155 Olpad Yogendrasinh C. Bakrola 52 157 Mandvi – ST Anandbhai Chaudhari 53 158 Kamrej Nilesh Kumbani 54 159 Surat East Nitin Bharucha 55 160 Surat North Dinesh M. Kacchadiya 56 161 Varachha Road Prafulbhai C. Togadiya 57 162 Karanj Bhavesh G. Bhumbhliya 58 163 Limbayat Ravindra Patil 59 164 Udhna Satish Patel 60 165 Majura Ashokbhai M. Kothari 61 166 Katargam Jignesh Mewasa 62 167 Surat West Iqbalbhai D. Patel 63 168 Choryasi Yogeshbhai B. Patel 64 169 Bardoli – SC Tarunkumar J. Vaghela 65 170 Mahuva – ST Dr. Tusharbhai Chaudhary 66 171 Vyara – ST Punabhai D. Gamit 67 172 Nizar – ST Sunil Gamit 68 173 Dangs – ST Mangalbhai G. Gavit 69 174 Jalalpore Parimal N. Patel 70 175 Navsari Smt. Bhavnaben Patel 71 176 Gandevi – ST Sureshbhai Halpati 72 177 Bansda – ST Anantkumar H. Patel 73 178 Dharampur – ST Ishwarbhai D. Patel 74 179 Valsad Narendra J. Tandel 75 180 Pardi Bharatbhai M. Patel 76 181 Kaprada – ST Jitubhai H. Chaudhary 77 182 Umbargaon – ST Ashokbhai M. Patel ( Oscar Fernandes ) Incharge CEC 19th November, 2017 With PTI inputs

Gujarat Election 2017: BJP, Cong go all out to lure diamond industry in Amreli

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A large number of diamond polishing units in Amreli city and various parts of the industrially backward district wore a deserted look. Most of these units have been closed down, jobs of workers have been cut while few are adjusting to the new era of less cash transactions.The owners and workers at these factories view the Modi government’s demonetization, popularly known here as nota bandi (note ban) and the launch of GST responsible for making their life miserable. In the run-up to the Gujarat assembly election, they press for a change to stay afloat amid slowdown in the economy.Traditionally, those associated with the diamond polishing business have been supporting BJP in Gujarat but the party is now striving to keep its vote bank intact. On its part, Congress is going all out to lure the diamond polishing industry players with a promise to provide much needed relief in GST and streamline businesses post note ban.Lalit Thummar, president of Diamond Traders Federation, says Amreli district informs that it is a leading diamond polishing centre after Surat at the all India level. ‘’The business was entirely based on cash. However, demonetization and GST have crippled the business due to restrictions imposed thereafter, especially on transactions involving cash,’’ he said.Another trader Adarshbhai says,’’ We are sick of announcements by BJP. We want our business to survive.’’BJP’s Amreli district unit president Hirenbhai Hirpara says the government at the Centre and state are alive to the issues faced by the industry. However, Congress party’s former MP Virjibhai Thummar says there is tremendous anger against BJP and they see Congress as a credible alternative. ‘’I can see they want change and change for better. Congress will take them into confidence and do everything to change situation,’’ he adds.

BJP at vantage point in Gujarat tribal areas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least four adivasi congregations held recently at Vyara, Santrampur, Dahod and Godhra went largely unnoticed in Gujarat, but not for an ever-vigilant BJP that immediately decided to scale up its outreach programmes in the areas.Increasing its tally in tribal regions that dot the eastern border of Gujarat from the deep south to the north, is the key for BJP if it wants to come anywhere near the target of 150 seats set by party chief Amit Shah. At present the BJP has 11 seats of the 27 tribal seats against Congress’s 15.At the Adivasi Sabhas that were attended by about 20,000 to 35,000 people, mainly tribal youth, there was palpable anger against the unnatural spike in the population of Rabari community of tribals. The Rabari population has witnessed a 289 per cent increase in a decade from 15,417 in 2001 census to 59,995 in 2011.Many among adivasis alleged that it happened because non tribals were given ST status, which was hurting their interests. They claim that the Rupani government had distributed 1.5 lakh ST certificates ostensibly to the tribal communities living in the Nesses of the forest of Alech, Barada and Gir but in fact they are not them.Anand Vasava, assistant professor of linguistics in Gujarat University, and editor of Adilok, a Gujarati journal on adivasi issues said, “There is a growing feeling among adivasis that the benefits meant for them were being cornered by others. The sudden increase in Rabari population that defies all logic and is a sign that all is not hunky dory.”He also points out how the PESA Act of Gujarat government is just an embellishment as it gives power not to the Gram Sabha but to the state government to take final decision in crucial matters.If this sense of deprivation gets political support, it can put breaks on BJP’s ambitious plans, says Vasava adding that unfortunately, no one has addressed it apart from a few local tribal organisations and in some cases Bhilistan Tiger Sena, a non political wing of the JDU, that claims to advocate for the rights of Scheduled Tribes.But confident of improving its tally appreciably in tribals, the BJP summarily rejects these charges as desperate antics by Congress and its ally rebel JDU group led by Chhotubhai Vasava.Keen to bring 15% adivasis in their fold, the BJP took an early lead by launching Adivasi Vikas Gaurav Yatra in February this year. Subsequently, it stepped up its campaign by holding Vistarak Yojna, programme for extensive door to door outreach, that is being personally supervised by BJP chief Amit Shah.”Our government began Adivasi outreach in 2007 by launching Van Bandhu Yojna and allocating Rs. 15,000 crore for it but actually ended up spending Rs. 17,500 crore. In 2012, the allocation was increased to Rs. 40,000 crore. It has brought a sea change in the lives of Adivasis,” says BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya.Citing various schemes like Jyotigram, Maa Amrutham, Jeevandeep and steps taken in education that reduced the school drop out rate from 37 per cent to 2 per cent, Pandya is confident of a sharp increase in seats in tribal region.BJP’s confidence also emerges from the consistent work done by among tribals by the RSS and other saffron organisations like the VHP since 1995. Since December last year the RSS renewed its contact programme after Mohan Bhagwat addressed a gathering of pracharaks and swayamsevaks in Navsari district, says Tuslibhai Mauna of Surat.Incidentally, the Congress, concentrating more on Patidars and OBCs and on issues of GST and demonetisation to win over traders, is missing in action in the tribals areas that used to its bastion.BJP’s tall claims of Van Bandhu Yojna Doon not reflect on the ground, maximum budget has gone into infrastructure projects like dams, canals, roads, purchasing transport buses etc., says Anand VasavaA tribal leader associated with Congress in Narmada district that BJP wrested from Congress in 2012 is angry with his party for not concentrating in the tribal regions that traditionally are with Congress.”The Congress has virtually done nothing to challenge the RSS and VHP that have made deep inroads among tribals by slowly replacing their culture and traditions with the Hindu. It is bound to reflect in election results,” he says.

Centre may have made slab changes to GST, but structural change is needed: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday during his trip to Gujarat continued his tirade against the Central government’s implementation of ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.While addressing locals during a public meeting at Chhala village near Gandhinagar, Gandhi said, “Gabbar Singh Tax reforms have been made after the Congress put pressure on the Central government. This was not our model. We want a simple tax and will continue to fight until we get one. Though they have changed the slabs there is still need for structural change.”He also said that if Congress comes to power, it will work for improving health and education services for the masses and for the welfare of farmers, women and workers.North Gujarat is an extremely important region for the Congress. Even as its electoral base has steadily declined in other parts of the state in recent years, it has managed to hold on to its support base in north Gujarat. In fact, Congress had won 17 seats in the region in 2012 polls, more than 15 won by BJP.Gandhi had visited Saurashtra for four days, and central and south Gujarat for three days each. He had visited flood-hit areas of Banaskantha in the first week of August, and attended various events in Ahmedabad in the same month. He had also visited Surat earlier this week on November 8, the anniversary of demonetisation, his seventh visit to the state in three months. He is also expected to campaign extensively in the run-up to the polls.

Behind Gujarat Model, BJP eyes caste politics too

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP may have dumped the Congress’s efforts to form caste coalition with the help of youth leaders in Gujarat as a failed ploy in the face of development, but is silently trying to build bridges with the sizeable OBC community to offset possible losses.A senior BJP leader who is engaged in Gujarat for the last 20 years conceded that caste is as much a reality in Gujarat as in UP and Bihar and the party is wary of the emerging caste coalition to some extent.Riding on the back of strong support from the trading community, the BJP in 2012 assembly polls had won a sizeable chunk of 44 seats out of total 47 in the urban centre of Surat, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Vadodara and Bhavnagar.But with Congress continuing to attack it on demonetisation and GST, the urban centres appear to have emerged as a weak point for the BJP and it is sensing some losses among the trading community that used to be its dedicated vote bank. A worrying factor for the BJP is that 18 of its 19 meetings in trading centres ended with violent protests. Among the Patidar community too, the BJP is conscious of the latent angst steered by Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. In 2012 elections, the Patidar community almost en bloc, 63 percent of the Leuvas and 82 percent of the Kadvas, had voted for the BJP. But this time, the BJP does not have a local youth leader to counter Hardik’s popularity. A swing in the 16 percent chunk of Patidars can sway the fate of 70-odd constituencies that constitute almost 40 percent of the 182-seat Gujarat assembly, sources agree.This scenario has prompted the BJP to concentrate majorly on the OBCs and adivasis. On their strength, the two communities can alter the course of the results in close to 90 seats. Sources said that the is trying to repeat the poster boy concept applied in Uttar Pradesh elections. It revolves around picking up the most popular local leader and making him the poster boy with the picture of PM Modi.

Mumbai BJP chief to look after 16 Surat segments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP national president Amit Shah deployed Mumbai BJP city unit president ​Ashish Shelar to chip in for 16 Assembly segments in Surat during the Gujarat assembly election. Sources within BJP state unit said Shelar is being asked to use his Mumbai experience so that party’s prospects are realized in Surat. Shelar said that he will start working in Surat from Tuesday itself.BJP sources said that the Patidar agitation started from Surat, from where traders also started exhibiting their resentment towards the GST. There was a lathi charge on them during the agitation. Shelar’s confidante said that it was Amit Shah who has given the responsibility to work in Surat. Shelar is known to have handpicked 45 of his trusted men to manage election related work in 16 Assembly segments in and around Surat. Shelar played a key role in bringing BJP in power at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election.Shah had recently held a meeting of state unit presidents and Shelar was present for this meeting in New Delhi. Taking in to account Shelar’s experience in Mumbai, he was handpicked by Shah and Shelar has been asked to work for election management not only in Gujarat but also in parts of Karnataka. Shelar would be sparing his time for both the adjoining states for coming month. BJP’s planShelar played a key role in bringing BJP in power at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls. BJP thinks his experience will help in Gujarat polls.

PAAS agrees to no protests during Rahul Gandhi’s rally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) has agreed not to hold protests during Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Surat on November 3. The decision was taken after a marathon three-hour meeting with PAAS representatives and Gujarat Congress leaders at the party headquarters on Monday during which reservation for Patels and other issues were also discussed.”We have decided not to hold any protests during Rahul Gandhi’s Surat rally. However, we will also not be supporting it,” PAAS spokesperson Alpesh Kathiria told media-persons after the meeting with state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, senior leaders Siddharth Patel and Arjun Modhwadia, besides others.The meeting comes a couple of days after PAAS leader Hardik Patel threatened to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Surat if the party did not spell out its stand on Patel reservation issue by November 3. However, the crisis seems to have been averted for now.Kathiria said that they will wait till November 6 or 7 for the Congress’s response to their query about how the party would grant reservation to Patels, before deciding on the future course of their action.The issue of police brutality on Patels on August 25-26 in 2015 after the Patidar reservation rally was also discussed in the meeting. Solanki said that the Congress government would form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the violence , and would also take necessary action against the guilty officials.The Opposition party, which is looking to break is 22-year losing streak in Gujarat in the coming elections, also assured the PAAS delegation that its government would provide Rs35 lakh assistance to kin of Patels who died in the police violence. In response to jobs to the kin of the dead, the party leaders said that it would try to provide jobs to them in line with their educational qualifications.Another issue that was discussed was related to the Commission for communities that do not get reservation benefits. The PAAS leaders said that while the state government has already formed a Commission, only a GR and notification have been issued about it. The Congress leaders assured to provide Constitutional shape to the Commission, and also said that Rs2,000 crore would be allocated for the body.The reservation issue, over which Patidars have been agitation for well over two years now, was discussed for over 1.5 hours, said Kathiria. They deliberated on how other states have carved out quotas in government jobs and higher education for unreserved communities, and if the same canbe replicated in Gujarat.”We had good discussions on this issue, but we have decided to hold another meeting soon,” Siddharth Patel said.Talking to reporters, Bharatsinh Solanki denied that there was match-fixing between Congress and PAAS, saying that in such a case “PAAS would have extended support to Rahul Gandhi’s rally.”Solanki also said that a number of issues that concern people of Gujarat would find a place in the party’s poll manifesto.Key AgreementsCongress agrees to form SIT to look into police brutalities on Patels in August 2015To provide Rs35 lakh financial assistance to kin of deadGovernment jobs as per their educational qualificationsConstitutional status to Commission for unreserved communities and Rs2,000 crore allocationPAAS not to protest during Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Surat on November 3, not to support it either

ISIS head-hunter worked at top Gujarat hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the two suspected ISIS ‘head-hunters’ based in Gujarat and arrested on October 25 for recruiting youth for terror attacks worked at a prominent hospital in Gujarat, while his accomplice was a law student.The duo was planning attacks on the Jewish community, the police said.After the being arrested by Gujarat Police’s Anti Terror Squad (ATS), Stimberwala Mohammed Kasim, who worked as an echo-cardiogram (ECG) technician at the Sardar Patel Hospital and Heart Institute, Ankleshwar, resigned from his job.Interestingly, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel has an old association with the hospital. The hospital’s website says: “On the 17th of June 1979 the Sardar Patel trust met under the auspices of Bhailalbhai Patel, Ahmed Patel and other trustees to establish the Sardar Vallabhai Rotary General Hospital.”When DNA sought his reaction, Patel said, “Let’s not divide peace-loving Gujaratis while fighting terrorism. We request that matters of national security not be politicised keeping elections in mind. The allegations are completely baseless. My party and I appreciate the ATS’s effort to nab the two terrorists. I demand strict and speedy action against them.”Kasim, along with Ubed Ahmed Mirza, was arrested for planning “lone wolf attacks”. He had planned to leave for hijrat to Jamaica and meet radical preacher Abdullah el-Faisal, who had been guiding them.The Gujarat ATS has stated in its report that the duo were planning attacks on the Jewish community.”Reconnaissance of Magean Abraham Synagogue in Ahmedabad was conducted by Kasim Stimberwala recently after discussion with Ubed Mirza,” the report stated.Police surveillance has revealed that Kasim was planning to move to Jamaica as a ECG technician and had obtained a work visa. “Both the accused persons are making intensive efforts to radicalise and actively recruit youth from various spectrums of society,” the Gujarat ATS report says.Based on “technical surveillance,” the police has quoted several telephonic conversations to establish how they were radicalising youth and recruiting them to carry out attacks in the name of ISIS.The two were involved in the activities of the Islamic State since 2013-14 and were in contact with Shafi Armar, alias Zahid al-Hindi, the police has stated in its report.Armar is wanted in various cases of bomb blasts carried out by Indian Mujahideen and is suspected to have joined ISIS after being on the run and was based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region initially. He has been responsible for radicalisation of several Indian Muslim youth and luring them to ISIS.Sources in the ATS said the two youth are part of a group of 15 young men loyal to ISIS. “Of this, at least nine are from Ahmedabad and Surat. Six have already been radicalised and can carry out lone wolf attacks anywhere in Gujarat,” said a source in the ATS.?Investigations have also revealed that the two Surat residents arrested on Wednesday for links with ISIS were also allegedly involved in recruiting for terror activities.The duo first came under lens of Intelligence agencies when in August 2014 a group of four boys from Hyderabad was apprehended in Kolkata as they were on their way to Bangladesh — from where they were headed to Iraq to join ISIS.The youth revealed the identities of two of their handlers as Kasim and Ubed Mirza alias Obaid and also provided their phone numbers.While Kasim was traced working at the Sardar Patel hospital in Gujarat, Ubed, a law student, ran a restaurant in Surat.The hospital, however, denied any wrongdoing on its part. It said that Kasim had resigned from his job as eco technician on October 4, and he was relieved on October 24.

Gujarat: Self-styled godman Acharya Shantisagar Maharaj held on charges of raping 19-year-old

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A self-styled godman was arrested from the Gujarat city of Surat on Saturday evening on charges of rape.According to news agency ANI, Acharya Shantisagar Maharaj was arrested after a 19-year-woman filed a complaint on October 1, accusing him of rape.Maharaj’s arrest comes after several self-styled babas were arrested in the past few months, starting from Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted of raping one of his disciples. He also has murder charges levied against him.On September 27, self-styled baba Siya Ram Das of Udaseen Akhara in Uttar Pradesh was arrested on charges of rape, while a famous godman from Rajasthan, ‘Falahari Baba’, was arrested a few days earlier for similar charges.

Prabodh Patel is new president of FIA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prabodh Patel, chairman of Ankleshwar-based Kangaroo Group of Companies is the new president of Federation of Industries Association (FIA), the apex body for over 100 industrial estates. Patel replaced Jagdish Ramani from Surat and will be at the helm of affairs from 2017 to 2019. He defeated rival Mohan Nair from Vadodara by 21-15 votes during the elections held on Tuesday. FIA sources told DNA that of the electorate of 37 representatives from different zones, one vote was cancelled and Patel won by a margin of six votes. He has bagged the top post at a time of a severe slowdown.

GST woes: Taxmen seek industry feedback

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when the Opposition in the state is on a massive outreach exercise with different sections of society and businessmen are fed up of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a team of senior tax officials from Delhi are in Gujarat for feedback of trade and industry officials.Local businessmen will compile a complete report of bottlenecks faced in implementation of GST and submit it to the central government.The team, comprising senior officials from the Central Excise and Income Tax departments, was in Surat on Wednesday, where they met various business leaders. “They have sought details of hardships we faced after the roll out of GST. We will also suggest likely solutions to these problems.”We will prepare a detailed report after consulting businessmen from textile, gems and jewellery industries, as well as other sectors from Surat,” said PM Shah, president of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Some of the hardships raised during the meeting include dysfunctional systems, levying of penalty for late filing of returns and issues in getting Input Tax Credit (ITC), amongst others. “We are glad that there is a dialogue. Officers have appreciated the hardships we are facing,” said Shah.Surat was the epicentre of protest against GST. A major hub for textiles, the city was the first in the country to call for an indefinite strike as textile traders were not ready to implement GST. They withdrew the strike after assurances from the Centre. However, there is no indication that their concerns have been resolved.The team will visit Ahmedabad on Thursday to meet local business representatives. Sources in trade and industry say that the top leadership in BJP is concerned about the dissent in the state and the way the Indian National Congress is preparing ahead of the elections to the state legislative assembly. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is currently on a three-day visit to Gujarat, where he met representatives of trade and industry.

Choked cities go under

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his college days, Suneel Singh romanticised with the calls of “a particular bird” that signalled joy — the monsoon was coming. “We couldn’t wait to go out and get drenched,” recalls the 45-year-old teacher. Baarish always influenced and inspired music, movies, art and literature. This was then. Now, it also evokes a sinking feeling. “Low-lying areas in Mumbai faced water-logging even then, but the city never had such crippling floods,” says Singh.He still craves for pakoras and hot tea when it rains. It’s just that his priority now is to survive.The June-to-September season — a lifeline for the country’s agriculture and economy — mostly pours miseries in Indian cities. Rains do little in recharging groundwater and infusing life into the dying rivers, but lead to flooding that derails rail, road and air traffic, damages infrastructure and kills people. And it’s a rising trend: Mumbai (2005), Surat (2006), Kolkata (2007), Hyderabad (2008), Delhi (2009 & 2010), Guwahati (2010), Srinagar (2014), Chennai (2015), Gurugram (2016) and Mumbai (2016 & 2017).The causes are many: Poorly laid and clogged drains; badly planned urbanisation with no concern for topography; massive concretisation and destruction of floodplains, lakes, marshlands and wetlands; faulty road networks with little care for culverts; unbridled tree felling and vegetation removal; and climate change. Corrupt civic bodies that flout court orders with impunity have deepened the mess.Drainage collapseOn August 29, Mumbai ground to a halt after it rained 315.8 mm in 12 hours. The downpour was about a third of what the city had received on July 26, 2005. The cloudburst-induced deluge and its aftermath 12 years ago had claimed about 700 lives. But nothing much was learnt. Many of the drains in India’s financial capital remained choked.Delhi’s several stormwater drains have also been covered to build shops and parking lots. Others carry domestic sewage and industrial waste. Lining of drains is also causing floods. In fact, Delhi has not had a drainage master plan in four decades when its population went up by 350 per cent to 18 million. A new plan looks at fixing existing drains. But relief is not expected anytime soon. Authorities need Rs 19,500 crore and 20 years to lay 9,500 km of sewer lines to allow drains to carry only rainwater. Stopgap measures will also take three years.Kolkata has similar problems. One of the three natural channels which carried away the city’s sewage and rain has been terminated by Metro construction. This causes floods in several areas. “Gully pits are chocked with plastic and garbage… How will pumping stations work?” asks renowned ecologist Dhrubajyoti Ghosh.Topography disregardSeveral parts of Mumbai are below sea level. So, when there is high tide, accompanied by heavy rains, waterlogging is unavoidable. The real crisis is, the drainage system can deal with about 25 mm of rain per hour. Current projects are expected to double it to 50 mm. But the city often records much more rainfall and faces massive flooding.Delhi, on its part, did well before it began growing rapidly. Historically, its residential pockets never faced waterlogging. Mehrauli, Shahjahanabad, Civil Lines, Delhi Cantonment were all built on elevated grounds that were easily drained. Urbanisation in low-lying and poorly drained areas disregarded topography in both cities.Water bodies killedOn December 1, 2015, Chennai was ravaged as it received its heaviest rainfall in decades. A Parliamentary panel report later blamed encroachment of lakes and floodplains for the floods. According to water expert S Janakarajan, Chennai’s IT corridor and other institutions got inundated in 2015 because more than 90 per cent of the city’s 7,000-hectare wetlands had been destroyed over the years.”All three rivers in Chennai — Kosasthalayar, Cooum and Adyar — are now sewage carriers, but they can still prevent flooding, provided they are de-silted and freed of encroachments,” he says. There are 3,600 lakes in the two upstream districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram that can hold over 100 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water. “We still allowed 250 people to die, and an economic loss of Rs 20,000 crore.”Mumbai has also seen destruction. Vast swathes of floodplains, mangroves and wetlands are gone. The city’s four rivers, draining rainwater into the sea, are facing massive pollution and encroachment. Environmentalist Stalin D rues that the Mithi river today has its mouth pinched.In Delhi, the Yamuna looks like a black noxious thread during the lean season. About half of the 1,000-odd water bodies registered with the government have actually vanished. Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan says the catchments of remaining water bodies have been cut off for housing and other constructions, impeding the flow of storm-period water to them. “This is happening even today in the so-called planned manner in North Delhi,” he says.Rapid concretisationIn Delhi, most soft areas have been paved over, and plots are concretised end to end. Studies show that the amount of water that would not seep into the ground has gone up from 50 per cent to 85 per cent in recent years, causing massive flooding. Mumbai also faces inundation of roads as concrete building compounds have shrunk areas for percolation of water. Manu Bhatnagar of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage says cities must adopt porous paving. “There should be at least 25 per cent open area as soft green.”Road aheadScientists warn that flooding events will become more frequent due to climate change. The World Bank’s forecast of 20 cm of sea level rise by 2050 would make Kolkata — on average, barely five metres above sea level — dangerously exposed to flooding risks. Independent environment journalist Nivedita Khandekar says the crisis is already spreading fast. “Scores of areas and streets in Hyderabad were flooded only a few days ago. Same causes.”Water expert Himanshu Thakkar says urban areas need to drastically scale up their capacity to manage rainfall and waste water. “Tidal conditions have to be kept in mind for cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, or Chennai. Cities such as Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Cuttack or Surat need to take into account heavy upstream releases.” All this has to be assessed annually, since carrying capacities of drains, rainfall and flow patterns change.Noted water conservationist Janak Daftari demands clear demarcation of open spaces, rivers, water bodies and floodplains and their protection. “Nature has designed srishti for water to flow into the ground or a water body. We must stop making it ‘stand’ and wreak havoc.”

Mahamana Express: 10 things you need to know about Varanasi-Vadodara train

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to unveil the Mahanama Express on Friday during his two-day visit to Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi.Railways minister Piyush Goyal would be present in Gujarat’s Vadodara, and minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha in Surat, the officials said.Here are the 10 points you need to know about the new deluxe train:1. Mahamana Express, which is built under the Make in India initiative, will cover two routes of Varanasi-New Delhi and Bhopal-Khajuraho.2. The train will connect prime minister’s constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh with Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat.3. It is a weekly train that will run from Varanasi every Friday and from Vadodara every Wednesday.4. The train will stop at Gujarat’s Bharuch and Surat; Maharashtra’s Amalner and Bhusawal; Itarsi, Jabalpur, Katni and Satna in Madhya Pradesh and Chheoki in Uttar Pradesh.5. It will cover distance of 1,531 km in 27 hours and 30 minutes at an average speed of 55.7 km per hour, according to the officials.6. The new train will have 18 coaches – one AC First Class coach, two Second AC, eight sleeper and four general coaches. There will be no AC-3 tier coach in this train.7. It will offer best sanitation facilities with platform washbasins in toilets, bigger mirrors, an odour controlled system, dustbins and exhaust fans.8. The high-class train will include features like well-designed ladders for climbing to upper berths, convenient snack tables for side berths, LED reading lights and LED lights as berth indicators and the elegant venetian blinds and roller blinds used for the windows.9. The deluxe train will also have fire extinguishers in all coaches and an electrically operated chimney in pantry car.10. The Mahamana Express has been named after former Hindu Mahasabha president Madan Mohan Malviya, who was also known as ‘Mahamana’.

Why is a condom advert with Sunny Leone angering Indians?

Billboards featuring a former porn star advise safe sex during a Hindu festival, upsetting conservatives.

Two buses torched in Surat after police lathi-charge, detain Patidar protesters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two civic transport buses were set on fire by unidentified protesters in the Patidar-dominated Kapodra area of Surat this evening, police said.The incident took place after the city police detained some people, allegedly associated with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), the Patel quota agitation body led by Hardik Patel, as they tried to stage protest at Saurashtra Bhavan against BJP leader Rutvij Patel’s programme.The protesters pelted stones at the police, said Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma.”Some persons created ruckus at the venue and also threw stones at police. They even torched two buses at Hirabaug circle. Luckily, no one was injured. The situation is now under control in Kapodra area as well as rest of the city,” he said.To bring the situation under control, police used lathi-charge and also detained around 10 persons, said a control room official.”The ruckus was created by 6 to 7 persons. Otherwise, the entire Patel community is with us,” said Rutvij Patel, president of state BJP’s youth wing.In a late night release, Hardik Patel claimed that his organisation had asked the police not to allow any program in the Patidar-dominated areas of the city.He also claimed that the protest was peaceful but the police used lathi-charge for no reason.

Amit Shah to pen book in Gujarati on Maratha history: Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP chief Amit Shah is studying the history of Marathas and planning to write a book on it in Gujarati, a senior party functionary said.”A year ago, he told me that he wished to read the history of Marathas and requested me to look for some books on Maratha history in Hindi in the Parliament library,” BJP national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said.He was speaking at a function held at the Balgandharva auditorium at the release of the translated versions of the book “Why BJP in politics” penned by Shah.The event was organised by the RSS think tank Rambhau Mhalgi Prabhodini (RMP).”According to Shah, Gujarati people’s knowledge about Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maratha history is limited only to the ‘Surat loot’. There is a need to broaden the knowledge and understanding about the Maratha king for which there is a need to write about it differently,” Sahasrabuddhe said quoting Shah.He said the BJP chief is currently studying Maratha history so that he could bring the “original history” in front of people through the book.

Ram Rahim verdict gives hope to Asaram survivors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four years have passed since Jahangirpura police in Surat filed the complaints of two women accusing self-styled spiritual guru Asaram Bapu and his son Naransai of rape. As trial in the case dragged on, the two rape survivors had almost lost hope until August 28, when miles away in Haryana, another self-styled baba, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two women in 2002. Living in fear and isolation since 2013, the two complainants, both sisters, now hope they too will get justice. When this DNA reporter went to meet them, it was a family member who spoke on their behalf as the sisters “don’t speak with media persons because they don’t want to draw unwanted attention.” “Our hopes were rekindled the day Panchkula CBI court convicted Ram Rahim Singh. We are eagerly waiting for the day Surat (where Narasai’s case is on) and Gandhinagar (where Asaram’s trial is under way) courts will pronounce their verdicts against Asaram and his son Naransai,” a relative of the complainants said.Sharing the details of the two trials, the relative said, “The trial against Naransai is likely to be concluded soon. We are expecting the judgement to come out this year itself. But the trial against Asaram is proceeding at a snail’s pace. However, it is the court’s prerogative to give ample time to all the parties concerned to ensure a fair trial. We are hopeful we will get justice.”Talking about the difficult days that have gone by, he said, “The initial days, months, and even the first year, was difficult, not only for the two women but also for their family members. We were followed everywhere. While well-wishers would have words of caution for us, Asaram’s henchmen would threaten us. The husband of one of the complainants was assaulted in 2014 in Surat.” He added that none of that could deter them from continuing their fight for justice. According to another family member, the sisters are happy and proud that their husbands are standing by them in their fight to bring the accused to book.GURU IN THE DOCKThe rape case against Asaram has been registered with the Chandkheda Police and the trial is going on in the Gandhinagar district court.
The trial against Asaram’s son, Naransai, is underway in the Surat district court.
The complainants, both sisters, who were once Asaram’s followers filed a police complaint in October 2013 that from 2001 to 2011, Asaram raped them at his Motera Stadium Ashram.
The Gujarat police arrested Asaram on a transit warrant from Jodhpur (Rajasthan).

Soon, bakery items to get costlier by 10-15 per cent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon most bakery items will get costlier as bakers in the state are contemplating hiking prices of their products. They claim that the materials used for making most bakery products have become costlier after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is levied on them. Also, many bakery items that were exempt from taxes earlier, have been subjected to tax resulting in higher cost for the end consumers, they say.According to industry sources, products like cookies, cream rolls, pastries, and cakes, which carried 5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) are now charged 18 per cent GST, which means that the end consumer will have to pay more. While bread continues to be exempted, pizza base and toast have been charged 5 per cent GST.Ingredients like improver (used to enhance the longitivity of the product) and yeast, used in making bread, now carry 18 per cent GST, which will force a price hike in bread. “As bread have been exempted from GST, we will not be able to get the Input Tax Credit (ITC) on the raw materials. We have represented our case to the GST Council. If taxes are not reduced, we will be forced to hike the prices. We are awaiting a response from the government,” said Mohammad Hussain Shaikh, partner of Italian Bakery in Ahmedabad and president of The Gujarat State Bakers’ Federation. He foresees a hike of about 10-15 per cent in next few days.Another bone of contention is the VAT that still continues on petroleum items. Bakers use diesel and natural gas as fuel. There is a feeling in a segment that bakers will not get ITC on the fuel used. “This will be a big setback for the industry, particularly for the smaller players as margin are not very huge in the sector. There is no option but to raise prices,” said Atul Vekariya, president of Surat Bakers Association, which has over 75 bakeries as members. Surat has over 400 bakeries.”Many items that were not taxed earlier are now being taxed. For example tax on khari biscuit has risen to 18 per cent from 5 per cent. So about 10 per cent price hike is likely. We will take stock of the situation and decide accordingly,” said Narendra Somani, founder and chairman of Bhagwati Banquets and Hotels Ltd, which operates TGB bakeries.However, Axat Vyas, a tax practitioner feels that as a matter of principle, the costs in GST should come down and bakers should consult tax advisors to rework their costing which will give them a better idea of costs.

Surat: BJP MLA seeks imposition of ‘Disturbed Areas Act’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MLA from Surat, Sangita Patil, has demanded imposition of ‘Disturbed Areas Act’ in her constituency of Limbayat to prevent Muslims from acquiring residential properties of Hindus. According to Patil, she had sent her written request for the imposition of the Act to the district collector after Hindu residents of Limbayat area of Surat city have made several representations about the issue. ‘The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991’, known as the ‘Disturbed Areas Act’, bans sale of property by a member of one religious community to a member of another community, without the prior approval of the district collector. Defending her move, Patil alleged that Muslims are applying every trick in the book, including threat, to acquire properties in Hindu societies. “Limbayat was once a Hindu area. But now, many societies, such as Govind Nagar, Bharati Nagar, Madanpura and Bhavna Park, which go by Hindu name, are now dominated by Muslims. If they do not get the house easily, they even threaten Hindus and force them to sell it,” alleged Patil. “The way Muslims are using various tactics to acquire Hindu properties, I am of the opinion that the ‘Disturbed Areas Act’ should be imposed here to stop them from spreading into Hindu areas. I requested the collector to do so after many residents made their representations to me,” she said. Patil even alleged that Muslims are offering very high price to lure Hindus into selling their houses. “I demand that the Act should be imposed in the entire Limbayat area. The Act is currently in place in several other parts of Surat city,” she added. Refuting her claims, local Congress leader Aslam Cyclewala alleged that Patil has invoked such “communal” issue to hide her failure as public representative. “Since Patil has completely failed to take up the real issues concerning people, she now resorted to such communal politics. If Muslims are really threatening Hindus, then why she never approached police for these many years? Why she invoked the issue when Assembly polls are approaching?” said the Congress leader.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat cops probing mysterious hair-chopping cases: Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat home department has taken cognisance of media reports about incidents of braid cutting in nearly half a dozen districts and asked police to remain alert, a minister said today. Pradeepsinh Jadeja, minister of state for home, said reports about women claiming that their hair had been mysteriously chopped off at night have been received from Surat, Amreli, Mehsana and Rajkot, among other districts, in the last few days. “The home ministry has taken cognisance of media reports,” he said. Jadeja was talking to reporters after attending a function where the foundation stone for a police station was laid here. The home department has asked police authorities to remain alert and find out who is behind such alleged incidents, he said. “The women wing of the state Crime Branch has already started investigations into such cases,” said Jadeja, making an appeal to women not to panic. Incidents of women’s braids being mysteriously chopped off have been reported from states like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, among others. Police in these states believe such incidents are the handiwork of anti-social elements.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat sets example of honouring martyrs and national pride

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Shortly after the Kargil war, 1999, in which twelve soldiers hailing from Gujarat were martyred, Kathiawar?s Patel community formed five trusts under the Jay Jawan Nagrik Samiti (JJNS), to provide financial assistance to their families. Capitalizing on the patriotic sentiments of the local citizens of Surat, the Varachha Bank opened a savings account, in which money started pouring in. The families of the twelve Gujarati soldiers were honoured publicly and financial assistance was gifted to their next of kin. Following the unfortunate earthquake in Gujarat in 2000, on a request from Brigadier B.S. Mehta (retd), former Vice Chancellor, Maharishi University of Management and Technology, Bilaspur (Chattisgarh), JJNS, extended support and financial assistance to 120 families of the Indian Air Force base at Bhuj, which had been completely wiped out. Since then, JJNS has been holding a public function named Samarpan Gauarv Samaroh every year on/around Kargil Diwas, 26 July, to honour and gift financial assistance to next of kin of martyrs of the armed forces. Following this event held in 2016, JJNS had disbursed a total of Rs. 3.15 crore to 198 families of martyrs. This year, for the Samarpan Gauarv Samaroh, held on 22 July, 2017, JJNS invited Gen. V.P. Malik, PVSM, AVSM (retired), the Army Chief during the Kargil War, to attend this function as its President. He was accompanied by his wife, Dr. Mrs Ranjana Malik, who headed the Army Wives? Welfare Association during Gen Malik?s tenure as army chief and was quite involved with the welfare of war-widows. The Guests of Honour were Rifleman Chandulal Babulal Chauhan, who had inadvertently strayed across the Line of Control and was repatriated after three months and Padma Shri Bipinbhai Girdharbhai Ganatra, Agnirakshak, a voluntary fire fighter from Kolkata. The five chief guests were Mr Mahendrabhai S Patel, Collector, Surat, Mr Satish Sharma, Police Commissioner, Mr M Thannarassan, Commissioner, Surat Municipal Corporation, Brig B S Mehta (retd) and this writer. The four special guests heading some of Gujarat?s leading industries were Mr. Nanubhai K Savaliya , Sukhram Group, Mr. Manharbhai J Saspara, Euro Fresh Foods India Ltd, Mr Lavjibhai D Daliya, Anjani Group and Mr Maheshbhai Savani, Savani Group. The Trustees of JJNS are Messrs. Kanjibhai R Bhalala, Chairman of the Varachha Bank, KD Vaghani, Devchandbhai K Kakadiya, Mavjibhai D Mavani, Devshibhai K Bhadiyadra, Mukeshbhai K Navadiya and Sureshbhai G Patel. Brig Mehta is an advisor to the JJNS and its Vyasthapak (organizer ) is Mr Bhikubhai Timbadiva. What overwhelmed all the guests-families of martyrs and others- attending the four events over two days, was not just the warmth , hospitality and high regard accorded to them by all the various hosts and organizers, but also the spirit of patriotism and national pride, which was so evident. And what is particularly noteworthy is that a large number of very well-placed individuals and organizations have enthusiastically involved themselves by volunteering to take on various responsibilities and activities, devoting not only their time and effort, but also substantial amounts of money. Every year the JJNS is approached by many industrialists and organizations to offer their sponsorship for the Samaroh and all connected events. While the Samaroh managing committee has 45 members, over fifty business houses and voluntary/philanthropic organizations were involved in looking after various aspects and responsibilities, like contacting, coordinating, receiving and escorting the guests as well as looking after their accommodation/comfort, transportation and any other requirements, till their departure. Up to three to five family members of twenty two Army personnel and one from Central Armed Police Forces, martyred mostly in Jammu and Kashmir and some in the North East and some other locations, including the four Army personnel and one of Border Security Force, inhumanly mutilated by Pak army on 22 November 2016 and 01 May 2017, were invited, honoured and disbursed financial assistance totaling Rs. 46,00,000/- (46 lakhs). The four events included a function at the Veer Narmad University, where a National Cadet Corps contingent presented a Guard of Honour to Gen. Malik, following which a large gathering of students met and honoured the martyrs? families and were addressed by Gen.Malik. At this function, Mr Dileepbhai Bunha, Campus Director, SUV International School, made a spirited comment suggesting the raising of a Gujarat Regiment in the Army. Next was a visit to the Umiya Temple Trust, Varachha. The main function on 22 July began after an early dinner, at 8.30 p.m., at Sardar Patel Smruti Bhavan, Sardar Chowk, Varachha Road, Surat and continued till past midnight. In the function, compered by Mr Kanjibhai Bhalala, each martyr?s act of bravery was described before presenting a memento and the financial assistance amount to the family members. The auditorium with a capacity of 1200 was more than full and for every martyr?s account of valour, there was heavy applause. In his address, Gen.Malik recalled a number of events/incidents during the three-month-long Kargil confrontation, including reading out the last letter written by posthumous Param Vir Chakra recipient Vikram Batra to his parents, with his wish ?Yeh Dil Maange More?-more victories. Over two more addresses at other functions, he shared many anecdotes about the gallantry of Army personnel during Pakistan?s misadventure at Kargil. All the speeches by Gen.Malik and the other speakers were punctuated with spontaneous cheers and applause. For the family members of the martyrs, attending the series of functions in Surat was a rare experience with a mix of emotions. On the one hand being reminded about the sorrowful loss of their loved ones and on the other, the feeling of pride at being honoured and rewarded. But one reaction common to all of them was being overwhelmed by the warmth and cheering by their audiences. And also an unexpected pleasant surprise that there are people in India, who value so highly the sacrifices made by their deceased dear ones. Lance Dafadar Swaran Singh (retd), the uncle of Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh of the Sikh Regiment, mutilated on 1 May 2017, could not help commenting that despite there not being many Gujaratis in the Army, Gujarat?s public and business community had set an unprecedented example of patriotism and great pride in the country?s armed forces. He reflected the feelings and reactions of many other relatives/family members of martyrs attending the functions in Surat, who this writer interacted with. Awed by the arrangements, hospitality and public praise for the armed forces, many of the martyr?s family members conveyed their appreciation and thanks for being invited for what they considered an unforgettable occasion. In December, corresponding with Vijay Diwas, JJNS will organize a prayer recitation programme by Morari Bapu, renowned exponent of the Ram Charit Manas. The large collection of monetary offerings expected will be used for financial assistance to martyrs? families. At a time in India when the bandwagon of leftists/pseudo-intellectuals/pseudo secularists/human rights activists, including some senior political leaders have politicized and even ridiculed patriotism and national pride, with some also crticising the Army?s actions in Kashmir valley, it is a revelation and reminder of how these sentiments have been upheld with great spirit by the general public in Gujarat, led by a group of very prosperous but also large-hearted industrialists.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Surat court issues arrest warrant against Hardik Patel for failing to appear for hearing in sedition case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A court in Surat issued an arrest warrant against Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel for not appearing for the hearing of a sedition case against him today.District judge Geeta Gopi issued a bailable arrest warrant against Hardik after he failed to appear for the consecutive second time.His lawyer Yashwant Vala said Hardik could not come because he was busy meeting members of the Patel community in Ahmedabad after a programme, scheduled for today, could not be held.Bright students from the community were to be felicitated at the programme, but it had to be cancelled at the last moment, he said, seeking exemption for his client.Government pleader Nayan Sukhadwala pressed for a warrant against Hardik, pointing out that the Patel leader had failed to appear before the court for a second time.The court issued a bailable warrant against him, posting the matter for hearing to September 4.The court had rejected Hardik’s discharge application in the case on June 30.The Surat police registered a case of sedition under the Indian Penal Code against Hardik in 2015 after he allegedly exhorted a fellow activist to “kill policemen instead of committing suicide”.Ahmedabad police too registered a sedition case against him and five others for allegedly inciting Patel youths to resort to violence, in order to destabilise the government.

People of N Guj are fighters: CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After deciding to skip his birthday celebrations on Wednesday, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani dedicated his day to the flood victims of Patan and Banaskantha. Rupani, who turned 56, started his day with a visit to the Jain pilgrim temple at Shankheshwar in the flood-affected district of Patan and sought blessings from Lord Mahavir and Jain monks. Meanwhile, the state government also authorised the distribution of Rs9.19 crore among the affected in the region.Rupani visited Nanodar, Kanethi and Gol villages of Banaskantha and met with the flood-affected families here. He also informed them of the relief works being carried out by the state government and district authorities and sought their suggestions for the same.Addressing the locals, Rupani said, “I see God in human beings, as I am because of them. I saw the tough fight these people gave to the circumstances and saw them win with just sheer willpower. Spending my birthday with these people will be a lifelong memory for me.”Talking about relief operations, the CM said, “We are looking at diverting the flow of rivers which flooded this area towards the little desert of Kutch. The state government will appoint experts to conduct a study on this and prepare a feasibility report.”Meanwhile, relief teams have disposed of 5,000 tonnes of muck and 12 lakh litres of slurry from north Gujarat. As many as 1.68 lakh affected people were paid cash doles of Rs9.19 crore, while over 20,000 families were provided assistance of Rs8.79 crore to buy home appliances.Rupani was accompanied by his wife on the fourth day of his stay in the flood-hit areas of north Gujarat.INTO THE CHIEF MINISTER’S RELIEF FUNDDifferent organisations across Gujarat have donated a total of Rs7.54 crore into the Chief Ministers Relief Fund. A forum of real estate developers – CREDAI – donated Rs2.50 crore, while IFFCO donated Rs1 crore. Employees of Gujarat University, the Surat civic body, the Surat district authority, the Surat Jain Sangh and APMC-Unjha donated Rs61 lakh each. The CM appreciated this generous response from the Gujarati community.

Amarnath terror attack: Bullet removed from the body of survivor in Mumbai’s JJ Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Doctors at the J J Hospital here have removed a bullet from the body of a woman who survived the terrorist attack on the Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this week.In the attack, in which eight pilgrims were killed, Chhaya Meher had sustained injuries and was hit by a bullet.”The operation to remove the bullet from her right forearm was successful. She also had a bone fracture in the forearm which was also fixed. She will remain in the hospital till the time the bullet wound gets healed. She will have to be in the hospital for around 2-3 weeks more,” said Eknath Pawar, head of the orthopaedic department, JJ Hospital.With Meher showing signs of recovery, doctors have permitted her kin and other visitors to meet her.Maharashtra minister for medical education Girish Mahajan today met Meher.”She was earlier under a shock and we were worried because of her condition,” said her son, Nilesh.Nilesh had lost his mother-in-law in the same attack.Meher was airlifted and taken to Surat. She was taken to Dahanu and on Wednesday she was brought here to carry out the operation, a senior state government official said.Earlier, on July 10, militants attacked a bus carrying pilgrims in which eight persons lost their lives.More than two lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas so far this year, officials said.On the 18th day of the annual pilgrimage today, 7,214 yatris paid obeisance at the cave shrine, said an official spokesman.He added that a total of 2,02,705 pilgrims so far had the ‘darshan’ of the ice-lingam of Lord Shiva at the cave shrine, situated at a height of 3,880 metres, since the beginning of the 40-day pilgrimage this year, which would conclude on August 7.

Hindu youth’s heart beats in Muslim man

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 36-year-old Muslim man from Anand got a new lease of life on Thursday when a 21-year-old brain-dead patient’s heart was transplanted to him at CIMS hospital in Ahmedabad. This was the third live heart transplant in the state, according to doctors.The donor, 21-year-old Amit Halpati, was a resident of Halpati Vas in Khaparia village, Navsari district. On July 8, Halpati sustained serious injuries after his motorcycle skidded at Changa village. He was admitted to New Civil Hospital (NCH) in Surat. “On July 12, Halpati was declared brain-dead by a team of doctors at NCH and his family members gave their consent to donate his organs,” said Nilesh Mandlewala, director of Donate Life, an NGO working for organ donation in Surat.“We then contacted the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC) and CIMS Hospital to know their requirement. His kidneys, liver and pancreas were accepted by IKDRC, while heart was donated to Anand resident Sohel Vohra who was undergoing treatment at CIMS,” Mandlewala added. 7:15am: A team of doctors from NCH start for Ahmedabad on a charter plane, carrying Halpati’s heart7:50am: The live heart reaches CIMS 8:10am: Halpati’s heart is transplanted into VohraLife after deathKidneys Ritika Bhatt, 42, an Ahmedabad resident, has received one of Halpati’s kidneys Hitesh Goyal, 49, a Ghaziabad resident has received the otherLiver Bhautik Patel of SuratEyes Donated to NCH

Surat club to pay Rs 18L for not providing first aid to man

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex consumer commission has upheld a state panel’s order asking a recreational club in Surat to pay Rs 18 lakh as compensation to the kin of a man who collapsed at the club and subsequently died due to inadequate help from the staff. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked the Surat City Gymkhana to pay the sum to its member Tarun Sharma’s family and said “there was no help whatsoever from the club” which “amounted to callousness and thus severe deficiency in service”. “The very fact that they failed to produce any evidence at all, even by way of affidavits of their officials who were present and who provided first aid and who helped take the deceased to the hospital, speaks volumes and is self- incriminating,” the bench, headed by presiding member Anup K Thakur, said. The commission also held that since the club provides certain facilities to its members against payment of a consideration comprising one time and recurrent fees, it is a service provider and the deceased was its consumer. According to the complaint filed by Amritaben, wife of Sharma, he collapsed inside the club premises during morning walk on December 16, 2005. Since there was no staff available, another member took him to a nearby hospital where he died the next day. The club claimed that it was a natural death and under no circumstances, was it attributable to any other factor than “an act of God”. The club also contested that the death could not be related to any deficiency in service on the part of the Club. The Gujarat state consumer commission had asked the club, its president and secretary to pay the amount jointly and severally to the kin of Sharma. Later the club approached the apex commission which uphled the state commission’s decision.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CM announces Rs10 lakh for kin of deceased pilgrims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bodies of the seven Amarnath pilgrims, who were killed in the terrorist attack in Anantnag on Monday night, reached Surat on Tuesday afternoon.The bodies were flown in by Indian Air Force plane C-139, which landed at Surat airport at 1 pm. Besides the deceased, 19 injured persons and family members of the deceased pilgrims were also on board the plane. CM Vijay Rupani, deputy CM Nitin Patel and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani were at Surat airport to pay their tributes to the deceased.Condemning the incident, Rupani said terrorists will never be successful in their malafide intentions. He said India will fight back against anti-national elements with full strength. Rupani announced compensation of Rs10 lakh for those died in the terrorist attack and Rs2 lakh for those injured.Hailing the efforts of bus driver Salim Shaikh, whose bravery saved the lives of the remaining 51 passengers, Rupani said the state government would recommend Shaikh for a bravery award.Five of the injured have been admitted to New Civil Hospital in Surat, while two have been admitted to a private hospital.The deceased1. Laxmi Shankar Patel – Valsad2. Sumitra Patel – Udwada, Valsad 3. Champa Prajapati – Gandevi, Navsari 4. Ratilal Zhina Patel – Daman5. Hasuben Ratilal Patel – Daman6. Usha Mohan Sonkar – Dahanu, Maharashtra7. Nirmala Bharat Thakur – Dahanu, Maharashtra

‘Didn’t know this would be the last trip for friends’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”She was a god-fearing and religious woman,” said Soni Kishor, a relative of Usha Sonkar, the 56-year-old who died in Monday’s terrorist attack, “She always chanted god’s name and would spend hours in the temple. She was a friendly person and always greeted people by saying ‘God bless you’. It is shocking to hear about the incident.”Usha Sonkar and Nirmala Thakur were among 15 pilgrims from Dahanu who had gone on the Amarnath Yatra that came under attack on Monday. They had started their journey on July 2 and were supposed to return on July 18.Thakur was a local social worker and former member of the Gram Panchayat. While Sonkar and Thakur were fatally wounded, five others sustained injuries. Many of the pilgrims had spoken to their families at around 7 pm, just before the attack, as they were headed back after ‘darshan’.Sonkar’s brother, Balram Sonkar, said, “She last spoke to her husband at around 7.30 pm on Monday, saying she felt wonderful after taking darshan. Then a co-passenger from the bus called to tell us she was gone.””We last spoke to my mother around 7 pm on Monday,” said Thakur’s son Pradeep, “and later at night, we got a call from a local authority saying she is now more.” “She was a good social worker and everybody in the village admired her,” says Omkar Rawat, a local resident, of the 57-year-old. “She use to arrange pilgrimage trips for the group. Most of the time, she worked for the adivasi tribes nearby.”Sonkar and Thakur’s bodies rested at the H K Irani public hall as thousands thronged to pay their respects, before being taken for their last rites.All the Dahanu pilgrims knew each other though mutual acquaintances and friends. Those injured include, Pramod Vajane, Yashwant Dongra, Yogita Dongra, Chhaya Mehra and Pushpa Gosavi. Mehra, who sustained a fracture on her right hand, visited Sonkar’s home to pay her respects.Bharat Purohit, who brought back the deceased from Surat, said, “While Pushpa is still admitted in Jammu and Kashmir due to an unstable condition, the other four were airlifted to Surat on Tuesday morning and will be travelling back to Dahanu by road.”

Mumbai, Jul 11 (PTI) Following are the top stories

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>from the western region at 2100 hrs. BOM7 GJ-LD ATTACK-AMARNATH-BODIES Surat: Bodies of seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in the terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir brought to Surat in an IAF plane as angry protests are held across Gujarat against the attack. BOM 6 GA-RS-LD NOMINATION Panaji: BJP’s Goa unit president, Vinay Tendulkar, and sitting MP and state Congress chief Shantaram Naik enter the fray for election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the coastal state slated for July 21. BOM 19 GUJ-TEXTBOOK-ROZA Ahmedabad: A Hindi textbook of Gujarat State School Textbook Board defines the Urdu word “roza,” which denotes the fasting during the holy month of Ramzan, as “an infectious disease”. BOM 21 TL-ATTACK-OWAISI Hyderabad: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi seeks to know what steps were taken after “intelligence inputs” had warned of a possibility of attack on Amarnath pilgrims. BES13 TL-GAMING-ORDINANCE Hyderabad: Telangana government issues ordinance to curb “social evils” of online rummy games. BES 20 MH-LD CARTOONIST Pune: Eminent cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar no more. BES23 GA-CHURCH-LD DESECRATIONS Panaji: The Goa Church expresses “deep pain” over recent incidents of desecration of holy crosses and vandalism of a Christian cemetery in South Goa and decides to initiate a fact-finding on these incidents.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bodies of seven Amarnath pilgrims, injured brought to Surat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bodies of seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in the terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir were today brought to Surat airport along with the injured people in an IAF plane as angry protests were held across the state against the attack. A pall of gloom descended on the airport here as the Indian Air Force (IAF) plane landed. Terrorists last night killed seven pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 as they struck a bus in Anantnag district. The last time the Amarnath yatra was attacked was in 2001 in which 13 people had been killed. The streets of cities and towns in the state witnessed angry protests as people burnt the effigies of ‘terror’ and demanded “revenge” from the Narendra Modi government, asking it to “punish Pakistan”. Protests were held in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Valsad, Mandvi (in Kutch) and Bharuch, among others. Effigies of ‘terror’ were burnt in Gandhidham and Mandvi towns in Kutch district and Surat. An effigy of a terrorist was hanged by protesters in Valsad. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, were among those present at the Surat airport to receive the bodies, the injured pilgrims and the survivors of the attack. The injured people and the survivors came out first from the plane, along with the defence personnel who escorted them to their home state from Srinagar. The chief minister interacted with the pilgrims about the incident and also tried to know the condition of the injured. Ambulances were kept ready to take them to Surat hospital. Later, the bodies were brought out of the plane one by one. Rupani along with the deputy chief minister and other state officials paid homage to the deceased. The chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased from Gujarat. “51 passengers were travelling in the bus attacked by terrorists. Today, the IAF plane brought bodies of seven persons, 19 injured passengers and those who survived the attack. We have made adequate arrangements to provide medical treatment to the injured at Surat,” Rupani said. The deceased from Gujarat were identified as Hasuben Ratilal Patel, Surekhaben and Lakshimiben S Patal from Valsad, Ratan Zeenabhai Patal from Daman and Prajapati Champaben from Navsari. The other two deceased belonging to Maharashtra are Nirmalaben Thakor, a resident of Palghar, and Usha Mohanla Sonkar of Dahanu. “We have also made arrangements to take the bodies of the deceased to their respective native places. The family members of the pilgrims from Gujarat who died in the attack would get Rs 10 lakh as compensation while the injured will get Rs 2 lakh from the state government,” said Rupani. Rupani also had a brief talk with the bus owner, Harsh Desai, and driver Salim Shaikh. While Desai sustained injuries, Shaikh survived the attack. Rupani lauded Shaikh’s bravery as he kept on driving the bus amid heavy firing from the terrorists. “I offer my respect for Salim and Desai as I have learnt that they showed exemplary courage by driving the bus for almost 2 km despite heavy firing by terrorists. We will recommend Salim’s name for bravery award,” Rupani said. Desai, who received three bullet injuries in the attack, said, “I kept on instructing the driver, who was fortunately not hit by bullets, to keep on driving the bus till we see military personnel. We kept on taking the bus forward amidst the heavy firing.” “We took the bus two kms from the spot of the attack till we saw some military personnel and were able to save other lives,” he said. “We got late in the night when we were returning from Amarnath and were attacked. It was a horrific scene which I will not be able to forget,” said an elderly woman who survived the attack. An alert was issued in Gujarat late last night after the news came in of the terror attack in which a majority of the victims were from the state. Rupani condemned the attack and said the country will never cowed down by such an ideology. “We condemn the terror attack. This is an act of cowardly people. India will never cowed down by such ideology,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bodies of seven Amarnath pilgrims brought to Surat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bodies of seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir were today brought to Gujarat’s Surat airport along with the injured people and their family members in an IAF plane. An alert was issued in Gujarat late last night after the news came in of the terror attack, in which majority of the victims were from the state. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani condemned the attack and said the country will never bow down to such an ideology. Terrorists last night killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001. The Gujarat government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh each to the injured. Chief Minister Rupani and Patel will travel to Surat to receive the bodies and the injured people. “I am leaving for Surat along with Nitin Patel and Jitu Vaghani (state BJP president),” Rupani told reporters here. “Medical treatment will be provided to those who need it. The government will bear the cost of treatment of the injured,” he said. Rupani termed the attack as an act of cowardly people. “We condemn the terror attack. This is an act of cowardly people. India will never bow down to such ideology,” he said. The Gujarat BJP has cancelled all scheduled programmes today which were to be attended by party president Amit Shah and NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. “We have cancelled all the programmes that were to be held today, including a party meet to be attended by BJP president Amit Shah and a programme of the presidential candidate to seek support, in view of those ‘martyred’ in the terror attack,” Rupani said. Shah was to visit Gujarat and take part in various events organised by the party in the run up to the state elections due later this year. BJP’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind was also scheduled to come to seek support for his candidature.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat: Cloth traders continue strike against GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cloth shop owners in various parts of Gujarat today decided to continue their indefinite strike against five per cent GST levied on textiles, a day after police baton-charged protesting members of their association in Surat. The Maskati market in Ahmedabad, a major textile centre in the state, wore a deserted look as around 25,000-30,000 traders observed a shutdown, protesting “police high- handedness” with agitating traders in Surat. They said the shops will remain shut indefinitely till the time their demands on GST were not met by the government. “In Ahmedabad, around 25,000-30,000 cloth shop owners have gone on an indefinite strike. Police action on protesters in Surat is unacceptable. Instead of meeting our demands, the government is applying force to suppress us,” said Ritesh Shah, a textile shop owner in Maskati market. Surat’s textile markets too remained closed, with street deserted. “This city gained prominence due to the hard work of businessmen like us. Those indulging in politics have not done much for the city. The police action is unacceptable and was entirely unprovoked. We stand united against the police action and will keep our shops shut indefinitely,” said Ganpat Jain, a member of GST Sangharsh Samiti, which called the shutdown. Thousands of protesting members had gathered yesterday near the Ring Road in Surat, where the main market is situated, demanding scrapping of GST on textiles. Police then wielded batons to disperse the agitators who allegedly engaged in stone-pelting. Protesting traders had yesterday alleged that the police action came at the behest of Surat’s BJP MP C R Patil while some shop owners sided with the leader and decided to keep their establishments open, defying the protesting association’s call for an indefinite bandh. Patil was not immediately available for comment. Top Congress leadership in the state too had condemned police action against traders. The GST Sangharsh Samiti had called for an indefinite bandh on Sunday in the Surat textile market, which is one of the largest in the country. Several cloth markets in the state have since remained closed as most traders have not registered for the new tax system and do not have the GST number. They are hoping that the central government will intervene to resolve the situation. Some small traders said the new tax regime would adversely affect their businesses. They contended that the time given to them for GST compliance was short. The traders have demanded that the GST should be imposed on apparel and not fabric.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Heavy rains trigger flood-like situation in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Torrential rains pounded parts of Gujarat today, leading to a deluge-like situation at several places, even as the state’s disaster management authority has been put on alert to tackle any emergency situation. Tankara gauged a massive 280 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours. Teams of the disaster management department with the help of National Disaster Response Force personnel rescued around 14 people stranded in floodwaters in the district. “Tankara taluka received heavy rainfall in a short span of time. The rainwater breached several check dams, leading to heavy water-logging,” Morbi Collector IK Patel said. “Three persons were stranded on a highway after their car was washed away in the rainwater. 11 others were stuck in a slum area in Tankara due to flooding. We rescued all of them with the help of National Disaster Response Force personnel,” Patel said. Suigam taluka in Banaskantha in north Gujarat, Kodinar taluka in Gir Somnath and Kalyanpur in Devbhoomi Dwarka guaged 110 mm of precipitation overnight, which led to traffic snarls. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the state’s disaster management authority has been put on alert to tackle any emergency situation. “Saurashtra region has received early rains … several areas have received heavy rainfall. The disaster management department is ready to tackle any emergency situation. The administration will ensure that the people do not face any trouble due to rain,” Rupani told reporters here. The low-lying areas in Ahmedabad are waterlogged. The city recorded 31 mm of rainfall. NDRF teams in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara have also been put on alert. Several areas in Gir Somnath, Jamnagar, Morbi, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Banaskantha, Patan, Surat and Navsari districts received heavy rainfall, IMD officials said. Sharp showers drenched Bhavnagar, Surendranagar, Veraval, Vadodara and Gandhinagar in the daytime. The IMD has warned of “heavy to very heavy” rains in Gujarat in the next three days.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi holds mega roadshow, thousands line up to greet him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a roadshow tonight here in the main city of the Saurashtra region, where he was greeted by thousands of people. This was the second roadshow of Modi in poll-bound Gujarat, where elections are due by the year-end. He had held a similar programme in Surat in April, virtually launching the poll campaign of the BJP, which is in power in the state for more than two decades now. This is Modi’s fourth visit to his home state, where the saffron party is again eyeing a big poll victory, since March. The prime minister started his roadshow from the Aji dam area and travelled through some of the important landmarks of the city, covering a distance of 8 kms. He was seen waving at the huge crowd, which had gathered on both sides of the streets, while the people showered rose petals and threw garlands at him. Rajkot has a special place in Modi’s political career. He was elected to the Assembly from the Rajkot-II seat after being appointed the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001. He continued to occupy the post till May 2014, when he became the prime minister and moved to New Delhi. The roadshow ended at the airport after almost an hour. The city was specially decorated for the high-profile event. Modi, who is on a two-day Gujarat visit, started the roadshow after welcoming the waters of the Narmada river into the Aji dam, a key source of water for the city. The BJP has set a target of winning at least 150 of the 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat. The party has come up with a number of strategies to achieve the target and as a part of those plans, Modi, currently the most popular BJP leader in the country, has been coming to the state every month since March, said party sources. BJP president Amit Shah, the saffron party’s chief poll strategist, has also increased the frequency of his visits to Gujarat, which is his home state as well.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Teen kills youth with bat as passers-by look on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A teenager battered to death a 22-year-old youth in north Delhi’s Sabzi Mandi area, after a fight broke out between them over a petty issue on Tuesday evening. Though several people were present in the vicinity, no one stepped forward to help the victim, once again highlighting the apathy of the citizens.The victim was identified as Angad, who worked as a delivery boy at a nearby hotel. He had taken his Class XII exams through open school around four days ago.On the day of the incident, he had left his aunt’s home for work at 6.15 pm. On the way, some local boys were playing cricket at the Sita Saran Colony and the ball hit Angad, who told the boys to play carefully.The boys, however, threatened to hit him with the bat and told him to leave. An argument broke out and then Angad left. Minutes later, one of the boys started following him and attacked him with the cricket bat. Angad fell unconscious on the ground, and blood started coming out of his mouth.Geeta, the victim’s aunt, said: “At least 20 people were present there but no one helped him or caught hold of the accused. My son, Dharmendra, rushed him to the Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, where doctors told him that his heart had stopped beating.” “As the accused boy is a minor, his mother has claimed that he would be let off in a few days,” she said.Angad’s family members are yet to come to terms with the tragedy. His younger brother Rohit said: “Our parents sell vegetables in Surat, Gujarat. They were completely dependent on him since he was the eldest. Our youngest sister is in Surat. Angad would guide and teach me and our brother Chandu. He never spoke rudely to anyone and was loved by all in the colony.”Meanwhile, Dharmendra has accused another boy in the group for instigating the attacker. “He is a notorious person and would often instigate people to pick up fights.”

Parts of south Gujarat witness heavy rains as monsoon advances

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Heavy rains continued to lash parts of south Gujarat, particularly Valsad and Rajkot, as the southwest monsoon moved further, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today. “The southwest monsoon further advanced into some more parts of Gujarat. It has covered areas of the state till Naliya in Kutch to Idar in Sabarkantha,” the IMD said in a weather bulletin released today. While heavy rainfall continued in isolated places in south Gujarat region, several places in the state, including Saurashtra, also witnessed downpour. Some parts of Kutch also received rainfall, the IMD said. The Met department has predicted “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in isolated places in south Gujarat region, Saurashtra, Daman and Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the next two days. Some places in north and central Gujarat may also receive heavy to very heavy rainfall between Thursdays and Saturday this week, it said. As per the IMD data, Valsad received 18 mm rainfall, Surat 16.6 mm, Rajkot 21.8 mm, Gandhinagar 18.5 mm and Surendranagar 11.7 mm rainfall in 24 hours till this morning.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Heavy rains in Gujarat triggers flood like situation, nine rescued

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> At least nine persons were rescued after heavy rains in Gujarat?s Valsad district triggered a flood like situation. Five teams were deployed in the district for carrying out the rescue operation in the district. As the south-west monsoon furthered in the state,Valsad received around 105 mm of rain from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. earlier on Saturday. Heavy rains lashed in different regions of the state, including Surat, Vapi and Dadra and Nagar Haveli yesterday. Officials noted that the around 12 inches of rain occurred in the region for 12 hours. Ahmedabad which has not seen much rain is likely to witness some on Sunday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

No books, only tablets in coming days: CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced on Thursday that in the days to come, students in government schools will need to carry only tablets instead of books, as the state government is planning to open 2,500 smart classrooms across the state. Rupani was speaking after he kick started the three-day Shala Praveshotsav (school enrollment drive) for urban areas in Surat. “We have earmarked Rs 2,500 crore towards setting up smart classrooms across state. Students will not need to carry heavy school bags as the entire curriculum will be available online, which they access on their tablets,” the CM said.Rupani enrolled children in anganwadi, class 1 in primary and class 9 in the secondary sections. He also inaugurated a food processing plant and bio waste to bio energy plant constructed at a cost of Rs 41 crore by Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Surat. The CM also dedicated several public projects to the city.

GST: Major mkts in Gujarat remain shut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Major markets in Ahmedabad and leading trading centres across the state observed bandh on Thursday in protest against Goods and Service Tax (GST) which will come into force on July 1 onwards. Traders are protesting against compliance requirements which they feel can potentially derail the business and taxes levied on essential items like food and fabrics. All major wholesale markets in Ahmedabad, like Madhupura, Kalupur, Relief Road and Gandhi Road remained closed because of bandh call given by various trade bodies. Traders who had remain passive till just a week ago too joined the protest. “There were sporadic protests earlier but there was a strong undercurrent of dissent. This anger has suddenly erupted,” said Jayendra Tanna, president of Gujarat Traders’ Federation. Hiren Gandhi, chairman of Food Committee of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), said, “The government’s only interest is to increase revenue disregarding the implications on trade. It is this attitude that has angered the traders.” Markets at Relief Road and Gandhi Road as well as major centres for trade in the city were also closed in protest against levying of 28 per cent GST on electronics items. “The tax burden is extremely high. Tax administration is not in sync with ground realities. GST will result into inspector raj in a new avatar, which will increase corruption,” said Sunil Motwani, vice-president of Relief Road Electronics Association. The Dry Fruits and Kirana Associations across Gujarat too observed total bandh. They are protesting the 12% on dry fruits. Hitesh Pariyani, chairman of Dry Fruits Association, and Lalit Shah, VC of Kirana Associations, said that while traders welcome the rollout of GST they are against the 12% GST. “After several attempts to reach out to authorities to reduce the rate, we feel our voice hasn’t been heard. Through this bandh, we want to draw the attention of authorities to how the livelihood of many would be affected,” said Pariyani. Meanwhile, major markets in Rajkot, another leading centre for business in the state, also remained closed. These included Danapith market for kirana items, Dharmendra Road for textiles and APMC yard, said Samir Shah, president of Rajkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). “The APMC is governed by BJP. But it had to remain close because of pressure from the small traders,” said Shah. A similar scene was witnessed in Junagadh. “It seems that the government is using traders as pawns to suck taxes from the public. Narendra Modi, who opposed GST when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, is in a hurry to implement GST,” said Bhurabhai Desai, secretary of Junagadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). Bandh was also observed in Jetpur, Veraval and other trading centres. Around 75,000 textile traders in Surat observed bandh against the Centre’s proposed 5 per cent levy on yarn and fabric under the new tax regime. Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) will organise a rally on Friday to plan the further course of action. Meanwhile, traders have threatened to go on indefinite strike if their demands are not fulfilled by the government.

Gujarat police seizes demonetised currency, arrests four

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Gujarat police Special Operations Group (SOG) has seized more than Rs 1 crore demonetised currency from a car and also arrested four persons in this regard in Bharuch. The incident took place last night when the SOG was checking vehicles passing through Bharuch. During the routine checking, the police stopped a white Fortuner with a BJP symbol. There were four people travelling in the car, which was coming from Surat. During the search, the police found out demonetised currency worth Rs 1,01,93,000. There were 11322 notes of Rs 500 and 4532 of Rs1000. When the police inquired the people travelling in the car about the money, they couldn?t answer. The police have taken the four persons into custody and seized the car and are interrogating them for a detailed information.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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