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Sonia Gandhi holidays in Goa as son Rahul leads Congress in protests against govt

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who earlier this month retired as the Congress President as her son Rahul took over, is vacationing in Goa and was seen riding a bicycle in the coastal city. A picture of the longest serving Congress President riding her bicycle and posing for photos with tourists was posted by actor Riteish Deshmukh.Some pictures of the Raebareli MP in Goa were also posted by The report said that Sonia left for Goa on December 26 and is expected to be back in the first week of January.While Sonia is spending time in Goa, her son Rahul today led the party in celebrating Congress’ 133rd foundation day. He also participated in a protest by the Congress MPs in front of Gandhi statu inside Parliament premises over Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s comments on the Constitution.He took charge of the party from his mother on December 16. On December 15, a day before Rahul’s elevation, Sonia had said that “my role is to retire,” triggering speculation that she might quit active politics. The party, however, soon clarified that she was retiring from party, not politics.Her daughter Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra also announced that her mother would again contest from Raebareli Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.Also readCongress Foundation Day | Constitution under threat, it’s our duty to defend it, says Rahul GandhiSonia, 71, took charge of the Congress party in 1998 and and served at the post for 19 years.

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Stone pelting goes down, but terror incident increase in Kashmir

The number of stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have come down to less than half, as compared to last year, till November 2017 even though terror related incidents increased.The total number of stone-pelting incidents have decreased from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said while replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.The number of terror incidents this year was recorded at 337 till December 14 this year — the highest since 2011. The number was 332 last year. There was an increase in violence in the conflict-hit state since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.Security forces have killed 210 terrorists this year, going well beyond last year’s 150.Ahir said that an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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Cases of stone pelting in J&K reduced by nearly 1600 in one year: Govt

Incidents of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir had come down significantly — from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year — Parliament was informed today.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said, replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.He said an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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BJP and RSS ‘unmasked’ by Hegde’s comments: Congress

The Congress today attacked the BJP over Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarks about changing the Constitution, saying they were a “direct assault” on the composite identity of the nation and the party will oppose any such attempt with all its might.Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said that the BJP and the RSS were “unmasked” by Hegde’s remarks and alleged that “abusing the oath of office and denigrating the Constitution and its values have become a distinctive feature of Modi government”. Hegde, while speaking at an event in Karnataka, had said he respects the Constitution but “it will be changed in the days to come”. Condemning Hegde’s comments, Gogoi asked if the prime minister would break his silence on Hegde’s remarks as the minister had openly spoken about changing the Constitution.Hegde’s remarks are a “direct assault” on the composite, diverse and secular identity of the nation, Gogoi said. He alleged that the BJP-RSS school of thought is ingrained in “bigotry, hate, divisiveness and prejudices, that envision a monolithic culture”. Gogoi told reporters here that Hegde’s remarks were diametrically opposite to the liberal and inclusive traditions of India and the progressive thoughts of Babasaheb Ambedkar and the makers of modern India. “The Congress strongly condemns and deprecates such regressive remarks which are against the idea and ideals of India. We shall fight this challenge in Parliament and in the court of people,” he said.Gogoi alleged that all such statements have a common link and agenda and were meant to propagate and practice sectarian ideology of the BJP and the RSS.Also readConstitution will be ‘changed in the days to come’: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde He claimed that the RSS and the BJP’s sole agenda was to change and modify the basic nature and structure of the Constitution and “impose their hate filled, bigoted and prejudiced ideology” on India and its people.”Recent statements by Union ministers in the Modi government thoroughly vindicates those malicious and sinister attempts,” Gogoi alleged. “Their remarks have not only denigrated and demolished the values, principles and the soul of the Constitution but has also exposed their ‘false love’ for Babasaheb Ambedkar which they keep propagating to win votes,” he said. The Congress leader, with another spokesperson Khushboo Sundar by his side, said the Constitution rests on pillars of equality, liberty, fraternity, brotherhood and secularism. Socialistic values are the Magna Carta of India’s Constitution, he said.”Any maleficence attempt to modify this by the BJP- RSS will be fought by the Congress Party with all its might,” he said. Gogoi claimed that Hegde, like other BJP leaders, was suffering from the “foot in the mouth” disease. The Congress spokesperson also highlighted that another Union minister Hans Raj Ahir had made a statement equating senior doctors in a government hospital with Naxals. This, he said, was an outright insult to the medical profession and those who save lives. “It again goes against the spirit of the Constitution and its ideals,” Gogoi said.The Congress leader claimed that in the past as well the BJP and its leaders, including the prime minister, have “systematically insulted” professionals and communities. Gogoi also highlighted that Bachubhai Khapad was sworn-in as a minister of state in Gujarat despite having three criminal cases against him, including under the Arms Act. “Will Shri Modi take cognisance of this fact and drop him from the Gujarat Government’s Cabinet? Is it not yet again an instance, where the BJP is violating the ‘oath of office’ and denigrating Constitution?,” he asked.

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Was upset over absence of Civil Surgeon: Hansraj Ahir issues clarification after shooting doctors remark

Union Minister Hansraj Ahir, who stoked a controversy with his remarks on doctors, today said his statement was specifically aimed at the Civil Surgeon who skipped the government hospital function and “misinterpreted” by media.Miffed over the absence of senior doctors at a function in his Lok Sabha constituency Chandrapur yesterday, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs had said that “these people should join Naxals” and “we will then shoot you with bullets”. Ahir was speaking at the inauguration of a generic medicine counter at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandrapur, in eastern Maharashtra. The district civil surgeon, Uday Nawade, and dean of the medical college, S S More, were not present at the event.Speaking in Marathi, Ahir had said, “What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy. I handle the home ministry, so I know it. These people (referring to the senior doctors) don’t want democracy.” “So they should join Naxals. Why do you stay here? Go there, then we will shoot you with bullets. Why do you give tablets (pills) here? How justified is it to remain absent when I am coming to the hospital,” Ahir had said. Ahir today told PTI that he was “upset” over the absence of the Civil Surgeon at the event, for which many dignitaries like the mayor, the deputy mayor and prominent doctors were present.”The civil surgeon, the one who should have led from the front, was absent, which was disgraceful,” Ahir said. He said his comment was aimed particularly at the Civil Surgeon’s “irresponsible behaviour” and not at other government officials or doctors, as is being “misinterpreted” by media. “Naxals don’t want democracy, I know this as I am in the Home Ministry and if you also do not believe in democracy better go and join Naxals if you are not interested in giving tablets then we shall give you ‘goli’ (pills). This was my statement which has been misinterpreted and quoted out of contest,” he said.According to Ahir, the absence of the Civil Surgeon, as an organiser of the programme, was “nothing less than an insult to democracy” and his intention was to “discipline” him by giving some pills which the civil hospital was supposed to take up for distribution to patients.

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Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel International airport to be abuzz with VVIPs today

Over 50 flights including 10 charter planes carrying VVIPs are scheduled to arrive at the Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel International (SVPI) airport here on Tuesday morning.Chief ministers of different states as well as cabinet ministers will arrive on Tuesday to attend the swearing-in ceremony where Vijay Rupani will take oath as Chief Minister and Nitin Patel as Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat respectively for the second consecutive term.Highly placed sources at the airport said, “We have got information for about 50 flights having CMs as well as Union ministers and have made arrangements accordingly. PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will also be arriving for the ceremony.”All ministers will be arriving in the morning, which is a peak time at airport and may clash with the regular flight schedule. However, airport officials claim that operations will run smoothly and there will not be any issues faced by passengers.A source said, “Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP National General Secretary Dr Anil Jain, Union Minister of road, transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for consumer affairs Ramvilas Paswan, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Anupriya Patel would participate.”

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Join Naxals, will shoot you: Union Minister Hansraj Ahir to doctors skipping hospital event

Miffed over senior doctors remaining absent from a function he was attending at a government hospital in Maharashtra, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir today said “these people” should join the Naxals if they don’t believe in democracy, and the government will then shoot them down.The Minister of State for Home Affairs was speaking at the inauguration of a 24×7 store for generic medicines at a government-run hospital in eastern Maharashtra’s Chandrapur, which he represents in the Lok Sabha.”The mayor came, the deputy mayor came but what stopped the doctors from coming for the event?” an angry Ahir asked, noting the absence of senior doctors at the event.Also readHansraj Ahir: No one can stop India from wresting back PoK”What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy… So these people (the absent doctors) don’t want democracy, then they should join the Naxals. Why are you here? Then (once you join the Naxals) we will pump you with bullets, why you are dispensing pills here?” Ahir said, punning on the Marathi word ‘goli’ — which means both a pill and a bullet.Ahir wondered if it was appropriate for doctors to go on leave when a “democratically-elected” minister was on a visit.Also readVarun Gandhi pitches for ‘providing shelter to Rohingya refugees,’ gets slammed by MoS Hansraj AhirChandrapur is one of the four districts in Maharashtra which have been identified by the central government as affected by Left-Wing Extremism.

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Fodder scam verdict: Convicted Lalu Yadav says BJP playing ‘dirty game’ against opponents

Former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was Saturday convicted in a fodder scam case along with 14 others, remained defiant and said the “truth will win” in the end. While 15 people including Lalu were convicted by CBI judge Shivpal Singh, six including another former CM Jagannath Mishra were acquitted. The judge pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.A charge sheet was filed against 38 persons on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said. Also readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerLalu Prasad, the chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and other convicts were taken into custody immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict. He was later taken to Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi. Soon after his conviction, Lalu, in a series of tweets, attacked the “feudal forces” and accused the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) of playing a “dirty game” to ruin public perception of opponents. “Truth can be made to appear as a lie, as ambiguous or a half lie by concerted onslaught of bias driven propaganda. But blurred layer of bias and hatred will still be removed, come what may! In end Truth will win,” Lalu said in a tweet. In another tweet in Hindi, Lalu said, “The sly BJP plays a dirty game of ruining public perception of opponents to hide its jumlebaazi and to get votes.””A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. ….But still prevails…In the end though,” the former Union Minister said. “Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished,” he added. “Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and caste-ist minds. No one should expect any different treatment,” he further said. BJP reacted sharply to Lalu’s attack and said the RJD chief was “leveling allegations of conspiracy” on the saffron party instead of accepting the verdict. “Lalu Prasad Yadav is even now politicizing the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate he is leveling allegations of conspiracy on BJP,” Union Minister JP Nadda said. Watch: Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in fodder scamLalu has already been convicted in another fodder scam- Chaibasa treasury case – in which he is out on bail. His conviction cost him his Lok Sabha seat as he was disqualified from contesting elections.The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer and has rocked the state and national politics for years.(With inputs from agencies)

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BJP begins preparations for mission Northeast; Rijiju, Sarma appointed election incharge of Nagaland, Tripura

Officially beginning its preparation for Assembly polls in Northeastern states, the BJP on Saturday appointed Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were on Saturday as election in-charge of Nagaland and Tripura. Announcing the appointment of Rijiju and Sarma, BJP General Secretary Arun Singh said in a statement: “BJP National President Amit Shah has appointed Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State of Home Affairs as Election Incharge of forthcoming Nagaland State Assembly Elections and Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Finance and Health in Assam Government as Election Incharge of Tripura state.”Sarma, who started his political career as a Congress leader, switched side ahead of last year’s Assam elections. He is the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), an alliance of regional parties. Rijiju is a heavyweight from Arunachal Pradesh and the two leaders have been instrumental in the BJP’s rise in the Northeast. Assembly elections in Tripura and Nagaland are slated for early next year. Last elections in both states were held in February 2013.While Tripura has been under the Left rule for the last 24 years, Nagaland Peoples Front has been in power in Nagaland since 2003. Along with Tripura and Nagaland, polls will also be held for Meghalaya and Mizoram next year. Launching BJP’s poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week inaugurated crucial connectivity and power projects in Mizoram and Meghalaya.

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India, Myanmar ink pact for restoration of normalcy, development in Rakhine State

India and Myanmar on Wednesday inked an agreement on restoration of normalcy and development of the Rakhine State, from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims recently fled following incidents of violence against the community.Signed between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw, this is the first government to government pact inked by Myanmar with a cooperation partner focused on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in the Rakhine State.Jaishankar is on an official visit to Myanmar.”This is intended to help the government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons,” the external affairs ministry said.Under this MoU, India proposes to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State so as to meet the immediate needs of the returning people, it said.During the visit, Jaishankar called on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Union Minister in State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye.”All matters relating to bilateral cooperation, including follow up on decisions taken during recent visit of the prime minister to Myanmar, as well as matters pertaining to Rakhine State were discussed during these meetings,” the ministry said in a statement.The foreign secretary earlier also called on Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and discussed all matters relating to security, bilateral cooperation as well as the situation in the northern Rakhine State.According to the UN estimates, since August more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after incidents of violence and oppression in the Rakhine State.In addition to the Rakhine State project proposals, a number of ongoing friendship projects were reviewed, the ministry said.Issues regarding the functioning and maintenance of Sittwe port and the road from Paletwa-Zorinpui were also reviewed, it said.Other key projects such as the Rhi-Tiddim road project, the Trilateral Highway road from Kalewa to Yargyi, the project to build 69 bridges on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa road, the Yamethin Police Training Centre and hospital projects, were also discussed.

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

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

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Assembly elections 2017 result: ‘I salute hardworking BJP Karyakartas,’ PM Modi’s victory tweet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the assembly election results in Gujarat and Himachal Prades indicate BJP’s effort for development in the state.”Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” PM Modi said on Twitter.”I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time and end Congress’ reign in Himachal Pradesh.Union Minister Smriti Irani also hailed BJP’s win saying, “It’s a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.””Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. It is a victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” she added.

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Assembly elections 2017: Will Himachal Pradesh results throw up a surprise?

While exit polls have already given a sweeping victory to BJP in Himachal Pradesh, locals are keeping their fingers crossed in the hilly state, which has in last 24 years never re-elected an incumbent government.BJP, which made an impressive comeback in adjoining hill state of Uttarakhand early this year replacing the Harish Rawat-led Congress government, is confident to romp home in Himachal as well where Congress’ Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has been battling age and corruption charges.Singh, called Raja by locals is a popular face and it was his popularity, which apparently forced BJP to declare Prem Singh Dhumal its CM face towards the end of the election even as it has earlier decided not to project any face and had in fact given more prominence to Union Minister J P Nadda.While exit polls suggest, Dhumal forming the next government in the state with huge margin, for the locals the outcome will be more based on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Many feel that it could be close contest this time and Virbhadra Singh may not just sink into oblivion with as poor results as being predicted by the exit polls.While Congress is striving hard for ‘Mission Repeat’ in the hill state this time, BJP is confident that the swing state will live up to its tradition of not returning the ruling party to power. It has also taken steps to check dissension. It’s confidence is also due to the fact that it had won all the four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.Supporters of Singh say that exit polls had also predicted win for BJP in the last assembly elections in 2012, where Congress won 36 seats in comparison to BJP’s 26.Ask anyone to give two reasons to ousts Singh’s govt and the answers would come on predictable lines… One, no govt has ever been repeated since eighties.Two, the corruption case against sitting chief minister where he could be arrested soon.The Congress government had not rubbed the government employees the wrong way in Singh’s five-year-tenure, which could be the reasons its supporters feel that the employees will back it.Singh led Himachal campaign single-handedly despite falling health and that has also struck a chord with voters to bring him back for one last time before he calls it quits, his supporters argue.They argue that there is no such sympathy wave for Dhumal on the other side who is fighting a tough battle to win own seat Sujanpur, where the former Chief Minister is locked into a tough battle against Rajinder Rana, who has nurtured it for many years. Rana, a protege turned rival of Dhumal had contested the 2012 election as an Independent and defeated his nearest Congress rival Anita Verma by 14,155 votes.It’s an open secret in the state unit that Dhumal, who contested the last assembly polls from Hamirpur assembly segment, was not willing to contest from Sujanpur.BJP had projected Dhumal as its CM face, hoping it could give a boost to the party’s campaign in all five assembly segments in Hamirpur.An old slogan, which does rounds in Himachal is that whosoever wins Kangra valley forms a government in Himachal.Congress had 10 seats from this region while BJP had just three in the last assembly. This time around, the Congress has strong presence in this region and it could be a neck to neck results. BJP state Mahila Morcha chief Indu Goswami, who has openly faced backlash from party workers, is pitted against politically-established Butail family’s son, Ashish Butail.

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BJP will register comprehensive victories in Gujarat and Himachal: RS Prasad

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad today asserted that the party will register comprehensive victories in the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The law and justice, electronics and IT minister said voters have full faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during whose tenure the country has witnessed “all-round growth”.”The people of Gujarat have not forgotten the economic progress and the excellent law and order that prevailed while Modi was the chief minister. The BJP is all set to retain power in the state with a comfortable majority,” he told reporters here.The minister also expressed confidence that the BJP will “win a thumping majority in Himachal Pradesh and dislodge the Congress from power”.Counting of votes in both the states will begin on December 18.Prasad arrived here on his way to Rohtas district, where he is scheduled to address a four-day training camp for the party’s state-level office bearers that began yesterday.”The country has witnessed all-round growth and new benchmarks of progress have been set under Modi’s leadership,” he said.There has been effective action against terrorists and the PM’s diplomacy has been a huge success, placing India among the strong nations of the world, he added.

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Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist found dead in Jammu and Kashmir

More details are awaited.”

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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist found dead in Jammu and Kashmir (Picture for Representation)
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Saturday 16 December 2017 15:58 ISTMust readMinor set ablaze by neighbours for opposing molestation in UP’s MainpuriAaditya Thackeray sets deadline for quitting alliance<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>One Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist, a Pakistani national, was found dead in Tral Eidgah in South Kashmir on Saturday.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Also readJammu and Kashmir | 3 terrorists gunned down in Handwara encounter, ‘raining whole night,’ tweets DGPThe terrorist was killed after a landmine went off where he was hiding.More details are awaited.

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Cabinet approves landmark bill to set up National Medical Commission to replace Medical Council of India

On Friday, the Cabinet approved a landmark bill – the National Medical Commission, Bill 2017 – which will replace the Medical Council 1956 Act. Earlier, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said cabinet approved a bill to set up the National Medical Commission. The bill will seek to replace the Medical Council of India and will seek reforms in the field of medical education, move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in medical education and create a forward-looking approach towards ensuring sufficient health workforce in India.Sources told DNA that provisions in the ball will end heavy regulatory control over medical education institutions and help facilitate a shift towards outcome-based monitoring. It’s also expected to introduce a national degree examination, the first time such a provision with be added in higher education, similar to NEET and common counselling for undergrads.The bill also seeks to regulate up undergrad and postgrad seats which will ensure that at least 40% seats are reserved for meritorious students irrespective of their financial status.The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said.According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, the official said.As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty.The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, the official said. With inputs from PTI

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Day before second phase of Gujarat polls, UP farmers protest, raise slogans against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi

Farmers staged a protest and raised slogans against Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi in his home turf Amethi in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.The protesting farmers demanded that either their land that was given to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation is returned or else they are provided employment.They said if their demands were not fulfilled they would demolish the structure built there and continue to protest.The farmers were carrying a banner stating: “Shame on you Rahul, return the lands of farmers.”They staged the protest near Samrat Cycle factory, which was inaugurated by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi when he was the MP from Amethi.In the 1980s, Jain brothers had taken over 65.57 acres of land in the industrial area of Kausar to run a company but after its failure a land auction took place in 2014.According to the records, UPSIDC had leased 65.57 acres of land to the company in 1986 but when the company was closed down, the Debts Recovery Tribunal got it auctioned in 2014 at Rs 20.10 crore to recover the loan.The land purchased in the auction was paid by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust for a stamp duty of Rs 1,50,000.However, later the land auction process was termed invalid by the UPSIDC following which a Gauriganj SDM Court ordered the return of the land of the Samrat Cycle Factory to UPSIDC.Since then the land is on papers with UPSIDC but is still occupied by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.The farmers have not received any compensation for their land which was used for this factory till now.Earlier, Union Minister Smriti Irani had also accused Rahul of grabbing the land of farmers through the foundation.The Congress scion has, however, always pitched for farmers’ welfare and even promised to waive their loan in Gujarat election speeches.

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Sharad Pawar leads protest march on 77th birthday, asks farmers not to pay power bills, other dues to govt

NCP President Sharad Pawar on Tuesday asked farmers to resort to non-cooperation against the Maharashtra government and not to pay outstanding loan or dues like electricity bills unless it deposits the loan waiver amount into their bank accounts. Addressing a public rally on his 77th birthday, the former Union Minister warned that farmers were capable of bringing down the government if their issues are ignored. “Unless the loan waiver amount is deposited into the bank accounts of farmers, I appeal to the farming community not to pay any dues or even electricity bills to the state government,” Pawar said.On his birthday, the former Union Minister for Agriculture led a united Opposition’s “Jan Aakrosh Halla Bol” march against the state government. Congress and NCP, along with all opposition parties including Peasants and Workers Party, Samajwadi Party and CPIM, took part in the march against the Devendra Fadnavis government. Congress and NCP took out two separate protest marches and after 2 kms of foot-march, a joint public rally was held at T Junction near Sitabuldi outside Vidhan Bhavan, where state assembly is holding winter session.Congress’ march, which started from Deeksha Bhoomi where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, was led by former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. NCP started its march from Dhanwate National College.Pawar who is celebrating his 77th birthday today criticised the state government for not implementing loan waiver and said, “Chief Minister is telling that money would be given but despite his repeated assurances for last six months, farmers are not receiving any money towards loan waiver. Now farmers who possess to dethrone the governments should resolve that they would not pay any government bill, be it power bill or society dues unless loan waiver amount is deposited in their bank accounts.” Blaming Fadnavis Government for destroying families of farmers, Pawar said that this government is “so insensitive that it is not acting even after suicides by farmers.” He recalled that he himself along with the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had visited Vidarbha region and had announced Rs 70,000 crore loan waiver package for farmers during the UP rule. Both Pawar and Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his allegations against former Manmohan Singh and involving Pakistan in electioneering of Gujarat. Pawar said that it was not in the interest of the country while Azad said that whenever Prime Minister realises difficult situations he is reminded of Pakistan.Hitting out at the BJP, Azad said the saffron party “is not a political party but has become an election winning machine.” “That is the reason Prime Minister is either abroad or on election campaign tour in some or the other state but never in his office,”he said. State unit presidents Ashok Chavan and Sunil Ttakare, leaders of both the Houses Radhakrishna vikhe-Patil and Dhananjay Munde, senior leaders from both the parties were present on the dais.

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Subsidy to farmers and food security top agendas for WTO meeting: Suresh Prabhu

As the world leaders are set to meet in Argentina for the forthcoming ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said the issue of food security and farmers’ subsidy would be raised at Buenos Aires.The commerce minister said the officials were discussing the issues with other countries also, to gain their support and would take the matter forward along with them.”We will discuss the issue of food security, coming in the form of public stock holding. We will try to improve the permanent peace clause and will try to come out with some permanent solution,” Prabhu saidAlso readIndia poised to become world’s third largest economy: Suresh Prabhu”Whether it is protecting the farmers’ interest by the way of ensuring that minimum support price that is paid to the farmers is not affected as well as the public distribution system will also be not jeopardised. We will take care of the interest of fishermen. Keeping these things in mind, we will emphasise on the same,” he added.Endorsing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to double the farmers’ income, Prabhu said they would pitch the countries to end the subsidy given to the farmers, so that the Indian farmers can export in their country.He also stressed on allowing the Indian farmers to get market access of the other country to make the export process easy.”In a developing country, farmers get a huge amount of subsidy. We will ask the countries to end their subsidy completely so that our farmers get more opportunity to export their products. If they provide subsidy, our farmers will not be able to export their products, as the price of their products will be so low that the Indian farmers will not get much benefit,” he said.He also emphasised on the fishery subsidy and said that having a long coastline of 7,600 km, a large number of population living in the region depends on the fishing. So, that the subsidy provided to them will not be disturbed.The 11th Ministerial Conference of the of the 164-member WTO will be held at Buenos Aires, from December 10 to 13.
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Manmohan Singh criticising demonetization to show allegiance to the family: Dharmendra Pradhan

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s rebuke of demonetisation has risen out of the latter’s compulsion to show allegiance to the Gandhi family.’This is Manmohan Singh’s helplessness. Just to show allegiance to that family, he has to say wrong things. GDP figures have just come out and all his questions have been answered,’ Pradhan told ANI today.Earlier in the day, the former prime minister termed November 8 ‘the day when ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 was implemented- as a ‘black day’ for the economy and democracy of the country.’I invoke memories of more than 100 people who lost their lives while standing in queues as a result of demonetisation. I say with immense pain and a sense of deep responsibility that the 8th of November was a black day for our economy and democracy,’ Singh said at a press conference in Surat.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 on November 8, in a bid to curb the hoarding of black money in the country.Also read’Don’t want pity’: Manmohan Singh refuses to ‘compete’ with PM Modi over humble backgroundThe masses however were hard hit by the move, which suffered severe cash crunch and had to stand in long queues outside banks and ATMs, to withdraw money.The impact of demonetisation on curbing corruption remains a bone of contention.
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Gujarat elections 2017: Will win Mehsana by 50k votes, says Nitin Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In north Gujarat, Mehsana is the seat which is believed to be the Patel fort, and has seen the impact of the quota agitation in the past few days. Amid this, Gujarat’s deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel filed his nomination as the BJP candidate from this seat on Monday, claiming that he will win with a margin of more than 50,000 votes. It is a tough fight not just because the large chunk of voters, and the Patel community is up in arms against the ruling BJP but the Congress candidate, Jivabhai Patel, is also believed to be very popular. MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister of State PP Chaudhary accompanied Patel.Patel, exhibiting his confidence, held a public rally and a road show in Mehsana. Around 15,000 to 20,000 people joined him in this power performance and expressed their trust with the ruling party and BJP candidate Nitin Patel. A specially authored song played in every corner of Mehsana with the lyrics, “Aapnu rudu Mehsana, Aapna Nitinbhai” (Our beautiful Mehsana, beloved Nitin Bhai).However, Patel does not belong to Mehsana and comes from Kadi that is 30km from this place. Addressing the rally, Patel said, “People of Mehsana have loved me a lot. Our PM Narendra Modi has specially paid attention to Mehsana. Let us all elect the party which never appeased any class, community or creed.”MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Nitinbhai is like crown of Mehsana and he has served well. I can see the development.”

Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union minister Kiran Rijiju today said India had adopted a “zero-tolerance policy” towards terrorism and lamented that neighbour Pakistan was not doing enough to control the growth of terror on its soil.”The government has made it clear on various international platforms that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism,” he said at a function here to commemorate the supreme sacrifices made by the security personnel during the Mumbai terror attack nine years ago. On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists reached Mumbai via the sea route and opened indiscriminate fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores of rupees.”India has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. I do not want to go into its details but the outline is clear,” Rijiju said. Asked about the release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the Union Minister of State for Home said, “It is a matter of concern for us. We have been putting pressure on Pakistan in a bilateral way as well as through multilateral forums.” Saeed is also the founder of terror outfit Lashkar-e- Taiba (LeT). The UN and US designated terrorist, who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head, was freed by Pakistan on Friday.Rijiju said, “On various international forums, we are making it absolutely clear that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism and it is not doing enough to contain the growth of terrorism on its soil. They must do much more than what they had said.” Asked about the neighbouring country being reluctant to cooperate in the Pathankot terror attack probe, the BJP leader said, “Our stand is clear and efforts are going on. I cannot disclose certain aspects of the attack or our efforts.” In January 2016, terrorists had sneaked into an Indian Air Force base in Punjab’s Pathankot. The attack had claimed the lives of seven security personnel, while four terrorists were killed.Rijiju said the coastal borders of India were much more secure now. “We have taken a series of measures to secure the coastal borders. We have adopted a series of integrated coastal security schemes which are effective,” he added.

Woman screams at KJ Alphons at Imphal Airport over delayed flight, Union Minister keeps his cool

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman doctor shouted at Union Minister KJ Alphons after her flight got delayed on Wednesday.She became furious when her flight got delayed because of VVIP arrival schedule as she had to attend to a critical patient in Imphal, according to ANI.The angry woman doctor can be seen shouting in the video and asking KJ Alphons to give in writing that her flights will not be delayed further.Kannanthanam can be seen telling her that he would give it in writing.Later talking about the incident, Alphons said: “I don’t think there is any controversy at all. I saw this lady in distress & I went up to talk to her, she said she has to attend a funeral in Patna, I told her that there is a protocol when President is landing no flight can take off.”On the issue, Airport Director of Imphal said, “Yesterday no scheduled flight was diverted or cancelled. But, 3 scheduled flights were delayed by around 2 hrs due to President of India’s flight movement. We heard that 1 passenger who was travelling from Imphal to Patna argued with Union Minister KJ Alphons.”Meanwhile, Dr Nirala who had shouted at KJ Alphons at Imphal Airport said: “I was waiting and crying so I approached the Minister (KJ Alphons), thinking a Minister can do everything. Sabki apni life hai, sabka apna time hai. Kisi ek liye aisa nahi karna chahye. (Everyone has a life, every has time. This shouldn’t be done for one person.) This (VVIP culture) should be stopped.Earlier, as many as 13 flights were diverted out of Delhi and many were delayed due to a VIP movement. Many were left stranded as nearly 90 domestic flights, arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, were either delayed or diverted due to the VIP movement.

Congress, NCP hope to jointly encash unrest against BJP in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finally, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have realised together they can stay afloat and take on mighty BJP in Maharashtra in the run-up to the next assembly election slated for 2019.Both the parties have also hinted that together they can pose a formidable challenge to BJP led government in the state especially when the rift between the BJP and Shiv Sena is widening. They do feel that with a combined fight they will be in a position to regain lost grounds. Both initiated exercise to remove trust deficit and revive friendship.After successive defeats in the local and civic body elections by BJP, the Congress and NCP have decided to together go to the voters, hit the roads and mobilize support against the disenchantment of the saffron party-led government in the state. Interestingly, Congress and NCP have hinted that they are not averse to help Shiv Sena or seek latter’s support against BJP.As a part of a joint exercise, Congress and NCP will organise morcha on December 12, the second day of the two-week monsoon session at Nagpur. Incidentally, December 12 is birthday of NCP chief and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar who has agreed to address the joint rally.Besides, Congress and NCP propose to jointly field a strong candidate in the election to the state legislative council slated for December 7. There are indications that they may rope in Shiv Sena to give a tough fight against BJP. The sole objective of the trio is to defeat former chief minister Narayan Rane if he is fielded by BJP in the council election. Rane has recently left Congress, floated his own outfit to support the NDA.State Congress president Ashok Chavan told DNA,”There is a growing resentment against the BJP led government in the state. As a responsible Opposition, Congress, NCP and other liked minded parties will flag off prevailing issues such as plight of farmers including rising farmers suicides, goof up in the implementation of ambitious farm loan waiver scheme, burgeoning malnutrition deaths, slow pace of investment flow, lack of job creation and deteriorating law and order.’’ He hoped that opposition will also bring to the notice of voters that the government was busy in making mere announcements but its performance at the ground level is quite miserable.Jayant Patil, group leader of NCP in the state assembly admitted that Congress and NCP are well placed to encash resentment against the government at the Centre and in Maharashtra.”The people on the ground have realised that the government has failed to fulfil its poll promises and they feel that they have been deceived by the present establishment. Both Congress and NCP have proposed to jointly take on the BJP led government in and outside the state legislature,’’ he noted.State Congress party spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan, however, cautioned that the electoral understanding between Congress and NCP will be considered in due course of time but at this juncture both will have to encash unrest among the public. “This unity of action will lead to more cohesion among the two,’’ he opined.

After Sonia Gandhi’s attack, govt says committed to hold Winter Session, to decide dates soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi lashed-out, the government on Tuesday said that they are committed to hold Winter Session and will soon decide on dates.”We are committed to hold Winter Session of Parliament and in the next couple of days we are going to have cabinet committee on Parliamentary Affairs and decide the dates,” said Union Minister Ananth Kumar.On Monday, Gandhi said the government took the extraordinary step of not holding the winter session to escape answering questions on corruption in high places, conflict of interest of serving ministers and dubious defence deals.”The Prime Minister had the audacity to have a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill-prepared and flawed GST but today he lacks the courage to face Parliament,” the Congress chief said.She also added that the Modi government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India’s parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the winter session of parliament on flimsy grounds.However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there was no truth that the government was dropping the Winter Session. There are speculations that a truncated session will start from December 11.”Changing the schedule of Parliament session during elections is nothing new. The congress has also done it before,” he said.The winter session of Parliament traditionally convenes from the third week of November and lasts till the third week of December. Jaitley said the opposition party had also delayed a session in 2011 and even earlier because the sittings coincided with election campaigns.

Rahul Roy of ‘Aashiqui’ fame joins BJP; lauds Modi, Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Actor Rahul Roy, best known for his lead role in 1990 romantic blockbuster ‘Aashiqui’, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday, adding to the long list of personalities from the entertaining industry who have become a part of the saffron party.Roy joined the BJP at its Ashoka Road headquarters in the presence of Union Minister Vijay Goel and party’s media incharge Anil Baluni.”The way Narendra Modi ji and Amit Shah ji have been taking the country forward and the way the perspective of the world towards India has changed in the past two years is remarkable. I am elated to have taken this decision,” he Roy said.Tha actor also sang the popular song “Saanson ki zaroorat hai jaise” from Aashiqui.A former model, Roy began his acting career with Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui. In 2006, he was a part of the first season of TV game show Bigg Boss.Meanwhile, Twitterati went wild, with many trolling the BJP over the development.While a tweet said that now BJP had no dearth of acting talents in its fold, another said people who accused the BJP of not doing anything for the unemployed were wrong.

Actor and first season’s Bigg Boss winner Rahul Roy joins BJP, hails PM Modi and Amit Shah

Updated: Nov 18, 2017, 03:29 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Actor Rahul Roy today joined the BJP in presence of Union Minister Vijay Goel at the party headquarters here.He said it was a significant day for him and thanked the party.”The way Narendra Modi ji and Amit Shah ji have been taking the country forward and the way the perspective of the world towards India has changed in the past two years is remarkable. I am elated to have taken this decision,” Roy told mediapersons.The actor said that he wants to contribute towards development of the country and is ready to take up any task entrusted to him by the party.Roy made his Bollywood debut at the age of 22 in the 1990 blockbuster ‘Aashiqui’. He acted in movies like ‘Junoon’ and ‘Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee’.The actor also won the first season of TV reality show ‘Bigg Boss’

Minister pats Raj for skills initiative

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister for petroleum and natural gas, and skill development and entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, who was in the city on Friday, appreciated Rajasthan for a healthy eco-system of skill development.He also added that there is a huge demand of workers from the state, not only in India, but also worldwide. Hence, the focus should be laid on promoting skill training in the indigenous trades of Rajasthan.“I have taken an overview of all the initiatives being taken by the Rajasthan Government in skill sector. Rajasthan has developed a good eco-system. Rajasthan is the country’s first state to develop two universities – one private and one government, for skill development,” Pradhan said.“I believe the system can be developed further if everyone contributes to it. It is our duty to develop a network of employment by training the youth and skill-oriented workers of the state in the near future,” he added.The minister also suggested for manpower mapping, recognition of prior learning, drivers training, and apprenticeship for enhancing the skill training programs.He also visited Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU), a private skill university established by the Government of Rajasthan which imparts skill education through Swiss Dual System of Training. “Really appreciate the venture of creating such an educational Skill university. Salute the vision of Dr Rajendra Joshi for creating such a world class skilling centre. Many more such institutes are needed to meet the skilling requirement of the nation,” Pradhan tweeted on Friday. While attending the 12th Biennial International Conference on “Energy through Synergy” organised by the Society of Petroleum Geophysicist, Pradhan further said that India is gearing up for claiming the title of a leading partner in Industrial Revolution 4.0. Role of Oil & Gas Sector will be critical in providing affordable energy to supplement the rapid Industrial Growth. “Benefits of innovations in this sector must also reach to the masses,” Pradhan said. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan asked geo-scientific community to reduce oil and gas import dependency by at least 10% and ensure energy accessibility as well as affordability for entire spectrum of people to fulfill the vision of prime minister Narendra Modi. Pradhan said the country ranks third in energy consumption in the world and with the efforts of scientists, exploration and production (E&P)industry is growing. Pradhan said the sector is a priority of the government and the time is ripe for ‘energy to synergy’.

Maharashtra government wants proper norms for insecticide supply

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the backlash after 21 farmers died in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal after allegedly inhaling poisonous pesticides, the state government on Saturday appealed to the Centre to put in place strict norms for supply of pesticides and toxic insecticides and their pricing. At the meeting chaired by Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh here, the government urged that the highly toxic insecticides should not be provided directly to the farmers for spraying but it should be done through a well trained licensee such as a pest control operator.The state, which was represented by the agriculture minister Pandurang Phundkar, his deptuty Sadabhau Khot and cooperation and marketing minister Subhash Deshmukh, informed Singh that pesticides that were not recommended or the ones that were not meant for Bt Cotton were distributed and used in Yavatmal district. The state agriculture department subsequently found that a toxic and expensive pesticide was sold to farmers to earn profits.State agriculture department officer, who was present at the meeting, said, “The department has already cracked down on illegal stocking of highly toxic pesticides. The government wants the Centre to step in so that supply will be made through trained licensee.’’This apart, the state government appealed to Singh to make necessary changes so that registration certificate for bio-pesticides to manufacturers are issued in a time bound manner. “At this stage, registration certificate for bio-pesticides are not issued in time as it takes more than four to five years. This needs to be changed on a priority basis,’’ the officer said.

Government marred by adhocism: Congress on GST changes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress, which is seeking to make Goods and Services Tax (GST) a huge issue ahead of the Gujarat polls, on Saturday dismissed the changes made by the GST Council a day earlier as BJP’s “reaction to electoral compulsions” and “installment-based tinkerism”.BJP also hit back, with a number of Union ministers targeting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and questioning the party’s intent regarding GST.Addressing a rally in Sabarkantha, Gujarat, Gandhi said the aim of Centre’s GST decision was to “break the backbone of India” and “strengthen the backbones of a selected five or six industrialists”. He said the Congress would continue to fight for a 18-per cent cap on the GST slab, instead of the current 28 per cent, and vowed that the party would get the job done, “if the ruling BJP doesn’t”. He also reiterated that India needed a simple tax and not the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.Goa Congress chief Shantaram Naik demanded that cases of criminal negligence of breach of trust should be filed against GST Council members, including the finance minister and the revenue secretary, for first having recommended GST of up to 28 per cent on certain items.AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, said the GST Council decided to cut the tax rates due to the pressure mounted by Gandhi.In New Delhi, AICC communication department chief Randeep Singh Surjewala said the spirit, architecture, design ,and rates of GST needed to be overhauled but BJP was only reacting to the electoral compulsions. He said the “installment-based tinkering” of GST rates reflected the “chaos and adhocism” of the BJP government.”The BJP government, marred by amateurishness and adhocism, relented to roll back GST on a few items on Friday. The principal defects in design and architecture, however, remain unaddressed,” Surjewala said.Ridiculing the government, former finance minister P Chidambaram said on Twitter that the ministry of finance must be complimented for “improving” the macro-economic situation in four months and 10 days. “This is the time taken for common sense to germinate, flower, and ripen into a fruit,” he said in another tweet.As the Congress went hammer and tongs, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar hailed the the GST Council’s decision to cut tax rates on 178 items of daily use and asserted that “people have welcomed the changes”.Hitting back at Gandhi for criticising the GST, information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani said: “The Congress was also included in the GST Council meeting. All decisions have been taken on the basis of consensus.During the Congress rule, the GST was not passed as the state governments did not have faith in the party. Under GST, someone whose annual income is below Rs 20 lakh is already exempted. That means the poor are exempted from GST.”Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Modi government listens to the public and responds to the people. “The GST was implemented with the agreement of all political parties,” she said.

Keralite Tourism minister finds his ‘Rajya’ in Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan may not be able to win over Kerala in tourism but the desert state, known for his warm hospitality all set to give Tourism minister to the country, a native of Kerala. Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism, Electronics and IT Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday filed his nomination for Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan. The seat had fallen vacant after Venkaiah Naidu was elected to the post of vice president.Alphonse wore a traditional Rajasthani turban when he reached the state assembly to file his nomination. He was introduced to the state legislators at a meet that was held in the morning prior to the nominations.Senior members of the state cabinet were present when Alphonse filed his nomination. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje proposed the same. The nomination was filed in four sets and senior ministers and legislators also signed as proposers. The nomination was handed over to returning officer Prithvi Raj who administered oath as candidate to the union minister. Alphons took the oath in the name of God in English. Speaking to the media after filing his nomination, Alphonse said addressing the issues of Rajasthan would be his priority and he would enhance the tourism potential of the state.Monday was the last day for filing the nominations for Rajya Sabha elections. The nominations are scheduled to be scrutinized on November 8 and November 9 is the last day for withdrawal of nomination.But with Congress not fielding a candidate, Alphonse is sure to reach the upper house from Rajasthan. This will once again take the number of ministers from Rajasthan in the Modi cabinet to six. And the number of ministers reaching Parliament through Rajasthan once again reaches to two. At the same time with the nomination of Alphons, Rajasthan gets another non Rajasthani minister. The other minister who is a RS MP from Rajasthan is Vijay Goel. The other four ministers from Rajasthan are elected parliamentarians namely Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Arjun Meghwal, PP Choudhary and CR Choudhary.Rajasthan has always been a safe route to RS for ministers of the party in power at the centre. Both Congress and BJP have had ministers who were RS MPs from Rajasthan. Some of them are:Vijay Kumar Goyal – Minister of Youth Affairs and sports — is presently a RS MP from Rajasthan.Ram Jethmalani – Union Minister of Law Justice and Company Affairs in the Vajpayee Government was RS MP from Rajasthan.Jaswant Singh who had joined politics under the tutelage of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat became the Union Minister of External Affairs in the Vajpayee cabinet during his first stint in RS.Najma Heptulla, the RS MP from Rajasthan from 2004 – 10 went on to be the Union Minister of Minority AffairsAnand Sharma of the Congress was a RS MP from Rajasthan when he held the portfolios of Union Minister for Commerce and Industry and Textiles.Santosh Bagrodia the former Union Coal Minister was RS MP from Rajasthan.

NTPC blast, Manhattan attack, India vs New Zealand T20 and Khichdi: DNA evening must reads

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 15 killed, 100 injured after explosion in NTPC plant in Rae BareliAn Ash-pipe at the NTPC plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli exploded on Wednesday leaving at least 15 killed and over 100 injured. According to Reuters, the coal plant has been closed until they find out he reason behind the blast. Around 40-50 people received burn injuries, and the condition of some of them was serious. All of them were being rushed to hospitals for treatment, he added. New York truck attack, Donald Trump proposes change in US visa systemUS President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized the nation’s visa system in the wake of Tuesday’s truck attack in New York City that left eight dead, blaming Democrats and pressing a ‘merit based’ program for immigrants to the United States. “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter, referring to the Senate Democratic leader. there be a life ban on convicts contesting elections?The Centre on Wednesday told Supreme Court that it is actively considering recommendation of EC and Law Commission favouring life ban of convicted politicians in criminal cases. Centre told apex court that decriminalisation of politics has to be done and it favours setting up of special courts to deal with criminal cases against politicians. to be designated as India’s national food, announcement on November 4Khichdi, India’s ultimate comfort food, is set to be designated as the national food. According to recent media reports, the announcement is likely to be made during the World Food India 2017. The mega event organised by the Ministry of Food Processing will also see India’s best chefs coming together to make 800 kg of Khichdi. According to a Navbharat Times report, food ministry headed by Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had proposed khichdi’s name for national dish to the Centre, which was duly approved. bat first in Ashish Nehra’s farewell gameVeteran Indian pacer Ashish Nehra will bid adieu to his illustrious 18-year international career when he turns out one last time for the Men in Blue in the first T20I of the three-match series against New Zealand at his home ground on Wednesday. Catch all action here.

Swiss couple brutally thrashed in Fatehpur Sikri, Sushma Swaraj seeks report from UP government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought report from the Uttar Pradesh government in connection with the brutal assault of a young couple from Switzerland in Fatehpur Sikri.The Union Minister, who is known for her prompt replies on Twitter, said that she has asked the UP government to submit a report in the case. “My officers will reach them in the hospital,” Swaraj said in another tweet.The incident took place on Sunday when Quentin Jeremy Clerc and his girlfriend Marie Droz were attacked outside the railway station in Fatehpur Sikri.According to a Times of India report, the attackers not only chased and harassed the couple, they also thrashed them so severely that Clerc suffered a skull injury and Droz’ arm was broken and she got multiple bruises.’The boys wouldn’t stop walking along despite our protests. All the while they kept taking pictures and trying to get close to Marie. From whatever little we could understand, they were asking our names and the place where we had put up in Agra. They were harassing us. They asked us to accompany them to some place, which we refused. A little after stones and sticks began to rain on me. When Marie intervened, she, too, wasn’t spared,’ Clerc was quoted as saying by the Times of India.Though an arrest has been made in the case, but the incident brings back the focus on safety of foreign tourists in India.The months from October to March are a traditional tourist season in India with millions visiting various historical places. Fatehpur Sikri is the historical city that was founded by Mughal empror Akbar in 16th century.

Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan died glorious death fighting British, says President Kovind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst the raging debate on Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan’s legacy, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday hailed his role in fighting the British and development of Mysore rockets in warfare. President Kovind said 18th Century ruler of Mysore died a glorious death while fighting the British and termed him a hero. Known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’, Tipu Sultan ruled the Mysore kingdom from 1782-1799 succeeding his father Haider Ali.President said Tipu Sultan was a pioneer in the development of Mysore rockets and this technology was later adopted by the Europeans. President was addressing a joint session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on Wednesday. Majority of the legislators broke into loud applause when President spoke of the contributions of former Mysore and Karnataka rulers, soldiers, politicians and scientists in the growth of the state and the country. The President’s statements on Tipu Sultan become significant as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Anantkumar Hegde who happens to be Union Minister too, had called Tipu a “brutal Killer”, wretched fanatic and mass rapist. Hedge made the statements ahead of the STate’s Tipu Jayanti Celebrations to mark the erstwhile ruler’s birth anniversary on November 10.Since 2015, Congress has been celebrating Tipu’s birth anniversary in the state. The BJP opposes the celebrations as they consider Tipu “anti-Hindu and anti-Kannada”.

Took 1,300 yrs to see ills of triple talaq: Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said it took 1,300 years for triple talaq to become a social concern in the country.Swaraj was answering questions at a direct dialogue programme ‘Townhall,’ organised by the BJP here on Saturday as part of its political campaign, ahead of the Assembly polls, to address issues related to women.Replying to Ahmedabad resident Ayesha Javed Khambhatwala’s question — why it took 70 years for triple talaq to become a matter of social concern — Swaraj said, “When an issue is attached with votebank politics, it becomes difficult to resolve it. It was India’s misfortune that a party that remained in power for 70 years did not think this was a burning issue. But better late than never.””Today, hundreds and thousands of women in India have got relief from this inhuman system,” Swaraj said.Responding to a question about Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, Swaraj said,”Terrorism can be solved in two ways — strategic and warfare. We succeeded in putting international pressure on Pakistan, and that was strategic method. While surgical strike was warfare that India conducted to teach Pakistan a lesson.”Stressing about the importance of the development of women, Swaraj said every woman should have security, self-respect and empowerment. Expressing her deep concern about female foeticide, Swaraj said in India, during Navratri, a small girl child takes the form of Durga, and it is the same society that kills a foetus if it’s a girl.Sushma answered a total of 17 questions.

Arvind Kejriwal’s denial of instruction to Jethmalani ‘belated’ and ‘afterthought’: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister Arun Jaitley today termed as “bald and belated” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s denial in Delhi High court that he had not instructed his former lawyer Ram Jethmalani to use defamatory words against the BJP leader.Jaitley contended that the Aam Aadmi Party leader has neither substantiated his claim that he did not instruct his former lawyer to use such words, nor initiated any action against Jethmalani for using scandalous words without his permission. The response of the senior BJP leader along with the evidence he was relying on was taken up today before Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta in the second Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal for the defamatory words used against him by the veteran lawyer.The Joint Registrar listed the case before the regular court on November 7 after conclusion of admission and denial of the evidence submitted by Jaitley through his lawyer Manik Dogra. Kejriwal’s lawyer, Anupam Srivastava, today denied before the joint registrar the newspaper reports, electronic records of the news and interviews given by Jethmalani and the photocopy of the court records, all of which carried the defamatory words used by the senior lawyer while cross- examining Jaitley. The senior advocate had used the words while cross- examining the Union Minister in an earlier Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by the BJP leader against the AAP convenor and five others of the party in 2015.The AAP leaders in December 2015 had levelled charges of corruption against Jaitley in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Jaitley has denied all the allegations and also claimed that these had harmed his reputation. In his response to Kejriwal’s denial, the BJP leader has said, “The records clearly establish that it was the defendant (Kejriwal) who had instructed his (then) senior advocate to use the said ex facie defamatory and slanderous words against the plaintiff (Jaitley) in order to defame him.” “The frivolous defence submitted by the defendant in his written statement is false and dishonest,” Jaitley has said in his response.The BJP leader termed as an “afterthought” and “a belated attempt”, the July 20 letter written by Kejriwal to Jethmalani stating that he had not instructed him to use any defamatory words against Jaitley. With regard to Kejriwal’s claim in his written statement that the “statements made during judicial proceedings are even otherwise protected by absolute privilege”, Jaitley has said no such privilege can be claimed by a person who instructed his lawyer to insult or use defamatory language against a witness. Jaitley has claimed he is entitled to the relief sought by him and that the suit be decreed in his favour.

Battle Cry In Amethi & Gujarat | He can’t see through his Italian specs: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat, the BJP took the battle to Gandhi family bastion Amethi, attacking him and his family for having done nothing for the development of the area.Addressing a public meeting in Amethi, which is one of the seven Lok Sabha seats, that NDA failed to win in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP president Amit Shah said, “Rahul baba cannot see development as he sports Italian spectacles… He is mocking at the development in Gujarat. I want to ask ‘Shahzada’ of the Congress as to what your three generations have given to Amethi. You sought account of our past three years but people of Amethi are taking account of works done here by your past three generations.”Replying to Gandhi’s repeated poser as to what the BJP had done, Shah said, “We have given a prime minister who speaks,” an indirect attack on the reticent former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Shah, who addressed the gathering flanked by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani, who was the runner-up in the last Lok Sabha polls from Amethi, told the gathering, “You have trusted a family for 60 years, now trust BJP and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and you will not feel betrayed.”Gandhi had secured 4,08,651 votes against Irani’s 3,00,748.Though Irani lost to the Congress vice president in Amethi, she managed to reduce his victory margin from around 3.70 lakh in 2009 to 1.07 lakh in 2014.Answering Gandhi’s criticism of BJP’s model of development, Shah said in remarks laced with sarcasm that there are two models of development here — a ‘Nehru-Gandhi model’ and a ‘Modi model’.”Congress ruled the country for 70 years. I want to ask you that you have been MP here for a long time but why is there no collector’s office, TB hospital and Akashwani’s FM here. Erosion of land due to Gomti river has not been stopped,” he said, and counterpointed it by naming schemes launched by Modi government and reeling out figures of projects undertaken in last three years.”For the first time in 35-40 years, I am seeing that the winning candidate remains missing from his constituency and a defeated candidate is giving time for the people,” Shah said, hailing the work being done in the area by Irani.In her address, Irani alleged that Rahul, who talks about relief to farmers, hadn’t returned their land taken by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here. “If Rahul is hearing me today I want to say that you used to talk about development in the country and abroad. You make a mockery of development in Gujarat. The country was surprised that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), headed by Rahul, which did not do any commercial activities has purchased it. The land should be freed and given back to the farmers,” Irani said.The Union Minister had created ripples in 2015 when she accused the top Congress leadership of usurping nearly 65 acres of land acquired from farmers for setting up a manufacturing unit, Samrat Cycle, a project that never materialised.She recalled that during the 2014 polls, when she had gone to a village which had been boycotting elections, she was told by the villagers that they were doing so because they could not meet their leader. “Then I told them that Rahul might not have time, but I will be available for you and requested the village head to vote,” she said.

Men and women should share pregnancy: Muslim cleric mocks gender equality

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The secretary of Jamiat Ulama has mocked gender equality with an outrageous comment on Tuesday. Speaking to ANI, he said, “”If you want equality, why don’t men and women carry pregnancy for 4.5 months each?”The Maulavi was reacting to proposal that women above 45 years old could be ‘allowed’ to go for Haj if they go in a group. The Haj Committee has made a set of recommendations for the framework of new Haj Policy. Fewer embarkation points for Haj pilgrims, travel to Mecca by ship, and allowing groups of women above the age of 45 years to travel with men are some of the key points. The committee submitted the proposals to Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Mumbai on last Friday. The committee also suggested a redistribution of Haj seats among the state according to the Muslim populations. It also suggested the ratio between pilgrims going through the Haj Committee of India (HCOI) and those travelling by registered Private Tour Operators (PTOs) should be divided in the ratio of 70:30, and recommended a ‘robust’ portal to be made for PTOs. The Minority Affairs Ministry had constituted a committee to review the existing Haj policy and suggest changes for the policy between 2018 and 2022. Earlier on Tuesday, Sunni Barelvi clerics have denounced the suggestions calling them “un-Islamic”. According to them, it would force women to work against Sharia.

Rahul Gandhi’s close confidante joins BJP on eve of Amit Shah’s Amethi visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is touring Gujarat again, the BJP gave him a big blow in his home turf in Amethi on Monday when one of his trusted lieutenant and close confidante, Jung Bahadur Singh switched loyalty to join the saffron party on the eve of BJP President Amit Shah’s visit to Congress bastion.Jung Bahadur Singh had resigned as Congress General Secretary only three days ago soon after Rahul Gandhi’s visit to his parliamentary constituency. About half a dozen pradhans, several panchayat members and Congress workers also took the membership of the BJP along with the rebel Congress leader.The Union Minister and party Lok Sabha candidate in 2014 from Amethi, Smriti Irani visited Singh’s residence and congratulated him. “His own trusted leaders are deserting Rahul Gandhi in his parliamentary constituency. This shows that party men are not happy with his style of development and Congress policies,” pointed the Union Minister.“When Rahul could not develop his own constituency then what will he do for the country could be anyone’s guess,” said Irani. In reply to Rahul’s allegation that BJP was inaugurating projects launched by him, the Unon minister said that “unlike Rahul and UPA, credit should go to the BJP that it completes project well in time for the welfare of the people.”A former minister in Samajwadi Party government, Singh alleged too that Rahul did nothing for the people of Amethi despite UPA government ruling the country for a decade. “Look at the roads with big potholes. Many factories were closed and no efforts were made them to restart. Youth are migrating to other places in search of jobs. All development projects under the MPLAD funds were stalled as Rahul had no time to visit his own parliamentary constituency,” charged Singh.Meanwhile, massive arrangements have been made by the BJP to make party Ptresident Amit Shah’s rally a big success at Gauriganj in Congress stronghold. The Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, several of his Cabinet colleagues, BJP State President Mahendra Nath Singh will participate in the rally and launch over half a dozen development projects and schemes in Amethi to corner the Congress scion in his own home turf.

Amit Shah lashes out at Kerala CM, says ‘politics of violence’ is in the nature of communists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday said that “politics of violence” is in the nature of the communists as he lashed out at the CPI(M) over the political violence in Kerala.Addressing the Delhi leg of the ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’, the BJP’s ongoing campaign to highlight “left atrocities” in Kerala, Shah asserted that no amount of intimidation can stop the lotus (BJP’s symbol) from blooming in the Left-ruled state.He hit out at Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, alleging that the maximum killings of BJP and RSS workers have taken place in the latter’s home district.”Since the Left came to power in Kerala, several workers of the BJP and Sangh (RSS) have been killed. The killings are brutal, bodies are chopped into pieces. It is done to terrorise those who support the BJP that they will meet the same fate. But the more muck of murders they spread, the lotus will bloom better,” Shah said.Shah also led a march from central Delhi’s Connaught Place to the CPI(M) headquarters in the Gole Market area, a distance of about 1.5 kms. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam and the party’s Lok Sabha MPs from the national capital were in tow.In his speech, the BJP president took on Vijayan, saying the blame for the spate of killings falls squarely on him, considering that the maximum number of such killings have taken place in the “chief minister’s home district”. “Politics of violence is in their (communists’) nature.It is not a coincidence that the maximum political violence is reported from West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala where the communists have been in power for long. Wherever they have been in power, they have turned the political culture into that of violence,” he said.Shah also hit out at, what he called, the “champions of human rights” over their “silence” on the communist atrocities. He said their “selective protests” have exposed their bias.He asked, “Why do they not take out any march at the India Gate against the atrocities committed by the Left?” At the rally venue, the BJP exhibited a series of images, mainly the pictures of those killed, to highlight the “brutality” of the situation.”The reds think they will be able to stop thoughts and ideas from spreading through violence. I want to tell the CPI (M) and Congress that communists have disappeared from the world and Congress from India. And BJP, which was launched with 10 persons, is today the world’s largest party with 11 crore workers,” Shah said.Shah had started the ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’ from Kerala’s Kannur district on October 3 and it will conclude on October 17 at Thiruvananthapuram.

Board exam for class X in CBSE schools to return: Prakash Javadekar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Board examination for class X in CBSE schools will be reintroduced as part of the ongoing reforms in the education system, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today said.At present, it is optional for CBSE students to choose either the board exam or a school-based examination.It has also been decided to conduct examinations in classes V and VIII and students who would fail in the end-term examinations would be detained in these classes, Javadekar told reporters here.However, the students would be given an opportunity to improve and appear for another examination before being detained, the Union Minister said.Under the existing arrangement students up to Class VIII are promoted to the next class irrespective of their performance.The minister said 25 states have approved the central government’s move in this regard.

With 30% toilet coverage, Bihar has work cut out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who was in East Champaran on Monday, participated in a tree plantation drive as a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to mark Gandhi Jayanti. He lauded the efforts of the people for organising cleanliness drives in Motihari from September 15 to October 2 and asked them to take a pledge for clean and healthy India.While the Centre has set October 2019 as its target of achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) India, Bihar has marked March 2019 as its deadline to free its districts from open defecation. Bihar hopes to achieve the target with the double engine of Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission and state-run Lohia Swachh Bihar Yojana. The task, however, seems an uphill one with the state’s toilet coverage being just over 30 per cent. Till March this year, only one of the 101 subdivisions and 14 of the 534 blocks, were declared open defecation free in Bihar.With the government at the Centre and state being the same, the Swachhta Mission has got some push.

Kejriwal vs Centre? Without fair hike, Delhi Metro will turn into DTC buses, says Union Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If the Delhi Metro’s fares are not hiked, the trains will soon turn into Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses whose condition is known to people, Union Minister of State for Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said on Sunday.The remarks came a day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to the Centre, saying that the hike, to come into effect from October 10, is unacceptable, and be put on hold for another three-four months, till the proposal is examined by the Centre and the Delhi government. If the hike comes into effect, the fares will go up by a maximum of Rs 10.”Delhi Chief Minister wrote a letter to me which I received on Saturday. We are examining the letter in different ways. But, it’s important to highlight the fact that the fares of Delhi Metro have not been increased in the last eight years,” Puri told reporters.”Now you decide how to run the Metro. Either it can be turned into DTC buses, and people are aware of the condition of these buses. Or, we can provide proper facilities to passengers,” he said.The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had on Saturday said that the hike in metro fares is necessary to provide world-class services to its passengers.Reacting on Puri’s statement, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the DTC may be suffering losses, but it was at least serving the people. “The DMRC should go for property development, food courts and advertisements to generate revenue and not just passenger fares,” he said.Sisodia further said that if the Metro ridership comes down, then its entire purpose to bring down the use of private vehicles is lost. “The central government should first ask clearly why it wants to put a burden on the pockets of the people of Delhi,” he said.Meanwhile, Kejriwal called for putting on hold the proposed hike of the Metro fares till the accounts of DMRC are audited. “An audit of the accounts of DMRC is necessary, as in the past the private power distribution companies used to hike electricity charges by allegedly showing fake losses,” he said in a statement.Kejriwal also said that there is an immediate need to maintain a balance between the operational needs of the Metro and the interests of commuters. “The income and expenditure details of the DMRC should be put in the public domain,” he added.The Delhi government also claimed that it had opposed any hike in fares in the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) meeting held in September last year. “It was unfair on the part of the committee to have overlooked the objections of the elected government, particularly when the views were placed in writing,” reads a statement issued by the AAP government.

Rs 650 Crore concealed income found in raids on SM Krishna’s son-in-law: IT Dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax (IT) Department which conducted raids at the properties belonging to former Union Minister SM Krishna’s son-in-law VG Siddhartha, has said that there has been an admission of nearly Rs 650 crore concealed income.The IT department conducted raids over two days Siddhartha’s properties, who is also the chairman and managing director of the Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) group.”The searches in a group involved in coffee, tourism, information technology and other areas concluded with an admission of previously concealed income exceeding Rs. 650 crore. The detection of undisclosed income is expected to be a much higher figure,” reported NDTV quoting a statement from the IT department.”There are a number of other issues including violations of other statutes on which there is no disclosure, but relevant evidence has been found. These will be pursued effectively with vigour, energy, and imagination,” said the IT Department.Meanwhile, in a statement, the CCD group said, “Coffee Day Enterprises is a responsible corporate following all norms of corporate governance. We continue to comply with laws of land and will extend all cooperation with the concerned authority.”The sleuths had conducted raids at over 20 locations across the country, including those in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Chikkamagaluru, the source said.Siddhartha also an investor and has stakes in some IT firms, including Mindtree, and is among the largest exporters of coffee bean.

First you eat meat, then meat eats you: Maneka Gandhi stresses on going vegetarian

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday made a pitch for vegetarianism, saying humans are natural vegetarians and meat consumption harms them.The women and child development minister was speaking at the launch of a film ‘The Evidence-Meat Kills’, directed by Mayank Jain, that scientifically explores the effects of meat consumption on human body.”Studies done over the last three decades have shown, with empirical data, that meat is bad for human body, Maneka said.”Everything about every part and organ of the human body is vegetarian. When we put an alien substance like meat into the human body, we become prone to diseases,” she said.”If you do this on a daily basis,” she added, “Your body will weaken. You will not die of eating meat, but it will certainly weaken your body, making it more vulnerable to diseases.”Maneka emphasised, more than once, that the purpose of making or promoting the film was not to persuade people to give up eating meat, but to make them aware of its pros and cons and help make an informed choice.”All in all, first you eat meat, then meat eats you, she quipped, during the programme at the Press club.She said the movie has been made by the doctors so that people make an informed choice.The Union minister also lamented that dietetics — the study of diet and its effects on health — was not given due time or attention during medical education.”I feel that in the 5-6 years during which they teach you to become a doctor, they teach you dietetics for not more than one or two hours. What I feel is, if you do not teach them about food and their effect on the body, then what is the point of teaching them about the medicines?” she said.Dr. Ramesh Bijlani, former HoD, Department of Physiology, AIIMS, who features in the film — along with a few other doctors — lends a professional voice to Maneka’s assertions.”Use of antibiotics and hormones has become almost routine in not only poultry but also in the meat industry in general, and the types of antibiotics that are used are very often those which are not fit for human consumption. They are not approved for human use but these are given to these animals, but indirectly, the same antibiotics get into human beings when we consume meat,” he says at one point during the movie.The film goes on to examine the health of butchers who are exposed to an overdose of violence in slaughterhouses.The movie is available, along with other information related to the effects of non-vegetarianism, on

Even Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t teach PM Modi patriotism: Manish Tewari mocks PM on his birthday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On PM Modi’s birthday, Congress leader and former Union Minister Manish Tewari borrowed a leaf from his colleague Digvijiaya Singh’s book and used certain unparliamentary words to describe the PM.Taking to Twitter, Tewari mocked a Twitter user to suggest that even Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t teach ‘PM Modi patriotism’.He wrote: “This is what it means to make ch*t*yas (‘idiots’) bhakts (‘devotees’ or ‘followers’) and make fools out of bhakts. Even Mahatma cannot teach Modi deshbhakti (‘patriotism’).”He has wished the PM on his birthday just before making the controversial tweet. Clearly self-control and extending common courtesy to keep political hostilities away for a day is not Manish Tewari’s forte. Earlier, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh stoked a major controversy by posting a tweet that used abusive language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prompting the BJP to demand an apology from his party for the “filthy abuse”. Singh later disowned it, saying retweets are not endorsements, but the trolls did not spare him.”Retweets are never endorsements. This is the basic principle of Twitter,” he said after the controversy erupted. “I have said it is not mine. I have disowned it. I have not used those words,” he clarified, adding that “my tweet does not endorse this.” He added that “my words are that he is the best in the ‘art of fooling’. Is it abusive?”Asked whether he endorsed what he retweeted, he said, the same had been sent to him by someone and he only retweeted it. “I have said that this is not mine. But, could not help it.” “Not mine but couldn’t help posting it. My apologies to the person concerned. He is the best in the “Art of Fooling!”,” he said while posting a picture of Modi with the offensive tweet.With inputs from PTI

KJ Alphons says those not starving can afford petrol, Congress calls him PM Modi’s ‘true follower’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vehicle owners are people who are “not starving” and can afford to pay for petrol, Union minister Alphons Kannanthanam today said, defending the fuel price hike. He said the tax was aimed at mobilising resources for infrastructure projects. “All the money collected goes to the poor and it is an intentional decision taken by the government,” Alphons told reporters.He was speaking after visiting the BJP state head office for the first time on assuming charge as Union Minister for Tourism and IT. “So we are going to tax people who can afford to pay. Who buys petrol… somebody with car, somebody with a bike. Certainly, they are not starving. Somebody who can afford to pay, has to pay,” he said. “Yes we are imposing tax on petroleum products… So that poor in the country will have a dignified life,” the minister said.He said the funds are being used among other things to build toilets and houses for the poor. When pointed out that the BJP had opposed fuel price hike during the UPA regime, Alphons said the government was using the money for the poor and the downtrodden.”Our motto is simple. We are here for the welfare of the lowest in the downtrodden. To make houses and toilets and to get electricity to every villages, it is going to cost enormous amount of money,” he said.Calling Alphons a true follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Veerapa Moily said, ‘The statement lacks government skills. This is the problem with our Prime Minister that he is only an event manager and not a performer. He doesn’t know the reality; he just jumps from one event to another.’Talking a shot at the Bharatiya Janata Party he said that it has disrupted the economy of the country and the GDP is lowest in the current time.KJ Alphons, earlier in the day, said that people who own bikes and cars are not starving and can afford to pay higher prices for fuel.His comments came at a time when fuel prices are at a three-year high when international crude prices have crashed attracted strong criticism from opposition parties which described them as insensitive to the common man’s problems.Alphons’ remarks come at a time when the Congress has demanded withdrawal of central excise duties and other taxes on petrol and diesel and that it would soon launch a signature campaign in protest.”The Narendra Modi led government’s main focus was welfare of the poor and downtrodden. In India 30 per cent of the people are downtrodden and crores of rupees were needed for their welfare,” he said.Alphons said the tax for petroleum products could come down if it was brought under the ambit of GST.But states were not willing to bring liquor and petroleum products under GST, he added.Asked about price rise of essential commodities in the wake of fuel price hike, Alphons said inflation rate of four per cent in the country was less than half per cent prescribed by the RBI.Opposition leader in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, hit out at the Union minister for his remarks on fuel price hike and described it as “utter foolishness”. With inputs from PTI and ANI

Centre urged to start ferry service

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After expressing apprehensions over the feasibility of plans for water transport between Nariman Point and Borivali in Gorai, the state government through the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has sent a proposal to the Central government to go ahead and execute the project on their own.Atul Patne, Chief Executive Officer, MMB, told DNA, “We have sent the proposal to the Ministry of Shipping for executing the water transport project after we were asked by the Centre.”The MMB had, earlier this year, floated bids seeking expression of interest (EOI) from companies for the water passenger transport service between Nariman Point and Gorai in Borivli. However, MMB later said that the project may not be technically and financially feasible.Speaking on the challenges, a senior MMB official, said, “If we talk of water transport connectivity, we will need a number of jetties between Nariman Point and Borivli to make the project financially viable and allow for more citizens to have access to the facility.”The official added, “But having jetties at every location is not possible due to the cost factors involved and need for surplus infrastructure.”Last month, the state government had come under flak after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had slammed the Maharashtra government’s bureaucracy for delaying the water transport project. Gadkari had told DNA on August 8, “I was informed about these apprehensions. If the state government does not find the project feasible, we will develop a feasible model for them.Estimated at a cost Rs 2,000, the water transport project between Nariman Point and Gorai is also the cheapest mass transportation project when compared with other projects that connect Island city with western suburbs.AT A GLANCEWater transport services have been proposed between several locations like Nariman Point and Gorai in Borivli, Thane and Navi Mumbai since the late 1990s
However, all these projects have been only on paper from past several years or at execution stage
This was one of the reasons Gadkari had publicly criticised the state government for delaying it and said the Centre could help them

Nitin Gadkari declares Rs 60-cr fund for Maharashtra irrigation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Newly-minted Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari on Friday announced a central grant of between Rs 55,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore over the next two years for Maharashtra to complete irrigation projects, adding the state can increase its irrigated land percentage from 22 per cent to 40 per cent in that period.He also announced that India’s first river-linking project will be executed between Maharashtra and Gujarat.The Nar-Par-Tapi-Narmada and Damanganga-Pinjal interstate river-linking project will commence in next three months, he said, adding that a new water sharing agreement between the two states will be inked next week.In a joint press conference, Gadkari and Fadnavis said that boosting irrigation projects would help arrest farmers’ suicides in the state. Most of the deaths have been attributed to high debt because of failed crop due to lack of irrigation, among other factors.Gadkari and Fadnavis also reviewed the progress of various irrigation projects and road projects in the state during a two-hour meeting. All district collectors joined the meeting via video conferencing while state minister for water resources Girish Mahajan, PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil, Minister Eknath Shinde, minister of state Madan Yerawar, and senior officials of concerned departments were also present.Gadkari said there are 30 river linking projects proposed nationwide, which are expected to cost Rs 8 lakh crore. Five of these will start in the next three months; two of those are in Maharashtra and Gujarat.The river linking projects will give Maharashtra an additional 50 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC) of water. Fadnavis said this would take care of the water needs of Marathwada, Ahmednagar, North Maharashtra, and Mumbai.ProjectsCentre announced a grant Rs 55,000-60,000 crore to Maharashtra. Gadkari also declared that a water sharing agreement will be signed between Maharashtra and Gujarat for river linking projects.

PM Modi a real saint and philanthropist, working for poor, says Union Minister Mahesh Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “real saint” and “philanthropist”, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Wednesday said the PM’s vision is to take the benefits of democracy and economic growth to the the poor who are on the last step of the ladder.The minister, who was addressing the 12th Sustainability Summit organised here, said that unless growth, particularly economic growth, is inclusive, it cannot be sustainable, and emphasised that the Modi Government’s ‘Sabka saath, Sabka vikas’ slogan was in consonance with it.Stressing that discussions of the Summit should influence common man’s growth, empowerment and development of downtrodden and marginalised sections of the society, Sharma said that these were the areas on which the PM was focusing.”He (PM Modi) is a real saint. He is really thinking and working for the common man. I have the privilege of working in his cabinet for last three years,” said Sharma who recently took charge as a minister of state for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.”This government has a philanthropist Prime Minister who has the vision of taking the benefits of independence and democracy to the the poor who are on the last step of the ladder,” the minister said.The two-day Summit hosted by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development is themed ‘2030 Agenda: Driving Inclusive Growth .India is a “key partner” of European Union(EU) in terms of climate(change) action, EU’s ambassador to India and Bhutan Tomasz Kozlowski said in his special address at the Summit.”EU and its businesses stand committed to India regarding sustainability, clean energy and climate change,” he said.The event was also addressed by the CII president Shobana Kamineni and ITC Limited CEO Sanjiv Puri.The Summit provides a platform for businesses, governments, think tanks and civil society, to share experiences, discuss and debate upon global development holistically, seeks to widen sustainability dialogue in achieving inclusive development by 2030.

Rohingyas are illegal immigrants in India and will be deported: Kire Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rohingyas are illegal immigrants and stand to be deported, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju today said, asserting that nobody should preach India on the issue as the country has absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.”I want to tell the international organisations whether the Rohingyas are registered under the United Nations Human Rights Commission or not. They are illegal immigrants in India,” Rijiju told reporters here.The minister of state for home said that since they are not legal immigrants, “they stand to be deported”.”As per law, they stand to be deported because they are illegal immigrants. We are a nation with great democratic tradition”India has absorbed maximum number of refugees in the world so nobody should give India any lessons on how to deal with refugees,” he added.Taking a strong position on the reported criticism of the government’s stand on the issue, Rijiju said, “We are following the legal path then why have we been accused of being inhuman.”He said that the Centre has instructed all state governments to start the process of their deportation.Meanwhile, two Rohingya immigrants have approached the the Supreme Court urging it to direct the central government to not deport them to Myanmmar.The Rohingya Muslims fled to India after violence in the western Rakhine State of Myanmar.Around 14,000 Rohingyas living in the country are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, while about 40,000 are said to be staying illegally.

Blue Whale: Parents body plans awareness drive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the deaths of several teenagers across the country suspected to be linked to the Blue Whale Suicide challenge, parents across the country are now planning to organise mass awareness campaigns.The India-wide Parents Association (IWPA) has already started spreading awareness about the hazards of the game via social media. The association now plans to conduct awareness drives in over 15 states.“The craze for this game seems to be spreading at a very fast rate among young children. As parents, there are a lot of concerns that we have about how to keep children away from falling prey to this challenge. We have already started spreading awareness with the help of social media forums and various messaging applications about ways in which parents can ensure their child’s safety. The association will soon also organise a series of awareness drives across the country. Cyber experts will be invited to speak to parents, teachers, school managements etc, on how to address this menace and keep children away from it,” said Anubha Sahai, President, IWPA.The campaign will run in several major cities including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chandigarh. “We plan to work on multiple levels so that children from the country stay away from this menace,” Sahai said.Recently, Union Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi wrote to schools across the country, asking them to take immediate steps to protect children from the Blue Whale challenge. In a letter dated August 31, Gandhi said she had asked the Ministry of Information Technology to find a technological solution so that downloading of this game could be prevented.The most recent suspected case related to the challenge is the death of a 17-year-old boy who committed suicide by standing before a running train in Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh.

Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed dies after cardiac arrest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union minister and sitting Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed died on Monday following a cardiac arrest at his residence in Kolkata .The 64-year-old is survived by wife and two sons.Ahmed was rushed to a private hospital where he was declared brought dead, hospital sources said.He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Uluberia constituency on a TMC ticket.Ahmed had served as the Union Minister of State for Tourism in the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh government.He was elected to the West Bengal Assembly twice.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled his death.”Shocked and deeply saddened at the passing of Sultan Ahmed sitting @AITCOfficial LS MP & my long term colleague.Condolences to his family”, she said in a tweet.Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also expressed grief at the passing away of Ahmed.

Libel suit against CM has no political aim, Arun Jaitley tells HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that he filed a defamation case against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders “because they made allegations of personal integrity against me and my family members”.The statement was made during the cross examination of the Union Finance Minister in connection with the civil defamation suit filed against the CM and others. Appearing for Kejriwal, Anoop George Chaudhary had said that Jaitley filed the suit to settle political scores with the defendant.”It is incorrect that I sued on account of any political reason or malice. I have sued the defendants (Kejriwal and others) because they made allegations of personal integrity against me and my family members. I could not overlook these allegations,” Jaitley said in the Delhi High Court (HC).During the proceeding, Kejriwal’s counsel Chaudhary produced four newspaper reports about a press conference by Congress party members Ghulam Nabi Azad, Malikarjun Kharge, and Ajay Maken, wherein the trio had demanded Jaitley’s resignation along with a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe against him.Chaudhary then asked Jaitley whether the truth in the allegations made by the Congress members was the reason why no defamation case was filed against them.Strongly denying the allegation, Jaitley said the truth or the falsehood of the allegations can be determined in the proceedings against the present defendants.”It is for me, as a plaintiff whose reputation has been damaged, to assess as to which statement made by which person has caused a significant damage to my reputation. A defendant or an accused guilty of malicious falsehood and defamation cannot claim any dilution in his guilt or claim against him on the ground that other offenders have been spared,” Jaitley said.

Amit Shah, Smriti Irani take oath as Rajya Sabha MPs

Updated: Aug 25, 2017, 10:10 AM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani took oath as Rajya Sabha MPs, in Delhi, on Friday.Chairman, M Venkaiah Naidu, administered the oath of secrecy to both the BJP leaders.This is Amit Shah’s debut in the Parliament and was elected to the Upper House from Gujarat earlier this month. Shah has been a five-term MLA in the Gujarat Assembly.Meanwhile, Irani will return for a second term.The BJP lacks majority in the House and it is being said that Shah’s entry into the Rajya Sabha would give a boost to the party.

Maneka Gandhi wants rehab centres away from cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those battling drug addiction in Jammu and Kashmir may have found an ally in Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. In the last meeting of the group of ministers deliberating over the draft cabinet note of the National Drug Demand Reduction Policy, Gandhi said that people in the Valley addicted to drugs are averse to the idea of going to rehab because most addiction centres are attached to police stations. In a previous meeting, Gandhi had batted for the legalisation of marijuana.The minister’s view was that since these centres are attached to police stations, addicted individuals view going to rehab as a taboo of sorts. She asked union minister of social justice and empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot to look into the matter.A study conducted by United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNIDCP) in 2008 revealed that over 70,000 people in J&K were addicted to drugs, including over 70% of its student community. The study also showed that over 4,000 of the addicts were women.It was also learnt that in the same meeting, union law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that, if needed, his ministry will look at ways of helping drug addiction online.The meeting, supposed to be attended by over eight Cabinet ministers, however, saw the attendance of only a handful. The group of ministers is chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh and includes finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, health minister JP Nadda, apart from Maneka Gandhi and Thaawarchand Gehlot. However, those present included Rajnath Singh, Gandhi, Gehlot and Prasad.

Union minister questions CM’s credibility as administrator

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today questioned the credibility of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as an administrator saying the state government has been “exposed” by the Supreme Court s ruling on mining scam in the state. “The Supreme Court’s remarks on the mega mining scam in Odisha was an eye opener. It has exposed the state government,” Pradhan told reporters here. Describing the ‘Outlook India Speakout best administrator award’ given to Patnaik recently as a publicity stunt, the senior BJP leader said, “If the chief minister is hailed as the best administrator even after the mining scam involving crores of rupees during the BJD rule, it is surprising”. On the likelihood of any coalition between BJP and BJD for the 2019 elections, Pradhan claimed that BJP is in a position to form the next government in Odisha on its own strength and there is no need for any coalition. The Union minister said, BJP president Amit Shah is in the process of rolling out a road map to dethrone the BJD government in the state in the next polls. Claiming that BJP had lost in many constituencies by a thin margin in the last elections, Pradhan said these seats can be won in 2019 polls by strengthening the organisation at the booth level. Regarding Amit Shah s upcoming visit to Odisha early next month, Pradhan said the BJP president’s visit is part of a strategy to strengthen the party organisation at the grassroot level.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amended wildlife Act to be formulated soon: Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An amended Wildlife Act would be formulated soon by incorporating stringent rules against poaching of animals, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said here today. Considering the increased incidents of poaching and hunting the the Forest and Environment Ministry would incorporate amendments to the Act to prevent such crimes, he told reporters here. The forest ministry would also write to Railways to take special attention to prevent death of wild animals especially elephants on the track, Harsha Vardhan, who was on a visit to Theppakkadu elephant camp near here, said. That man-animal conflict incidents were little higher in Tamil Nadu, compared to other states and steps had been taken to reduce them, he said. An expert committee would be soon formed to suggest permanent solution to the unwanted growth of plants like parthenium in reserve forest areas, including Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Nilgiris District, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury escapes unhurt in massive accident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a lucky escape, former Union Minister and Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury has survived a massive road accident on Sunday. Adhir Chowdhury, who is West Bengal Congress President was travelling from Kolkata to his home district of Murshidabad. On the way, a speeding truck hit his car near Rejinagar in Murshidabad. His car has been completely battered by the severity of the crash, But according to reports, Adhir Chowdhury and his guards have escaped unhurt. Adhir Chowdhury is Lok Sabha MP from Berhampore.

Ramdas Athawale bats for SC, ST reservation in Indian Army @ 8/20/2017 8:16:00 AM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister of State for social justice, Ramdas Athawale on Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking reservation for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the Indian Army. ?I appeal to Prime Minister Modi to provide reservation to backward classes in the Indian Army,” Athawale told ANI here, adding that he will speak to the Prime Minister regarding the same. Citing Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar words that we all should serve our country, Athawale further urged all youngsters to get recruited into the Indian Army. Earlier, Athawale had demanded reservations for the SC-ST community in the Indian cricket team also.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)