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Saurabh Patel takes charge as Finance Minister

Saurabh Patel has got one of the important portfolios, finance, which was with Nitin Patel in the last government. Both these leaders are considered as friends. However, Saurabh avoided to comment on Nitin Patel's sulkiness. Sources from the government informed that CM Vijay Rupani asked Saurabh Patel to assume the charge of his office immediately, and he rushed to Gandhinagar.”

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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 4:49 ISTMust readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitGujarat elections 2017: 30 seats saw other parties making it to third spot<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Finance and Energy Minister Saurabh Patel assumed the charge of his office on Saturday. Patel was at Botad, in his constituency, on Friday when the portfolios were allocated late on Thursday. Patel also held meetings with officials of his department during the day.Saurabh Patel has got one of the important portfolios, finance, which was with Nitin Patel in the last government. Both these leaders are considered as friends. However, Saurabh avoided to comment on Nitin Patel’s sulkiness. Sources from the government informed that CM Vijay Rupani asked Saurabh Patel to assume the charge of his office immediately, and he rushed to Gandhinagar.

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Senior-most Nitin Patel is No. 2 again

For the second time in little over a year, Nitin Patel, among the senior-most BJP leaders in Gujarat, and the one with vast experience in the government, was appointed as the state’s deputy CM.The first time it happened was in August last year, after Anandiben Patel’s abrupt resignation as CM. A staunch loyalist of Narendra Modi, Nitin Patel was actually seen as the front-runner for taking over as CM, but in a last-minute change, BJP picked Vijay Rupani as chief minister, and Patel was appointed his deputy. This time, his appointment as Number 2 was on expected lines. A six-time MLA, Patel won from Mehsana in the just-concluded assembly elections, staving off a tough fight from Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel, and 32 others. For the record, Mehsana had 34 candidates in the fray, the highest among all 182 seats.The 61-year-old, who was first elected to Kadi Municipality in the late 70s, was elected to the legislative assembly in 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007 and in 2012. He had lost narrowly from Kadi seat in Mehsana district in 2002 elections, which were held a few months after the post-Godhra riots.”I started from the municipality, and have reached the position of deputy CM. Crores of Gujaratis love and respect me. My party has given me many important responsibilities, and I am happy with what I have,” Patel had told DNA before the elections when asked about his aspirations for the CM’s post.Patel had first served as a minister in 1995, when BJP came to power in the state for the first time.

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Vijay Rupani’s journey from student leader to CM for second time

Born on August 02, 1956, in Rangoon of Myanmar, in a Jain Bania family from Rajkot, Vijay Rupani is a leader who has played different roles through out his political career. He was the seventh and youngest boy among his siblings. His family moved back to Rajkot on 1960 after political instability in Myanmar.He studied BA and LLB from Saurashtra University. He began his political career as student activist and RSS Swayamsevak and became the chief minister of Gujarat on August 08, 2016. Meanwhile, entire story of making of the Gujarat CM for Vijay Rupani remained full of ups and downs, but a persistent by nature, Rupani remain non-challent in his life.Vijay Rupani began his political career as a student activist with Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student wing having ideology similar to BJP and RSS. He joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and then Jan Sangh in 1971. In 1976, he spent 11 months in jails in Bhuj and Bhavnagar during the emergency when he was booked under MISA Act.During 1978 to 1981, Rupani worked as Pracharak of RSS and traveled across Gujarat. He met Anjali, his wife, in Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, her family was working for RSS and both got married. He was elected as a corporator of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) in 1987 and became the chairman of drainage committee. He served as the chairman of standing committee of RMC from 1988 to 1996. He was again elected to RMC in 1995 and remained mayor of Rajkot during 1996 to 1997.He became Gujarat BJP’s general secretary in 1998 and served as the chairman of manifesto committee during chief ministership of former CM Keshubhai Patel.He was appointed as a chairman of Gujarat Tourism in 2006. He was a member of Rajya Sabha from 2006 to 2012. He served as BJP’s Gujarat unit general secretary four times and also became the chairman of the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board in 2013.In August 2014, when the incumbent speaker of Gujarat assembly Vajubhai Vala resigned after being appointed as Karnataka Governor, Vijay Rupani was nominated by the BJP to contest his vacant seat. He won the bypoll on 19 October 2014 by a huge margin. He was inducted as minister in the first cabinet expansion by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in November 2014 and held the ministry of transport, water supply, labor and employment.

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Gujarat: Vijay Rupani to continue as chief minister, Nitin Patel named his deputy

Vijay Rupani will continue as Gujarat Chief Minister, while Nitin Patel has been named as deputy, it was announced on Friday.The announcement was made in a meeting conducted by elected BJP candidates following the party’s win in the Gujarat Assembly elections, under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP general secretary Saroj Pandey.Earlier, it was announced that Jaitley and Pandey, wouldl hold consultations with the MLAs before the new chief minister is announced.Though incumbent Vijay Rupani continues to be the favourite for the coveted job, there was speculation about his continuance given the BJP’s narrow victory in its bastion. The BJP has 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, seven more than the 92 required for forming government but its lowest in a long time. The Congress and its pre-poll allies have 80 seats, with the main opposition party having 77.A party worker from Rajkot said on condition of anonymity, “We believe that Rupani only will be the CM but we are also hearing that other leaders are also under consideration. Let us see what happens but I am keeping my finger crossed for Rupani.”Also readRajkot eagerly awaits Vijay Rupani’s return as CMOn the other side, the Rajkot BJP is preparing for the grand celebration of victory of Rupani in city once he returns to hometown after the formality of oath taking. The leaders are also confident that Rupani only will become the CM of Gujarat.A BJP leader from Rajkot and very close friend of Rupani, Nitin Bhardwaj said, “I have no doubt that Vijay Rupani will be the CM of Gujarat again. Amit Shah had given clear indication during campaigning that Rupani will continue as CM. We are waiting for the announcement of his name as it is a formality only.”Also readTINA factor may help Vijay Rupani to stay on as Chief Minister”We had prepared a slogan during poll campaign here, Rajkot ka beta, Gujarat ka neta- meaning Rajkot’s son is to be leader of Gujarat. We will hold a grand celebration once his name is officially announced. We had celebrated for Narendra Modi, Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani when they came here after becoming the CM. We also offered grand welcome to Amit Shah when he came here after his appointment as BJP chief,” added Bhardwaj.BJP spokesperson Raju Dhruv said, “Rupani was in Gandhinagar as he is the CM and could not come to Rajkot due to regular courses, but we all celebrated his victory here in his absence. Once he comes again to Rajkot, we will celebrate it with more enthusiasm.”BJP chief Amit Shah had said during the campaign that the elections would be fought under Rupani. Since Modi was the face of the BJP in the keenly fought electoral battle, a last minute change cannot be completely ruled out, sources said. Many in the party wonder if the top leadership would go for somebody from the Patidar community, as the party prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Though the Patidars have traditionally backed the BJP, a section led by young community leader Hardik Patel turned against the party over the quota issue.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Celebration muted at BJP HQs despite win

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

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Gujarat elections 2017: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani wins as an independent in Vadgam

Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani won Vadgam with a margin of 19,696 votes. With the victory, Mevani, became the first independent to win the seat in the last nine elections.Mevani, an outsider (he is a resident of Ahmedabad) contested as an independent but with the backing of Congress. The party had not fielded a candidate against Mevani, who won 95,497 votes against the BJP’s 75,801.Interestingly, the third highest votes were polled for NOTA in Vadgam. NOTA got 4,255 votes.The seat is dominated by Dalits and Muslims and was considered a safe seat for the Congress although many also doubted if Mevani’s outsider tag would work against him.Mevani’s victory margin is, however, less than what the Congress candidate had managed in 2012. In that election Congress won with a victory margin of 21,839.The BJP’s Yogi Adityanath and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani had campaigned for the BJP in Vadgam.It should be noted that Mevani had on the last day of filing nomination announced his candidature as an independent from Vadgam seat. Till then, he had maintained that he would not take political plunge nor would he join any party. He had also met Congress president Rahul Gandhi during his visit to the state, pressing for the demands of Dalits. It is believed that the agreement to contest Vadgam with backing from the party was reached in that meeting. The Gandhi scion had also campaigned for Mevani in Vadgam and so had Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil. In fact, Mevani was helped by the Congress machinery during his poll campaign.

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Gujarat elections 2017: ‘Havan’ for Vijay Rupani’s victory to continue till end of counting

After top politicians and candidates in the fray in Gujarat polls ended their temple run, their supporters have started to pray to the almighty for their victory.Supporters of BJP candidate in Rajkot West and CM Vijay Rupani started a Havan on Sunday morning, that shall continue till the counting of votes end on Monday, for his victory.Rupani is pitched against Congress candidate Indranil Rajguru. BJP supporters want the party to win more than 150 seats in Gujarat. The counting of votes in Gujarat will begin at 8 am on Monday.The Havan in Rajkot has been organised by the Baniya community, to which Rupani belongs. The community’s Madhuram Club has invited other people to join the Havan to please the almighty for victory of Rupani.Co-ordinator of the Club, Milan Kothari, said, “We have been praying to Lord Ganesha and Shiva through this Havan. We wish that our leader Vijay Rupani should win this polls with huge margin against Congress candidate. We are sure that our leader is going to win but we also hope that he wins with great margin that breaks all the records.””Besides Rupani, we also expect that BJP should win in Gujarat with more than 150 seats under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. We are confident that God will shower his blessings on people who have pure heart and wish to serve the people of Gujarat and India,” Kothari added.The fight between the CM and one of the wealthiest leader this polls is neck to neck as Patel agitation and anti- incumbency can tilt the balance.

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Gujarat Election 2017: Confident of bagging more than two-third seats, says BJP

With a day left for the counting of votes in Gujarat Assembly election, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Sunday that he was confident of a landslide victory for ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”I am confident that the results will be in favour of BJP. BJP will form the government and will get more than two-third of the (182 Gujarat Assembly) seats,” Rupani told ANI on Sunday.”Gujarat public has preferred politics of development, and development was brought in by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and the BJP,” he added.Replying to the allegations of Congress about tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs), Rupani said the baseless charges had been made “so that the responsibility of defeat does not fall on Rahul Gandhi” when the results would be declared on Monday.Rupani also dismissed Congress ally Hardik Patel’s allegation of 140 engineers being hired to tamper 5000 EVMs, as insignificant.The counting of the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election will be held on Monday.While majority of exit polls have predicted BJP’s win, Congress is hopeful of bagging Patidar votes and overthrowing BJP from 22 years of governance in the state.

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Gujarat Elections: ‘No question of any challenge’, says CM Vijay Rupani who’s contesting against richest candidate

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday dismissed any questions of challenge and urged people to come out and vote in large numbers in the first phase of the state elections.Voting for the first phase of the crucial Gujarat assembly polls is underway on 89 seats of Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions.”People should come out in large numbers to vote. We are very confident, no question of any challenge,” Vijay Rupani told the media.Gujarat Assembly Constituency number 69 — Rajkot West — has been a prestige seat for the BJP. Rupani is contesting as BJP candidate against Congress candidate Indranil Rajguru, who is also richest in this pollsIndranil had won the last polls in 2012 from neighbouring constituency Rajkot East but has shifted to this seat.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Congress asks for mobile jammers outside rooms guarding EVMs to prevent riggingThe seat has maximum upper caste voters – more than 50% of total votes. Other caste combination is 25,000 Brahmins and Lohana each, 20,000 Baniyas and around 10,000 Kshatriya Rajput voters.There are 22,000 votes of a minority community and around 15,000 Schedule Caste (SC) community voters are there.Also readNaMo and the ‘unch-neech’ of the Gujarat campaign trailA total of 977 candidates are in fray for the first phase polls.The election is viewed as a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of soon-to-be Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel’s ‘shadow’ moves far from PAAS over Congress tiltThe campaign shaped up as a duel between Modi and Gandhi, and often turned personal.

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Rajguru brother attack case: 5 held in Rajkot

Rajkot police late on Saturday arrested five persons in connection with assault on Congress Rajkot-2 Assembly constituency candidate Indranil Rajguru’s brother on Saturday night. Later, Rajguru had led a group to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s residence, who is contsting against him to protest against the incident, where police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the mob.Police arrested Indranil and 200 workers late night and they were released early morning on bail. Gandhigram Police Inspector HR Bhatur told mediapersons on Sunday, “Five persons have been arrested in connection with the attack and they are in police custody.”On Saturday evening, when Congress workers were trying to put hoarding of Rajguru near Brahma Samaj Varanda, some people stopped them. Rajguru’s brother rushed to the spot where Rajesh Dangar and his group were stopping the contractor. On his arrival, when Dangar came to know that he is Indranil’s younger brother, Rajesh and his accomplices attacked him. He suffered head and back injuries and was rushed to a private hospital. Dangar and his accomplices fled.Learning that his brother has been attacked, Indranil with supporters attempted to reach Rupani’s residence to protest against the attack.
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Gujarat elections 2017 | Modi govt improved socio-economic status: Vijay Rupani

"Congress has been putting allegations that economy in India showed decline post-GST and demonetisation initiatives. But I would firmly assert that such initiatives have become helpful to drive Indian economy towards sustainability and has brought living standards of people at a new height. The Congress has been spreading myth in the nation but these indices prove them wrong," Rupani added.”

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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 1 December 2017 7:00 ISTMust readGood news at last for Noida homebuyersGujarat elections 2017: Congress will waive off farm loans if voted to power, says Rahul Gandhi <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani hailed improvement in the economic performance of India in last quarter. Addressing a press conference at BJP media centre in Ahmedabad on Thursday, Rupani said that PM Modi-led government succeeded to improve the socio-economic condition of India in last three years. Rupani was citing the results of GDP recorded in last quarter which were announced by Central Statistics Office(CSO).Rupani said, “The GDP which had declined to 4.5% during the rule of PM Manmohan Singh led UPA government, has reached 6.3%. This shows that economic picture in India is shining and people of the nation have been living a happy life. Different indices of CSO also indicates that India is gaining a strong position at a global level on the economic front.””Congress has been putting allegations that economy in India showed decline post-GST and demonetisation initiatives. But I would firmly assert that such initiatives have become helpful to drive Indian economy towards sustainability and has brought living standards of people at a new height. The Congress has been spreading myth in the nation but these indices prove them wrong,” Rupani added.
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Gujarat Election 2017: In Rupani vs Rajguru battle, a son and daughter sweat it out

In Rajkot West, where biggies Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Congress’s billionaire candidate Indranil Rajguru are contesting each other, the campaign scene is not all dominated by party workers. The two have their own children doing the legwork for the dads.Rupani’s son Rushabh and Rajguru’s daughter Darshnil are far frequent visitors to their constituency than their fathers.Rushabh who is pursuing engineering from Nirma University in Ahmedabad has shifted base to Rajkot these days.Starting from social media campaigns, to door-to-door visits to meet voters, to mobilisation of young party workers and drawing other poll strategies, they are all overseen by Rushabh.Rushabh, who never took interest in politics earlier — Rupani never contested Assembly polls and contested only the Assembly bypolls in 2014, and that was a sure victory for him.A BJP leader from Rajkot said, “Rushabh is managing every small detail related to polls as Vijaybhai is away. We and our organisation are working on our own strategy, but Rushabh has a different perspective. He and his cousin, Amey, have been taking care of the social media campaign and other canvassing. He also makes slogans that are appealing to the public.” When asked about his campaign work, Rushabh shies away.Like Rushabh, Darshneel, too, was never involved in any poll before this.Talking to DNA, she said, “I am doing this with special interest. I am managing different events of poll campaign, social media campaign and road shows. I am pursuing my graduation course from Indira Gandhi National Open University, but have made time to help my father with his campaign.”Indranil has several Congress youth workers in his team. Darshneel is a motivation for them.Harshit Jani, a party member, says, “Darshneel is managing everything here. From top to bottom and left to right, she is present everywhere. We are also charged by seeing her enthusiasm, and we have her guidance.”
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BJP sets aside no-repeat theory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat BJP’s list of candidates for 70 seats announced on Friday gave no surprise or shocks to anyone, including voters or the candidates themselves. There were speculations that the party may not repeat many of its sitting MLAs taking the anti-incumbancy factor, but BJP has given a chance to 51 sitting candidates and changed only two of them, again in one constituency where the husband bagged the ticket replacing his wife. Moreover, there was no change in seats too.A senior party leader said, “BJP would never let people or opponents feel that there was anti incumbency prevailing against the party of its sitting MLAs. If the party would not repeat the sitting MLAs, it would have given an indication that there was a fear of losing, in fact that is not the situation. This is why the BJP repeated almost the sitting MLAs.””Looking at the list, one can easily see that the candidates who lost were given a chance again. Of course we believe that the young and new faces should be given an opportunity but it is better to field a young face where the fight is one sided. The party will also take care of this factor in the second list,” added the leader.The BJP has given a clear signal that no bigwig was worried about his/her own constituency and they have not changed their seats. There were speculations that including CM Vijay Rupani, Dy CM Nitin Patel and many senior ministers would change the seats for safe passage, but this did not happen and party put a full stop over such speculations.”Deputy CM Nitin Patel had addressed the media the day before and he had clearly said that no leader would change their seats may any factor prevail. This was the display of the confidence over the voters and party leaders. This also indicates that second list also would be accordingly and other big leaders also will not change their seats and no surprises will be given in that too,” the leader added.

Gujarat CM and state BJP unit chief behind Hardik Patel’s ‘morphed’ sex tape: PAAS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) today alleged that the Gujarat chief minister and state BJP unit chief were behind the “morphed” sex clips of its leader Hardik Patel, a charge rejected by the ruling party.The BJP dismissed the allegation as “baseless” and termed the circulation of the video clips as the “fallout” of a dispute within the PAAS.”We have learnt that a Surat-based builder who is a BJP supporter and another person are behind these morphed clips.They did it at the behest of the Gujarat chief minister (Vijay Rupani) and the state BJP unit president Jitu Vaghani to tarnish Hardik’s image ahead of the polls to save the BJP,” PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania alleged at a news conference.This was done as part of a “Rs 40 crore deal”, he alleged, but did not elaborate.Bambhania, a close aide of Hardik, further alleged 52 more such “morphed” videos were prepared outside India by the two Surat-based persons on the directions of the BJP.At least three ‘intimate’ videos purportedly of Hardik are currently reported to be in circulation. Hardik had attacked the BJP after the first clip surfaced.”As the BJP is worried about Hardik’s rising popularity, they have planned to put him behind bars ahead of the polls to stop further damage to the party,” Bambhania alleged.”Our sources have told us that 52 such morphed clips are still there, out of which, 22 clips are of Hardik while remaining clips are of other PAAS leaders,” he said.Bambhania said PAAS will initiate legal action in the coming days after consulting lawyers and will make the “evidences” public to prove BJP’s “involvement”.Refuting the charges against the BJP leaders, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said there is a “strong possibility” that the sex clips were prepared by a dissident PAAS worker out of a grudge or a dispute.”As PAAS has claimed that 52 more CDs are still there, it shows that they are aware that their own workers might have prepared them. It is an internal matter of the PAAS. BJP leaders have nothing to do with it. Instead of giving excuses, PAAS leaders need to come out clean and give proofs,” Patel told reporters.It is “very much likely” that one of the two persons the PAAS is claiming to be behind the videos was associated with the Patidar body before parting ways “over distribution of funds, allegedly given by the Gujarat Congress to PAAS for fanning protests,” he said.”All the allegations against our CM and state party chief are baseless. It is very much possible that the dispute within the PAAS regarding the funds led to this shameful episode. The BJP is nowhere in the picture,” Patel added.Hardik is posing a challenge to the ruling BJP as he holds sway over a chunk of Patidars, considered as loyal voters of the saffron party.The Congress has been trying to wean away Patidars ahead of polls for caste consolidation. Though Hardik has not yet opened his cards, he has put the commitment to reservation for Patidars as a pre-condition to support the Congress.

BJP’s door-to-door voter connect from Nov 7

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of elections, the BJP will undertake a door-to-door campaign from November 7 to 12 to reach out to voters across the state.State BJP vice-president IK Jadeja said that top BJP leaders and thousands of party workers will connect with voters under the Gujarat Gaurav Sampark Abhiyaan.”BJP president Amit Shah will kick off the campaign from Ahmedabad, which will see participation from chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, state BJP president Jitu Vaghani, Union ministers, state ministers, MPs, MLAs, and others,” he said.Jadeja said the party will convey to voters the achievements of the BJP government, and also deliver PM Narendra Modi’s message to all homes. It is to be noted that voter turnout in 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections was 71.32%.

BJP, Congress’s war of words over Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A war of words erupted between the BJP and Congress over Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s legacy on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Tuesday.In Gandhinagar, chief minister Vijay Rupani said that the country’s situation would have been different had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the prime minister.“Sardar Patel tried to take the country in the right direction, but the Congress meted out injustice to him. It is unfortunate that politics is being played in Sardar Patel’s name,” Rupani said after offering floral tributes to Sardar Patel.In Ahmedabad, former chief minister Anandiben Patel said that Sardar Patel did not get his due because of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil said, “Some dwarfs are using the Iron Man of India’s name for political gains. If Sardar Saheb had been meted out injustice, as the BJP leaders claim, he would have not shied away from taking on the Congress.”

Ahmedabad: Gujarat government to probe deaths of 9 newborns in civil hospital in past 24 hours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine newborns have died at the Ahmedabad civil hospital since Friday midnight, prompting the Gujarat government to order a probe into the circumstances and causes of their death.Five of the babies were brought here from distant places and suffered from “extremely low birth weight” complications, while some suffered from life-threatening diseases and were in critical condition, the government said in a release today.”Of the nine deaths in 24 hours, five babies were referred from distant places — Lunawada, Surendranagar, Mansa, Viramgam, Himmatnagar — and were having severe life threatening conditions such as extremely low birth weight (around 1.1 kg), hyaline membrane disease, early onset septicaemia and disseminated intra-vascular coagulation,” said the release.Besides, four babies born at the civil hospital “died due to lethal complications such as severe birth asphyxia and meconium aspiration,” it said.A hospital official said 18 children have died in past three days at the facility.A committee under R K Dixit, deputy director of medical education, will inquire into the circumstances and causes of death, the release said.”Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a meeting in Gandhinagar with senior health officials to take stock of the situation,” principal secretary, health and family welfare department, Jayanti Ravi said.She said the condition of some of the babies had deteriorated and they had to be referred to the civil hospital here from distant places as doctors there might still be on Diwali vacation.The committee will look at the prima facie reasons for the deaths and is expected to submit its report in a day, she said.The government, in the release, said, “Extremely low birth weight deliveries continue to be a challenge in Gujarat in view of suboptimal nutritional status of pregnant women.” The average number of deaths of newborns in the Ahmedabad civil hospital is around five to six per day, the release added.

Govt to recruit 3500 PT, drawing teachers for state schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat government has announced that around 3500 teachers having specialisation in Physical Training(PT) and drawing will be recruited on contractual basis. The proposal put forward by education minister was passed during cabinet meeting held on Sunday. CM Vijay Rupani had called this meeting as government could not hold cabinet meeting in last two weeks.The deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said, “Gujarat government has decided to recruit 1,739 PT and drawing teachers each.They will serve in different government schools and their recruitment will be on contractual basis for five years with monthly emoluments of Rs. 9000. If their work is found satisfactory after the review, they will be made permanent.”The government also extended the time limit of offering allowance to farmers for foreign export or transportation of tomatoes and potatoes in other states from Gujarat. The government gives Re 1 per kg to farmers as transportation allowance. Earlier the term was to expire on October 31 which has been extended to December 31 now.”We observed that the farmers were hugely benefitted by this scheme but the production of potatoes and tomatoes has increased this year. Farmers have a huge stocks of tomatoes and potatoes and they had made representations before the government to extend the limit of this scheme. The government has agreed on their demands and the term is extended up to the year end,” added Patel.CM TO INAUGURATE CITY PROJECTS TODAYChief minister Vijay Rupani will inaugurate several public projects, including flagging off 40 new buses of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, in Ahmedabad on Monday. The CM will dedicate different public amenities, prepared at an expense of Rs. 155 crore and prepare grounds for upcoming projects by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation at an expense of Rs. 49 crore. Rupani will also lay a foundation stone for projects of Rs. 181.33 crore to be made by Ahmedabad Urban Development Agency.

Congress ‘influenced’ EC in 2012 Gujarat assembly polls, alleges CM Vijay Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back at the Congress, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday accused the opposition party of having influenced the Election Commission’s announcement of Gujarat Assembly poll dates in 2012.He also refuted the Congress’ charge that the poll panel delayed the announcement of Gujarat assembly election under the government’s “pressure”.”In 2012 (Assembly election), the Election Commission ensured at the behest of the Congress that the model code of conduct was in force for a record time to prevent Modiji from working, because of which the state government could not take up development work,” Rupani said at an election programme organised here by newschannel India TV.The Chief Minister also denied the allegation that the BJP government was interfering with the Election Commission’s decisions.The EC had on Thursday announced that the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held in a single phase on November 9 and the results will be declared on December 18.The poll panel did not announce the dates for assembly elections in Gujarat, but Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said that the elections will be held before December 18.The Congress had on Friday attacked the BJP for “pressuring” the EC to delay the announcement of Gujarat elections and alleged that “past practices, conventions and precedents” were being set aside to help the ruling party in the state.The opposition party alleged that the “delay” in announcing Gujarat Assembly election schedule was to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act as a “false Santa Claus” to offer sops and use “jumlas” (rhetoric) during his October 16 visit to his home state.The model code of conduct would have come into immediate effect in Gujarat had the poll schedule been announced, it added.Countering the Congress’ allegations, Rupani said, “Congress was complaining that the BJP will advance election because of the UP result…we are not interfering in the process of the Election Commission…we are not delaying elections”.​

Fuel prices coming down: Dharmendra Pradhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who has been under fire for rising petrol and diesel prices, said on Saturday that fuel prices have started coming down.”I had said four to five days ago that petrol and diesel prices will come down before Diwali. In the past three to four days, we have been observing that trend. Once the international markets are stable, domestic fuel prices will also stabilise,” Pradhan told the media after inaugurating a Skill Development Institute set up by ONGC in Gandhinagar.The minister blamed the spike in prices to the 13 per cent decline in crude oil output due to the recent hurricane in the US.”However, crude prices are now coming down, and this is reflecting in fuel prices,” he said.To a question on whether the Centre would ask states to lower VAT rate on fuels, Pradhan said that this decision has to be taken by individual states.”Government uses the tax collected to provide good roads, pure drinking water, and other welfare activities. Expenditure on rural development, agriculture, education, and health have tripled in the past three years,” he said.He didn’t comment on whether the Centre would lower excise duty on crude.’No slowdown because of DeMo’Even as the Centre has gone in a huddle amid concerns over slowing economic growth, Pradhan said that there is no slowdown because of demonetisation.”There is no effect (on the economy) of demonetisation. There is no economic slowdown because of note ban. If there was a slowdown, the impact would have been visible in January, February, or March. Raising a question about it in September is ridiculous,” Pradhan said when asked about the impact of demonetisation on the economy.Pradhan, who was promoted to a Cabinet rank recently, described demonetisation as a bold step which would “formalise, organise and institutionalise the economy.”About GST, he said that the implementation of the new tax regime was delayed because a consensus was awaited from all states, and it will benefit the economy.25 crore LPG connections by 2018-endThe government is eyeing 25 crore LPG connections in the country by 2018. Pradhan said that the number of LPG connections in the country was 14 crore when Modi government came to power.”We have added 8.5 crore connections in the last three years. The target is to touch the 25-crore mark by December 2018,” he said.Later, Pradhan and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani gave away the 3,00,00,000th LPG connection under Ujjwala scheme to a beneficiary in Isanpur Mota village of Gandhinagar. The Centre is targeting 5 crore beneficiaries under the scheme.

Amit Shah to face pre-selected questions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The twitterati are not known to back off from a juicy bone. After it was revealed that questions for Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah’s Yuva Townhall on Sunday in Ahmedabad would be pre-selected, users started posting uncomfortable questions on the social media platform.Shah is scheduled to hold a dialogue with young voters in poll-bound Gujarat.Some of the questions could put Shah in a spot, asking about regularising jobs for contractual employees, transfer issues, due benefits, and other issues with the Gujarat state government.The episode is reminiscent of the embarrassment Chief Minister Vijay Rupani face at a Twitter townhall when faced with almost similar questions.For Shah, therefore, the Gujarat unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, which is organising the programme, isn’t taking any chances, and is pre-deciding which questions will make to Shah.“It is natural that people would take the freedom to ask any question to BJP chief when he has invited them for, but the party will take care that no question comes during live programme which will embarrass Shah,” said Dr Rutvij Patel, president of the Gujarat BJYM, conceding that the questions will be screened before being posed to Shah.The Gujarat BJP Yuva Morcha has been also encouraging the party’s young workers to ask as many questions as many as possible.“It was very embarrassing moment for CM Vijay Rupani when there was an onset of awkward questions and he was forced to stop the programme half the way. The senior party leaders have taken enough care for Shah’s programme and they have been guiding the organisers,” a senior BJP leader said, on condition of anonymity.However, the party has not consulted the government on replies regarding state government issues so that Shah can answer them with proper references. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “Amitbhai is an active leader and knows every policy of Gujarat government very well. He does not need to be given any briefing or reference for any question related to government and he is capable of answering those through his own understanding.”QUESTIONS FOR SHAHFixed salary and contractual job for initial five years in Gujarat government
Government’s action to prevent spread of swine flu
Internal transfer of employees of DISCOMs(power distribution companies of Gujarat government)
Salaries and other issues of pharmacists and physiotherapists in government hospitals

Blue Whale ‘game’ banned in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the state government will ban the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ game, the state home department issued a notification banning the game, which allegedly drives players, mostly children and teenagers, to suicide.The state government said that it has banned Blue Whale Challenge taking serious note of reports of several cases of youths committing suicide as a result of the game.”Instructions have been issued to all schools and principals asking them to keep a vigil to ensure that children and youngsters do not fall prey to Blue Whale Challenge. They have been asked to create awareness about its effects on youngsters,” the state government said.Different government departments have also been asked to take steps to ensure that children and youngsters do not fall prey to it, the government added.Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told reporters in Gandhinagar that he has given instructions to the home department and chief secretary to ban the Blue Whale Challenge game in the state.”People are ending their lives because of the game, and we have to stop it. If needed, we will bring an Ordinance banning it,” he said, adding that children cannot be allowed to commit suicide.Blue Whale Challenge is a game where players are asked to complete various tasks over a period of 50 days. The victims are allegedly brainwashed and blackmailed by the game administrators. The final task leads the victim to commit suicide.A number of people have fallen prey to Blue Whale Challenge across the world and a few in the country.The victims are allegedly brainwashed and blackmailed by the game administrators. The final task leads the victim to commit suicide.A number of people have fallen prey to Blue Whale Challenge across the world and a few in the country.Last week, Ashok Maluna, a youth from Palanpur recorded a video message before killing himself in Ahmedabad, and blamed Blue Whale Challenge for his suicide. However, according to police, Maluna ended his life under depression due to cancer and not because of the game.The Ministry of Electronics and IT has already directed the internet majors – Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo – to immediately remove the links of the deadly Blue Whale Challenge, which has led several children in India and other countries to commit suicide.The Additional Director General of Police Uttar Pradesh Anand Kumar on August 22, said that the Centre has ordered enforcement agencies of various states to take cognizance of the Blue-Whale Challenge and ensure complete ban on the online dare which has claimed numerous lives.Taking a serious view of the Blue Whale Challenge game, the Madras High Court had also directed the Central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore possibilities of banning it.On September 1, the court had said it would take up the case suo motu when Krishnamurthy, an advocate, made an appeal for a direction to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ban such games.On August 10, a 14-year-old boy from Maharashtra’s Solapur, who was on his way to Pune to complete a task given to him in the online game ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, was rescued by the police.Admitting to being the driving factor behind the suicides of youngsters playing the game, Philipp Budeikin, who claims to have created the game, says that the victims were just ‘biological waste’.

Govt extends textile policy another year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat government on Monday said that it is extending its textile policy for one more year. The five-year term of the policy was to expire on September 4. But, now it shall remain under implementation till September 3, 2018. The industries and mining department issued the government resolution.Chief Minister Vijay Rupani approved the extension of the policy for one year. The release issued by the government stated, “Many players of textile industry had requested the state governemnt. Thus it was decided to extend the benefits of the industry.”PM Narendra Modi had launched the textile policy in 2012 when he was the chief minister of the state, with an integrated approach to strengthen the entire value chain of textile. The concept of ”From farm to foreign export” was weaved with the slogan of 5F formula while launching the policy.The preamble of the government resolution reads, “India is the second largest producer of cotton after China in the world. Similarly, Gujarat is the largest cotton grower state in the country and hence presents very large scope of developing the whole textile value chain from farm to fiber to fabrics to fashion to foreign. The state proposes a strong industrial base and pool of resources to serve the entire value chain of the textile industries.”The state government also claimed that the policy was a great success and brought in huge amount of investment and generated employment in the state. The government reviewed the policy and saw that the same had a great impact on rural sector too.

Swine flu: 201 new cases, 10 more deaths

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swine flu continues to take a heavy toll in Gujarat. The state reported 10 more deaths and 201 new cases of swine flu on Friday, even as the state government claimed that the number of cases has declined.With this, the total number of swine flu cases in the state has crossed 4,000 this year.”With 4,062 confirmed swine flu cases since January 1, Gujarat has reported the second highest number of cases after Maharashtra, where the number is around 4,500,” said an official. Ten more swine flu patients lost their lives in the last 24 hours, taking the toll of the year to 316. The state government said in a press release that the number of new cases has declined, while number of patients recuperating has been on the rise.”As against 201 new cases, 315 patients have recovered and gone home. Even on Thursday, 307 patients were discharged as against 221 new cases. A total of 1,275 patients have been discharged in the past week,” the press release stated.However, the press release did not mention the number of patients still in the hospital. Sources said that the number of swine flu patients undergoing treatment, as of Friday, was 1,379. State CM Vijay Rupani had visited a special swine flu ward at Rajkot Civil Hospital last week to take stock of the situation.

CM meets H1N1 affected in 4 cities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With 68% cases of swine flu in the state being reported from Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Ahmedabad, chief minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday visited swine flu wards at Civil Hospitals in these four cities and asked the doctors to follow ‘Any flu- Give tamiflu’ option.Seeking suggestions to improve swine flu treatment from the medical staff during his marathon visits to these hospitals, Rupani said, “Tamiflu is the medicine which can be given in any kind of flu besides swine flu. I would ask all doctors, private practitioners or those serving in government hospitals to prescribe it. If patients get timely treatment, they can be cured.”Rupani also met local medical officers and district authorities to take stock of the situation. He also directed civic authorities to start cleanliness and sanitation drives, particularly in densely populated areas. He sought cooperation from people in keeping their premises clean to avoid spread of swine flu. He also stressed on awareness campaign for swine flu in different parts of the state.

Don’t wish to be a governor, says Shankersinh Vaghela

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Chief Minister and veteran politician Shankersinh Vaghela overruled all speculations that he would be appointed as governor of a state after his resignation. Vaghela, tendered resignation as MLA from Kapadvanj seat in Gujarat on Wednesday, and cleared that he did not wish to become a governor.He said, “I do not want to become a governor. I am a governor of myself, and I live in a house which is like a governor’s house. If you have visited my house, you would know that. I am not going to assume the charge of governor anywhere as I wish to work for people.”Vaghela reached Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora’s office in Gandhinagar at 5 pm to tender his resignation. Before Vaghela arrived, CM Vijay Rupani, Dy CM Nitin Patel and ministers in Gujarat government Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradipsinh Jadeja were already present there.Shortly after Vaghela’s resignation, CM Rupani said, “Vaghela is our senior, and we have remained present on this occasion with him to show courtesy. I am of the opinion that Vaghela’s exit from Congress is a big loss for the Opposition party. This incident will break the back of Congress ahead of the polls.”However, Rupani stayed away from making any comment over whether Vaghela would join BJP or not. However, Vaghela praised Gujarat government’s initiatives for the flood-affected region.

Gujarat CM condemns stone-pelting attack on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi; orders inquiry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today condemned the attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s car in flood-hit Dhanera town in Banaskantha district.Rupani said he has directed officials concerned to take strict action against those responsible for the incident.”Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has condemned the attack on the convoy of Rahul Gandhi. The chief minister also instructed the officials to take stern action against the persons responsible for the incident,” a government statement said tonight.On Gandhi’s visit to villages in flood-hit Banaskantha district today, Rupani said it was a “photo-op exercise” and dubbed Gandhi a “perpetual tourist”.In the Dhanera incident, a man hurled a cement brick at Gandhi’s car, damaging its rear glass pane.Earlier, the Congress vice-president was heckled by protesters at an event.He left the stage in a huff after making a brief speech in the Lal Chowk area of the town after protesters showed black flags to him.

No World Heritage City celebration, says Mayor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Due to the flood situation in some parts of the city that prevailed during the last week of July, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had announced new dates for the Heritage festival. Earlier, to honour the Unesco ‘World Heritage City’ title awarded to Ahmedabad on July 8, it was decided that fortnightly celebrations will be held across the city. But, following the floods, the CM announced that the celebrations will be postponed by a week.The new dates announced by the Chief Minister were August 6 to August 14, instead of August 1 to August 14. Now, after the situation worsened in several areas across the state, including some pockets of Ahmedabad, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has decided to postpone the celebration further. New dates will be announced soon.“We have postponed the celebrations. The new dates are yet to be decided,” said Mukesh Kumar, Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad.Commenting on this, Mayor Gautam Shah said that many parts of the city are battling a tough situation post the heavy spell of rainfall. “We are not going to celebrate the heritage festival week. As of now, we are only focusing on the improvement of peoples’ health and reconstruction of city roads. Also, we are trying to work out ways to help the people in Banaskantha,” Shah said.Though the Mayor says that no celebration is likely, officials on the condition of anonymity said, the celebration might be held in the world heritage week.UNESCO TAGAhmedabad is the city first city in the country that was honoured with a World Heritage City tag.
To honour the UNESCO tag, it was decided that fortnightly celebrations will be held across the city.
Recently, the Delhi government also decided to file nominations for the same.

Gujarat floods: Banaskantha and Patan districts declared as ‘disaster-affected’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after torrential rains leading to flood wreaked havoc in north Gujarat, state revenue department has declared Banaskantha and Patan districts as ‘disaster-affected areas’.The announcement was made by the department through a Gazette notification issued on Tuesday, which was made available on Wednesday. These districts were declared as flood-affected areas as per the provisions of ‘Gujarat State Disaster Management Act of 2003’, said the notification. The decision to declare these two districts, which were hit the most by the flood, as ‘disaster affected’, was based on the recommendation of respective collectors of these districts, it said.As per the notification, all the tehsils of both these districts were affected by heavy rain and flood. These districts will remain in the category of ‘disaster-affected areas’ till August 15, it said. As many as 218 people were killed in various rain-related incidents across the state this monsoon season. Among these, 61 deaths were reported in Banaskantha alone, while seven had died in neighbouring Patan district, according to the State Emergency Operation Centre.
ALSO READ Gujarat floods: Toll climbs to 218 as more bodies foundGujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has been camping in the flood-affected areas since last five days to monitor the relief operations. During this period, Rupani has visited many villages and towns of both the districts, said a release

Govt seeks more vigil for RS polling day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apprehending irregularities on the day of voting for the Rajya Sabha polls, the state government has asked the home department to provide additional security at the polling station at Swarnim Sankul-2 on August 8.The decision has been taken as there are chances of cross voting by members, and in such a case there could be instances of violence between party leaders and rebel members, sources said.However, the government cited movement of VVIPs like BJP national president Amit Shah, who is also the BJP’s RS candidate, as the reason for seeking higher security.“Authorities have restricted the movement of other people around the polling station. Special entry passes have been issued to authorised people for movement in the area and senior officials of the rank of SP and DySP will be appointed for security,” added sources.Sources in the Gujarat government said, “It is obvious that movement of VVIPs like Amit Shah and CM Vijay Rupani will be seen on the polling day. The government has cited it as a reason for additional security but it is also apprehended that there can be a friction between two political parties and that could lead to the deterioration of law and order situation at polling station.”MONSOON SESSIONThe monsoon session of Gujarat Assembly also starts on August 8. The sessions will be held in Mahatma Mandir in place of the Assembly building which is under renovation. To be on a safe side, the government has decided to keep the venue of temporary Assembly at a distance from polling stations.

Amid criticism from Oppn, Gujarat govt hikes relief for flood victims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid criticism from the Opposition Congress that the state had failed to declare a relief package for flood victims, the government on Monday announced a hike in compensation. It also announced that norms for payment of relief had been eased.The state government announced on Sunday that chief minister Vijay Rupani, several ministers, and top bureaucrats would camp in the flood-hit areas of Banaskantha and Patan for five days to oversee relief operations.Rupani, who was in Radhanpur on Monday, said flood victims in the two districts would get Rs7,000 instead of Rs3,800 for damage to household items. Moreover, compensation for loss of milch cattle has been hiked from Rs30,000 to Rs40,000 for up to five cattle.Looking at the extensive damage to farm land due to heavy rain, the CM said a survey to ascertain the damage is being carried out on a war footing, and will soon be completed. He assured compensation would be disbursed at the earliest.Besides the CM, as many as nine ministers have been asked to camp in Banaskantha and Patan to oversee the relief work. They include Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Babu Bokhiria, Atmaram Parmar, Shankar Chaudhary, and others.The CM also appealed to citizens to donate generously to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

CM Rupani takes stock of situation in city

Rupani, along with local MLA and minister of state for transport Vallabh Kakadia, visited Madhumalti Avas Society in Nikol and Chandrabhaga Colony in Vadaj where three to four feet of waterlogging had been reported. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani arrived at waterlogged areas of Ahmedabad city on Thursday afternoon to review the situation. Making his way through these inundated water on a boat, Rupani approached affected people in low-lying areas and assured them of quick relief measures.Rupani, along with local MLA and minister of state for transport Vallabh Kakadia, visited Madhumalti Avas Society in Nikol and Chandrabhaga Colony in Vadaj where three to four feet of waterlogging had been reported. The CM met with affected people in these areas and assured them that they will be shifted to safer places and would be compensated for losses. Rupani then visited the flood control room at Paldi and gave relief and rescue instructions to the civic administration.Rupani said, “Ahmedabad has received 147% rain this year as compared to last year. Keeping the weather forecast in mind, two columns of the Army have been kept in a standby mode, while three NDRF teams will be stationed here for rescue efforts. I depute urban development secretary Mukesh Puri to provide additional support to the civic authorities.”

Guj floods: Modi announces Rs 500 cr interim relief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced an interim assistance of Rs 500 crore for Gujarat where two districts continued to reel under floods. Modi, who undertook an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, said 10 more IAF helicopters would be pressed into service for rescue and relief operations. The central government will provide an immediate assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state, and after a detailed survey has been conducted, it will give whatever is additionally required, he said in a statement after reviewing the situation. “Everything possible will be done to help the farmers who suffer immensely due to floods,” Modi said. He said though the state government has provided immediate relief to those who lost their kin in the deluge, an additional ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh would be extended to them from the PM’s relief fund. Those injured would be given Rs 50,000 by the Centre which would be over and above the assistance extended by the state government. He said teams will be despatched by the Centre to assess the damage caused to property and standing crops in urban and rural areas at the earliest. Heavy rains have caused floods in Banaskantha and Patan districts of Gujarat after which Army, India Air Force (IAF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been called out for rescue and relief operations. After arriving here this evening, Modi chaired an hour-long meeting with state officials at the airport where Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and senior officials of the state government were present. Former chief minister Anandiben Patel also attended the meeting. “A detailed presentation on the situation caused by heavy rains was shared with the prime minister,” official sources said. Later Modi boarded a helicopter with Rupani for an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas. Earlier in the day, Rupani, who was in New Delhi for the swearing-in of Ram Nath Kovind as President, met the prime minister at Parliament House and apprised him of the situation. The prime minister then decided to undertake an aerial survey to personally take stock of the situation in his home state, the PMO said. During the last 24 hours, at least 12 talukas of Banaskantha, Patan and Sabarkantha districts have received over 200 mm of rainfall, a release issued by the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) said. Dantiwada in Banaskantha remained the worst-hit, recording 463 mm rainfall, followed by Palanpur (380 mm), Vadgam (357 mm), Amirgadh (337 mm) and Lakhani (305 mm). More than 1,000 people have been rescued and 46,000 shifted to safer locations from low lying areas, deputy chief minister Patel said. “Four choppers of IAF are involved in rescue operations, while two columns of army are engaged in rescuing people stranded due to heavy rains,” Patel said. Eight teams of NDRF have been deployed in Banaskantha district for rescue operations. Elaborate arrangements are being made to supply food and drinking water to the people stranded in floods, he said. The swollen Banas river passing through Banaskantha and Patan districts has flooded the villages and towns around it, health minister Shanker Chaudhary, who is stationed at Deesa to oversee the rescue operations, said. As the rains took a break this morning, rescue operations in Banaskantha and Patan districts gained momentum, an official said. Hundreds of people are still waiting to be shifted to safer places, as several parts of these districts are flooded, he said. Three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters have been deployed in Banskantha to evacuate those marooned as also to distribute food packets. Two columns of Indian Army, comprising about 200 personnel, have been pressed into service to rescue people. Since morning, 113 people stranded in Shihori village of the district have been rescued and shifted to safer locations by the Indian Army personnel, who have been conducting the rescue operation using boats, said a release by the Defence PRO. “One MI-17V5 took off from Deesa this morning and proceeded to Totana village and rescued 14 people stuck in the midst of raging flood water to safety,” Defence PRO Abhishek Matiman said. The IAF is also air dropping food packets in the affected areas. “Over 300 kgs of food packets were air dropped at Gugal, Jenal Varan and neighbouring villages to aid the people marooned since yesterday,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Facebook, EDII to train Guj entrepreneurs to boost their biz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an aim to tap into the increasing power of social media, Facebook has joined hands with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) to impart training to over 7,500 entrepreneurs from Gujarat. It will equip them with skills to effectively use Facebook for digital marketing to grow their businesses online. As part of its ‘Boost Your Business’ programme, Facebook will also support and train 20,000 youths and entrepreneurs across the country with the help of EDII. The programme was inaugurated on Tuesday by chief minister Vijay Rupani along with Rohit Patel, minister of state – industry, mines and minerals, finance, Gujarat.A workshop to ‘Boost Your Business’ for more than 400 participating entrepreneurs from across 22 states was also conducted. ‘Boost Your Business’ will now travel to Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. Entrepreneurs from these cities who wish to participate can register themselves on EDII’s Facebook page.Rupani said, “Our government stands for the overall development of Gujarat in line with Narendrabhai’s (PM) vision. Such programmes will help encourage entrepreneurship and employability besides provide global visibility which will help in growth of business and upliftment of society.”Ritesh Mehta, head of programmes, Facebook, South Asia, said, “Much of the state’s progress is due to the sheer industry, dedication and talent of its people. As a Gujarati, who grew up in Surat, I can confidently say that this passion for enterprise when coupled with new world skills will enable the entire country’s entrepreneurs to accelerate their businesses through online exposure and integration with global markets.”“We look forward to collaborate with Facebook to train entrepreneurs in Gujarat, and across the country, to access global markets through Facebook’s tools and technologies,” said Sunil Shukla, director, EDII.

Dileep Sanghani is new GUJCOMASOL chairman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dileep Sanghani, former state minister, was unanimously elected the chairman of Gujarat State Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd (GUJCOMASOL), while Talala MLA Govind Parmar was named vice-chairman. The naming of Sanghani to the top post was not without drama. Sitting MP Vitthal Radadia had also expressed the desire to take up the post. Matters began to appear serious when, till Sunday night, both the aspirants tried to show that they had the support of maximum directors. However, when elections seemed inevitable, chief minister Vijay Rupani intervened and brought the situation under control. At the meeting on Sunday noon, deputy collector Gaurav Prajapati announced Sanghani the unopposed chairman of GUJCOMASOL. He will hold the post for five years. With this, BJP has officially taken over the body that had remained under Congress rule for 47 years. Of the total 31 seats for which elections were held, the saffron party won 28 seats and Congress managed to get three seats. As many as 23 seats remained uncontested, of which two went to Congress.

BJP-Cong slugfest over choice of Dalit candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Legislators from both major parties, including CM Vijay Rupani, indulged in a slugfest over the candidature of a Dalit leader for presidential polls. The war of words broke out when the leaders came to vote at a polling booth in the secretariat complex on Monday.After casting his vote, Rupani expressed that Congress had played the Dalit card on the issue. “In fact, the Congress has been playing the Dalit card for long and they did it when they had to nominate a candidate for the presidential polls. They never nominated a Dalit candidate for the post of President in the past, or when they were in power and their candidate could win. They fielded a Dalit candidate when they are on a losing streak. This shows the Congress has been using Dalits and their Dalit leaders for their political agenda only.”Reacting to this, senior Congress MLA from Abdasa, Shaktisinh Gohil said, “The BJP does not have the right to utter a single word about Dalits. Have they ever tried to appoint a Dalit at any important position earlier? They fielded a Dalit candidate to cash in on political equations in poll-bound states. If they have so much regard for Dalits, the BJP should make a Dalit leader the Gujarat CM, or else the Dalit person should be made chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.”180 MLAs cast voteOut of total 182 MLAs, 180 MLAs cast their vote. These included CM Vijay Rupani, former CM Anandiben Patel, deputy CM Nitin Patel, leader of opposition Shankersinh Vaghela and BJP chief Jitu Vaghani. BJP national president Amit Shah, an MLA from Naranpura constituency, cast his vote in New Delhi as the ECI allowed him to do in a special case. In charge of state Congress Ashok Gehlot, an MLA in Rajasthan assembly, also cast his vote from Gujarat, while JDU candidate Chhotu Vasava abstained from voting in protest against what he claimed was the ill-treatment meted out to scheduled tribes.Talking to mediapersons, BJP chief whip in the assembly Pankaj Desai said, “A total of 122 BJP MLAs, 57 Congress MLAs and two NCP candidates in the state assembly cast their vote. All MPs from the state cast their vote in New Delhi as the parliamentary session began today.”Cross-voting by BJP MLAIn an instance of cross-voting, BJP MLA from Dhari constituency, Nalin Kotadia, voted for UPA candidate Meira Kumar instead of NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind.After casting his vote, Kotadia said, “I have voted against Kovind. I do not want to give my vote to a candidate of a party which does not have sensitivity toward the Patel community as the government led by the same party had ordered police atrocities against the community during its campaign for reservation.” The party was quick to disown Kotadia. Rupani said Kotadia had been expelled from the party for indulging in anti-party activities.

Got solar power? It’s time to earn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those who decided to join the state government’s rooftop solar power scheme will begin reaping the fruits now. The government is all set to pay the set-off amount in cash against energy generated through rooftop solar panels in households. Kicking off the exercise, chief minister Vijay Rupani will on Friday distribute cheques to 100 beneficiaries in Vadodara. The state government had launched the scheme to motivate people to opt for green energy. As per the scheme, participants will get set-off amount against power generated through solar panels on their rooftops. The exercise will now become a routine affair.The chief minister’s office (CMO) said on Thursday that the government had made special provision in its budget for this scheme and earmarked Rs 35 crore covering 20,000 beneficiaries for fiscal year 2017-18. The cost of installation of rooftop solar power plant of 1KW is Rs 69,000. “Centre gives Rs 20,700 for setting up a rooftop solar panel plant of 1KW capacity. The state government increased the assistance by Rs 10,000 per KW, with the maximum amount of Rs 20,000 per beneficiary. So far, 15,000 applications have been received from across the state, with installation capacity of power generation of 35,000KW,” the CMO said. Post budget this year, Rupani had made changes in the rooftop solar plant policy that was launched in 2015. According to the earlier rules, a stakeholder would be allowed to generate solar power through rooftop panels up to 50% of total sanctioned load for domestic use by discoms (electricity distribution companies). However, Rupani scrapped the upper limit. Other initiativesCM Rupani will distribute 300 battery-operated two-wheelers among students of classes 8 to 12 on Friday. The state government will also initiate the pilot project of providing nutritious food to pregnant women and lactating mothers under ‘Poshan Sudha’ scheme in five districts. These women will be given one meal through anganwadis.Gujarat and solar energy Under national solar mission, the central government has set the target of generating 1 lakh MW grid-connected solar power from 20,000MW by 2022. Gujarat has been given the target of generating 8,024MW energy, of which 3,200MW would be grid-connected power. The state government has total installed capacity of 1,300MW including captive and commercial solar power plant, but rooftop power accounts for hardly 30MW, while the actual power generation is even lesser, say sources. Initially, the state government will give the benefits of solar power policy to 1 lakh customers. Beyond that, the government will decide after a review.

Ahmedabad declared world heritage city by UNESCO, PM Modi expresses delight

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP president Amit Shah have hailed the declaration of Ahmedabad as a world heritage city by UNESCO.Expressing delight at the announcement, PM Narendra Modi said,Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and BJP chief Amit Shah also said they were thrilled with the announcement.The walled city of Ahmedabad believed to be founded by Ahmed Shah some six hundred years earlier has 26 ASI-protected structures, hundreds of ‘pols’ that capture the essence of community living and numerous sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi who lived here from 1915 to 1930.In 1984, the first study for conserving heritage structures was carried out in the city. A heritage cell was also set up by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).The city had featured in UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage cities on March 31, 2011.

Brace for major road blocks on International Yoga Day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While lakhs of people will take up various poses on International Yoga Day, the mega celebration will pose a pain for several other citizens.Around 2.5 lakh people are expected to converge at GMDC ground on June 21. The event, to be inaugurated by CM Vijay Rupani and BJP president Amit Shah, will be held at five grounds that are connected to the main GMDC ground. The traffic police have made arrangements to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Around 6,000 policemen will be deployed for the event.Several roads to turn into no-vehicle zone There will be a nine-hour block (3am to 11am) on June 21 on roads within a radius of four km and which connect to the GMDC ground. A total of nine routes have been blocked. The roads will be barricaded and traffic diverted to alternative routes. Only vehicle of participants, Fire Brigade vehicles, and ambulance and government vehicles will be allowed to use the roads. Sudhir Desai, in-charge JCP of traffic, said, “We have made arrangements in such a way that people will not face any trouble. During the block, we will allow people if they have a genuine reason.”Parking for participants More that 3,500 buses carrying participants as well as private vehicles are expected. For the buses, parking arrangement has been made near GMDC ground, while eight parking bays will be provided for the private vehicles.

Guj ministers land in controversy for felicitating exorcists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two senior ministers in Gujarat have landed in a soup after a purported video of them attending a function to felicitate self-proclaimed exorcists in Botad district went viral. Rationalists accused the ministers of promoting superstition by attending such an event, while the ministers denied having done anything to that effect. According to the invitation card, the event was organised by the local BJP unit at a temple in Gadhada town of Botad district on Saturday evening. In the video, state Education and Revenue minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama along with local MLA as well as state Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Atmaram Parmar can be seen on the dais watching a couple of exorcists beating themselves with metal chains on live music near the stage. Later, around 100 exorcists can be seen shaking hands with the ministers on the stage as part of their felicitation. Taking a strong exception to the ministers’ presence at the event, prominent rationalist Jayant Pandya said he would write to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to stop ministers from attending events that promote superstition. “This is for the first time I have seen ministers attending an event where exorcists were felicitated. This is very shameful. I will write to the CM to stop government functionaries from attending such programmes which spread superstition,” Pandya, who heads the NGO ‘Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha’, said. However, unfazed by the controversy, Chudasama had yesterday said those present at the event were “worshippers of divine power.” As the controversy intensified today, the minister once again defended their presence at that event. “We meet people from all walks of life. Being in public life, we meet people from various sections of the society to put across our views. There is hardly any community with whom we have not established dialogue,” Chudasama told reporters in Gandhinagar today. “Those people (exorcists) are the worshippers of divine power. Just like us, they are also part of our society. So, there is nothing wrong if two different sections of the society meet. Our intention was not to spread or promote superstition,” the minister added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong challenges Guj CM for open debate on Narmada dam issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress in Gujarat today dared Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to have an “open debate” on the issue of Narmada dam after he accused the opposition party of trying to “sabotage” the project “for years”. “It is sad that the Congress party spreads lies about Narmada Dam after trying to sabotage it for years,” Rupani said in a tweet. Hitting back, senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said it was the BJP government in Gujarat and not the Congress which tried to “sabotage” the dam project. In a series of tweets today, Gohil, who is also a national spokesperson of the party, said, “I challenge you for an open debate on #Narmada. Pls show the courage to accept my challenge. You can decide the time and place. #Gujarat”. “In a true democracy, an open debate is the healthy way. @vijayrupanibjp kindly let me know the time and place. Let us openly debate on #Narmada,” he said in another tweet. Gohil said a debate is required as “India and Gujarat deserves to know the truth on #Narmada (sic)”. When contacted, the Congress leader said that he has challenged the chief minister for the debate because what the latter has said about the dam was not true. “The Congress’ contribution to Narmada is immense and no other political parties can match it,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat: India state approves life term for killing cows

The new amendment means Gujarat now has the toughest laws dealing with cow slaughter in India.

Guj govt to enact harsher law to protection cows: CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat government will enact a harsher law providing for life term for those found involved in cow-slaughtering and transportation of beef, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said today. Addressing a gathering at Swaminarayan Gurukul in Vanthali town of Junagadh district, Rupani said the BJP government had earlier brought the law in 2011 to save cows. “We fought the case till the Supreme Court to bring a law in Gujarat to save cows. Now, we want to make this law more strict, for which we will introduce a Bill in the ongoing Budget session of the Gujarat assembly during next week,” said Rupani. With Narendra Modi as the state chief minister, the Gujarat government had in 2011 imposed a complete ban on cow-slaughter, transportation and selling of cow-beef by amending the erstwhile Gujarat Animal Preservation Act of 1954. Since then, the crimes related to cow slaughter in Gujarat are covered under the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act of 2011. Under this Act, the people found involved in cow-slaughtering and related crimes are penalised with Rs 50,000 fine and a jail term up to seven years. Rupani now has announced to make the present Act more stringent with harsher punishment. “In the Bill, we will make a provision wherein people found involved in cow-slaughtering as well transportation of beef will be punished with life imprisonment. Their vehicles too will be seized permanently,” said the chief minister.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP demands HC judge-led SIT to probe Naliya gangrape case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today demanded investigation into the Naliya sex racket case by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a sitting High Court judge and threatened to launch state-wide agitation on the issue. Talking to reporters here today, Delhi’s rural development minister Gopal Rai alleged that the ruling BJP in Gujarat was trying to shield the “big names” allegedly involved in the sex racket and demanded investigation monitored by an SIT led by a sitting HC judge. “Only local leaders of BJP are not involved in Naliya sex racket. Several big names too are involved, because such a big racket cannot be possible without the involvement of big names. Ever since the matter came to light, there are efforts to shield the mastermind,” Rai alleged. He alleged that the racket extended till Ahmedabad and many big BJP leaders are involved which is why the culprits are being shielded. “We demand constitution of an SIT headed by a sitting High Court judge so that the matter is investigated independently and the names of the main mastermind and those associated with him come out,” he said. “We will monitor the development closely and will also launch state-wide agitation and raise the issue at the Centre if our demands are not met by the government,” he said. Meanwhile, Gandhinagar police detained around 25 women belonging to AAP when they were protesting outside Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s bungalow over the issue. The matter came to light after eight persons including local leaders of BJP were arrested in connection with the gangrape of the victim at Naliya town in Kutch district. In her FIR, the 24-year-old woman alleged that she was raped by at least nine persons on different occasions after an accused made a video of the act and threatened to circulate the video clip. The victim has alleged in her FIR that the accused have been running a sex racket in Kutch district and forcing victims to have sex with numerous persons after blackmailing them by making video.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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