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As trends paint clear picture of BJP’s victory in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, this is how party celebrates

The trends have started emerging and as they move in the favour of the Bhartiya Janata Party recorded, party workers had already started celebrating. BJP recorded its first official win Gujarat and festivity at party offices across the country have begun. Party workers in Madhya Pradesh are already distributing sweets as the trends show the BJP winning both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.Fire crackers and sweets have made entry in the BJP headquarters in New Delhi too. Bucking the initial trends, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani won the Rajkot West Assembly seat in the Gujarat Election results on Monday.The early trends had shown Rupani trailing to Congress’ Indranil Rajguru.Ahead of the Gujarat verdict, Rupani sounded confident and had said that the BJP will form the government in the state again.”The results are going to be in BJP’s favour and the party will form Government in Gujarat; people of the state have chosen development” Rupani was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.On Sunday, his supporters also started a ‘Havan’ for his victory.Pitted against Rajguru, one of the wealthiest leader in the fray, Rupani bucked the anti- incumbency factor and the Patel agitation that could have tilted the balance.Gujarat has 26 parliamentary constituencies and 182 assembly constituencies.A total of 977 candidates were in the fray in the first phase of elections, out of which 57 were women candidates and over 2.22 crore people took part in the election to decide their fate. While in the second phase, 851 candidates fought, out of which 69 women candidates contested.

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Himachal Election: Here’s a status of key candidates – Virbhadra Singh, Prem Kumar Dhumal, Anil Sharma and others

The BJP looks set to wrest power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh as it was leading in 40 seats while the ruling party bagged one seat and was leading in 21 others, according to Election Commission trends.Congress candidate Anirudh Singh won the Kasumpti seat by defeating BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, is trailing behind Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, Out of 67 sitting MLAs, 60 MLAS, nine cabinet minister and eight Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) contested the poll along with a dozen former ministers.Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Himachal Pradesh, was trailing behind Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, according to early trends.Also readGujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Vijay Rupani wins prestige battle in Rajkot WestHere’s a status of Key CandidatesThe BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007.

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Gujarat elections 2017: DEO Avantika Singh rubbishes EVM tampering claims

The DEO was talking to reporters about preparations for counting of votes when she made the comment in response to a question. "These are baseless allegations, and I don't think any clarification is needed. If a clarification has to be issued, it would be by Election Commission," she said. Singh said that preparations for counting of votes has been completed. "A three-tier security cordon will be in place for the counting of votes. The counting of votes in 21 counting halls in Ahmedabad will be webcast. A DCP-level officer has been deployed at each centre," she added.”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Gujarat elections 2017: DEO Avantika Singh rubbishes EVM tampering claims Avantika Singh
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 18 December 2017 4:48 ISTMust readGujarat elections 2017: In electoral twist, Aladdin now battles corruption, GST10 free WiFi zones to come up in Ahmedabad<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Ahmedabad District Election Officer (DEO) Avantika Singh rubbished allegations by Patidar reservation leader Hardik Patel about tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) describing them as ‘baseless’.The DEO was talking to reporters about preparations for counting of votes when she made the comment in response to a question. “These are baseless allegations, and I don’t think any clarification is needed. If a clarification has to be issued, it would be by Election Commission,” she said. Singh said that preparations for counting of votes has been completed. “A three-tier security cordon will be in place for the counting of votes. The counting of votes in 21 counting halls in Ahmedabad will be webcast. A DCP-level officer has been deployed at each centre,” she added.

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Use coach for disabled, face heavy penalty

In a bid to crackdown on abled persons travelling in train compartments reserved for the handicapped, the Government Railway Police (GRP) will aggressively book offenders under the Right of Persons With Disabilities Act (RPWD) which attracts a maximum punishment of Rs One lakh as fine and two years imprisonment or both.The Kurla police on Monday registered a case against an unidentified man after Nitin Gaikwad, 46, a Ghatkopar resident and physically-handicapped businessman, reported the matter to Chief Security Commissioner of the Railway Protection Force (RPF).The Kurla GRP registered a case under sections 91 (Punishment for fraudulently availing any benefit meant for persons with benchmark disabilities) and 95 (Alternative punishments) of the RPWD Act.A senior inspector on condition of anonymity said, “Normally, RPF fines the offenders around Rs 500 but we have been instructed that if offenders are found inside the compartment reserved for handicap commuters, a case under RPWD is to be registered.”TN Dubey, Chairperson, Naisargic Viklang Seva Sangh and former Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee, said, “The move will curb the number of abled persons entering the reserved compartment. The Railways should also make announcements requesting commuters to not enter these compartments.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017: EC withdraws notice to Rahul Gandhi over his TV interviews

The Election Commission of India on Sunday withdrew its notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi which it had issued on December 13 for allegedly violating the provisions of the election law and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by giving interviews to TV channels in Gujarat where the final phase of polls was due the next day. The ECI had asked Mr Gandhi to respond to the notice latest by December 18 evening. The EC had also directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat “to initiate necessary action by filing FIR against those who have violated the above mentioned provisions in phase two districts in Gujarat”.It had said that Gandhi, then Congress president-elect, talked about the Gujarat Assembly elections in which the polling for the second phase will be held tomorrow.Also readIf EC can send notice to Rahul Gandhi, why isn’t a notice being sent to the BJP: Congress questions ‘partisan’ moveSome local news channels in Gujarat had telecast Rahul Gandhi’s interview ahead of the second phase polling in the state on December 14.The BJP had complained to the poll panel about the interviews. Also readCongress cries foul over EC notice to Rahul for TV interviews, demands action against BJP leadersThe Commission also found that BJP’s election manifesto release on the eve of first phase of polling noting that there is no limit prescribed in the model code of conduct in this regard.The Congress had alleged that the BJP releasing its manifesto a day ahead of the first phase of polling in Gujarat on December 9 was also a violation of electoral laws. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrowThe poll body has also decided to set up a committee to draw new guidelines on the violations of MCC and the Section 126 of the Representation of the People, 1951, in the new digital age.The poll panel accepted that Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act does not take into account the revolution in communication technologies.”It appears imperative to revisit the provisions relating to the last 48 hours before completion of poll to appropriately address challenges unleashed by fast changing technologies in the context of multi-phase polls,” the EC said.It said it will soon consult political parties, media, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and other stakeholders to seek suggestions.

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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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SP, BSP were obstacles in UP’s development, charged for electricity without even providing it: Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Sunday Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) acted as an obstacle in the development of the state.While addressing the inauguration ceremony of ‘Sobhagya Pradhanmantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ here, the Chief Minister said, “The previous governments, Samajwadi Party and BSP, were acting as obstacles in the development of Uttar Pradesh as they did not want the entire state to avail electricity. They are claiming that electricity has become expensive. They should be asked on what grounds were they charging people for electricity without even providing it in the first place.”He added no such similar situation would be experienced now.Also readYogi Cabinet approves UPCOCA to check organized crime”1.60 crore houses in Uttar Pradesh will be illuminated within one year. Camps will be set up in villages under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ wherein free electricity connections are being given to the poor,” Adityanath said.Union Power Minister R K Singh, Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj, state Energy and Power Minister Shrikant Sharma and Transport Minister Swatantra Dev Singh also attended the program.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Over 70% voter turnout in re-polling at six booths

More than 70% voter turnout was recorded in the re-polling held today at six polling booths in four Assembly constituencies of Gujarat, said officials.Following the Election Commission’s (EC) directive yesterday, the polling was held at two booths each in Vadgam and Savli constituencies and one each in Viramgam and Daskroi constituencies.While the Chhaniyana-1 and 2 booths of the Vadgam seat clocked a 74 and 73 per cent voter turnout respectively, booth number 27 in Viramgam recorded an 83-per cent turnout, said Gujarat’s Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain.Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting from the Vadgam (SC) seat as an Independent candidate supported by the Congress.The Nava Naroda booth of the Daskroi seat registered a 73-per cent voter turnout, while the Nhara and Sankrada booths in Savli constituency registered a 71 and 75 per cent voter turnout respectively.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Wi-Fi service suspended at Surat college following complaint of EVM hackingThe re-polling was held from 8 am till 5 pm.The EC had yesterday ordered the re-polling after the second phase of voting in the Gujarat Assembly polls, covering 93 seats of central and north Gujarat, on December 14.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrowHowever, the poll panel did not specify the reason for the fresh polling at these six booths.The EC had also directed that the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips of 10 booths in seven constituencies be taken into consideration during tomorrow’s counting of votes as the presiding officers of these booths had failed to wipe out the votes cast during the mock poll from the control units.In the first phase on December 9, polling was held for the 89 seats of Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat.The counting of votes for all the 182 Assembly seats will be taken up tomorrow.

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CM Palaniswami visits ailing Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary in hospital

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan has been admitted to a hospital here and Chief Minister K Palaniswami today met her and enquired about her health. <!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Palaniswami today visited the Apollo Hospital, where 58-year old Vaidyanathan had been admitted for some illness and evaluation, and enquired about her health. A photograph released here by the government showed Palaniswami giving the chief secretary a bouquet in the hospital. It said the Chief Minister enquired about her health.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrow

Counting of votes will be held tomorrow for the Gujarat Assembly polls, considered a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and a litmus test for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi.While the BJP is seeking a sixth straight term in office, the Congress is aiming to stage a comeback in power after being in the opposition for over two decades.The results are expected to have a bearing on the 2019 parliamentary polls also as Modi had come to power in 2014, based on the Gujarat ‘model of development’.The much-awaited results of the keenly fought elections will be announced tomorrow when the counting of votes will be held at 37 centres across the state’s 33 districts, amidst tight security.The voting was held following an acrimonious campaign, where both the main political parties indulged in no-holds- barred attacks on each others.Modi led the campaign for the BJP, while Rahul Gandhi was the pivot of the Congress’ electioneering.During the campaign, Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah trained guns on the Congress on issues like Ram Temple, alleged Pakistani interference in the Gujarat polls and (suspended Congress leader) Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks.Gandhi persistently attacked Modi and the BJP for “not talking about the future of Gujarat” and skipping key issues being faced by the people of the state.The Congress also stitched about a broad social coalition with prominent Patidar, OBC, and Dalit leaders – Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jigesh Mevani – in its bid to unseat the BJP in power for over two decades.Patel led a long agitation of his community for reservation, while Thakor led an counter protest against inclusion of Patidars in the OBC reservation list. Mevani raised his voice against Dalit atrocities.The influential Patidar community, which accounts for around 12 per cent of the state’s population, could prove to be the ‘X factor’ in the polls in which Patel pledged support to the Congress and appealed to people to “uproot the BJP” this time.As the campaign was nearing its end, “Vikas” (development) took a back seat, and caste and religious issues received prominence.The two main rival parties also tried to counter each other on social media, as the Congress and its supporters launched the campaign “Vikas Gando Thayo Che” (development has gone crazy), while the BJP launched a counter drive of “I am development, I am Gujarat”.An average 68.41 per cent polling was recorded in the two-phase Assembly elections in Gujarat.According to the final figures released by the Election Commission, the voter turnout in the second phase of balloting on December 14, for 93 seats of North and Central Gujarat, stood at 69.99 per cent.In the first phase of polls held on December 9 for 89 seats in Saurasthra, Kutch and South Gujarat, 66.75 per cent voting was recorded.The total voter turnout this time has seen a dip of 2.91 per cent, as compared to the 2012 polls when 71.32 per cent polling was registered.In terms of numbers, of the total 4.35 crore registered voters, 2.97 crore exercised their right to franchise in the elections held on December 9 and 14.According to the EC data, the tribal-dominated Narmada district witnessed the highest voter turnout of 79.15 per cent, while Devbhumi-Dwarka of Saurashtra region recorded the lowest at 59.39 per cent.The districts which recorded a high turnout are Tapi (78.56 per cent), Banaskantha (75.15) and Sabarkantha (74.97).The districts which saw a low turnout are Amreli (61.29), Bhavnagar (61.56) and Porbandar (61.86).Out of the total 33 districts, 15 recorded over 70 per cent polling, while 17 others clocked between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.Only Devbhumi Dwarka district registered polling below 60 per cent.

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‘We are not safe here’: West Bengal workers leave Rajsamand village after Afrazul’s murder

Ten days after the brutal murder of Mohammad Afrazul Khan in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand, migrant workers from West Bengal are leaving the state in large numbers, a report said today. According to a report by The Indian Express, most of the quarters in Dhoinda village in the district where Afrazul lived are locked. Many of the occupants of these quarters were from Bengal’s Malda, the home district of Afrazul. Afrazul lived in Dhoinda village with his son-in-law and a cousin. Also readRajasthan hacking: Taslima Nasreen writes ‘intolerance at peak, Muslims can be killed easily’“I was in Rajasthan since the past decade to earn money but after seeing Afrazul’s half-charred body, I can’t stay here any longer,” Mohammed Ziaul Haq, a labourer, told the newspaper. Around 180 migrants from Malda lived in this village, with most working as labourers in the construction industry, according to a report in Scroll. Another report on the website claimed that over a hundred Muslim migrants have fled Rajsamand since the murder. Also readRajasthan hacking: Rs 2.75 lakh deposited in Shambulal Regar’s wife’s account before being frozenThere were many others like who are either leaving the state or preparing to do so as soon as feasible. Those who have stayed are distrustful of strangers.“We are not safe here and that’s why we are going back to West Bengal. We may earn less but at least our families won’t have to worry about our safety,” another labourer, Mohammed Rafiul, told the daily.Also readRajasthan hacking: Rs 2.75 lakh deposited in Shambulal Regar’s wife’s account before being frozenMohammad Afrazul, a labourer from Malda district, was hacked and burnt to death in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan on December 6. His alleged killer Shambhulal Regar burnt him alive and also uploaded a video of the crime on social media. Regar was later arrested. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has demanded “exemplary action” against the alleged killer. State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh recently said that people of West Bengal were going to the other states as the Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state had failed to create jobs.In response, Banrejee said it was only normal for the people of other states to come to Bengal and vice versa.West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had also promised jobs to those willing to return to West Bengal.She had said, “People of Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar work in Bengal. They have made this place their motherland and we have welcomed them as well. But if a person from West Bengal went to work in Rajasthan, why was he murdered? If these people want to return to Bengal, they can get their names enrolled at the respective district magistrate’s office.We will ensure that they get 200 days’ work in a year. The state can also provide for one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to people like these, to set up their own business unit.” Watch: Murder over alleged ‘love jihad’ in Rajasthan

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BJP to contest Karnataka Assembly elections under Yeddyurappa’s leadership: Rajnath Singh

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka under the “leadership” of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Union Minister Rajnath Singh announced today. Speaking at the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra in Bengaluru, the Union Home Minister said, “BJP to fight upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka under BS Yeddyurappa ji’s leadership.”Rajnath Singh was accompanied by BJP’s Karnataka unit chief Yeddyurappa, Union Ministers Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda.Also readParesh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicisedThe elections for the 225-member house will be held in mid 2018 as the term of the Assembly expires in May.Earlier, BJP President Amit Shah had announced that Yeddyurappa would be the party’s chief ministerial face in the Assembly polls.Also readI am contesting assembly polls to prevent BJP coming to power: SiddaramaiahHe will face incumbent Siddaramaiah who has announced that this will be his last election. The Congress has announced Siddaramaiah would be the party’s face during the 2018 Assembly polls, and is yet to decide on the Chief Ministerial candidate.Yeddyurappa, 74, is an influential Lingayat leader, who had led the saffron party to its maiden victory in the southern state in 2008. He was forced to resign following charges of corruption against him. Also readKarnataka: Protest in Kumta turns violent over death of activist Paresh Mesta He floated his own outfit in 2011 which performed poorly in the 2013 Assembly polls but managed to wean away a substantial chunk of the BJP votes, leading to a rout of the saffron party. He returned to the BJP fold ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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Chhattisgarh village gets electricity for the first time since Independence

A tribal village in Chhattisgarh’s Balrampur district got electricity connection for the first time.The Jokapatha village, situated in mountainous region, had been deprived of power supply since independence.Expressing happiness over the development, a villager said that the electricity supply would help their children do well in their studies.?We are very happy now that we finally have electricity in our village, now our children can study well and progress in life,? the Sarpanch of Jokapath village told ANI.The students also seemed excited and said they did not like the village in darkness and were happy that they have electricity now.The state government led by Chief Minister Raman Singh has provided electricity connections to the several villages after 70 years of independence.The chief minister announced the electricity development project for the village following which the authorities ordered to provide the village with surplus power.

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AIADMK battles war within; actors eye political vacuum in Tamil Nadu

2017 was politically tumultuous for Tamil Nadu keeping the ruling AIADMK busy in setting its house in order as it faced storm after storm post-Jayalalithaa and the year also saw cinema veterans Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan hinting at entering public life.’Resort politics’ came to dominate the headlines even as a new dispensation under Chief Minister K Palaniswami took over following a rebellion by his predecessor O Panneerselvam against V K Sasikala in February.In winds of change, T T V Dhinakaran, who was initially appointed AIADMK deputy chief by his aunt Sasikala, was now struggling to stay afloat with dwindling legislators’ support and the challenge of a unified AIADMK.Sensing the vacuum, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan dropped adequate hints of a political plunge, keeping alive a tradition of cinema stars graduating to politics.Former chief ministers — the late C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran (MGR) and Jayalalithaa — besides other actors like S S Rajendran, Sarath Kumar and D Napolean have forayed into politics for successful careers.According to Rajinikant, the “system is rotten” as he asked his fans to “prepare for a war”.Haasan, in particular, went ballistic against the ruling AIADMK on corruption, throwing regular barbs against the government, with the ministers criticising him. A self- declared rationalist, he courted controversy when he hit out at what he called Hindu extremism.Ailing DMK chief M Karunanidhi, now in his 90s, too is not a novice to Tamil Nadu filmdom, having been a successful script-writer.The demise of Jayalalithaa in December last year found its echo during the entire 2017, with the state government constituting a one-man commission to inquire into the circumstances and situation leading to her hospitalisation in September 22 and death on December 5, 2016.The internal churning in the ruling AIADMK dominated the headlines, starting in February.What seemed to have been a smooth ascension to power for Sasikala came a cropper with Panneerselvam throwing a spanner in the works.Having elected the AIADMK chief last December, the decks were cleared for elevation of Jayalalithaa’s close confidante as chief minister, when Sasikala was elected AIADMK’s Legislature Party leader on February 5.However, the then chief minister Panneerselvam had misgivings.Jayalalithaa’s ‘Man Friday’ and now deputy chief minister Panneerselvam made a sensational claim two days later that he was forced to make way for Sasikala’s elevation.He sat on meditation at the memorial of Jayalalithaa in Marina beach, sowing the first seeds of a revolt against Sasikala.Panneerselvam’s rebellion virtually set the cat among the pigeons, as an otherwise tight knit and disciplined AIADMK saw the first split in its ranks, decades after the death of its founder, MGR, in 1987.The party was then divided between Jayalalithaa and V N Janaki, MGR’s widow, before the former united it and brought it under the ‘two leaves’ symbol.With an imminent trust vote staring at her party, Sasikala lodged her MLAs at a resort at nearby Koovathur for days together in February, earning the label ‘resort politics’.Sasikala herself made repeated trips to keep the morale of her legislators high.In the meantime, she also met then governor Ch Vidysagar Rao and staked claim to form the government.However, the Supreme Court, which had reserved judgement in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets cases in which Jayalalithaa was the main accused, convicted Sasikala, dashing her hopes of leading the state.The apex court awarded her a four-year jail term, which she is currently serving in Bengaluru.As a parting shot, Sasikala brought back her relatives Dhinakaran and S Venkatesh into AIADMK, making Dhinakaran her deputy and in-charge of affairs.The two were among Sasikala’s relatives who were expelled by Jayalalithaa in 2011.Then Sasikala loyalist Palaniswami was elected Legislature Party leader, becoming the second chief minister of the state in less than two months after Panneerselvam, who took over following the demise of Jayalalithaa in December 2016.Meanwhile, the two camps led by Panneerselvam and the chief minister continued to face-off, even as the ruling faction fielded Dhinakaran in the April 12 bypoll to RK Nagar, earlier held by Jayalalithaa, which was later cancelled.The Election Commission rescinded the poll following complaints of money power.However, things soon took an unexpected turn when Palaniswami revolted against Dhinakaran, with a section of the state cabinet announcing sidelining the former MP.Panneerselvam and Palaniswami merged their respective factions after many rounds of talks in August, a move that further agitated the Dhinakaran camp.The very next day, 19 MLAs supporting the beleaguered leader revolted against the chief minister, later prompting their disqualification as legislators by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal. One MLA later switched over to the ruling camp.The patch-up between Panneerselvam and Palaniswami saw the former becoming deputy chief minister in the government.Later, a general council of the unified AIADMK sacked Sasikala as interim general secretary and annulled all appointments made by her, effectively targeting Dhinakaran.The camp got a shot in its arm when the Election Commission awarded the ‘two leaves’ symbol to it.Now, Dhinakaran is fighting the December 21 bypoll to RK Nagar as an independent.

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Madhya Pradesh: 3 arrested for molesting woman police sub-inspector

The accused were arrested following the woman filed case against them under section 354 (sexual harassment), section 353 (assault and using criminal force to deter a public servant from doing his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the relevant section of Arms Act.”
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JNU VC urges Centre to install Army tank on campus as ‘symbol of patriotism’
Former ISRO chief UR Rao, man behind India’s 1st satellite Aryabhatta, passes away
US biologists discover three new toad species

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Sunday 17 December 2017 10:37 ISTMust readIndia’s request for Red Corner Notice against Zakir Naik not accepted by Interpol, NIA to file fresh appealHorror night for 23-year-old Pune lady: Raped by two, molested by one <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Three people have been arrested for allegedly molesting and threatening a woman police sub-inspector at gun-point in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The accused allegedly passed lewd comments at the sub sub-inspector and molested her.The accused were arrested following the woman filed case against them under section 354 (sexual harassment), section 353 (assault and using criminal force to deter a public servant from doing his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the relevant section of Arms Act.

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Instruct district administrations to not attend meetings called by Guv; be worthy of office: Chidambaram tells TN CM

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday hit out at Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit’s statement that the governor is the titular head of the state, but the real power belongs to the chief minister.“Amused by TN Governor’s statement. Governor is only the ‘titular’ head of the Executive, not the ‘real’ head. Since the real head, the Chief Minister, is cowering in fear of the central government, the TN Governor is exceeding his authority,” Chidambaram tweeted.The former finance minister also sent a message to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palanisami, saying that if he was worthy of the office he held, he (Palanisami) should instruct district administrations to refuse to participate in meetings called by the Governor.Also readTN governor discusses development work in Coimbatore; opposition calls it interference by CentreEarlier, Raj Bhavan in Tamil Nadu issued a press release stating the role of the governor. “The governor is the executive head of the state as per the Constitution. He has complete power to obtain any information connected with the administration of the state and to visit various parts of the state without any restrictions. There have been reports, discussions and comments from various biased quarters about the Constitutional illegality of such actions,” the release said, adding that meetings being held between the governor with district officials is in conformity with his role as governor of state under the provisions of the Constitution of India.On Thursday, Purohit held meetings with officials of Cuddalore district, despite mass protests from the opposition DMK party.On December 7, DMK leader M.K. Stalin had said party supporters will hold peaceful protests against Purohit during his visits to various districts to review developmental works.Stalin said the Governor should stop indulging in “political” work to review projects and instead order Chief Minister K. Palaniswami to prove his government’s majority in the assembly.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan confirms wife and mother have received visas to visit him

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approved the visa applications of the mother and wife of Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on a death row in that country on charges of espionage.The spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign ministry shared the news on his Twitter handle on Saturday evening.Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign office sent a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs suggesting that Jadhav’s family can meet him on Christmas.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed that Pakistan will grant visa to both the mother and the wife of Jadhav. On November 10, Pakistan had agreed to allow Jadhav’s wife to meet him. India has been pressing Pakistan to grant a visa to his mother Avantika as well, on humanitarian grounds.Describing it as a positive development, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan has also permitted an Indian diplomat to accompany Jadhav’s wife and mother during their trip. The diplomat will be present during their meeting in the jail. When queried whether allowing Indian diplomat to accompany Jadhav’s relatives in jail meant granting consular access, Kumar said it was too early to predict the nature of the access.Jadhav had filed an appeal with Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to seek clemency, which is still pending. In October, the Pakistan Army had said it was close to a decision on Jadhav’s mercy petition.Also readNo consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pak tells ICJAccording to Pakistan, its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, last year, after he reportedly entered the area from Iran. He was charged for espionage and sentenced to death. India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he planned to start a business after retiring from the Indian Navy.After India approached ICJ, a 10-member bench on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the adjudication of the case. The ICJ had asked Pakistan to submit its response by December 13, before the court could start further proceedings. Pakistan is now expected to inform the ICJ that since it has agreed to provide consular access to the prisoner, India’s plea at the world court be declared infructuous.Also readMom, wife can meet Kulbhushan Jadhav on Dec 25: PakistanHowever, Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India’s plea for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its ‘spy’.Media reports from Pakistan suggest that Pakistan in its reply has alleged Jadhav is not an ordinary person and had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities. The reply, which was submitted by the Foreign Office’s Director (India), Fariha Bugti, also claimed that Jadhav case does not fall under the purview of the Vienna Convention.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav’s friends celebrate after Pakistan grants visa to his mother and wifeThe counter-memorial said the consular access under the Vienna Convention was reserved only for legitimate visitors and not for spies.Reports said the reply also encompasses the charge-sheet filed against Jadhav, which also includes his confession.Pakistan has stated that “the Indians have not denied that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name.””Lack of explanation on how a serving naval commander was operating under secondment to Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and also was travelling under an assumed name leads to only one conclusion that India wanted consular access to the information he had gathered,” said the counter memorial.

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With changing era, there is need for change in judicial system: RM Lodha

In the two-day National Conference and Annual General Meeting organized by the Association of Retired Judges of Supreme Court and High Court’s, discussions on change for judicial system improvement were held, on Saturday.Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court RM Lodha said that according to the changing era, there is a need to make changes in the judicial system with the highest development and digitization of technology. He said that there is a need to change the ancient method in the judicial system. Judiciary and judicial officers should prioritize the use of various dimensions of the internet, in addition to developing the online system at every level in the judicial administration. He discussed the judicial system of America, London, Australia, China, etc. We also need the People less proceedings with paperless in the judiciary. For this, it has become necessary to adopt modern techniques of electronic, internet and digitization in more form.Retired Judge of Supreme Court AK Mathur presided over the function. President of Association, Justice Maghraj Kalla welcomed all the guests and highlighted the activities. Justice Vinod Shankar Dave, the Guardian of the Association also highlighted the formation and purpose of the Association expressing its views. The senior judges of Rajasthan High Court and President of Rajasthan Judicial Academy Gopalakrishna Vyas also expressed their views.

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CM Vasundhara Raje visit saves threatened Shekhawati havelis

Defending traditional facade of Shekhawati havelis will be a joint responsibility of the district administration, local bodies and police. The plight of these havelis being threatened by mischief of notorious elements and ignorance of civic authorities caught notice of chief minister Vasundhara Raje during her Jansamwad (public dialogue) at Fatehpur town of Sikar district on Saturday. The CM immediately issued orders to the Jaipur division commissioner and police range IG to ensure conservation of these traditional buildings that have gained global fame for their architecture.These buildings of Shekhawati stand evidence of the glorious history of the land, however, at Fatehpur town a few of these are in danger due to recent civic issue of water logging. Seepage has been damaging walls and weakening foundations of the havelis. The chief minister during the public dialogue ordered the district collector and local body officials to resolve the issue, while instructions were also made to principal secretary, local self-governance to develop a detailed project report for ensuring conservation of heritage appearance of these havelis.Chief minister Raje at the Jansamwad met representatives from various community members of the area. These public dialogues held in series in cities across the state have become feedback and grievance redressal platform enabling local community representatives to have their voice heard at the highest podium of governance in the state. At Fatehpur too, the CM Jansamwad had immediate resolution for several long pending issues. Social securityCM on her visit also flagged of Annapurna mobile kitchen vans to deliver quality food at affordable price. She here also assured members of villages on forest land to have the proposal of land diversion processed soon. The chief minister talking of improvement in education services told the gathering that the results of government schools have improved by two per cent in Sikar.

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Not enough done for safety of women: CM Arvind Kejriwal

Five years after the December 16 gang rape incident, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday that not enough has been done for the security of women. The national AAP convener, however, said that his government is all set to install CCTV surveillance cameras across the city to ensure that the city has enough eyes.The AAP government, before coming to power in 2015, had promised better security for women in the Capital and was the on top of the agenda in the party’s manifesto.”A few years ago, on this day, the Nirbhaya incident took place. I don’t think we have taken any bold steps towards bolstering the security of women. It is a matter of concern for all of us and we should not indulge in blaming each other.However, I am happy that the Public Works Department (PWD) has taken a solid step in this direction. The tenders for installing CCTV cameras have been opened. Soon, we will have CCTV cameras across the city,” said Kejriwal on the sidelines of the inauguration of a flyover loop in Mukundpur.

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Air force gets two more women pilot

The Indian Air Force got two more women fighter pilots on as Flying officers Pratibha and Shivangi Singh were commissioned on Saturday after completing their training and were part of the 105 cadets who became officers of the Indian Air Force. The passing out parade took place in HyderabadShivangi Singh and Pratibha have followed the footsteps of Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh who were commissioned as Flying Officers last year in July.The two fighter pilots will now be sent to the Bidar Air Force Station in Karnataka for more advanced training on Hawk trainer, Air Force sources said.Pratibha is from Rajgarh, Rajasthan and Shivangi hails from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.After a second phase of training that will last 15 months the duo will be assigned fighter squadrons.Rashi Raina, another women cadet who was being trained as a fighter pilot along with the two missed out this time as she was medically unfit following a recent crash during training.”There will be a review and she will be back to training once she is fit and will need to complete all the courses,” an Air Force source said.Talking about women being inducted as fighter pilots the Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanao had said during his annual press conference in October that flying is a gender neutral like driving. “Women have to volunteer to become fighter pilots and have to make the cut,” he had said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Seats with the most candidates saw a huge dip in voter turnout

The Gujarat Assembly elections saw a turnout of 68.41%, a little over 3.5% lower than 72.02% polling reported in the 2012 polls. An analysis of 20 seats, which had the highest number of candidates in fray reveals that the turnout in many such seats was lower by 5-6%, and even by more than 11% in one constituency.Botad seat, from where 25 candidates were in the fray, including former minister Saurabh Patel, saw the steepest fall in voter turnout among the 20 seats. From 79.26% in 2012, the Patidar-dominated seat saw turnout of 67.57% this time, a decline of over 11.5%. In Mehsana, which had 34 candidates in the fray, the highest among all 182 seats, the voter turnout was 69.99%, as against 75.56% in 2012, a sharp dip of more than 5.5%. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel was pitted against Congress’s Jivabhai Patel from the seat.The Jamnagar Rural seat, from where BJP fielded Congress turncoat Raghavji Patel as its nominee, witnessed almost 7% drop in voting from 72.64% to 65.87%. The seat had as many as 27 contesting candidates.In the 2012 elections, 2.74 crore out of 3.80 crore voters or 72.02% had exercised their right to vote. In 2017, the number of voters rose to 4.35 crore, of whom, 2.98 crore or 68.41% voted. The difference in the voter turnout was 3.61%. Khambhalia seat in Saurashtra for instance saw a sharp fall of more than 8% in voting in this election as against the previous one.Two seats in rural Ahmedabad, viz. Viramgam and Sanand, were the only ones among the 20 which saw a higher turnout than in the 2012 elections. Incidentally, Congress had won both the seats in 2012. Viramgam seat, from where 22 candidates contested, saw 67.69% voting, about 1% higher than the previous elections. Congress turncoat Tejshree Patel was the BJP candidate from Viramgam this time.Similarly, Sanand constituency, from where 14 candidates contested, witnessed 75.42% polling as against 74.22% voting.Rural boostTwo seats in rural Ahmedabad, viz. Viramgam and Sanand, were the only ones among the 20 which saw a higher turnout than in the 2012 polls. Congress had won both the seats in 2012.

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Maha govt reconstitutes advisory committee under Human Organ Transplantation Act

The Maharashtra government on Saturday reconstituted a 10-member advisory committee headed by the health secretary, under the Human Organ Transplantation Act, 1994. The committee will have a two-year term till December 2019.The committee comprises, among others, the leading liver transplant surgeon Dr GB Davar, GS Medical College urology department chief Dr Sujata Patwardhan, Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre secretary Dr Surendrakumar Mathur, Sneha Foundation representative Dr Armeda Fernandes, Disha Foundation representative Shailesh Shetty, Association for Organ Transplantation president Dr Alan Almeida and cardiology specialist Dr Anvay Mulay as special invitee.The formation of the advisory committee was necessitated as the term of the previous committee appointed on December 31, 2014 was completed on December 31, 2016. The advisory committee is expected to play a major role to advise the state government on the strict implementation of Act and thereby promote organ transplantation, donation and distribution across the state.Dr Davar, who has been associated with organ transplantation for over two decades, told DNA,” Today we are getting voluntary donors due to public awareness. The government can increase further participation of medical colleges and non-transplant organ retrieval centres so that the organs of brain-dead patients can be useful to save more and more lives.”Dr Mathur said that Maharashtra has been pioneer in organ transplantation and donation as it was the first state to issue notification way back in 1999 and subsequently set up state level federation for organ transplantation and the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre at Mumbai. At the all India level the per million population organ donation rate is 0.5, but it is 1.5 in Maharashtra and 2.31 in Mumbai division, which is next to Tamil Nadu’s 2.50.”Number of donors is steadily increasing. There were 132 donors at the state level in the calendar year 2016 and the number will increase by end of December 2017. A little push is required to increase the number. The advisory committee will can advise the state government with regard to increasing the participation of medical colleges and other hospitals with ICU facility,” Dr Mathur said.Dr Patwardhan hoped that the advisory committee can give a necessary push for organ transplantation and donation by suggesting changes in the Act, rules and procedures.What it doesThe formation of the advisory committee was necessitated as the term of the previous committee appointed on December 31, 2014 was completed on December 31, 2016. The committee is expected to advise the state government on the implementation of Act and promote organ transplantation.

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‘Ray of hope’: Wishes pour in from politicos for Rahul Gandhi as he becomes Congress President

Wishes poured in for Rahul Gandhi from various opposition parties as he took over the reins of the Congress party today, with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav saying the whole nation “wants to see him as the next prime minister”.Forty-seven-year-old Gandhi responded to the leaders on Twitter, saying, “thank you”. The leaders hoped that Gandhi would strive for the welfare of the people, put up a fight to protect secular fabric of the country. Former Bihar deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav lauded Gandhi for “redefining” Indian politics. Also readCongress prez Rahul Gandhi pays tribute to martyrs of 1971 warYadav said Gandhi has proved his mettle in inclusive, secular and liberal politics. The RJD leader said the youth feels “duped and cheated” under the current BJP-led NDA regime. “And this respect, Rahul Gandhi ji is being seen as a ray of hope to bring this pessimistic politics to an end. The whole nation wants to see him as the next prime minister of India,” Yadav said in a video message posted on the Congress’s Twitter handle. Also readBJP rakes up Madhu Koda’s sentencing to target Rahul Gandhi on his first day as Congress PresidentReferring to a line “that there are many promises to keep, miles to go before I sleep” from Robert Frost’s poem, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hoped it would be the guiding motto for Gandhi during his stewardship of the Congress. “In Indian politics, we wish all those who have taken up new responsibilities the best. Our wishes to him in discharging these responsibilities only with the hope that it will be in the interest of the people and the country,” he said in a video message on the Congress’s Twitter handle. “Congratulations Rahul ji for this big responsibility and our best wishes for all ur endeavours,” Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.In a video message posted on the Congress’s Twitter handle, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav noted Gandhi’s responsibilities have now become greater and hoped he would make consistent efforts to take the grand old party forward. DMK working president M K Stalin also joined the leaders in wishing Gandhi, hoping he would restore glory of secularism. “Am confident that he will fulfil the aspirations and hopes of the people and restore the glory of Secularism, Socialism and Federalism. @OfficeOfRG,” Stalin tweeted. Taking to Twitter, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the party takes a pledge for a new movement that is free from fear, fascism, prejudices, equity and true democracy.”New Energy, Newer steps, New Challenges & Navsarjan! Under the leadership of Rahulji, We shall write a golden chapter for Our Nation!” Surjewala tweeted.Facing the uphill task of reviving a moribund party, Rahul Gandhi today took over as the Congress president, and immediately hit out at the BJP, accusing it of spreading hatred and violence in the country.”They break, we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it. They get angry, we love. This is the difference between them and us,” he told party workers.Gandhi, who was heralded by the 132-year-old party’s top brass, family members and boisterous rank-and-file, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to the medieval times.In his first speech to party workers after his formal takeover, he set the tone of its future course and how the party would take on its arch-rival BJP, saying the Congress was for inclusive politics and that it respects all Indians that extends even to the ruling party.The 47-year-old Gandhi family scion said he took over the party reins knowing that he would always be walking in the “shadow of giants”.”Today, the BJP people are trying to spread fire and violence in the entire country and only the force of lovable Congress workers and leaders can stop them,” he said.Before he gave his first address, he sought his mother Sonia Gandhi’s blessings and kissed her on the forehead.Attacking Modi, he said the Congress took India into the 21st century, “while the prime minister today is taking us backward, to a medieval past where people are butchered because of who they are, beaten for what they believe and killed for what they eat”.This ugly violence in the country, he said, has “shamed us” in the world as India’s philosophy and history, born out of love and compassion, are being tarnished by such horror.In an emotionally charged final speech as the Congress chief while passing on the party’s mantle to her son, Sonia Gandhi said the grand old party should set its house in order and introspect while readying for any sacrifice to stop communal forces in the country.She exuded confidence that Rahul would lead the party with courage, patience and devotion. He has endured many personal attacks which have made him “fearless”, she said.She also voiced concern over the alleged attacks on the core constitutional and fundamental values of the country by the BJP and asked party workers not to relent in the fight against such forces.”We are all witness to daily attacks on our fundamental values, against the freedom of speech and expression, against our rich diverse culture, and an atmosphere of fear and suspicion is being created.”Amid this, the Congress must look within and introspect and forge ahead. If we do not stand by our principles, we will not be able to wage this fight for the common people. This is a moral battle and to achieve success, we must set our house in order and be ready for any kind of sacrifice,” she said.Sonia Gandhi said the country was facing “unprecedented challenges”, but stressed that the party was not going to be scared and would fight it out.She recalled the times when she entered politics after losing her “anchor” (Rajiv Gandhi) and “mother” (Indira Gandhi), and how with the support of Congress workers she steered the party to power both at the Centre and in state after state.Congratulating Rahul Gandhi on his elevation, she said personal attacks on him have made him fearless and voiced confidence that his leadership will infuse new vigour in the party.”I am confident that with a new and young leadership, our party will be reinvigorated and bring about changes we need. You have chosen Rahul as your leader. He is my son, and it is not right for me to praise him,” she said.Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said Rahul Gandhi will sustain the “politics of hope” which is needed in the country and not allow the “politics of fear” to take over.In his brief address at an event where the new Congress president was handed over a formal certificate by the party’s election authority, Singh said certain “disturbing trends” are noticeable in the country’s polity and the people were depending on Rahul Gandhi to transform it.Singh described the day as “unique” in the party’s history and said Rahul Gandhi’s leadership would bring a new sense of dedication and commitment to steer the party to greater heights of glory.He also praised Sonia Gandhi for the “powerful and magnificent” leadership provided by her to the Congress which would go down in the annals of its history.”As a distinguished academic pointed out a few days ago, there are dangers that the politics of fear will take over from the politics of hope,” the former prime minister said, apparently targeting the BJP.”May your path be blessed,” he said as he ended his speech.Rahul Gandhi was given the certificate in the presence of Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra and several senior party leaders.The new party chief also met PCC delegates from various states thanking them for electing him unopposed.There was chaos outside the AICC headquarters where party workers gathered in large numbers to witness the event, making it difficult even for senior party leaders to enter the premises.While there was bursting of crackers outside the venue, women played with ‘gulal’ and young party workers danced to the beats of ‘dhol’.Posters and banners were put up in Lutyens’ Delhi and traffic was halted around the AICC office on Akbar Road.

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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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Women security issues raised in event on Nirbhaya’s Fifth anniversary

Ensuring the safety and security of Indian women was highlighted again at an event held here to mark the fifth anniversary of the Nirbhaya gang rape case that shook the nation to its core in 2012.A research paper on women’s perspective and alternative media was presented and primarily dealt with changes taking place in the lives of women. Another research paper dealing with the security of women centred around sexual harassment at workplace and how it differs from the western perspective.Another issue taken up was the insecurities faced by women and mainly dealt with sexual crimes and sexual violence.Also readFive years of Nirbhaya case: Mamata Banerjee calls for keeping society safeThe presentation of research papers was followed by a panel discussion on rape, child abuse, legal intricacies related to such crimes, how women are supposed to carry themselves according to society, but how they actually should, gender sensitisation and how women should forge their road ahead.Rakesh Yogi spoke on equality and how women should start raising their voices against such crimes. He also gave the vote of thanks.Also readEvery day a Nirbhaya is gang-raped and killed here: Asha DeviOther participants included chief guest and journalist turned social activist, Alok Dixit, television anchor Richa Anirudh, senior journalist at The Tribune Aditi Tandon, Assistant Professor Lal Bahadur Ojha, research scholar Richa Chandi and others.

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BJP Mumbai President Ashish Shelar gets slammed on Twitter for promoting Christmas musical event

After Amrita Fadnavis came under fire for organising a Christmas event, on Saturday, it was the turn of BJP Mumbai President and Bandra West MLA Ashish Shelar to face the heat on Twitter.Right-wingers on Twitter seemed upset by Shelar supporting a musical event titled “Prabhu Yeshu Janmtosav” on December 17 at Girgaum Chowpatty. A lot of right-wingers and BJP supporters appeared to be angered by the BJP leader hosting an event which they felt promoted ‘evangelists’ and demanded an explanation from him and Maharashtra Chief Minis Devendra Fadnavis.Another claimed that while BJP General Secretary was uniting India with India Ideas Conclave 2017, here BJP was ‘supporting those who want to break India’.Also readWill follow my mind, Amruta Fadnavis to trolls who criticised her for attending Christmas-themed eventThe criticism is rather bizarre considering Bandra West has a sizeable chunk of Christian constituents who probably voted for Shelar.Here are the tweets: Also readMadhya Pradesh: Carol singers’ car set on fire in SatnaEarlier, Amruta Fadnavis had dismissed the criticism she faced saying: “I will do what exactly my mind tells me. I will not be swayed by disruptive criticism. I have a mind of my own and I will work as per that.”Trouble began when Amruta tweeted and posted photographs of a Christmas event organised by a FM radio station on December 12. She was assailed by an array of abusive posts, some of which questioned her faith before marriage.Amruta had told DNA: “The motive behind attending the function was to give Christmas gifts to poor children. I was approached by this professional radio channel. During any festival, we have to do something good. We have to share happiness, whether it is Diwali, Janmashtami or any other festival.”Recently, carol singers and priests were allegedly beaten up and detained in Satna, MP over what right-wing groups claim was forced conversions.Suspected Bajrang Dal activists were alleged to have beaten up some Christians, including 10 priests, and torched their car outside a police station in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh last night over alleged conversion of Hindus to Christianity.

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BJP rakes up Madhu Koda’s sentencing to target Rahul Gandhi on his first day as Congress President

The BJP today dubbed the Congress as a “corrupt thought process” as it shrugged off Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as its president, saying its working style and “corrupt ways” remained the same.BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra launched a sharp attack on the Congress after Gandhi attacked the ruling party soon after replacing her mother Sonia Gandhi as its president.Patra cited the sentencing of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who was supported by the Congress, in a corruption case to hit out at the party, claiming it would remain corrupt despite the change in leadership.He said it was an irony that despite the Congress not being in power for four years, corruption cases were still tumbling out and people jailed for corruption they did when it was in power.”This speaks volumes about the thought process, the working nature of Congress party. So a new president or an old president, the working style of Congress party, the corrupt ways of Congress party still remain the same,” he told reporters.He said when the Congress talks about a change in leadership, the country is seeing how during its 10-year rule, corruption of ten to fourteen lakh crore rupees took place under their very nose.”Congress is not an ancient thought process as claimed by a few, rather Congress is a corrupt thought process and that has been proved by the judicial process today,” Patra added.After assuming the leadership of the party, Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of spreading hatred and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to medieval times.Also readRahul Gandhi is captain of a ‘sinking ship’: Union Minister Babul Supriyo”The BJP is spreading hatred and communalism… they break, while we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it,” Gandhi said.Asked about the ‘Aag laga ke’ (ignite fire) comment, Patra said this is “not a decent way” to react.”Elections are won not because of riots on streets, not because ‘sadak pe aag laga ke’. Elections are won because the mantra of reform, transform and perform works in the country under the able leadership of Narendra Modi,” he said.Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi He went on to add that elections are won as people compare how during the UPA days, the direct benefit transfer (DBT) was not there and the money could not reach the pockets of poor man.”Today because of DBT, what the poor man deserves, reaches his pocket. Elections are won by giving LPG cylinders to the last man standing in the queue, when electricity reaches every village.”So my simple request is we should not demean the basic nature of democracy in the country. Democracy is vibrant in the country because development is taking place as never before,” he added.Patra said that today is an important day as Madhu Koda, who was the chief minister of Jharkhand with the support of Congress party, has been sentenced to three years in jail because of his involvement in the coal scam.Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with him”We all know that Madhu Koda was an Independent MLA, but because of the fact that the government was formed with the outside support of the Congress party, the government then was almost a Congress government run by10 Janpath, 24 Akbar Road by the help of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel,” he said.

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Why are VVPATS used in first place? Hardik Patel questions SC rejecting plea for cross-check

On Saturday, PAS leader Hardik Patel took umbrage to VVPATs being used stating he didn’t understand the Supreme Court’s stand on the issue.He was quoted saying by ANI: “Why are VVPATs used in the first place? It is used for smooth counting of votes wherever there is a fault. I did not understand Supreme Court’s stand on the issue.”He went on to say: “I think Exit Polls results will turn out to be false. If EVMs do not malfunction then BJP will lose the election. I have 100% doubts on EVMs.”Earlier, Congress said it would file a “fresh comprehensive petition” on the Gujarat election after the Supreme Court refused to entertain its plea seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with votes cast in EVMs in each constituency.”We are very shortly going to represent and then file a fresh comprehensive petition,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.Also readGujarat elections 2017: BJP confident of victory, but won’t celebrate till results out”…The Congress will remain at the forefront of creating awareness about what is the basic structure of our Constitution, namely free and fair elections… Free and fair elections have been held to be part of our democracy,” he said.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud permitted petitioner Mohammad Arif Rajput, a Gujarat Congress leader, to withdraw his plea but granted liberty to file a comprehensive petition later seeking election reforms.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel held a roadshow at Vadodara”There was a very sympathetic and very elaborate hearing by the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the apex court gave us full liberty to withdraw the petition and equally in the order, reflected full liberty to file a fresh petition,” he said.Singhvi said the party would first represent to the Election Commission, seeking a comparison of the electronic result and the paper trail result.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Ravan’s arrogance had ruined Lanka: Hardik Patel”A comprehensive fresh petition, raising all issues relating to EVMs and VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) will be filed soon,” he said.Earlier in the day, senior advocate Singhvi, appearing for Rajput, said the counting of the slips of the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines along with the votes cast in the electronic voting machines (EVM) count in at least 20 per cent of the booths of each constituency would reassure the people about the fairness of the polls.”This court can’t interfere unless the Election Commission’s decision for a random check of the EVM-VVPAT paper trail in one booth per constituency is proved arbitrary, illegal or malafide. We cannot discredit the Election Commission’s decision without cogent material,” it saidWith inputs from PTI and ANI

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

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

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

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

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Union Minister asks Kejriwal to step up work under Clean India

The Centre has raised with the Delhi government the issue of “under-utilisation” of funds under Swachh Bharat Mission and asked it to step up expenditure under the scheme to improve services, sources said.Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has recently written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, stating that Rs 104.75 crore were released by the ministry in 2015 against the allocation of Rs 349.75 crore, the sources said.”Out of this, a sum of Rs 32.52 crore only has been spent so far and the balance is lying unutilised. Urgent efforts appear to be called for to step up the incurring of expenditure and delivery of services to the Delhi’s citizen for promoting Swachh Bharat,” the sources said, quoting the letter.Delhi has revised its target of Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) to 435 against the mission target of 1,25,398 as community toilets were considered more feasible, they said.But, the target for community toilets was increased only by 370 which should have been enhanced by 20,800 to provide toilet facilities to all individuals who do not have space to get toilets constructed in their houses, they added.In case of public toilets, only 328 have been constructed or under construction against the mission target of 9,156, Puri was quoted to have said in the letter.”Lack of community/public toilets forces the public to defecate and urinate in open with consequences leading to unhygienic conditions and health issues for the city,” they said, quoting the letter.Puri, according to sources, requested the chief minister to adopt a strategy and comprehensive action plan for the mission and implement it on a “war footing”.They said the Union minister, noting that the status of implementation of the cleanliness mission in Delhi is a matter of concern, said efforts were required to ensure that all agencies like municipal corporations, DUSIB, PWD and DJB were performing their duties effectively and efficiently to meet meet the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission.The mission aims to achieve clean and open defecation free (ODF) by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.Puri also noted in the letter that Delhi was yet to implement the Solid Waste Management rules in “right earnest” that results in high quantity of waste going to land fill sites for dumping.

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Shiv Sena MLA’s name figures in farm loan-waiver beneficiary list

Shiv Sena MLA Prakash Abitkar has claimed he was named as a beneficiary of the farm loan waiver in the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank, even though he had not applied for it. He has got a loan waiver of Rs 25,000 from the bank.This has come just a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the scheme was being implemented smoothly. He told the state legislative assembly on Thursday that his government had committed some ‘mistakes’ while implementing the Rs 34,022-crore farm loan waiver scheme, but has fixed all these issues.Abitkar, an MLA from Radhanagari in Kolhapur district, has got the benefit of Maharashtra Government’s loan waiver scheme for drought-affected farmers.Also readOver 1200 farmers committed suicide in 5 months: Maharashtra govtThe Shiv Sena MLA has raised the issue citing faulty implementation of the loan waiver scheme and demanded an inquiry into this flawed inclusion as the rules bar any existing or former elected representative from getting benefit under the scheme.He said, “I was stunned when I came to know that my name appeared in the green list of loan waiver beneficiaries. I was shocked again when I got more details about the list of my (Kolhapur) area. I had not even applied or registered my name anywhere to get the waiver.”The Opposition is directly blaming Fadnavis for this as the Chief Minister Office (CMO) had been working on the data of the beneficiaries of this scheme through information and technology department of Maharashtra.Also readMadhya Pradesh farmer ends life after notice for power bill of over Rs 9,000

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NHAI contractor inks agreement for ring road

Construction work on Jaipur Ring Road is expected to begin over the next week as the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) formally entered an agreement with Haryana based contract firm for the purpose. The contractor firm ‘Gwar’ has emerged as the lowest bidder among 15 companies to have applied for the Jaipur ring road contract and was issued a letter of interest by the highway authority earlier this month.The contract firm already has sent its team for site evaluation, however, it would still take few more days before work begins on the ground. The firm will be under a strict schedule to complete the project in stipulated time. The contractor firm will have a period of 455 days to complete the 47 kilometers long six-lane road between Jaipur-Agra and Jaipur-Ajmer highway.It has been almost four months since the JDA assigned the task to develop the southern section of proposed Jaipur ring road to NHAI. The urban development department at the time has claimed that the work be completed in 15 months, however, DNA in its article published on August 14 was first to report that it would take nearly 120 days before work is formally awarded to the contract firm.The ring road project has a history of being delays, the work has been juggled between NHAI, JDA and private contractors. It has been after instructions from chief minister Vasundhara Raje that the concerned authorities began to bring the project on track. Even as NHAI has been appointed to develop the road, the process got entangled in various formalities. The JDA took time to reach a foreclosure with the previous contractor firm and the issue of EOI by NHAI was delayed for due clearances from the government. The southern ring road is estimated to cost Rs 960 crore and will be completed in the first quarter of 2019.INSTRUCTIONSThe ring road project has a history of being delays, the work has been juggled between NHAI, JDA and private contractors. It has been after instructions from chief minister Vasundhara Raje that the concerned authorities began to bring the project on track.

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Haryana NOC for IG canal repair: Nitin Gadkari

Injecting a boosting dose in Rajasthan’s infrastructure and irrigation works, the Union minister for road transport and water resources, Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stone of ambitious Parwan Irrigation water project. He also announced the completion of Jaipur’s Ring Road project in record deadline of one year and commence civil works on Greenfield Express highway between Jaipur and Delhi, soon.“Whatever commitments I make, I fulfill,” said Gadkari as a chief guest addressing a function in Baran which was presided by the chief minister, Vasundhara Raje. Fetching water from Yamuna River to Rajasthan, restoration of Indira Gandhi Canal and uses of ethanol as a fuel for farmers were also proclaimed by the minister from the stage.He emphasised that he is working on schemes contentiously to supply water to the desert state and increase earnings of the farmers.“At the time of the partition, six rivers were divided between India and Pakistan equally. However, three rivers which India had, flow into Pakistan. I have directed my officials to draft a plan to turn their water to our states. In continuance of this, water from Yamuna will be brought to Rajasthan. Also we are working to bring Narmada river water here,” said Gadkari adding that in future land of farmers will not be acquired for canal projects and underground pipeline will be laid to supply water for irrigation.“Rajasthan will soon get NOC (no objection certificate) from Haryana Government to repair IG canal. I had dialogue with CM Manohar Lal Khattar,” spoke Gadkari, laying stress that he is working on schemes contentiously to supply water to the desert state and increase earnings of the farmers.Gadkari, who also got portfolio of water resources in latest cabinet reshuffle, also unfolded his plan to increase earning of farmers with his pet project of alternate cheaper fuel. “I am working for a plan in which ethanol could be used as a fuel by the farmers. This fuel is much cheaper than petrol and diesel. I will table the scheme next week in the parliament. Rajasthan needs to make a policy in this context too.”Green highway express project envisaged to connect Delhi and Jaipur is in limboand land required for it is still pending. Gadkari referred this and promised that land acquisition for the project will commence next month and soon it will be a reality. “And also, Jaipur ring road project will be completed in one year,” Gadkari promised to the gathering assembled at Baran.

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Radheshyam Garg is new RPSC chief

Dr Radheshyam Garg will take over as RPSC chairman. Garg hails from Dholpur, home constituency of chief minister Vasundhara Raje.Garg, according to the sources, is an RSS man and has served in the organization on important posts. His profile pegs him as one of best surgeons in the region and he runs a nursing home there. Apart from this, Garg reportedly also is in charge of a mentally challenged kids school, a social service which gives that extra edge in the region.RPSC, the body entrusted with the task of recruiting government employees was without a head after its chairman Shyam Sunder Sharma retired on September 28. The commission is an eight-member body, including the chairman.Chairman’s post is a constitutional one with the governor appointing the head. The term of the chairman and members is that of six years or 62 years of age, whichever is earlier. Garg will complete 62 in May, 2018. This means, he will serve the post for only six months. The biggest challenge before Garg arises from wrong reasons in which the body has been indulged in the past. The RPSC has been often pulled up by the high court for its mismanagement and inefficiency in conducting exams.The high court on many occasions observed that RPSC’s inefficiency is a major reason for unwanted litigations in the courts due to its botched up competitive exams. Garg will be a busy man in his short tenure. The chief minister Vasundhara Raje on December 13 had made announcement of 1.4 lakh government jobs under direct recruitment. A lion share of the recruitment will be done by the RPSC. Also, it now has to manage exams of more youth in coming days as applicants number is likely to grow in the wake of the government’s decision to increase age cap to 40 from 35 for youth taking competitive exams.

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Madhya Pradesh HC judge cleared of sexual harassment

Over two and a half years after the then Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari set up a three-member committee of jurists to probe allegations of sexual harassment, forcing a woman Additional District Judge of Gwalior to resign to protect her “dignity”, against Madhya Pradesh HC Judge SK Gangele, the committee has given him a clean chit.It has also said that “in the interest of justice, the complainant has to be re-instated back in the service” if she wants to re-join.The woman judge had resigned in 2014, saying she had done so to protect her “dignity, womanhood and self-esteem”.The report of the committee headed by Supreme Court Judge R Banumathi, constituted under the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 in April 2015 was tabled in the Rajya Sabha today.This was done after a motion supported by 58 Rajya Sabha MPs to impeach Justice S K Gangele was introduced.The motion had listed three grounds of misconduct for impeachment of the Judge: “sexual harassment” of the woman judge; “victimisation” of the judge for not submitting to his illegal and immoral demands”, including, but not limited to, transferring her from Gwalior to Sidhi; and “misusing” his position as the administrative judge of the MP High Court to use the subordinate judiciary to victimise the lady judicial officer.In its 135-page report, the committee has said, “The four instances of sexual harassment alleged by the complainant are not proved beyond reasonable doubt… We hold that charge No 1 is not proved.”On the issue of the judicial officer’s transfer from Gwalior to Sidhi, the committee said the transfer committee “committed an irregularity” on solely relying on the recommendation of District Judge Kamal Singh Thakur. The transfer committee, it has said, “without making any verification…was not justified” in transferring her mid- session.More importantly, it has held, “In our view, it (transfer) was punitive”, adding that she had no option but to resign since she was transferred for the wrong reasons and at a time when her child was set to take class XII exams.The panel also found no basis in the charge that Justice Gangele misused his position to use the lower judiciary to harass the complainant.In her complaint to the CJI, the women ADJ had accused Justice Gangele of sending her a message through the district court registrar to “perform dance on an item song” at a function at his residence. She said a day after the function, which she chose not to attend, the Judge allegedly told her “he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor”.Incidentally, a in-house committee of judges, constituted by the Chief Justice of India before the impeachment motion was moved, to probe the charges against Justice Gangele had exonerated him, holding there was “insufficient” evidence to establish the charge of sexual harassment.However, the committee had also found that Justice Gengele to be “ambivalent and evasive about facts which are within his knowledge”. It had also raised questions of propriety of a High Court Judge (Justice Gengele) holding a public event to celebrate his 25th marriage anniversary on December 11, 2013, which was attended by many government officers.

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Supreme Court won’t interfere in Gujarat counting

The Supreme Court rejected on Friday a Congress petition that had sought directions to the Election Commission to match 25 per cent of all EVM ballots with voter slips printed by Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines used in the Gujarat Assembly elections. Counting of votes will be taken up in the state on Monday.A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra found no merit in the plea by Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal who represented the Congress.The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, observed that it could not interfere with the poll panel’s exercise of power. Electoral process in a democracy is of utmost importance and could not be interfered with to simply allay apprehensions of a party, the bench noted.Singhvi said that plea was not against EVMs per se. “…but now that you have VVPAT with all machines, we want the sampling of voting on EVMs with the VVPAt trail be done in at least 10-15% cases if not 25%.”The top court’s move comes a day after the Congress accused the poll panel of being the “puppet” of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). A day before the final phase of polling in Gujarat, the Election Commission cracked the whip on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and certain television channels on Wednesday. They had aired his interviews even after the end of campaigning.The BJP and the Congress traded charges against each other for trying to influence the voters in the mandatory no-campaign period.Within hours of the filing of three complaints by the BJP, the EC served a showcase notice to Rahul and ordered FIR against certain Gujarati television channels.The EC asked Rahul to explain by December 18 why he violated the poll code of no campaign within 48 hours of the conclusion of the final day of polling.The EC also instructed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to stop the display of such matter in districts going to the polls on December 14.Following the EC’s step, the Congress reacted sharply and called it partisan. The party demanded from the EC that an FIR be filed against BJP leaders. At the EC’s doorstep, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described it as an attempt to strangle the press.”In 2014 Mr Modi had given a television interview just a day before the polling, and on the day of polling, he had even displayed the BJP symbol, but EC did not act then. On December 8, a day before the first phase, the BJP finance minister released the manifesto but EC did not issue a show cause,” he said.In his first interview, Rahul said the “BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of Gujarat.””In the last three months, I have just raised the voice of Gujarat. They are not scared of me. They are scared of the voice of Gujarat. This election is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. This is about the voice of Gujarat,” Rahul told TV channels.He also accused the BJP of distorting his image by putting huge money.”There was no (image) makeover. BJP workers used money to distort the reality of Rahul Gandhi… a lot of money was put into this,” said Rahul.

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Sonia Gandhi ‘retires’ as Rahul Gandhi takes the reins today

A day before Rahul Gandhi takes over the Congress, the outgoing party president and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, said on Friday that her role is to “retire” now, indicating she is taking a backseat in the party’s affairs.The party, in which a number of senior leaders are more comfortable with Sonia, rushed to add that she had retired as Congress chief and not from politics, reflecting the unease with the idea of her taking a complete break.There has been speculation whether Sonia will continue to hold the posts of UPA chairperson as well as Congress Parliamentary Party chief after Rahul’s elevation.Gandhi told mediapersons in the Parliament complex: “My role is to retire”. She was asked what role she will assume after Rahul’s elevation.Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala soon tweeted, “Would sincerely request friends in the media to not rely upon innuendos.” He said Sonia has retired as Congress president and not from politics. “Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” he said.Former Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury said it was not easy for party members to accept that Sonia was going to quit politics. She said the leader would always be there to steer the party in the right direction.”(She) may say. It is part of her nature, her personality… she has never aspired for a post or clung to power”, Chowdhury said but added “for those of us who are around, it is not something that we can accept easily.”When Rahul replaces Sonia on Saturday, this will bring to an end her interrupted leadership in the party for 19 years, starting from 1998 during which the Congress-led UPA won two successive Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2009 and formed UPAI and UPAII governments.The party also recorded its worst-ever electoral performance in 2014, winning a mere 44 Lok Sabha seats.

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BJP MLA wants probe into Mumbadevi temple’s finances

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Colaba Raj Purohit has called upon the State Charity Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into Mumbadevi temple’s income and expenditure of last five years, the use of funds and violations, if any, of the Indian Trusts Act.Purohit, who had made an oral representation to the Charity Commissioner, will make a written submission soon demanding an inquiry into the functioning of the temple’s administration. The Mumbadevi temple, which was built in 1675, is an important landmark in south Mumbai as it is dedicated to Mumbadevi. “I will soon send a detailed communication to the Charity Commissioner demanding an investigation into the functioning of the temple’s administration in general. I will also seek papers with regards to the minutes of the temple trust and a probe into the use of funds and the services provided to devotees,” Purohit told DNA, adding that the Charity Commissioner should initiate action against the temple if the probe reveals irregularities.This comes after Purohit said that he had received complaints of the absence of facilities for devotees at the temple.When contacted, Mumbadevi temple manager Hemant Jadhav declined to comment citing that he has yet to receive communication from the government.Purohit’s demand comes just two days after the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the government will bring in a new legislation for the appointment of a trustee by the government at Mumbadevi temple along the lines of Pandharpur and Siddhivinayak temples. Fadnavis also assured that the government would bring in the system at Mumbadevi temple so that devotees are provided with all necessary facilities.

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SC extends deadline for Aadhaar linking for all services

The deadline to link one’s Aadhaar for all services including bank accounts and mobile phones has been extended till March 31, 2018, the Supreme Court ordered on Friday.Existing Aadhaar cardholders will have to furnish their details to open new bank accounts. Those who are yet to receive their unique identification number will have time until March to complete the process. Non-Aadhaar cardholders can open new accounts provided they furnish proof of application for an Aadhar card.”Those who already have Aadhaar cannot go on open a new bank account without Aadhaar. If they have Aadhaar, they will have to furnish it to the bank,” a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra clarified on Friday.”You see, there is no question of producing Aadhaar enrollment application for those who already possess Aadhaar cards,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who authored the interim order for the five-judge constitution Bench, said.On Thursday, a five-judge constitution bench that included Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan heard several arguments against the Centre’s direction for mandatory linking of one’s Aadhaar to almost 139 welfare schemes.The top court will now hear every challenge to the constitutionality of the Aadhar in January.

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Jayalalithaa was brought to Apollo Hospital in breathless state, says top official

The late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was brought to Apollo Hospital in a ‘breathless state’ on September 22 last year and those she approved were beside her during her treatment there, a top hospital official said today.The AIADMK supremo spent 75 days in the hospital before breathing her last on December 5 last year.”She (Jayalalithaa) was brought to the hospital in a breathless state, was given adequate treatment and recovered from it,” Apollo Hospitals Vice-Chairperson Preetha Reddy told a private Tamil channel in New Delhi in reply to a question.”Unfortunately, you know the outcome at the end was not what everybody was looking for. And that is the hand of fate which I don’t think anyone can do anything about it”,she said.To another query on the controversy raked up by some persons on the circumstances leading to her death, Reddy said the hospital treated her with best clinicians from New Delhi as well as from abroad.”See, I think the hospital has done it’s best. We have the best clinicians from (New) Delhi, from AIIMS, from abroad within this system”, she said.”There is an enquiry and I think that is the best thing that has been done. Let them go through the data…. I think all the mysteries will then be solved”, she said.It may be recalled that the one man inquiry commission, headed by retired Justice A Arumughasamy, appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to probe the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death, has already commenced the enquiry.Asked who was beside Jayalalithaa when she was treated, Reddy said people who were required and approved by her (Jayalalithaa) were by her bedside during treatment.”So were all the doctors from all over the world, qualified nurses technicians and physiotherapists from Singapore (who could be made available).” To a query on whether Jayalalithaa was aware of her fingerprint being taken, Reddy said “I can’t answer that question because I was not by her bedside”.It has been alleged that Jayalalithaa’s fingerprint was affixed on the papers authorising the candidature of AIADMK candidates for the then bypolls.

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Puducherry governor Kiran Bedi bans business class air travel by officials

Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi today banned business class air travel by officials in view of “severe financial constraints” faced by the territorial administration. “Business travel is not essential.It is a comfort and a luxury and not a right,” she said in a WhatsApp message to mediapersons after an urgent meeting with chief secretary Ashwin Kumar. “If we travel in economy class, we can save for the people in the current circumstances when we need every rupee,” Bedi said.A ban has been imposed with immediate effect on business class air travel by officials, she said.The former IPS officer said in the message that various measures were finalised at the meeting to overcome the financial constraints faced by the administration.She issued “immediate instructions” to all secretaries of the territorial administration asking them to strictly comply with the instructions.Bedi also instructed officials that before tenders are floated, it must be clearly stated in the proposed note for approval whether required money is available within the budget estimates of the departments.Also readKiran Bedi tweets video of old lady dancing thinking it was PM Modi’s mother, apologises for faux pas”Or else the exercise of tenders becomes futile in the event of funds not being available. This would also ensure prevention of blame games which only causes confusion in the minds of the people,” the Lt governor said.She contended that these measures would be followed in the interest of financial administration of the territorial government.The Secretary to Finance here has been duly informed about the measures and all government funded societies have also been directed to adhere to “principles of financial prudence lest the Heads of Departments should become accountable.”Also readSEE PIC: Kiran Bedi tweets a picture of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s chappals to highlight his simplicityThe objective is to save every rupee for essential expenses of the people of Puducherry, she added.

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Maha govt should remove anomalies in loan waiver list: Sena MLA after name appears in list of beneficiaries

A Shiv Sena MLA announced that he is a loan waiver beneficiary in what is a shock to the state government.Sena MLA Prakash Abitkar made the announcement during zero hour of the state assembly when Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that an online loan waiver system would ensure no wrong person could avail loan.Abitkar’s revealed that his name appeared in the list of beneficiaries and that the government should remove anomalies in the list of beneficiaries. He also pointed out that two teachers from his constituency were also listed in the people who would get a loan waiver.In September, Fadnavis announced the Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver scheme, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana and said that 89 lakh farmers would benefit.So far, 1,00,85,326 farmers have registered themselves with the government for loan waiver. Of these, 55,40,732 have filled the required form and uploaded it on the government’s website.

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Trinamool Congress’ core meet today: Panchayat polls, BJP on Mamata Banerjee’s agenda

After touring three districts, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would return to Kolkata on Friday and would chair a core committee meeting at Trinamool Congress headquarters off EM Bypass.Besides the administrative stock taking in the three districts she visited, Banerjee is likely to draw a roadmap ahead of the panchayat elections next year.Party sources said that the Cheif Minister had also got the feelers from the grassroot-level after the former party second-in-command Mukul Roy defected to BJP and would now plan her gambit.The last core committee meeting took place on October 27, which makes this the first one after former TMC MP Mukul Roy joined BJP on November 3.It would be attended by the cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs and zila parishad sabhadipatis among others.The Winter Session of Parliament would begin on Friday as well and a condolence resolution would be adopted for the death of party MP Sultan Ahmed. Which is why at least one MP of both the Houses would skip the meeting and attend Parliament.Sources also said that after Mukul Roy’s defection, many Trinamool leaders are also mulling of switching over to BJP. How this probable attrition could be stopped, would also be discussed in the meeting.Banerjee would also stress on countering BJP on social media. Along with personal interaction, she would tell leaders right down to the grassroot-level to get in touch with the mass through Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp telling people how BJP was trying to polarise people here on the basis of religion.Leaders who are unable to cope with smartphone usage would be asked to upgrade their technical knowhow and get used to smartphones. She would cite her example of how, in spite of her busy schedule, she manages to upload her activities on social media.Banrejee would also stress on making benefits of social welfare schemes to as many people as possible so that the party is able to reap political benefits ahead of the panchayat polls.She is also expected to give out a stern warning against in-fighting within the party.

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NGT bans sale of plastic items along Ganga belt from Haridwar up to Rishikesh

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday announced that it would be imposing a ban on the sale, purchase and storage of plastic items such as bags, plates, spoons, etc along river Ganga in Haridwar’s Hari Ki Puri Rishikesh up to areas in Uttarkashi.As per an ANI report, a Rs 5,000 fine will be imposed on violators.On March 30, the chairperson had directed that a meeting be held after the UP government informed the Tribunal about its willingness to discuss the scenario of shifting tanneries outside Kanpur. This is contrary to the stand of the previous government, under Samajwadi Party, which had submitted through former advocate general Vijay Bahadur Singh that paucity of land and dependence of lakhs on the tannery cluster made shifting difficult.A year after assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his ministerial colleagues and three chief ministers to adopt an “uncompromising mission-mode approach” to halt pollution of River Ganga. Already in January this year, the PM had directed the water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation ministry to prioritise pollution control and taking remedial steps. But, on ground, the progress has been rather slow and effluent treatment plants have still been found wanting.In the key stretch of Ganga, between Haridwar and Kanpur, 30 drains are directly discharging 701 million litres/day (MLD) of waste water in the Ganga, a recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board has said. The report also highlighted that barring three of the 30 drains, all other drains directly releasing effluents into Ganga indicate the presence of pesticides. Also, four drains of Kanpur carried a high concentration of Chromium, ranging from 2mg/l to 84 mg/l. “It has been observed that Ganga receives 3,048MLD of waste water,” the report said.CPCB, the country’s pollution watchdog, submitted a ground report of these 30 drains on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT had ordered last October that the drains in the Hardiwar-Kanpur stretch directly releasing effluents into Ganga needed to be physically inspected to record the quantum and quality of effluents going into the river and its main tributaries.Along with the Ganga, the joint inspection team, comprising of CPCB, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), UP Jal Nigam, and National Mission for Clean Ganga, inspected 25 drains discharging effluents into Ramganga of which a majority release domestic wastewater into the river while 26 drains release effluents into Kali-east.The direct discharge of effluents from 30 drains has resulted in high levels of fecal coliform, above the CPCB prescribed standards. At Jajmau, a tannery hub in Kanpur, the fecal coliform was ten times higher than the prescribed standards.According to the report, disposal of industrial and domestic sewage effluent directly by drains or indirectly through tributaries is the chief cause for high levels of pollution. The storm water drains designated to flood out the storm water during rainy season, are now being used for disposal of sewage and trade effluents which ultimately joins River Ganga, the report added

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Rajasthan to give financial aid to mums, pregnant women

Given that many women do not visit Anganwadi centres for antenatal check-ups for fear of losing on a day's wage, the government rolled out the PMMVY scheme. "We see that financial loss matters more to them compared to health, So there was a need to compensate their financial loss in order to motivate them to visit Anganwadi or health centres," Manoj Jain, Additional Director (Nutrition) at Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) said.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByAmit Bhatt <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 15 December 2017 2:40 ISTMust readSec 144 imposed at Udaipur, net, social media muzzledNGC gears up: Solar energy of ‘Thar’ to illuminate Gujarat & Punjab<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Rajasthan Women and Child Development Department has rolled out the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under which all pregnant women and lactating mothers in the state will get financial aid during their first pregnancy.Beneficiaries will get Rs 5,000 in three instalments — first during the early registration of pregnancy, second after six months on at least one antenatal check-up, and the last one during the first cycle of the child’s immunisation.Given that many women do not visit Anganwadi centres for antenatal check-ups for fear of losing on a day’s wage, the government rolled out the PMMVY scheme. “We see that financial loss matters more to them compared to health, So there was a need to compensate their financial loss in order to motivate them to visit Anganwadi or health centres,” Manoj Jain, Additional Director (Nutrition) at Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) said.

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

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

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Gujarat elections 2017 | BJP to form govt with record-breaking number: Vijay Rupani

Exit poll trends, predicting a clear win for Bharatiya Janata Party, led to celebratory mood in BJP camp. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP president claimed BJP was on course to break many records in the state.Rupani said people of Gujarat had celebrated the festival of democracy with great enthusiasm. “All the exit polls have showed that BJP is forming the government. Gujarat has shown path to entire nation and has always preferred value-based politics. The BJP never followed nepotism or vote-bank politics. The BJP will win with the maximum seats in Gujarat by creating a history,” he said.”The Congress has conceded defeat and therefore they desperately made complaints before Election Commission. They did this as a part of face saving exercise for Rahul Gandhi. This is the chariot of victory that has passed through Gujarat after other states like UP and now this will proceed towards other seats,” Rupani further said.Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said, “I thank all Gujarati voters for showing continuous support in BJP as the party is forming government in Gujarat for sixth consecutive time. This is a start of new era and these moments will be written in golden words in pages of political history of Gujarat. People have rejected casteism and nepotism, but embraced development. People have shown faith in PM Modi who is the pride of Gujarat. I should also acknowledge that our leader Amit Shah guided entire organisation in great manner.”CM CONFIDENTAll the exit polls have showed that BJP is forming the government. Gujarat has shown path to entire nation and always preferred value-based politics. BJP never followed nepotism or vote-bank politics, CM said.

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Sena will quit power in Maharashtra in one year and come back on its own: Aaditya Thackeray

In the latest threat to quit power and an indication that it will contest the 2019 polls separately, the Shiv Sena today said it will walk out of the BJP-led Maharashtra government within one year.The Sena, which shares a frosty relationship with its senior partner BJP, had threatened several times in the past to walk out of the NDA government.Addressing a rally in Ahmednagar district, 240 kms from here, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray said that after quitting the Sena will come back to power on its own strength.”The Sena will quit power in one year and come back to power on its own strength. (Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray will decide the time when the party will quit power,” Aaditya Thackeray said.Maharashtra goes to polls in 2019.Also readAaditya Thackeray seeks resignation of Maha education minister over online assessment process chaos”Once that is done (the decision on quitting power is taken), all of you have to work together to bring about a change,” the Sena scion said.Launching a veiled attack on the BJP, Aaditya Thackeray indicated that issues pertaining to education remain unresolved till date and said that students keep meeting him with their demands.”The Sena is committed to resolving the issues of students. The Sena has also created an educational application that will guide students and resolve their problems,” he said.Ever since the BJP formed government in Maharashtra, the Sena, which always projected itself as the “big brother” in the state politics, has been uneasy for having made to play second fiddle to the BJP.

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Bombay HC asks BMC to process application to hold Mumbai Marathon

Good news for participants of Mumbai Marathon, the Bombay High Court, has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to process the application by Procam International Private Limited, seeking permission to hold the Mumbai Marathon in January 2018, without demanding previous years’ dues.A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak by way of relief to the organizers directed the corporation to process their application following due process of law, without insisting for clearing of arrears.The organizers had approached to the court challenging the demand of Rs 2.74 crore made by the corporation, saying it cannot be made to pay for an entire month of advertisement fees etc, when the event is only for two days. Senior advocate Ram Apte, argued that corporation has resolved to charge for the month even for a single day. He cited the example of suburban railway pass, which has to be purchased for a month even if the passenger uses the service only few times a month.However, senior advocate Vineet Naik argued that the demand is not maintainable, and demand is illegal and arbitrary. He cited that the Chief Minister is the patron of the event and social messages for Swacch Bharat and Cancer awareness, during the event. However, Apte said the event is only for-profit event and the amount demanded is correct.The court after going through the pleadings noted that interim relief already granted will continue and the civic body should process the application for permission to hold the Mumbai Marathon, scheduled on January 21. It issued rule and posted the matter for hearing on January 10, 2018, in regard to the challenge.

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ISIS ka halla Quran mey kahin nahin hain: Army chief Rawat to Kashmir students

The message of peace and harmony is “beautifully portrayed” in the holy Quran and people often do not understand its essence, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat told a group of students from Jammu and Kashmir today, adding it does not propagate violence.Interacting with the group of madrasa students at his office here, Gen. Rawat also asked them to pick up sports like cricket and football and work towards containing terrorism so that Kashmir valley flourishes again. “How many of you have read the holy Quran?” Gen Rawat asked the 25-member group which is here as part of a national integration tour being conducted by the Army. “I will tell you what is the message in it. It is the message of peace and harmony (‘Aman ka paigam hai’). And, it has been beautifully portrayed in it. And, all this noise made by the IS, it is nowhere mentioned in Quran (‘Ye jo IS ka halla hai na, yeh Quran mey kahin nahin hai’) ,” he said.”So, you must follow the message embedded in the holy text. You think people understand the message. We do not properly understand it. In simple ways, Quran has given the lessons (on human values),” the Army chief asserted. The students, aged 13-22, arrived here on December 12 and many of them are visiting Delhi for the first time. Various militant outfits have been trying to radicalise the youths in Kashmir Valley by using different means including online propaganda. A number of people were arrested in the Valley in the past few months on charges of raising flags of dreaded terror group Islamic State (IS).Also readKeep military out of politics: General Bipin RawatThe Army chief warmly shook hands with all the students and accompanying teachers and asked them what difference they found between Delhi and Kashmir. “Unlike Kashmir, you do not see bunkers here, people roam at night in peace. We want the same peaceful environment in Jammu and Kashmir too so that you can fearlessly go to schools and madrassas.”Kashmir valley is equated with the heavens, and if you want that land to flourish, we must stop terrorism,” Rawat said. He suggested that they take up cricket and football and engage themselves in constructive activities.”Play cricket and football, but I hear that the youth there play hide-and-seek with weapons (‘hathiyar ke saath chor-sipahi’),” he said. Abdul Hameed, 13, from Panjgram village in Jammu, said, “I am very happy to be in Delhi. I have never travelled out of Jammu. And for the first time I travelled in a train.” A senior Army official said the group visited Taj Mahal yesterday and tomorrow they will go to see Red Fort and Jama Masjid.During the trip, the students also visited the National Science Centre in Delhi, the official said, adding, “Today, we will take them for a metro ride”.Also readOperations against terrorists in Kashmir will go on, says General Bipin Rawat “In Agra, they also prayed at a mosque, and tomorrow, they will also offer prayers at the Jama Masjid. And, in the evening, we will take a train back to the state,” he said. 37-year-old teacher Abdul Majid, accompanying the students, said, “We will return and spread the message of peace (‘Paigam-e-Aman’) back home as the Quran says.” The Army has adopted a tough approach against militants in Kashmir valley and stepped up its counter-terror operations in the last six months.The Army has also been carrying out various activities including organising national integration tours for youths of the state as part of efforts to reach out to the local residents.

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Anna Hazare to address a rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Ground on Jan 23 to seek electoral system

Social activist Anna Hazare announced today that he would address a rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Ground on January 23, highlighting the plight of farmers and demanding reforms in the electoral system.Hazare, who led a popular movement in 2011 seeking establishment of an anti-corruption ombudsman, said three-and- a-half years have passed since the BJP assumed office at the Centre, but the government has not yet been able to implement the Lokpal Bill.On the agriculture front, he said that the farmers were not getting remunerative prices for their crops.The Goods and Services Tax has done nothing good for the common man, he claimed.He said the time has come for effecting changes in the country’s electoral system.Also readHope no Arvind Kejriwal will emerge from my movement again, says Anna Hazare Lamenting that even after 70 years of achieving Independence, democracy, in its true sense, was yet to come to India, Hazare earlier said in Agra, “We do not want a government of capitalists. No (Narendra) Modi, no Rahul (Gandhi). We want a government which works for farmers’ interests.”Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal had taken part in Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in 2011. Subsequently, he had parted ways with the social activist and launched his own political outfit.

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Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut plans full-fledged commercial biopic on late party patriarch Bal Thackeray

Senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut is planning a biopic on late party patriarch Bal Thackeray, with an aim to bring before the people the real personality of the fiery leader.”It will be a full-fledged commercial film produced by me. The film will reveal the true personality of the great leader that Balasaheb was,” Raut told PTI.The Rajya Sabha MP, however, refused to disclose the names of the director and actors of the film.Raut, who has closely worked with Bal Thackeray for over two decades, said the formal announcement of the film will made on December 21, when its trailer will be released in the presence of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.According to him, the shooting of the film will start sometime in January (2018) and is expected to be ready for release by early 2019.Also readBal Thackeray memorial row: Bombay HC asks BMC to maintain status quo on eviction notice to kindergarten school”The film will be shot mostly in Mumbai and many of the scenes will be shot at the actual locations, where a particular event had taken place. It will take around 3-4 months for us to complete the shoot,” Raut said.Thackeray, an advocate of a strong pro-Hindu policy, died on 17 November 2012 in Mumbai at the age of 86. Besides being known as an aggressive leader, Thackeray was famous for his political cartoons.

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Aadhaar linking mandatory: SC reserves order for tomorrow

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its interim order for tomorrow on pleas seeking a stay on the government’s decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various welfare schemes.A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the final hearing on the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme itself would commence from January 17 next year.The central government had yesterday attempted to convince the court not to interfere with its deadlines, promising to extend it for another three months till 31 March 2018 for those who do not have Aadhaar.Earlier on October 25, the Supreme court had said that the deadline for compulsory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number.Earlier the court had tagged 22 cases to be heard by a smaller bench.The cases challenge several aspects of Aadhaar, including the use of data collected under the unique identification programme.As of now, the 12-digit Aadhaar number is compulsory to be linked to bank accounts, PAN cards, government services and cell phone services.

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Jisha murder case: Accused Amirul Islam gets death sentence

The accused in the Jisha murder case, Amirul Islam, has been awarded death sentence by the Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate court today.Earlier in the day, he was brought before the court for the quantum of punishment.Islam has been found guilty of raping and murdering law student Jisha.He has been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (punishment for rape), 376A (punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim), 442 (house trespass), 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offense, or giving false information to screen offender), 302 (punishment for murder) and charges on Dalit Atrocities Prevention Act.However, claiming innocence, Islam told ANI on Wednesday, ”I didn’t do anything. I don’t know who did it.”The chargesheet of the case revealed that Islam, a resident of Assam, murdered Jisha, following an attempt to rape her at the latter’s residence in Iringol near Perumbavoor in Ernakulam.The 29-year-old law student, Jisha was brutally raped and murdered on April 28 last year.Her body had sustained at least 30 injuries, including in her private parts.

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If EC can send notice to Rahul Gandhi, why isn’t a notice being sent to the BJP: Congress questions ‘partisan’ move

The Congress late Wednesday responded to the Election Commission’s (EC) to its president-elect Rahul Gandhi, saying that the commission should ideally issue a notice to the BJP.“Congress delegation submitted a memorandum to ECI demanding immediate registration of FIR against BJP leaders in the context of them violating the model code of conduct. If FIR can be registered against news channels for telecasting Rahul ji’s interview, then why not against BJP?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted with two documents on Thursday. The document added that the Congress was ‘shocked and anguished’ at the EC’s notice. “Such a decision, if taken, is discriminatory and does not take into account the conduct of the ruling party,” the document added.The Election Commission had cracked the whip on Rahul Gandhi and certain television channels that aired his interviews even after the end of campaigning.The BJP and the Congress traded charges against each other for trying to influence the voters in the mandatory no-campaign period.Within hours of the filing of three complaints by the BJP, the EC served a showcase notice to Rahul on Wednesday and ordered FIR against certain Gujarati television channels.The EC asked Rahul to explain by December 18 why he violated the poll code of no campaign within 48 hours of the conclusion of the final day of polling.The EC also instructed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to stop the display of such matter in districts going to the polls on December 14.Following the EC’s step, the Congress reacted sharply and called it partisan. The party demanded from the EC that an FIR be filed against BJP leaders. At the EC’s doorstep, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described it as an attempt to strangle the press.”In 2014 Mr Modi had given a television interview just a day before the polling, and on the day of polling, he had even displayed the BJP symbol, but EC did not act then. On December 8, a day before the first phase, the BJP finance minister released the manifesto but EC did not issue a show cause,” he said.In his first interview, Rahul said the “BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of Gujarat.””In the last three months, I have just raised the voice of Gujarat. They are not scared of me. They are scared of the voice of Gujarat. This election is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. This is about the voice of Gujarat,” Rahul told TV channels.

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Gujarat elections 2017: PM Modi’s mother Heeraben casts her vote in Gandhinagar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben cast her vote at a polling booth in Gandhinagar as the voting for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections began today.Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel has cast her vote in Ahmedabad’s Ghatlodia.BJP’s Bhupendra Patel is up against Congress’s Shashikant Patel on this seat.The voting will continue till 5 pm in more than 25,000 polling stations.In the second and final phase of elections today, 93 constituencies spread across 14 districts in north and central Gujarat are going to the polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 LIVE UPDATES: Polling for second phase underway, 7% turnout recorded till 9 amA total of 851 candidates are in the fray and over 2.22 lakh people will take part in the election to decide their fate.The security has been increased in various parts of the state in the wake of the polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | In Behrampura, lack of parking near polling booths pushes people away from votingThe BJP has fielded 93 candidates for this phase, while Congress has fielded only 91.Prime Minister Modi, BJP Chief Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also visit their constituencies to cast their votes.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Crimes on the rise ahead of Phase 2 in AhmedabadThe voter turnout in the first phase of the polls was 68 per cent.Meanwhile, repolling will be held tomorrow in two booths of Jamjodhpur constituency, two booths in Una, one in Nijjar, and one in Umargam.The results will be declared on December 18.In the 2012 assembly polls, the BJP won 115 seats, while the Congress bagged 61.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 LIVE UPDATES: Polling for second phase begins, fate of 93 seats to be decided today

Voting has begun in the second and final phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017. Over two crore voters are casting their ballots to seal the fate of 851 candidates contesting for 93 seats across 14 districts in Gujarat. The results of the polls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state would be declared on December 18.8:39 am: Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer BB Swain is among the early voters to cast their ballots. Swain appealed the people to vote in large numbers.8:33 am: PM Modi’s mother Heeraben arrives to cast her vote at a polling booth in GandhinagarAlso readGujarat elections 2017: With 16 seats, Ahmedabad holds key to Gujarat’s throne8:27 am: Former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel casts her vote in Ahmedabad’s GhatlodiaAlso readGujarat elections 2017: Crimes on the rise ahead of Phase 2 in Ahmedabad8:23 am: Voters show their inked fingers after casting their ballots in Patidaar leader Hardik Patel’s home town ViramgamAlso readGujarat elections 2017: ‘Dhandha manda hai’, cry campaign material makers ahead of second phase8:14 am: With hope and prayer on lips: Influential Patidaar leader Hardik Patel’s parents seen at their house offering prayers8:09 am: In early reports, a technical glitch has been reported in an EVM during mock poll at booth number 158 located in Patan’s Anand Prakash School.8:00 am: Voting for 93 seats begin.7:55 am: Poll Fact: Which are the smallest and largest constituencies by area and by electorate:7:45 am: Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi also appealed voters both in Hindi and Gujarati to vote in maximum numbers to strengthen the foundation of democracy:7:37 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to urge voters to ‘vote in record numbers and enrich this festival of democracy.’7:35 am: Early visuals of polling booth in Mehsana:

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India-South East Asia links have been deep: Dharmendra Pradhan

A conference titled India-ASEAN [email protected] was held on December 13 at the Taj Mansingh. The event was organized by Kalinga International Foundation (KIF), a think tank that brings together the east and north-eastern region of India with our neighbours, the ASEAN states and the wider Indo-Pacific region. The Conference started at 2 PM and had as its Chief Guest Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the inaugural session.There were five thematic sessions that included the inaugural and valedictory, with the participation of distinguished scholars, former diplomats and ambassadors of the ASEAN states.The inaugural session called the India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership and the Act East Policy was followed by a session on Economic Co-operation with ASEAN, Regional and Bilateral Co-operation, Security Challenges, and The Importance of the North East and Eastern Region of India for the Act East Policy. Pradhan spoke of Odisha’s deep interactions seeped in history with South-East Asia.“Our interactions over centuries have extended beyond Indonesia to include expressions of shared heritage and culture that are dotted across the region and find expression in strains of the everyday life of the people. Historically and culturally, the links between India and South-East Asia have been deep and profound,” Pradhan said.CONFERENCEThe Conference started at 2 PM and had as its Chief Guest Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the inaugural session. There were five thematic sessions.

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