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Meet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery Award

Dishant said that he would ask all the children to be brave, and not get bogged down by fear.

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Also ReadIndiaUS deporting not just students, but tourists and businessmen to India, says external affairs ministryIndiaActress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly West Bengal BJP’s women’s wing chiefIndia29 Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navyIndiaAssam Police to launch ‘Citizen Portal’ from January 1IndiaMeet the 13-year-old boy selected for National Bravery AwardIndiaIndia will not get financial aid from United Kingdom beginning 2016 <!– /.block –>

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MoEF and WII to begin captive breeding of Great Indian Bustard

Annually, GIB lays one egg and two eggs on some rare occasions. But with proper nutrition, ideal location, temperatures, food and management they can produce more than two eggs per year. The ministry has envisaged that about 25-50 eggs of GIB will be collected from wild habitats over a period of five years. These eggs will be incubated, hatched and their chicks will be reared to achieve a breeding population target of 50-100.The union environment ministry has approved a budget of Rs.33.85 crore for the project. While Rs.81.7 lakh has been sanctioned for Rajasthan, Maharashtra will receive Rs.1.38 crore. Gujarat’s share of Rs.1.10 crore is still under process.

Nikhil M Ghanekar

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Also ReadIndiaAAP govt to take a call on Badarpur power plant closure dateIndiaAfter 100 smart cities in 2015, 132 smart villages in 2016IndiaBMC has a New Year gift for Bhendi BazaarIndiaCentre takes the high road, clears coastal road projectIndiaGujarat: Patanjali products sent for testingIndiaAI plane hit by catering van at Newark airport in US <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Nawaz Sharif thanks PM Modi for Lahore visit; says high time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities<!– /.block –>No-detention policy for Std I-VIII students may change soon<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Gujarat: Patanjali products sent for testing

“The samples have been collected following instruction given by the state (Gujarat) health department after some of the products failed in lab testing,” the official said, adding that these samples have been sent to a Vadodara-based lab. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Also ReadIndiaRespect for Indians grew after PM Modi’s foreign visits, says Sushma SwarajIndiaCPI(M) thinking about introducing retirement policy in partyIndiaHeroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK filesIndiaPM Modi to visit Noida on Thursday, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to give it a missIndiaCongress dubs Centre’s Smart City project as ‘unconstitutional’IndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt tells agencies to allow date-wise parking <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Trump matches will add to excitement in PBL: Pullela Gopichand<!– /.block –>AI plane hit by catering van at Newark airport in US<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Preliminary work on Kalam memorial begins

The Tamil Nadu Government has alloted 1.30 acre land for the memorial at Pei Karumbu, where Kalam was buried after his death in July last. The commencement of the construction work came days after media reports stated that the place where the memorial of the former President was proposed to be built was lying neglected.

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Gujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health grounds <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaGujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health groundsIndiaJ&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat AlamIndiaRajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMSIndiaNo interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPTIndia’Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh JoshiIndiaNo Rs 2000 for people violating Kejriwal’s Odd-Even rule in Delhi <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Malinga ruled out, Sri Lanka name new T20 captain for New Zealand series<!– /.block –>Gujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health grounds<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Gujarat High Court allows 16-year-old rape victim to abort foetus

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Gujarat govt plans to extend e-voting to panchayat polls

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Former Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sue

Strongly condemning the remarks, Union Sports Minister and Assam unit BJP Chief Sarbananda Sonowal told reporters here that the party’s state unit will soon file a defamation case against him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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<!– /.block –>Gujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youth <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaTrinamool Congress claims CPI(M)’s rally was a flop showIndiaHurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace processIndiaFormer Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sueIndiaGujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youthIndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt conducts trial run with 750 private busesIndiaHyerabad Police questions youths who allegedly wanted to join jihadi groups <!– /.block –>

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Gujarat open to idea of high-speed racing in Rann of Kutch

“We expect several thousand more tourists over the next two months in Rann. Every year we are witnessing greater interest, both in India and abroad,” added tourism minister Patel. And with ideas of high speed racing doing the rounds in Gujarat’s tourism ministry, the wastelands of the Rann hope to soon see a display of raw fuel guzzling horsepower that would set the white sands under the full moon on fire.

dna Correspondent

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Also ReadIndiaGujarat open to idea of high-speed racing in Rann of KutchIndiaUP BJP MLA Sangeet Som ‘threatened’ by Islamic StateIndiaDon’t expect much from Indo-Pak talks in January: Sartaj AzizIndiaGovernment plans 50 more research parks to boost Start-up India campaignIndiaATS nabs ‘IS-bound’ Telangana cousins in Nagpur; last year, cops had counselled trioIndiaMissing Malwani youth appears on WhatsApp, says he’s returning home <!– /.block –>

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Two major defence deals that couldn’t fructify during Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia

Even as a $1 billion worth contract over manufacturing Kamov KA 226 light helicopters turns out the mainstay of India-Russia defence cooperation achieved during prime minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit to Moscow that concluded on Thursday, two other prominent defence deals that were being looked at failed to get formalised.According to sources, proposal for four Talwar class frigates – stealth warships with guided missiles – were on agenda for summit meeting between Modi and Russian president Vladimir Putin but didn’t find mention in the two countries; joint statement.Four frontline warships, sources said are to be built built at a cost of around Rs 30,000 crore at a private shipyard in Gujarat and a formal agreement was expected during PM’s visit.A partnership for refit and modernisation of all Indian Navy surface ships of Russian and Soviet origin too was expected on the discussion table but no announcement was made in this regard.Currently, there are 35 Russian / Soviet-origin surface ships in the Indian Navy fleet. The value of this business is estimated to be over Rs 35,000 crore. And the combined value of above two opportunities exceeded USD 10 Bn ( INR 66,000 Cr) over next ten years.Besides, India’s recent decision for purchase of nearly Rs 40,000 crore Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems too didn’t form a part of the joint declaration.Ministry of Defence’s Dfenec Acquisition Council had given a go-ahead for the Russian air defence systems on December 17.Twin engine Kamov choppers are believed to become mainstay of Indian Army in mountaneous sectors for their unique utility and an agreement over them is the ‘first major platform under Make in India.A total of 16 agreements were signed between the two countries.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Kashmir flood victims forced to take shelter in Ahmedabad slum to avoid cold

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According to them, this is the first time when they have been left with no other option than to shift their base due to the nature’s fury.

Kashmir floods

PTI
Hit by severe flood last year followed by extreme cold conditions, at least 400 people from Jammu and Kashmir have been compelled to leave their native place and take refuge in a slum locality in city’s Saraspur area, till the situation improves there.These 60-odd families, after arriving in the city, have taken shelter at an open compound in Saraspur area where they are living in make-shift huts made of plastic sheets. The families belong to places like Badgam, Anantnag, Drass, Leh and Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir.”There are many other families who have been forced to migrate during this winter. We came to Gujarat because we learnt that people here are very friendly. Now, we are expecting some help from them till we are here, as we don’t have money to buy anything,” said a native of Badgam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to them, this is the first time when they have been left with no other option than to shift their base due to the nature’s fury. “Heavy floods have swept away our homes, farmlands and our businesses. Majority of us are either farmers or craftsmen having very marginal income. Before the government could build homes for us, heavy snowfall started in the Valley, which stalled the construction,” Kargil resident Bashir Ahmed said.”For the very first time, we have to shift our base. We came here one month earlier and are living in this camp, where we don’t have food or water. I urge the local people and leaders to help us as many women and small children are also with us,” he said.According to an Anantnag native, they have been apperhensive of locals’ reaction to their coming here. “The place where we are staying at present is an open ground…. We would be grateful if we get some help.” On learning about their plight, municipal corporator Haji Mirza Baig has come forward to help them.”These people are our guests and it is our duty to help them. Since Saraspur is not in my ward, I have asked my men to go to the spot and find out their problems. I along with other leaders will extend all the help required. I will also talk to local police to ensure their safety,” said Baig, who represents the Sarkhej ward.The families plan to return home in March after cold conditions subside there. According to them, many other families too have taken refuge in other parts of the country.

Western Ghats to lose 60% protected areas?

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States unhappy with Kasturirangan report, push for lesser prohibitions.

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations. For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations. An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area. The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’. Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km. In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources. In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km. Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive. dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.

Winter has come: Mumbaikars shocked with 11.4 degree Celsius

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Today, Mumbai recorded minimum temperature of 11.4 degrees Celsius, which was six degrees below the normal for the month of December.

Representational Image

The country’s financial capital has been witnessing lower than normal average temperatures for the last three days, an unusual phenomenon since a decade, a Regional Meteorology Centre official said on Thursday. Today, Mumbai recorded minimum temperature of 11.4 degrees Celsius, which was six degrees below the normal for the month of December. The minimum usually is 17 degrees Celsius at this time of the year. “This was the second lowest minimum temperature recorded during the last ten years,” the official said, adding that the lowest temperature in the month of December in Mumbai was recorded in 1949 when it touched 10.6 degrees Celsius. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attributing the present chill to the cold northerly winds, the official said, these winds are reaching upto the north coastal Maharashtra from across Rajasthan and Gujarat and thus leading to drop in the minimum temperatures in all these areas. The maximum temperatures too have witnessed a slight dip in the city, the official said, adding that this cold spell would continue till the wind patterns do not change.

Gujarat HC notices to Gujarat govt and police on Hardik Patel’s bail plea

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Hardik is at present behind the bars in two separate sedition cases.
File Photo
PTI
The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued notices to the state government and police on Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s bail plea in a sedition case filed against him by the city crime branch.Justice A J Desai issued the notices and kept the next hearing on January 6.Hardik is at present behind the bars in two separate sedition cases. This particular bail plea was in reference to the second sedition case filed against him and five others by the city crime branch, in which they were charged with inciting people to resort to violence during the quota agitation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bail plea says that the sedition charge against Hardik are politically motivated. It also mentions that charging Hardik and others Patel quota agitation leaders with sedition was an attempt by the state government to suppress a legitimate agitation for reservation.Today when the court proceedings begun, the high court faced a dilemma as two bail applications were filed in the same sedition case. While one application was filed by his old lawyer B M Mangukia, the other one was filed by lawyer Rafiq Lokhandwala and Zubin Bharda. However, Hardik’s family members said they have appointed new lawyers, after which Mangukia withdrew the plea filed by him.The crime branch had charged Hardik and five of his key aides under Indian Penal Code sections 121 (waging war against government), 124 (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity). However, the high court had recently removed section 121, 153-A and 153-B from the FIR, while sedition charge was upheld.Hardik’s bail plea has been rejected by Additional Sessions Judge N G Dave earlier. Hardik has also filed an application in the high court seeking bail in the first sedition case filed against him in Surat. The sessions court in Surat had also rejected his bail plea on December 10.Surat police booked him under sedition charge for allegedly inciting a fellow activist to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.

Pakistan apprehends 70 fishermen, seizes 11 boats from Jakhau coast of Gujarat

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Rs 1,800 crore advance extended under Mudra scheme: Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel

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Patel also called upon women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the women’s empowerment schemes, notably the Women Industrial Park, set up by Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) at Sanand.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Bollywood actress Kajol light lamps at Vibrant Garima Business Women Conclave 2015 in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Saturday said Rs 1,800-crore advances were extended to small and big industrialists during a camp under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna’.Patel also called upon women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the women’s empowerment schemes, notably the Women Industrial Park, set up by Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) at Sanand.”Rs 1,800-crore advances were extended to small and big industrialists during a camp under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna in Gujarat,” she said inaugurating the Vibrant Gujarat Business Women Conclave organised by Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patel said that industrial development in the state was no more restricted to urban areas and it has spread to rural and even remote areas in the tribal belt. The Chief Minister also asked women to fight social evils, superstitions and social inequality.Bollywood actress Kajol Devgn, present on the occasion, exhorted women to work, which she said was necessary for self-esteem. GCCI Women Wing Chairperson Grishma Trivedi said one purpose of this conclave is to encourage women entrepreneurs in rural areas.Under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna’ banks, NBFCs and MFIs would provide loans between Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh to the unfunded sections of the society.

PAAS threatens hunger strike if Hardik Patel and others not released

The organisation said its members will resort to indefinite fast across the state if its demands are not met by December 21.
File Photo
PTI
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, spearheading the quota stir for reservation in Gujarat, has threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike after December 21 if its leaders including Hardik Patel are not released from jail. PAAS leaders from across the state today handed over common memorandums to district collectors and other government officials at taluka level in various parts.The organisation said its members will resort to indefinite fast across the state if its demands are not met by December 21. The Patel leaders asked the government to release their leaders who were arrested by police during their recent agitation seeking reservation for community members in government jobs and education institutes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our members today gave such memorandum to collectors and mamlatdars in various parts of state. Our leaders and other Patel youths are lodged behind bars on false charges. We will not give up till they are released,” said city PAAS convener Atul Patel.The organisation also asked government to withdraw sedition charges slapped against Hardik, Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya and Nilesh Arvadia. Two sedition complaints were filed against Hardik in October, the first one in Surat and another in Ahmedabad. His bail pleas were turned down by the courts in Ahmedabad and Surat.

Gujarat govt to spend Rs 525 crore to raise Sardar Sarovar dam height

The Chief Minister visited Kevadia after inaugurating the ‘Statue of Unity’ foundation raft concrete work at Sadhu Bet island.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel paying tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his death anniversary at Sadhu Bet near Narmada Dam in Kevadia on Tuesday.

PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Tuesday said the state government would spend Rs 525 crore on raising the height of Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river, which is likely to be completed by February 2017.”After a long wait of eight years, in June 2014 the Centre finally gave its clearance to Gujarat government to raise the height of Sardar Sarovar dam from 121.92 metres to 138.68 metres,” Patel told PTI after reviewing the ongoing work of installation of radial gates at the Sardar Sarovar dam at Kevadia town around 100 kms from Vadodara.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister visited Kevadia after inaugurating the ‘Statue of Unity’ foundation raft concrete work at Sadhu Bet island. Top officials of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited briefed her on the progress of work. The government had sought the go ahead for the installation of 30 steel radial gates over Sardar Sarovar Dam, for which the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) had already given its nod to Gujarat government in June 2014, she said.Sardar Sarovar Project is an ongoing, inter-state multi-purpose project on the Narmada river, which envisages hydro-power generation of 1,450 MW to be shared by Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It will also provide water for irrigation to 17.92 lakh hectares of land in Gujarat and 2.46 lakh hectares in Rajasthan, she said.”Raising the height means assured water for irrigation to an additional area of 6.8 lakh hectares, 40 per cent more power generation and enhanced water supply,” Patel said.She added that the government intends to complete the work of raising the height of dam by February 2017, seven months ahead of its schedule.Speaking at the inauguration of the ‘Statue of Unity’ raft concrete work earlier, she said, “This huge construction work on 182 meters tall statue of Sardar Patel will be completed on June 3, 2018, which will cost around Rs 2,979 crore. The contract has been given to leading construction company Larsen and Toubro.””Rs 1,347 crore will be spent on the main statue, Rs 235 crore on the exhibition hall and convention center. Another Rs 83 crore will be spent on the bridge connecting the memorial to the main land, while Rs 657 crore will be for maintaining the structure for 15 years,” Patel said.This statue would be double the size of New York’s ‘Statue of Liberty’ and would inspire future generations, she said, adding, “It would generate employment in the tribal areas of Narmada district as well as boost the tourism sector.”

PM Modi visits Sivagiri mutt in Kerala; pays tribute to Sree Narayana Guru

Accompanied by a group of sanyasins of the mutt, Modi spent about a few minutes at the Sivagiri hillock, located around 50 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram, and offered obeisance at the ‘maha samadhi mandapam’, the final resting place of the legendary Guru.

PM Narendra Modi at Sree Narayana Guru Mahasamadhi in Sivagiri

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday visited the Sivagiri Mutt, a revered spiritual centre established here by the renowned 20th century saint- social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, and paid respects at his samadhi.Accompanied by a group of sanyasins of the mutt, Modi spent about a few minutes at the Sivagiri hillock, located around 50 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram, and offered obeisance at the ‘maha samadhi mandapam’, the final resting place of the legendary Guru.The Prime minister also touched the feet and took the blessings of swami Prakashananda, Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust President and the senior most swami of the mutt. In a brief speech at the Mutt, the Modi said he was happy to get the blessings of this ‘Pavithra sthal’ (holy place) and that of saints here which has given him strength to work for the Dalits, backward and marginalised sections of the society.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A quality of the Hindu religion was that whenever there is lot of evil prevailing, great people are born to save the society. Narayana guru had awakened and united the people to fight against untouchability and other ills in the society, he said. Modi also remembered the contributions of Adi Sankara, the early eighth century philosopher, who consolidated the doctrine of ‘Advaita’ philosphy.Established by Narayana Guru who propagated the message of ‘One Caste, One Religion and One God for Mankind’, the Sivagiri Mutt is a major spiritual-cum-pilgrim centre of the backward Ezhava community in Kerala.Modi, on his maiden visit to the Mutt after becoming Prime Minister, planted a sapling at the campus. He also unveiled a bilingual plaque of ‘Daiva Dasakam’, a universal prayer song penned by Guru, to mark the centenary of its composition.The Prime Minister went round the ‘Vaidika Mutt’ in the Sivagiri campus, a more than 100-year-old building where Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore had met the Guru. He also offered prayers at nearby Sarada Mutt, a temple, dedicated to Goddess Sree Sarada (the Goddess of Knowledge), which had been consecrated by Guru. Modi had earlier visited Sivagiri in April, 2013 when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.AICC chief Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to visit the Mutt later this month as part of the annual Sivagiri pilgrimage.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel to inaugurate ‘Statue of Unity’ foundation raft concrete work

The work order for the project was issued by the state government in October last year to leading engineering firm Larsen and Toubro (L&T).
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PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Tuesday will inaugurate ‘Statue of Unity’ foundation raft concrete work. ‘Statue of Unity’, is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The engineering team working on the project has completed levelling the hillock ‘Sadhu Bet’, located around 3 kms from the Sardar Sarovar dam across Narmada river in Narmada district, P C Vyas, chief engineer of the project told PTI. The hillock is flattened to 60 meters for foundation raft concrete work, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The RAFT work at the foundation site of the statue will be completed in next 7 days by working round the clock. The safe bearing capacity for raft foundation for the proposed monument is 2,300 KPA,” Vyas said.The work order for the project was issued by the state government in October last year to leading engineering firm Larsen and Toubro (L&T).”This construction work will be completed on June 3, 2018 at an estimated cost of Rs 2,979 crore. Rs 1,347 crore will be spent on the main statue, Rs 235 crore will be spent on the exhibition hall and convention centre while Rs 83 crore will be spent on the bridge connecting the memorial to the main land and Rs 657 crore would be spent to maintain the structure until 15 years after it is completed,” Patel had said while awarding the contract to L&T. The statue will be taller than the ‘Statue of Unity’ in New York.”The project includes an exhibition hall and audio-visual presentation on the life of Sardar Patel, which will become the centre of attraction for tourists from across the globe,” SS Rathore, Chairman and Managing Director of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) told PTI.”75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 metric tonne of steel structure, 18,500 steel rods and 22,500 metric tonne of bronze will be used for this project. The project is expected to generate employment in the tribal area of Narmada district as well as boost the tourism sector,” Rathore added.The project was initially launched Prime Minister Modi on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on October 31, 2013 when he was Gujarat Chief Minister. The first phase of the project will involve construction of the main statue, a bridge connecting the statue to the river bank and reconstruction of the 12-km road along the bank.The project also involves a memorial park at the base of the statue, an artificial reservoir between the dam and Garudeshwar town and a visitor facilitation centre along reception desk at Kevadia.

In light of heavy naval traffic off coast, Gujarat readies for potential risk of oil spills

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Gujarat model has failed, Modi can only give speeches: Rahul Gandhi

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PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi can only give speeches, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday, while asserting that the former’s Gujarat model of development has failed, as proven by the victory of his party in the state’s local poll.”Modi can only give speeches…like a balloon which only bounces. The Gujarat model has failed. Congress was victorious in the (local) elections there,” Gandhi said addressing a meeting of block and district level party leaders here, in the run-up to the 2016 Assam Assembly election. “It is because Narendra Modi’s model has failed that a big agitation has been launched by a community (Patels) in Gujarat,” he asserted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”India thought ‘acche din’ (good days) will come as promised by Modi before the elections, but after losing the Bihar poll, he does not mention a word about it,” Gandhi observed. The Congress leader said that during Modi’s poll campaign in Bihar, the Prime Minister had called Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar ‘bewakuf’ (foolish), Rahul reminded those present at the meeting and wondered “are we bewakufs too?” The Gandhi scion also accused Modi of removing the Special Category State status given by the earlier Congress central government to Assam, whereby 90 per cent of central funds were given as grants and rest 10 per cent state funds.”Bihar will be repeated in Assam,” he asserted, saying Tarun Gogoi and Congress had worked real hard. The leader also had an interaction with the women representatives of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Assam, listening to their problems and assuring them that their issues would be taken up with the government.”The SHGs is a fantastic programme. It empowers women in Assam. I am satisfied with the action taken by Tarun Gogoi,” Gandhi added.

VIDEO: Japan to help India on bullet train

India is set to build its first high-speed bullet train service, with Japan helping finance the project.

BJD’s Sathpathy asks parliament to legalise marijuana use to reduce alcohol abuse

““In the villages of my constituency, old people, venerable people used to smoke marijuana… natural marijuana. Today, by imposing ban on natural substances, which people have been using for ages, from the time of Lord Shiva, we have actually forced a lot of these people to move on to alcohol.”

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Speaking in parliament, Tathagata Satpathy, the BJD’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha called for the legalisation of cannabis consumption on Thursday. He claimed that banning cannabis consumption was responsible for the rise in alcoholism, reports Indian Express. . Evoking Lord Shiva he said: “In the villages of my constituency, old people, venerable people used to smoke marijuana… natural marijuana. Today, by imposing ban on natural substances, which people have been using for ages, from the time of Lord Shiva, we have actually forced a lot of these people to move on to alcohol.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Bhang was a very common intoxicant in the holy city of Puri. You could get it on the roadside. It was legally available there. It is available in Varanasi also. You have made it illegal and it has been replaced by alcohol.” Satpathy also linked alcohol consumption to rising crime rate. In the past, he won a lot young fans by talking about legalising marijuana consumption, and described the ban as elitist and argued for its legalisation. He also questioned the efficacy of banning alcohol. He asked: “Have bans actually helped bring down alcohol consumption? The brightest example is the Gujarat model. The state has been dry since the 1960s, but alcohol is available in every nook and corner of the state… It is the duty of the Centre to tell states not to ban alcohol.”

PM Narendra Modi puts top cops on the mat!

The itinerary has made the top cops – Director Generals and Inspector Generals of state police and paramilitary forces – are a worried lot as many of them have no idea of Yoga and can hardly bend their waist.

All top cops of the country are gearing up for grueling sessions at upcoming annual three day meet on internal security. Not only Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is often blamed for spending most of his time on foreign tours, will be present in all the sessions on all the there days at conclave’s venue in Runn of Kuchh, Gujarat, he would also be joining in yoga sessions that will held every morning.The itinerary has made the top cops – Director Generals and Inspector Generals of state police and paramilitary forces – are a worried lot as many of them have no idea of Yoga and can hardly bend their waist. They are soon expected to receive a detailed letter by the IB asking them to pack their track suits and band-galla jackets and strictly stick to the dress code. The instruction cum invitation letter that about to be sent by the IB is expected to have sari as the dress code for women top cops.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meet held under the aegis of Intelligence Bureau every year has kept the media totally out of bounds and the press will not even be allowed to cover the Prime Minister and Home Minister’s speeches that has been the usual practice all through the years. Such is the clamp down that not even media of the home state will be allowed to cover any of the sessions.”It is good for us in a way as otherwise you all will make a joke of our Yoga and dress code,” said a senior officer in good humour.The sessions spread across three days from January 18 to 20 in the picturesque Runn of Kuchh will be held in camps constructed for the tourist festival. Special big Pandals are being constructed to hold the grand meet. Some officers are mortified with the thought that they will have to stay put in tents for all three days and be attentive during all the sessions because of the presence of PM Modi.Those who are in habit of spending colourful evenings are more put off as Gujarat is strictly a prohibited state and there are not chances of getting the colour inside the venue.

Hardik Patel denied bail in sedition case by Surat court

The Surat police had arrested Hardik in October on charges of sedition for allegedly inciting a fellow activist Vipul Desai ‘to kill policemen instead of committing suicide’.

Hardik Patel

AFP
The bail plea of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who is behind bars in a sedition case for allegedly inciting a fellow activist to kill policemen instead of committing suicide, was on Thursday rejected by a district and sessions court here.Principal District Judge Geeta Gopi dismissed the bail plea of the 22-year-old firebrand leader, who spearheaded the agitation demanding reservation for the Patel community under the OBC category. Two sedition complaints were filed against Hardik, the first one in Surat and another in Ahmedabad. On November 16, Hardik, who is lodged in Lajpore jail here, moved his bail plea before the sessions court, claiming that he was booked under false charges, as mere spoken words do not amount to sedition.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plea said the state government deliberately slapped false charges on him to keep him away from the recently-held local bodies polls across the state. The Surat police had arrested Hardik in October on charges of sedition for allegedly inciting a fellow activist Vipul Desai ‘to kill policemen instead of committing suicide’.Later, Ahmedabad crime branch also invoked sedition charge against him through a separate FIR filed on October 21 for allegedly inciting Patel youths to resort to violence in order to destabilise the state government. During the arguments on December 7, the Surat city police had opposed bail to Hardik, claiming that he may tamper with evidence if released on bail when the investigation is still on against him.The prosecution also argued that there is high possibility that Hardik will not cooperate in investigation once released on bail. Hardik has also filed a bail plea before an Ahmedabad court in the second sedition case filed against him, where the order is likely to be pronounced tomorrow.In the second case filed in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat High Court had recently dropped IPC sections 121 – pertaining to waging war against the government, 153(A) – promoting enmity between different communities and 153 (B) – assertions pre-judicial to national integrity, on the FIR against Hardik while retaining the charge of sedition.

Commercial sex workers give Rs1 lakh for Chennai flood-hit

In the past 23 years, these women from Ahmednagar have contributed more than Rs20 lakh for various causes; Mumbai’s Food Army too keeps up their good work

Commercial sex workers hand over the cheque of Rs1 lakh to the Ahmednagar collector on Tuesday

Commercial sex workers in Ahmednagar have contributed Rs1 lakh in aid of the flood victims in Chennai. On Tuesday, the cheque of this amount was handed over to district collector Anil Kawade for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.There are about 3,500 CSWs in Ahmednagar. Although their financial condition is not anything to talk about, about 1,200 of them came forward and collected the amount, some by giving their day’s earnings and others by slashing a day’s meal.Motivated by professor Girish Kulkarni, founder member of NGO Snehalaya that looks after the well-being of such women and runs schools and hostels for their children, this group of women had first donated some amount of their income to help the victims of the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prof Kulkarni stated that what is of importance is their feeling for others. “This help comes from women who themselves are in no great situation. They suffer throughout their life. They belong to that section of the society where they are not accepted by others; they are rather targets of criticism. Itis quite admirable that these women look beyond what society has given them and want to give to the society,” he said.In the past, these women have contributed towards the funds to help victims of Kargil war, the earthquake in Gujarat, Tsunami, Oddisha storm, drought in Maharashtra, floods in Leh and Uttarakhand and other such disasters. In the past 23 years, they have contributed more than Rs20 lakh for various causes.”Once one of these women read in the newspapers that a son a poor domestic help had passed the exams to study in Texas University, US, but he did not have the required amount of money. The group of women then collected Rs35,000 and handed it over to the boy and his mother. What is most appealing is the fact that in spite of being in a dismal situation themselves, where they don’t even earn enough for a decent living, these women show that humanity is alive,” states Kulkarni

Hardik Patel’s call interception: Gujarat HC asks govt to file affidavit

During arguments, Hardik’s lawyer B M Mangukiya asked the government to share all orders given by Home Department permitting city Crime Branch to intercept calls of many Patel quota agitation leaders between August and October.
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AFP photo
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday asked the state government to file an affidavit on a plea by Hardik Patel questioning the legality of interception of his phone calls as well as of his associates, but rejected the defence’s request to share details of certain Home Department orders.During arguments, Hardik’s lawyer B M Mangukiya asked the government to share all orders given by Home Department permitting city Crime Branch to intercept calls of many Patel quota agitation leaders between August and October.Mangukiya alleged that phone tapping was done without any prior permission from authorities such as Additional Chief Secretary (Home). He termed the act as a ‘breach of privacy’ of citizens. However, Public Prosecutor Mitesh Amin maintained due process was followed in getting permission. He said calls were intercepted after obtaining consent from authorities at regular intervals and objected to demand to share the orders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After hearing the arguments, Justice J B Pardiwala ruled that government is not required to share these orders. He further asked the government to file a brief affidavit in this regard and posted further hearing for December 16. In October, Hardik moved the high court challenging the interception of his and his associates’ phone calls by the police and sought an independent inquiry into it.”The petitioner challenges the legality… of unlawfully tapping telephones not only of the petitioner but of several thousands persons of the Patidar community… which they (police) have admitted in the FIR against the petitioner,” said his plea.The petition alleged that no prior permission was taken to intercept as well as tape the phone calls of quota leaders and others associated with the stir. Hardik’s father Bharat filed the petition on behalf of his son, who was then in police custody and later sent to jail in Surat.Crime Branch had on October 21 registered an FIR against Hardik and his aides Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya, Alpesh Kathiria and Amrish Patel on charges of sedition and waging war against the government. In a recent judgement, the high court struck down the charges of ‘waging war against government’ from the FIR.The FIR mentions details of call interceptions of the Patel leaders. It alleged these leaders, members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) – spearheading the quota stir – conspired to topple the state government and incited youths to resort to violence after a mega Patel rally here on August 25. The 22-year-old firebrand leader is facing another sedition charge in Surat for allegedly advising a fellow activist “to kill policemen rather than committing suicide”.

Objectionable tweet case: Gujarat HC exempts Teesta Setalvad from personal appearance

Apart from exempting Teesta from appearing in person, the HC also asked the police to inform her seven days in advance to appear before them whenever she is needed here for the purpose of investigation.

In a relief to activist Teesta Setalvad, the Gujarat High Court on Monday exempted her from personal appearance before police every month in connection with a case in which she is accused of posting objectionable pictures of Hindu deities on a popular social networking site. Justice JB Pardiwala passed the order while hearing Setalvad’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance. A lower court had imposed the condition of personal appearance on Teesta after an FIR was filed against her at Ghatlodia police station here in August last year.Apart from exempting Teesta from appearing in person, the HC also asked the police to inform her seven days in advance to appear before them whenever she is needed here for the purpose of investigation. The FIR was filed against Teesta by a VHP activist, Raju Patel, for allegedly putting objectionable pictures of Hindu god and goddess on Twitter. Ghatlodia police are investigating the case. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Teesta had later removed the objectionable posts following an outcry. She was booked under sections 153(a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups, and 205(a) (committing a deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting religion or religious beliefs) of IPC, besides various sections of IT Act. She was granted a pre-arrest bail by the city sessions court with a condition that she will have to appear before Ghatlodia police station on the fifth day of every month.Teesta then approached the HC in August seeking modification of the bail condition. Granting her an interim relief, the HC had in September allowed Teesta to appear at the police station on any day in the first week of every month instead of the fifth day. In the same case, she had filed a plea before the HC seeking setting aside of the case against her, which is pending.

Every 5th food sample tested in India is adulterated, UP most guilty state

As per the report compiled by the state governments, food safety labs received 83,265 samples, of which 74,010 were tested till November 24, 2015.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
One out of every five samples of food items tested by public food safety labs in the country has been found “adulterated and misbranded”, with maximum in Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.Over Rs 10.93 crore penalty has been imposed in 2,795 cases, while culprits have been convicted in 1,402 cases so far this year, according to the testing report of public laboratories released by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).As per the report compiled by the state governments, food safety labs received 83,265 samples, of which 74,010 were tested till November 24, 2015. Out of the tested samples, the labs found 14,599 samples were “adulterated and misbranded”, the data showed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A maximum 4,119 samples were found adulterated and misbranded in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Punjab (1,458), Madhya Pradesh (1,412), Gujarat (1,243), Maharashtra (1,162) and Tamil Nadu (1,047). The penalty of Rs 10.93 crore has been imposed in 2,795 cases, and maximum fine of Rs 5.98 crore was imposed for cases reported in Uttar Pradesh.As many as 2,676 criminal cases and 7,860 civil suits were registered, of which convictions were reported in 1,402 cases, the report added. Issues related to quality of food and FSSAI came into the limelight after it imposed the ban on Maggi in June this year, which was later lifted by the Bombay High Court.In August this year, the Supreme Court junked the FSSAI’s advisory that asked manufacturers to get clearance for products even if the ingredients were already approved or deemed safe. The government is also mulling Rs 1,750-crore proposal to strengthen central food regulator FSSAI as well as state bodies.

After poll debacle, Gujarat government announces land bonanza

Sources said the BJP’s poor performance in the district and taluka panchayat polls too was discussed at the meeting

In a major pro-farmer decision following the loss in Panchayat elections, the BJP government in Gujarat on Thursday said it would allot 6,000 acres of land to co-operative societies and agricultural produce committees at concessional rates for infrastructure.The decision to allot the government-owned land worth Rs 5,667 crore was taken at today’s cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at Gandhinagar. These societies and committees will get 10 to 30 acres of land each at 10 to 35 per cent of ‘Jantri rates (rates specified by the state government), an official release said. Godowns to store agricultural produce, pesticides, seeds and fertilisers etc., offices for milk co-operative societies, dairies and bulk milk coolers can be constructed on these lands.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the BJP’s poor performance in the district and taluka panchayat polls too was discussed at the meeting. Of the 31 district panchayats, Congress won 21 while BJP won only six. In 2010, BJP had won 30 district panchayats. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Panchayat and Rural development minister Jayanti Kavadia admitted that results, announced yesterday, were disappointing.”The results of district and taluka panchayats were not as per our expectations….we will do introspection about how that happened. We will double our efforts to make sure that everyone gets benefits of development,” Kavadia said. Asked what was his own analysis, he said panchayat elections are “more or less” individual-centric. “Candidates become more important than party’s image or work done in the area. Issues are different in each village. Perhaps we might have failed to communicate the true picture to the rural voters,” Kavadia said.

The unlikely sanitary pad missionary

How a yoga teacher became a sanitary pad missionary

Gujarat local body polls: We must analyse setback in rural areas, says CM Anandiben Patel

The Chief Minister received a grand welcome at Khanpur office as the BJP has retained the six municipal corporations: Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Surat, Jamnagar, Vadodara and Rajkot.

Chief Minister Anandiben Patel
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PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Wednesday said the BJP will have to analyse the reasons for its poor performance in the local body polls in the rural areas of the state.”Though we have done well in municipal corporations and municipalities, it is also a fact that the results in district and taluka panchayat bodies are not up to the expectations,” Patel admitted while addressing the party workers outside BJP office in Khanpur area in Ahmedabad.”We have been doing several developmental works across Gujarat. We have also undertaken an exercise to strengthen the party organisation. Still we have to now analyse what went wrong. We will find out and address these problems,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister received a grand welcome at Khanpur office as the BJP has retained the six municipal corporations: Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Surat, Jamnagar, Vadodara and Rajkot. The Chief Minister, though, expressed some disappointment for not surpassing the previous tally of 151 at the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.”We have won in all the six corporations with a thumping majority….of the 56 municipalities we have captured 40, while eight went to Congress. People used to say that BJP will get only 80 to 90 seats in AMC (of the total 192), but we have captured 142,” Patel said.”In the last election we won 151 seats. I wished we would surpass that, but we could not. This is not a big issue. Some seats sway here and there. Overall we have done well in all the six corporations,” she said.Though the counting is not yet over, Congress was leading in 18 of the 31 district panchayats. In 230 taluka panchayats with a total of 4,778 seats, it was leading in 2,204 while BJP was ahead in 1,798 seats.

Astonished with Kumari Selja’s remarks about Dwarka temple: Parimal Nathwani

Selja Kumari on Monday, while participating in debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’ in the Rajya Sabha, had said that she was asked about her caste when she had visited Dwarka temple in Gujarat as a Cabinet Minister, leading to arguments between the ruling and opposition sides.
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dna Research & Archives
Reacting to Congress leader Kumari Selja’s statement in the Rajya Sabha over being enquired about her caste during a visit to Dwarka temple in Gujarat in 2013, Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani on Wednesday said he was “astonished” at the former Union minister’s remarks as she had then praised the temple authorities for its management and seemed to be happy.Kumari on Monday, while participating in debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’ in the Rajya Sabha, had said that she was asked about her caste when she had visited Dwarka temple in Gujarat as a Cabinet Minister, leading to arguments between the ruling and opposition sides.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nathwani, also the vice chairman of the Dwarkadheesh Devsthan Samiti, said the Congress minister during her visit to Dwarka temple in February, 2013 as a cabinet minister, she had mentioned about the cleanliness and maintenance of the temple premises in the visitors book.”Kumari Selja, during her visit on February 22, 2013, she had written in the visitors book that with Lord Krishna’s blessing they had a very good ‘darshan’ and maintenance of the premises was excellent. It reflects that she was happy and appreciated the temple authorities,” Nathwani, independent MP from Jharkhand, told PTI.Terming Selja’s remarks as “astonishing”, he said there was nothing “humiliating” in being asked about caste as it is “customary” practise at Hindu temples or shrines.”With due respect to her, I would state that there is nothing humiliating in Tirth Panda asking devotees about their ‘Gotra’ (family root). This is a normal practise at all major Hindu shrines and pilgrim places,” he said.The MP said raising such issues only creates flutter and controversy on the issue, therefore, is unnecessary.”I am a Dalit but I am Hindu. I feel like visiting temples. I wanted to go to Dwarka temple. I have visited hundreds of temples. (I visited) Dwarka temple when I was Cabinet minister. I was asked about my caste,” Selja had said during the debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’.

Number of ‘communal’ incidents down since NDA in power: Kiren Rijiju

Amid heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches, he said while there has been some rise in incidents between 2014 and 2015, but compared to 2013, they have come down.

He also said he would not like to comment on the communal incidents which took place during the UPA rule.

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The number of communal incidents in the country have declined “substantially” since the NDA government has come to power, the government said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.Responding to a series of supplementaries on communal incidents in various parts of the country, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said between 2013 and October this year, the number of communal incidents reported have come down “substantially.” As opposition members questioned his remark, the minister said so far this year four major communal incidents have taken place. “In fact, the incidents have gone down and not come up since our party has come to power,” he said during Question Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches, he said while there has been some rise in incidents between 2014 and 2015, but compared to 2013, they have come down. He said he was comparing the number of incidents since 2013 as NDA was not in power for the entire of 2014 but only part of it. He also said he would not like to comment on the communal incidents which took place during the UPA rule.In the written reply, government has explained that ‘major events’ are classified as those where over five persons have been killed or 10 injured or which lead to multiplicity of fatalities and extensive destruction of property.’Important events’ are classified where at least one person has been killed or at least 10 persons are injured.According to the written reply, in 2014, 644 ‘communal incidents’ took place, including 133 in UP, 72 in Rajasthan, 97 in Maharashtra, 56 in Madhya Pradesh, 73 in Karnataka, 10 in Jharkhand, 74 in Gujarat, 7 in Delhi, 61 in Bihar and 16 in West Bengal. This year, between January and October, 650 incidents have taken place with a maximum of 139 taking place in Uttar Pradesh.While 97 incidents were reported from Maharashtra, 86 from Madhya Pradesh, 79 from Karnataka, 24 from Jharkhand, 47 from Gujarat, 59 from Bihar and 24 from West Bengal. Rijiju rejected suggestions by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that there have been more communal clashes in states where BJP has “more presence” such as Gujarat, Karnataka and Bihar. “It is not a fair comment. What Kharge says does not tally with the figures. It is the responsibility of state government or MPs,” the minister asked.

HRD Ministry implements only one of seven suggestions by PMO

The human resource development ministry (HRD) has acted on only one of the seven “most immediate” suggestions to strengthen the education system sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office almost a year-and-half ago, officials admit. While the Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (National Discovery Campaign, RAA) was started in July, in response to the recommendation that science and mathematics be popularised at the school level, the ministry has backed off on all the other suggestions, including providing buttermilk to students, for one reason or another.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had on June 9 last year sent its seven-point agenda to the Smriti Irani-led ministry. The letter marked “most immediate”, it is learnt, directed the ministry to explore the feasibility of ideas suggested by the prime minister and suggested ways to expand and strengthen already existing schemes. Eighteen months on, however, the HRD ministry has managed to meet only one of the seven targets. Under the RAA scheme, emerging from Modi’s suggestion that information, education and communication (IEC) be promoted to inculcate the scientific temperament, every government school will be linked with an IIT, IIM, NIT or some other school of excellence located in their states, an official said. “We have launched this campaign in which our schools are linked up with higher education institutions. These technology and management institutions mentor these schools. It is an effort to bring teaching science out of the classrooms,” he added. For the rest, the ministry has either expressed its helplessness or has passed the responsibility to other ministries. The PMO had asked the ministry to start providing buttermilk to students under the midday meal (MDM) scheme. “Buttermilk to be distributed to all schools in MDM to cure amoebiasis and improve iron.” However, the ministry said it could not do so. Updating the PMO through the eSamikSha portal, it said, “It is calculated that to provide buttermilk to 10.56 crore students under MDM scheme, we would need an additional budget of Rs.2,500 crore.” It proposed that states could serve buttermilk under the schemethrough their own resources. The proposal to engage railway kitchens for cooking the midday meal and rope in charitable trusts and institutions running community kitchens also did not get a positive response. The MDM budget in this fiscal year was cut from Rs.11,000 crore to Rs.9,000 crore. “We have already updated the PMO on these issues,” said an official. The prime minister had suggested that the ministry work on the model of NGO Maa Foundation in Valsad, Gujarat, to engage volunteer teachers from NGOs and the social sector to provide after school support to students who can’t cope in the classroom. However, ministry officials said the Right to Education (RTE) act does not permit teaching to be a voluntary activity. “Even volunteer teachers have to be trained as per RTE prescribed guidelines. For the ministry to roll out the scheme, we have to formulate guidelines and processes under the ambit of RTE and it should be able to cater to the needs of the whole country,” said a senior official from the school education department. The ministry also informed the PMO that it was evaluating the process forcreating an online data bank of teachers willing to offer voluntary services. The proposal to set up separate model schools for girls and boys up to class 12 level in every tehsil was also put off for lack of funds. It had been suggested that these schools have a hostel so that meritorious students could be provided after school support. The model schools scheme was announced by the UPA government in 2008. Some 1,200 schools had been made functional and 2,400 schools had got ministry approval to start operations. “The PM had suggested expansion of these schools and setting up hostels. These were not a part of the existing policy,” explained an officer. In August last year, Irani directed the ministry to review the scheme altogether. In the current financial year, the model school budget was given to the states. “Even before we could complete our review, the scheme was handed over to the states. There are no model school funds with the HRD ministry,” added the officer. The suggestion to set up skill development institutions on the lines of Gujarat government’s Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra (KVK), awarded the prime minister’s award for excellence in public administration in 2011, was politely turned down on grounds that it had to be dealt with the ministry of skill development. A year and a half later, the ministry is also undecided on Modi’s vision to rope in college students as part time volunteers to promote IEC activities and in areas of traffic management.

Surat Police opposes bail plea of Hardik Patel

As Hardik’s lawyers sought time to go through the police affidavit, Principal Sessions Judge Geeta Gopi scheduled the next hearing for December 4.

Surat Police on Tuesday filed an affidavit before a sessions court opposing the bail application of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who is facing a sedition case here.As Hardik’s lawyers sought time to go through the police affidavit, Principal Sessions Judge Geeta Gopi scheduled the next hearing for December 4. The grounds on which the police have opposed the bail petition were not immediately known as the affidavit was filed in a sealed cover.Hardik, lodged in Surat Jail at present, filed the bail plea on November 16, claiming that he is a victim of political vendetta. His application alleged that the Gujarat government slapped false charges against him to keep him away from the local body polls in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, Surat Police arrested Hardik on the charge of sedition for allegedly advising a fellow activist to kill policemen instead of committing suicide. Later, Ahmedabad Crime Branch also invoked the sedition charge against him and five of his key aides. After the completion of his police custody in Ahmedabad on November 2, Hardik was sent back to jail in Surat by a court.

VIDEO: India’s plan to ban surrogacy

Yogita Limaye reports from Anand, the town in Gujarat unofficially dubbed India’s surrogacy hub.

Had reasons to believe that Hardik was abducted, says aide

Ahmedabad: In an affidavit filed before the Gujarat High Court on Monday, Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s aide claims that he had reasons to believe that Hardik had been abducted on 22 September and that was why he filed a habeas corpus petition.

“The apprehension…proved to be correct, real and genuine,” says the affidavit filed before the division bench of Justices K S Jhaveri and R P Dholaria by Patel aide Dinesh Bambhaniya’s wife Pintuben Patel through his lawyer advocate B M Mangukiya.

Hardik Patel. PTIHardik Patel. PTI

Hardik Patel. PTI

Last month, the High Court had sought an affidavit substantiating the charges made in the habeas corpus petition.

The petition was filed by Ketan Patel and Bambhaniya when Hardik had gone missing after a public meeting in Aravalli district on September 22. Hardik surfaced the next day and the petition claimed he had been abducted by some persons who “looked like policemen”.

But the Gujarat government alleged that Hardik himself had fled after the meeting and was in contact with Ketan Patel and Dinesh Bambhaniya during the period.

Since Bambhaniya, Ketan Patel and Hardik are in jail after arrest on sedition charges, Bambhaniya’s wife filed the affidavit on Monday.

It says that the Gujarat government and the police are targetting the community after the mega rally of Patels here on 25 August over OBC quota demand. More than 300 cases were registered against the community members.

Police kept Hardik and others under constant surveillance, it alleges.

Hardik was first arrested in Rajkot in September for allegedly insulting the tricolour, then Surat police arrested him for alleged sedition last month, followed by arrest by Ahmedabad crime branch on the same charge, says the affidavit.

Patels are not treated as citizens in the state any more after the 25 August rally and they are being treated by the police as “slaves”, it says, adding that against this background, her husband and Ketan Patel were very much sure that Hardik had been abducted.

The court scheduled the further hearing for December 3 as Arvalli police sought time to go through the affidavit.

PTI

Cong slams BJP for deleting voters’ names during civic polls in Gujarat at its behest; party denies claims

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Congress on Sunday alleged that thousands of voters in Ahmedabad could not exercise their franchise for the municipal polls held that day as their names were deliberately removed from the list by the State Election Commission (SEC) at the behest of the BJP-led Gujarat government.

Alleging that “removal” of voters’ names was part of a “larger conspiracy”, Congress called for a thorough probe into it, even as the ruling BJP said the government or the party had no role preparation of voting lists.

Gujarat Congress President Bharatsinh Solanki claimed that 1,000 to 4,000 names in each of the 48 wards of the city were deleted from the final electoral rolls by the SEC without informing the voters or candidates.

Representational image. Image courtesy: ReutersRepresentational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

The Congress leader claimed that when voters reached the booths, they began to complain that they found their names deleted without any prior information.

“We learnt that around 1,000 to 4,000 names in each ward were deleted from the final list in the city. Not just the city, it has happened across the state today. When we raised this issue with election officials, they refused to give any answer,” Solanki alleged in a press conference.

He claimed that majority of the voters, whose names were deleted, belong to the Patel community.

“Since this community has turned against the ruling BJP (after the quota agitation), the SEC has deleted these anti-BJP voters across the city as well as state. We demand that all such voters be allowed to cast their votes,” said Solanki.

According to him, this was deliberately done by the SEC at the behest of the BJP-led state government.

“Instead of organising free and fair polls, it seems that SEC is working as a part of the ruling BJP. This is purely a politically motivated step by the SEC. This is a direct attack on democratic and constitutional rights of the citizens, who are deprived of their voting right,” he alleged.

However, the BJP refuted Congress’s allegations saying that SEC works independently and the BJP government as well as the party had no role in preparation of voters’ list.

“Voters’ list is prepared by Central Election Commission. Congress should not blame BJP for it as the state government or BJP has no role in preparation of the list. Names of some of our voters are also missing from the voters’ list,” state BJP spokesperson IK Jadeja said.
Before the press conference, Congress leaders, led by former Gujarat Congress president Siddharth Patel, rushed to the Collector’s office to seek explanation from district collector Rajkumar Beniwal.

When he was making the representation, former BJP MLA from Sabarmati, Geeta Patel also reached the place and complained that her name has been deleted.

“I seek your explanation on how my name was deleted, as it was there till yesterday. Being a former MLA, my name was declared under the ‘VIP list’ just yesterday by your own office. So, how come my name is deleted today? Is it done out of a conspiracy to keep away Patel community?” Geeta asked.

A number of common voters, mostly from Patel community, also rushed to Beniwal’s office with the same issue.

One Jayesh Patel claimed that though he cast his vote, names of his wife and father were found deleted.

“As a citizen, I want to know how my wife and my father’s names got deleted. We all are living at the same place since the last 40 years and no such problem had ever occurred in the past. This is a violation of my fundamental rights,” Jayesh Patel told Beniwal in his chamber.

Addressing a press conference, Siddharth Patel demanded action against all the concerned election officials for doing such “mischief”.

“As part of larger conspiracy, lakhs of voters across Gujarat have been kept away by SEC to benefit BJP. We demand that a proper investigation be done and those found responsible be booked under stringent sedition charges,” he said.

According to Solanki, Congress will seek legal opinion on the entire issue.

“No matter what BJP will do to win polls, it is clear that Congress will sweep polls in all the six corporations. No one can stop Congress from winning. We want SEC to allow these voters to cast their votes before election ends today. Congress will take legal opinion on this issue,” he said.

However, during a press conference held around 4 pm, Collector Rajkumar Beniwal made a public appeal that those who could not vote earlier due to these problems, could still vote till 5 pm.

“Such a scenario might have arisen due to some technical reasons. I have asked all the polling officers to allow such voters even if their names reflect in ‘Deleted List’. Such voters should reach their respective booths for voting,” he said.

PTI

Gujarat civic polls: State Election Commission deleted voters’ names at behest of BJP govt, alleges Congress

Solanki claimed that majority of the voters, whose names were deleted, belong to the Patel community.

The Congress leader claimed that when voters reached the booths, they began to complain that they found their names deleted without any prior information (Image from govt website)

File Photo
Gujarat Congress on Sunday alleged that thousands of voters in Ahmedabad could not exercise their franchise for the municipal polls held on Sunday as their names were deliberately removed from the list by the State Election Commission (SEC) at the behest of BJP-led Gujarat government. Alleging that “removal” of voters’ names was part of a “larger conspiracy”, Congress called for a thorough probe into it, even as the ruling BJP said the government or the party had no role preparation of voting lists.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki claimed that 1,000 to 4,000 names in each of the 48 wards of the city were deleted from the final electoral rolls by the SEC without informing the voters or candidates. The Congress leader claimed that when voters reached the booths, they began to complain that they found their names deleted without any prior information. “We learnt that around 1,000 to 4,000 names in each ward were deleted from the final list in the city. Not just city, it has happened across the state today. When we raised this issue with election officials, they refused to give any answer,” Solanki alleged in a press conference.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He claimed that majority of the voters, whose names were deleted, belong to the Patel community. “Since this community has turned against the ruling BJP (after the quota agitation), the SEC has deleted these anti- BJP voters across the city as well as state. We demand that all such voters be allowed to cast their votes,” said Solanki.According to him, this was deliberately done by the SEC at the behest of BJP-led state government. “Instead of organising free and fair polls, it seems that SEC is working as a part of the ruling BJP. This is purely a politically motivated step by the SEC. This is a direct attack on democratic and constitutional rights of the citizens, who are deprived of their voting right,” he alleged.However, BJP refuted Congress’s allegations saying that SEC works independently and the BJP government as well as the party had no role in preparation of voters’ list. “Voters’ list is prepared by Central Election Commission. Congress should not blame BJP for it as the state government or BJP has no role in preparation of the list.Names of some of our voters are also missing from the voters’ list,” state BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said.

Rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project displaced: Did three governments lie to the Supreme Court?

Bhopal: Have the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments hoodwinked the Supreme Court and the nation on the rehabilitation of the people displaced by the construction of dams on Narmada?

A panel of four retired judges called the ‘Independent People’s Tribunal on SSP’, which was on a fact-finding mission into the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP)-affected area of the Narmada valley since September, has exposed the fallacy of the three governments’ claim about complete rehabilitation of affected people.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

While exposing gross violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court, the panel has expressed grave concern at the possible displacement of about 2.5 lakh people and “mass violation of the constitutional right to life, destruction of livelihoods, as also wiping out of an entire culture and civilization.”

Firstpost had last year reported anomalies in the claims of the governments. The Madhya Pradesh government had set apart Rs 5.51 crore to provide emergency relief to people in the submergence area of the dams. The National Alliance for People’s movement (NAPM) had then questioned the need to spend so much if all evictees were already rehabilitated as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti had also glossed over the issue, saying the Social Justice ministry’s reports show the rehabilitation had been completed. Critics had disputed Bharti’s claim and demanded that these reports be made public.

According to Alok Agrawal of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), contingency funds were earmarked in the past too. Last year they were disputed after the government claimed all evictees have been rehabilitated.

The controversy gained currency after Narmada Control Authority (NCA) allowed the Gujarat government to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in that state from 121.92 metres to 138.62 metres by installing gates on it. The Madhya Pradesh High Court later stayed the operation of the order that came less than a month of Modi government’s ascent last year.

The deficient flow in the river led to another question on whether a taller Sardar Sarovar dam could slake the parched fields of Gujarat or meet the power generation needs of Madhya Pradesh in the event of a sluggish monsoon? Was the government driven by just political greed?

Now the four-member panel endorses the view that NCA’s permission to increase height of the might be legally untenable. Justice (retired) VD Gyani (MP High Court) said the findings would be placed before the Supreme Court soon. The other members of the panel of are Justice PC Jain (Rajasthan), Justice Nag Mohan Das (Karnataka) and Justice NK Mody (MP).

During their field visit on 11 September and representations made by affected people from three states and the organisations working for them, the judges found enough evidence that rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by the 121.92 metres height was nowhere close to complete.

At least 33 villages in Maharashtra and 193 villages and a town (Dharampuri) in MP were yet to be completely rehabilitated.

“Children are still going to same schools and people are casting votes in the same booths from years in the villages that the MP government has claimed have been completely shifted and resettled. What does that prove?” Justice Gyani said. Due to faulty assessment of backwater levels over 15,000 families that would be affected by the raised height of the dam have not even been recognised project-affected families (PAFs).

Justice Gyani said increasing in the height of the dam would affect thousands of the people and should not be allowed before the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of all affected people was completed by the three state governments.

Medha Patkar of the NBA says, “Our demand is the withdrawal of permission for further construction and installation of a gate of SSP till all the affected families are rehabilitated and resettled according to norms,” she said. Representatives of various state government agencies concerned including the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) did not attend the tribunal despite invitation, according the NBA.

Justice Rajinder Sachchar, who was present during the media briefing over the panel’s observations earlier this week, said those who once considered SSP as the 8th Wonder of the world are disillusioned by it. Even the media has underexposed the limitations of the project and the cover up by the governments, he said.

The governments of the three states have so far maintained a studied silence on the issue.

LK Advani lavishes praise on PM Modi after casting his vote in Gujarat local body polls

Six municipal corporations in Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar – currently under BJP rule, are seeking a fresh mandate from over 95.9 lakh urban voters.

LK Advani
Manit Balmiki
dna
Putting aside the Bihar debacle, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani on Sunday lavished praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and expressed confidence that the party will win the state Municipal Co-operation elections just like the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.”I am happy that Narendra Modi is working as the Prime Minister of the country. I am confident that the BJP will win the local body elections in the same way as we won in the 2014 General Assembly Elections,” said Advani after casting his vote in the local body elections here in Ahmedabad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Using Bihar crutch, LK Advani & Co fire at Narendra Modi, Amit ShahSix municipal corporations in Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar – currently under BJP rule, are seeking a fresh mandate from over 95.9 lakh urban voters.This election will be a litmus test for Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and would also determine the impact of the ongoing agitation by the Patidar community. Barely days after its resounding defeat in Bihar, the BJP leadership faced its first open challenge from within since forming the government at the Centre in May last year.Four veteran leaders, including LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, had issued a stinging statement that the party was being “forced to kow-tow to a handful, its “consensual character has been destroyed, and it has been “emasculated” in the last year.

Rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project displaced: Did three govts lie to the Supreme Court?

Bhopal: Have the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments hoodwinked the Supreme Court and the nation on the rehabilitation of the people displaced by the construction of dams on Narmada?

A panel of four retired judges called the ‘Independent People’s Tribunal on SSP’, which was on a fact-finding mission into the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP)-affected area of the Narmada valley since September, has exposed the fallacy of the three governments’ claim about complete rehabilitation of affected people.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

While exposing gross violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court, the panel has expressed grave concern at the possible displacement of about 2.5 lakh people and “mass violation of the constitutional right to life, destruction of livelihoods, as also wiping out of an entire culture and civilization.”

Firstpost had last year reported anomalies in the claims of the governments. The Madhya Pradesh government had set apart Rs 5.51 crore to provide emergency relief to people in the submergence area of the dams. The National Alliance for People’s movement (NAPM) had then questioned the need to spend so much if all evictees were already rehabilitated as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti had also glossed over the issue, saying the Social Justice ministry’s reports show the rehabilitation had been completed. Critics had disputed Bharti’s claim and demanded that these reports be made public.

According to Alok Agrawal of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), contingency funds were earmarked in the past too. Last year they were disputed after the government claimed all evictees have been rehabilitated.

The controversy gained currency after Narmada Control Authority (NCA) allowed the Gujarat government to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in that state from 121.92 metres to 138.62 metres by installing gates on it. The Madhya Pradesh High Court later stayed the operation of the order that came less than a month of Modi government’s ascent last year.

The deficient flow in the river led to another question on whether a taller Sardar Sarovar dam could slake the parched fields of Gujarat or meet the power generation needs of Madhya Pradesh in the event of a sluggish monsoon? Was the government driven by just political greed?

Now the four-member panel endorses the view that NCA’s permission to increase height of the might be legally untenable. Justice (retired) VD Gyani (MP High Court) said the findings would be placed before the Supreme Court soon. The other members of the panel of are Justice PC Jain (Rajasthan), Justice Nag Mohan Das (Karnataka) and Justice NK Mody (MP).

During their field visit on 11 September and representations made by affected people from three states and the organisations working for them, the judges found enough evidence that rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by the 121.92 metres height was nowhere close to complete.

At least 33 villages in Maharashtra and 193 villages and a town (Dharampuri) in MP were yet to be completely rehabilitated.

“Children are still going to same schools and people are casting votes in the same booths from years in the villages that the MP government has claimed have been completely shifted and resettled. What does that prove?” Justice Gyani said. Due to faulty assessment of backwater levels over 15,000 families that would be affected by the raised height of the dam have not even been recognised project-affected families (PAFs).

Justice Gyani said increasing in the height of the dam would affect thousands of the people and should not be allowed before the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of all affected people was completed by the three state governments.

Medha Patkar of the NBA says, “Our demand is the withdrawal of permission for further construction and installation of a gate of SSP till all the affected families are rehabilitated and resettled according to norms,” she said. Representatives of various state government agencies concerned including the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) did not attend the tribunal despite invitation, according the NBA.

Justice Rajinder Sachchar, who was present during the media briefing over the panel’s observations earlier this week, said those who once considered SSP as the 8th Wonder of the world are disillusioned by it. Even the media has underexposed the limitations of the project and the cover up by the governments, he said.

The governments of the three states have so far maintained a studied silence on the issue.

Rout in Bihar ended BJP’s Gujarat model: Ahmed Patel

Ahmed Patel

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Friday said the drubbing suffered by the BJP in Bihar Assembly elections marked the “end” of the “so-called” Gujarat model.Taking a dig at the saffron party, Patel said, “Two things may look appealing but don’t last long. They are jalebi (a sweet) made from poorly cooked oil and the BJP’s Gujarat model. The shelf life of their model has ended with the conclusion of Bihar elections”. He said the poll results in Bihar and Delhi underline the “decline” of the BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the forthcoming local bodies elections in Gujarat as a “semi-final” to the 2017 Assembly polls, Patel said the Anandiben Patel government is on its way out of power in the state. “It is not just in Bihar but the BJP has also been wiped out in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s (Lok Sabha) constituency of Varanasi in recently-held elections to the local bodies,” the senior Congress leader told PTI. “The PM, who used to tweet even if his party won a stray local body election, remained silent when the defeat struck his own backyard…Time has come for the people of Gujarat to bid good bye to their (BJP’s) model,” he said.While six municipal corporations–Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar–will go to polls on November 22, elections to 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29. Counting of votes will be done on December 2. Patel said the NDA’s claim of developing as many as 100 towns as smart cities in future is actually the “smart real estate cities of Gujarat”.”Those who ruled Gujarat for the past 20 years could not build even a single smart city in the state and they are now talking about building 100 smart cities across the country in next five years,” he said sarcastically. “Under the name of smart city, they will take away power of local bodies and form a company that will manage the entire area of about 50 acres of land which will be smart real estate and will make money (sic),” he said.Patel also questioned the imposition of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ cess.”Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar stand at 79th and 310th positions respectively in the list of dirtiest cities in the country,” he said.

Quota agitation: Patel group seeks upper caste support, appeals to uproot BJP

File Photo of Patel agitation

PTI
Sardar Patel Group, which is in the forefront of Patel community’s agitation for reservations in OBC category, on Friday announced formation of ‘Samrasata Manch’, a forum of all “general category castes” who want reservations.SPG chief Lalji Patel said it was an attempt to expand the base of the ongoing agitation in Gujarat. “Till now Patels are spearheading the movement to get themselves included in quota. Under this forum other general category castes such as Brahmins, Rajputs and Jains who too are deprived of this (reservation) benefit have joined hands with us. We all will work together,” he said at a press conference here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lalji Patel-led SPG works closely with Hardik Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in the quota agitation. He also appealed these fellow general category castes to vote against BJP in the coming local body polls in Gujarat.”The way BJP-led government committed atrocities on us, it’s time we sent a strong message to them. I appeal all the communities to join hands with us to uproot BJP. Please vote against BJP candidates in these polls,” said Patel. “We don’t want to limit our agitation to only Patels as there are many castes who are financially weak and need reservations. This forum is an attempt to wake up this government before 2017 (Assembly) polls,” said Patel.Rajput leader Arjunsinh Gohil, Brahmin leader Varang Thaker and Jain leader Hitesh Shah were also present at the announcement. “Rajputs are now with the Patel community in its fight. Time has come to teach a lesson to BJP and its government as they used excessive force to crush the movement and sent many Patel leaders to jail,” said Gohil.

PIL seeks stay on Gujarat local polls; HC issues notice to SEC

Justice A G Uraizee, while hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by ‘Gujarat Nagrik Sangathan’ on Thursday, issued the notice to the SEC asking it to file its reply on the issue. Further hearing in the case has been fixed for November 24.
File Photo

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the State Election Commission (SEC) over a PIL seeking a stay on upcoming local body polls in the state citing the poll watchdog’s alleged mismanagement.Justice A G Uraizee, while hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by ‘Gujarat Nagrik Sangathan’ on Thursday, issued the notice to the SEC asking it to file its reply on the issue. Further hearing in the case has been fixed for November 24.The PIL claimed that voters are in the dark about the background of the candidates as the affidavits filed with the nominations that give information about their income, education, criminal record (if any), etc, have not been uploaded on the SEC website yet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Voting for six municipal corporations– Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar– will take place on November 22, while that for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29. The PIL further claimed this time, political parties have refrained from issuing their poll manifesto which, it says, is an “integral part” of the election process.Accusing the SEC of indulging in mismanagement, the petitioner claimed that though the elections are approaching, people have yet to be given voters’ slips, as a result of which they were clueless about whom to go to cast their votes.

Was Narendra Modi given a warm welcome in UK back in 2003? Former diplomat disagrees

According to Satyabrata Pal, when Modi decided to visit UK post Godhra riots, the government’s reaction wasn’t exactly warm and receptive.

File Photo

PM Narendra Modi in his recent UK tour addressed a joint press conference with David Cameron where questions were raised about travel restrictions imposed on the erstwhile Gujarat CM post-2002 Godhra riots. Modi answered promptly saying that he wants to ‘set the record straight’ and that he had travelled to UK in 2003, and was warmly welcomed in the country. Now, ex-diplomat Satyabrata Pal, who was India’s Deputy High Commission in London at that time has written an article in The Wire, where he claims that the situation was not as rosy as Modi is claiming in UK at that time. Pal says that post-Gujarat riot, the British media was up in arms and Foreign Office in London was busy doing damage control. According to Pal, when Modi decided to visit UK in such a hostile atmosphere, the government’s reaction wasn’t exactly warm and receptive.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They thought that Modi’s visit would drive a wedge between the immigrants and criticising him would not go down well with the Indian government, a crucial ally. Hence according to Pal, they wanted Modi to cancel his visit keeping larger bilateral interests in mind. The Indian High Commission also shared similar views and they sent their recommendations to the Foreign Ministry. Pal claims that Foreign Ministry also saw reason to their objection, but due to intervention from then PM Vajpayee, Modi’s trip went through. Pal has made an even more startling claim that there was serious apprehension of Modi being formally arrested or being under citizen’s arrest during his 2003 UK tour. UK government expressed their concern to their Indian counterpart, however Modi continued his trip as usual. According to Pal, this showed that Narendra Modi’s personal ambition was more important to him than Indo- UK bilateral relationship. Pal goes on to say that in 2005 Modi again planned a UK visit but the authorities were much more strident in their views. With a regime change in India too, Modi chose to play safe that time and promptly cancelled his visit, claims ex-diplomat Satyabrata Pal.

Fight against intolerance will be balanced when Muslims eat pork in the open: Tripura governor Tathagata Roy

In one of the more controversial and communal statements made in the debate on intolerance in India, Tripura Governor and former president of the Bengal BJP Tathagata Roy has said that the fight against intolerance will only be balanced when Muslims have pork in the open.

Tathagata Roy. Image courtesy: @tathagata2/Twitter

Tathagata Roy. Image courtesy: @tathagata2/Twitter

“People have the right to eat what they want but the scales would be even when Muslims come out and have pork in the open. And that day, we can really call it war against intolerance,” Roy said in an exclusive interview to The Economic Times.

On being asked what he thought about the emergence of a ‘secular Grand Alliance’ in Bihar, Roy gave a vague answer and said that he does not accept the definition of the word ‘secular’.

Roy is infamous for his communal remarks. He had earlier said that many of the people present at the funeral of Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon after he was hanged were “potential terrorists”.

“Intelligence should keep a tab on all (except relatives and friends) who assembled before Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists,” Roy had tweeted.

Later, Roy, while responding to questions, had said that he had excluded Memon’s relatives and friends. “Why did others come to see a man who was hanged? They must have sympathy for him,” he had said.

In another tweet, the governor had said, “It is my constitutional duty to bring matter of public interests to public notice. My position as governor is not thereby compromised.”

Facing criticism that he appeared to target a particular community, Roy had defended his tweet with another post, “When I suggested intelligence keeping a tab, I mentioned no community.”

Roy had been appointed as Tripura Governor in May. He had previously posted controversial tweets on Gujarat riots, ‘love jihad’ and the Hindu population.

When he had spoken to journalists after taking oath as Tripura Governor, he had said he would not allow his personal views to come in the way of discharging his official duties as governor and that he will leave “no room for political affinity”.

Asked about his pro-Hindutva views, he had said, “That was a different person, a political person, I said things which my politics dictated, my beliefs dictated. I don’t regret them. But after becoming Governor, I have constitutional duties.”

Clearly, though, nothing seems to have changed about Tathagata Roy.

With inputs from PTI

All work and not much pay for India’s manufacturers | Reuters

VADODARA, India In the office of the small paint factory he helps run, Pramod Patel is clear on the problem holding back India’s manufacturing growth: cash, or a lack of it.

Clients, he says, are taking months to pay, sometimes 150 days compared to the standard 30, choking up businesses like his Reliable Paints and hampering the creation of much-needed jobs.

“We have a lot of potential in our business, but we have no confidence in the payments,” says Patel, speaking over the noise of a mixer whirring behind him. Workers around him prepare paint to be decanted by hand into cream and grey coloured cans.

While there is no comprehensive data for the cash cycle of India’s manufacturing industry, manufacturers interviewed by Reuters in the industrial heartland of Gujarat say cash is moving at a glacial pace.

All those interviewed by Reuters reported clients delaying payments, sometimes for the best part of a year, evidence of an uneven recovery and of India’s credit drought as banks tackle $100 billion of troubled loans.

Central bank data shows that loans to medium-sized industrial companies were down 10 percent by mid September, compared to the start of the financial year in April. Loans to small companies dropped more than 3 percent in the period.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who once ran Gujarat as chief minister, India has sought to improve life for manufacturers. He wants to boost a sector that accounts for under a fifth of the economy, compared to a third for China, the world’s largest manufacturer.

But the reality on the ground is tough.

Even India’s industrial bellwether, Larsen & Toubro (LART.NS), has reported deterioration. Chief Financial Officer R. Shankar Raman says payments take around 100 days after they fall due, compared to a standard 60-75 days.

That is hovering around the longest payment period in over a decade, he said.

“MADE IN INDIA”

India badly needs manufacturing to fuel its recovery and create jobs. After all, India will be home to a working age population of 900 million people by 2020, roughly a fifth of the world’s potential workers.

Modi’s government has promised to make it simpler to operate in the country, with plans for a unified bankruptcy code, a unified goods and service tax, and more flexible labour laws. Last week, it lifted restrictions on foreign investment in 15 sectors, including defence.

But in this corner of Gujarat – a state that was ranked top in a World Bank-supported study on the ease of doing business in India’s 29 states – manufacturers say the smallest and weakest among them could be pushed to the wall, unless reform is implemented and recovery arrives swiftly.

A plethora of different taxes still wrap small firms like Reliable Paints in red tape. Others report battling outdated factory rules: some are fined for a lack of spittoons, for example, in areas where spitting on the floor is forbidden.

There are signs of hope. L&T’s Raman says he expects the numbers to have hit the bottom, provided promised government spending kicks in and banks pass on lower rates.

“The way the recovery is structured right now, it is not broad based,” said economist Sonal Varma at Nomura. Government spending, however, could improve cash flows even for smaller firms within six to 12 months, she estimates.

Gujarat, for one, has pushed taxes online, cutting down on the paperwork and opportunities for corruption, and manufacturers say that had made processes smoother.

But until reforms come in, the bureaucracy is overhauled and real spending starts, factory managers in this baked corner of Gujarat – where paints, pumps and engineering parts dominate production – say their clients will continue to struggle.

“Our big problem is client liquidity,” said the director at one European firm supplying the construction industry. “And of course we have to deal with bureaucracy and corruption.”

Four years after shutting an office in Mumbai, he said he was still battling to conclude the process.

And with lots of workers, India needs more skilled ones.

“We have a young workforce,” said Vivek Sarwate, who runs plants outside the city of Vadodara for Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA), making components for the Indian power sector.

“But if this young country is not a skilled country, instead of an asset, this becomes a liability.”

($1 = 0.9268 euros)

(Additional reporting by Tripti Kalro in BANGALORE and Devidutta Tripathy in MUMBAI; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Hardik Patel seeks bail from Surat court in sedition case

Later, the Ahmedabad crime branch also invoked the sedition charge against him and his associates and took his custody.

Last month, Surat police arrested Hardik on the charge of sedition under IPC for allegedly inciting a fellow activist to kill policemen.

Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Monday filed a bail application before the Surat sessions court in connection with a sedition case filed against him there. Hardik’s lawyer B M Mangukiya argued in the application that he was a victim of political vendetta and the state government was trying to implicate him in a false case only to keep him away from coming local body polls in Gujarat. The court would hear the application on November 19.Last month, Surat police arrested Hardik on the charge of sedition under IPC for allegedly inciting a fellow activist to kill policemen.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Later, the Ahmedabad crime branch also invoked the sedition charge against him and his associates and took his custody.After the completion of his police remand here on November 2, Hardik was sent back to Surat jail by a local court. Advocate Mangukiya said he will file a bail plea at the city sessions court here tomorrow.

Gujarat HC asks SEC to file report on steps to spread NOTA awareness

Voting for six municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar will take place on November 22, while 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will go to polls on November 29.

Gujarat High Court
File Photo

The Gujarat High Court on Sunday directed State Election Commission (SEC) to file a compliance report on steps it has taken to spread awareness among people about the use of NOTA (none of the above) option for the upcoming local body polls in the state.Vacation judge Justice C L Soni, who heard a petition filed by advocate K R Koshti at his residence, directed SEC to file by tomorrow a compliance report on a previous court order in this connection. Koshti alleged that SEC has not taken adequate steps to make voters aware on how to use the option of NOTA on the electronic voting machine (EVM) for the local body polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Voting for six municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar will take place on November 22, while 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will go to polls on November 29. Koshti said that voters should be made aware about the entire process of using the NOTA button while casting their franchise.Citing a previous order of the Gujarat High Court in this regard, he said that SEC should have conducted a publicity drive using TV advertisements, banners, etc. to educate citizens about NOTA. He alleged that no such exercise was carried out by SEC till date.The high court had on October 30 directed SEC to include NOTA option for the civic body polls and also directed the state government to provide all the required assistance to SEC in this regard.

Auction of mines to commence this month: Narendra Singh Tomar

Asked about increased imports and the proposal to hike the anti-dumping duty, particularly from China, Tomar said there was a demand from the industry in this regard.

The auction of mines in various states under the new mining policy will commence this month and ‘will be transparent and corruption free,” minister for steel and mines Narendra Singh Tomar said on Saturday. “The process has already been started and the government has talked to states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, even as Gujarat has sent notices for the auction, Tomar told reporters here. With the new mining policy, all auctions would be transparent and corruption free and government wanted to provide the required raw material to the industry without any problem, he said and expressed hope that other states would also start sending notices for auction.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about increased imports and the proposal to hike the anti-dumping duty, particularly from China, Tomar said there was a demand from the industry in this regard. As the government always redressed the grievances of the industry, the ministry would talk to the ministries concerned like Commerce and Finance and consider what could be done to safeguard the domestic steel industry, he said.An institute named Steel Research and Technology Mission of India has been set up to focus on research with identical funding of Rs 100 crore from Steel Development Fund and the Industry, he said. Tomar, here to give away awards on ‘National Metallurgy Day’, said that though there was a 2.3 per cent decline in steel production worldwide, India was witnessing a four per cent growth this year.The ministry’s aim was to increase production capacity from the present 100 million tonnes to 300 million tonnes by 2025 to reach the second spot from the third place now, Tomar said.

PM Modi should come clean on his record about 2002 riots as Gujarat CM, says Azam Khan

The ruling Samajwadi Party leader’s comments have come against the backdrop of Modi being asked about his record as Gujarat Chief Minister by a journalist during his Britain tour.

As a Prime Minister, Narendra Modi holds the highest position in a democratic setup and it was binding on him to clarify his position on 2002 riots in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan said here today.The ruling Samajwadi Party leader’s comments have come against the backdrop of Modi being asked about his record as Gujarat Chief Minister by a journalist during his Britain tour. A journalist from The Guardian newspaper asked Modi about protests on the streets of London saying he did not deserve the respect that would normally be accorded to the leader of the world’s largest democracy given his record as Gujarat Chief Minister. “It is incumbent upon Modi to come clean before not only the Indian people but also in the eyes of the world populace,” Azam said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related read: Tipu Sultan, ‘servant of French’, had no qualities worth celebrating: Subramanian Swamy”Since he holds the highest position in a democratic set up it is incumbent upon Modi to come clean before not only the Indian people but also in the eyes of the world populace,” he said.The minister also attacked the people questioning Tipu Sultan’s patriotism. “It is an historic fact that Tipu killed a military general of foreign forces in the battle field and embraced the most honourable death there,” he said.

BJP leaders’ murder: ATS hands over all 7 accused to cops

They were arrested after a meticulously carried out operation by the ATS, wherein they traced and picked up the accused from places like Uttarakhand and Mount Abu besides Gujarat.

The Gujarat ATS, which claimed to have cracked the double murder of BJP leaders in Bharuch earlier this month, today handed over to police the seven accused whom they had arrested from Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. The ATS today handed over to Bharuch police the three persons it arrested from Uttarakhand and also four other accused arrested from Mount Abu in Rajasthan yesterday in connection with the case, an ATS official said. They were arrested after a meticulously carried out operation by the ATS, wherein they traced and picked up the accused from places like Uttarakhand and Mount Abu besides Gujarat. “The trio were arrested, by a team of ATS officials, from Piran Kaliyar dargah near Haridwar yesterday where they have been hiding for many days. The team arrived here this evening with the accused and they were handed over to Bharuch police for further action,” Inspector General of ATS, J K Bhatt stated in a release.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The trio were identified as Haider Ali Shaikh (29), Mohsin Khan Pathan (25) and Nisar Ahmed Shaikh (30), all residents of Suart, while four others as Joyeb alias Juhaib Ansari, the sharpshooter who allegedly opened fire on the two leaders, Inayat Vora, Saiyad Imran Kadri and Yunus Shaikh. According to ATS, Haider, Mohsin and Nisar fled to Ajmer soon after the BJP leaders were murdered on November 2 and then proceeded to Kaliyar dargah near Haridwar. “Our investigation revealed that Haider was riding the bike while Joyeb, who opened fire, was riding pillion. Mohsin and Nisar had conducted recce of the BJP leaders and passed on the information to the duo to carry out the killings,” said Bhatt.The agency yesterday announced that it had unravelled the conspiracy behind murders of Shirish Bangali, former BJP president of Bharuch district and senior RSS member, and Pragnesh Mistry, general secretary of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha of Bharuch district, by arresting seven persons. The agency had said that the contract for their killing was allegedly given by absconding 1993 Mumbai serial blasts accused Javed Chikna from South Africa, apparently to avenge subsequent riots in Mumbai and Gujarat. According to ATS, the assignment to carry out the contractual killing was given by Chikna to Saiyad Kadri who subsequently roped in six others to carry out the murders.

Diwali 2015: Best messages to send your brother on Bhai Dooj

Here are few messages that you can send your brother on this occasion to extend your good wishes to him.

Representational image

Source: festivalsofindia.com
Bhai Dooj which marks the end of the five-day-long celebrations of Diwali will be celebrated on Friday. This festival is known by several other names such as Bhai Beej or Bhau Beej in Maharashtra and Gujarat, Bhai Dooj in Northern part of India, Bhai Tika in Nepal and Bhai Pota in West Bengal.On this day, brothers and sisters perform a traditional ritual wherein sisters perform aarti for their brother and offer sincere prayers for him. In return, brothers pledge to protect their sister and also give them gifts.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: Diwali 2015: Why do we celebrate Bhai Dooj?Here are few messages that you can send your brother on this occasion to extend your good wishes to him:1. On this auspicious occasion of Bhai Dooj, I wish you lots of happiness, success and good health.2. To the outside world we all grow old, but we know each other as we always were.We know each other’s heart. We live outside the touch of time.Happy Bhai Dooj3. You know that you are the most precious stone,In the collection of my secret treasure,Wishing you very Happy Bhai DoojAnd best of luck for everything.4. It means so much to have you around,As with your presence everything seems just so easy,God may bless you brother.Happy Bhai Dooj!5. May this Bhai Dooj strengthen our bond more than ever and bring joy and prosperity. Best wishes for Bhai Dooj.6. I absolutely treasure the wonderful relationship we share.It’s so precious, unique and rare.And when an occasion like Bhai Dooj comes along I wish for you every happiness and pray that it lingers longHappy Bhai Dooj!

Fake Facebook Wall: What Narendra Modi and David Cameron can’t say to each other in public

The following is a fake conversation which never took place between Modi, Cameron and other world leaders:

What they didn’t say

Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK comes at a very interesting time. After suffering a humiliating loss in Bihar to the Nitish-Lalu duo which brought some criticism from the old guard at the BJP, there are a lot of elephants in the room that Narendra Modi and David Cameron will want to avoid. Meanwhile, David will certainly hope that Narendra Modi avoids talking about the pig incident, not to mention the hard questions that the British media subjected him to. The following is a fake conversation which never took place between Modi, Cameron and other world leaders: <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Narendra Modi: Britron, it’s so nice to be in the UK. I am looking forward to spending some quality time with mitron David Cameron where we shall not be discussing animals of any nature. ;)David Cameron: You had to do that didn’t you? But then you won’t get killed for eating beef here.Narendra Modi: Well we don’t stick our you-know-whats in dead carcasses. But let bygones be bygones, or this will be a long, long, long weekend.Tipu Sultan: Yeah let bygones be bygone. How does it matter what I did three hundred years ago?Mahatma Gandhi: Good one.Shah Rukh Khan: Thank you for the birthday wishes. Here is a little return gift for you. http://bit.ly/DilwaleTrailerForYou Winston Churchill: I still can’t believe this half-naked fakir has a statue near our parliament.LK Advani: Narendra, that a potshot at me? Are you calling me a bygone now? What about Bihar? Why did you run away?Nitin Gadkari: Arre Advaniji, you guys are acting like you’ve never lost an election in your lifetime.Lalu Prasad Yadav: You can take a Gujarati out of Gujarat, you can’t take the Gujarat out of the Gujarati. Padd ghoom lijiye, kya pata iske baad mauka milke ya nahin.Nitish Kumar: Humko desh ki fikr sataati hai, woh bus videsh ke daure lagaate hain, humko badhti mahangai satata, wo bas mann ki baat sunata. Har waqt apni selfie khinchta tha woh, Dawood ko laane wala tha woh, kahan gaya use dhoondoMark Zuckerberg: I missed India during Diwali. India is the best. India rocks. Three cheers for India.Narendra Modi: Bro, keep it cool. You’re making it too obvious. They will start hounding you. Stop acting like Pahlaj. It’s embarrassing.Shah Rukh Khan: Thank you for the birthday wishes. Here is a little return gift for you. http://bit.ly/DilwaleTrailerForYou Barack Obama: First Mark, now Cameron. NaMo are you two-timing me?Narendra Modi: No no, you’re still my number 1 Mitron.Tony Abbot: Sigh bad things happen to your mitron. I lost my seat, Harper got ousted in Canada and Koirala lost in Nepal.Justin Trudeau: Well come on man. Harper can’t compete with this (check my profile picture again). I am also a feminist, non-homophobe and believe in racial equality.Shah Rukh Khan: Thank you for the birthday wishes. Here is a little return gift for you. http://bit.ly/DilwaleTrailerForYou Amit Shah: Bro if you promise to stop this, I will go to Pakistan.Nitish Kumar: Jumla, jumla. Amitbhai will never go to Pakistan.Rahul Gandhi: Sigh, how did Canada vote for Trudeau but no one voted for me?Justin Trudeau: Bro don’t, not the same.Donald Trump: God wants you to vote for me.Ben Carson: Nope, he wants you to vote for me.Bobby Jindal: You’re all wrong; God wants you to vote for me.God: Nope I don’t. I’ve never talked to a Republican in my life. Xi Jingping: Hey NaMo go have a pint and some fish and chips at the pub David took me.Narendra Modi: Eleven, your sense of humour is awesome. My ideological brethren would lose their head if I was seen with a pint of beer or eating fish.Mamata Banerjee: Hehe another reason it rocks to be Bengali.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel greets people on New Year

She also interacted with various BJP leaders and MLAs here as well as at Gandhinagar and greeted them on the occasion.

She also interacted with various BJP leaders and MLAs here as well as at Gandhinagar and greeted them on the occasion (PTI)

File Photo
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel extended her greetings to the people of the state on the occasion of Gujarati New Year on Thursday. “I extend my heartiest greetings to all the six crore people of Gujarat on the occasion of beginning of New Year today. I prayed to God that Gujarat becomes more prosperous and surge ahead in it’s journey of development,” Patel said.Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister called on state Governor OP Kohli at Raj Bhavan. She also offered her prayers at Bhadrakali temple in the city and at Panchnath temple of Lord Shiva in Gandhinagar. She also interacted with various BJP leaders and MLAs here as well as at Gandhinagar and greeted them on the occasion. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah also met Patel in the afternoon and exchanged greetings for new year, stated an official press release.In her interaction with media at a function here, Patel urged people to suggest ways to improve her governance. “There are still some sectors where we are (lagging) behind. In this new year, my government will try to develop these sectors with the help of people. I urge people to come ahead to pinpoint our mistakes so that we can bring improvements,” the CM said.Ahead of the local body polls, slated later this month, Patel expressed hope that people will remain on the BJP’s side. “The way people have always supported BJP and provided valuable guidance and motivation in the past, I am sure that you will also support us in this year too,” she said.The Gujarati new year falls on Varshapratipada or Pratipada Padwa during Diwali in Hindu month of Kartik.

Asaram has been ‘framed’ in false case; will seek bail for him: Subramanian Swami

The godman has been in jail since last two years in connection with an alleged rape case.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
BJP leader Subramanian Swami on Monday alleged that godman Asaram had been “framed in a false case” and said he would approach court for his bail after Diwali.”Asaram has been framed in this false case at the behest of Sonia Gandhi following his drive in Gujarat against religious conversions by missionaries,” alleged Swami.The godman has been in jail since last two years in connection with an alleged rape case. Swami, who met Asaram in jail for about an hour this morning, termed the entire case “bogus” and said he would be moving court once again for his bail.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I would be coming back after Diwali and would plead for his bail in the court,” he told reporters.Swami had first visited Asaram in jail on April 23 this year before finally deciding to move to the court with a bail plea in June. His plea, however, was rejected by the trial court. He said he discussed various aspects of the case with Asaram in jail today.”I am sure that this entire case would not stand in the court and Asaram would walk out of jail very soon with full dignity,” Swami claimed.

NHRC issues notice to Gujarat government for discriminating against Dalits

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Gujarat Government over the issue of a separate Anganwadi for Dalit children in Hajipur village of Patan district.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Gujarat Government over the issue of a separate Anganwadi for Dalit children in Hajipur village of Patan district.Taking suo motu cognizance of a media report, the NHRC has issued notice to the the Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Gujarat, and sought a report within two weeks.According to the report, there are two separate Anganwadis, one for the children of Dalits and the other for the children of other castes in Hajipur village.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reports stated that a three-year-old Dalit girl, who was lost in conversation with her four-year-old neighbour friend, walked towards Anganwadi number- 160 but was stopped at the gate and asked to go to Anganwadi number- 159 that was meant for Dalits.According to the NHRC, if the contents of the media report were true then it raised serious issues of human rights violation of Dalits.

Bihar elections 2015: Here are 11 reasons which could have led to BJP’s loss

Here are some points after talking to scores of BJP leaders and activists on ground.

The electoral match which was looking a close-call finally appeared a cakewalk for Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance. What went against NDA. Here are some points after talking to scores of BJP leaders and activists on ground. 1. Overlooking dedicated cadres in ticket distribution 2. Overemphasis on youth, that led insecurity amongst old workers, who have built party over the years 3. BJP workers didn’t go home to home unlike last Lok Sabha elections 4. Cadres from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and even from Jammu region and Andhra Pradesh were air-dashed, rendering local cadres ineffective. The strategy misfired. And it also augmented argument of Bihari v/s Bahri, when they roamed in villages asking for votes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> 5. While selecting village panchayat members and influential village men to tour Maharahstra and Gujarat ahead of elections to show them best practices and development, many others were ignored. Angry at being denied a free train ride and hospitality, they worked against party candidate. 6. In a hurry to fracture other parties, BJP encouraged defection from JD (U), and even gave defectors tickets, ignoring those vying for tickets. 7. Ignoring of women candidates. In Raghavnathpur—sitting MLA Usha Vidhyanath was denied ticket. Women voted in large numbers to Nitish. 8. Above all, was the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat statement to review reservation. Though, he may not have meant it, it was used to the hilt by Lalu Prasad Yadav. 9. Lynching of Ikhlaq Ahmed in Dadri created fear psychosis amongst minorities. They voted in large numbers, just to defeat NDA, ensured there is no division of their votes. 10. Dalits and Maha-Dalits lost confidence in Ramvilas Paswan and Jatin Ram Manjhi. 11. Absence of local face. Not projecting a chief minister, that gave liver to Nitish, Lalu combine to portray battle between Bihari and Bahri (outsider).

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