Aday after it was left highand dry by the SamajwadiParty (SP)
and the BahujanSamaj Party (BSP) forging analliance, the Congress
onSunday announced it will con-test all the 80 Lok Sabha seatsin
Uttar Pradesh on its ownstrength. However, theCongress has kept the
doors ofa possible alliance open sayingthe Congress would
accom-modate any secular force capa-ble of taking on the
rulingBharatiya Janata Party in theLok Sabha election.
The Congress has not beenin power in Uttar Pradeshsince the
Babri Masjid demo-lition in 1992. The State hasbeen governed
alternately byMayawati and Akhilesh YadavsSamajwadi Party.
But the Congress plan tocontest the bulk of Lok Sabhaseats is
expected to cut into thevotes of the alliance. It is alsoexpected
to irk Mayawati andAkhilesh, who have lent sup-port to the
CongressGovernments in MadhyaPradesh.
After a brainstorming ses-sion with senior party
leaders,Congress general secretary andincharge of UP Ghulam
NabiAzad, said, There was ademand from the party rankand file for
contesting the elec-tions alone in UP, which hadbeen accepted by
the leader-ship and now the party willcontest the elections with
Announcing that theCongress is ready to accom-
modate some secular politicalparties in their alliance in UP,it
said that very soon the lead-ership will start selecting
thecandidates and party presi-dent Rahul Gandhi will addresspublic
rallies at different partsof the State.
Addressing a Press confer-ence here on Sunday GhulamNabi Azad
said, The Congresswill contest on all the 80 LokSabha seats in
Uttar Pradesh,and defeat the BJP. Azad alsoexpressed hope that
Congress will double its tally ofseats, which it had secured
inthe 2009 Lok Sabha elections.During the 2009 Lok Sabhaelections,
the Congress hadbagged 21 seats.
To a question whether hisparty will not forge a coalitionwith
any political party, Azadsaid, If any political party iswilling to
join hands, and theCongress feels that it can fightthe BJP, then it
will be definitelybe accommodated.
On the Congress being left
out of the SP-BSP alliance, theCongress general secretarysaid:
We wanted that Congressshould have been a part of thegrand alliance
(against the BJP)in UP. But, if someone does notwant to walk along,
then noth-ing could be done. On thepost-poll alliance with the
SPand BSP, Azad said that at thenational level, the
Congresswelcomes all the secularregional parties.
Replying to another ques-tion on SP-BSP alliance, Azad
said, The Congress workersare not at all disappointed onbeing
left out of the alliance.On the contrary, they are say-ing that the
party would havehad to contest on 25 Lok Sabhaseats, but now they
would becontesting on all the 80 seats ofthe State. On
possibilities of analliance with the Rashtriya LokDal, Azad said
that he wouldnot like to speak to the mediaon this issue.
Announcing that verysoon party president RahulGandhi will launch
rallies atdifferent places in the State onsupport of the party
candidates,Azad, who is the Leader of theOpposition in the Rajya
Sabha,said that some regional partiescan too join them in the
Statethus predicting the inclusion ofRashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)
intheir fold. Claiming that thereis issue of leadership among
theanti-BJP parties and the issueof the next Prime Ministerwill be
decided after the elec-tions.
On Saturday, BSP chiefMayawati and SP presidentAkhilesh Singh
Yadavannounced their parties wouldcontest 38 seats each and
leaveout two seats Amethi andRae Bareily for the Congress.Mayawati
said her party nevergained from an alliance withthe Congress and
held itresponsible for the plight ofbackward castes.
We do not gain from analliance with the Congress,whereas the
vote transfer is per-fect in an SP-BSP tie-up,Mayawati had
Drawing a parallel between
the Congress and the BJP, shehad said while the former
hadimposed Emergency in thecountry, the latter was respon-sible for
the current state ofundeclared Emergency.
Azad on Sunday accusedthe BJP of dividing the coun-try for power
and claimed thatthe saffron party had failed tofulfil any of its
The coming Lok Sabhaelection is a battle to unite Indiaand
safeguard the democraticvalues, he said.
Attacking Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, the Congressleader said,
Modi is not con-cerned about the country, he isbothered about his
own chair.One of the biggest scams hastaken place during the
tenureof this Government. TheGovernment has not gone fora probe.
Not going for a probedoes not mean that the scamhas not been
Stating that the Congresshad always put the countrybefore
everything else, he citedthe examples of the party sac-rificing
power in Jammu andKashmir to strengthen SheikhAbdullah and how it
had sac-rificed power to put an end toterrorism in Mizoram.
The Congress has beenfighting for the rights of thepoor,
farmers, backward castesand Dalits since even beforeIndependence
and afterIndependence, it is followingthe same ideology, he
On the possibilities of analliance with the Ajit
Singh-ledRashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Azadsaid he would not like to
speakto the media about it.
In a clear indication that theBJP is now ready to accom-modate
leaders in 75-year agecategory in important posi-tions, the party
on Sundayappointed senior legislatorGulab Chand Kataria as
theLeader of Opposition in theRajasthan Assembly. The 74-year-old
Kataria was also select-ed as the leader of the BJP leg-islature
party while seven-timeMLA Rajendra Rathore waschosen as his
Former Chief MinisterVasundhara Raje, who has nowbeen completely
marginalisedin the BJP scheme of things,proposed the name of
Katariaas the leader of BJP legislatureparty, which was seconded
bythe party MLAs unanimously.
There was only one pro-posal for the post, the partysnational
general secretary ArunSingh told reporters after themeeting. He
said Rathore waschosen as the deputy leader byKataria.
Katarias elevation showsthat the BJP has decided todownsize
Raje, who is not onthe best terms with the Centralleaders. Though
Raje herselfproposed the name of Kataria,its well known that
Kataria hasbeen her nemesis in theRajasthan politics for a
Kataria will also be the pro-tem speaker to conduct the
firstmeeting of the newly electedAssembly. He is an eight-timeMLA
and was Home Minister
in the former Vasundhara RajeGovernment.
Kataria was first elected asMLA in 1977, then in 1980. Hehas won
all Assembly electionssince 1993, remaining a mem-ber of the House.
GovernorKalyan Singh will administerhim oath of office on
Rathore has earlier servedas the Parliamentary AffairsMinister
in the State.
Union HRD Minister andpartys poll incharge in theState Prakash
Javadekar,national spokespersonSudhanshu Trivedi and partysState
president Madan Lal Sainiwere present in the meeting.
The Rajasthan police onFriday night arrested anArmy jawan posted
inJaisalmer after he was alleged-ly honey-trapped by a
Pakistan-based ISI operative whom hemet on the Facebook.
The jawan has beenaccused of passing crucialinformation to the
The Pakistani agent underthe assumed name of AnikaChopra claimed
to be an ArmyCaptain of the Military NursingCorps and in her
profile pictureshe is seen wearing a greensaree with a pretty smile
on herface. Fifty more jawans areunder the scanner of intelli-gence
agencies. The honeytrapping incident comes evenas the intelligence
agencieshad in the past flagged con-cerns over such tactics of
theISI. Sepoy Somveer Singh,posted with an armoured unitin
Jaisalmer, was arrested afterhe was caught sharing
sensitiveinformation and pictures of hislocation and army
exerciseswith the Pakistani agent.
It was clear to both militaryintelligence and to Rajasthan
Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS)that Chopra was a Pakistani agent who
hadhoney-trapped not just Singhmany other fellow soldiers aswell.
Singh who is marriedclaimed that he did not knowof Chopras
antecedents till shestarted blackmailing him.
Singh had met Anika onFacebook in 2016 shortly afterbeing
commissioned into theArmy.
Singh, who hails fromRohtak, was flattered when alady officer
approached himwith a friend request.
The relationship betweenthe two soon turned so inti-mate that
Singh is said to haveeven made up his mind todivorce his wife and
Oblivious from the sur-veillance on him, Singh wasbeing tracked
by the MI afterregular phone calls on hisnumber were being
receivedfrom a Jammu number andcontinued for months, trigger-ing
alarm bells in the covertagency.
Subsequent tracking ofSinghs Facebook chats revealedthat Anika
was operating fromPakistan.
Sheila Dikshit, the three-timeChief Minister who ran thenational
Capital for 15 con-secutive years till getting amajor drubbing in
the 2013Assembly election at the handsof Arvind Kejriwal, has
comeout of the political hibernationto head the Delhi unit of
Famous for not mincingher words, the veteranCongress leader
believes herparty will bounce back topower on its own strength,
andis dead against stitching up anypre-poll alliance, ruling outany
truck with the Kejriwal-ledAam Aadmi Party (AAP) inDelhi for the
forthcoming LokSabha elections. In an interviewto The Pioneers
Swarn KumarAnand and Asad, Dikshit saidCongress prospects are
brightas people are growing weary ofnon-Congress Governments.
Excerpts: For almost three years,
you have been away fromactive politics. Now theCongress has
entrusted youwith an important task ofsteering the Delhi unit of
theparty. How do you feel?
I am related to Delhi in avery special way. I was educat-ed and
brought up here. I havespent my entire political careerhere. So for
me it is a come-back. Whatever I can do for myparty and to Delhi, I
will bevery happy to do it. I didnt seekit (the Delhi Congress
chiefpost), I got it. And I didnt rejectit; in fact, I welcomed
Now, as head of the DelhiCongress, what future do youenvision
for the party in theCapital, say after one year, in2020 Assembly
You see, the future of theCongress is bright. In Delhi,
one of the competitors is theAam Aadmi Party (AAP). Butit is a
small party, and it haswon just by making false
promises to the people: freepower, free water, etc. We havelost
two elections to them. ButI am certain that the Congress
will make a comeback in Delhi,because even now people
stillremember 15 years of theCongress rule. As time goes by,they
are remembering it more.
In the last two Assemblyelections in Delhi, the BJPalmost
retained its vote per-centage, but the AAP ate intothe Congress
votes, and dent-ed its prospects. But recently,speculation about
alliancewith the AAP has been doingthe rounds. And in fact, thisis
one of the covert reasons forAjay Makens resignationfrom State unit
chief post.What is your take on alliance?
I am not for any kind ofalliance with the AAP at all. Asa party
we have lost one or twoelections. But it doesnt matter;as recently
we won four elec-tions and I am sure we willmake a comeback.
It (Congress) is a tradi-
tional old party of the country.We should not be discouragedby
defeats by the AAP. We willpick up momentum on ourown, without any
Despite opinion polls giv-ing the Congress a good chance in UP
Assemblyelections, you refused toaccept CM candidature. Didyou see
the writing on wall that the party will not dowell?
It was not about seeing thewriting on the wall. I hadtaken a
time out from activepolitics as I was the Governorof Kerala, and
when I cameback from there (to UP) Ithought it was not the
righttime for me to enter active pol-itics. It was partys decision
tosend me there.
Yes, there was someassumption that the party willproject me as
but once they decided to go foralliance with the SP, I boweddown
to that. We were doinggood on our own, but the col-lective will of
the party had tobe honoured.
What makes you so con-fident that voters will againsupport the
Congress? Whatis your plan?
We are going to comeout with a policy, an all Indiapolicy. The
immediate target isthe Lok Sabha polls, not the cityelection. Right
now, I am veryenthused with the fact that peo-ple are showing
confidence inthe Congress.
I have seen it in the last twodays as there has been longqueues
here (her residence).This shows that people areagain turning back
to theCongress as they dont havegood experience with non-Congress
The controversy surroundingthe unceremoniousremoval of Alok
Verma as CBIdirector by the Prime Minister-led panel refuses to die
down.Justice AK Sikri, who backedModi for removing Verma, onSunday
evening declined aplum post-retirement Londonposting even as the
Congresssought immediate removal ofthe chief vigilance
commis-sioner, alleging theGovernment had made him actlike a puppet
to escape aprobe into the Rafale deal.
After The Print portalreported that the Governmenthas suggested
to post JusticeSikri as member of London-based
CommonwealthSecretariat Arbitral Tribunal(CSAT) after his
retirement inMarch 6, 2019, social mediawas flooded with
comments questioning thecredibility of Justice Sikri
forsupporting Prime Minister forremoving Verma as the CBIdirector
within 24 hours ofbeing reinstated by theSupreme Court.
Retired Justice AKPatnaiks revelations that the nocorruption
charges were foundagainst Verma was also beingflagged in the social
Justice Sikris plum Londontribunal posting was for fiveyears and
as per the rules of tri-bunal, the judges were allowedextension of
another five yearsalso.
India is a member of thisTribunal and Sikri will beexpected to
be the president ofthis Tribunal by rotation of theposts among the
membercountries in theCommonwealth.
In the evening, stung by thecriticism, Justice Sikri, whoenjoys
a high reputation as anuncompressing judge, wroteto Law Ministry
that he isdeclining this post retirementjob in London.
Meanwhile, attacking theCVC, the Congress demandedhis immediate
seek the removal, the depar-ture, the exit of the collabora-tor
for violating theConstitution -- the CVC (chiefvigilance
commissioner). Hemust go. It is irrelevant whetherhe resigns or is
sacked, but hemust go, Congress spokesper-son Abhishek Manu
Singhvisaid at AICC Press confer-ence.
The Congress alleged thatCVC KV Chowdary is beingmade to act
like a puppet toavoid any probe into the Rafalecase.
Till now, we have beentold that only the CBI was thecaged parrot
but we are nowseeing a new vigilant slave ofthe Government, a
collabora-tor for violating the constitu-tion of the Central
VigilanceCommission, the Congressspokesperson alleged, taking
aswipe at the ModiGovernment.
The CVC has been actinglike an ambassador for Asthana(CBI
Special Director RakeshAsthana), lobbying forAsthana, and acting as
an agentand messenger for theGovernment, to do their hatch-et jobs,
Prime Minister NarendraModi on Sunday attackedthe previous
CongressGovernment for its inability tobring Kartarpur Sahib
underIndia during partition.
Releasing a commemora-tive coin as part of the 350thbirth
anniversary celebrationsof 10th Sikh guru Guru Gobind
Singh, Modi also came downon the Congress for the 1984riots that
took place following the assassination ofthe then Prime Minister
IndiraGandhi. Referring to theKartapur Sahib corridor, hesaid now
devotees do not haveto look at the shrine in Pakistanusing
binoculars and theycould visit the place withoutvisa using the
&!$%!#! "" "
Acivil surgeon posted inUjjain district hospital hasbeen removed
after a videopurportedly showing him inti-mated with a nurse in an
oper-ation theatre went viral onsocial media. District
CollectorShashank Mishra told that thedoctor has been removed
fromhis post for the behaviour notexpected from an officer.
The undated clip purport-edly shows the civil surgeon(CS)
kissing a woman in anoperation theatre. "I haveremoved him from the
post ofcivil surgeon of the districthospital," Ujjain district
col-lector Shashank Mishra said,adding that he has also issueda
notice seeking the seniordoctor's explanation.
The civil surgeon has beenreplaced with Dr PN Verma, hesaid. To
a query, the Collectorsaid he was waiting for reply ofthe civil
surgeon who has beenon leave for past two days.When contacted,
District ChiefMedical and Health Officer(DCMHO) Dr Mohan
Malviyasaid Divisional Commissioneris expected to order an
enquiryinto the incident.
Official sources said thewoman seen in the video is anurse with
the district hospitalwhile the operation theatre isbelieved to be
the one in thesame hospital. Dr Malviyarefused to comment whenasked
if the clip was shot in theoperation theatre. Local policesaid they
have not received anycomplaint so far.
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Important documents andfurniture were gutted in shortcircuit
borne fire which brokeat Bhopal MunicipalCorporation (BMC)
Zoneoffice in Mangalwara late in theevening on Sunday.
The fire which erupted inthe evening soon turned mas-sive. The
documents in theroom of zone chairman weredamaged in the fire
whichbroke at around 8 pm. The fireerupted at office of Zone
num-ber 4 which is situated atMangalwara.
Soon after the fire brokefire brigade was informed andon the
receipt of the informa-tion fire tender vehicles werepressed into
Fire fighters told that thefire broke out due to short cir-cuit
in the room of Zone officelocated at the second floor ofthe
building which was con-trolled and pacified before itcould spread
to other nearbybuildings.
The fire tenders took morethan two hours to pacify thefire. The
loss and other detailswould be provided BMC offi-cials.
The fire was later dousedby around one dozen fire fight-ing
vehicles were pressed intoservice on recipient of infor-
mation.The fire caused damage to
the furniture only and no offi-cial papers or any other
docu-ment related to wards weredamaged in the fire claimedBMC
Ward officer Amit Tiwariit was short circuit borne firebut no
other damage was doneexcept for the furniture in theoffice of zone
chairman SanjeevGupta. The area which usual-ly remains crowded in
week-days was deserted due toSunday and made the rescuework
2#34 ,- 56#!
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A35-year-old man wasrobbed of 25,000 in cashby two bike-borne
miscreantsby attacking him with sharpedged weapon nearGovindpura
electricity officelate in the evening on Saturday.
According to police, thevictim Dinesh Sahu of AshokaGarden was
on his way tohome after work at around 7 inthe evening.
The victim works as asalesman of private telecomcompany and
after collectionof payment for SIM cards andrecharge vouchers, when
reached near MPSEBGovindpura, he was attackedby two miscreants
who tried torob him and when he resisted,they attacked him with
sharpedged weapon injuring him inhis hand.
The victim managed toescape and approached theMP Nagar police
and lodgedcomplaint. He stated that hesells SIM cards and
rechargevouchers at mobile shops inBhopal and nearby areas and
isassigned to collect money forthe same later. On Saturday ataround
7 pm when he was onhis way to home after collec-tion in Anna
Nagarh, he was
waylaid by two masked mis-creants riding a black colourPulsar
bike without registra-tion number and after stoppingtheir vehicle
in-front of hisbike, they started beating himand one of them
snatched bagcarrying 25,000 cash, SIMcards and recharge
vouchersfrom him and when heopposed, one of the miscreantattacked
him injuring victim inhis hand.
Based on complaint, policehave registered a case undersection
392 of the IPC. TheCCTV footages of camerasinstalled near the spot
In order to maintain the phys-ical fitness along with men-tal
fitness Bhopal branch ofICAI organised premier leaguecricket
tournament (tennisball) for its member at Ankurground Bhopal on
The tournament is Bat,Ball and Masti. In the tennisball cricket
tournament, morethan 120 CharteredAccountants
participated.Aruneshwar Singh Deo,Chairman, Sports PromoterGroup
inaugurated the eventon Saturday and concludedhere on Sunday. MLA
AlokSanjar was present on theoccasion. He appreciated
chartered accountants on theirmultiple abilities to performwith
computers and bat too.
Tournament had somespecial features including 1female player and
one seniorplayer above 40 was manda-tory to partiipate in
There is a new concept ofmagic over in which runsscored by bat
shall be doubledwhile in case of any wicketwhen shall be subtracted
by 5runs. If player scores 40 runs,then he shall be
There were as many asEight Teams who participatedin the
tournament. DISA-11won the championship bydefeating ICDS-11. Man of
Tournament title went to CAKrishnendra Kochar, CAGovind Rinwa
was awarded asBest bowler of the tourna-ment, CA Rishi Loya
wasawarded as best Batsman of
the tournament, CA AbhishekJain was awarded as bestFielder of
the tournamentwhile CA Jayshree Dewani asbest female player of the
This is the first time everthat a closed tournament inBhopal has
been held in whichsuch a large number of CAparticipated. MLA
AlokSanjar felicitated the winners.
The Bhopalites witnessedPunjabi tadka underUttaradhikar series.
The tradi-tional music and dance per-formance of Punjabi culturewas
beautifully presented onSunday at Madhya PradeshState Tribal
The evening was adornedwith Punjabi Folk Dance andMusic. To
begin with theevening, the Punjabi folkdance took over the
floor.Notably, Mohammad Irshadand Punjabi Folk Art CentrePatiala
gave a splendid per-formance before theBhopalites.
The presentation startedwith Sameer Mahi singing'Hallah hoo'
with his fellowartists. After this, Nishat Bano,with fellow
artists, performedMere Aala Jat. After this,Nishat Bano presented
'SuhareChere Walia' and 'Surma' infront of the audience.
Artists presented songssuch as 'Mundri' and 'Jugni'.Nishat Bano
at the end of his
presentation, singing a num-ber of songs centered on thefestival
of Lohri and DullaBhatt, wrapped up his pre-sentation.
Lohri is a famous festivalof north India. It is celebratedone
day before MakarSankranti. Lohri is also linkedto a story of Dulla
In the midst of singingperformances, the artists alsopresented
an enchanting danceperformance with the dancesperformed on the
festivals,festivals and rituals of Punjab.In which the Bhangra
andGidda remain prominent.
In this presentation, NishatBano along with 15 artistspresented
the performance.During singing and folk danceperformances, Pragati
Singh,Jagtar Singh, Pamma, Sandeep,Gagandeep, Harpreet Kaurand
Ishaan danced the dancewith their dance skills.
Sameer Mahi accompa-nied Nishat Bano in thesinging, Fakirya on
the drum,Bobby on tabla, Vinay on thekeyboard and Harman
accom-panied on the octopad.
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Claiming that matters offaith donot come under thepurview of
courts, the VishwaHindu Parishad (VHP) onSunday reiterated that
theCentre should enact a law forconstruction of Ram temple
While talking to mediapersons here on Sunday, VHPinternational
president VishnuSadashiv Kokje also said asolution to the Ayodhya
disputethrough court procedures wasnot in sight at the moment,given
the prevailing scenario.
Kokje further said the mat-ters related to religious faithdonot
come under the juris-
diction of courts which are runby laws. That is why, we wantthat
the Central Governmentshould get a law enacted for theconstruction
of a grand Ramtemple soon.
We have a hunch that inthe coming days, the Ayodhyadispute will
linger on in theSupreme Court as in the past,"Kokje, a former judge
of theHigh Court of MadhyaPradesh and Rajasthan, added.
He further said that nocourt can decide whether LordRam was born
in Ayodhya ornot. That is why, from thebeginning, we have
beendemanding a law to constructthe Ram temple, otherwisethe issue
will linger on till eter-
nity.Kokje added that the VHP
would hold talks with spiritu-
al leaders to chalk out a strat-egy on the Ram temple issueat
the "Dharam Sansad" to be
held at the Prayagraj Kumbhbetween January 31 andFebruary 1.
The VHP internationalchief also alleged that theCongress's
"vote-bank poli-tics" was responsible for cre-ating hassles in the
construc-tion of the Ram temple.
A13-year-old girl wasmolested by a 22-year-oldyouth while victim
was playingnear her home at Berasia in theafternoon on
According to the police, thevictim was cycling near herhouse
when the accusedJitendra Rajput obstructed herway and took her to a
seclud-ed place where he tried tomolest her. The victim raisedalert
after which locals and herfather rushed to her rescue. Theaccused
was nabbed and hand-ed over to the police. Thepolice have started
investiga-tion and registered case ofmolestation.
Meanwhile, a 15-year-oldgirl was molested by 34-year-old man at
Qazi Camp underHanumanganj police stationarea on Saturday; accused
wasfriend of victims father andused to harass her for long,
Police said that the minorvictim lives at Qazi Camp withher
parents was molested andharassed by Nafees Khan of thesame area and
frustrated overthe constant teasing by the
accused, the victim lodged acomplaint with theHanumanganj
The victim lives at homealong with her step-motherand father.
The accused used tovisit the home frequently andwould tease and
molest herwhich the victim faced forpast few months and recentlyshe
reported the act to the hermother after which they lodgeda
complaint with the police.
In her complaint the victimstated that on Saturday whenshe was
at home accusedarrived and started to molesther. Based on the
complaintpolice have registered a case ofmolestation against the
accusedand started to search for theaccused. Police suspect that
theaccused has crime record andhas been booked for molesta-tion
which would be investi-gated.
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Valuables worth 50,000were burgled fromTreasure Apartment
underJehangirabad police stationarea on Friday.
According to the police,the victim Rehan Khan alongwith his wife
had gone to hisrelatives place on January 10and when they returned
onSaturday they found that thevaluables were missing.
A complaint was made bythe vict im with theJehangirabad police
and inthe complaint the victim hadclaimed that on his return
hefound that the locks werebroken and on entering thehouse was
found ransacked.The victim claimed that Rs42000 cash and goods
werefound burgled. In the bur-glar y loss was around50,000.
In the burglary the almi-rah which was having thevaluables was
targeted and theother valuables were not dis-turbed. The lock of
the almi-rah was found broken and thecash which was kept werefound
The police have regis-tered a case under sections
457 and 380 of the IPC andhave started further
Meanwhile, two womenwho created ruckus andraised allegations
against doc-tor and staff of Sanjeevani andDay Care hospital
underShahjehanabad police stationare still at large; the twocould
be spotted tearing theirclothes in the CCTV footage.
Shahjehanabad policehave started investigation onthe complaint
of the hospitalstaff. In the CCTV footages itcould be spotted that
thewomen have torn their clotheson their own while theythreatened
Dr Arvind Joshiand other staff of raising com-plaint of rape
Police said that one of theaccused Neelofar was operat-ed for
kidney stone and latershe was reported with infec-tion and referred
to Chirayuand on the next day she cameback to demand refund andwhen
the hospital refused theycreated ruckus and threat-ened to lodge
Bhopal: Minister for PublicRelations PC Sharma said thatthe
personality of Savitri BaiPhule is always inspirational forwomen
community. He wasaddressing the Savitri Bai PhuleJyanti Samaroh
held at HindiBhavan, Bhopal.
Sharma further mentionedthat works being carried out byJyotiba
Phule in the field ofsocial reforms and for eradi-cation of
untouchability are stilluseful for the society. Sharmaalso
described the ideals ofJyotiba Phule as relevant forsocial
On this occasion, Sharmahonoured women for theirremarkable works
in the fieldof politics, education, socialworks, sports and arts
etc.Eminent citizens and people inlarge number were present onthe
Minister for PublicRelations PC Sharmaunveiled bust of the Iron
Manof India Sardar Vallabh BhaiPatel at Jawahar Chowk,Bhopal today.
He alsolaunched a website of thePatidar community on
Sharma said that contri-bution of Sardar Vallabh Bhai
Patel in building United Indiais incomparable.
He also played an impor-tant role in the freedommovement of the
country andthis can never be forgotten.
He stated that effortsmade by the Iron Man ofIndia to make the
unity of thecountry everlasting will alwaysbe remembered.
On this occasion, PRMinister Sharma honoured
Prakash Patidar, who hasmade the Statue of Unity andMahi
Patidar, whose namehas been registered in theGuinness Book of
WorldRecord for tattoo making.President of Gujarati SamajSanjay
Patel, Former MandiPresident Bhagidar Patidar,Corporators and
eminentmembers of the communitywere present in the pro-gramme.
'6 '() '*) +,-./+0
The Congress party in factwill achieve the target ofwinning all
11 Lok Sabha seatsin Chhattisagrh set by BJP,commented Chief
MinisterBhupesh Baghel while citingclaims of former ChiefMinister
and BJP's NationalVice President Raman Singhtargetting to winning
all the 11Lok Sabha seats in state in theupcoming polls.
Baghel while speaking ata Convention of SwarnkarSamaj here on
Sunday saidthat BJP's National PresidentAmit Shah had earlier set
atarget of 65 plus seats for theparty for recently held assem-bly
polls but the target wasachieved by the Congressparty instead of
them, he said.
And now when they(BJP) are setting the target ofwinning 11 Lok
Sabha seats,the Congress will achieve thetarget rather than BJP,
The Bharatiya Janata Partysimmediate goal is to win all11 Lok
Sabha seats inChhattisgarh in the upcoming
polls, former Chief MinisterRaman Singh said on Sunday.
On his arrival at the SwamiVivekananda Airport here afterbeing
appointed BJPs NationalVice President, the former
Chief Minister said the respon-sibility of Leader of
Oppositionwas given to the State BJPPresident so soon the
selectionof partys new State Presidentis expected.
At present I am MLAand as MLA, I will be fulfillingmy
responsibility handed overby party organization, he said.
Notably, BJP is likely tohold the State- level Core
Committee meeting onJanuary 16 in Raipur. Newlyappointed
National VicePresident of the party RamanSingh is likely to preside
0,#-#*-!#/* ( 9
Followed bycomplaintfrom formerHome Ministerand senior BJPl e g
i s l a t o r ,N a n k i r a mKanwar, theS t a t eG ove r n me
nthad orderedprobe againstsenior IPS offi-cer MukeshGupta.
Director General (Jails),Girdhari Nayak would be head-ing the
The Committee will sub-mit its report within twomonths.
Notably, Kanwar duringrecently concluded assembly
session was called on by ChiefMinister Bhupesh Baghelwhere he
(Kanwar) handedover a seven-page detailedcomplaint to Chief
Ministeragainst the police official anddemanded impartial probe
With changein politicalscenario afterBahujan
SamajParty-SamajwadiParty alliance inUttar Pradesh,Janata CongressC
h h a t t i s g a r h(JCC) Jogi (J)Supremo Ajit Jogiwould be in
NewDelhi for two daysstarting Mondaywhere he will also meet BSP
Jogi, who is actually going for regularmedical check-ups at
Medanta Hospital inNoida, will also meet Mayawati on Tuesdaywhich
would also be the occasion of birthdayof BSP Supremo and a decision
regarding con-tinuing the current alliance in Lok Sabha polls
too could be taken in the meeting, JCC (J)sources said.
Although JCC (J) was benefitted with thealliance with BSP in
recently held assembly pollsin the state, Mayawati was reportedly
not sat-isfied with the performance of her own partycandidates in
'() '*) +,-./+0 '8
Only 73 judges out of the670 judges serving in var-ious High
Courts are women,the Government has informeda Parliamentary
Committee. AtPresent 26 Judges comprisingSupreme Court is having
onlythree women judges. TheGovernment also pointed outthat against
the sanctionedstrength of 1,079 judges as onMarch 23, 2018, only
670judges are working in 24 HighCourts of the country, leaving409
There are 73 womenjudges working in differentHigh Courts as on
March 23,2018, which in percentageterms is 10.89 per cent of
theworking strength, the depart-ment of Justice in the LawMinistry
informed the depart-ment-related StandingCommittee on Law
Responding to the con-cerns of the Parliamentarypanel on
inadequate represen-tation of women and peoplefrom marginalised
communi-ties, the ministry said theCentre had been requestingchief
justices of High Courtsthat while sending proposalsfor appointment
due consideration be given tosuitable candidates belongingto
scheduled castes, scheduledtribes and other backwardclasses,
minorities and women.
This is being done toensure a fair representation ofdifferent
sections of the societyin the higher judiciary, theGovernment said.
It, however,made it clear that there was noproposal to amend
Articles124 and 217 of the Constitutionto allow reservation in
The committee feels thata timeline of six weeks given toChief
Minister/Governor maybe reduced to expedite theprocess of
appointment ofjudges. It also feels since there
is no proposal to raise theretirement age of judges inhigher
judiciary by theGovernment, unnecessarydelay in recruitment of
judgesshould be avoided at any cost,it said.
As of now, Governors andChief Ministers are given sixweeks to
recommend propos-al received from the chief jus-tice of the High
Court toappoint a candidate as a judge.
There were 24 High Courtswhen the committee had pre-pared its
From January 1, the num-ber of high courts have gone upto 25
with Andhra Pradesh andTelangana getting separateHigh Courts.
The Government will con-struct 44 strategic roadsalong the
border with Chinaand over 2,100 km of axial andlateral roads in
Punjab andRajasthan, abutting Pakistan, aCPWD document shows.
According to an annualreport (2018-19) released ear-lier this
month by the CentralPublic Works Department, theagency has been
asked to con-struct 44 strategically impor-tant roads along the
India-China border to ensure quickmobilisation of troops in caseof
The nearly 4,000-km-longLine of Actual Control (LAC)between
India and Chinatouches areas from Jammu &Kashmir to Arunachal
PradeshThe report comes at a timeChina is giving a priority
toprojects along its India borders.
Last year, Indian andChinese troops engaged in aface-off at the
Doklam tri-junction after the neighbouringcountry had begun
building aroad in the area. The standoffended on August 28
followinga mutual agreement underwhich China stopped con-struction
of the road and India
withdrew troops. The reportstated that these 44
strategicallyroads along the India-Chinaborder will be constructed
at acost of nearly 21,000 crore.
The CPWD has beenentrusted with construction of44 strategically
important roadsalong the Indo-China Borderspanning 5 states of
J&K,Himachal Pradesh,Uttarakhand, Sikkim andArunachal Pradesh,
The total Cost of work asper DPRs (Detailed ProjectReports) is
21,040 crores(approx.), the report stated Itsaid the process of
approval ofDPRs by the CabinetCommittee on Security (CCS),headed by
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, is underway.
The CPWD report alsostated that lateral and axialroads measuring
over 2,100kilometers will be built with acost of around 5,400 crore
inRajasthan and Punjab along theIndo-Pakistan border. TheDPRs for
this project are underpreparation in CPWD, whichis a major
construction agencyof the Central Government.
A total of 945 km of later-al roads and 533 km of axialroads lie
in Rajasthan (tentative
cost 3,700 crores) and 482 kmof lateral roads and 219 km ofaxial
roads in Punjab (tentativecost 1,750 crores), it stated.
The road projects will
secure the vast and remote bor-der areas of Rajasthan andPunjab,
it stated. Indias borderwith Pakistan runs throughfour States Jammu
Kashmir (1,225 km, whichincludes 740 km of Line ofControl),
Rajasthan (1,037km), Punjab (553 km) andGujarat (508 km).
Terror is rising in India asthe country slipped to 7thrank in
2018 from 8th rank inthe previous year, according tothe 2018 Global
TerrorismIndex of the prestigiousInstitute for Economics
Iraq figures at the top in thelist followed by
Afghanistan,Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan andSomalia which stands at
thesixth position, all in the veryhigh category in terms ofimpact.
Yemen, Egypt andPhillippines are the three othernations in the
worlds top ter-ror hit countries of the worldwhich are in the high
Total deaths in India due toterrorism since 2001 have been8,123
and the CommunistParty of India (Maoist) remainsthe most potent
terror groupresponsible for most number ofdeaths followed by
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba andJaish-e-Mohammad. WhileUnited
Nations has bannedthe JeM, the global bodysefforts to ban the
Pakistani out-fits chief Maulana MasoodAzhar have been
repeatedlyblocked by China.
Chinas move is morecurious in view of the fact thatits
operatives are increasinglytargeting Chinese assets in
theChina-Pakistan EconomicCorridor. The JeM leadershipfeels China
is aiding Pakistanin anti-Islamic activities bypressurizing it to
take actionagainst jehadis in CPEC. Jehadis considered holy and
Islamicby the terror group, counter-terrorism expert Dr RiturajMate
told The Pioneer.
Police and military per-sonnel figure at the top in termsof
attacks by target category fol-lowed by private citizens
andproperty, Government and
business. This implies that the terror
groups have devised strategiesto hit the uniformed personneleven
as the police and militaryare yet to devise effectivecounter
strategies to deal withthe terrorists.
The deadliest group inIndia is the countrys CPI(Maoist). Maoists
were respon-sible for 205 deaths and 190 ter-
ror incidentsin India, or 53 percent of the deaths in 2017.
TheMaoistsdirectly opposePrime Minister NarendraModis
administration and thenationalist Bharatiya JanataParty (BJP).
Maoist assailantsfrequently stage attacks againstthe Central
Reserve PoliceForce (CRPF) and other armedforces throughout the
countrysnorthern and central territo-ries, says the report.
The north Indian state ofJammu and and Kashmir hadthe most
deaths in 2017, with102 deaths committed by fivedifferent terror
groups, mostnotably LeT, JeM and HizbulMujahideen.
The CPI (Maoist) also fig-ures at the 8th position in theIndex
of top 10 perpetratorsorganisations that staged 1416major attacks
between 1970 to2011 killing 1889 people.
Other groups in the cate-gory include Irish RepublicanArmy,
Revolutionary ArmedForces of Columbia, Talibanand Liberation Tigers
of TamilEeelam (LTTE) among others.
The Centres ambitious planto set up 750-bed AIIMS-like institute
at HimachalPradeshs Bilaspur district hashit a roadblock with a
Centralpanel of the UnionEnvironment Ministry ques-tioning the need
for diverting40 acres of forest land for itsconstruction, of which
atl easteight acres of forest patch hasbeen allocated for
While the StateGovernment has sought 40acres of forest land, it
hasalready provided 59.724 acresof non-forest land for the pro-ject
to be spread over 100acres of area.
The project worth 1,351crore will have a medical col-lege with
an intake capacity of100 seats and a nursing collegewith 60 seats,
20 specialty andsuper specialty departmentsincluding 15 operation
to be completed in 48 months.Prime Minister Narendra Modihad
laid its foundation stone inOctober 2017 at Bilaspur, thenative
town of Union HealthMinister JP Nadda.
However, the Forest
Advisory Committee (FAC) ofthe Ministry in its meeting
onDecember 19, 2018 deferredthe proposal asking theHimachal
PradeshGovernment to justify need fordiverting such a huge patch
green land. It also expressed itsreservations over the
projectproponents plan to use eightacres of forest area for
twodumping sites (4.5 hactres and3.5 hactres areas
respectively).Sources in the Union
Environment Ministry saidthat the proposed area hasaround 8430
trees, of whichmajority are likely to be felled.
The proposal will now bediscussed by the FAC in ameeting on
January 15, 2019.Interestingly, the StateGovernment has
proposedcompensatory afforestation inthe forest land itself in lieu
ofthe forest land it is seeking forthe construction of the
However, officials from theState Government have justi-fied
their move, claiming thatthere is no non-forest govern-ment land
available in the dis-trict Bilaspur as all governmentland or land
over which gov-ernment has proprietary rights,has been classified
as forestland. As such, no non-forestland is available for
raisingcompensatory afforestation inlieu of the forest land
proposedfor the construction of theproject, an official
afforestation has been pro-posed over the forest land,
Regarding use of forestland for dumping site, the offi-cial said
that as majority of thenon-forest land is existing onthe hill side
i.e. above theNational Highway which iscrossing the proposed site
inthe middle, it is not possible todevelop dumping sites on
theupper side of the non-forestland.
Moreover, the slope of thenon-forest site is not suitablefor a
dumping site, the officialpointed out.
The AIIMS-like institutesare being developed by theCentre across
the States underPradhan Mantri SwasthyaSuraksha Yojna (PMSSY)
withan aim to correct regionalimbalances in the availability
ofaffordable healthcare servicesand also to augment facilitiesfor
quality medical educationin the country.
AParliamentary panel hasslammed the Union AyushMinistry for
adopting lack-adaisical approach in takingconcrete action against
default-ers in order to ensure effectiveregulation of the alternate
tra-ditional medicines ofAyurveda, Siddha, Unani andHomeopathy
(ASU&H). It haspitched in for a new stringentlaw to strictly
deal withunscrupulous herbal drugmanufacturers for misleadingand
duping innocent patientsand playing with their lives.
The panel headed by RajyaSabha MP Ram Gopal Yadavwas of the view
that merelyissuing show cause notices,departmental action etc
wasnot sufficient to check themenace of spurious drugs
In its report submitted toParliament, the panel said,Despite
repeated recommen-dations of the Committee tohave stringent
measures totackle the problem of failedsamples, the Ministry
(Ayush)seems not to have done any-thing in this regard.
TheCommittee takes serious noteof the lackadaisical approach ofthe
Ministry in not takingconcrete action against default-ers in order
to ensure effectiveregulation of ASU&H drugs.
The Committee wouldlike to emphasize that sucherring
manufacturers need tobe brought to book and dealtwith strictly for
misleadingand duping innocent patientsand playing with their
The Committee, accord-ingly, recommends to theMinistry to lay
down stringentregulations which can act as adeterrent for erring
The panel emphasised thatthe Ministry must focus onincreasing
the credibility of
AYUSH systems by promotingscientific research and uphold-ing
strict quality control ofAYUSH drugs. The panel alsocalled for
increased funds toatleast 5 per cent of the totalHealth Budget of
the HealthMinistry to help boost thepotential of the Ayush
The Ministry last year in awritten reply in Lok Sabhahad stated
that increasing num-ber of misleading advertise-ments of AYUSH
products arebeing reported in recent years.
About 809 complaints ofadvertisements pertaining toAYUSH and
herbal medi-cines/products have beenreceived during the periodfrom
April, 2015 to March,2018. Advertising StandardsCouncil of India
(ASCI), withwhom Ministry has signed aMoU for suo moto monitoringof
AYUSH advertisementsappearing in the media, report-ed 732
complaints fromJanuary 20th, 2017 to January19, 2018.
The Ayush Ministry inDecember last year had issuednotification
prohibiting themanufacturers and agents ofASU &H drugs to not
floatadvertisements related to anydrug that are used for
diagno-sis, cure, mitigation, treatmentor prevention of any
diseases ordisorders without validatingfrom the competent
As per the notification,the manufacturers of thesedrugs have to
apply for theUnique Identification Numberfor the publication of
adver-tisements. They will not beallowed to publish advertise-ments
within the period ofthree months from the date ofapplication of
%(,6 [email protected]?? E>??*995)"
The former Marine CorpsGeneral, James Norman Mattis,had acquired
mythic and cult-like folklore while still in theuniform. The image
had gotcaricaturised into monikers like MadDog and Warrior Monk,
with many trueand even fabricated bravado attributed tothe chronic
bachelor. The Marine Corps-inspired Oorah battle-rattle
personalityhad led to popular memes like was oncebitten by a Black
Mamba the BlackMamba died instantly, fear of spiders iscalled
arachnophobia, fear of tight spacesis called claustrophobia fear of
Mattisis called logic and Saint Mattis ofQuantico, patron saint of
chaos. Impressedwith the legendary warriors popular per-sona,
Donald Trump had described himan a true generals general and
inductedhim as his Secretary of Defence. Theappointment was in line
with the alpha-muscularity of Trumps America First andJames Mattis
became the second man afterGeorge Marshal to get a waiver
thatrequires a seven-year cooling off periodbefore assuming
Secretary of Defence.
Behind the image lurked the wisdomof 44 years of combat service
in the GulfWars and Afghanistan, which culminatedin the four-star
General with responsibil-ities like the command of Marine
CorpsCombat Development Command, USJoint Forces Command and US
CentralCommand overseeing operations in Iraq,Afghanistan, Yemen,
Syria and Iran.Besides his operational heroics, he wasknown to be a
voracious reader and stu-dent of military history with a
personallibrary of over 7,000 books. The accom-panying experience,
maturity and gravitashad in recent times led to the more bal-anced
perception as the only grown-up leftin the fast depleting
administration ofDonald Trump.
He was often seen assuaging, nuanc-ing and balancing the more
intemperateand outrageous statements made by the USPresident. The
straight-speaking former-combatant remained insulated from
thewhimsicalities that typified Trump, andunlike the President,
Mattis stood up forhis fellow-combatant Senator John McCainin
describing his passing away in a mov-ing way: We have lost a man
who stead-fastly represented the best ideals of ourcountry. As a
Naval Officer and defiantprisoner of war, John McCain stood withhis
brothers-in-arms until they returnedhome together.
The mass exodus of top officials fromthe Trump Administration
has so farincluded Secretary of State, Director CIA,Director FBI,
Secretary of Interior,Secretary Homeland Security, two WhiteHouse
Chiefs of Staff, two NationalSecurity Advisors, three Deputy
NationalSecurity Advisors, Homeland SecurityAdvisor, White House
Senior Counselor to thePresident, three Attorney-Generals and
countless othersto record the highest turnoverratio of over 60 per
cent amongthe White House positions.The latest to join the
bandwag-on is Mattis, owing to a veryfamiliar reason of
irreconcil-ability with the outlandishapproach of Trump.
In a tellingly drafted resig-nation letter, James Mattis
hasalluded to the sharp differ-ences and suggested to thePresident
to appoint someone,whose views are better alignedwith yours. A
clear note of dis-sent, frustration and resigna-tion rides on the
back ofPresident Trumps suddenannouncement to withdrawUS troops
from Syria some-thing that the professionalsensibilities of James
Mattiswould have militated against.
Despite the ostensiblebravado, Mattis is also believedto have
disagreed with thePresident on the hasty decisionto withdraw from
the Iraniannuclear deal. The prevailingsituation harks back to
thefamous anonymous op-ed inthe Washington Post, attributedto a
senior official, who speakson behalf of those who work inthe Trump
administration bynoting, The root of the prob-lem is the Presidents
amoral-ity. Anyone who works withhim knows he is not mooredto any
discernible first princi-ples that guide his decision-
making. This rings eerily truein the curious case of
therevolving-door in the WhiteHouse, this time by JamesMattis. The
piece had capturedthe impetuosity and pettinessthat had to be
managed in theWhite House, as the staff wasworking to insulate
their oper-ations from his whims.Obviously, the situation
andequation would have reacheda point of no-return, as JamesMattis
slammed DonaldTrumps boorish rants andfickleness in treating allies
andenemies alike by stating: Myviews on treating allies withrespect
and also being clear-eyed about both malign actorsand strategic
competitors arestrongly held and informed byover four decades of
immer-sion in these issues.
James Mattis resignationhas re-triggered the whispersof the
uncontrollable and reck-less decisions emanating fromthe White
House. Trump isperennially on the short fusewith the media which
asksprobing questions, and nowwith the exit of the only per-son who
could raise contrari-an views from within the sys-tem, the most
important officein the world is dangerouslybereft of specialist
alternativesand sagely views.
The clash between the twowas in the offing with BobWoodwards
bestselling book,Fear, depicting an irate JamesMattis freezing
plan to assassinate SyrianPresident Bashar al-Assad
andapparently telling some peoplethat the President had a poli-cy
understanding of a 10-11year-old. A few months ago theUS President
had rued aboutMattis saying, I think hes sortof a Democrat, if you
want toknow the truth. However, it isnow becoming
increasinglydifficult for even Trumps ownRepublican Party to defend
hisdecisions and the usually ret-icent Senate majority
leaderinsisted that the Presidentmust now select a leader whoshares
Secretary Mattis under-standing of these vital princi-ples and his
total commit-ment to Americas servicemembers.
James Mattis will exit withthe grace, sobriety and digni-ty that
come naturally to war-riors, as the daughter of fellow-combatant
and fellow-Republican, John McCain, hadsaid for her father (whilst
con-textualising Trump): We gath-er here to mourn the passingof
American greatness. Thereal thing, not cheap rhetoricfrom men who
will nevercome near the sacrifice hegave so willingly. Nor
theopportunistic appropriationof those who live lives of com-fort
and privilege while he suf-fered and served.
(The writer, a military vet-eran, is a former Lt Governorof
Andaman & Nicobar Islandsand Puducherry)
Theres no need to practisebleeding, as the soldiers say,but the
British Governmentdidnt get the message. On January7, it paid 89
truck-drivers 550 each($700) to simulate the immense traf-fic jam
that will happen in Kent ifBritain crashes out of the EuropeanUnion
(EU) without a deal at the endof March.
The drivers had to bring theirvehicles to Manston, a
disussedWorld War Two-vintage airfield inKent, where the Government
isplanning to park 4,000 big trucks ifa no-deal Brexit on March 29
leadsto new customs checks on trucksheading for Europe. Every extra
twominutes delay at customs, say theexperts, would mean another 15
of trucks backed up on the roadsleading to the cross-Channel
termi-nals. So the drivers parked theirtrucks on the airfield, then
drovedown to the port in convoy while thetraffic-control experts
counted thevehicles. This wasnt the 10,000-truck gridlock jamming
the roadsthat might happen in late March, itwas a single file of 89
trucks drivingsedately along an uncrowded road.It looked like an
exercise in futility,a Potemkin traffic-jam.
Yet it did have a rational purpose a political purpose. It was
beingstaged to persuade the British pub-lic, and especially the
BritishParliament that Prime MinisterTheresa Mays
ConservativeGovernment really will take the UKout of the EU without
any deal ifParliament does not accept her deal.Mays deal is almost
universally dis-liked. The Remainers hate it becausethey dont want
to leave the EU at all,and the Brexit hardliners in her ownparty
hate it because it keeps Britaintoo closely tied to the EU.
Nevermind the details they are almost
theological but the upshot is thatMay cannot get Parliament to
passthe exit deal she made with the EU,which would at least keep
the tradeflowing. She just doesnt have thevotes. And she cant get
the EU toamend the deal either.
The opposition to her deal inParliament is so strong that she
can-celled a scheduled vote on it amonth ago because she was
boundto lose it. She is now committed toholding the vote on January
15 butshe still doesnt have the votes. So she
is threatening to jump off a bridge,and take everybody else with
her, ifthey dont back her deal. It hasbecome a game of chicken. The
cha-rade in Kent is part of a governmentshow-and-tell campaign to
prove thatshe really means it. So are the pre-dictions that the
chaos at theChannel ports will be so bad thatBritain will have to
charter planes tobring scarce medicines in, and thatsupermarket
shelves will be bare(Britain imports 30 per cent of itsfood from
the EU), and that zombies
will rule the streets. (I made that oneup, but you get the
The problem is that nobodybelieves her. May has manipulatedthe
parliamentary rules and sched-ules to make it appear that there
areno legal alternatives except her dealor a catastrophic no-deal
Brexit, butshe just doesnt convince as a suicidebomber. Indeed,
there was a vote inParliament last week that blocked theGovernments
ability to make taxchanges connected with a no-dealBrexit without
Parliaments explic-it consent. That doesnt actuallymean that it
cannot happen, unfor-tunately. Parliament can block herdeal but
unless it can agree on someother course of action, Brexit hap-pens
automatically without adeal. And that really would be nasty.
How nasty? William Hague, aformer leader of the
ConservativeParty, summed it up well in the DailyTelegraph: I dont
know what willfollow a rejection of [Mays] deal...aconstitutional
shambles, a second ref-erendum shambles, a no-deal exitshambles, a
Government] shambles. I just knowthat it will be an abysmal
People who say that the deal isthe worst of all worlds havent
under-stood how bad things might get,Hague concluded. As May
herselfadmits, a no-deal Brexit is unchart-ed territory.
So what will really happen whenParliament starts voting later
thismonth? There will almost certainlybe more than one vote, as the
650members of the House of Commons,no longer constrained by party
loy-alty its too important for that swing this way and that. But
theremay not be a majority for any spe-cific course of action, in
which caseParliament will probably end up vot-ing for a second
referendum. Mayhas sworn that she will never allowthat, because it
would be a betrayalof the 52 per cent who voted Leavein the first
referendum in June2016. But in the end she probablywill allow it,
because she is not a sui-cide bomber.
(The writer is an independentjournalist)
'() '*) +,-./+0
'() '*) +,-./+0 '4
With no let-up in the grow-ing friction between theruling
saffron alliance partnersahead of the Lok Sabha polls,Shiv Sena
president UddhavThackeray on Sunday hit out atBJP president Amit
Shah, say-ing that no party should con-sider the Sena as weak
andthat no one is either born yetor will ever take birth who
candefeat my party.
Addressing a conference ofthe Senas Sthaniya LokadhikarSamiti
(SLS) Mahasangh here,Uddhav also ridiculed theCentre's decision to
keep theannual income limit of Rs 8lakh for reservations for
eco-nomically weaker sectionsunder the general category andwondered
if the Modi govern-ment would simultaneouslyraise the basic income
taxexemption limit to the samelevel.
In a rhetorical rebuff toShahs recent statement that ifthe Sena
preferred to go it alonein the Lok Sabha polls, it faceddefeat at
the hands of the BJP,Uddhav said: Some people aretalking about
defeating theShiv Sena. I should tell them:
no one is either born yet or willever take birth who can
defeatthe Shiv Sena. No one shouldconsider us weak. So manywaves
have come and gone. Weare never scared of high or lowtides. We
defeat the waves. It isthe Shiv Sena wave that is onnow.
Uddhav was referring toShahs dig at the Shiv Sena andsubsequent
exhortation to hisparty workers -- made at Laturrecently -- to
prepare them-selves to go it alone in the LokSabha polls. Yuti hogi
tohsaathi ko jeetayenge, nahin tohpatak denge ( If we contestthe
elections together, we willensure victory for their candi-dates,
otherwise we willtrounce them), the BJP presi-
dent had said.Alluding to the new Rs 8
lakh as the annual incomelimit for reservations for
eco-nomically weaker sectionsunder the general category,Uddhav
said: On one handyou consider all those whoseannual income is below
Rs 8lakh as economically back-ward class. On the other hand,you
keep Rs 2.5 lakh as thebasic income tax exemptionlimit. I would
like to know ifthe Modi government will doaway income tax for all
thoseearning less than Rs 8 lakh ayear. If Modi does this, we
willnot hesitate in accepting thatModi has a chest of not just
56inches but he has chest of 256inches.
Slamming the Modi gov-ernment for its failure to keepits
promises made during the2014 polls, Uddhav said: Somepeople fail to
deliver on theirpromises. But, they never fallshort when it comes
to havinga dig at others. Mere promiseswont help matters. It is not
thequestion of victory or defeatbut what is importance is
con-fidence. Once you lose confi-dence, you will not win anywar. He
went onto lampoon
the BJP leaders for raising theissues like the caste of
LordHanuman or other Gods.
However, justifying theSenas decision to Ram Mandiran issue in
the polls, Uddhavsingled out Prime MinisterNarendra Modi for attack
onthe Mandir issue. Heres themost powerful man in thisworld and who
is considered byhis party workers as the rein-carnation of Maha
Vishnu.But, he says he cannot build thetemple at this juncture. If
thatis the case, why is the BJP mak-ing Ram Mandir an issue in
thepolls. Modi should realise thatthe Sena and BJP had cometogether
on the Hindutvaplank. As far as Shiv Sena isconcerned, we want
Daring Bihar chief minis-ter Nitish Kumar and LokJanshati Party
to come clean onthe Ram Mandir issue, Uddhavasked the BJP
leadership tobring all its constituents on oneplatform and seek
clarificationfrom them if all them wantedRam temple or not.
You people are comingtogether on a common mini-mum programme.
DepositingRs 15 lakh in the bank accounts
of people was a jumla. AchheDin was a jumla. Is RamMandir
promise also a jumla.The BJP should clarify. Mereaccusing the
Congress of cre-ating hurdles on the RamMandir temple issue
wonthelp. The Ram Mandir issuewas before the court even ear-lier.
Then why was the BJPseeking votes in the name ofRam Mandir?, Uddhav
Uddhavs remarks are areiteration of the Senas standthat his
party would go it alonein the Lok Sabha polls.
While interacting withparty workers at Latur inMarathwada
region, Shah hadsaid last week that even with-out an alliance with
the ShivSena, the BJP would win atleast 40 out of 48 seats in
It may be recalled that inthe 2014 Lok Sabha polls whichthe two
saffron parties had con-tested as an alliance, the BJPand Shiv Sena
had contested 26and 22 seats respectively in thestate.
The two parties had put upa spectacular performance inthe polls
by together winning40 seats (BJP-22 and Sena-18seats) out of total
The Trinamool Congress onSunday hit back at PrimeMinister
Narendra Modi for hisremarks that people have tochose between a
'majboor'(helpless) or a 'majboot'(strong) Government in thegeneral
elections, and said the2019 Lok Sabha polls would bea fight between
Criticising Modi for hisassertion at the BJP nationalconvention
in New Delhi onSaturday, senior TMC leaderAbhishek Banerjee
wonderedwhether the saffron party-ledNDA government from 1999-2004
or various coalition gov-ernments that it was a part ofwere
"majboot" or "majboor".
"I want to ask themwhether the BJP-led NDA gov-ernment of Atal
BihariVajpayee from 1999-2004 was
a strong government or a help-less one? I would like to askthem
whether the governmentsthey had formed in Kashmirwith the PDP or in
the northeastern states, were strong orhelpless," Banerjee
The national president ofAll India Trinamool YouthCongress and
the nephew ofWest Bengal Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee, was
speak-ing at a rally here.
"The upcoming Lok Sabhaelections will be fight betweenan
authoritarian rule, and fightto save democracy and consti-tution of
this country," he said.
At the BJP national con-vention, the prime minister hadsaid that
the opposition partieswere coming together as theywanted to form a
"majboor"government to promote nepo-tism and corruption, whereasthe
saffron party wanted a"majboot" dispensation for anall-round
development of thecountry. Several allies havedeserted the BJP-led
NDA inthe last four-and-a-half-years,the TMC MP said.
"The BJP should stop lec-turing us and others on dynastypolitics
when several top lead-ers of their party have sons anddaughters as
MPs and MLAs...The TMC doesn't believe indynasty politics. Those
who areefficient get elected," he added.
AGovernment medical offi-cer and his aide werenabbed by the ACB
Sunday inMaharashtra's Parbhani dis-trict for allegedly accepting
Rs8,000 in bribe for conducting asurgery on an elderly woman,an
Dr Gajanan Kale, theMedical Officer with theParbhani district
hospital, hadallegedly demanded the moneyto insert a rod in one of
the leg'sof the woman who had metwith an accident, the
Anti-Corruption Bureau official said.
Consequently, the son ofthe woman approached thelocal ACB unit
in Parbhani,around 500 kms from here, fol-lowing which a trap was
set.The official said Dr Kale, whois an MS in Orthopaedics,
asked the complainant to handover the money to his aidePandurnag
Dukre (27), a pri-vate person when the ACBteam nabbed them this
morn-ing. Further investigation isunderway.
Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman Sundayreached Portblair on a
two-dayvisit to Andaman and NicobarIslands where she will witnessa
joint military drill involvingthe Army, the Air Force, theNavy and
the Coast Guard,officials said.
Sitharaman will witnessthree exercises -- general sur-vival
exercise, amphibious drilland a joint drill, an official said.
Andaman and Nicobar isalso the armed forces' tri-ser-vice
At least two drills will seeparticipation of the threearmed
forces, the officialadded. "Smt @nsitharamanarrives in Port Blair
to overseea major joint excercise involv-ing the @adgpi ,
, @IAF_MCC [email protected] during her2 day visit," the
defence minis-ter's official handle tweeted.
Andaman and Nicobararchipelago is straddled strate-gically near
the mouth of theMalacca Straits.
The Malacca Straits isalso an important Sea Lane ofCommunication
and used bythe navies of several coun-tries, including China
whichhas been stepping up its mili-tary infrastructure in theIndian
Karnataka Water ResourceMinister DK ShivakumarSunday said the
BJP'sOperation Lotus to topple theStates coalition Governmentwas
for real, alleging that threeCongress MLAs were campingin a hotel
in Mumbai in thecompany of some BJP leaders.
Horse trading is going onin the State. Three of our MLAsare in
Mumbai in a hotel withsome BJP MLAs and leaders.We are aware of
what has tran-spired there and how much hasbeen offered to them, he
Operation Lotus is a refer-ence to the BJP allegedly
luringseveral opposition MLAs todefect to ensure stability of
itsthen-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka
Shivakumar, who hadearned the reputation of beinga
trouble-shooter in theCongress for bailing out the
party from many crises in thepast, accused Chief Minister HD
Kumaraswamy of being"lenient" towards the BJP.
"Our chief minister is bitlenient towards the BJP. By'lenient',
I mean he is notexposing the facts he knows.All the MLAs have
conveyed tothe chief minister about theongoing conspiracies.
have also told Siddaramaiahabout it. "The chief minister
isadopting a policy of wait andwatch. If I was in his place, Iwould
have exposed it within24 hours," Shivakumar said.
The minister said formerchief minister Siddaramaiahand Congress
state presidentDinesh Gundu Rao were awareof the development.
Shivakumar, however,exuded confidence that theBJP would not
succeed in itsattempt. "You have been sayingthat a 'kranti'
(revolution) mayhappen after Makar Sankranti.Let us see. It is not
because there is already anti-defection law in place, but weare
aware of what you are hint-ing at," he said in an apparentreference
to the oppositionBJP in the state. The waterresources minister also
won-dered why the income taxdepartment and the anti-cor-ruption
bureau failed to initi-ate any action on a complaintby Dinesh Gundu
Rao on thematter.
"We do not know whatprogress these two agencieshave made so far,
but sitting onthe complaint by a politicalparty is not good," he
said.Many Congress MLAs in thesouthern state have allegedthat they
were approached bythe BJP leaders to quit theirparty and join them.
The saf-fron party has trashed thecharges, saying the
coalitionpartners were hiding theirshortcomings and internalstrife
by making false accusa-tions at the opposition.
RJD national president LaluPrasad launched a veiledattack on the
BJP on Sunday byissuing a "humble appeal" to thepeople of the
country to be onguard against hate politics,rumour mongering and
falsepropaganda to divide the youthahead of the Lok Sabha
The ailing former Biharchief minister, who is servingsentences
in fodder scam casesand is currently lodged in aRanchi hospital,
shared hisviews on the political situationprevailing in the country
on hisofficial Twitter handle.
"It is a humble appeal to thepeople of the country thatelections
are round the cornerand those practising hate pol-itics will
provoke the youth andyour children to sacrifice theirlives by
raising false alarms, giv-ing rise to misconceptions and
spreading rumours," Prasadwrote on the microbloggingwebsite.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD) supremo has been awayfrom active
politics sinceDecember 2017, when he wasconvicted in the Deoghar
trea-sury case, which was followed
by convictions in two morefodder scam cases.
He has, however, beensharing his views on his Twitterhandle.
"While your childrenwould be slaying each otherand wasting their
lives in thename of cow and cow dung, thekids of the hypocritical
baaz would be busy studying inesteemed schools and collegesand
securing their ownfutures," Prasad said.
"Therefore, all parents andguardians are requested to beon guard
themselves, besidesguarding their children againstrumour mongering
sanghs(organisations) and their falsepropaganda. A beginning
hasbeen made by them in UP andBihar," the RJD supremoadded.
Prasad's remarks came inthe backdrop of mob violenceand cow
vigilantism reportedin many parts of the Hindiheartland, often
spurred byfake social media messagescirculated by people
withalleged links to Sangh Parivaroutfits.
A staunch opponent of theruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) and
the Sangh Parivar,Prasad had endeared himself to
the minorities when as thechief minister of Bihar, he hadordered
the arrest of BJP vet-eran LK Advani during his"rath yatra" in
He had also succeeded inweaning away the minoritiesfrom the
Congress during the15 years when the state wasruled by him and
subsequent-ly by his wife Rabri Devi, aperiod which saw virtually
nomajor communal incidents,despite an overall soaring
Now an ally of theCongress, the RJD is miffed atthe quota for
the economical-ly backward sections broughtby the Narendra Modi
gov-ernment at the Centre.
The party has held that itis a step in the direction ofdiluting
affirmative action forthe socially and educationallybackward
segments of the society.
@- # !",.. !.
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Bengal intelligentsia and thenon-BJP Opposition partiesof the
State have stronglydenounced the heckling ofBangla poet
SrijataBandopadhyay at a Silcharhotel by a group rowdiesallegedly
sent by the saffronpoliticians.
Coming down heavily onthe BJP and Banjrangdal forcreating an
atmosphere of com-munal hatred and disharmonyin India Bengal
MinisterChandrima Bhattacharya said,such incidents are not
onlyunfortunate but also con-demnable. We do not allowsuch things
Accusing the BJP andBajrangdal for Saturdays inci-dent the
Minister said the BJPhas paid the price of such divi-sive politics
in Rajasthan, MPand Chhattisgarh. Now theywill see the consequence
of dis-turbing communal harmony inother parts of the country
CPI(M) general secretarySitaram Yechury too con-demned the
incident sayingthe incident aned many oth-ers like that taking
place in therecent past prove that theIndia is passing through
daysworse than that ofEmergency, adding such fas-cist attacks were
in fact a pre-lude to attack on the veryessence of the Constitution
Congress MP PradipBhattacharya said, if suchpre-orchestrated
attacks onBengali intellectuals are notstopped then one is
this feeling of hatred mighttravel to other States and thenit
will be very difficult forthem (BJP) to control it.
Srijato was on Saturdaygheraoed and allegedly heck-led at a
literary function atSilchar and had to be rescuedby the police.
Some people raided thevenue in the hotel where I wasstaying and
was to attend a lit-erary programme. They wereprotesting against
one of mypoems written three years ago.I was holed up in the
hotelwhich was vandalised any-way. Subsequently I was res-
cued by the police and had tofly back, the poet said addinghow
gradually the right tofreedom of expression andthe space to talk is
shrinkingin India. Thankfully we live inBengal where the people
Senior dramataistRudraprasad Sengupta saidif similar situations
continuedthen one cannot but say thatbad days are ahead of
us.Writer Shirshendu Mukherjeesaid such incidents
Meanwhile, anotherBengali poetess MandakrantaSen on Sunday
reported howshe was being badmouthedby some senior State BJP
lead-ers including State BJP presi-dent Dilip Ghosh.
The poetess she even hadreceived threats of gang-rapefrom some
people on the Net.The State BJP president how-ever denied reports
of speak-ing against her and invited herto file a case against
Hyderabad: Vice President MVenkaiah Naidu on the eve ofMakar
Sankranti urged theyouth to understand the richand diverse
traditions of Indianfestivals and called for pro-tecting, promoting
and enrich-ing our exceptional cultureand folk art forms.
Speakingafter inaugurating the fourthInternational Kite Festival
andsecond International SweetFestival at Parade Ground
inSecunderabad Sunday, Naidusaid festivals are occasions forsocial
bonding and inculcate aspirit of communal harmonyand national
integrity. "Theysymbolise renewal, rejuvena-tion, and revival of
our tradi-tions and heritage and bring ina sense of togetherness,
unity,love, and brotherhood intoday's fast-paced world,"Naidu was
quoted as saying inan official release.
"We witness the comingtogether of families and com-munities
during such festivals.They are also occasions forsocial bonding,"
he said.Calling the harvest festivalMakar Sankranti a celebrationof
life and vitality, Naidu saidit holds great historical and
It is the festival of the sungod who is often regarded asthe
symbol divinity and wis-dom and those who celebratethis occasion of
thanksgivingand merrymaking revel inanticipation and joy, he
The vice president alsotried his hand at kite-flying andsaid it
was a tremendous expe-rience which transcends age,class, and
Observing that kite-mak-ing was an art form, the vicepresident
said it required skill,precision, devotion, and inven-tiveness.
As many as 42 profession-al kite fliers from abroad and 60from
India are participating inthe Kite Festival. PTI
Union Minister Ram VilasPaswans estranged daugh-ter Asha on
Sunday staged a sit-in here along with RJD womenactivists to
protest her fathersangootha chhap jibe alleged-ly targeted at party
Paswan had at a Press con-ference on Friday attacked
theOpposition Rashtriya JanataDal (RJD) for opposing theNDA-led
Governments Bill toprovide 10 per cent reservationfor the
economically backwardin general category.
They (RJD) believe inmerely raising slogans andmaking angootha
chhap (illit-erate person) the ChiefMinister, he had said,
Asha, who is Paswansdaughter from his first mar-riage, had on
Saturdaydemanded an apology fromhim. His remarks were seen asa
reference to the events of 1997when RJD chief Lalu Prasadhad to
step down as Bihar ChiefMinister as he faced arrest inthe fodder
scam cases and hiswife, Rabri Devi, who has lit-tle formal
education, wasappointed as his successor.
Married to Arun Sadhu,who is the state president of theRJDs
SC/ST cell, Asharefrained from storming theheadquarters of Paswan's
LokJanshakti Party (LJP) here,which she had threatened to doon
Saturday. Instead, she stagedthe sit-in at Gardanibagh, bare-ly a
kilometer away from theLJP headquarters. She wasjoined by women RJD
activists,who carried placards and raisedslogans demanding that
theUnion minister "apologise" and"take his words back"Talking
toreporters at a different location,Sadhu reiterated that his
wifewould like to contest the
upcoming Lok Sabha pollsfrom Hajipur seat, which isconsidered
Paswan's pocketborough, "if the RJD gives hera ticket". Paswan has
declaredthat he will not be contestingfrom the seat in the
upcominggeneral elections and wouldtake the Rajya Sabha route
Speculations are rife thatone of Paswan's close familymembers
may be given theticket in his place.
"Ram Vilas Paswan hastalked a lot about 'neeti' (poli-cy) and
'neeyat' (intention)and has failed on both counts.Having learnt the
ropes underthe tutelage of socialists likeLohia, JP and Karpoori
Thakur,he ended up sitting in the lapof the BJP-RSS combine,"Sadhu
said. "My fight withhim is, however, not personal,but political,"
he said. "I treathim with the same respectwhich I have for my
father. If Imeet him on any social occa-sion, I will greet him by
touch-ing his feet," he added.
The RJD leader allegedthat Paswan and his son,Chirag Paswan,
sought votes inthe name of Dalits but turnedtheir backs on the
depressedclasses when it came to fight-ing for their rights.
Chirag, who is an MP fromJamui and heads the LJP's
par-liamentary board, is Paswan'sson from his second marriage.
Asked if Asha would stillcontest from Hajipur if theNDA fields
Chirag from theseat, Sadhu replied in the affir-mative.
"Relationship does notmatter in political battlefield,"he said.
When reportersapproached Chirag at the air-port here, he said,
"This is nota political matter but a disputeconcerning my family
and Ihave never been comfortabletalking about personal mattersin
The Travancore DevaswomBoard, which manages thetemple shrine at
Sabarimala inKerala, said it was all set for theannual
Makaravilakku festivalon Monday.
TDB president APadmakumar Sunday metmedia after the
evaluationmeeting of the Board and saidall arrangements for the
festi-val have been completed atSabarimala.
Thiruvabharanam (sacredjewels of the deity) will reach
pathinettampadi (holy 18steps) at 6 pm on January 14.At 6.30 pm,
the deeparad-hana (worship with lamps)will take place with the
Lordadorning the jewels. All facili-ties for the devotees to
witnessthe 'Makaravilakku' and'Makarajyothi' are in place,"
'Makarajyothi' is a starwhich is worshipped by pil-grims on
Makara Sankranti onJanuary 14 every year.
It is the star Sirius locatedin Canis Major constellation.
It is believed that LordAyyappa asserts himself as
theMakarajyothi to bless his devo-tees. The flame appears on
thePonnambalamedu hill which isaround 8 km from the shrine.
The lighting of the lamp bythe Kerala government with thesupport
of the TravancoreDevosom Board and forestdepartment, at
Ponnamabalamedu, is the con-tinuation of the practice fol-lowed
by tribal families wholived near the hilltop.
Padmakumar also said thestate health department andpolice at
Sabarimala and near-by areas were ready to deal withany untoward
"The temple will close onJanuary 20. Only the membersof the
royal family of Pandalamare allowed on that day. The lastday for
other devotees isJanuary 19," he said.
However, compared to lastyear, Sabarimala has witnessed
a lean crowd for the annual fes-tival this time. Devoteesare
apprehensive over chancesof violent protests in case anymore women
of menstrual ageattempt to trek the hill duringthe festival.
Owing to the earlier vio-lence witnessed at the hilltopshrine
over the issue of entry ofwomen, the police havestrengthened
security atSabarimala, Pampa and its basecamp at Nilackal.
Meanwhile, the three-member monitoring commit-tee appointed by
the KeralaHigh Court, comprising formerHigh Court Justices P
RRaman, S Sirijagan andAdditional Director General ofPolice A
Hemachandran,inspected Nilackal, Pampa andSannidhanam.
They expressed satisfac-tion over the facilities arrangedfor the
After the potential part-ners of a RainbowAlliance to be led by
his partycold shouldered his proposalto project Congress
presidentRahul Gandhi as the primeministerial candidate for the2019
Lok Sabha election,MK Stalin, the DMK chief ison a mission to
mobilise vil-lagers in Tamil Nadu to ensurethey vote for his
The DMK president is busywith Ooratchi Sabai ( a kind ofGram
Sabha) where he visitsvillages and interacts with vil-lagers,
Stalin has been enthused bythe response he received dur-ing the
Namukku Naame (WeFor Ourselves) campaign heheld prior to the
2016Assembly election by touringall the 234 assembly
con-stituencies in which he met thevoters and discussed with
Though the DMK couldnot cross the magic figure of118 to form the
government,the party finished the contestwith 88 seats, a
commendableperformance despite the factthat the partys then
presidentM Karunanidhi did not cam-paign because of advanced
This time, Stalin is the starcampaigner for the DMK asthere are
no charismatic lead-ers in the party.
He may be depending onhis son Udhayanidhi Stalinwho is waiting
in the wings totake the plunge into activepolitics. But how
farUdhayanidhis popularity as afilm star would help the DMKto win
the election is notknown.
Stalins focus during theinteraction with the villagers isthe
all- round failure of theAIADMK government and theanti-Tamil Nadu
and anti-sec-ular Narendra Modi govern-ment at the Centre.
Stalin said he would pre-pare the election manifesto ofthe DMK
for the Lok Sabhaelection by incorporating theissue highlighted by
the vil-lagers. The Gram Sabha meet-ings are drawing good
crowd,especially women who pourout their grievances to theDMK
Chief Minister EdappadiPalaniswamy was quick topoint out the
fallacy behindStalins claim that he wouldaddress all issues
Stalin was the minister forlocal administration and
ruraldevelopment during 2006 to2011. Had he taken the troubleof
visiting the villages thosedays, we would not have facedthis much
issues, Palaniswamytold a public meeting onSaturday.
The chief minister saidthere were many villages in theState
which do not have anysanitation or drinking watersupply
These issues could haveaddressed by Stalin had hebeen serious in
his words,said Palaniswamy. He also lam-basted the DMK chief for
hislocus standi to address the vil-lagers.
He is a product of dynastyand family politics.Karunanidhi was
the partypresident for 50 years and he
was succeeded by son Stalin.Karunandhi has also promot-ed his
other children M KLagiri and Kanimozhi besidesgrand nephew
DayanidhiMaran. Now Stalin is groomingUdhayanidhi to be his
succes-sor. AIADMK is the onlydemocratic party in TamilNadu and you
have seen anordinary villager being swornin as chief minister,
Political commentators inTamil Nadu are not impressedby Stalins
mass contact pro-gramme.
He is lucky that there areno powerful second rung lead-ers in
the DMK to challengehim. These kind of pro-grammes are not new in
TamilNadu, said G Satyamurty, vet-eran columnist. He said
situ-ations may undergo big changein the State as the election
fevercatches up in days to come. Itis not going to be a cake
walkfor the DMK or the AIADMKas Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhiare not
there this time, saidSatyamurty.
The line-up for 2019 LokSabha election is far from overas there
is discontentmentamong some of the partieswhich have declared their
alle-giance to the DMK. TheAIADMK knows well that theycannot repeat
the dream run ithad in 2014 election.
Top Al-Badr commanderZeenat-ul-Islam was amongthe two militants
killed in anencounter with security forces inKulgam district of
Jammu andKashmir, police said on Sunday.
The two terrorists killedin the Katpora encounter havebeen
identified as Zeenat-ul-Islam and Shakeel AhmadDar. Both were
involved inseveral terror crimes, a policeofficial said.
Islam, a category A++ mil-itant, was a top commanderwho had
switched over to Al-Badr from Hizbul Mujahideenin November last
year follow-ing consensus between the twooutfits to strengthen the
Al-Badr, he said.
The official said securityforces launched a cordon andsearch
operation in Katporaarea of Yaripora in southKashmir's Kulgam
districtSaturday evening after receiv-ing specific information
aboutthe presence of militants there.
He said as the forces wereconducting the searches, themilitants
fired upon them.
As per policy, the militantswere given an opportunity
tosurrender, but they continuedto fire upon the forces, the
The forces retaliated, ensu-ing an encounter in which twothe
militants were killed, hesaid. Meanwhile, a policespokesman said
both the killedmilitants were affiliated withAl-Badr and were
wanted bythe law for "their complicity ina series of terror crimes
includ-ing attack on security estab-lishments and civilian
atroci-ties". "Islam, according to policerecords had a long history
ofterror crime records since 2006when he got affiliated with
Al-Badr and was later arrested," hesaid.
The spokesman said afterIslam was released, he again gotrecycled
in 2016 and subse-quently affiliated with HM andthen recently
joined the Al-Badr outfit in Shopian District.
"Consequently, he becamethe chief of the said outfit.Several
terror crime cases wereregistered against him. He wasalso involved
in a weaponsnatching case at TukrooShopian. Similarly, ShakeelAhmad
Dar was also involvedin terror related crimes aswell," the
" [email protected]&5 65
Filmmaker Rajkumar Hiranihas been accused of sexualassault by a
woman whoworked with him on his 2017film Sanju.
Hirani has categoricallydenied the allegations. Hislawyer Anand
Desai termed theallegations false, mischievous,scandalous,
In an article on HuffPostIndia, the woman, who callsherself as
an assistant, allegedthat Hirani sexually abusedher more than once
betweenMarch and September 2018.
She gave details of her alle-gations in an email datedNovember
3, 2018, to Hiranislongtime collaborator andSanju co-producer
The woman said that on
April 9, 2018, the director firstpassed a sexually
suggestiveremark to her and later sexu-ally assaulted her in his
I remember forming thesewords on my lips Sir, this iswrong.
Because of this powerstructure. You being theabsolute power and me
beinga mere assistant, a nobody. Iwill never be able to
expressmyself to you, she wrote of theApril 9 incident in the email
toChopra, as quoted by HuffPostIndia.
The woman said thatHirani was a father figure toher. My mind,
body and heartwere grossly violated that night
and for the next 6 months, theemail read.
Chopras wife, film criticAnupama Chopra, who is adirector at
Vinod Chopra FilmsPvt Ltd, Sanju scriptwriterAbhijat Joshi and
filmmakerShelly Chopra, Vidhu Vinodssister, were also marked on
theemail. The complainant latertold HuffPost India that she
wasintimidated by Hirani, whowas her reporting superior atthe
She said she maintained afacade of normalcy regardingHiranis
behaviour as sheneeded to hold on to her jobas her father was
sufferingfrom a terminal illness. I hadno choice but to be polite
tohim. It was unbearable but thereason I endured it all, until
Icouldnt, was because I didntwant my job to be taken awayfrom me,
and work to bequestioned. Ever. She said: Iwas worried that if I
left mid-way, it would be impossible tofind another job in this
indus-try if he were to speak badlyabout my work. Because ifHirani
said I wasnt good,everybody would listen. My
future would be in jeopardy. Anupama Chopra had
confirmed that the womanhad shared an account with her,and t