Press "Enter" to skip to content

LIVE! In R-Day address, Prez pushes for electoral reforms, cashless economy

19:26  In R-Day address, Prez pushes for electoral reforms, cashless economy:  Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations. Lack of opportunities leads to frustration and unhappiness. This has to be dealt with by inculcating pro-social behaviour.

Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life. Happiness is equally the outcome of economic and non-economic parameters. The quest for happiness is closely tied to sustainable development. We must make happiness and well-being of our people as the touchstones of public policy.

Many of the flagship initiatives of the government have been designed to promote the well-being of the society.

India’s pluralism & her social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity are our greatest strength. Our tradition has always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian; not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country.

A wise and discerning mind is necessary for democracy to flourish. A healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others. These values must reside in the hearts and minds of every Indian.We have a noisy democracy; yet, we need more and not less of democracy.

Strength of our democracy is evidenced by the fact that over 66 per cent of the total electorate voted in 2014 General Elections. The depth and breadth of our democracy sparkles in the regular elections being held in our panchayati raj institutions.

Our legislatures lose sessions to disruptions when they should be debating and legislating on issues of importance. Collective efforts must be made to bring the focus back to debate, discussion and decision-making.

As our Republic enters her sixty-eighth year, we must acknowledge that our systems are not perfect. The imperfections have to be recognised and rectified. The settled complacencies have to be questioned.

The edifice of trust has to be strengthened.The time is also ripe for a constructive debate on electoral reforms. It is for the Election Commission to take this exercise forward in consultation with political parties.

We have to work harder because our war on poverty is not yet over.

Our economy is yet to grow at over 10 percent for an extended period of time to make a significant dent on poverty. One-fifth of our countrymen still remain below poverty line.

Gandhiji’s mission to wipe every tear from every eye still remains unfulfilled. We have to work harder to provide food security to our people.


19:12  Cashless transactions will improve transparency: Prez in R-Day address:  President Pranab Mukherjee addresses the nation on the eve of 68th Republic Day:

On the eve of the sixty-eighth Republic Day of our nation, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad.

My special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Para-military Forces and Internal Security Forces.

When India attained freedom on 15th August 1947, we did not have an instrument of governance of our own. We waited till 26th January, 1950 when the Indian people gave to themselves a Constitution.

We promised to promote fraternity, dignity of the individual, and unity and integrity of the nation. On that day, we became the largest democracy of the world.

Indian democracy has been an oasis of stability in the region troubled by unrest.

We are today the fastest growing amongst the major economies of the world. We are the 2nd largest reservoir of scientific & technical manpower, 3rd largest army, 6th member of the nuclear club.

We are 6th member in the race for space and 10th largest industrial power.

From a net food grains importing country, India is now a leading exporter of food commodities.

The journey so far has been eventful, sometimes painful, but most of the times, exhilarating. What has brought us thus far will take us further ahead.

But we will have to learn to adjust our sails, quickly and deftly, to the winds of change.

Evolutionary & incremental growth will have to accommodate rapid disruptions brought in by advances of science & tech.

Innovation, more so inclusive innovation, will have to become a way of life. Education will have to keep pace with technology.

In the race between man and machine, the winner will have to be job generation.

The velocity of technology adoption will call for a workforce that is willing to learn and adapt.

Our education system will have to join hands with innovation to prepare our youth for life-long learning.

Our economy has been performing well despite the challenging global economic conditions.

Though our exports are yet to pick up, we have managed a stable external sector with sizeable foreign exchange reserves.

Demonetisation, while immobilizing black money may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity. As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy.

Born in independent India, three generations of citizens do not carry the baggage of colonial past.

These generations have had privilege of acquiring education, pursuing opportunities & chasing dreams in a free nation.

Democracy has conferred rights on each one of us; but along with these rights, come responsibilities.

Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations.


18:49  Full list of Padma Awardees for 2017:  

The government has announced the list of Padma Awards 2017. Distinguished personalities from the field of public service, sports and entertainment will be awarded the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Shri awards by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

Padma Vibhushan awardees include:  

Singer K J Yesudas            

Spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Former Union minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi

Prof. Udipi Ramachandra Rao (Science & Engineering)

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Sunder Lal Patwa (Posthumous)

Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma (Posthumous)

The Padma Bhushan awardees are: 

Musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt

Prof. (Dr.) Devi Prasad Dwivedi (Literature & Education)

Tehemton Udwadia (Medicine) 

Spirritual guru Ratna Sundar Maharaj

Yoga guru Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati            

Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Journalist Cho Ramaswamy (Posthumous)

Prominent personalities to get Padma Shri awards are:  

Basanti Bisht (Art-Music)

Chemanchery Kunhiraman Nair (Art-Dance)

Aruna Mohanty (Art-Dance)

Bharathi Vishnuvardhan (Art-Cinema)

Sadhu Meher (Art-Cinema)

T K Murthy (Art-Music)

Laishram Birendrakumar Singh (Art-Music)

Krishna Ram Chaudhary (Art-Music)

Baoa Devi (Art-Painting)

Tilak Gitai (Art-Painting)

Dr. Prof. Aekka Yadagiri Rao (Art-Sculpture)

Jitendra Haripal (Art-Music)

Kailash Kher (Art-Music)

Parassala B Ponnammal (Art-Music)

Sukri Bommagowda (Art-Music)

Mukund Nayak (Art-Music)

Purushottam Upadhyay (Art-Music)

Anuradha Paudwal (Art-Music)

Wareppa Naba Nil (Art-Theatre)

Tripuraneni Hanuman Chowdary (Civil Service)

T.K. Viswanathan (Civil Service)

Kanwal Sibal (Civil Service)

Birkha Bahadur Limboo Muringla (Literature & Education)

Eli Ahmed (Literature & Education)

Dr. Narendra Kohli (Literature & Education)

Prof. G. Venkatasubbiah (Literature & Education) 

Akkitham Achyuthan Namboothiri (Literature & Education)

Kashi Nath Pandita (Literature & Education)

Chamu Krishna Shastry (Literature & Education)

Harihar Kripalu Tripathi (Literature & Education)

Michel Danino (Literature & Education)

Punam Suri (Literature & Education)

VG Patel (Literature & Education)

V Koteswaramma (Literature & Education)

Balbir Dutt (Literature & Education-Journalism)

Bhawana Somaaya (Literature & Education-Journalism)

Vishnu Pandya (Literature & Education-Journalism)              

Dr. Subroto Das (Medicine)             

Dr. Bhakti Yadav (Medicine)

Dr. Mohammed Abdul Waheed (Medicine)

Dr. Madan Madhav Godbole (Medicine)

Dr. Devendra Dayabhai Patel (Medicine)

Prof. Harkishan Singh (Medicine)

Dr. Mukut Minz (Medicine)

Arun Kumar Sharma (Others-Archaeology)

Sanjeev Kapoor (Others-Culinary)

Meenakshi Amma (Others-Martial Art)

Genabhai Dargabhai Patel (Others-Agriculture)

Chandrakant Pithawa (Science & Engineering)

Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray (Science & Engineering)

Chintakindi Mallesham (Science & Engineering)

Jitendra Nath Goswami (Science & Engineering)

Daripalli Ramaiah (Social Work)

Girish Bhardwaj (Social Work)

Karimul Hak (Social Work)

Bipin Ganatra (Social Work)

Nivedita Raghunath Bhide (Social work)

Appasaheb Dharmadhikari (Social Work)           

Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal (Social Work)

Virat Kohli (Sports-Cricket)

Shekar Naik (Sports-Cricket)

Vikasa Gowda (Sports-Discus Throw)

Deepa Malik (Sports-Athletics)

Mariyappan Thangavelu (Sports-Athletics)

Dipa Karmakar (Sports-Gymnastics)

P R Shreejesh (Sports-Hockey)

Sakshi Malik (Sports-Wrestling)

Mohan Reddy Venkatrama Bodanapu (Trade & Industry)

Imrat Khan (NRI/PIO) Art-Music

Anant Agarwal (NRI/PIO) Literature & Education

H.R. Shah (NRI/PIO) Literature & Education-Journalism

Suniti Solomon (Posthumous) Medicine

Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya (Posthumous) Others-Archaeology             

Dr. Mapuskar (Posthumous) Social Work

Anuradha Koirala (Foreigner) Social Work 


17:45  NCW issues notice to Sharad Yadav over sexist remark:  

Taking note of JD-U leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadavs controversial remarks on women, the National Commission for Women has sought an explanation from him.

It also said that if he failed to reply within 24 hours, he will have to appear before the commission.

You are comparing votes to a womans honour. This is unacceptable. But then they will later say they didnt mean to dishonour women or that they were misquoted. If necessary we will also issue summons, NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam said.

While speaking at a gathering in Patna, Bihar on January 24, Yadav compared the honour of votes with honour of ones daughter. He said that people should give precedence to former over the latter because it impacted the future of their country.

17:28  Sharad Pawar, MM Joshi get Padma Vibhushan:  

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi will be awarded Padma Vibhushan.

Spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev will also be awarded with Padma Vibhushan. Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor to be awarded Padma Shri among other recipients.

16:40  Budget goes green:  The 2017 Union Budget and Economic Survey documents will be uploaded to the website of the Union Ministry of Finance. In a circular, the Department of Economic Affairs stated that there will not be printed copies available as the documents will be available only on a CD. This is to boost digitalisation and go green.

Informed sources told that there will however be 800 copies printed for MPs. The copies that used to be sold in the main reception area of the Parliament have been dispensed with. 


16:29  Vadra: Shocked at misogynistic, atrocious comments on Priyanka :  Robert Vadra rides in to rescue Priyanka Gandhi who won the joust with Vinay Katiyar hours ago.

Vadra who is married to Priyanka Gandhi said BJP MP Vinay Katiyar should publicly apologise for his remarks. He said he was “shocked at the misogynistic and atrocious comments”. “Women will not tolerate this remark and will fight back. We need to treat women as equals instead of objectifying them,” Vadra said. 

Katiyar has now maintained that he is being misquoted. “I said beauty doesn’t get votes. I have a huge respect for women. Priyanka Gandhi is like my niece. My remark was based on questions asked by a reporter and taken out of context,” he said.

Earlier today, Katiyar said he didn’t think Priyanka was a ‘star campaigner’ for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls because “there are other campaigners who are far more beautiful than her.”

Priyanka had responded with a tweet scoffing at the remark: “Ha ha ha, he’s right…they do (are)!!…

“And if that’s all he sees in my colleagues who are such strong, brave and beautiful women that have battled through all sorts of hardships to get where they are, then he makes me laugh even more.”


16:06   Grenade lobbed reportedly at a police station in Pulwama district in South Kashmir. More details awaited.


15:45  Storm brews over Pak ex-army chief getting 90 acres of land:  The allotment of 90 acres of prime land to former Pakistan army chief General (retired) Raheel Sharif has created controversy, though security the establishment has clarified there is nothing unusual about it.

The land has been allotted on Lahore’s Bedian Road area.The price of land in the area where General (retired) Sharif has been given his allotment has started to rise as, affluent people are looking to buy farm-house there.

The Dawn quoted a security establishment official, as saying that there is nothing unusual about the allotment and that General (retired) Sharif is getting the land in accordance with the existing rules and purely on merit.

“It is agricultural land and will be used for this purpose alone. It will not be used for commercial purpose as is the impression being created by some,” the official added.

15:36  Maruti Suzuki Q3 profit up 48% :  Maruti Suzuki India Ltd posted a 47.5 percent rise in third-quarter profit, the country’s top-selling car maker said on Wednesday, helped by strong sales of its new, pricier cars and sport-utility vehicles.Net profit for the three months ended December 31, rose to 17.45 billion rupees ($256 million) compared with 11.83 billion rupees in the year-ago quarter, the company said in a statement. The year-ago net profit has been adjusted to reflect the new accounting rules adopted by India.– Reuters

15:33  Kailash Kher, Kohli, Deepa Karmakar… 2017 Padma Shri winners:   The government today announced the full list of Padma Shri Awards for 2017. Eminent personalities from different fields like public service, sports and entertainment will be awarded the Padma Shri awards by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.  The Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri and are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. The names on the list of Padma Shri winners include…

Kailash Kher (singer)
Anuradha Paudwal (singer)
TK Vishwanathan (secretary general of the Lok Sabha)
Kanwal Sibal (ex-foreign Secy)
Prof G Venkataraman Subbaiah (academician)
Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri (poet)
Birka Bahadur Limbu Morenga (literature)
Warepa Naba Nil (theatre actor)
Mukund Nayar (singer)
Sukri Bommegowda 
Basanti Visht (dancer)
Chemanchari Kuni Raman Nayyar (dancer)
Sadhu Mehr (theatre actor)
TK Murthi (musician)
Imrat Khan (musician)
Virender Singh (musician)
Baoa Devi (painter)
Tilak Gitai (painting)
Narendra Kohli (writer)
Bhawna Somaiya (journalist)
Kashinath Pandit (author)
Virat Kohli (sportsperson)
Sakshi Malik (sportsperson)
Deepa Karmakar (sportsperson)
Vikas Gowda (sportsperson)
Shreejesh (sportsperson)
Shekhar Naik (Skipper, visually challenged cricket)
Mariyappan Thangavelu (Paralympian)


15:02  Monday. Jallikattu’s date with the court:  The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on Monday the pleas of Animal Welfare Board of India and other animal rights organisations challenging the new law passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly to allow bull taming sport Jallikattu in the state.

The pleas were mentioned for urgent listing before the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra. The bench asked senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Anand Grover to file their applications which will be taken up for hearing on January 30 when the Centre’s plea for withdrawing the January 6, 2016 notification will be taken up. In their applications the animal rights group has said that the new law passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly to allow Jallikattu has over reached the earlier verdict of apex court.


14:02  Priyanka reacts to ‘pretty’ comments: Shows BJP’s mindset towards women :  Priyanka Gandhi laughs off sexist remarks. Reacting to BJP MP Vinay Katiyar’s remarks today that there are “prettier star campaigners” than her: Unse jyada bohut si sundar mahilayen hai jo star campaigner hain”, the Congress party’s star campaigner said he exposes BJP’s mindset towards the better half of the population of India.

“Makes me laugh that its all he sees in my brave, beautiful colleagues. My colleagues have battled hardships to get to where they are. Laughable that’s all he sees in them,” Priyanka said.

Katiyars comment comes only hours after former JD(U) president and Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadavs derogatory comment on women surfaced in the media. Yadav, while speaking at a gathering on people in Patna, had compared a daughters honour with that of votes and said that the latter had to be given higher importance than the former.


13:43  Why Gandhi can never be erased from history:  As India sprints towards its 68th Republic Day tomorrow, here’s looking at the man who made the long walk to freedom possible — the Mahatma. It all started from a remote corner at the edge of this vast country, 100 years ago in Bhitiharwa in Champaran, Bihar.’s Archana Masih revisits history. Do read


13:32  And the Padma winners are…:  Padma honours announced: Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, and Paralympics medallist Deepa Malik, India skipper Virat Kohli, singers Kailash Kher and Anuradha Paudwal, among winners of Padma awards, India’s highest civilian honour.


13:24  Army officer killed in avalanche in Sonmarg:  An army officer who was reported missing following an avalanche near
the army camp in the Sonmarg area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, has been confirmed dead. The army sent out a statement saying no armyman is missing in the avalanche.

In a separate incident, four members of a family died as an avalanche buried their house in Gurez sector near the Line of Control in Kashmir. The avalanche struck at Badoogam village in Tulail area of Gurez in the wee hours and buried the house of Mehraj-ud-Din Lone, a police official said.
He said the house collapsed under the debris of the avalanche resulting in death of 55-year-old Lone, his wife Azizi (50), 22-year-old son Irfan and daughter Gulshan (19).  Lone’s another son, Reyaz Ahmad, was rescued by the authorities and admitted to a hospital, the official said.

Surface and air links between Kashmir and rest of the country have been cut off today due to snowfall in the valley as the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed for traffic and all flights to Srinagar Airport cancelled.

Authorities in Kashmir have issued avalanche warning for higher reaches of the Valley following fresh snowfall yesterday and advised people to stay away from the mountains and foothills. 

Image: A train moves on the snow-covered Baramulla-Qazigund railway track. Photograph: Umar Ganie


12:46  There are prettier star campaigners than Priyanka: BJP MP scores self goal:  A classic self goal for the BJP.

Party MP Vinay Katiyar on Wednesday remarks that there are “prettier star campaigners” than Priyanka Gandhi, will set to become an embarrassment   for the BJP.

Unse jyada bohut si sundar mahilayen hai jo star campaigner hain (There are several prettier ladies than Priyanka Gandhi who are star campaigners), he said.

Katiyars comment comes only hours after former JD(U) president and Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadavs derogatory comment on women surfaced in the media. Yadav, while speaking at a gathering on people in Patna, had compared a daughters honour with that of votes and said that the latter had to be given higher importance than the former.

Taking note of the issue, NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam said that they will be sending a notice and if necessary summons to Yadav for his comment.

Katiar also questioned how Rahul  Gandhi could compare the BJP government as a suit-boot sarkar and used a fair and lovely metaphor for the finance ministry’s approach to the economy. Katiar believes both the comments are sexist and is now waiting for the Congress VP to withdraw the comments before he does likewise for Priyanka Gandhi.


11:31  Black buck case: Salman to appear before Jodhpur court today :  Salman Khan will appear before a Jodhpur court on Wednesday in connection with the black buck poaching case. Actors Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and one Dushyant Singh have also been asked to appear before the court. Last week, Khan was acquitted by a Jodhpur court in an Arms Act case linked to the killing of a black buck 18 years ago.

The prosecution witnesses have already recorded their statements in the court. The accused in the case, including actor Salman Khan, will record their statements in the 1998 case. During the shooting of Sooraj Barjatya’s movie, ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, Salman Khan allegedly went on a shooting expedition along with actors Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and Tabu, killing two blackbucks in Kankani village.


11:23  Washington DC and the new president of the United States :  Different people gave different reasons why Trump’s swearing-in is best skipped. One view was that the anger among the new president’s most ardent champions against the media was so deep and so venomous that journalists were vulnerable – even foreign correspondents like me, who were observers of the election, not participants like domestic US journalists who tried their best to damage Trump’s poll prospects. One person predicted an attack on the media section that is at a vantage position on the Capitol’s west front and is, therefore, easily identifiable since the layout for the swearing-in of a new president has not changed since 1981.

Read veteran journalist KP Nayar’s column for the Telegraph.


11:17  Jallikattu Act: TN govt dragged to court :  The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and other animal welfare bodies have moved the Supreme Court challenging the conduct of jallikattu in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

After a week of widespread protests across Tamil Nadu, the Assembly on Monday unanimously passed an amendment Bill for conducting the bull taming sport.

The Tamil Nadu government issued an ordinance on January 21, to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to pave the way for the conduct of the post-Pongal event.              

The Centre, on Tuesday, told the Supreme Court that it would withdraw its 2016 notification allowing the bull taming sport in Tamil Nadu in view of the fresh legislation, passed by the State assembly, on the issue.


11:10  Pak-based terrorists with Afghan IDs may attack on R-Day: Intel agencies:  Pakistan-based terror groups may use Afghan IDs to sneak into India and carry out attacks, intelligence agencies have warned ahead of Republic Day celebrations on Thursday, reports

The Special Protection Group, which provides security to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders of the country, has asked the Delhi Police to widen its searches and scan all buildings within 2.5 km of Rajpath, where the Republic Day parade is held.

IB warnings of terror attacks and extra security measures are de rigeur ahead of Republic Day.

Government buildings, offices in the heart of Delhi are shut a day before the parade for security.

Delhi has been brought under ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel on guard.

11:05  Jallikattu case: The Supreme Court decides to hear all petitions filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India and other bodies challenging the law. A bench of the Supreme Court is expected to hear the petitions on Monday, January 30.


10:34  Cheers to the republic:  As India ushers in its 68th Republic Day tomorrow, this is an image of the 1st Republic Day celebrations in 1950. The photograph was taken by Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman photographer.

Sheikh Mohammad bin Zated Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, is the chief guest for the celebrations this year.  


10:20  Dogs like you will be stoned: Alleged messages by Bastar top cop to activists:  In further evidence of the targeting of activists associated with the insurgency-prone region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, activists, lawyers and human rights defenders claim to have received a string of abusive and threatening messages purportedly from phone numbers belonging to the region’s senior most police official, SRP Kalluri, reports NDTV.

Their ‘crime’: sending messages of concern to Kalluri regarding the hounding of the activist Bela Bhatia. On Monday Bhatia, an independent researcher, was threatened by a mob at her home near Bastar, virtually forcing her to leave, supposedly because she was part of an effort to uncover alleged human rights abuses by security forces.

Activists have long suspected that these mobs have the tacit backing of the police, specifically Kalluri, who has a controversial record of using strong-arm methods.

NDTV reviewed SMS and WhatsApp exchanges between at least nine activists and three phone numbers belonging to Kalluri.

In one of the messages Sandeep Singh, an activist on 24th January wrote, “This can’t go long. You are not above the constitution. Don’t sell your conscience for money.”

In response he received a message from Kalluri’s number saying “Maoists and their dogs like you will be stoned out of Bastar. Beware.”

A Supreme Court lawyer, Pyoli Swatija sent a similar message to the police official on January 24 in which she wrote “Please ensure Bela Bhatia is not hounded out of her residence.” This got the following reply from Kalluri: “Naxals will be kicked out of Bastar.” When she asked, “What does your answer have to do with my query?” the message in response was, “F U.”

Another message sent to Kalluri by Vani Subramanian, a film maker and an activist again sought to ensure the safety of Bela Bhatia in which she asked “Do citizens of India not have the right to residence in Chhatisgarh?!” The reply from Kalluri’s number read “Yes, we are taking strong action. Very soon, Maoists and their dogs will be thrown out of Bastar.”

When we called to check with Kalluri on one of the numbers from which these messages had been sent, he said he “only has a few seconds” to spare. As we began reading out the messages he said “this was all false and we are conducting an inquiry into it.”

Image: Activist Bela Bhatia.


10:08  Expected Priyanaka would be star campaigner: NCP:  Hailing Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into the Congress’s star campaigner list, the Nationalist Communist Party (NCP) on Wednesday said the former was instrumental into forming alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

“It was expected that Priyanka would be the star campaigner because when alliance was doubtful and there were some hurdles, I think she plunged into it and she was instrumental as we were told in bringing about with her mother the two parties together. Therefore, she was bound to be there in the list of campaigner. But as a matter of fact, I think she would be at the top of the list of star campaigner… we won’t be surprised about it,” NCP leader Majeed Memon told ANI.

Having played a key role, along with senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, in sealing the alliance with the Samajwadi Party, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was expected to play a prominent role in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Sources, however, suggest that her role in the elections will remain limited as she would be campaigning only in the parliamentary constituencies of her mother Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli) and brother Rahul Gandhi (Amethi) much like the previous years.

After the Congress joined hands with the Samajwadi Party, the party-workers were keen that Priyanka takes the centre stage this time but it now seems their wait will continue.


10:05  Rupee falls 4 paise against dollar:  Want to exchange your dollars? This is the time…

The rupee weakened by 4 paise to quote at 68.19 against the dollar in early trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market today on month-end demand for the American currency from importers and banks.

The dollar was firm against major global currencies, which dampened rupee sentiment, but a higher opening of the domestic equity market capped the fall, dealers said.

Yesterday, the rupee made a modest recovery to end higher by 5 paise at 68.15 against the American greenback in yet another day of extremely thin and lethargic trade.


09:35  Sharad Yadav’s shocker: ‘Honour of vote more important than daughter’s’:  

Raking up a controversy, Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav has said that ‘honour of vote is important than that of daughter’s’.

“Honour of vote is bigger and important than honour of daughter. If daughter’s honour is compromised, it only affects the village or community but if the vote’s honour is compromised, it impacts the entire nation,” Yadav said.

The former JD-U national oresident was addressing a public gathering on Tuesday in Bihar’s capital, when he raised brows of many by quoting this controversial remark.

Yadav, who is also a member of Rajya Sabha, was speaking on the occasion of birth anniversary of former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur.

09:29   Australian Open: Serena Williams wins 6-2 6-3 over Jo Konta to storm into the semi finals.

09:28  At least five students have been injured in a collision between a truck and a school bus in Bihar’s Darbhanga.

The injured have been rushed to the hospital.

More details are awaited.

08:48  Modi invites US President Trump to India:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he invited US President Donald Trump to visit India during his conversation last night.

“Had warm conversation with Trump; We agreed to work closely in the coming days to further strengthen our bilateral ties,” PM Modi tweeted on Wednesday morning.


08:42  Trump expected to order Mexican border wall today:  

New York Times reports: US President Donald Trump will order the construction of a Mexican border wall on Wednesday, White House officials said, and is mulling plans to stop Syrian refugees from entering the country and to slash immigration of refugees from “terror prone” nations, perhaps as early as this week.

During an appearance at the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, Trump plans to sign an executive order to direct federal funds to be shifted toward the building of a wall on the southern border that became a signature promise of his campaign. 

He has argued that doing so is vital to gaining control over the illegal flow of immigrants into the United States.


08:37  Goa: Jailbreak attempt at Sada sub jail foiled:  

As many as 45 inmates of Sada sub jail allegedly attacked the jail officials olate Tuesday night over some petty issue and then tried to flee following which several teams of police personnel were rushed to the prison near the port town of Vasco.

ANI reported later quoting police officials that the situation was under control, and that the inmates had been overpowered

Police said that the prisoners allegedly attacked the jailor and several other guards around 11 pm over some petty issue. The prisoners went berserk and “destroyed” the jail. 

“The jailor was seriously injured and he has been taken to Goa Medical College and Hospital. All the 45 inmates together launched attack on the officials, guards and jail property. They tried to flee the jail premises,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Lowrence D’Souza said.

The trouble began in the night when a prisoner Vinayak Korbatkar, who is currently shifted to Sada sub jail from central jail Colvale for murdering a fellow inmate, had an issue with the jail authorities. 

Majority of the inmates from this jail were shifted to new facility at Colvale recently, while rest of the lot was supposed to be shifted next month

08:31  What to look forward to in news today:  

* Home Minister Rajnath Singh will address election meetings in Sujanpur, Mukerian and Rajpura today

* Salman Khan to appear before Jodhpur court today in the Blackbuck poaching case.

* Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to meet PM Modi today, exchange of agreements and press statement to follow. The Crown Prince will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari today.

* President Pranab Mukherjee to address the nation today on the eve of the 68th Republic Day.

* Ruckus at Sada sub jail, Atleast 45 prisoners attempt to flee.

* Eleven months after all Central university vice-chancellors resolved to install the national flag “prominently and proudly” on their campuses, Delhi University is set to hoist its first monumental flag today.


00:19  Senate panel approves Haley’s nomination for US envoy to UN:  

A key Senate panel today approved the nomination of Indian-American Nikki Haley as the next US Ambassador to the United Nations, clearing the way for what is expected to be an easy confirmation in the full Senate.

The South Carolina Governor’s nomination now moves to the Senate floor for a vote. If confirmed, Haley, 44, the daughter of Indian immigrants, would be the first Indian-American to serve on a Cabinet rank position in any presidential administration in the US.

Haley, who will replace Samantha Power at the UN if confirmed, has already created history by becoming the first women Indian-American Governor of a US State.


00:06  China hits back at US over South China Sea claims:  

China has asserted its “indisputable sovereignty” over parts of the South China Sea after the Trump administration vowed to prevent China from taking territory in the region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing would “remain firm to defend its rights in the region”.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday the US would “make sure we protect our interests there”.

Barack Obama’s administration refused to take sides in the dispute.

Several nations claim territory in the resource-rich South China Sea, which is also an important shipping route.

The new US president has taken a tough stance against China, and Spicer told reporters “the US is going to make sure we protect our interests” in the South China Sea.

“If those islands are, in fact, in international waters and not part of China proper, yeah, we’ll make sure we defend international interests from being taken over by another country,” he said, without giving further details.

The Chinese government responded by saying that the US was “not a party to the South China Sea issue”.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China was “committed to peaceful negotiations with all countries concerned” in the dispute, and said it “respects the principles of freedom of navigation and over-flight in international waters”.

But, she went on: “Our position is clear. Our actions have been lawful.”

Source: Rediff