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LIVE! P-A-N-I-C: Rahul spells out BJP’s mood in Karnataka

11:33   Sagarika Ghose @sagarikaghose Good to see @RahulGandhi holding an open press conference. When will @narendramodi ji do the same with all journalists, not just scripted interviews to the spineless cheerleading toadies?

@RKRadhakrishn I join Sagarika in requesting @narendramodi to hold at least one press conference before he lays down office next year.

11:27  P-A-N-I-C: Rahul spells out BJP’s mood in Karnataka :  Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on the last day of the campaign trail in Karnataka. With him on the dais is incumbent chief minister Siddaramaiah. Responding to a barrage of questions on the upcoming elections, the tonality of the rallies, his Italian background, Gandhi said the election was not about him or the Congress, but about the spirit of Karnataka. Excerpts from the presser.

On his Italian background: Rahul said his mother, the former Congress president was Italian, but she had spent the better part of her life in India and was more Indian than a lot of Indians. She had suffered for the country.  

On the BJP’s statement that Rahul was an election Hindu: “Throughout the last 15 years, I’ve been visiting temples, mosques, gurudwaras, every religious institution I come across. BJP doesn’t like this. I don’t think they understand meaning of the term Hindu. It’s a perspective. It’s something which lives with you throughout.”

On the Dalit issue: “We had said that Dalits are being beaten up and oppressed when Rohith Vemula was killed. ModiJi doesn’t say a word. When Dalits are killed and humiliated in other parts of India, Modiji doesn’t say anything. Congress will defend the rights of Dalits and raise this issue.

On atrocities against women: He said it was a political and a national issue. Mr Modi likes to discuss bullet train and other issues but does not like to discuss fundamental issues.

On the personal statements made by the PM at the rallies: Mr Modi has got anger inside of him. He is angry with everybody, not only me. I am a lightning rod for anger, I attract anger. But that is his problem. It is not my problem.

On the number of rallies the BJP senior leadership including the PM has held in the state: He said there was just one explanation to it, which, he spelt out saying P-A-N-I-C.  I have been travelling around K’taka for few months now, we all stood together and fought campaign on fundamental issues.We’ve prepared manifesto which is truly voice of the people. Opposition has restricted itself to making personal remarks. We are confident of winning the elections.


10:57  Chhattisgarh CM makes a jibe at Rahul’s upcoming bike rally :  As Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is set to conduct a massive roadshow in Chhattisgarh, state Chief Minister Raman Singh yesterday said he is welcome to hold the rally on ‘well-constructed roads of the state.

‘Taking a jibe at the Congress chief, Singh said that the road of Chhattisgarh is not like Amethi (Rahul’s constituency), it is good for bike rides.

“He can go on a bike rally anywhere he likes in the state, the roads of the state is very good. It is not like the roads of Amethi, where he cannot go on bike rallies,” Singh said.

Rahul is scheduled to hold a roadshow with a bike rally in Chhattisgarh on May 17.

Further speaking on the Karnataka assembly elections, he expressed confidence of the BJP winning the polls under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.Karnataka will go to polls on May 12 and the results will be declared on 15. — ANI


10:54  Let me beg in uniform, not got salary for 2 months, pleads Mumbai cop:   A constable with the Mumbai Police has sought permission to “beg in uniform”, saying he cannot support his family as he hasn’t received his salary for the last two months.

Constable Dnyaneshwar Ahirrao – in a letter to his superiors, Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis – has asked permission to beg to take care of his ailing wife and manage household expenses.

In the letter, Ahirrao, working with the Local Arms unit, said he had taken leave from March 20 to March 22.

However, he could not report to duty after his leave ended since his wife suffered a fracture in her leg, he said. Ahirrao, posted with the security team at ‘Matoshree’, the home of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, claimed that he had informed, over the phone, his unit in-charge about the emergency leave he was availing of for five days. Following his wife’s treatment, he resumed duty on March 28, he said.

But he stopped getting the salary, his letter said, without revealing more information. “I have to take care of my sick wife, old parents and a daughter. Besides, I have to pay monthly instalment of the loan I have taken. But since my salary has been stopped, I am unable to meet these expenses. So I want permission from you to beg in uniform,” the letter said.

Dnyaneshwar Ahirrao himself could not be contacted for more details.
When contacted, Vasant Jadhav, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Local Arms Unit, said, “The matter comes under the administration department. I can not comment on it.” — PTI

Image: Ajay Devgn plays a honest and valiant cop in the Rohit Shetty film, Singham, set in Goa.  


10:30  Kejriwal’s kin arrested :  A man related to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested today by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in connection with the PWD scam. Vinay Bansal,  son of Kejriwal’s brother-in-law, was arrested this morning, ACB chief Arvind Deep said. Three FIRs, including one against a company run by the chief minister’s brother-in-law Surender Bansal, were registered by the ACB in this case on May 9 last year.

Three companies, including Renu Constructions (owned by Bansal, Kamal Singh and Pawan Kumar), were included in the FIRs. In a complaint, Rahul Sharma, founder of Roads Anti-Corruption Organisation (RACO), had alleged that Kejriwal and PWD minister Satyendra Jain misused their office for grant of contracts to Bansal. However, they were not named in the FIR.

RACO, an organisation which claims to monitor construction projects in the national capital, had alleged that a firm linked to Bansal was involved in financial irregularities in building a drainage system in north-west Delhi.

It was also alleged that the bills sent to the Public Works Department  for unfinished works were “false and fabricated”. PTI


10:27  Azadi is not going to happen, army chief warns Kashmiri youth:  In an interview to the Indian Express, Army Chief Bipin Rawat has said that Kashmiri youth picking up the gun and those who tell them (that) this path will bring Azadi is misleading them. Gen Rawat said categorically, “I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never.”

General Rawat said that he doesn’t attach much importance to the number of militants who are killed in encounters with the Army. “These numbers don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue. There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile, nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight the Army.”

Both the ruling PDP-BJP coalition led by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and the opposition in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday recommended the Centre to consider a unilateral ceasefire against terrorists starting from Ramzan, this month till the end of Amarnath yatra and Eid in August.

The Army chief said that the Army or Indian administration does not like any sort of killing, but would fight with full force if compelled to do so. Comparing the role of Indian Army to that of security forces in countries like Syria and neighbouring Pakistan, General Rawat said that the forces in India havent been brutal.


09:52  Lalu’s son to wed in two days :  In Patna, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tej Pratap’s mehendi ceremony was held last night. He will be be tying the knot with Aishwarya Rai, daughter of RJD party legislator Chandrika Rai, on May 12. 

09:42  Students trek 4 km every day to use a toilet :  So much for the Centre’s claims of providing basic toilets for its people. Flush with statistics of toilets built, the fact remains that much of the toilets cannot be used as there is no water. 

In Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh district for instance, girls of a government hostel have to travel four kilometers every day to use a toilet which has water.  “My friends and I along with our teacher walk two kilometers every day to use the toilet, due to the water crisis in the area,” a student said.

There is no water in the toilets in the hostel. Even after having two borewells, the girls face hardship as the wells goes dry at the beginning of summer. “But usually we get water from tankers. But this time we did not even have that,” said the warden of the hostel.

Taking cognizance of the issue, the collector of the district said that they have informed higher authorities, but are yet to receive any help from them.
 — ANI


08:51  Akshay, Twinkle sent legal notice for auctioning ‘Rustom’ costumes:  

Eleven serving defence officers and eight others have sent a legal notice to actors Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna, accusing the Bollywood couple of “playing with the sentiments” of the armed forces by putting up for auction a naval costume from the Hindi film “Rustom”.

The group, which also included the wife of a navy man and seven retired officers, said it was offended that the actors had listed the costume as an “original naval uniform”. “Uniforms resembling those of the armed forces pose a potential threat to national security as the said uniform, insignia and badges could pass for genuine service clothing and can find their way to anti-national elements who can use it to foment trouble,” the notice said.

A copy of the notice has also been sent to the auction house Salt Scout and the office of the defence minister. 

The officers urged the minister to take action against the actors and to stop the auctioning of the outfit Kumar wore in the 2016 film, a fictional account loosely based on the real-life case of Naval Officer K M Nanavati, charged with and then acquitted of killing his wife. 

“By putting in auction ‘Akshay Kumar’s Rustom Naval Officer Uniform’ you have shown no respect for national interest but have also played with the sentiments of armed forces personnel and their widows including my clients, who are retired, as well as serving armed forces officials and their family members,” the notice read. 

Kumar had put the outfit up for the auction on April 26 in support of an NGO working for the cause of animal rescue and welfare. 

“Hi, all I’m thrilled to announce that you can bid to win the actual naval officer uniform I wore in Rustom! Auction’s proceeds will support the cause of animal rescue and welfare. Place your bid at,” he wrote. 

The bid, which will end on May 26, currently stands at Rs 2,35,000.


08:23  Mallya can be regarded as a fugitive from justice: UK court:  

Vijay Mallya, wanted in India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore, can be regarded as a “fugitive from justice”, the UK High Court has concluded.

Judge Andrew Henshaw, who upheld a worldwide freeze order and ruled in favour of 13 Indian state-owned banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion in a judgment yesterday, took note of the fact that the 62-year-old businessman is contesting his extradition to India relating to “alleged financial misconduct”.

“In all these circumstances, and even taking account of the fact that Dr Mallya is contesting the alleged grounds for extradition, there are grounds for regarding Dr Mallya as a fugitive from justice,” the judge said as part of his ruling.

The High Court remained unconvinced by Mallya’s claim that he has been a non-resident Indian since 1988 and has lived in England since 1992, a country where he has indefinite leave to remain.

“The evidence indicates that prior to March 2016 Dr Mallya travelled fairly regularly between India and England for business and political reasons. Most of his business interests were in or closely connected with India, most notably United Breweries Group and Kingfisher AirlinesWhilst Dr Mallya has indefinite leave to stay in the UK, he is said to be a non-resident taxpayer,” the court observed.

The judge also concluded that the businessman had been in “clear breach” of a Karnataka court’s order when he disposed of assets like a historic sword of Tipu Sultan acquired at an auction in 2003.

“The sword of Tipu Sultan is an item of historic importance which Dr Mallya bought at an auction in 2003 for the equivalent of 188,400 and states that he gave away in 2016 as his family members considered that it was bringing him bad luck,” Judge Henshaw notes in his judgment.

“Dr Mallya declined to state in correspondence to whom the sword was given. Dr Mallya was unable to put forward any basis for contending that the disposal was not in breach of the Karnataka High Court’s interim injunction, and accepted that it occurred after the Supreme Court had made clear that the injunction covered subsequently acquired assets It does, though, appear to me to have been in clear breach of the Karnataka court’s order,” he adds.

The judge, however, was less certain that luxury cars and yachts had been undeclared or disposed of by Mallya as claimed by the legal team representing the 13 Indian banks State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Corporation bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu &a Kashmir Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co Pvt Ltd.



07:51  Not interested in Nobel prize, want victory for the world: Trump:  

US President Donald Trump today said he is not interested in winning a Noble Peace Prize but wants victory for the world.

Asked by a journalist if he deserved a Nobel Peace prize, Trump said although everyone thought he did, he would never say it himself.

“You know what I want to do? I want to get it finished. The prize I want is victory for the world, not for even here. I want victory for the world. Because that’s what we’re talking about. So that’s the only prize I want,” Trump said in response.

The South Korean president had recently said Trump deserved to win the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts with regard to North Korea.

Trump said his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be a very good thing for the region and the world.

“This is something that nobody thought was going to happen for years or more. I really believe it’s going to be a great thing for North Korea, a great thing for South Korea and Japan. I want to thank (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping). He was very helpful to us two days ago on something very specific,” the president said. 

“We are working trade with China. They are doing okay because they’re helping us, and I guess they’re probably doing a little bit better because they’re helping us. But they have really helped us on North Korea. We appreciate it and we appreciate President Xi,” he said. 

Trump said he spoke with his South Korean counterpart.

“I just spoke to President Moon and explained what was taking place with respect to the three gentlemen. And President Moon of South Korea was very, very happy to hear it. He, likewise, has been incredibly helpful,” he said.

“So the relationships we have with (Japanese) Prime Minister Abe, President Moon and President Xi, I think it all goes into what is taking place right now. We very much look forward to having the meeting between the United States and North Korea. That will be announced over the next couple of days,” Trump said. 



00:22  Rahul Gandhi is our PM candidate: Ahmed Patel:  

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday said that Rahul Gandhi is the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the next national election.

Asked as to how he saw the Congress chief’s comment yesterday that he was ready to occupy the prime ministerial post if the Congress emerges as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha polls, Patel said, “The Congress president has already said something. It all depends on who will get how many seats. Our candidate will be Rahul Gandhi,” 

“But ultimately it will all depend on the (Lok Sabha poll) results,” Patel told reporters here, maintaining that Gandhi’s claim did not make him “arrogant.”

“After all he (Gandhi) is the president of the Congress party…If we don’t get majority, others (alliance parties) will definitely be consulted. This is not arrogance. If he says he cannot become the prime minister, it will demoralise the party,” Patel added.

In reply to a question, Patel alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “learnt from China” how to showcase a few big projects to create the impression that there is a lot of development.

“He has learnt it from China how to build big projects and showcase them as development. But if you go a bit deeper, there is no development. The Sabarmati river front, the bullet train, the Metro trains are sold as development. But if you go to villages, there is no development. Government schools are shutting down,” he alleged.

Patel exuded confidence that the Congress will be getting majority in the Karnataka assembly elections by crossing the magic figure of 112.

He also said his party will continue to press the demand of use of ballot paper in the general elections. — PTI

Source: Rediff