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LIVE! 3 Congress MLAs in Mumbai hotel with BJP leaders: Karnataka minister

10:54  Would you take a dip in this river?:  Clearly, many devotees thought better than to take a dip in the Gomti river in Lucknow on Makar Sankranti because of the staggering filth. A devotee said that people throw flowers in the river even though the government has asked people not to do so. The devotee told ANI that the govt should have cleaned it ahead of Makar Sankranti.


10:35  3 Congress MLAs in Mumbai hotel with BJP leaders: Karnataka minister:  Karnataka Minister and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar said the BJP’s ”Operation Lotus” to topple the state’s coalition government was for real, alleging that three Congress MLAs were camping in a hotel in Mumbai in the “company of some BJP leaders”.

“Horse trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” he said.

Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP allegedly luring several opposition MLAs to defect to ensure stability of its then-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka in 2008.

Shivakumar, who had earned the reputation of being a “trouble-shooter” in the Congress for bailing out the party from many crises in the past, accused Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of being “lenient” towards the BJP.

“Our chief minister is bit lenient towards the BJP. By ”lenient”, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.

“The chief minister is adopting a policy of wait and watch. If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours,” Shivakumar said.

The minister said former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao were aware of the development.

Shivakumar, however, exuded confidence that the BJP would not succeed in its attempt.”You have been saying that a ”kranti” (revolution) may happen after Makar Sankranti. Let us see. It is not so easy because there is already anti-defection law in place, but we are aware of what you are hinting at,” he said in an apparent reference to the opposition BJP in the state.

The minister also wondered why the income tax department and the anti-corruption bureau failed to initiate any action on a complaint by Dinesh Gundu Rao on the matter.

Many Congress MLAs in the Karnataka have alleged that they were approached by the BJP leaders to quit their party and join them.The BJP has trashed the charges, saying


10:11  Tamil Nadu takes the bull by the horns :  In Tamil Nadu, the registration of bulls and bull-tamers was concluded yesterday in Madurai, ahead of Avaniapuram Jallikattu, scheduled to be held tomorrow on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.


09:56  Sensex falls over 150 points ahead of key macro data release:  The BSE benchmark Sensex Monday dropped over 150 points tracking weakness in other Asian markets amid heavy selling by foreign investors. Market sentiment also turned cautious ahead of the release of key macroeconomic data.

The 30-share index fell 174.61 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 35,835.23 in early trade. Similarly, the NSE Nifty shed 60.10 points,or 0.57 per cent, to 10,733.85.

On Friday, the Sensex had fallen 377.81 96 points to end at 36,009.84; and the Nifty too slipped by 26.65 points to close at 10,794.95. According to analysts, this week, stock market movement will be driven by announcement of macroeconomic data points and quarterly earnings by various companies, including bluechips RIL and Wipro.

The government is scheduled to release wholesale price index and consumer price index data later in the day. The market would also continue taking cues from the movement of rupee, crude oil and investment trend by foreign investors, traders said. — PTI


09:53  Kumbh 2019: Security tightened for world’s largest human congregation :  Scores of devotees from across the country took a holy dip at Sangam Ghat on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, formerly known as Allahabad, on Monday.

Makar Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, in reference to deity Surya. The day marks the first day of sun’s transit into the Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.

According to local authorities, approximately 1,17,000 people offered prayers to Akshay Vat, a sacred fig tree mentioned in the Hindu mythology in Prayagraj.

In the wake of Kumbh Mela, the local police is keeping a strong vigil and monitoring the regions adjoining the banks of river Ganga and its tributaries. They have also restricted vehicular movement in Prayagraj roads due to a large footfall of tourists.

The administration has taken the help of NGO’s and citizens in maintaining law and order.

“As per the order by the Director General of Police to all the senior police officials in all the districts, it has been instructed to ensure that any sort of illegal industrial activity or waste should not be discharged into the Ganges and its tributaries including the Yamuna,” Praveen Kumar, Inspector General (Law & Order), Uttar-Pradesh Police had stated on January 10.

Kumbh is the largest human congregation in the world, with lakhs of pilgrims participating in the festival with the belief that taking a dip in the holy water of Ganges River will pave the way for their salvation and would rid them of their sins.

Image: Devotees take holy dip in the Ganga on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.


09:41  Petrol touches Rs 70-mark in Delhi for first time in 2019 :  On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, fuel prices on Monday continued to witness an upward trend with petrol and diesel being sold at Rs 70.13 and Rs 64.18 per litre respectively in the national capital.

This is the first time that fuel prices reached Rs 70-mark in the year 2019.

While petrol price witnessed a hike of 38 paise, diesel got costlier by 49 paise in Delhi.

In Mumbai, petrol and diesel are being retailed at Rs 75.77 and Rs 65.73 per litre respectively.

This comes amid the perpetual rise and fall in the petrol and diesel prices across the country.In the last week of 2018, the fuel prices witnessed a dip in its prices by plummeting to its lowest. — ANI


09:33  Bachchan siblings next up on ‘Koffee With Karan’:  Karan Johar is all set to host the Bachchan siblings – Abhishek Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda – in the upcoming episode of his popular talk show.

The promo of ‘Koffee With Karan’ gives a sneak peak of the amazing camaraderie that the two share. From pulling each other’s legs to revealing their secrets, the teaser proves that the star kids are just like any other brother-sister duo.

In the clip, KJo asks the ‘Manmarziyaan’ star in the Rapid Fire round, who he fears the most – mother Jaya Bachchan or wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. When the actor chooses Jaya Bachchan, his sister immediately responds that it is actually his wife who he is more scared of.  “It is my Rapid Fire, be quiet!” retorts Abhishek. Further, when Karan asks Shweta what she tolerates about her brother, she quips, “His sense of humour!”


09:18  Indonesia finds cockpit voice recorder of crashed Lion Air jet:  

Indonesia has found the cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air plane more than two months after the Boeing Co 737 MAX jet crashed into the sea near Jakarta, killing all 189 on board, an official said on Monday.

Its been found, but we have not received information of the location yet, Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of Indonesias transport safety committee, said by text message.

The cockpit voice recorder is one of the two so-called black boxes crucial for the investigation of a plane crash.

Image: Rescue team members arrange the wreckage, showing part of the logo of Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photograph: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters


09:09  Modi left out, Rahul Gandhi and LK Advani invited for Raj Thackerays sons wedding:  

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has invited top politicos in Delhi like Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his sons wedding but has not yet invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Interestingly Modis cabinet colleagues along with top BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani have all been invited for the January 27th wedding at St Regis hotel at Lower Parel.

Thackeray, who was going to travel to Delhi last week, did not do so but sent his two close aides Harshal Deshpande and Manoj Hate to do the job.

The list of people invited so far includes former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Jawdekar, Dharmendra Pradhan and Menaka Gandhi.

Both were unable to meet Rahul Gandhi at his residence.

When asked whether he would invite Modi for the wedding, Thackeray in his press meet last year said: Does Modi believe in the institution of marriage?

Thackeray who was once a strong supporter of Modi is now his bitter critic and advocates a stance of a Modi-mukt Bharat.


08:43  26/11 plotter Tahawwur Rana to be extradited to India?:  

There is a “strong possibility” of Tahawwur Hussain Rana – currently serving a 14-year jail term in the US for plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack — being extradited to India, an informed source said. 

The Indian government, with “full co-operation” from the Trump administration, is currently working on completing the necessary paperwork to ensure the extradition of the Pakistani-Canadian national before his current jail term ends in December 2021.

Rana was arrested in 2009 on the charges of plotting the 26/11 terror attack. Some 166 people, including US nationals, were killed in the attack carried out by 10 Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists. Nine of the attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was captured and hanged after handed down death sentence by an Indian court.

In 2013, Rana was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. 

According to the US officials, he is set to be released in December 2021.

“There is a strong possibility of extradition of Rana to India on completion of his jail term here. We (US and India) are working on this,” a source said.

But the “challenge” is to complete the necessary paperwork during this period and overcome the cumbersome bureaucracy of the two countries and the independent judiciary, the source said.

India’s ministry of external affairs, ministry of home affairs and ministry of law and justice and the US’ State Department and the Department of Justice, each of them has their own extradition procedure in place.



08:30  Tejashwi Yadav predicts BJP’s “whitewash” after meet with Mayawati:  

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday met BSP chief Mayawati, a day after she announced an alliance with her rival, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

After the meeting, Tejashwi Yadav said the BJP would be “whitewashed” in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Tejashwi Yadav welcomed the “grand alliance” in Uttar Pradesh between Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party — in which both the parties agreed to contest in 38 seats each. He said his father, RJD chief Lalu Yadav, had always talked about a Bihar style alliance of regional parties to defeat the BJP.

A grand alliance of regional parties — chiefly the RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JDU– had defeated the BJP in the Bihar assembly election. Kumar, however, ended the alliance over corruption allegations against Lalu Yadav and his family. He later formed a government in Bihar with support from the BJP.   

Currently, the Bihar grand alliance has the Congress, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (S) and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insan Party as its members.

“There’s atmosphere today where they want to scrap Baba Saheb’s (BR Ambedkar) constitution and implement ‘Nagpur laws’. People have welcomed the step taken by Mayawati-ji and Akhilesh-ji.The BJP will be whitewashed in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They won’t win even one seat in Uttar Pradesh. The SP-BSP alliance will win all seats,” he said.


08:11  Is Sitharaman giving clean chit to Pak on Uri, Pathankot attacks: Chidambaram:  

Hitting out at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for reportedly stating that no major terror attack took place during the BJP-led government’s rule, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram asked whether she was giving a clean chit to Pakistan in the Pathankot and Uri attacks.


“‘There has been no terrorist attack from Pakistan since 2014’ says Defence Minister. Will the Defence Minister take the map of India and locate Pathankot and Uri?” Chidambaram tweeted.

“By saying these attacks were not by or from Pakistan, is the defence minister giving a clean chit to Pakistan in respect of the Pathankot and Uri attacks?” he asked.

Incredible statement of the week that people should remember after May 2019, Chidambaram said of her remarks adding that the truth is the opposite.

The Congress had attacked Sitharaman on Saturday as well for her remarks when party spokesperson Manish Tewari said, if the defence minister’s statement was to be true, “then what was the Uri attack, where 19 soldiers were killed in a terror strike, and the Pathankot terror strike?”

Both the terror attacks had taken place in 2016.



07:48  Can’t take open-and-shut stand on Sabarimala, let people decide: Rahul:  

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who had earlier argued that all women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, said he cannot take an “open-and-shut position on the issue as there is validity in the arguments of both the sides.


Speaking at a press conference in Dubai on Saturday, Gandhi said the issue is “much more complicated” and he would leave it to the people of Kerala to decide on the matter.

He admitted that his initial position on the Sabarimala issue was different than what it is today.  

“I have heard both the arguments, my initial position was different than what my position is today. After I heard the arguments of people of Kerala, I can see validity in both the arguments that traditions need to be protected. I can see validity in the argument that women should have equal rights. So I would not be able to give you an open-and-shut position on this,” Gandhi said.

“After I spoke to the people in Kerala and the Pradesh Congress Committee team in the state and they explained the details, I realised that the issue is much more complicated and both sides have a valid position. I would leave it to the people to decide on this,” he said.

After the Supreme Court verdict, Gandhi had said that all women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, noting that his view on the issue was different from that of his party’s Kerala unit.

The Congress in the capital had welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, while the party MPs from Kerala opposed it. 

The shrine was out of bounds for girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age. The Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.


Source: Rediff