13:43 Priyanka, Rahul, Scindia begin UP conquest :
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia have begun their roadshow in Lucknow. This is the first public rally of Priyanka Gandhi after taking charge as Congress’s general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East). Other Congress leaders like Raj Babbar also accompanied the three.
The roadshow will cover a stretch of 12 km from the airport to Nehru Bhawan. Priyanka’s rally in Lucknow holds significance because Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Priyanka Gandhi’s road show in Lucknow will also be the Congress’s first mega show of strength in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Reviving Congress fortunes in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh will be a symbolic victory for the party as Allahabad has been home to the Nehru family and was also former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Sastri’s Lok Sabha seat. Neighbouring Phulpur used to be India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s Lok Sabha seat. Eastern Uttar Pradesh currently has strongholds of both Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Image: Rahul Gandhi flanked by UP general secretaries Jyotiraditya Scindia and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Pic courtesy: @INCIndia
13:32 AR Rahman attends Grammy Awards with daughter Raheema: Music maestro was present at the 2019 Grammy Awards ceremony with his daughter Raheema. The composer, who won two Grammy awards in 2009 for his work on “Slumdog Millionaire”, posted several pictures from the awards night, which saw Kacey Musgraves, Childish Gambino, Cardi B and Quincy Jones create history in various categories.
Rahman opted for a a black and grey suit for the ceremony, while Raheema chose an all-black ensemble. The Oscar-winning music director was attending Grammys with London-based Prashant Mistry, New York-based Falguni Shah and US-based Satnam Kaur, who were nominated in different categories for their albums ‘Symbol’, ‘Falu’s Bazaar’ and ‘Beloved’ respectively. None of them could register a win at the biggest music awards night of the year. Rahman also shared pictures of Dolly Parton’s tribute performance at the ceremony as well as a video of Lady Gaga’s energetic act on “Shallow”. The award ceremony took place at the Staples Centre here. PTI
Image: AR Rahman shared this picture with his daughter Raheema just before the awards.
13:24 SC refuses to entertain plea seeking court-monitored probe into Saradha scam: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by investors seeking a court-monitored probe into the Saradha chit-fund scam.
The Saradha Group financial scandal was a major scam caused by the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by the conglomerate. The multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam allegedly involves several key leaders from the Trinamool Congress.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is presently questioning Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar and former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh in Shillong in connection with the case.
Kumar, who has been serving as Kolkata’s Police Commissioner since January 2016, is said to have not responded to the earlier summons by the CBI in connection with the probe. He is also accused of allegedly tampering with evidence in the case.
On February 5, the Supreme Court had directed the 1989-batch IPS officer to appear before the CBI in connection with the scam. It had also said that no coercive step should be taken against Kumar.
The top court directive had come against the backdrop of a dharna organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata in protest against the CBIs attempt to arrest Kumar. — ANI
13:02 Priyanka, Rahul in Lucknow: General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and party President Rahul Gandhi reach Lucknow.
12:53 I stand in solidarity with Naidu: Manmohan: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh Monday extended support to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s day-long fast for special status to the state and said the central government should fulfil the promise without any further delay.
Singh, who headed the UPA government at the Centre when Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated, said, “This demand had support of all parties when it was discussed in Parliament. I stand in solidarity with Naidu.”
He said the special category status promise must be implemented without any further delay and that he had always stood by the people of the state.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said at the time of Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation, it was clearly announced that the residual state will be given special status to make up for the loss. He attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over “the language used by him against Naidu” at a rally in Guntur in the state on Sunday.
“It’s unbecoming of the prime minister. He has dragged the political discourse to such a low level. Therefore, we decided to unite against him. Standing together need is the hour,” he said. Party leader Ahmed Patel alleged that the prime minister betrayed Andhra Pradesh and that its people should expect not anything from this government as it is a dispensation of cheaters and “tod-jod” (patchwork). “We are solidly supporting Andhra. We are standing with Naidu,” he said. — PTI
12:43 Happy anniversary, Sanjay, Maanayata!: Actor Sanjay Dutt tweets this picture saying, “I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with a beautiful woman like you, who I have the privilege of calling my wife! Happy anniversary @maanayata_dutt Here’s to sharing a lifetime of love & laughter, together! #11YearsOfTogetherness.”
12:37 Rahul renews Rafale attack, says PM opened door for Ambani: Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday over a media report which claimed the government waived anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal, alleging he “opened the door” to allow Anil Ambani to “steal” Rs 30,000 crore from the Air Force.
Gandhi’s scathing attack came after a report in The Hindu claimed the Rafale deal between India and France involved “major and unprecedented” concessions from the Indian government, with critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA).
“NoMo anti corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 Cr. from the IAF,” Gandhi tweeted tagging the report. The government, as well as Ambani, have strongly refuted allegations of any wrongdoing in the fighter jet agreement with France.
Last week, the Congress president had demanded answers to questions raised by another report in the newspaper that the PMO conducted parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal. Repeating the “chowkidar” epithet, he ramped up his attack on the prime minister and said it was clear “crystal clear” that the “watchman” is the “thief”. — PTI
12:26 Day 3: Rajeev Kumar arrives at Shillong CBI office : Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Monday arrived at the CBI office in Shillong for questioning in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. This is the third day of his questioning by the central investigative agency.
Earlier in the day, former Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh arrived at the CBI office for the second day of interrogation in connection with the case.
The CBI grilled Kumar and Ghosh for nearly 12 hours on Sunday in connection with the Rose Valley and Saradha chit fund scams.
Ghosh was arrested on November 23, 2013, and sent to custody by the CBI on September 4, 2014, after it took over the investigation on the orders of the Supreme Court.
In 2016, the Calcutta High Court had granted interim bail to Ghosh against a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh. The Kolkata Police chief, who has been accused of withholding some documents related to Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund cases, was questioned by the CBI in Shillong on Saturday as well.
On February 5, the Supreme Court had directed Kumar to appear before the central investigative agency in connection with the matter. It had also said that no coercive step should be taken against Kumar.
The top court’s directive had come against the backdrop of a dharna organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata earlier this month in protest against the CBIs attempt to arrest the top cop.
Kumar has been serving as Kolkatas Police Commissioner since January 2016. He is said to have not responded to earlier summons from the CBI in connection with the probe into the Rose Valley and Saradha ponzi scams.
12:16 Dalrymple’s new book in October : Heads up William Dalrymple fans. @DalrympleWill announces a new book on British India. “I am very happy to say that on Friday night, at around 9.30pm, after five years work and 160,000 words, I finally finished The Anarchy: The Fall of the Mughal Empire and the Rise of the East India Company, 1599-1803. It should be out in October, published by @BloomsburyBooks.”
12:10 HC notice to Moin Qureshi : The Delhi High Court Monday issued a notice to controversial meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi on a CBI plea to enhance the security amount he has to pay to travel abroad. Justice Chander Shekhar sought the response of Qureshi on the agency’s plea seeking enhancing of security from Rs 2 crore to Rs 6 crore which Qureshi, accused in a cheating and corruption case, has been asked to furnish to travel to the UAE and Pakistan.
Recently, Qureshi was allowed by a trial court to travel to the UAE from February 15-23 for attending the Gulf Food Festival and to Pakistan from March 6-20 to attend his niece’s wedding. The court had also directed him to furnish an additional security of Rs two crore in the form of bank guarantee and warned that in case of violation of any of the conditions imposed, the amount would be forfeited. — PTI
11:56 Jimmy Carter wins 2019 Grammy award for spoken word album: Former US President Jimmy Carter won his second Grammy Award for spoken word album for his biography Faith — Journey For All. In 2016, Carter, the 39th president of the United States, won his first Grammy award for another one of his works, “A Full Life: Reflections at 90”.
The spoken word category includes poetry, audio books, and storytelling. Other nominees in the category were Courtney B. Vance for “Accessory to War,” David Sedaris for “Calypso,” Questlove for “Creative Quest,” and Tiffany Haddish for “The Last Black Unicorn.” Last year’s winner was Carrie Fisher for her final book “The Princess Diarist”. — PTI
11:56 Manmohan Singh at Naidu’s dharna : Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh at Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu’s day-long fast at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan in New Delhi.
11:40 Meet Rajini’s new son-in-law: Newly-married couple Soundarya Rajinikanth and Vishagan Vanangamudi at The Leela Palace hotel in Chennai today.
11:28 Modi lies, has no credibility: Rahul at Naidu’s dharna : Congress President Rahul Gandhi at Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu’s day-long hunger strike against the central government.
Chandrababu Naidu is in New Delhi demanding that the Centre grant special status to the state and fulfil all promises made before its bifurcation in 2014.
Rahul said, “I stand with the people of Andhra Pradesh. What kind of a PM is he? He did not fulfill the commitment made to the people of Andhra Pradesh. Mr Modi, tells a lie wherever he goes. He has got no credibility left.”
Speaking to reporters later, Rahul added, “Every defence deal has an anti-corruption clause. The Hindu has reported that the PM removed the anti-corruption clause. It is clear that the PM facilitated loot.”
Apart from the Congress president, a number of opposition party leaders like National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal extended their support to the Telugu Desam Party chief’s fast at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan.
11:16 Michelle Obama makes surprise appearance at Grammys: Former first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the Grammy Awards. She was welcomed onstage by host Alicia Keys and joined Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez for an empowering opening address to the crowd, wrote The Hollywood Reporter.
Speaking at the event, she said, “From the Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story.”
She further added, “Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes, our joys. Music shows us that all of it matters.”
Gaga too spoke on the power of music, saying, They said I was weird, but music led me to all of you and to my little monsters, who I love so much, while Lopez quipped in, Back in the Bronx, music gave me a reason to dance.” — PTI
11:06 ‘It’s premature to predict Modi will be a one-term PM’: One of the biggest changes that Narendra Damodardas Modi has made in the last five years is reasserting India’s role on the global scene, believes Milan Vaishnav Director, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in Washington, DC.
10:59 TDP poster sinks to a new low: TDP MP Jayadev Galla calls time on the posters put up by his party at the venue of the ongoing protest at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan in New Delhi. “We don’t endorse it. It is not correct and it should not be done. It must not have been put by our party people,” Galla said.
The poster says, ‘We have entrusted the nation to a person who should have been handed dirty tea cups’.
10:48 Cardi B becomes first solo woman to win best rap album Grammy: Cardi B on Monday created history by becoming the first female to win the Best Rap Album Grammy award. She won the award for her debut ‘Invasion of Privacy’, beating out Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and the late Mac Miller.
The rapper accepted the award taking the stage with husband Offset, who held her hand as she controlled her tears while talking about her pregnancy and daughter Kulture.
“I want to thank my daughter. I’m not just saying thank you because she’s my daughter. It’s because, you know, when I found out I was pregnant, my album was not complete, like three songs that I was for sure having. And then you know, you know how it was, we was like, we have to get this album done so I could still do videos while I’m still not showing. And it was very long nights,” Cardi said in her speech.
“I can’t breath. Oh my goodness. The nerves are so bad!” She added with a laugh, “Maybe I need to smart smoking weed.” While Cardi’s the first woman to win the award for a solo act, Lauryn Hill did win best rap album as part of hip-hop group Fugees in 1997. — PTI
10:36 Ariana Grande wins first-ever Grammy award: Singer Ariana Grande on Monday won her first Grammy award in the Best Pop Vocal Album category for her LP ‘Sweetener ‘ Her album bested fellow nominees Camila Cabello, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, P!nk and Taylor Swift. The singer, however, was not present at the ceremony and the Recording Academy accepted the award on her behalf.
“I know I’m not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things . but f*** . this is wild and beautiful. Thank you so much,” Grande tweeted post her win.
She also dropped a series of Instagram photos revealing her in the custom Zac Posen gown she had got made for the event. “When @zacposen makes you a custom gown it doesn’t matter if you’re singing or not,” she wrote in the caption.
Grande, who was scheduled to perform at the Grammys, pulled out of the show last week as she felt “insulted” after producers refused to let her perform her song “7 Rings” at the award ceremony. — PTI
10:05 Now, Priyanka as Durga : Banner seen in Lucknow ahead of Congress General Secretary for UP East, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and UP West general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia and party President Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the city today.
09:52 ‘The Favourite’, ‘Roma’ big winners at BAFTA 2019:
Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical black-and-white drama, Roma, and Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark comedy, The Favourite, emerged as big winners at the 72nd edition of the BAFTA Awards.
The Favourite, which had 12 nominations, dominated the ceremony with seven wins, including for leading actress (Olivia Colman), supporting actress (Rachel Weisz) and outstanding British film.
Roma, Curaon’s memoir of childhood set in 1970s Mexico City, claimed the top prize of best film, alongside director and cinematography honours.
Roma also won the BAFTA for film not in the English language.
Cuaron thanked Netflix for having the “faith and courage to get behind a black-and-white film about a domestic worker, subtitled from Spanish, and bring it to audiences around the world. To see a film about an indigenous domestic worker embraced this way in an age when fear and anger propose to divide us means the world to me.
“Reverting back to a world of separation and isolation is not a solution to anything. It is simply an excuse to hide our fear within our basest instincts.”
Colman, who won best actress for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite, drew some of the biggest laughs and applause of the ceremony from the audience for her speech.
She started by thanking “All the producers. We’re having an amazing night aren’t we? We’re going to get so pissed later.”
The actor went on to thank her co-stars Weisz and Emma Stone, calling them “the coolest honour guard anyone could have.”
Colman said they were all leads and it was “weird” only one of them could be nominated for lead.
“This is for all three of us. It’s got my name on it but we can scratch in some other names,” she said.
Weisz, who claimed the best supporting actress trophy, defeated co-star Stone, Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man) and Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots) in the category.
“I had the most extraordinary luck in that I played opposite two of the most glorious women: Olivia Colman and Emma Stone,” she said following her maiden BAFTA win.
First-time nominee Rami Malek took home the best actor award for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Malek thanked Mercury, who he called “the greatest outsider of them” for being “unwavering, unflinching and uncompromising in every way”.
The film also won the award for best sound.
Mahershala Ali nabbed the best supporting actor trophy for Peter Farrelly’s Green Book. He was nominated alongside Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) Sam Rockwell (Vice) and Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy).
“The work itself has always been the reward for me so to get this sort of thing is always a bit surreal,” Ali said in his acceptance speech. — PTI
IMAGE: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in The Favourite.
09:36 Court’s role is limited in Ayodhya dispute: Swamy:
Courts have a “limited” role to play in the resolution of the Ayodhya dispute, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said.
Speaking at a public function in Mumbai, the Rajya Sabha MP also claimed that Pakistan will disintegrate in the next decade.
Talking about the Babri Masjid-Ram temple issue, which is currently before the Supreme Court, Swamy said, “Court’s role is limited in this case. The non-disputed land can be taken into possession and the temple can be constructed within two years.”
Last month, the Narendra Modi government asked the Supreme Court to allow it to return the “non-disputed” surplus land acquired around the disputed structure in Ayodhya to a Hindu trust and other original owners.
Swamy also predicted that Pakistan will split up and cease to exist as a country.
“Between 2020 and 2030, Pakistan will disintegrate into four provinces, and Pakistan as a country will cease to exist,” he said. — PTI
09:35 Have warned of thrashing if anybody talks about caste: Gadkari:
Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said in a lighter vein that there was no place for casteism in his area because of his “warning” that anybody talking about caste will be “thrashed” by him.
Speaking at a programme organised by the Punaruththan Samarasta Gurukulam in Pimpri Chinchwad township in Maharashtra’s Pune, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the society should be brought together
on the basis of the economic and social equality, and it should not have any scope for casteism and communalism.
“We do not believe in any casteism…I do not know what do you have but there is no place for castiesm in our five districts because I have warned everybody that if someone talks about caste, I will thrash him,” said Gadkari who represents Nagpur Lok Sabha seat.
Gadkari further said: “the entire society should be brought together on the basis of economic and social equality and unity and it also should be free from casteism and communalism”.
Gadkari, who is known for speaking his mind, had kicked up controversies over his public statements in the past.
He had said in December last year that leadership should have the tendency to own up defeat and failures. The remarks had come days after the BJP’s loss in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly polls.
Gadkari later clarified that his remarks were taken out of context.
Last month, Gadkari had advised fellow politicians against interfering in “other fields”.
He had made the remarks at the valedictory function of the annual Marathi literary meet at Yavatmal in Maharashtra which was embroiled in a controversy after an invitation to noted writer Nayantara Sahgal was withdrawn. — PTI
09:07 Hanif Syed, sentenced to death in 2003 Mumbai blasts, dies :
Mohammad Hanif Syed, one of the three convicts sentenced to death in the 2003 Mumbai twin bomb blasts and currently lodged in the Nagpur Central Jail, died at a hospital, a prison officer said on Sunday.
Syed’s health suddenly deteriorated on Saturday evening, following which he was shifted to the Government Medical College and Hospital where he died one and half hours after admission, jail superintendent Rani Bhosle said.
“The exact cause of his death will be known after post-mortem which will be conducted on Monday in the presence of his relatives who have arrived in the city Sunday,” she said, adding that Syed’s body will be handed over to his relatives after autopsy.
As per preliminary information and symptoms, he could have died of a cardiac arrest, Bhosle said.
Syed, his wife Fehmida and third conspirator Ashrat Ansari were convicted by a POTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activity) court in 2009 of planting powerful bombs in two taxis which exploded at the iconic Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003, leaving 52 people dead and 244 injured.
Syed was shifted to the Nagpur Central Jail from Yerwada jail in 2012, after the Bombay high court upheld his death sentence.
The Lashkar-e-Tayiba’s role in the twin blasts was revealed by an accused-turned-approver.
It was for the first time that the LeT had used a family to carry out bomb blasts in the country. — PTI
09:04 Don’t want use PM’s office for film’s publicity: Rakeysh Mehra:
Film-maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says he has no plans to hold a special screening of his next “Mere Pyare Prime Minister” for PM Narendra Modi as it has become “fashionable” now.
The film chronicles the story of a young slum kid who travels to the capital with his friends to meet the prime minister, after his mother is raped.
When asked if he plans to hold a screening for Modi, Mehra told reporters, “No, not at all. We don’t have any such plans, yet. It has become very fashionable, I would rather want to stay away from it.”
The director was speaking at the trailer launch of the film in Mumbai.
When asked why he wouldn’t want to screen the film, Mehra said if the PM to wants to see the movie, it’ll be an honour but he wouldn’t use the PM’s office for publicity.
“I feel the film is made for the people of the country and somewhere I don’t want to dilute that by using such a big office. He is a very busy man and is running the country. To take three hours of his time, which he could devote to some national and international interest policy.
“Just because I want to promote, it doesn’t suit me. But, If he wants to watch the film, it’ll be an honour,” he said.
The film, which talks about the need of public sanitation and is scheduled to release on March 15, comes just before the parliamentary elections.
On being quizzed if the film will, in any way, impact the elections, the “Rang De Basanti” director said that’s not the movie’s intention.
“It’ll not (have an) effect (on) the elections and it should not. A film’s job should not be to impact elections. My endeavour is to make movies which can be perpetual. Because all of us, our best novels and films, we don’t remember which week we watched or read them in. We don’t know when that film or novel released but for us those are our favourite films.
“If you’re lucky and everything falls in place, if your work becomes perpetual, I feel achievement is in that,” he said.
The film stars Anjali Patil, Om Kanujiya and Atul Kulkarni among others. — PTI
08:41 Naidu begins fast to demand special status for AP:
Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is on a day-long hunger strike in the national capital today demanding special status for his state and fulfilment of commitments made by the Centre under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Naidu paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat before sitting on the hunger strike.
The Telugu Desam Party had walked out the BJP-led NDA last year protesting the “injustice” done to Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation.
Naidu will stage the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ (a day-long protest for justice) at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in the national capital from 8 am to 8 pm on Monday.
He will also submit a memorandum to President of India Ram Nath Kovind on February 12, an official statement said.
The chief minister is on a hunger strike along with his ministers, party MLAs, MLCs and MPs. Members of state employee associations, social organisations and student organisations will also join the fast, it said.
Leader of several opposition parties are expected to extend their solidarity to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s protest, the statement said.