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LIVE! A very inspiring place: Rahul’s message at Sabarmati Ashram

12:38  A very inspiring place: Rahul’s message at Sabarmati Ashram:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi writes in the visitors’ book at the Gandhi Ashram, Sabarmati: ‘A very inspiring place, Thank you for keeping the flame of our leader alive’. 

A far cry from the Rahul Gandhi of 2015 when he copied a message from his phone while writing condolences in the visitors’ book at the Nepal embassy in Delhi in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. 

The Congress president visited the museum at Sabarmati Ashram on the 89th anniversary of the historic Dandi March led byMahatma Gandhi. He was accompanied by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi attended a prayer meeting at the ashram. The Congress president will attend a Congress Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad.

Gandhi will also address a public meeting at Trimandir Grounds in Adlaj in Gandhinagar along with Priyanka Gandhi.


12:31  PM advised us to choose content with message of inclusive India: Ranveer:  PM Narendra Modi told young members of the film industry that they should choose content propagating the idea of “inclusive India and unity” when he met them earlier this year, says actor Ranveer Singh.

Ranveer had met the Prime Minister, along with Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurrana and others, in January this year. 

“I met the Prime Minister recently, we had a very pleasant meeting. We apprised him what we as young members of the film fraternity are doing. 

“He had something to say to us, which was, that if possible, we should choose content that has in it a message of inclusive India and unity,” Ranveer told reporters.

The actor was speaking at the announcement of 64th Vimal Filmfare Awards on Monday. Ranveer said his upcoming “83”, which chronicles India’s first cricket world cup victory, is a film which will make the country proud.

“I was very happy to report to him that my next film ’83’ is one such film where it’s truly team India. You have gentlemen from all across the country coming together to make the nation proud. It’s also an extraordinary underdog story that I’m very happy and proud to be a part of.”

The actor said his purpose in life is to entertain people and he will do his best towards that goal. “I believe my calling in life is to be an entertainer. So the best thing I can do is to fulfil what I believe is my purpose in life, that is to do my best to entertain people. When it comes to being a responsible citizen, I think I am,” Ranveer said. — PTI

Image: Ranveer Singh picture courtesy: @RanveerOfficial


12:06  Congress culture is anti-thesis of Gandhian thought: PM on Dandi March anniv:  On the 89th anniversary of the historic Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a jibe at the Congress, saying, “Its culture is the anti-thesis of Gandhian values.”

He quoted the works of Mahatma Gandhi to claim that Congress stands for everything that the Father of the Nation did not like — casteism, corruption, communalism and dynastic politics.

The Prime Minister in his blog titled, “When a handful of salt shook an Empire!” said, “Gandhiji taught us to think of the plight of the poorest person we have seen and think about how our work impacts that person. I am proud to say that in all aspects of our Government’s work, the guiding consideration is to see how it will alleviate poverty and bring prosperity. Sadly, the anti-thesis of Gandhian thought is the Congress culture.”

He also accused Congress of creating caste divisions and practising inequality in the country while in power.

“Bapu said, …through the realisation of freedom of India I hope to realise and carry on the mission of brotherhood of man. In many of his works, Gandhiji said that he does not believe in inequality and caste divisions. Sadly, Congress has never hesitated from dividing society. The worst caste riots and anti-Dalit massacres happened under Congress rule,” Modi said in the blog. — PTI


11:23  Cong kicks off LS poll campaign from PM’s home state:  Top Congress leadership Tuesday paid their respect to Mahatma Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, ahead of launching the party’s poll campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. Party leaders led by its chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, former prime minister Manmohan Singh sought to give a symbolic message to the people of the country ahead of the general elections by remembering Mahatma and his ideals of non-violence and tolerance. Other party leaders like A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, former chief ministers Siddaramaiah, Tarun Gogoi, Harish Rawat and Oommen Chandy attended a prayer meeting at the Sabarmati Ashram.

Rahul while addressing Congress booth workers in Delhi on Monday had said the upcoming general elections will be a battle between Mahatma Gandhi’s India and Nathuram Godse’s India with love on one side and hate on the other. 

Today also marks the anniversary of the famous ‘Dandi March’ started by Mahatma Gandhi from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930 with a group of Satyagrahis.

The Congress, at its meeting of the working committee — the highest decision making body, later in the day will give the final shape to its strategy for the general elections.

The Congress Working Committee meeting is being held at Vallabhbhai Patel’s national memorial here, with top party leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and newly-appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in attendance. This will be the first official meeting of Priyanka after assuming an active political role in the Congress party. 

Later, the party will sound the poll bugle from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, with a ‘Jan Sankalp Rally’ here, party leaders said. The day-long meeting of the Congress Working Committee assumes significance as it comes barely two days after the declaration of the poll schedule. — PTI

11:02  Cong cites Doval’s 2010 interview, says he gave clean chit to JeM chief:  The Congress Tuesday cited a 2010 interview of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to claim that he blamed the BJP-led government for the release of JeM chief Masood Azhar in the Kandahar hijacking episode and gave a “clean chit” to the terrorist. 

The scathing attack by the Congress comes a day after the BJP latched on to Rahul Gandhi’s reference to the Jaish-e-Mohammad’s chief as “Masood Azhar ji”. The opposition party had hit back, accusing its rival of deliberately twisting Gandhi’s comments made sarcastically. 

“Modi government’s NSA, Ajit Doval, ‘spills the beans’ and indicts BJP government in release of terrorist, Masood Azhar. Doval said (in the interview), ‘Releasing Masood Azhar was a political decision’,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

“Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad admit to the anti-national act now,” he said in a series of tweets using the hashtag ‘BJP Loves Terrorists’.

Surjewala also attached a link of Doval’s 2010 interview with the tweets. “Modi government’s NSA, Ajit Doval’s ‘clean chit certificate’ to terrorist, Masood Azhar revealed,” he said. 

“1. Masood doesn’t know how to fabricate an IED.  

2. Masood is not a marksman. 3. After releasing Masood, tourism in J&K has gone up by 200%,” Surjewala quoted Doval as saying in the interview. 

Doval saluted the real “nationalistic policy of Congress-UPA to tacke terror, the Congress spokesperson claimed. “UPA-Cong came with a categorical policy on hijacking. No concession, no talks,” he quoted Doval as saying. Why did the BJP government not show the same guts, Surjewala said.  — PTI


10:25  Gandhis arrive for CWC:  Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi arrive in Ahmedabad for the Congress Working Committee meeting. 


10:18  Modi more popular than Rahul as PM candidate: Poll:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity has soared over the past five months as the country prepares for general elections, an India Today TV survey has found.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi still has a lot of catching up to do on the overall voter preference charts for the next PM, according to the poll conducted by Axis-My-India for India Today’s Political Stock Exchange (PSE).That said, the 48-year-old opposition leader is more popular than the Prime Minister among Scheduled Castes (SC) and Muslim communities, the PSE suggests.  Read the report here. 


10:12  Computer Baba appointed head of river trust in Cong-ruled MP:   The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has appointed self-styled godman NamdevTyagi, also known as Computer Baba, as chairman of a river trust in the state, an official said on Tuesday. The state spiritual department passed the order of appointing Tyagi as head of the ‘Ma Narmada, Ma Kshipra and Ma Mandakini Rivers Trust’ a few days back, just before the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha polls came into effect, he said. 

Notably, Tyagi was accorded minister of state (MoS) status by the previous BJP-led government last year, but he later resigned, accusing the then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of “not fulfilling” the promise of stopping illegal sand mining in the river Narmada. 

Tyagi told PTI on Tuesday that he would now work to conserve the rivers in the central state and check illegal sand mining. “My priority would be to rejuvenate the three holy rivers, especially the river Narmada. I will ensure that no illegal sand mining takes place in the holy river,” he said. 

Tyagi, a friend-turned-critic of Chouhan, campaigned against the BJP ahead of the last year’s state Assembly polls in which the Congress dethroned the saffron party and came to power after over 15 years. — PTI


10:04  Pre-poll booster shot for Sensex, soars over 300 points:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex Tuesday jumped over 300 points led by gains in metal, oil and gas, banking and energy stocks amid unabated buying by foreign investors and strong global cues. 

Key indices extended the pre-election rally on expectations that the incumbent NDA government will get a second term following the announcement of 2019 general election dates earlier this week, experts said. BSE Sensex was trading 346.60 points, or 0.94 per cent, higher at 37,400.70. Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty climbed 86.65 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 11,254.70. The 30-share index ended at 37,054.10, up by 382.67 points, or 1.04 per cent, in its previous session Monday; and the Nifty closed at 11,168.05 points, up 132.65 points, or 1.20 per cent.

Top gainers in early trade include PowerGrid, NTPC, RIL, L&T, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, HCL Tech and Vedanta, rising over 2.60 per cent. While, Bharti Airtel and IndusInd Bank were trading in the red. — PTI

Image: ICICI Bank is among the top gainers. 


09:26  Priyanka Gandhi’s debut speech likely today at key Congress meet:  

Congress is all set to launch its 2019 Lok Sabha poll campaign from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bastion Gujarat today. The principal opposition party has charted out a day long program – which is fully loaded with a “political message” in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. 

Congress has zeroed in on March 12 – which marks the anniversary of famous Dandi March by Mahatma Gandhi. 

The prayer meet will be followed by a small roadshow where all the prominent leaders of the Congress including party chief Rahul Gandhi will ride in buses to Sardar Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad to attend the Congress Working Committee meeting. This CWC is also significant as it will be Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s first meeting of the committee as the party’s newly appointed General Secretary. 

The CWC will be followed by a public meeting at Trimandir in Adalaj, Gandhinagar where patidhar leader Hardik Patel will officially join the Congress.


09:05  Ethiopia Airline Crash: Black box recovered:  

The black box of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 which crashed killing all the 157 people on board has been recovered.

According to Fox News, the authorities sifting through the crash site recovered the black box which is a critical discovery in the search for what caused the disaster.

Ethiopian Airlines announced on Twitter, The Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder of ET302 have been Recovered.

Following the crash, several airlines have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts. Several people including UN staff, students and humanitarian workers were killed in the ghastly tragedy.

Meanwhile,  the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Monday that it is reviewing safety issues relating to Boeing 737 MAX planes. Four Indians were among those killed. 

This is for the second time in less than five months that a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed. In October 2018, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia. 



08:13  Mediators in Ayodhya land dispute case to meet for first time today:  

The three-member Supreme Court appointed mediation team in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case is set to meet at ground zero in Ayodhya today. 

To assist them in their task, the district administration on directions of the state government has built a mini secretariat inside the Awadh university campus. From lodging to a negotiation room, all facilities for the three mediators have been set up there. 

Following the Supreme Court order that the process should remain a secret, the government and the local administration have taken steps in this regard. No official communication about the movement of the members or their schedule is being made public.

Sources, however, confirmed that the court-appointed mediators former Supreme Court judge FMI Kalifulla, senior advocate Sriram Panchu and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will reach Ayodhya by a special flight on Tuesday morning around 11am.

Highly-placed sources reportedly said that the guest house at the engineering department of the university has been earmarked for the meetings and lodging of the panel members. 

As of now, two typists one for Hindi and the other for English have been assigned to work with the mediation panel. Sources say some of the required staff is being directly brought by the negotiators themselves.

In the first leg, the mediation panel is expected to stay in Ayodhya for around three days, following which the further schedule will be worked out depending upon the progress in mediation and dialogue with the litigants in the case.


00:03  Erdogan dials Modi; condoles deaths in recent terror attacks:  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to condole the deaths in recent terrorist attacks in the country and wish speedy recovery to those injured, a statement said on Monday.


During their conversation, Modi underscored the importance of “immediate, demonstrable, and irreversible action” against terrorism by all countries concerned.

He asserted that terrorism remains one of the gravest threats to global peace and security. 

“President Erdogan expressed condolences for the victims of recent terrorist attacks in India, and wished speedy recovery to those injured in the attacks,” the statement said.

Forty personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed on February 14 when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a paramilitary bus in Kashmir’s Pulwama district . — PTI 

Source: Rediff