14:06 Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil resigns from Congress: IN a big loss for the Congress in Maharashtra, the party’s Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil resigned from his post on Tuesday on moral grounds. This comes days after his son, Sujay Vikhe Patil, quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s resignation is with Congress president Rahul Gandhi for consideration.
Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP in the presence of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state party chief Raosaheb Danve at an event held in south Mumbai last week.
The move follows the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party’s refusal to leave aside the Ahmedanagar Lok Sabha seat for the neuro suregon son of the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly.
13:58 Upcoming challenges for two democracies: In the next couple of months two of the largest democracies in the world — India and Indonesia — will have their national elections. At a time when democracy is under considerable pressure everywhere, the electoral and general democratic outcome in these two countries containing in total more than one and a half billion people (more than one and a half times the population in democratic West plus Japan and Australia) will be closely observed. Read the report here.
12:59 Yogi’s UP report card: No riots on my watch:
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday claimed that there has not been a single riot in last two years since the BJP government came to power in the state whereas Hindus were forced to migrate in the previous regime.
While presenting the report card of his government for the last two years, Adityanath said, “As many as 227 riots took place in 2012, 247 in 2013, 242 in 2014, 219 in 2015 and over 100 riots in 2016. But, in the last 24 months of BJP rule, not a single riot has taken place.” He alleged that the previous governments gave patronage to the anti-social elements who were indulged in riots.
“This is the same state where a series of riots have taken place. These riots were committed by anti-social elements under the patronage of state governments, and there were dozens of towns like Kairana and Kandhla where a large scale of Hindus and people belonging to the trading community had to leave,” said Yogi Adityanath.
“They were forced to leave their houses, selling them to these anti-social elements at throwaway prices. Thousands were killed and properties worth thousands of crores of rupees were destroyed,” he said.
“We have changed this perception in the last 24 months and now those who have migrated have returned to their places,” said Adityanath. — ANI
12:45 AAP alliance? Dikshit to meet Cong presidents :
Update on the Congress party’s alliance with the AAP in Delhi. The pull and push within the party for and against an alliance with Arvind Kejriwal means there is no decision on it as yet.
However, Delhi Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit has called for a meeting of three state working presidents Devender Yadav, Haroon Yusuf and Rajesh Lilothia, at her residence.
NCP Leader Sharad Pawar has also intervened in the ongoing war of words and possible alliance discussions in Delhi between the AAP and the Congress.
Multiple sources in all three parties have confirmed to ANI that Sharad Pawar has taken the mantle of mediator between both parties to stitch an alliance in Delhi to mount a unified campaign against the BJP.
This intervention of the NCP comes after the Delhi Congress unit’s divergent views on an AAP-Congress tie up came to a head when Delhi Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit went on-record to convey her disagreement with leaders within the Delhi Congress on joining hands with the AAP.
Media reports surfaced on Monday that Dikshit penned a letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi informing him that a tie up with the AAP would harm Congress’ prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Dikshit’s letter was in response to a recent ‘phone survey’ by AICC’s Delhi in Charge PC Chacko to guage the ‘mood’ of party workers in the capital and their opinion on a Congress-AAP tie up. PC Chacko had earlier said that, “As far as I know, there are senior leaders in Delhi who think that defeating BJP is party’s immediate responsibility. For that we should form an alliance with AAP, that’s the thinking of majority of leaders.”
11:56 What has BJP done in 5 years, asks Priyanka :
ON day 2 of her boat yatra, Congress General Secretary UP-East Priyanka Gandhi Vadra offered prayers at the Sita Samahit Sthal in Bhadohi. Speaking to the media, she counter-questioned the BJP narrative on the Congress doing nothing for the country for the last 70 years. “‘What did they do in 70 years?’ argument also has an expiry date. Now they (BJP) should tell what they have done in their five years when they are in power,” Priyanka said.
The Congress star campaigner kicked-off the three-day yatra yesterday by taking a boat from Sangam. They yatra will end at Arail ghat. The campaign which was launched from Prayagraj will end in Varanasi.
On completion of two years of the Yogi govt, Priyanka said, “‘Report card, promotions, all of it sounds good but there’s nothing on ground, I’m meeting people every day, all the people are in distress.”
The BJP yesterday took a swipe at Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘Ganga yatra’ and said the latter is “rowing a direction-less boat”.
11:40 Film ‘PM Narendra Modi’ to release on April 5:
The release of the Vivek Oberoi-starrer biographical drama on Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been brought ahead by a week and and the film will now open on April 5, the makers announced Tuesday.
“PM Narendra Modi” was earlier scheduled to hit the theatres on April 12. “We are bringing this film a week early on public demand. There is a lot of love and anticipation among the people and we don’t want them to wait longer. This is a story of 1.3 billion people and I can’t wait to show it to them,” film’s producer Sandip Singh said in a statement. Directed by Omung Kumar, the biopic will traverse the journey of Modi from his beginnings to his years as chief minister onto his landmark win at the 2014 general election and being nominated as prime minister.
Boman Irani, Manoj Joshi, Prashant Narayanan, Zarina Wahab, Barkha Sengupta, Anjan Shrivastav, Yatin Karyekar, Ramakant Dayma, Akshat R Saluja, Jimesh Patel and Darshan Kumaar are part of the cast. Veteran actor Suresh Oberoi, Vivek’s father, and Anand Pandit are co-producing the film along with Ssingh. The film will also release in Tamil and Telugu. — PTI
11:17 Pak violates ceasefire in Akhnoor, Sunderbani sectors along LoC: Pakistan fired mortar shells and small arms in the Akhnoor and Sunderbani sectors along the Line of Control late on Monday night, drawing a retaliation from the Indian Army. The ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the Akhnoor sector started at 22:45 hours yesterday and continued till early this morning, an Army official said. The firing by Pakistan was retaliated by the Indian Army, he said. Details awaited. — ANI
10:43 Priyanka’s boat yatra is for vote only: BJP : Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Dinesh Sharma equated Priyanka Gandhi’s “Ganga Yatra” with a picnic.
“There are some families, in the past, they were called ‘Rajgharana’ (royalty). They come in the election season to celebrate picnic and return only after 5 years. It is obvious, that this ‘boat yatra’ is for the vote only,” said Dinesh Sharma.
“The SP-BSP has said that they don’t need Congress because it has maligned intentions. So this ‘boat Yatra’ is ‘vote yatra’ with maligned intentions,” said Dinesh Sharma.
Congress star campaigner Priyanka, kicked-off three-day party campaign for the national polls yesterday. She took a boat from Sangam to Arail ghat. The campaign which was launched from Prayagraj will end in Varanasi.
Uttar Pradesh will go to polls during all seven phases of the election to be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting of votes will be done on May 23. — ANI
10:32 Doval at CRPF parade : National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attends the 80th CRPF Anniversary Parade in Gurugram as the chief guest.
10:14 Sensex, Nifty start on a positive note: The benchmark BSE Sensex rose over 73 points in early trade Tuesday, extending gains for the seventh session, driven by sustained foreign fund inflows. Besides, covering-up of short positions ahead of March series expiry in the derivatives segment scheduled for Wednesday as markets will remain closed on Thursday, also supported the rising trend, brokers said.
The 30-share index was trading 73.35 points, or 0.19 per cent, higher to 38,168.42. The gauge had gained over 1,420 points in the previous six sessions. Sectoral indices, led by oil and gas, healthcare, realty, PSU, consumer durables and IT gained up to 0.78 per cent. The NSE Nifty also advanced by 14.40 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 11,476.60.
Major gainers were Sun Pharma, ONGC, Bharti Airtel, SBI, ITC, Bajaj Finance, Reliance Industries, Infosys, Yes Bank, HDFC Bank, HCL Tech, HDFC, Coal India, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank and Asian Paints, rising up to 3.05 per cent. Bucking the trend, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, L&T, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank, PowerGrid, M&M, Vedanta and Tata Steel were down up to 2.42 per cent. — PTI
10:03 Parrikar tamed death and lived like a warrior king: “As editor of Panchjanya I was invited to speak on World Press Day in Goa by the state government, where Parrikar was the chief guest. I tried to dress properly — in a light bandhgala — and had a well prepared speech. This was about two decades ago.
So we waited for the chief minister to arrive. Suddenly, the state information secretary asked meto come to the dais as CM sahib was already there.I looked around — no one looked like a typical Indian political heavyweight — and was shocked to be introduced to a gentleman who was dressed in a casual shirt, pants and chappals!
I was visibly embarrassed and said meekly when the programme began, “I am sorry, I got ready for the event like a CM and Manoharji has arrived like a genuine journalist!” The audience laughed and Parrikar’s laughter was the loudest.
His friends — a few in Goa and in Mumbai — from RSS circles and also from out of it simply called him Manohar. He was as normal and a person in a crowd as anyone else. His best he gave to Goa and the defence ministry.”
Former BJP MP Tarun Vijay’s eulogy to close friend and four-time Goa chief minister and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar who passed away on Sunday.
09:33 UK Speaker rules out third vote on PM May’s Brexit deal:
Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May’s crisis over the Brexit in the United Kingdom Parliament has worsened as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow disallowed any attempt to hold a third vote on her withdrawal agreement with the European Union which has already been voted down by MPs twice.
Bercow ruled that he would not allow another vote on the government motion if it remained “substantially the same” after it was defeated by a huge 230-vote margin in January and a smaller 149-vote margin last week.
He said parliamentary conventions dating back to 1604 meant MPs could not be asked to vote on precisely the same subject twice, indicating that he had allowed the second vote as the government had claimed some changes to the controversial Irish backstop clause offered an improved deal for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“It is a necessary rule to ensure the sensible use of the House’s time and the proper respect for the decisions which it takes,” he said.
“If the government was to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same, nor substantially the same as disposed of by March 10, this would be entirely in order,” he said, adding that the new motion could not be “the same proposition or substantially the same proposition”.
The speaker, who is in-charge of selecting the motions and amendments that the Commons votes on, said the second meaningful vote motion on May’s Brexit deal held last week did not fall foul of parliamentary convention because it could be “credibly argued it was a different proposition” to that rejected on January 15 because of changes the government considered to be legally binding.
Bercow’s latest ruling comes as a fresh blow to May, who had been hoping she may get third-time lucky if she could win over enough rebellious MPs by warning that Brexit itself was in jeopardy unless she can go back to the EU with a substantial deal in place.
She is set to head to Brussels later this week for a European Council summit where EU leaders will contemplate agreeing to an extension of the March 29 Brexit Day deadline. — PTI
09:07 Alliance with AAP will harm Congress: Dikshit :
Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit has written to party president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi saying forging an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Delhi would harm the party in the long run, sources said on Monday.
Dikshit, along with three working presidents HaroonYusuf, DevenderYadav and, Rajesh Lilothia, also expressed discontent over Congress leader PC Chacko’s phone survey through Shakti app to determine views of party workers on the alliance, the sources added.
In the letter, Sheila urged Rahul to clear the air over a pre-poll alliance with AAP so that there is no confusion among the party cadres, the source mentioned.
Chacko had recently held a meeting with Delhi’s district heads on the issue of alliance where it was decided that Rahul would take a final call in the matter.
Last week, Dikshit, after meeting the Congress president, had declared that there was unanimity among party leaders with regards to an alliance with AAP in Delhi.
Following the announcement, AAP president and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said there are “rumours” that the Congress has a “secret understanding” with the BJP and asserted that his party is ready to fight the “unholy alliance.”
08:26 Trump slams media for blaming him for NZ attack:
United States President Donald Trump on Monday accused American media organisations of blaming him for last week’s twin terror attacks in New Zealand, calling it “ridiculous”.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand. They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!” Trump tweeted.
The US president’s comments came after some American media coverage had been focusing on the terrorist’s manifesto, which called Trump a “symbol of renewed white identity.”
The White House has rejected claims that Trump backed white nationalist views.
“The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Earlier, a social media account believed to be linked to Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian-born terrorist, expressing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views.
He wrote that he supported Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” but not as a “policymaker and leader.”
On March 16, Trump said that he did not see a rise in white nationalism across the world after the terrorist had called the US President “a symbol of renewed white identity.”
“I don’t really think so. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” The Hill quoted Trump as saying when asked if he saw a rise in white nationalism.
“If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet,” he added. — ANI
00:42 Dalai Lama says his successor may come from India:
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, said it was possible that once he dies his incarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years, and warned that any other successor named by China would not be respected.
Pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor on Tibetan Buddhists.
“China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important. They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me,” said the Dalai Lama, swathed in his traditional red robes and yellow scarf.
“In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas come, one from here, in free country, one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect (the one chosen by China). So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese! It’s possible, it can happen,” he added, laughing.
China has said its leaders have the right to approve the Dalai Lama’s successor, as a legacy inherited from China’s emperors.
But many Tibetans – whose tradition holds that the soul of a senior Buddhist monk is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death – suspect any Chinese role as a ploy to exert influence on the community.
00:25 One of 7 kidnapped Indians returns home from Afghanistan:
Ten months after being kidnapped in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, one of the seven Indians has returned to India, the external affairs ministry said.
It said India continued to work closely with the Afghan government for safe and early return of the remaining six Indian nationals.
The seven Indian engineers were kidnapped by Taliban terrorists in the restive northern Baghlan province on May 6 last year. India has been requesting the Afghan government to secure release of the Indians.
“One of the seven Indian nationals, who was kidnapped in Baghlan province of Afghanistan in May 2018, has safely returned to India,” the MEA said.
“We are grateful to the Government of Afghanistan for their support in securing the release and repatriation of the Indian national,” it said.
The Indian engineers were working on a project for the construction of a power sub-station and they were kidnapped by Taliban militants from the vicinity of Cheshma-e-Sher area.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had taken up the issue with the Afghan government on multiple occasions.
India has been carrying reconstruction activities in the war-torn country. It has already provided at least $2 billion aid to Afghanistan.
00:05 As mark of respect to Parrikar, Vrindavan widows not to play Holi :
Hundreds of widows on Monday decided not to celebrate Holi this time in order to mourn the sad demise of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Many women gathered at Gopinath temple to pay their last respects to the deceased chief minister.
Sulabh International Social Service Organisation had planned to organise Holi celebrations. “However, that will not happen now due to the chief minister’s death,” said Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the organisation.
“As a mark of respect for the departed soul, we have decided not to celebrate Holi today. All widows mourn the sad demise of our beloved leader and statesman,” he said.
Vrindavan’s Holi celebrations in recent years have become memorable occasions for the thousands of widows, who till recent past used to face humiliation.