17:17 Here’s what Rahul wants PM to promise in his address to nation tonight: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday put forth a charter of demands to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to lift the restrictions on cash withdrawals immediately and pay Rs 25,000 to every BPL (below poverty line) family.
Gandhi took to Twitter to highlight his demands ahead of Modi’s second television address to the nation tonight after his surprise November 8 announcement to withdraw Rs 1,000 and old Rs 500 currency notes.
The Congress vice president, a staunch critic of the government’s decision to demonetize the notes, listed out his eight demands to Modi as the 50 days the prime minister had sought to normalise the situation expired yesterday and there still seem to have some issues with the availability of notes.
He has dubbed the move the single most arbitrary decision in the history of the world affecting 1.3 billion people.
Besides asking Modi to ‘lift restrictions on withdrawal of money with immediate effect’, Gandhi demanded the prime minister to deposit Rs 25,000 in the account of one woman in each BPL family.
He advocated immediately abolishing charges on digital transactions and called for Income and Sales taxes rebate of 50 per cent to small-scale shopkeepers and businesses.
Gandhi demanded the prime minister to compensate all bank account holders with special interest rate at 18 per cent per annum for the time restrictions are in place.
He also urged doubling of number of guaranteed workdays and wage rate under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for a year and a special one-time bonus of 20 per cent over and above the Minimum Support Price of all rabi crops.
Another of his demands was that rate of ration under public distribution system be halved for a year under the provision of Food Security Act.
In one of his tweets, Gandhi said, ‘Destroyed in the last 50 days: trust in the Prime Minister’s word. Weekly cash withdrawal limits must go.’ — PTI
16:35 Trinamool cries ‘vendetta politics’ as CBI arrests MP Tapas Pal: Terming the Central Bureau of Investigation’s action against actor-turned-MP Tapas Pal for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley chit fund scam, as an act of ‘political vendetta’, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien promised a political fight against this ‘dirty trick’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“We are against demonetisation and so we are doing this. This is the dirty trick of the BJP but doesnt matter we will fight it. We have always fought it and we will fight it again,” he said.
“He did a contract with ‘Rose Valley’ like he does with film actors, sportspersons and the film industry. A BJP member also has an association with Rose Valley. So, when will he be arrested? This is pure political vendetta,” he added.
Pal, a senior Trinamool Congress leader has been arrested in Kolkata in what is being referred to as the ‘Rose Valley chit fund scam’, in which thousands of small investors were allegedly cheated.
Directly linking the arrest to her partys aggressive opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive, Chief Minister Banerjee said: Modi Babu, how many MPs and MLAs (lawmakers) do you want to arrest? They will stand in queue.
Pal, 58, was questioned for hours by the CBI before his arrest. His house was also raided.
He was a director in two companies of Rose Valley, a leisure and entertainment group, that has been accused of illegally accumulating Rs.17,000 crores in small savings through a Ponzi scheme. The group has been under investigation for almost two years.
15:34 Unity of SP will defeat BJP: Shivpal: Announcing the revocation of suspension of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from the party, Uttar Pradesh state chief Shivpal Singh Yadav on Saturday said the Samajwadi Party has always worked towards the development of Uttar Pradesh and it is this faith that will lead them to victory in the upcoming elections.
“The Samajwadi government has worked for the development of Uttar Pradesh and for all classes. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) and the Congress also ruled this state but they did not work, only made promises. We have always fulfilled our promises. The people of Uttar Pradesh are with us,” he added.
Shivpal further stated that with discipline and unity the party will form the government with majority in the politically crucial state.
While expressing happiness over the cancellation of suspension, Shivpal taunted the BJP saying the saffron party would be swept off in the upcoming state elections in a similar way as it suffered after the Babri Masjid demolition incident.
“After Babri masjid, BJP was swept off in the elections. Similarly, after demonetisation, BJP will see the same fate,” he added.
Targeting the Congress, Shivpal assured the thumping foot which their party enjoys in the state.
“The Congress ruled the entire nation for years. Nobody imagined that after emergency all the 50 seats will be lost by the Congress and won by Samajwadi Party,” he said.
Photograph: Sandeep Pal
PPA is left with only ten MLAs in the 60-member House.
14:04 Mulayam withdraws suspension of Akhilesh, Ram Gopal: JUST IN: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and party leader Ram Gopal Yadav are back in Samajwadi Party after a day of suspension.
“With Netaji’s (Mulayam Singh Yadav’s) order, the suspension of Akhilesh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav has been stopped immediately,” UP SP chief Shivpal Yadav said.
The decision was taken after Akhilesh, Shivpal and Mulayam met at the the SP chief’s residence.
13:13 JUST IN: Shivpal Yadav joins meeting with Mulayam, kindling a ray of hope for a last minute patch-up.PTI
13:11 New AIADMK chief Sasikala breaks down while addressing party workers: Sasikala Natarajan addresses party workers after taking charge as takes charge as general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
“Amma (Jayalalithaa) is not with us now but our party will rule here for the next 100 years,” she said.
Sasikala broke down while talking about Jayalalithaa as she said, “My life is Amma, she struggled for 75 days but God called his loved child to him.”
“Akka (Jayalalithaa) did you go to kotai (fort St george)? Akka did you eat? I always kept thinking about her,” she said in an emotional address.
“In those days Indira Gandhi was the only woman leader in politics but Amma broke the tradition and made history,” she said.
“For the rest of my life, I will live for my party and the crores of people. Amma’s dream will continue for Tamil Nadu. This government is people’s government. We will follow the path shown by our Amma,” she said.
13:04 Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa takes charge as the next Air Force chief. Former IAF chief Arup Raha stands next to him. Photograph: ANI
12:53 New Army, IAF chiefs take charge: Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat takes charge as the next Army Chief, while Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa as the new Air Force chief.
Earlier, the two new service chiefs and their predecessors inspected the guard of honour.
IMAGE: Army Chief General Dalbir Singh hands over the charge to Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Photograph: ANI
12:46 Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK chief; rides to party office in Jaya’s car: Sasikala Natarajan takes charge as the general secretary of the All Indian Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam at the party office in Chennai.
Supporters in large numbers gathered outside the office.
Before taking over, Sasikala paid tributes to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
She left for the party office in the same car which was used by Jayalalithaa. — ANI
12:25 Akhilesh reaches Mulayam’s residence with Azam Khan: JUST IN: Akhilesh Yadav reaches Mulayam Singh Yadavs residence. Azam Khan and Abu Azmi are accompanying him.
Akhilesh had earlier told in his meeting with party MLAs that he respects Mulayam Singh Yadav and that it is his (Mulayams) party and his hard work cant be overlooked.
Meanwhile, supporters of Akhilesh clashed with those of Mulayam/Shivpal Yadav outside the party office. —ANI
12:16 Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa inspects guard of honour, he will take over as the next Air Force chief shortly. Photograph: ANI
11:59 Lalu plays mediator in Mulayam, Akhilesh war; says feud will benefit BJP: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav has initiated a reconciliation move between Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“Lalu ji has spoken to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh, seeking a reconciliation to ensure unity of the party in Uttar Pradesh ahead of crucial assembly polls,” a senior leader close to the RJD chief said.
He said Lalu talked to Akhilesh on phone twice early on Saturday morning.
Lalu has reportedly told both Mulayam and Akhilesh that any split in the Samajwadi Party will help the Bharatiya Janata Party in the polls.
‘Aapsi phhot se BJP ko fayda hoga,’ Lalu reportedly told the father-son duo, according to the leader. — From M I Khan in Patna
11:46 Army delivered in 2.5 years what I promised, Gen Dalbir Singh on last day as COAS: General Dalbir Singh speaks on his last as Army Chief:
– I salute our martyrs who made supreme sacrifices in upholding honour of the nation.
– I express my gratitude to the prime minister and the government for their full support and giving free hand in conduct of operations.
– I also thank the government for granting One Rank One Pension to the armed forces.
– The day I took over, I had said that our response to any action will be more than adequate, immediate, intense. The Indian army delivered that in the last two-and-a-half years.
– I strongly believe that actions must speak louder than words.
– In 2012, we had killed 67 terrorists, 65 in 2013 and killed 141 terrorists alone in Jammu and Kashmir this year.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff inspected the guard of honour.
The government’s move to derecognise old, high-value currency notes has sizeable backing from slum dwellers in Mumbai, a survey by SP Jain Institute of Management and Research shows.
The survey, covering 214 families from 28 slum neighbourhoods in the K-West ward of Mumbai, provides a window into how lives in these settlements have been affected by the demonetisation move, which the government said will help curb the countrys black-money economy.
10:40 Priyanka Chopra to present at Golden Globes 2017:
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra is one of the presenters at the upcoming 74th annual Golden Globe Awards.
The 34-year-old actress has made a successful international debut with American show “Quantico” and also stars in the movie adaptation of “Baywatch” which releases next year.
Priyanka, who also presented at this year’s Oscar awards, confirmed the news by re-tweeting a post on the official Twitter account of the Golden Globe Awards, which read, “We’re also pleased to announce Timothy Olyphant, Justin Theroux, and @priyankachopra as presenters for the 74th Golden Globe Awards.”
The star will help announce the winners in movies and TV during the event on January 8 along with actresses Amy Schumer, Zoe Saldana and Brie Larson, who are also among presenters for the Golden Globes.
10:17 Pakistan shelling resumes in Poonch after a night long lull: After a night long lull, Pakistani troops re-started targeting forward Indian positions in Poonch sector on Saturday morning. Sources said that latest shelling from across the Line of Control came around 7.45 am and it was continuing in Degwar area where a civilian was killed in an hour long shelling on Friday evening. The Indian army troops were retaliating.
The fresh spate of ceasefire violation by Pakistan started a day after outgoing army chief General Dalbir Singh visited Kalal along the Line of Control in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district and reviewed the situation there.
09:47 Amar Singh extends support to ‘Netaji’ Mulayam Singh Yadav: Senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, who recently made a comeback to the party after a long period of exile, said Saturday that he supported Mulayam Singh Yadav in the ongoing family feud which has ended up in Akhilesh Yadav, UP chief minister, being sacked from the party.
Singh condemned the current circumstances and said it was inspired by politics. I give my full support to Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav), showing contempt towards is an attempt to destroy discipline in the party,” he said.
He further added that whoever was working against Mulayam Singh Yadav was acting in an unconstitutional and immoral way. Hope all party workers will stand in unison with netaji Mulayam Singh Yadav, he said.
09:31 Akhilesh Yadav received support from an unexpected corner. According to sources, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to the UP CM, wished him well and asked him to stay strong.
A Boeing 707 operated by a Polish charter airline made an emergency landing in Prague after a bomb threat by a passenger who was then detained by police, Czech officials said.
“A man who threatened to detonate a booby trap… is in the hands of the Czech police,” Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told the Czech public television.
“The man was Polish, just like most passengers,” he added but declined to say whether the police had actually found a bomb.
08:53 Crowd outside Mulayam Singh Yadav’s house: ‘Netaji hosh me aao, Shivpal murdabad’:
Shortly after Mulayam Singh Yadav announced the expulsion of Akhilesh Yadav from the party, supporters of the chief minister gathered outside the SP chiefs 5-Vikramaditya Marg residence and started shouting slogans. Gali gali me shor hai, Shivpal Yadav chor hai, Shivpal Yadav murdabad, Netaji hosh me aao, they chanted. They also demanded the expulsion of SP leader Amar Singh, who they blamed for the rift in the Yadav family, and burnt Shivpals posters.
Just yards away, outside Shivpals residence, a handful of his supporters shouted slogans in his favour. Some of them expressed hope that Shivpal would become CM. No one can question Netajis decision. People in the villages support SP. For them, Netaji is the only leader. They will vote for the bicycle (SPs poll symbol), said Jitendra Yadav, Varanasi district president of SPs youth wing.
08:29 January 1 meet may anoint Akhilesh Samajwadi Party president: He may have been unceremoniously turfed out, but Akhilesh Yadav is unlikely to go into exile quietly. Sources in the party said that SP members attending the emergency national convention called by Ram Gopal Yadav on Sunday were likely to elect Akhilesh the national party president — a post now held by Mulayam Singh Yadav — and insist that his faction represents the “real Samajwadi Party”.
“Why should Akhilesh Yadav form a new party? He is the party,” said an SP member on condition of anonymity. The meeting at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Law University, expected to draw a large number of MLAs, MPs and former legislators, is likely to give Akhilesh the mandate to lead the party. The model code of conduct will kick in as soon as the schedule is out, something which will reduce Akhilesh to just a figure head.
08:09 5 prisoners escape from Bihar’s Buxar jail: Five prisoners fled from the Buxar jail in Bihar. According to reports, of those who escaped, one had capital punishment, three were serving life terms and one was on trial.
Buxars central jail is infamous for alleged discrepancies and infighting between inmates. Days ago, several newspapers have reported that inmates here are bein provided with facilities they arent eligible for. In a raid, eight mobile phones were recovered from prisoners.
01:07 Threat of New Year attack in US low but ‘undeniable’: agencies:
Reuters reports: US defence and security agencies said they believed the threat of militant attacks inside the United States was low during this New Year’s holiday, yet some chance of an attack was “undeniable,” according to security assessments reviewed on Friday.
“There are no indications of specific threats to the US Homeland,” said a “situational awareness” bulletin issued to US Army personnel this week by the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
“However the threat from homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) in the United States is undeniable,” the bulletin added.
A separate bulletin, issued by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command and headlined, “New Year’s Day Celebration Threat Assessment,” rated the overall threat of attacks against US Army installations and personnel as “moderate.”
The command’s intelligence operations center received “no reporting of specific or credible threats targeting US Army installations or its personnel for the upcoming 2017 New Year’s celebration,” said the bulletin.
01:04 Israel warns tourists of New Year terror attack in India:
Israel has issued an “immediate and severe” travel warning for Western tourists in India, citing an immediate threat of attack on tourist targets during New Year celebrations, particularly in south-west part of the country.
“We are warning Israeli tourists in India of the possibility of imminent terrorist attacks against western targets and tourists, particularly in the southwest of that country,” Israel’s anti-terrorism directorate said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s office.
“A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the New Year where a concentration of tourists
will be high,” the warning said.
The south-west part of the country — which covers popular holiday destinations like Goa, Pune, Mumbai and Cochin — are particularly at risk, it said.
The statement further recommended that tourists avoid participation in beach and New Year parties at popular tourist spots.