GANDHINAGAR: Flagging off the Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra showcasing the achievements of the government over the past 20 years, chief minister Bhupendra Patel said on Tuesday that development and trust have become synonyms in governance of the state over the past two decades. For a fortnight between July 5 and 19, 82 decorated trucks will pass through eight big cities and all 33 districts where about 2,500 events will be organized. The government will educate people about the welfare schemes that can be availed of, a CMO statement said. At the inaugural function at Sabarmati riverfront, CM Patel said that BJP governments over the past 20 years have delivered on the promises they have made to the people. “Vikas (development) and Vishwas (trust) have become synonyms in Gujarat. BJP governments have consistently pursued development in the state and the people have repeatedly shown their trust by voting BJP to power,” the CM stated. Ministers will visit different districts over the next fortnight and about 2,500 development works will either be inaugurated, or their foundation stones laid, the CM said at the meeting. The CM listed various successful projects implemented in the state over the past 20 years.
The 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra was concluded in old city Ahmedabad amid huge fanfare and heavy police security Friday as Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel flagged off the procession only three days after he tested positive for Covid-19.The annual yatra was held after a gap of two years after the procession was curtailed for the past two years due to the pandemic.On Friday, the ceremony began around 4 am when Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived at the temple premises to conduct the “Mangla Aarti”. Shah left shortly after.Later, CM Patel flagged off the procession. Uncertainty had prevailed over the CM’s presence in the yatra until Thursday after he contracted Covid. However, late Thursday, the Lord Jagannath Temple management was informed that the CM will attend the event as per “doctors’ advice”. On Friday morning, CM Patel was seen wearing a mask and performing the traditional “pahind” ceremony at the Lord Jagannath Temple premises.“On the occasion of the 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, I pray for the well being, peace and prosperity of the people of Gujarat. I also congratulate the people of Kutch on Kutchi New Year,” said Patel, while addressing reporters outside the temple.Governor Acharya Devvrat, state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi, Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court Aravind Kumar and former state home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja were also present at the event.A total of 18 elephants and 101 tableau depicting various Akhadas and Bhajan Mandalis and over 2,000 sadhu saints, along with several hundred thousands of devotees were part of the procession that travelled via sensitive pockets of old city Ahmedabad from 7 am to 6 pm.Security was beefed up with over 25,000 police and security personnel in the Jamalpur area of old city Ahmedabad as a high alert was sounded in the wake of the Udaipur terror killing.The procession was surveilled through drone cameras and a helicopter. For the first time, the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad was roped in for security measures.Meanwhile, as many as 20 persons, including three children, received minor injuries when the slab of a one-room pucca cabin on which they were standing, collapsed, on the route of the rath yatra.According to police, the incident occurred around 1 pm when the roof of a cabin built alongsidethe road collapsed in Shahpur while the yatra procession was going on.Incidentally, state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi and Ahmedabad city police commissioner Sanjay Srivastava were present at the spot when the incident occurred and they rushed for help.“As many as 20 people received minor injuries when the roof collapsed on which they were standing. The home minister and police commissioner responded to the accident and helped rescuers and took stock of the situation. The victims received minor bruises,” said a senior police official at Gaekwad Haveli Police Station.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, whose presence in the 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra to be taken out Friday morning in old city Ahmedabad was under clouds due to him testing Covid-19 positive, will attend the event under doctors’ advice. “We have got confirmation from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that the CM will attend the Yatra and do the Pahind Vidhi,” said Jagannath Temple Trustee Mahendra Jha.As per Jha, since Patel’s presence was in doubt, they had also invited Governor Acharya Devvrat to perform the Pahind vidhi ritual, traditionally performed by the CM where the leader of the state sweeps the path of the chariot of the gods before the procession begins.On Friday, the yatra will be flagged off after the mangala aarti to be conducted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the temple premises.Amid heightened tension in the backdrop of the recent terror killing in Udaipur, the Gujarat Police has been on high alert to prevent any untoward incident during the Yatra.Several lakhs of devotees are expected to attend the 145th Rath Yatra procession, which will be taken out from Lord Jagannath Temple at Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur and then back to the temple, in a full-fledged manner after two years of restricted procession due to the Covid-19pandemic.Other cities of Gujarat such as Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Mehsana, Banaskantha, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Sabarkantha and Gandhinagar, among others, will also see several rath yatra processions marking “Ashadhi Beej” diwas of the Hindu calendar, which also marks the Kutchhi new year.In a first, the state police has also roped in the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) for the security arrangements for the yatra for which over 25,000 police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed along the nine-kilometre route.The yearly Rath Yatra processions in Ahmedabad have had a history of communal violence during the four decades between 1960s and 90s.Ahmedabad Rath Yatra: With ‘docs’ advice’, CM to flag off Yatra; police on high alerthttps://t.co/yC3Kfivz4h pic.twitter.com/1qSqvN8joj— Express Gujarat (@ExpressGujarat) July 1, 2022On Wednesday, a high-level meet was chaired by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi and senior police officials to discuss the security arrangements ahead of the procession in Ahmedabad and other cities of Gujarat.“Police commissioners of all four cities and superintendents of police of all districts were present in the meeting where the CM gave directions to ensure law and order and facilitate water and other necessary arrangements for the devotees expected to join the procession. In the wake of a recent incident in the neighbouring state (Rajasthan), the CM has asked police to be on high alert for maintaining law and order in the state,” read a statement issued from the Information Department, Gandhinagar.According to police sources, Sanghavi has asked the police to keep a strict watch on social media for any instigation or attempt to disrupt law and order related to Yatra and the Udaipur incident. After the meeting, the police of at least 15 districts issued advisories Thursday asking citizens to refrain from commenting on anything instigating or rumour-mongering on social media.“In the past two days, we have conducted over 350 peace committee meetings in localities of old city Ahmedabad to ensure harmony between communities. We are anyway on high alert and we have been preparing for the yatra for the past three months. The recent Udaipur incident will have no effect on the yatra,” RV Asari, additional commissioner of police, sector 1, Ahmedabad, told The Indian Express.Amit Vasava, the deputy commissioner of police, Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell, said, “We are being vigilant on social media but no adverse impact of the Udaipur incident has been witnessed yet.”Meanwhile, the temple trust management informed The Indian Express that a total of 18 elephants, 101 trucks with different tableaus depicting India’s culture, 30 Akhada Dal groups and 18 Bhajan Mandalis will be part of the procession. A total of 1,200 persons will be pulling the three different chariots in the procession.“We have been requested by the Ahmedabad Police to accompany the procession of elephants. We will have teams of vets from the animal husbandry department and experts from Indroda zoo in Gandhinagar and the Junagadh forest department. The elephants are well-trained and acquainted to walk in public places. If in case any elephant is to be controlled, it can be done by another elephant,” RK Sahu, director of Kankaria Zoo, told The Indian Express.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, whose presence in the 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra to be taken out Friday morning in old city Ahmedabad was under clouds due to him testing Covid-19 positive, will attend the event under doctors’ advice. “We have got confirmation from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that the CM will attend the Yatra and dothe Pahind Vidhi,” said Jagannath Temple Trustee Mahendra Jha.As per Jha, as the CM’s presence was in doubt, they had also invited Governor Acharya Devvrat to perform the Pahind vidhi ritual, traditionally performed by the CM where the leader of the state sweeps the path of the chariot of the gods before the procession begins.On Friday, the yatra will be flagged off after the mangala aarti to be conducted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the temple premises. Amid heightened tension in the backdrop of the recent terror killing in Udaipur, the Gujarat Police has been on high alert to prevent any untoward incident during the Yatra.Several lakhs of devotees are expected to attend the 145th Rath Yatra procession, which will be taken out from Lord Jagannath Temple at Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur and then back to the temple, in a full-fledged manner after two years of restricted procession due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Other cities of Gujarat such as Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Mehsana, Banaskantha, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Sabarkantha and Gandhinagar, among others, will also see several rath yatra processions marking “Ashadhi Beej” diwas of the Hindu calendar, which also marks the Kutchhi new year.In a first, the state police has also roped in the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) for the security arrangements for the yatra for which over 25,000 police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed along the nine-kilometre route.The yearly Rath Yatra processions in Ahmedabad have had a history of communal violence during the four decades between 1960s and 90s.On Wednesday, a high-level meet was chaired by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi and senior police officials to discuss the security arrangements ahead of the procession in Ahmedabad and other cities of Gujarat.“Police commissioners of all four cities and superintendents of police of all districts were present in the meeting where the CM gave directions to ensure law and order and facilitate water and other necessary arrangements for the devotees expected to join the procession. In the wake of a recent incident in the neighbouring state (Rajasthan), the CM has asked police to be on high alert for maintaining law and order in the state,” read a statement issued from the Information Department, Gandhinagar.According to police sources, Sanghavi has asked the police to keep a strict watch on social media for any instigation or attempt to disrupt law and order related to Yatra and the Udaipur incident. After the meeting, the police of at least 15 districts issued advisories Thursday asking citizens to refrain from commenting on anything instigating or rumour-mongering on social media.“In the past two days, we have conducted over 350 peace committee meetings in localities of old city Ahmedabad to ensure harmony between communities. We are anyway on high alert and we have been preparing for the yatra for the past three months. The recent Udaipur incident will have no effect on the yatra,” RV Asari, additional commissioner of police, sector 1, Ahmedabad, told The Indian Express.Amit Vasava, the deputy commissioner of police, Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell, said, “We are being vigilant on social media but no adverse impact of the Udaipur incident has been witnessed yet.”Meanwhile, the temple trust management informed The Indian Express that a total of 18 elephants, 101 trucks with different tableaus depicting India’s culture, 30 Akhada Dal groups and 18 Bhajan Mandalis will be part of the procession. A total of 1,200 persons will be pulling the three different chariots in the procession.“We have been requested by the Ahmedabad Police to accompany the procession of elephants. We will have teams of vets from the animal husbandry department and experts from Indroda zoo in Gandhinagar and the Junagadh forest department. The elephants are well-trained and acquainted to walk in public places. If in case any elephant is to be controlled, it can be done by another elephant,” RK Sahu, director of Kankaria Zoo, told The Indian Express.
Gujarat has progressed from ‘tanker raj’ to Nal Se Jal and undergone transformation in other sectors, thanks to the ‘revolutionary’ decision taken by Narendra Modi, Gujarat Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel said as he flagged off a Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra Rath (chariot) from Rajkot Tuesday.Addressing a public meeting on the yard of the Rajkot agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) in Bedi village on the outskirts of the city before flagging off the rath, Patel narrated the development march of Gujarat after Modi took over as the chief minister in 2001. “Thanks to the revolutionary decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat has scaled new peaks of achievements. There was a time when there was tanker raj (water was supplied through tankers) but today, thanks to the Nal se Jal scheme, water is reaching households through pipes,” an official release quoted Patel as saying.The Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra campaign was launched by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel from Ahmedabad as simultaneous events were organised in other districts of the state. As a part of the campaign, raths or modified trucks mounted with LED screens will go to towns and villages of the state and showcase progress made by the state under the BJP reign beginning from 2001.Various BJP leaders and ministers will welcome these raths at various places until the two-week-long campaign ends on July 19. The Rath will go to clusters of villages decided as per the 36 seats of Rajkot district panchayat.Patel claimed that Gujarat has witnessed transformation in other sectors also. “Thanks to tremendous decision-making power of Modi, today, Narmada water has reached Saurashtra and Kutch through SAUNI Yojana. Earlier, there used to be only a handful of check-dams. But today, there are more than one lakh check-dams. By winning the confidence of people, there has been a comprehensive development in fields like education, industry, health, women empowerment etc,” the minister was further quoted in the release.The minister also laid the foundation stone for development projects worth around Rs 2.80 crore and dedicated projects worth Rs 7 crore to the public.
The Gujarat government Tuesday launched the Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra to showcase the development works done by the state government in the past two decades under the leadership of Narendra Modi first as the Chief Minister of the state and then as the Prime Minister. “The development of 20 years and the trust of 20 years have become synonymous with each other and Gujarat is moving forward as the growth engine of the country,” CM Patel said addressing a public gathering from Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad before flagging off the yatra Tuesday. Similar functions were also held in all the districts of the state under the leadership of various ministers. The CM said Gandhi and Sardar had got us Swaraaj whereas Narendrabhai (Modi) and Amitbhai (Shah) got us Suraaj. “Narendrabhai has given us a mantra of (also) inaugurating those public works, foundation stones of which we are laying,” he said.He compared various parameters in various sectors like education, power, health, roads, tribal development, water, women and child development, tourism, industrial production, law and order, etc, between 2002 and 2022 to highlight the development done in the past 20 years.“(People) Trusted us and we did development (works) and because we did it, people kept trusting us. And we are witnessing its result… We are going to start this Vande Gujarat Yatra to give account of the trust people put in us,” the CM added.Under the initiative, the state government has prepared 82 Vande Gujarat Vikas Rath (chariots) that will travel through all the villages and cities of the state. The chariots are equipped with LED screens that will showcase the development Gujarat has witnessed in the last 20 years in the form of mini films.In all, 2,500 public programmes will be held across the state under the initiative in which local authorities will dedicate, declare or lay foundation stones of more than 25,000 public works. Camps distributing benefits of various government schemes will also be organised at various places along with cultural events. Events such as essay competitions among school children, cleanliness campaigns at public places, health check-up camps, yoga shibir and tree plantation drives will also be held in cities and villages.
Social media giant Twitter has moved the Karnataka High Court, challenging the Central government orders to take down content under the new IT laws, saying it is an abuse of power by officials. According to reports, the microblogging site has termed the orders “overbroad and arbitrary”. The government had previously said that big social media firms, including Twitter, have not complied with removal requests, despite their legal standing. Late last month, Twitter was warned by the IT ministry of criminal proceedings if it did not comply with some orders.The outer windshield of a SpiceJet aircraft, flying from Kandla in Gujarat, cracked mid-air today after which the plane made a priority landing in Mumbai. The Kandla-Mumbai flight was at 23,000 feet altitude when the windshield’s outer pane cracked. This is the second incident in the day involving a SpiceJet aircraft. Earlier in the day, a SpiceJet aircraft on its way to Dubai from Delhi landed in Karachi as it developed a technical glitch. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is now investigating the two incidents, along with the previous five incidents.Underlining that the observations of the Supreme Court on suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma violate judicial propriety and fairness, a group of former judges and bureaucrats wrote an open letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India. “The observations, simultaneously relayed by all channels in high decibel, are not in sync with judicial ethos and by no stretch these observations, which are not part of the judicial order, can be sanctified on the plank of judicial propriety and fairness,” the letter stated. The signatories include former chief justice of the Bombay High Court Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court judge S M Soni, former Rajasthan High Court judges R S Rathore and Prashant Agarwal, former Delhi High Court judge S N Dhingra, 77 bureaucrats, and 25 army veterans.POLITICAL PULSEFrom the Urdu Press this week: The flux of news over the past week was breathtaking. In Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government collapsed and rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the new Chief Minister with the BJP’s ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy. The ghastly killing of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur, filmed and flaunted online by his killers, convulsed the country. Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested by Delhi Police for a 2018 tweet. And the Supreme Court, while rejecting Nupur Sharma’s plea to club FIRs over her controversial remarks, came down heavily on her. The coverage of these developments and more, along with analysis and commentary, dominated the news and opinion pages of the Urdu dailies.On Sunday, as office-bearers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took oath in Ahmedabad, national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched an attack on the Congress, calling it “a party only on paper”. The statement indicated that AAP, which had contested 29 seats in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, has identified the Congress as its main opponent. And that as the first step in a state ruled by the BJP now for 27 years, is seeking to replace the Congress as the main Opposition. BJP too seems to be recalibrating its political messaging, ahead of the approaching elections. Its attacks are now increasingly directed at the Congress in a bid to downplay the challenge from AAP – a party that has been causing the BJP some heartburn in several parts of the country. Vaibhav Jha reports.Express ExplainedSingapore-headquartered cryptocurrency lending and trading platform Vauld suspended withdrawals, trading and deposits Monday because of volatile market conditions and financial difficulties, the company announced in a blog post. With this, Vauld joins major crypto broker Voyager Digital and crypto lender Celsius Network LLC to suspend trading and withdrawals. Why are cryptocurrencies witnessing such a sharp decline, why are crypto platforms suspending withdrawals, and what are its implications? We explain.India and Australia have decided to strengthen their partnership in the field of projects and supply chains for critical minerals. As part of his six-day tour of Australia, Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi met his counterpart, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King, after which Australia confirmed that it would “commit A$5.8 million to the three-year India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership”. As countries around the world scale up their transition towards clean energy and digital economy, critical resources are key to the ecosystem that fuels this change. So what are these critical minerals? Read here.Preparing for Civil Services and other competitive examinations. Read The Indian Express’ UPSC Key and UPSC Essentials to stay informed.
On a tough day for SpiceJet, two of its aircraft were forced to make priority landings after they developed technical glitches on Tuesday. Including the two new ones, as many as seven such incidents have happened on SpiceJet flights in the last 17 days.Here is the list of all technical glitches reported on SpiceJet aircraft in the last 17 days:June 19* A Delhi-bound Boeing 737-800 operated by the Gurugram-based low-cost airline made an emergency landing in Patna, minutes after take-off from there, after one of its engines suffered a bird hit. The aircraft was carrying 185 passengers and six crew members.* A Bombardier Q400 Dash 8, developed a cabin pressurisation issue after departure from Delhi. As the aircraft climbed out of Delhi, the pilots noted that the cabin pressure did not build up in line with the altitude gain. Following this, the crew decided to return and the aircraft landed safely back in Delhi.June 24* The fuselage warning light on a SpiceJet Q400 aircraft (Guwahati-Kolkata) lit up when it was on ‘rotation’, forcing them to abandon their journeys and return. The pilots of the flight found that the warning was coming from the baggage door at the rear end of the plane, the officials said.June 25* A similar incident took place on SpiceJet’s Patna-Guwahati flight on June 25. A SpiceJet Q400 aircraft was forced to ditch its take-off roll at the Patna airport after the aircraft’s fuselage door warning light lit up. Here too, it was found that the warning had come from the baggage door at the rear end of the aircraft.July 2* A Jabalpur-bound flight operated by the low-cost carrier on a Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 plane made an emergency landing in Delhi after the smoke alarm was triggered. The aircraft took off from Delhi early Saturday, and while climbing past 5,000 feet, the crew noticed smoke in the cabin along with the lavatory smoke alarm sound going off, a top official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.July 5* A SpiceJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft on its way to Dubai from Delhi with 150 people on board landed in Karachi, Pakistan on Tuesday after it developed a technical glitch. Pilots of the Dubai-bound flight noticed unusual fuel reduction in one of the plane’s fuel tanks, following which they decided to divert the plane to the closest airport, officials said. The flight was cruising at 36,000 feet in the Pakistan airspace when the glitch was observed, a source said.* The outer windshield of a SpiceJet aircraft, flying from Kandla in Gujarat, cracked mid-air today after which the plane made a priority landing in Mumbai. Officials said the Kandla-Mumbai flight of SpiceJet was at 23,000 feet altitude when the windshield’s outer pane cracked.The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is investigating all seven incidents.Meanwhile, shares of the budget carrier fell over two per cent on Tuesday following reports that the SpiceJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft had to land in Karachi. The SpiceJet stock fell 2.33 per cent to end at Rs 37.65 apiece on the BSE while on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), it declined 2.20 per cent to settle at Rs 37.70 per share.
The outer windshield of a SpiceJet aircraft, flying from Kandla in Gujarat, cracked mid-air today after which the plane made a priority landing in Mumbai.Officials said the Kandla-Mumbai flight of SpiceJet was at 23,000 feet altitude when the windshield’s outer pane cracked.This is the second incident in the day involving a SpiceJet aircraft. Earlier in the day, a SpiceJet aircraft on its way to Dubai from Delhi landed in Karachi as it developed a technical glitch.On 5th July, 2022, SpiceJet Q400 aircraft was operating SG 3324 (Kandla – Mumbai). During cruise at FL230, P2 side windshield outer pane cracked. Pressurization was observed to be normal. The aircraft landed safely in Mumbai: SpiceJet Spokesperson pic.twitter.com/DYypQXmTyk— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2022A statement issued by a SpiceJet spokesperson read: “On July 5, 2022, SpiceJet Q400 aircraft was operating SG 3324 (Kandla – Mumbai). During cruise at FL230, its P2 side windshield outer pane cracked. Pressurisation was observed to be normal. The aircraft landed safely in Mumbai.”The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating the two incidents which took place on Tuesday, along with the previous five incidents, the officials noted.(With inputs from PTI)
This is the 7th safety-related concern in SpiceJet in less than 3 weeks, say sources (Representational)New Delhi: A SpiceJet aircraft, flying from Kandla in Gujarat, made a priority landing in Mumbai after its outer windshield developed a crack mid-air, said the airline. This is the second incident in the day involving a SpiceJet plane.Officials said the Kandla-Mumbai flight of SpiceJet was at 23,000 feet altitude when the windshield's outer pane cracked.All passenger and crew members are safe, the airline said in a statement."During cruise at FL230, P2 side windshield outerpane cracked. Associated non normal checklist actions were carried out. Pressurization was observed to be normal. Priority landing was carried out and aircraft landed safely at BOM (Bombay)," the airline said in a statement.Aviation sources have told NDTV that this is the seventh safety-related concern in SpiceJet in less than three weeks. The other incidents, all of which have been brought to the attention of the regulator, including two door warnings, a bird hit, oil leakage from an engine, a pressurisation problem in addition to today's malfunction.The aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conducted a fleet-wide safety audit of SpiceJet aircraft just last month and continues to carry out inspections on a case-by-case basis.Earlier today, a SpiceJet plane flying from Delhi to Dubai had to be diverted to Karachi due to a malfunctioning indicator light.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comJust two days ago, the pilot of a SpiceJet Q400 airliner flying from Delhi to Jabalpur made a 'May Day' distress call and returned to Delhi after smoke was detected in the cabin.On June 19, a Delhi-bound SpiceJet aircraft, with 185 passengers on board, made an emergency landing in Patna right after take-off as its left engine caught fire following a bird hit.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have assured him full support for the development and growth of the state.Addressing hundreds of Shiv Sainiks on Monday night during his first visit to his hometown Thane after taking over as the CM, Shinde said the risk that he took (referring to political developments over the last fortnight) has been appreciated by people, despite criticism from certain quarters.“I am going to undertake a tour of the entire state and allot projects in every constituency. There will be a total transformation of the state. I do not exaggerate much, I do work and then speak,” he said.He said Prime Minister Modi has told him to work for the development and growth of the state.“He (the PM) told me that he and the central government would support me. Even Union Home Minister Amit Shah has expressed his full support. They said I am good work for Hindutva,” Shinde said.Referring to the political developments of the last fortnight when he along with some Sena MLAs left for Surat, later stayed in Guwahati and then in Goa before returning to Mumbai, Shinde said 50 legislators had faith and confidence in him.“We had stood up against injustice and not revolted. (Shiv Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray had asked us to rise against injustice, this was his teaching and also of (Shinde’s mentor) Anand Dighe,” he said, adding that it was due to the blessings of the two leaders and good wishes of citizens that he became the CM.“We were out for 15 days, and as much as you wanted to meet me, I was also eager to meet my Shiv Sainiks and activists. Even now I don’t feel like I am the CM. I am one among you. Henceforth also, I will be a ‘karyakarta’ among you all,” he said.Shinde said no matter how big his stature may grow, the Shiv Sainik in him will always remain.The CM also said he has given a commitment to the 50 MLAs who supported him that none of them will face defeat in the next elections.“If I give a commitment once, I never listen to even myself till it is fulfilled,” he said.Referring to some strong critical remarks made by Sena leaders after he had left Mumbai with some MLAs, Shinde said “Kamakhyadevi (the deity of a famous temple in Guwahati) gave her blessings to us.” “Truth always wins. We will make the best use of the golden opportunity we have got now to lead the state,” he said.“We have to make our mission successful and honour Hindutva, which also means respect every religion,” he said.Shinde said every caste, creed, and region will get due respect and everyone, including farmers and the poor people, will get justice in his government.In his speech in the Assembly after the floor test, he said, “Everything was spontaneous, whatever I spoke was an expression of my feelings. I could not believe that I could deliver such a speech.” “I have contributed to the Shiv Sena all my life at the cost of my family,” Shinde said while lauding his supporters who gathered in a large number during his address braving the heavy rain.The CM also visited the BJP office here and was greeted by BJP city president and MLC Niranjan Davkhare.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to make an entry in Madhya Pradesh in the coming local body elections and has fielded candidates in 14 of the 16 municipal corporations. It has promised the electorate free electricity and water, and corruption-free municipal corporations committed to resolving civic issues.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a road show in support of the party’s Singrauli mayoral candidate Rani Agarwal on Saturday. In his address, the AAP convener said, “We will solve all the issues of the municipality, including roads, electricity, water, and employment with the support of the people of Singrauli. Both the BJP and the Congress are peas of the same pod. They both only care about amassing wealth when in power. The AAP doesn’t believe in gobbling up funds, we put money in the common man’s pockets.”दिल्ली के मुख्यमंत्री माननीय @ArvindKejriwal जी से मुलाकात हुई। मध्यप्रदेश के निकाय चुनाव के विषय पर सकारात्मक चर्चा हुई। केंद्रीय नेतृत्व के सहयोग से हम निश्चित ही निकाय चुनाव में सकारात्मक परिणाम लाएंगे।@AamAadmiParty @AapKaGopalRai @Mukeshgoelaap @AAPMPOfficial pic.twitter.com/xQWKHk0BO6— Rani Agrawal (@AAPRaniAgrawal) May 25, 2022Referring to his government’s welfare schemes in Delhi, Kejriwal promised to replicate it in Madhya Pradesh by giving free electricity, free education, and free water, and developing the education system,“We will change Singrauli in the next five years if voted to power,” he told the voters. “If I cannot walk the talk, I won’t show my face in the next election seeking votes.”In the coming days, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, and Delhi MLA Atishi Singh are scheduled to visit Madhya Pradesh to campaign for the party’s candidates.The AAP made its debut in Madhya Pradesh in 2013 but failed to make any impact in the state’s politics. Now, looking to expand its footprint nationally — after Punjab and Goa, the party is eyeing states such as Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Assam — it has decided to enter the poll fray in Madhya Pradesh.AAP state president Pankaj Singh told The Indian Express that the party started off with two membership drives — Mission “Buniyad”, followed by Mission “Vistar” — to consolidate its presence in the state and has more than 2.5 lakh workers across the state. At present, the party claims to be in a good position in Singrauli. Its mayoral candidate Rani Agarwal grabbed attention in the 2018 Assembly polls by finishing third on the party ticket with a 21.59 per cent vote share. She was marginally behind the BJP’s Ram Lallu Vaishy who won the seat with 24.63 per cent votes while the Congress’s Renu Sahu finished second with 22.13 per cent votes.Poll promisesOn June 26, the AAP released its poll manifesto called the “Seva Vachan Patra”. Congress youth leader Akash Hunka joined the party on the occasion. “We extend a warm welcome to Hunka and his colleagues into the party. There are many leaders both from the BJP and the Congress who are keen to join the AAP as they feel frustrated in their respective parties with little scope to work for people’s welfare. If their ideology is compatible with ours, they’re most welcome,” said Pankaj Singh.The AAP state chief explained that in every ward won by the party it would ensure free water, a library, and a mohalla (neighbourhood) clinic. Singh said 22,000 education institutions were shut down in 2018 and at least 42,000 schools did not have drinking water facilities as either handpumps or taps were not functioning. He alleged that only the schools run by BJP leaders and workers were thriving in the state. The AAP leader also announced that cleaning workers on contract would be made permanent municipal employees if the AAP got elected.The local body polls are being held in the backdrop of a heated debate between the Congress and BJP over reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Along with the AAP, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are in the fray for seven mayoral seats, a handful of councillor posts, and one panchayat.
Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat had the task of leading the Congress into the Assembly elections this year. He lost from the Lalkuan constituency while the party’s tally slumped to 19 seats. In a wide-ranging interview, Rawat talks to The Indian Express about his party’s heavy loss, his future and that of the party, and the BJP government’s performance.Excerpts:The Pushkar Singh Dhami administration has completed 100 days and is making several claims about the work it has done. How do you rate the government’s performance?I feel that 100 days are not enough to judge a chief minister’s performance. We need at least one year and only in that much time, we can understand the direction a government is working in and what its intention is. News items have appeared that there has been corruption in giving jobs. The government itself has accepted that there is some corruption in recruitment in cooperative banks. The law-and-order situation is deteriorating. In the last 100 days, at least 10,000 youths have joined the list of the unemployed. Over 200 persons died during the Chardham Yatra. Where are the medical services? Roads are in the worst condition. There are frequent power cuts.You have been protesting against the Agnipath scheme. What is your take on it?It is a fraud against more than 50,000 youngsters who completed their medical and physical tests and were waiting for their appointment. Now you are saying that recruitment will take place afresh through the new scheme. In states like Uttarakhand and Haryana, being in the Army is a matter of great pride.When a 21-year-old will retire, what will he do? Where are the posts? In Uttarakhand, around 18,000 persons have lost their jobs since the BJP government came to power. Their chief minister is saying that they will give reservation to Agniveers in jobs. How will you give reservation beyond 50 per cent? There is no state where the reservation isn’t already close to 48-50 per cent.You have praised CM Dhami on several occasions.Yes. In fact, I am again going to appreciate him for promoting honey and bay leaf in Champawat. I have also praised him for making significant demands (seeking an extension of the GST compensation and on share on the Tehri dam) in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But there should be results too.It is good that he is trying to amend the mistake he made during the division of assets with Uttar Pradesh and said 25 per cent share of Uttar Pradesh should be given to us. I appreciate this. The demand for an extension of the GST compensation is also appreciable, and I am saying that it needs to be increased for 10 years. If the CM is making the right noise, I will stand by him. However, if his voice is not heard, I will say that the ‘double engine’ they keep talking about is a non-starter.The Supreme Court has commented on the Nupur Sharma controversy.I appreciate the Supreme Court comment and thank it. The decision has also shown a mirror to the Central government and the BJP.After your loss, we heard you saying that the Muslim University controversy was the main reason behind your defeat.First, there were some faults in decisions related to me, especially on if I should contest the elections or not. If you are saying that I need to contest, you should have let me fight from the seat I wanted. When it was mandatory that I contest, my seat should have been decided when candidates for the first 50 seats were announced. I chose a constituency from the remaining 20 seats. When I chose that seat (Ramnagar), it was changed just two days later and I was asked to go to Lalkuan. When I reached Lalkuan, the candidate there did not like it. All this damaged the party’s prospects. However, I do not blame any one person for this.Even after this, we were in a close fight. To tackle that, the Muslim University controversy was created. The entire propaganda machinery of the BJP was activated. The PM, dozens of central ministers, and several BJP CMs, all started attacking me. They started saying things like they are giving free ration, and the Congress is giving Muslim University. I even challenged BJP to show me the news article in which I announced building a Muslim University. BJP forged a paper in their social media room and spread that. The party (Congress) though we do not need to address the Muslim University allegation. This made people suspect that maybe the BJP is telling the truth.Do you think not declaring you the CM candidate was a mistake?I will not say that, but I believed that to strategically answer the BJP we needed to say that we are fighting under this person. They (BJP) always make the elections about (Narendra) Modi. Like if the Muslim University lie wasn’t propagated by Modi, it would not have worked. The lie was coined up by him, and the rest were just spreaders. People were watching Modi and felt that he is saying so maybe Harish Rawat is doing something wrong.A person (Congress leader Aqeel Ahmad) gave the memorandum (demanding a Muslim University) and someone took it. It was later leaked to the media. Harish Rawat was nowhere involved. This person (Ahmad) was here promoted to party state vice-president and also sent to campaign for my daughter (Anupama Rawat) in Haridwar Rural. All this was under a planned conspiracy to establish that the said person is close to me …The BJP planned this conspiracy against you, or did your own party do this?I do not know that, but I have decided that I will go to court against this. I have given several chances to the BJP to prove their claim. I will now ask for justice and protection.Do you agree that the Congress is going through a bad phase both at the state and nationally? Do you have a revival plan?Recently, we met in Udaipur and analysed everything in detail. On six major planks, we have taken more than 100 decisions that are to be implemented or are being implemented. We will revert to the old stand of the Congress. Our core strength is inclusiveness, nationalism, and Indianism. We are the ones who created India of the 21st century.But, our enemies have started calling us non-Indians and anti-nationals. They mislead people about our inclusiveness and called it Muslim appeasement. We thought that this misinformation will not work. But we forget that sometimes people want some spicy things too. Such spicy things were created in the RSS factory. They created a narrative and that is why a new era started on the pretext of the ‘Gujarat model’ which nobody has seen… We know that if we are on the right path and follow the right morals, that is the only answer. People changed their tastes in search of spice, but now they are getting frustrated with that too.The internal tussle in state Congress continues. Is there a plan to tackle it?My blessings are with the new leadership. As far as the tussle is considered, these kinds of things are there within any party. When four people will dig a field, the shovels will always collide.Did you ever consider leaving politics?There is a time for everything and the situation right now is not like that. If the circumstances for Congress were normal, and the party was in strength, then it would be right. Today if I leave politics, you will give just a half-page article in the newspaper. I also cannot leave Congress as it will be a crime I cannot dare commit. However, if Sonia (Gandhi) ji said ‘Harish now you are very tired’, I would leave politics immediately.
Appeasement politics practised by governments led by opposition parties has led to communalism and radicalisation in the country, said Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Sunday. India will move forward to become “Vishwa Guru” when the politics of appeasement, dynasty and casteism ends in the country, he said.On the concluding day of the BJP national executive meeting, Shah, who moved the political resolution setting the target for the upcoming elections, said the coming “30-40 years will be the era of the BJP”, which is focused on “politics of development and performance”.Shah began his address highlighting the recent Supreme Court verdict on Gujarat that agreed with the findings of the Special Investigation Team appointed by it that there was no “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 Gujarat riots, endorsing the clean chit to Narendra Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, and others in cases related to the riots.“Amit Shahji has drawn the attention of the leaders to the historic judgment by the Supreme Court on Gujarat. He said whatever allegations were on the PM have been proved wrong. The judgment has exposed the conspiracies of ideological-oriented mediapersons and NGOs. Throughout the years he (Modi) has maintained silence, like Lord Neelkantha (Lord Shiva)…, he too swallowed poison and kept it in his throat,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, briefing the media about the political resolution. “The Home Minister said he (Modi) did not make a political drama like a certain leader did when he was called for questioning by an investigation agency.”Both Sarma and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai seconded the resolution. While Sharma referred to the BJP’s achievements and focus on the Northeast, Bommai elaborated on the political developments in the southern states.“He spoke about the rising fundamentalists and their organisation. Congress does caste politics and for them there is jaati within jaati. But the BJP will soon have a breakthrough in the south. Next growth area of the BJP will come from the south,” Sarma said, adding that the BJP will come to power in the southern states, including in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, as well as in the eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha.Quoting Shah, Sarma said the Union Home Minister referred to the Northeast region and how Modi has initiated developments there. Asked about the delay in signing of the Naga peace accord, Sarma said: “By 2024, there will be no fault line. All issues will be resolved.”In his address, Shah said the Congress has “Modi phobia” and is opposed to everything – surgical strike, triple talaq, Yoga Day, Ram Mandir and even the Covid vaccination. “They opposed every policy that were initiated by this government for the poor,” Sarma said.“The Congress is a party of a family. There were demands for internal elections but they are not doing it,” Sarma said, adding that the BJP “considers politics as a way to serve people”.Asked if the political resolution discussions referred to suspended party spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on the Prophet and the violent protests against it or the Udaipur and Amaravati killings, Sarma said Shah reiterated that violence in politics should not be there and that he “spoke about fundamentalism and appeasement”.Shah lauded Prime Minister Modi for choosing a Dalit as the President in 2017 and a tribal woman candidate for the July 18 presidential election. Shah also referred to the Agnipath recruitment scheme, appointment of Chief of Defence Staff, banning the import of 340 defence items and abrogation of 370 among others as the Modi government’s achievements.
One person and 90 animals were killed after heavy rain lashed Borsad taluka of Anand district, the state government said here on Saturday. A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been sent for rescue and relief operations after the region received 12 inch rainfall in the last 24 hours.As many as 380 people were shifted to safer places from rainfall-hit villages in Anand district by a team of the NDRF.“A total of 380 people from two villages in Borsad taluka were shifted to safer places due to flooding in low-lying areas. Rains have stopped in the area and water receded, but some 140 people have not been able to return home yet,” said a disaster management official of Anand district administration.Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel took stock of the situation and spoke to the district officials, especially about Sisva village where the situation is stated to be grim.Due to incessant rain, there has been no electricity supply in the region.The local administration has started removing the trees that fell on the roads due to heavy rainfall. Chief Minister Patel has directed his officials to start the process of giving out cash-doles to those affected in the flooding. He also asked the administration to undertake a preliminary survey of the losses, the release added.Meanwhile Palsana taluka in Surat recorded 209 mm rainfall in a day till Saturday morning, officials said.In the 24-hour period that ended at 6 am in Saturday, parts of south Gujarat and Banaskantha in north Gujarat received heavy rainfall, causing flooding in many areas.The Met department has forecast light to moderate rainfall in several parts of Gujarat over the next five days with heavy to very heavy rains in isolated parts of some districts in south and central Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch regions during this period.(With PTI inputs)
WITH THE Speaker’s election slated for Sunday after Shiv Sena announced the candidature of its MLA Rajan Salvi for the post against BJP’s Rahul Narwekar, the stage is set for the first test for the newly sworn-in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his group of Sena rebels, and for BJP and the Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in on Thursday and the Governor has called for a special session of the assembly on Sunday and Monday for the Speaker’s election followed by a floor test. The election will mark the first battle in the House between Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena which has 16 MLAs, and Shnde-led rebel group with 39 MLAs.On Saturday, Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu issued a whip, asking all the MLAs to be present in the assembly and cast their votes in favour of Salvi.Replying to the whip issued by Prabhu, Chief Minister Shinde asserted that it does not apply to his group as they have more than two-thirds of the total 55 Sena MLAs. He said, “We will face the floor test and we will win”.Sources said a separate whip is likely to be issued by the Shinde faction for the election and the floor test.Ajay Chaudhari, Shiv Sena legislative party leader said, “We have a strategy in place but I can’t disclose it now.’’ Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said, “We will fight the Speaker’s election and we believe in the Constitution. I have heard that the Shinde faction spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar said that Uddhav Thackeray is their leader. These MLAs now must obey the whip and vote for Rajan Salvi.”Shiv Sena parliamentary party leader Vinayak Raut said, “We have issued a whip that the rebel MLAs should vote for Rajan Salvi. If they don’t, it will be an added material in our case in Supreme Court for disqualifying them.”A three-time MLA, Salvi was accompanied by Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Sena legislature party leader Ajay Chaudhari, state NCP chief Jayant Patil, and Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat while filing his nomination for the election.Meanwhile, late Friday night, Thackeray sacked Shinde from the post of Shiv Sena leader in party organisation for indulging in “anti party activities’ ‘.“Dear Shri Shinde, You have been indulging in anti-party activities and have also voluntarily given up your membership of Shiv Sena. Therefore, in exercise of the powers vested in me as the Shiv Sena Paksha Pramukha, I remove you from the post of Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation,” the letter issued by Thackeray read.The move came after Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis took oath as CM and deputy CM respectively on Thursday. Sources in Shinde camp said that they will challenge the letter legally.Ahead of the Speaker’s election, the rebel Sena MLAs and Independent MLAs returned to Mumbai on Saturday evening after spending almost 11 days out of the state — first in Gujarat, then in Assam, and then in Goa. They arrived in Mumbai on a special flight and will be camped at a south Mumbai five-star hotel along with BJP MLAs.Addressing them, CM Shinde asserted that the whip of state legislative leader Bharat Gogawale, who is a part of his group, will be applicable to them, and not that of Shiv Sena’s which has been reduced to a minority.Security was beefed up in Mumbai and police security was deployed along the route from Mumbai airport to South Mumbai hotel to avoid any untoward incident.As the floor test is also scheduled on Monday, Shiv Sena president and former CM Uddhav Thackeray held meetings with party leaders to carve out a strategy. Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap and Congress working president Charan Singh Sapra also met Thackeray at Matorshree Saturday afternoon and all MVA leaders held a meeting in the evening.The NCP legislature party will hold a meeting on Sunday morning to decide their strategy. State NCP president Jayant Patil said, “I feel elections should not be held. All three parties gave a letter… We have a deputy Speaker, Narhari Zirwal, and he has the right to run the House… When the government has changed, Koshyari has allowed elections for a Speaker and people are watching these developments.”Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “Earlier, MVA demanded election of Speaker and it was denied by the Governor quoting law related to elections. Now, we can’t understand the reason to have elections. The Governor should not forget that he is a constitutional authority, and not a BJP worker.”
Last week’s rebel Shiv Sena MLA who turned Maharashtra’s Shiv Sena Chief Minister this week; a former Maharashtra CM facing prospect of losing control of a party founded by his father; an activist and a former police officer arrested after Supreme Court’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots case; two Lok Sabha bypoll candidates — a winner from Punjab’s Sangrur while another who lost from UP’s Azamgarh yet made the biggest impact.New Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath ShindeA day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray resigned as CM ahead of a floor test, bringing to an end the 31-month rule of his Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition, Shiv Sena rebel leader Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra with BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy on Thursday. From working in a beer brewery in Thane and driving an autorickshaw to make ends meet, to becoming the most powerful leader in the Shiv Sena after the Thackerays, to splitting the party and becoming the 20th Chief Minister of the state, Eknath Shinde, 58, has had an eventful career. In this crisis, two other qualities helped Shinde prevail: the fact that he has the loyalty of many party MLAs for being an accessible leader – especially when appointment at Matoshree got tough – and being generous with economic largesse.Former Maharashtra Chief MinisterIn the last few days, Uddhav Thackeray faced the worst crisis in his short political life, emerging from the overarching shadow of father Bal Thackeray. Not only did he lose chief ministership after taking a gamble with an unlikely coalition, he is facing the prospect of losing control of a party founded by Balasaheb and deriving sustenance from the Thackeray name. In hindsight, it seems Uddhav sowed the seeds right at the beginning when, on November 28, 2019, he took over as Chief Minister. He thus became the first Thackeray to hold a public office, with Balasaheb choosing to let a Sainik be CM while he held full control over the party.Activist Teesta Setalvad and retired Gujarat DGP R B SreekumarA day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit by the SIT to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) earlier this week arrested Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad, who backed petitioner Zakia Jafri, and retired Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar, whose role had been called into question by the Court. Teesta Setalvad, a journalist and activist based out of Mumbai and a Padma Shri, is a founding trustee and secretary of the NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) established in 2002 in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots, with one area of work being providing legal assistance to victims of the riots. She was among the first activists to take up the cases of riot victims in Gujarat in 2002, finally leading the Supreme Court to set up a special investigation team to probe the post-Godhra riots, six years later, under former CBI director R K Raghavan. Setalvad has also faced several allegations over the years.A decorated police officer, R B Sreekumar challenged the Narendra Modi government’s claims of peace in Gujarat in the aftermath of the 2002 riots, spoke of the alleged collusion between government agencies and rioters, and was shunted out and denied promotion while in service. The Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch arrested the 75-year-old former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) from his home in Gandhinagar on charges such as forgery and criminal conspiracy. This came a day after the Supreme Court called into question his role in the petition against Modi in the riots. The court made the observation while upholding the clean chit Prime Minister Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, had received from a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the riots.Guddu Jamali, the BSP candidate in Lok Sabha bypollsThe Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Shah Alam — a two-time MLA — lost the Azamgarh Lok Sabha by-election but made the biggest impact. Alam, popularly known as Guddu Jamali, garnered 2.66 lakh votes, with a vote share of 29.27 per cent, effectively damaging the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) chances of retaining the seat that its president Akhilesh Yadav had won in 2019 with a 60.36 per cent vote share. The SP had contested the election in alliance with the BSP. With Jamali, 49, putting in a strong performance, the SP saw its vote share slide to 33.44 per cent even as the BJP almost held on to its vote share, which dipped marginally to 34.39 per cent. The SP ultimately lost to the BJP by 8,679 votes. Sangrur Lok Sabha bypolls victor Simranjit MannDealing a severe blow to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president, Simranjit Singh Mann, emerged as the victor Sunday in the crucial bypoll in the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, the bastion of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, defeating AAP candidate Gurmail Singh in a neck-and-neck fight. The bypoll was necessitated when the incumbent Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann resigned from the seat after becoming the CM in March following the AAP’s landslide victory in the state Assembly elections. It was considered to be the first test of the fledgling Mann-led AAP government’s popularity. Pushed to the margins of Punjab’s mainstream politics for over two-and-half decades, the 77-year-old pro-Khalistan leader and ex-IPS officer Simranjit Singh Mann’s stunning win is likely to boost the Panthic politics in the border state.
AHMEDABAD: The special investigation team (SIT) formed to probe charges of fabrication of evidence against activist Teesta Setalvad, former DGP R B Sreekumar, and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt began an inquiry into the case on Monday and interrogated Setalvad and Sreekumar. The newly formed SIT will analyse the documents of the SIT appointed in 2008 by the Supreme Court and headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan. The old SIT had probed whether the state's functionaries were involved in the 2002 riots. "We will examine all the documents, especially the affidavits, filed with the 2008 SIT and with the Justice Nanavati panel that had inquired into the 2002 riots," said an officer of the SIT. The apex court had on June 24 dismissed a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, the wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the February 28, 2002 massacre at Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society. The petition filed by Jafri and Setalvad had demanded a probe into the "larger conspiracy". The petition had challenged the clean chit given to then chief minister Narendra Modi and 62 others in the post-Godhra riots. A team headed by Gujarat ATS chief Deepan Bhadran, along with ATS SP Sunil Joshi and DCP (crime) Chaitanya Mandalik, on Monday jointly interrogated Setalvad and Sreekumar, who are in the custody of the Ahmedabad crime branch. The two were arrested after the Ahmedabad crime branch filed a complaint against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt over the alleged fabrication of documents with the intention to prosecute certain innocent people for the riots. The SIT officer said the investigators will try to ascertain why and how the accused had prepared the fabricated documents and whether they were aided and instructed by some other people. To a query about how the accused had hatched the conspiracy and when they had met for the first time, the officer said: "The investigation is at a very early stage and it will take a few days to gather more evidence to establish how they had conspired against innocent persons." Police officials said that Bhadran and all the officers of the SIT will camp at the Ahmedabad crime branch office in Raikhad to interrogate the accused. On Bhatt's arrest, another special investigation team officer said they were yet to move a transfer warrant in the case. Denied venue twice, activists hold meet at lawyer’s officeMembers of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Ahmedabad civil society had to change their venue twice to hold a meeting on Monday evening to express solidarity with recently arrested social activist Teesta Setalvad, former DGP R B Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
THE GUJARAT government on Sunday formed a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad DIG Deepan Bhadran to investigate retired DGP R B Sreekumar, Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for criminal conspiracy and forgery, and other charges, “as per directions of the Supreme Court”, a top official told The Indian Express.The move follows an FIR lodged against the three at the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit given to the then chief minister Narendra Modi, his council of ministers and bureaucrats on their role in the 2002 riots.Setalvad, who was brought from Mumbai to Ahmedabad by an ATS team, and Sreekumar, who was arrested from his home on Saturday, were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate S P Patel on Sunday with the police seeking remand.According to sources, even as the hearing was on, Setalvad was taken to hospital for a “medical check-up” after she complained of injuries caused by an alleged assault by the police while detaining her. The police have denied the allegation.Sources said Bhatt was taken under custody on Sunday by a DCB team from Palanpur jail in Banaskantha where he has been lodged in a 1996 narcotics case. DCP (Crime) Chaitanya Mandalik told The Indian Express that the process of bringing Bhatt to the DCB office in Ahmedabad on a transfer warrant and arresting him “will take two to three days”.Mandalik is part of the new SIT under DIG Bhadran. The other members are: ATS SP Sunil Joshi, Deputy SP (Special Operations Group) B C Solanki, who will be the Investigating Officer, police inspectors P G Vaghela and A D Parmar, and a woman inspector H V Raval. The terms of reference include collection of evidence to investigate the case “as per the directions of the Supreme Court”.On Friday, while dismissing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri against the clean chit given to Modi, the Supreme Court had ruled that “no material was discovered pointing towards any meeting of minds/ conspiracy in the higher echelons of the administration or the political establishment conspired with other persons to cause such riots or turned a Nelson’s eye when the riots had triggered and continued”.It pointed to a “coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the state of Gujarat along with others… to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge. The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT (in the Gujarat riots case) after a thorough investigation”.It noted that “intriguingly, the present proceedings have been pursued for the last 16 years…to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design…all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law”.Asked about the charges against the three, DCP Mandalik said: “The charges are forging government records, submitting forged documents and abuse of power. The arrested accused have been uncooperative so far and we are investigating the case from all angles. Prima facie, the charges against two ex-IPS officers are their affidavits and documents submitted in the case. We are also in the process of retrieving the documents they have submitted in front of commissions, courts and the SIT for further probe. The investigation is at an early stage but we believe that there could be other persons also behind the conspiracy.”Asked why the time frame of the offence in the FIR was recorded as “January 1 2002 to June 15, 2022”, Mandalik said: “The entire case began after the Godhra riots in February 2002 , therefore we have kept a time period bracket of 2002 to 2022 to investigate all angles in it.”Setalvad was brought to the DCB office in Ahmedabad’s Jamalpur early on Sunday after which she was taken to civil hospital for a RT PCR test. Later, while being presented in court, Setalvad told reporters that she is “not a criminal”.Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt have been booked under IPC sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 468 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence, 211 (false charge of offence made with intent to injure) and 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture).Based on the Supreme Court verdict, the FIR states that the accused would be investigated for “finding out the behind the scene criminal conspiracy and financial and other benefits, inducements for commission of various serious offences in collusion with other individuals, entities and organisations”.(With Sohini Ghosh)
GANDHINAGAR: The state government said on Friday that Gujarat has connected 99.97% of gram panchayats through the optical fibre network as envisioned by the Union government’s Digital India initiative under the BharatNet project. Underground cables spread across more than 35,000km have been laid in the state, the government said. Due to this connectivity, all government services will be available to citizens at their homes. It is a matter of pride for Gujarat that its state-led model is being implemented in nine states of the country, a release from the CMO (chief minister’s office) said. The government said in a statement on Friday that a single application is being developed to offer every transport-related government service to people.
AHMEDABAD: Chief minister Bhupendra Patel watched the 145th Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad and other cities on a dashboard. The chief minister performed the Pahind ritual early in the morning at the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad and flagged off the Rath Yatra. After reaching his residence, Patel indulged in real-time monitoring of the event through the dashboard. In this year's Rath Yatra, the state home department is using drones to monitor the yatra from a height of 65 metre. The CM also observed the activities of the personnel of Gujarat Police who are stationed at sensitive places and points in this Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad. The police personnel were equipped with about 2,500 body-worn cameras. In this year's Rath Yatra, akhada-bhajan mandli’s and real-time monitoring of trucks and vehicles involved in the Rath Yatra were provided through GPS was also seen on the video wall of the dashboard.
The Ahmedabad city police on Wednesday announced traffic diversions and laid out the final route for the Jagannath Rath yatra procession along 18 kilometres on July 1.The Rath Yatra will start from Jamalpur Darwaza around 7 am to Saraspur after an aarti by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and will return back to Jagannath Temple in Jamalpur by 6 pm. According to officials of the Jagannath Temple trust, three to four lakh devotees are expected to join the procession from across the state.Over 25,000 personnel of the Gujarat Police and other security agencies will also be deployed along the yatra route.As per Ahmedabad police, the final route for the yatra procession is Jamalpur Chakla-Vaishya Sabha-Gollimda-Astodia Chakla-Madangopal ni haveli-Raipur Chakla-Khadia Juni Gate-Khadia crossroads-Panchkuva-Kalupur circle-Kalupur bridge-Saraspur. The route from Saraspiur would be Kalupur bridge-Kalupur circle-Prem Darwaza-Jordan Road-Bechardas Lashkarini Haveli-Dilli Darwaza-Shahpur Darwaza-Shahpur Chakla-Rangila Chowki-Otampol-RC High School-Dilli Chakla-Ghee Kanta road-Pankor Naka-Kuvara-Chandla Ole-Danapith-Gollimda-Khamasa-back to temple.“The concerned routes mentioned in the map will be shut for a few hours as yatra proceeds from them, the roads will be opened. Commuters can use the alternate route of Raikhad Char Rasta to Victoria Garden to riverfront to Flower market to Jamalpur bridge in order to travel to Geeta Mandir road,” said Mayanksinh Chavda, joint police commissioner, in a statement.“Similarly, commuters travelling towards Paldi can use the diverted route of Astodia Char Rasta to Geeta Mandir to Jamalpur bridge to Sardar bridge. Similar diversions will be facilitated by the police on the route of Rath Yatra,” Chavda added.The 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is being held in a full-fledged manner after a gap of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the state government had ordered a symbolic procession of chariots inside the temple premises while in 2021, only three chariots and a few priests were allowed to carry the procession without devotees.
Two days ahead of the 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in old city Ahmedabad, the city police announced traffic diversions and laid out the final map for the 18 km yatra procession scheduled on July 1, where lakhs are expected to arrive, after two years of no-show due to the pandemic.The Ahmedabad Traffic Police on Wednesday laid out the route map of the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra from Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur and back to Jagannath Temple in Jamalpur. The yatra is scheduled to begin by 7 am after Union Home Minister Amit Shah will conduct an aarti at the temple premises and the procession is expected to return to the temple by 6 pm.The 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is being held in a full-fledged manner after two years of the yatra being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the state government had ordered a symbolic procession of chariots inside the temple premises itself while in 2021, only three chariots and a few priests, sans devotees, were allowed to carry the procession.According to officials of the Jagannath Temple trust, around 3-4 lakh devotees across Gujarat are expected to join the procession. Over 25,000 personnel of Gujarat Police and other security agencies will also be deployed during the yatra on July 1.As per Ahmedabad police, the final route for the yatra procession is Jamalpur Chakla-Vaishya Sabha-Gollimda-Astodia Chakla-Madangopal ni haveli-Raipur Chakla-Khadia Juni Gate-Khadia crossroads-Panchkuva-Kalupur circle-Kalupur bridge-Saraspur. The route from Saraspur would be Kalupur bridge-Kalupur circle-Prem Darwaza-Jordan Road-Bechardas Lashkarini Haveli-Dilli Darwaza-Shahpur Darwaza-Shahpur Chakla-Rangila Chowki-Otampol-RC High School-Dilli Chakla-Ghee Kanta Road-Pankor Naka-Kuvara-Chandla Ole-Danapith-Gollimda-Khamasa-back to the temple.“The routes mentioned in the map will be shut for a few hours. As yatra proceeds, the roads will be opened. Commuters can use the alternate route of Raikhad Char Rasta to Victoria Garden to riverfront to flower market to Jamalpur bridge in order to travel to Geeta Mandir Road. Similarly, commuters travelling towards Paldi can use the diverted route of Astodia Char Rasta to Geeta Mandir to Jamalpur bridge to Sardar bridge. Similar diversions will be facilitated by the police on the route of Rath Yatra,” said Mayanksinh Chavda, joint police commissioner, Ahmedabad Traffic Police, in a statement.
Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi conducted an inspection of the Rath yatra route along with senior police officials, priests, and local Member of Legislative Assemblys (MLAs), on Tuesday morning, ahead of the 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra scheduled in old city Ahmedabad on July 1.Later in the day, Sanghavi also took Dilip Dasji Maharaj, the head priest of Lord Jagannath temple, and Congress MLA Imran Khedawala to interact with the local residents of Jamalpur, as a confidence building measure between two communities ahead of the yatra. A total of 25,000 personnel of Gujarat Police, State Reserve Police, Home Guard, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and other agencies will be deployed at the 18 kilometres long stretch of the yatra on July 1. In that regard, a total of 51 persons were detained under sections of the CRPC.“On June 29 at 8 am, idols of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Baldev will enter the garbh gruh (sanctum santorum) and then after pooja ceremony, the idols will be blindfolded as per ritual. Then at 9:30 am on Wednesday, Gujarat BJP President CR Paatil will attend a flag hoisting ceremony at the temple premises and later, former deputy CM Nitin Patel will honour the saints,” said Mahendra Jha, one of the trustees at Lord Jagannath Temple.“On Thursday, a pooja ceremony of elephants will be conducted followed by the placing of the three chariots carrying the three idols. Then a peace committee meeting will be called at the temple premises and later CM Bhupendra Patel will conduct an aarti in the evening,” he added.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨“On July 1, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will conduct an aarti at the temple around 4 am and then the yatra will begin by 7 am,” he added.Lakhs of devotees will walk 18 kilometres along the route of Lord Jagannath from Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur to theLord Jagannath temple. The historic yatra was curtailed for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in 2022, the state government has given permission to organise the rath yatra in a full-fledged manner. Surat all set In Surat, the procession will be taken out from five different locations — Pandesara, Mahidharpura, Katargam, Sachin and the main one from Surat railway station to Jehangirpura at Iskcon temple. After holding a meeting with leaders from the Hindu community and Muslim community on Tuesday, Surat police commissioner Ajay Kumar Tomar said, “We have given assurances that the police will assist each procession and see no untoward incident takes places. Police vehicles with cameras and personnel with body cameras will also travel with the procession.”Giving details about the yatra, Saroj Kumar Das of Iskon temple said, “Our procession will start from Surat railway station at 3 pm on July 1. It will reach Athwagate area and cross Tapi river from Sardar bridge and reach Adajan area, before culminating at Jehangirpura area by 9 pm.”
AHMEDABAD: Apart from catching glimpses of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra during the Rath Yatra, devotees will also be able to see a cop flying with a pilot on a paramotor. This unit is likely to be introduced if rain and heavy wind do not hinder flying. The decision to use a paramotor for the Rath Yatra on July 1 came after the plan to use a gyrocopter was dropped as it was not feasible in the narrow lanes of the Walled City, said a police officer. City police will, for the first time, have air patrolling over Rath Yatra route and adjoining areas from Thursday. “We have engaged two paramotors for patrolling during the Rath Yatra along with two youths from Vijapur, who used them for adventure sport so far,” said a police officer. Three cops have been trained for riding in the paramotor for around a month. “A pilot will fly the paramotor and the cop will sit with him and monitor the Rath Yatra,” said the cop. A paramotor is a paraglider with a propulsion motor and a harness. There are two basic types of paramotors, foot launched and wheel launched. City police will use the wheel launched version. “The only difficulty is rough weather in paramotor,” said the police officer, adding that there will be no life-threatening situation as the chances of crashing are very low. Even if the paramotor is not used, there will be a helicopter continuously carrying out sorties, starting from Tuesday itself.
CHIEF MINISTER Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said his government would soon start mapping each family in the state to connect one member of each household with job or self-employment. To facilitate employment in such families, the government would issue “parivar cards”, added Adityanath.The CM was speaking after distributing loan certificates to handicraft artisans and entrepreneurs at a loan fair organised at Lok Bhavan in Lucknow. Such loan distribution fairs were organised in all districts across the state on Friday and loans of around Rs 16,000 crore were distributed to 1.9 lakh beneficiaries including handicraft artisans and entrepreneurs.These artisans and entrepreneurs have been provided loans under various programmes, including Pradhanmantri Rojgar Srijan Karyakram, Pradhanmantri Mudra Yojana, Mukhyamantri Yuva Swarojgar Yojana and Ek Janpad Ek Utpad Vitt Poshan Yojana.On the occasion, the CM also unveiled the annual loan programme of Rs 2.95 lakh crore for 2022-23.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨The CM also inaugurated the Common Facility Centre established in five districts under “one district-one product scheme” (ODOP). These districts include—Agra, Ambedkar Nagar, Sitapur, Azamgarh and Siddharthnagar. Adityanath said the government was working to establish such common facility centres in all the districts to promote the local handicraft products. About black pottery that is identified as a special product of Azamgarh under ODOP, CM said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented black pottery of Azamgarh to G-7 leaders. “It has brought a positive change in the global identity of this district,” CM said.Addressing the programme, the CM said grand loan fairs were part of a 100-day work plan of the MSME department.“Efforts should be made to again organise such a programme under the six-month work plan. Availability of loans to MSME entrepreneurs will give pace to economic activities and that will create employment for youths.”He also said the MSME sector in UP was “lying idle” before 2017, adding that there was disappointment among handicraft artisans and entrepreneurs and the unemployment rate in the state was 18 per cent. “The then government (Samajwadi Party government) did not take interest despite the availability of various schemes of the Centre. There was no paucity of funds and cooperation from the Central government. But there was a lack of political will-power,” the CM said.In the ceremony, an MoU was exchanged between MSME department and Amazon.com to promote the export of ODOP products. For that purpose, Amazon was setting up a digital centre in Kanpur that will be its second such centre in the country after the one in Gujarat.
Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister of Maharashtra Wednesday, after the Supreme Court did not stay the Assembly floor test scheduled for June 30 called by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, and he faced the prospect of 40-odd of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs with the Eknath Shinde camp. The Sena’s petition seeking disqualification of 16 of the rebel MLAs remains pending.The crisis that brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government has several parallels – from hung Houses to new alliances, to petitions in the Supreme Court:July 2019The 2018 state elections threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP winning 104 seats, the Congress 80, the JD(S) 37, along with three Independents, in the 224-member House. With the BJP failing to reach the majority mark of 113, forcing BJP leader B S Yediyurappa to step down as Chief Minister within three days, the Congress and JD(S) forged an alliance with the JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy as CM.In July 2019, the coalition government hit shaky ground when 17 MLAs (14 from the Congress and three from the JD-S) sought to quit the Assembly, citing differences with the government and CM. The Speaker, K R Ramesh Kumar, elected on the Congress ticket, refused to accept their resignation. With the BJP seen as behind the move, the Congress and JD(S) approached the Speaker seeking that the 17 be disqualified and not allowed to contest the election during the tenure of the then Assembly.The Governor asked the Kumaraswamy government to take a floor test twice, and finally on July 23, 2019, the Congress-JD(S) Ministry fell. The Speaker went on to disqualify the MLAs, which remained away from the Congress-JD(S) reach and sequestered in hotels, and Yediyurappa returned as CM after winning a floor test in the truncated-House of 208. The BJP was able to muster support of 105 MLAs, against the Congress and JD(S)’s combined total of 99.In November 2019, on the plea of the 17 MLAs against the Speaker’s order, the Supreme Court upheld their disqualification but not the directive that they could not contest the election till 2023. In the bypolls held the next month, 11 of the 17 were re-elected to the House, on BJP tickets.October 2010The Yediyurappa-led BJP government had a slender majority – at 117, just four more than the cut off mark of 113. In October 2010, 11 of its MLAs withdrew support. The Congress and JD(S) had 101 MLAs, and posed a challenge in case of six Independents swaying their way.On October 6, the Speaker, K G Bopaiah, allied to the BJP, disqualified the rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law, just after Governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj had asked Yediyurappa to initiate a trust motion. With the rebel MLAs disqualified and the House strength down to 213, Yediyurappa won the trust vote by a voice vote and support of 106 MLAs, amid chaos.In May 2011, the Supreme Court held that some of the actions of the Speaker in disqualifying the 11 MLAs did not “meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play”. It also said Yediyurappa had ignored Constitutional norms.January 2006The 2004 Karnataka Assembly polls had thrown up a hung verdict, with the BJP winning 79 seats, the Congress 65 and the JD(S) 58. The Congress and JD(S) initially formed an alliance with Dharam Singh of the Congress as CM.In January 2006, a dissident group of 42 MLAs of the JD(S), led by Kumarswamy, withdrew support to the Congress, and allied with the BJP. Dharam Singh resigned and the Governor invited the BJP and JD(S) to form the new government.Kumaraswamy struck a deal that the two parties would hold power for 20 months each. But the coalition collapsed in October 2007, after the JD(S) reneged on transferring power to the BJP. President’s rule was imposed, and the next Assembly elections were held in May 2008.2019In March 2019, newly appointed Chief Minister Sawant urged Governor Mridula Sinha to summon the Assembly for a floor test on March 20, 2019, after sitting CM Manohar Parrikar’s death. Sawant resigned from the Speaker’s chair before he was sworn in as CM ahead of the floor test, and Michael Lobo, then Deputy Speaker, carried out the proceedings.The Congress had 14 MLAs, the BJP 12. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) had three each. The NCP had one candidate and there were three Independents. The strength of the Goa Assembly is 40, but there were only 36 sitting MLAs at the time (Parrikar and BJP MLA Francis D’Souzaas had died and two Congress MLAs had resigned).Sawant won the floor test with the support of 20 MLAs, after the MGP and GFP MLAs as well as three Independents voted for him.Sawant consolidated his strength in July 2019, after 10 Congress MLAs and two MGP MLAs defected to the BJP.1995The BJP won 121 of 182 seats in the 1995 Assembly elections in Gujarat – its highest till then – in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the subsequent riots. However, many MLAs were upset with Keshubhai Patel being made CM. Patel was believed to have the backing of then BJP general secretary and Gujarat in-charge Narendra Modi.While Patel was away in the US, leaving Ashok Bhatt behind as caretaker CM, Shankersinh Vaghela, then a BJP MP from Godhra, claimed the backing of 105 MLAs and launched a coup in September 1995.The MLAs were first taken to Vaghela’s village in Vasan and later to the home of a Congress leader in a village in Gandhinagar. While some of the MLAs were lured back by the BJP, Vaghela flew the remaining 55 out to Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh overnight.They only returned after senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee agreed to replace the CM. Suresh Mehta was subsequently appointed CM.But as remnants of the discontent followed the party, in 1996, during a meeting to felicitate Vajpayee, now the Prime Minister, the MLAs literally came to blows. An MLA was stripped of his dhoti and another was nearly set ablaze.The House was placed under “suspended animation”. The Governor was hospitalised at the time when Vaghela staked claim to form the government after parading 103 MLAs before him, including of the BJP, Congress and some Independents. The BJP MLAs numbered 48, more than one-third of the total, thus escaping the anti-defection law. Vaghela became CM.(with inputs from Johnson T A, Mayura Janwalkar, Leena Misra)
AHMEDABAD: CM Bhupendra Patel tested positive for Covid on Wednesday. Earlier, the state chief secretary Pankaj Kumar and health minister Rushikesh Patel had tested positive. Cabinet minister Purnesh Modi too tested positive on Wednesday. "The CM has very mild symptoms, such as a mild fever. His test result has confirmed that he is infected with the coronavirus," said the PRO of the CM. "He has isolated himself at his official residence under the observation of doctors." All the top officials of the CMO (chief minister's office) and senior IAS officers have been advised to get tested. Till Wednesday evening, no official was reported positive. Senior ministers who were in contact with the CM over the past two days have also been advised to get tested, said top state officials. Meanwhile, the development has posed an unusual question for the state machinery. Traditionally, the Gujarat CM performs the evening aarti on the eve of the Rath Yatra at Jagannathji temple in Ahmedabad, praying for a good year ahead. Moreover, the Pahind ritual, the cleaning of the path of the chariots with a golden broom, is also performed by the CM. Mahant Dilipdas of Jagannath temple said that he doesn't remember the ritual being performed by anyone other than the CM during his association with the temple. It will be the 145th procession for the city. Sources aware of developments said that the name may be decided or declared by Thursday evening. While there's no deputy CM in the state, Rajendra Trivedi is the senior-most minister in the cabinet handling the revenue portfolio. "To perform the Pahind ritual is a CM's right. He can ask anyone to perform it in his absence," Trivedi said. "I have not received any directives so far. But if the CM and Lord Jagannath wish, I will certainly take the blessings." For years, Amit Shah performed the mangala aarti on the Rath Yatra day. The tradition started when he was MoS (home) of Gujarat and continued over the years after his elevation to the post of the BJP national president and later to the position of the Union home minister.
After months of voicing his concerns to the Congress, Hardik Patel has finally left the Grand Old Party and turned towards the BJP. In Gujarat, where political actors routinely and without any discomfort shift allegiances between the BJP and Congress, this is no great news. It is another symptom of the steady erosion of ideological cleavages as well as the hegemony of Hindu nationalism in Indian politics.Hardik Patel began his journey as a quota activist for Patels in 2015 as a young, vocal anti-BJP figure. In the Gujarat Congress, as the party’s working president, he moderated his discourse on the quota question, especially after the introduction of the 10 per cent quota for Patels under the economically weaker sections reservation in 2019, and tried to project himself as a youth icon and a kisan leader. This was an interesting proposition in a land of urban politics where the position of a kisan leader has been vacant for decades.Over the last few months, Hardik has redefined himself again — as a Hindu nationalist. He has quite enthusiastically supported the building of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, thrown his weight behind the implementation of the CAA-NRC — the amended citizenship laws that take India on the path of a de jure Hindu Rashtra — and spoken on the mistreatment of Hindus and Patel leaders at the hands of the Congress. For a man who had started his public career by praising Bal Thackeray, this new discourse marks a return to the roots.Moreover, Hardik Patel has shunned the progressive outlook regarding caste in his politics as well as his distrust of crony capitalism. He blamed the Congress for casteism in his resignation letter from the party. In his recent interviews, he has attacked the 1980s strategy of Congress — the amalgamation of Kshatriya, Harijan (Dalit), Adivasi, and Muslim (KHAM) votes under the leadership of Gujarat’s first OBC chief minister, Madhavsinh Solanki. And he praised the two major industrialists of Gujarat, Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani.Patel’s trajectory epitomises the blurring of ideological frontiers in Indian politics today and, more than that, the growing opportunism of politicians whom voters cannot now trust easily when they commit themselves to principles and great causes.While Hardik Patel’s shift to the BJP may weaken the Congress in rural Gujarat, the party’s attractiveness to Patel voters in that part of the state in 2017 did not result only — nor even mainly — from his influence. Generally seen as the party of Dalits, OBCs, tribals and Muslims since the 1980s, the Congress — which was largely built by Vallabhbhai Patel in the region — again reached out to Patels after more than 50 years. In the Saurashtra peninsula, the Congress won 2/3rds of the 48 assembly seats in 2017, almost double its tally in 2012. The party even became a spokesperson for rural Patidars in the state as 14 of its 15 Patel MLAs belonged to rural constituencies.Hardik Patel’s shift to the BJP will help the party recover in the rural part of the state – but will it be enough? Rural Patels are still at the receiving end of the economic crisis that is affecting agriculture. As we have highlighted in our writings before, including in Sharik Laliwala’s paper on BJP ministers’ social profiles in the Studies in Indian Politics, the pro-reservation call by Patels, who had opposed the granting of quota to OBCs in the 1980s, reflects the “jobless growth” trajectory of a highly urban-industrial Gujarat, along with increasing rural poverty. Daily wage rates in rural Gujarat are frozen. In terms of rural poverty, Gujarat ranked ninth out of 17 large states in India in 2011-12, a drop of four ranks from its position in 1993-94. Patels are badly divided along class lines, something that Christophe Jaffrelot and Kalaiyarasan A’s research showcases: The richest 20 per cent among Patels cornered 61.4 per cent of the community’s income in 2011-12, whereas the poorest 20 per cent got only 2.8 per cent, which means that they are increasingly lagging behind the OBCs and even Dalits.In fact, the mean income of the first quintile of Patels (Rs 6,978) was almost half the mean income of the second quintile of the SCs (Rs 11,411) in 2011-12. And the situation is worse in some parts of the state like Saurashtra, where the water from the Narmada river is yet to reach for irrigation purposes. These trends expose the futility of treating urban and rural Patels in the same way.The BJP has remained steadfastly behind urban-industrial interests, particularly amongst Patels. For instance, the present CM, Bhupendra Patel, otherwise a novice in Gujarati politics, belongs to an urban constituency, just like the party’s old Patel guard — Anandiben Patel, Nitin Patel, Kaushik Patel, Saurabh Patel, et al.The Congress may not have any Patel face left but it may continue to capitalise on the resentment of the Gujarat peasantry and rekindle its strategy by uniting those who are losing out among the villagers in the state. In parallel, the AAP offensive in Gujarat may cut into the urban vote bank of the BJP — and this is probably one of the reasons why the ruling party needed to capture a Patel rural leader even more urgently this year.The BJP now gets one. But for Hardik Patel, joining the BJP makes him lose his unique position, especially since today’s BJP does not like leaders with their own mass base. This feature can be seen in the selection of Bhupendra Patel as the CM, who was clueless about his appointment till the very last. In fact, in his cabinet, everyone is a first-time minister.(Laliwala is an independent scholar on politics and history of Gujarat; Jaffrelot is senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, and professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King’s India Institute, London)
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House on Thursday.The floor test is expected to establish the veracity of rebel leader Eknath Shinde’s claim that his faction has the support of more than 50 MLAs in the House.A floor test is a legislative procedure through which an incumbent government that is suspected to have lost majority is required to prove it still retains the confidence of the House.The Chief Minister moves a motion seeking a vote of confidence, on which MLAs who are present in the House vote. If the majority of members vote in favour, the government survives; if the CM loses the vote, the government has to resign.Voting can be conducted by either a voice vote, in which MLAs respond to the motion verbally. Voting electronically involves the casting of votes by pressing a button, after which the numbers for each side are displayed on a board. In a physical division of votes, lawmakers cast votes in a ballot box, which are then counted.For more than a week, Shiv Sena rebels led by Shinde have been camping outside Maharashtra, first in Gujarat, and then in Assam. Their ranks have swollen during this period, and they have appointed their own leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party and Chief Whip.The rebels have said that they have 39 of the Shiv Sena’s 55 MLAs with them, and are the majority faction of the party. This group has said they are against the Sena’s alliance with the NCP and Congress, and would like to join hands with the BJP.On Tuesday (June 28) night, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis met Governor Koshyari and requested that a floor test be held.In a letter sent to the Chief Minister on Wednesday, Governor Koshyari referred to media reports that 39 Shiv Sena MLAs had expressed a desire to exit the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.It also said that Raj Bhavan has received an email from seven Independent MLAs stating that the CM has lost the confidence of the majority in the House.Therefore, the letter says, a session of the Maharashtra Assembly will be summoned at 11 am on June 30 “with the only agenda of a trust vote against the Chief Minister”.The strength of the Legislative Assembly is 288. A Sena member passed away last month, so the effective strength now is 287. The magic number or halfway mark is, therefore, 144.With 39 Sena MLAs going across to Shinde’s camp, the number of Sena MLAs supporting Thackeray has come down from 55 to 16. The NCP has 53, and the Congress has 44. The MVA tally therefore adds up to only 113, which is 31 short of the halfway mark.There are 29 MLAs in the House who belong to smaller parties, or are Independents. About 10 among this group have pledged their support to the Shinde group, and another 10 are inclined towards the BJP.Given this situation, it seems almost impossible for the government to reach the halfway mark.What is likely to happen tomorrow and afterward?The Vidhan Bhavan secretariat will provide the logistics for the floor test. Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal will be presiding in the absence of the Speaker.Assuming Thackeray loses, he will resign, after which the Governor could invite the largest single party to form the government. The BJP has 106 MLAs, and if the Shinde group either merges with it or extends support to it, the process of government formation can begin.An open question here seems to be whether the Shinde group, even if it has escaped disqualification under the provisions of the anti-defection law by reason of being more that two-thirds of the Shiv Sena legislative party, can continue to exist as a separate group in the Assembly, or whether it has to merge with the BJP.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs from Maharashtra have contributed Rs 51 lakh for the flood relief work in Assam, where they have been camping since the last week, their spokesperson said on Wednesday.The Sena legislators, led by senior minister Eknath Shinde, have raised the banner of revolt against their party.These MLAs had first come to Guwahati on June 22 and subsequently in several batches from Gujarat’s Surat in chartered flights.Amid criticism that the Sena dissidents were staying at a luxury hotel in Guwahati even as parts of Assam were grappling with severe floods, Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson of the rebel MLAs told PTI, “Shinde has donated Rs 51 lakh to the Assam Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as our contribution to their ongoing rescue work. We cannot ignore the plight of people here.”Kesarkar added that with Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari asking the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to face a floor test on Thursday, the rebel MLAs have decided to move out of Guwahati and shift to a place near Mumbai.A close aide of Shinde, however, said the group will be staying in a Goa-based hotel and reach Mumbai by 9.30 am on Thursday.Kesarkar said, “We will be staying at a place that is one-hour air distance from Mumbai so that we can comfortably reach the state capital for the floor test.The decision (of floor test) will be what we have been demanding for a long time from our leadership.”Expressing disappointment with Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he said the party MLAs had been asking him to move away from the NCP and Congress (allies in the government), but he never listened to them.“As the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs decided to go away from these two parties, the remaining Sena legislators with him (Thackeray) will have to abide by our whip at the time of the floor test,” Kesarkar said.Thackeray can definitely issue some instructions, but when we are in the House, we are bound by the Constitution of the country, he said.Shinde said on Wednesday that he will return to Mumbai on Thursday for the floor test against the beleaguered Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena-NCP-Congress government.
Raising concerns over the fate of the country’s federal structure, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that the BJP was spending crores of rupees to topple the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra and lashed out at the BJP-led Centre over the arrests of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair and social activist Teesta Setalvad for trying to “expose the truth”.“The BJP has no other work than spending crores of rupees to topple the government in Maharashtra. Here we take action against panchayat leaders who take money. But in Maharashtra, MLAs are being bought with crores of rupees to change people’s mandate,” she said slamming the BJP for “engaging in horse-trading to topple the government in Maharashtra.Maharashtra is embroiled in political turmoil, with several rebel MLAs of the ruling Shiv Sena camping in Assam, in what seems to be a bid to topple the MVA coalition government in the state. The CM maintained that the BJP-led government is “using” its agencies against opposition parties.“The BJP is doing whatever suits them. It is using central agencies like CBI and the ED against those who are speaking the truth,” she said.The BJP did not immediately react to Mamata’s allegations. Addressing her first rally in Asansol in West Burdwan district after the party’s victory in the Lok Sabha bypoll in April this year, Banerjee without taking Sharma’s name, said: “When your party leaders hurt religious sentiments by making derogatory remarks, they are not arrested. You (BJP) remain silent. Why have you arrested Mohammed Zubair and Teesta Setalvad? What wrong have they done? The entire world is condemning it. Does speaking out the truth or exposing the truth a crime? Those who are speaking out against this government are either harassed by using agencies or are arrested.”The Chief Minister’sremarks came days after the arrest of Setalvad and a day after the arrest of Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews.In an apparent reference to controversial remarks by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on the Prophet, the Chief Minister alleged that those who spread hatred and violence in the country are not being arrested.“I don’t want to take anyone’s name but those who spread hatred and violence in the country and insult religion are not being arrested and no action is being taken. Those who create animosity among communities are not even touched. Instead, they are well taken care of and given security. But my government has summoned such people and we will not spare them,” said Banerjee.The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad had on Saturday picked up Setalvad from her Mumbai home. She was later taken to Ahmedabad and handed over to the crime branch there.A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad in the police custody till July 2 in the case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. On Friday, the Supreme Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by a special investigation team (SIT) to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioners with Zakia Jafri (wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots) in the plea filed against Modi and others in the Supreme Court.Meanwhile, a cyber unit of the Delhi Police on Monday arrested Mohammed Zubair on the charges of allegedly hurting religious sentiments following a complaint by a social media user who referred to a tweet from 2018. The police said that they filed an FIR against Zubair in connection with the complaint under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings). They said he was remanded in police custody for a day and will be produced in the court for a bail hearing after Tuesday. Meanwhile, speaking on the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme, Banerjee said the Centre must extend the retirement age of soldiers recruited under it to 60 years, claiming that they would stare at an uncertain future after the end of their four-year contract.“Recently I received a communication where I was requested that after four years, Agniveers should get the opportunity in the state government’s jobs. It is a mess created by the Centre and they have to clean it. We will not clean the mess created by the Centre,” she said.Meanwhile, some candidates, who had cleared the State Level Selection Test (SLST) and did not get jobs, held placards and posters at the public meeting in a bid to draw Banerjee’s attention. The police soon stopped the protesters from showing the placards and later removed them from the venue. Addressing the protesters from the dais, Banerjee said, “Yesterday, I held a talk with some of you (another group of candidates who showed up in her public meeting). The matter is in the court now. I would request you to go to court. Every day this (protest) is being staged. The CPM and BJP are behind this. The court has directed to stop the appointments of so many people. I will abide by the court order. It has stopped the appointment process, and therefore, I cannot do anything. You moved the court and that’s why it happened. Now, talk to your lawyers. We have 17,000 vacant posts for teachers. We have also created 5,000 more jobs. But, I cannot do anything now as the matter is in the court.”Hitting out at a section of media for “spreading canards against opposition parties”, the TMC supremo said the media should start talking about the money that PM Cares received.“The media only wants to talk about ‘cut money’ in Bengal, but what about the money that was donated to the PM CaresFund? No one dares to question it. If there is a small incident in Bengal, the media starts raising hues and cries without even bothering to cross-check facts. Why shouldn’t action be taken against false news?” shequestioned.Banerjee urged party workers to gear up for the upcoming Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21 in the state, being held in a grand manner after a gap of two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic “For the last two years, we could not hold the July 21 rally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we will make it a grand success. On that day, we will also announce new programmes,” she added.—WITH PTI INPUTS
◾ A tailor in Udaipur was hacked to death today by two persons allegedly for posting a social media statement in favour of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who had made controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammad. With the city tense following the murder, internet services have been suspended, and 600 police personnel along with senior officers are being sent to Udaipur. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has appealed for peace. “Strict action will be taken against all the criminals involved in this incident and the police will go to the bottom of the crime. I appeal to all parties to maintain peace,” he said.◾ Meanwhile, in Delhi, Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was sent to four-day police custody over a 2018 tweet that allegedly hurt religious sentiments. On Zubair’s arrest, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “The arrest of journalist Mohammed Zubair in Delhi is pettiness, vengeance and repression let loose on a society once aspiring to be free. It is also a distillation of the way in which the Narendra Modi government draws energy from a thorough contempt for liberty, decency, constitutional values, and the opinion of the international community.”◾ In Maharashtra, where the political turmoil refuses to abate, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs to return, saying he is “worried” about them. “Don’t fall prey to anyone’s missteps. The honour given to you by Shiv Sena cannot be found anywhere. If you come forward and speak, we will sort out the issues. As Shiv Sena party chief and family head, I am still worried about you. Come here for a dialogue,” he said. His appeal came hours after Rebel leader Eknath Shinde said he will soon return to Mumbai.◾ In other news from the city, four people were killed after a helicopter operating for the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) made an emergency landing off the Mumbai coast. The chopper, with nine people on board, ditched in the sea 60 nautical miles away from Mumbai near Sagar Kiran rig on Tuesday morning.◾ In business news, the GST Council today approved changes in tax rates on some goods and services while allowing states to issue an e-way bill for intra-state movement of gold and precious stones. The Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also cleared a host of compliance procedures for GST-registered businesses along with a GoM report on high-risk taxpayers to check evasion.◾ Mukesh Ambani has resigned from the board of his group’s telecom arm, Reliance Jio and handed over the reins of the company to elder son Akash, a step seen as succession planning by the 65-year old billionaire. In a stock exchange filing, Reliance Jio Infocomm said the company’s board at a meeting on June 27, “approved the appointment of Akash M Ambani, non-executive director, as chairman of the board of directors of the company.”Political Pulse◾ The BJP is hoping for gains beyond the immediate in its storming of the Samajwadi Party bastions of Rampur and Azamgarh Lok Sabha seats in the recent bypolls. The planning and strategy to secure the constituencies, supervised by senior leader Amit Shah as per sources, have punched holes in the SP’s confidence in its loyal Muslim-Yadav vote bank. The results also fit in with the BJP’s Mission 2024 plans, which it has already set in motion. With the SP having mounted a creditable challenge to it in the recent Assembly elections, the BJP knows the party as the one to beat in the state, and these two seats were its best chance of sending a message to the party. Liz Mathew reports.◾ From the Urdu Press: As a major political turmoil roiled Maharashtra with an intra-Shiv Sena power struggle pushing the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government to the brink, the country’s leading Urdu newspapers provided its saturation coverage in their news and commentary pages. In their reporting and analysis, they also focused on the July 18 Presidential election, the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Zakia Jafri’s appeal challenging the SIT’s clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 Gujarat riots, spotlighting the subsequent arrests of activist-journalist Teesta Setalvad and ex-DGP RB Sreekumar.Express Explained◾ ‘Hermit’ is the latest sophisticated spyware in the news, and it is believed to have targeted iPhones and Android devices in Italy and Kazakhstan. Hermit’s deployment – the spyware has been developed by an Italian vendor called RCS Lab – was first reported by cyber security researchers at the Lookout, a San-Francisco-based cybersecurity firm. What is Hermit, what exactly does it do on a device, and how can users keep themselves safe? We explain.◾ The G7 countries, who are meeting during the ongoing Leaders’ Summit in Germany, have officially launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), a joint initiative to fund infrastructure projects in developing countries. The project, launched on June 27, is being seen as the bloc’s counter to China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative. What is PGII, where are funds being directed under the plan, and what has been China’s response to the announcement? Read here.
On September 12, 2011, when the Supreme Court had sent the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri against then chief minister Narendra Modi and 62 others back to the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad without issuing directions, Modi had tweeted “God is Great”. A few days later, on his 62nd birthday, he launched the ‘Sadbhavna’ fasts, meeting people from all faiths in different districts.As Prime Minister, Modi has chosen not to react to the verdict of a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on the same complaint, which upheld the clean chit to his administration for alleged role in “the larger conspiracy” related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.However, the BJP has been in celebratory mode. All its top leaders almost immediately issued statements welcoming the judgment, while condemning the role played by activist Teesta Setalvad, retired DGP R B Sreekumar, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and others in “defaming” Modi who was the then CM of Gujarat. State chief C R Paatil called Setalvad a “Congress puppet”, and accused the three of “fabricating evidence” to “frame” Modi.A day later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah gave an interview to ANI solely centred around the Gujarat riots, repeating the charges against a “triad of media, political parties and NGOs”, and suggesting even the courts had been “swayed” due to their campaign. Hours later, Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested on charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy etc, on an FIR that extensively quoted the Supreme Court order. Bhatt, who is serving a life term in another case, was also booked on the same charges.While the BJP’s stand publicly is that the riots order won’t be made a poll issue, the party is set to celebrate it as “a moral victory”. A lawyer actively associated with the BJP, who also represented some of the accused in the 2002 riot cases, said: “As a lawyer, I knew how witnesses were being tutored and many innocent people were framed and faced jail terms. This judgment will pave the way for justice, against those who framed Modiji.”The lawyer added that the Court order as well as arrests of Setalvad and Sreekumar would also send out a message to those party supporters “falsely” accused in riot cases. “Back then, the party was unable to check their persecution,” he said.The BJP especially expects a boost for those BJP leaders closely tied to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The Godhra train burning, in which kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya as part of the campaign were killed, is seen as the trigger for the 2002 riots.For those in the Ram temple campaign, this is the second big Court endorsement after the Supreme Court in 2019 gave the go-ahead for the shrine in Ayodhya.Only one big BJP leader was convicted in the riots, who was also acquitted later. Maya Kodnani was sentenced for the Naroda Patiya violence, one of the biggest massacres of 2002, by a Supreme Court-appointed special court. Since she was acquitted by the High Court, Kodnani is again a presence at the party office at Shree Kamalam.Trial is on in only one more 2002 case under the apex court’s scrutiny, the Naroda Gam deaths. Kodnani is also on trial in this apart from Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. In its order, the Supreme Court set aside the Tehelka sting operation that had caught Babu Bajrangi bragging about the killings.The Congress’s half-measures on the Supreme Court order – first choosing cautiousness, then speaking out after criticism – won’t help the party’s cause in a state where it is in a direct fight with the BJP.Since 2002, the Assembly elections in Gujarat have been largely polarised on communal lines, with the BJP winning one election after another. Only in 2017 did the Congress show some revival spark, though that is now also seen as snuffed out in face of the AAP’s fledgling competition.The BJP has further put the Congress on the defensive over the Supreme Court order, by alleging the hand of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in propping up Setalvad.Asked how important the Supreme Court judgment was for the BJP, C R Paatil told The Indian Express: “The judgment is important not only for Gujarat, but for the entire country. It is very dangerous in a democracy that some political party hatches such conspiracy or gets it hatched or supports it, by which its rival can get capital punishment.”On whether it will help the party electorally in Gujarat or not, Paatil said: “It is the biggest victory for us that Modi saheb has got a clean chit after such a long struggle. If you ask electorally, we are going to win (the state Assembly elections); it does not matter whether the judgment came now or afterwards. We are going to win because we are doing people’s work, we are connected with the people.”A senior BJP leader, who did not want to be identified, said: “Our party will definitely gain from this development. Narendrabhai and the party as a whole have faced a lot of stress due to these false allegations. Now, sympathy will be in favour of Narendrabhai among people. They will realise that he (Modi) was personally targeted and the entire state of Gujarat was defamed.”According to this leader, the order has ensured that the coming Assembly elections are fought solely on the issue of development. “Narendrabhai has set the tradition of fighting elections on the issues of development. Coming elections will also be fought on the same lines,” said the leader.Indicating the line the party is set to take, one also adopted by Shah in his interview, a senior office-bearer said: “Narendrabhai has always respected the law. He did not act against any of these people who hatched conspiracies (against him). Being the Chief Minister, he could have easily got an FIR registered against them. But he has set a benchmark for respecting the process of law.”The party leader also said that the cases against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt’s had been registered by the Gujarat government as per the direction of the Supreme Court. “The only gain for our party due to the Court order is that our stand has been vindicated. Our party is not going to make it an election issue and will stick to the politics of development.”
Gujarat Riots: Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri.New Delhi: "Satyamev Jayate" was the unanimous reaction of BJP leaders on Friday after the Supreme Court upheld the SIT's clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the Gujarat riots of 2002, when he was the state's chief minister, and dismissed a plea by Congress leader Ehsan Jafri's wife Zakia alleging a larger conspiracy.Union minister Anurag Thakur said,"Satyamev Jayate! Supreme Court of India gives a clean chit and has dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) report on post-Godhra violence in Gujarat. The Supreme Court says the petition is without merit." "Satyamev Jayate,"(Truth alone triumphs) was how another Union minister Smriti Irani put it while party spokesperson Sambit Patra also tweeted the same expression.BJP secretary Y Satya Kumar claimed that Congress' last attempt to malign PM Modi has fallen flat and justice prevailed as he cited the top court's observation that Zakia Jafri's appeal was devoid of merits and deserved to be dismissed.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comBringing the curtains down on the bid to reopen the probe, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the material collected during the investigation does not "give rise to strong or grave suspicion regarding hatching of larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level" for causing mass violence against Muslims.The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, termed Zakia Jafri's plea devoid of merit. It spoke of "the devious stratagem to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design" and noted that all those involved in "such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law".
PM Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots (File).New Delhi: An appeal against the exoneration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 2002 Gujarat riots case by the wife of a Congress MP killed in the violence is "devoid of merits" and filed "to keep the pot boiling", the Supreme Court said on Friday.Upholding the clearance issued to the then Chief Minister of the state by a Special Investigation Team or SIT, the top court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri, who was among the 68 people killed in what came to be known as the Gulbarg Society massacre.The plea was filed "to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design", the court said, in strong comments that, it added, were borrowed from arguments made by the SIT."All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law," the judges said, surmising that the appeal was filed under "dictation of someone".They said petitioner's arguments were bordering on "undermining the integrity and sincerity" of SIT members and most of the content in the plea was "based on versions of others which have been found to be replete with falsehood".It also said that the submissions by Ms Jafri were "far-fetched and an attempt to undo and undermine the industry of the SIT in investigating the cases".The Gulbarg Society massacre was one of the worst incidents of violence in the riots that began after a train coach carrying pilgrims was burnt in Godhra, killing 59 people, a day ago.Ms Jafri, 84, had sought a fresh investigation into the communal riots, alleging a larger conspiracy involving politicians and the police.Supreme Court Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar had reserved the verdict last December.The massacre at Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society - a cluster of 29 bungalows and 10 apartment buildings housing mostly Muslims - was among the 10 major Gujarat riot cases re-investigated by the special team appointed by the Supreme Court.Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress parliamentarian, was among 68 people dragged out, hacked and burnt by the rioters. The Congress leader's frantic phone calls to police officers and senior politicians for help went unanswered, Zakia Jafri had alleged.The Special Investigation Team had submitted its closure report in February 2012 - a decade after the riots - and exonerated Prime Minister Modi and 63 others, citing "no prosecutable evidence".PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIn 2016, a special court in Ahmedabad convicted 24 attackers for the massacre that the court described as the "darkest day in the history of civil society." But the court, which also acquitted 36 people including a BJP corporator in this case, underlined that there was no larger conspiracy.Over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the three-day violence in Gujarat in 2002.
Appeal filed under the "dictation of someone", the Supreme Court saidNew Delhi: The Supreme Court rejected an appeal against exoneration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 2002 Gujarat riots case. The appeal by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the violence, was "devoid of merits", the court said Here are top five observations by the court:Quoting from the Special Investigation Team's arguments, the court said the plea was filed "to keep the pot boiling" for "ulterior design".All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law, the court said.The appeal was filed under the "dictation of someone", the Supreme Court said in its verdict.The court said most of the content in the plea based on the versions of others and found to be "replete with falsehood".The court said the petitioner's arguments border on "undermining the integrity and sincerity" of the probe team's members and question the "wisdom" of Supreme Court. Comments
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday slammed the BJP-led central government over the arrest of social activist Teesta Setalvad and AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair.Addressing a public meeting in Asansol of West Burdwan district, Banerjee said: “No action is taken against those who spread hatred and violence. But action is taken against people like Teesta Setalvad and others. Why was she arrested? And why were others who spread fake news and hatred not arrested? Instead they are given protection. But we will not spare those who insult religion. We will take action against them.”The comments from the West Bengal CM came days after the arrest of Setalvad and a day after the arrest of Zubair.The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad had on Saturday picked up Setalvad from her Mumbai home. She was later taken to Ahmedabad and handed over to the crime branch there. A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad in police custody till July 2 in the case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.On Friday, the Supreme Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by a special investigation team (SIT) to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.Setalvad and her NGO were co-petitioner with Zakia Jafri (wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots) in the plea filed against Modi and others in the Supreme Court.Meanwhile, a cyber unit of Delhi Police on Monday arrested Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews, on charges of allegedly hurting religious sentiments following a complaint by a social media user who referred to a tweet from 2018.The police said they filed an FIR against Zubair in connection with the complaint under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings).
Good morning,In an interim relief for the Shiv Sena rebel MLAs, the Supreme Court extended the deadline set by Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal to reply to notices on pleas seeking their disqualification from the Assembly. The apex court said they had time until 5.30 pm on July 12 to send their replies and fixed July 11 as the next date of hearing.The political crisis in Maharashtra has given rise to the question of whether the Shiv Sena rebels can avoid disqualification under the anti-defection law. With the rebel camp claiming they have the support of at least 39 MLAs, we explain the 2/3rd rule in anti-defection law.At a time when Sanjay Raut has been trying to rally the Shiv Sena MLAs and cadre behind Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to the Sena MP in a case related to irregularities in a chawl redevelopment project at Mumbai’s Goregaon.Facing rebellion within his party, Thackeray took away the portfolios of rebel ministers camping in Assam’s Guwahati and allocated them to other cabinet colleagues.Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena’s rebel group led by Eknath Shinde is learnt to be strategising to approach the Governor, informing him of their decision to withdraw support from the MVA, and thereby, prompting a floor test.The Supreme Court, while dismissing appeals against the clean chit to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gujarat riots case, said the matter is being pursued to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design” and said “all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law”. Yet it was the Supreme Court which, through hearings and orders over the years, called for “fair and impartial investigation” into the riots cases. Two cases — of the Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano — were moved out of Gujarat to Maharashtra. Here’s what Supreme Court once said and did.Is lack of clarity on policy and progressive clamping down on cryptocurrencies forcing Indian entrepreneurs and developers in the Web 3.0 to leave the country in search of greener pastures? With the UAE and Singapore actively promoting the ecosystem, co-founders of India’s cryptocurrency exchanges have been relocating with families to these destinations in the last couple of years.A cyber unit of Delhi Police arrested Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews, on charges of allegedly hurting religious sentiments following a complaint by a social media user who referred to a tweet from 2018. Police sources said the complainant in the case goes by the Twitter name Hanuman Bhakt.India, along with G7 countries and four invited countries, signed the ‘2022 Resilient Democracies Statement’ in which they committed to “guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors” and “protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline”.In an attempt to increase participation of women in the gig economy, the NITI Aayog has proposed fiscal incentives like tax breaks or startup grants for companies with about one-third of their workforce as women and people with disabilities (PwDs). Key points in its report include:🔴A survey conducted across urban centres of India revealed that women are more likely to take up platform jobs after their education and marriage.🔴 Female labour force participation in India has remained low, oscillating between 16 per cent to 23 per cent in the last few years.🔴 Platform companies offer flexibility and choice of labour to all workers in general, and women in particular, empowering them to monetise their idle assets when and where they want.🔴 It also recommended that businesses have a higher share of women managers and supervisors in the organisation to ensure that communication to workers does not perpetuate gender stereotypes.Another report, released by the Ministry of Education, states that as India entered the pandemic year, students in around 61 per cent districts of the country had very little exposure to digital learning due to limited availability of computers, Internet facilities and teachers trained to handle technological tools in schools.Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan questioned the Congress’ “silence” over the arrest of retired DGP R B Sreekumar and activist Teesta Setalvad by the Gujarat Police a day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit by the SIT to the state government, then led by Narendra Modi, in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. “The Congress could have organised at least a nominal protest,” he said.Aditi Mutatkar, a former international shuttler, remembers getting awkward when boys at her academy didn’t know why she came for badminton training, wearing dark shorts a few days of the month. Now, with a myriad voices raising questions about Wimbledon’s pedantic white-only clothing rule, unrelenting even for women players on their periods, sport is in for a serious sartorial reckoning of its age-old traditions.Delhi confidential: With the digital push targeting the youth ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections finding success, a new mission — New India For Young India — is already launched in poll-bound Gujarat, with Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar visiting universities to tell students about the government’s programmes and schemes. The programme is to create a buzz about new opportunities such as space and start-ups.In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we discuss how the sanctions against Russia have fared and why AAP lost the recent bypolls in Punjab. We also delve into the companies looking to invest in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, and what it says about our economy.Until tomorrow,Leela Prasad and Sonal Gupta
Three days after Supreme Court dismissed allegations of a larger conspiracy leveled by Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress leader and former MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed in 2002 Gujarat riots, against then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and others in cases related to the 2002 riots, the Congress on Monday said the judgment was “disappointing”, and that the party stands by Jafri family.The Congress had reacted cautiously to the Supreme Court’s judgment on Friday, agreeing with the findings of the SIT appointed by it that there was no “larger conspiracy” behind the riots. There was no official statement from the party expressing solidarity with Zakia either.The party’s first official reaction came on Saturday, after Home Minister Amit Shah hailed the verdict and accused a triad of political parties opposed to the BJP, some journalists, and some NGOs of having given publicity to “these allegations”.The Congress then countered, with party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi saying that the Supreme Court judgment should not be politicised, and that “everybody should bow down to a Supreme Court judgment”.On Monday, Jairam Ramesh, AICC general secretary in charge of communication, put out a statement saying that the“Supreme Court judgment in Zakia Jafri case is “deeply disappointing” and that many fundamental questions still remain unanswered.“What is the Constitutional and moral responsibility of the Chief Minister and State Government in cases of large-scale communal riots? Is the responsibility in such cases, only ever that of the Collector and Dy. Commissioner of Police and not of the political executive? Will the Chief Minister, Cabinet and State Government never be held accountable, even if a State is thrown into a circle of violence & riots?” he said.Ramesh stated, “We stand by our colleague, the late Ahsan Jafri and his family in this hour. What happened to him in a most tragic manner was the result of a fundamental lapse on the part of the state government.”He said there are some questions that will continue to haunt the Prime Minister.“…Why was Prime Minister Vajpayee so affected by his [then Gujarat CM’s] lack of action that he had to publicly remind him to do his duty, to follow his ‘Rajdharma’? Was it not the Supreme Court who called out the conduct of the Modi Government in Gujarat as that of “Modern day Nero’s (who) were looking elsewhere when… innocent children and helpless women were burning, and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected? Why did sections of the BJP, including now member of the Modi Cabinet, Smriti Irani, protest and call for his dismissal as CM if he was not guilty of any wrongdoing?”“What about the numerous convictions that have been carried out on the basis of evidence collected by the SIT relating to the Gujarat riots? Can BJP claim that those also stand invalidated? No amount of propaganda by BJP can ever erase these facts,” Ramesh stated.Although the Congress had reacted cautiously to the arrest of Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad, Ramesh and AICC general secretary Ajay Maken attended a protest meeting in Delhi.
Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, had challenged the clean chit to PM Modi (File)New Delhi: The Congress on Monday termed as "deeply disappointing" the Supreme Court ruling upholding the SIT's clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 communal riots, and asked whether Modi and the state government will ever be held accountable.The opposition party said it stands by party leader, the late Ehsan Jafri, and his family and asserted that what happened to him in a most tragic manner was the result of a "fundamental lapse on the part of the state government".Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was among the 68 people killed at Ahmedabad's Gulberg Society during the violence on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning that claimed 59 lives.The Congress' detailed reaction to the Supreme Court ruling came after the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the SIT's clean chit to PM Modi and 63 others in the 2002 communal riots in the state, saying there is no "title of material" to show the violence after the Godhra train carnage was "pre-planned" owing to the criminal conspiracy allegedly hatched at the "highest level" in the state.The top court dismissed a plea by Jafri's wife Zakia, terming it as "devoid of merits".In a statement on the top court ruling, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the Supreme Court judgment in the Zakia Jafri case is "deeply disappointing".Despite the judgment dated June 24, 2022, certain fundamental questions still remain unanswered, Mr Ramesh said."What is the constitutional and moral responsibility of the chief minister and the state government in cases of large-scale communal riots," Mr Ramesh said."Is the responsibility in such cases only ever that of the Collector & Deputy Commissioner of Police and not of political executive? Will the chief minister, cabinet and state government never be held accountable, even if a state is thrown into a circle of violence & riots?" he said.While the Supreme Court has pronounced its judgment, there are five questions that will continue to haunt Prime Minister Modi, including was he not the Gujarat chief Minister when the horrific riots took place in 2002, Mr Ramesh said."Why was PM Vajpayee so affected by his lack of action that he had to publicly remind him to do his duty, to follow his ‘Rajdharma'?" Mr Ramesh said.Was it not the Supreme Court which called out the conduct of the Modi Government in Gujarat as that of "modern day Nero's (who) were looking elsewhere when ...innocent children and helpless women were burning, and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected”, the Congress leader asked.''Why did sections of the BJP, including now member of the Modi Cabinet Smriti Irani protest and call for his dismissal as CM if he was not guilty of any wrongdoing," Mr Ramesh asked."What about all the numerous convictions that have been carried out on the basis of the evidence collected by the SIT relating to the Gujarat riots? Can the BJP claim that those also stand invalidated?" he said.Mr Ramesh asserted that no amount of "propaganda'' by the BJP can ever erase these facts.The riots that the Godhra carnage triggered killed 1,044 people, mostly Muslims. The Central government had informed the Rajya Sabha in May 2005 that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in the post-Godhra riots.The top court had observed that inaction or failure of some officials of one section of the administration cannot be the basis to readily infer a pre-planned criminal conspiracy by the authorities or to term it as a state-sponsored crime against the minority community Bringing the curtains down on the bid to reopen the probe into the 2002 riots, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar also spoke of “the devious stratagem to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design”.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIt said disgruntled officers of the Gujarat government need to be in the dock and proceeded against in accordance with law for creating a sensation by making false revelations. (This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
SURAT/AHMEDABAD: Tanvir Jafri, son of slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed during 2002 riot, on Friday said that he was disappointed with the Supreme Court decision. The SC rejected his mother Zakia Jafri’s plea challenging the clean chit given to former Gujarat chief minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others by the special investigation team (SIT) that probed the 2002 riots. Jafri talked with TOI over a phone from Macca as he is on haj. Jafri lives with his mother and family in Surat. “I am yet to read the order, but I came to know from people that our plea has been rejected. I am disappointed over the Supreme Court order,” said Jafri. “Due to old age, my mother is living with a relative and she is also not in a position to read the entire order immediately. I will read the order copy once I get it and later will plan my next move,” said Jafri. Senior Congress leader from Gujarat Arjun Modhwadia said there was no option other than to accept the supreme court’s verdict. “Many people were burnt alive during the riots. One of them was our party’s former MP Ehsan Jafri. His wife Zakia was fighting the case even at the age of 85 because she was hoping to get justice. Now, there is no other option for us than to accept the supreme court verdict,” said Modhwadia, former state Congress chief. “The judgement in the Zakia Jafri case was delivered on Friday and it was over in precisely two minutes. The SIT report of February 8, 2012, has been fully accepted by the SC. The protest petition dated April 15, 2013, has been completely rejected. There was no infraction of rule of law, said the supreme court, and accordingly the appeal has been dismissed,” said activist Teesta Setalvad in her reaction. Setalvad had supported Zakia Jafri throughout her legal battle. Ehsan Jafri was among 68 persons killed at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. A day earlier, 59 people including karsevaks had been killed when a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at Godhra.
After the Supreme Court rejected a petition moved by Zakia Jafri — wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre — against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others, Gujarat BJP Friday said that truth has prevailed.Quoting Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil, a party release said, “One more attempt to link Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the 2002 riots with malafide political intentions has failed…”In the entire litigation, the BJP said, people of the country have seen to what extent the Congress can go to get power. The release added that as part of a conspiracy of Congress and other opposition parties to defame Modi, more than 60 inquiry commissions, government and non-government agencies, international NGOs and Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), too, have investigated the matter.“Still, after so many years and despite clean chit to Modi by a number of times, this lobby has continued hatching conspiracies with political prejudice. And, therefore, the Supreme Court has commented that ‘this procedure has been followed only to keep the issue alive for the past 16 years and it is clean that its motive is malafide’,” the release stated quoting Paatil.“Notwithstanding the fact that the entire legal process went on for 20 years and the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to Narendrabhai Modi in 2012, this case was filed… And after a magistrate and Gujarat High Court dismissed the same, Congress leader Kapil Sibal argued for eight days before the Supreme Court and its verdict has come today… the Supreme Court has dismissed it with strong words. In the process, entire country has seen to what extent the Congress can go for power. We hope this will be the permanent end to the case,” it added.Addressing a press conference, Gujarat BJP general secretary Rajni Patel said, “Anti-Gujarat people, anti-India people and those against Narendrabhai Modi continuously did such activities so that he (Modi) is pushed to margins, lags behind and Gujarat’s progress is hindered. They did not spare any effort to do such activity.”“When Congress, too, strongly aligned with all those, this (Supreme Court decision) is a strong reply to it as well that those doing development, those progressing forward, those aligning with truth will always triumph,” Patel said.He added, “The entire investigation was done by Congress-led UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government and this verdict exposes Congress’s mentality of victimisation.”“The only aim of Congress was to stop Narendrabhai Modiji anyhow. The way Narendrabhai was moving ahead, the way Gujarat model was progressing, entire country’s eye was on Gujarat and it seemed certain to Congress that BJP and Narendrabhai will come to rule the country. And therefore, all attempts were made by them (Congress) to stop him from here (Gujarat) itself,” Patel said, adding “Truth has triumphed and people of Gujarat and entire country are happy.”