Gujarat Government News

Modi model of governance is sustainable, no anti-incumbency, graph ever-rising: Jitendra Singh
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | |

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s model of governance is sustainable, as it has defied the principle of diminishing returns, there is no anti-incumbency, and the graph is rising always upwards, Union Minister of State Dr Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.Since 2014, Modi has given a “new, different kind of model of governance, which is based on a new, different approach, and a different work culture”, the MoS for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, and PMO said.Addressing the inaugural session of 25th e-governance conference here, Singh said, “What is this governance model that I am trying to be boisterous about? Some authors have described it as Modi’s model of governance… It is not simply for name-dropping, as some cynics might feel. It is a model that has sustained itself for nearly 20 years, or more than 20 years, with Modi as the longest-serving head of government in any democracy.“Therefore, I have the courage and conviction to say this is a sustainable model of governance.”He said, “This is a model which has defied the principle of diminishing returns. On the contrary, with each passing year, the dividends have increased. There is no anti-incumbency…. The graph is always upwards, never down.”This is a model that has “grown stronger with each challenge”, because it was always prepared beforehand to face a challenge, Singh said. “As chief minister (of Gujarat), Mr Modi faced the earthquake in Gujarat. As Prime Minister, the pandemic (Covid-19). We were already prepared for it; we could do better.”Singh said it was due to this governance model that the Covid-19 pandemic could be managed. Recently, he said, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands appreciated the way India combatted Covid-19. “He said we (Amsterdam) could not manage with such a small population, how could you? I said because we were already prepared. So, this is the governance model (he is referring to).”Singh said the basic mantra of the Modi government is “maximum governance, minimum government”.“This sounds very fanciful…like a philosophy, an ornamental phrase…. But the simple meaning is a government that acts as a facilitator but does not act as an intimidator. That is how I have sought to interpret it…sarkaar ka abhav bhi nahin aur sarkaar ka prabhav bhi nahi (neither the absence of government nor the influence of government),” he said.Singh said the “whole of government, whole of nation and whole of society” approach has become the new norm to achieve the desired results in the shortest span of time”.The two-day National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) is organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), in association with the Jammu & Kashmir administration. The theme of this year’s conference is “Bringing Citizens, Industry and Government closer”.Addressing the gathering, DARPG Secretary V Srinivas said the maxim ‘Maximum Governance, Minimum Government’ is represented by a digitally empowered nation, a digitally empowered citizenry, and a digitally transformed institution. Between 2014 and 2022, he said, the government has brought about digital transformation that has been accepted by the rural population through Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, BHIM UPI, CoWIN, Arogya Setu App.J&K Chief Secretary Arun Mehta said it is a proud moment for the UT to be hosting the 25th National Conference on e-Governance at Katra, which shows signs of changes taking place in the UT.Information Technology Secretary Alkesh Kumar called it an occasion to recognise and showcase exemplary digital transformations brought about by the Centre, the states and the start-up community.On the occasion, Singh presented the National Awards for e-Governance (NAeG) under five categories of the NAeG Scheme-2022 to 18 e-Governance initiatives at Central, state and district levels, academic and research institutions and Public Sector Undertakings.(The reporter was in Katra on an invitation from the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions)

Modi model of governance is sustainable, no anti-incumbency, graph ever-rising: Jitendra Singh
At farmers’ rally, Uddhav hits out at BJP, PM Modi
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | |

Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying industrial projects coming to Maharashtra are being diverted to neighboring Gujarat as Assembly elections are being held there. He also called the BJP a “party of imports” and “chor bazaar (flea market)”.While addressing a farmers’ rally at Chikhli in Buldhana, Uddhav also slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for his “silence” over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, the alleged insult of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the government’s inaction on farmers’ plight in the state.After stepping down as chief minister in June this year, this was Thackeray’s first rally outside Mumbai. Last month, Uddhav had addressed party workers at its annual Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park.“The BJP has lost its ideology and is only importing people from other parties. It has become a party of imports. If you enlist, you will find how many people they have taken into their party from other parties. Nothing is left with them so they are stealing people from other parties. Is it a political party or ‘chor bazaar’,” Uddhav said.Hitting out at Modi, Uddhav said the PM would not hesitate to break Maharashtra and hand over villages to Karnataka with polls in Karnataka next year. “The projects coming to Maharashtra were diverted to Gujarat owing to the elections there. Now Karnataka chief minister is staking claims over Akkalkot and Solapur of Maharashtra. Karnataka is going to polls next year, I am afraid that as the PM sent the projects to Gujarat, he won’t hesitate before breaking Maharashtra into pieces,” Thackeray said.Taking a dig at Shinde, Uddhav said, “This CM might even say that what is the harm in handing over 40 villages to Karnataka …. PM has promised to get Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and give us 100 villages…..”Further attacking Shinde who along with his MPs and MLAs went to Guwahati, Uddhav said, “Today all these 40 people have gone to Guwahati to take blessings. A weekago he (Shinde) had gone to visit an astrologer to know his future. He doesn’t know his own future. And he is going to decide our future? In fact, his future is being decided by people sitting in Delhi. He has to follow their orders,” Thackeray said.Claiming that nearly 1,000 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra since the formation of the current dispensation in the state in July this year, Uddhav said if he would have been the CM, he would not have allowed such suicides to take place.In response to Uddhav’s attack, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which held the reins of Maharashtra between November 2019 and June 2022, should explain where was its concern for farmers and the agriculture sector. Why did it fail to address the agrarian crisis?”

At farmers’ rally, Uddhav hits out at BJP, PM Modi
"Almighty Started Sweeping His Broom": Arvind Kejriwal At Gujarat Rally
Ndtv | 7 hours ago | |
Ndtv
7 hours ago | |

Arvind Kejriwal asked the people assembled to give him a chance. (File)Bhavnagar: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party's election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat, where the two-phase Assembly polls are scheduled for December 1 and 5.When the "pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom", the Aam Aadmi Party national convener claimed while addressing a roadshow in Bhavnagar in the poll-bound state."In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom," Mr Kejriwal said.He said people getting zero electricity bills for the usage of 24-hour electricity, as part of AAP's poll promise of not charging for 300 units of power, would be the "magic" people will experience once his party forms government in Gujarat."This is magic. This 24-hour, zero-electricity bill is magic. And only Kejriwal knows how to perform that magic. No other party can perform this magic. I have been specially blessed by the Almighty and this can only be done by Mr Kejriwal and no other leader," he said.He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had done nothing for the state in its 27-year rule and voting for the opposition Congress was futile as its legislators would defect to the ruling party post-elections.Mr Kejriwal asked the people assembled at the roadshow to give him a chance to see what can be done in five years, adding they could "throw us out" if promises are not fulfilled."Today, people are suffering due to inflation. They are unable to survive. I will give you relief from inflation. After the formation of our government, I will pay your electricity bill from March 1," he said.Mr Kejriwal said women above the age of 18 will get Rs 1,000 per month as an honorarium, while youth will get Rs 3,000 as an unemployment allowance till they land a job."If you want to keep your children unemployed, you want to be abused, then you vote for them (BJP). This has been going on for 27 years. But if you want employment for your children, then vote for AAP," he asserted.Slamming the ruling BJP, he said frequent exam paper leaks in major competitive exams meant there was the involvement of big leaders."All paper leaks since 2015 will be probed and these big leaders will go to jail. We will completely eliminate the atmosphere of fear in the business world. We will create an environment to do business with courage and peace. We will give every businessman the respect they deserve," he said.Mr Kejriwal said an AAP government in the state would be free from corruption, and Value Added Tax and other pending refunds will be paid within six months (of coming to power).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Goods and Services Tax will be simplified, he added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRow Over Karnataka Chief Minister's Border Remark Intensifies

"Almighty Started Sweeping His Broom": Arvind Kejriwal At Gujarat Rally
Kejriwal well-wisher of terrorism, Congress opposed Somnath temple reconstruction: Adityanath
Times of India | 10 hours ago | |
Times of India
10 hours ago | |

SOMNATH: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday dubbed Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal as a 'namoona' or buffoon, and accused him and his party of supporting terrorism and corruption. Speaking at an election rally in Somnath town in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat for BJP candidates, he also accused main opposition Congress of not respecting other people's religions because of its "Muslim vote bank". "A 'Namoona' (buffoon) from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who is visiting Gujarat now a days is a true well-wisher of terrorism. He had also opposed the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. He had sought proof from our brave soldiers when the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike in Pakistan," said Adityanath, who is among the Bharatiya Janata Party's star campaigners. "When the Pakistan government itself was admitting that the strike had broken their back, AAP kept on asking for evidence. Support for terrorism and corruption is in their genes," the UP CM claimed. "Professional rioters" as well as goons and criminals who enjoyed the patronage of Congress and its allies used to harass common citizens, poor people and traders in his state, Adityanath said. "But now riots no longer take place in Uttar Pradesh. Our bulldozers have made Uttar Pradesh riot-free," he said. "Do you believe that Congress would have removed Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir? Would Congress or AAP give consent for the construction of Ram temple? It was (prime minister Narendra) Modi ji and BJP government and Gujarat who stood by you in your difficult times. They gave you free treatment, vaccines and ration during COVID-19 pandemic," he said. Neither Congress nor AAP will respect your faith and neither of them are capable of protecting you, he told the audience. "Only the BJP can do that because we believe in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (progress for all by taking along all)," Adityanath said. The Congress party and the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru opposed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's proposal to rebuild the Somnath temple, he alleged. "Because of its Muslim vote bank, Congress never wanted to respect your faith. That is the reason why Congress was against rebuilding the Somnath temple. But with his strong will, Sardar Patel went ahead with the construction. Even attempts were made to stop President Rajendra Prasad from attending the event. Can you support such a party?" Adityanath asked. He also accused the Congress of insulting Dr B R Ambedkar and trying to defeat him in elections. Reacting to Adityanath's swipes at him, Kejriwal took to Twitter and said people should vote for the BJP only if they wanted foul language, hooliganism, corruption and dirty politics. "And if you want schools, hospitals, electricity, water connections and roads then give your vote to me," said the Delhi chief minister who too is in Gujarat for campaigning. Gujarat will go to the polls in two phases on December 1 and 5.

Kejriwal well-wisher of terrorism, Congress opposed Somnath temple reconstruction: Adityanath
#Politics | ‘RSS was opposed to Constitution’: Jairam Ramesh, Pinarayi Vijayan attack govt
The Indian Express | 11 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
11 hours ago | |

Political leaders cutting across party lines took to social media Saturday morning onwards to observe Constitution Day. November 26 is being observed as Constitution Day since 2015. The Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution on November 26, 1949.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before addressing the Supreme Court during the launch of the government’s e-court project, tweeted, “Today, on Constitution Day, we pay homage to those greats who gave us our Constitution and reiterate our commitment to fulfil their vision for our nation.” In his address, Modi referred to India as the “mother of democracy” and paid tributes to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.At the event, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said the courts must reach out to the people, pledging that every bench of the Supreme Court would hear 10 bail applications, preceded by 10 transfer petitions, from next week onwards.Today, on Constitution Day, we pay homage to those greats who gave us our Constitution and reiterate our commitment to fulfil their vision for our nation. pic.twitter.com/eKVwA7NdaB— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 26, 2022Last year, several Opposition parties, including the Congress, boycotted a Constitution Day event in Parliament’s Central Hall, saying the government was disrespecting the fundamental values of the Constitution and undermining parliamentary democracy. But this year, there no all-out criticism of the government from Opposition leaders, except Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Congress’s Jairam Ramesh.Vijayan tweeted, “India’s Constitution, which encompasses the ideals of our anti-imperialist struggle, is facing a wide array of challenges on this 73rd anniversary of its adoption. It’s time to join the fight to fend off such threats and defend its spirit and values on our #ConstitutionDay.”India’s Constitution, which encompasses the ideals of our anti-imperialist struggle, is facing a wide array of challenges on this 73rd anniversary of its adoption. It’s time to join the fight to fend off such threats and defend its spirit and values on our #ConstitutionDay.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@pinarayivijayan) November 26, 2022He added, “Today, the values of secularism, democracy and federalism in our country are facing serious challenges…The challenges being faced by our Constitution, even on the 73rd anniversary of its adoption, are not just trivial.”Congress general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh alleged that the “ideological fountainheads” of the BJP had nothing to do with the making of the Constitution and PM Modi decided to mark November 26 as Constitution Day as he “desperately” wanted to show respect to the document.“The draft Constitution was adopted by Constituent Assembly on 26.11.1949. Constituent Assembly decided it would come into force from 26.01.1950 which is since celebrated as Republic Day,” Ramesh tweeted.Ideological fountainheads of the BJP had nothing whatsoever to do with the making of the Constitution, the Congress leader said. “In fact the RSS was opposed to the Constitution of India. Desperately wanting to show that he respects the Constitution – while he subverts it daily in letter and spirit – the prime minister decided to celebrate November 26 as Constitution Day. This is sheer hypocrisy.”Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Babasaheb urged us to march on the road to unity. I will walk that road long enough, until every word of our Constitution is upheld, and every citizen stands protected by fairness and justice.”Babasaheb urged us to march on the road to unity.I will walk that road long enough, until every word of our Constitution is upheld, and every citizen stands protected by fairness and justice. pic.twitter.com/OUMCJKugxj— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 26, 2022At Tummalapalli Kalakshetram, Vijayawada, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan and Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy participated in a National Constitution Day programme.The draft Constitution was adopted by Constituent Assembly on 26.11.1949. Constituent Assembly decided it would come into force from 26.01.1950 which is since celebrated as Republic Day. Ideological fountainheads of BJP had nothing whatsoever to do in making the Constitution 1/3— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) November 26, 2022Addressing an election rally in Gujarat, MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said Muslims were legitimate citizens of India and no one could snatch this right from them as long as they stuck to the values upheld by the Constitution.Early in the morning, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi, “Our Constitution is the pride of our country’s democracy, this is the identity of the rights of us Indians. Best wishes to all the countrymen on Constitution Day. Protecting the constitution of the country, we will give our whole life to fulfill the dreams of Babasaheb and to make India the No. 1 country in the world.”

#Politics | ‘RSS was opposed to Constitution’: Jairam Ramesh, Pinarayi Vijayan attack govt
Jignesh Mevani interview: ‘People have lost spark to even aggressively react against BJP govt … They’ve not been able to speak due to oppression’
The Indian Express | 16 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
16 hours ago | |

Vadgam in Banaskantha district will be one of the most-watched seats in the coming Gujarat Assembly elections because fighting to retain the constituency will be Jignesh Mevani who won last time as an Independent. This time, Mevani is in the fray as a Congress candidate.In a wide-ranging interview, he discusses both his own electoral prospect and that of his party, the Congress. He dwells on the issues of these polls, how the election this time is different from 2017 when he contested as an Independent, and the BJP.You contested as an Independent in 2017. This year, you are a Congress candidate. What is the difference?We all know that in Gujarat and across India there is an issue of literacy and for the rural people who are illiterate it is tough finding a symbol (of an Independent candidate). If not more, then 2,000 to 5,000 people must have faced difficulty in finding the sewing machine symbol (Mevani’s symbol as an independent candidate in 2017). So, in that context, I will benefit (as a Congress candidate).Apart from that, a big segment of the Congress was bewildered about where this issue of independent candidature came from (in 2017). So, that matter has been resolved, not that each and every party worker will be with me. By and large, Congress people feel good that now I am part of the party. So, it helps. And the Congress is a decades-old party. So, I get an added advantage of its symbol.Secondly, I get (formal) backing from the party, which was also there last time. A lot of party leaders and workers can also now see their prospects through me. Overall, it is an advantage for me to fight elections on the Congress symbol.The Supreme Court recently upheld the 10 per cent EWS quota. Do you see it affecting Gujarat elections in any manner?I don’t see much of an impact at the moment. Any positive or negative vibrations created by it have not reached me. Maybe, I am too lost in the campaign. Otherwise, generally, when this kind of ruling comes, there are reactions from both sides of the camp. One camp cherishes it, while another one discards it. But there has not been much talk about it.In the 2017 elections, the Una flogging incident was one of the major factors. This time, it is nowhere in the picture. How do you see the government’s attitude towards Dalit issues in the last five years?Dalits are largely working-class people. And they are the rural landless people of India. The same applies to Gujarat as well. So, the kind of economic policies the BJP stands for and the kind of economic disaster they have unleashed — inflation, unemployment, economic exploitation — all these issues affect Dalits. Even if there is no visible large-scale campaign, since it affects Dalits, they will stay away from the BJP.Secondly, wherever I have been able to campaign against the BJP in the last two years or so, we have done a lot of ideological work as well. We have explained what the BJP stands for. And why we should be away from them. Secondly, the Dalit middle class that benefited from the reservation policy is vocal enough to explain to the Dalit masses that the BJP is determined to finish your reservation, that the BJP and its frontal organisations are against the Constitution.So, you don’t see any change in the Gujarat government’s attitude towards Dalits?The attitude of the government towards Dalits is pathetic. They just don’t care. ‘You die, we don’t care.’ That is the approach. Despite demands coming from all corners and the issues being raised in the state Assembly, they neither care about the atrocity cases (SC-ST Act) nor do they care about implementing the scholarship scheme. (They are) not concerned about the formulation of the SC/ST Sub Plan Act. They don’t want to do anything about landless Dalits, they don’t want to allocate land, they don’t want to ensure the possession of already allotted land unless there is a call of agitation. So, the attitude is the same.The attempts they have made to bring Dalits to their fold have not worked. Because there is genuine unrest among Dalits. And even apart from me, there are many Dalit groups operating at the grassroots level that are constantly taking Dalits away from the BJP. Dalits have enough ideological material to take it to the Dalit masses to ensure they don’t go to BJP.In 2017, Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and you were fighting against the BJP. In 2022, Patel and Thakor are in the BJP. What do you say?Let the people of Gujarat judge it.You don’t want to say anything more than this?I have said everything I had to say.The AAP is claiming it will form the government. How do you see it as a political force in Gujarat?Everybody has the right to live in a fool’s paradise.Vadgam is a Muslim-dominated seat and the AIMIM has fielded a candidate here. Do you see any influence of the AIMIM in the constituency?There is some influence. But the wisdom the Muslim community has shown throughout, all across India, makes me believe that eventually it will be sorted out.Do you see your votes going down this time (owing to AIMIM and AAP candidates)?No. On the contrary, there is every chance that the (winning) margin may go up because of the Vipul Chaudhary factor (the imprisonment of the Chaudhary community leader has turned the group against the BJP), the local issues, and detachment of some of the very committed BJP workers of the Chaudhary community from BJP. Because of these issues, there is a lot of unrest and a section of the Chaudhary community likes me because of my work on the issue of water crisis.So do you see the Chaudhary community supporting you this time?This time it is clear and evident. They are openly saying it. They are campaigning for me because of the imprisonment of Vipul Chaudhary.Delhi AAP leader Rajendra Pal Gautam’s episode related to the Buddhist conversion programme was turned into a big poll issue by the BJP. After that, Gautam also resigned as Delhi minister. How do you see it?It has not gone well among Dalits. Dalits are enough educated and politically oriented to understand that to protect the so-called upper caste votes, the AAP has done it (make Gautam resign).After becoming the working president of Gujarat Congress, what has been your contribution to the party?As and when my party needs my services — in going and addressing the masses, taking up certain issues, focusing in north Gujarat and particularly in Patan and Banaskantha districts where I am the in-charge — I do that. So, whatever role has been assigned to me as a working president, I am doing that.In 2017, Congress won 77 seats and is now down to 59 MLAs. So many people have resigned. Against that backdrop, how do you see the way forward for Congress?It is undoubtedly difficult. And the manner in which Congress MLAs have been leaving the party is a huge concern for everyone in Gujarat and even for the central leadership. This is not sending a good message. But what can one do? It is a big concern for the party and there is no immediate solution. But the good thing is that despite all the efforts of the BJP, still we are 60 MLAs. We have not formed the government in the last 27 years but the Congress still has a tremendous base all across Gujarat. We have grassroots workers in almost every booth in every village. And the spirit is quite reasonable. But, it is a challenge and we need to do a lot more ideological work. We need to bring more people who are ideologically sound and aligned with the party.What are the issues in the current election?The undercurrent of a silent voter that I can see is that people have got crippled. It looks like people have lost the spark to even aggressively react against the government. I can see that the poor, labourers and the deprived make up such a class of voters. He (a common person from these classes) is depressed due to inflation and unemployment. The dream of achhe din shown by Modi saheb is being broken every day. So, I think inflation is the most important issue. For the youth, unemployment and paper leaks are major issues.People have been suffering from so many problems, but they have not been able to speak up after seeing the kind of oppression (the ruling party does). My Assam episode, the sedition cases against Hardik Patel, the case registered against journalist Dhaval Patel, and the case against Vipul Chaudhary — a big number of people are not able to speak since they have seen that this government targets people. So, dadagiri and tanashahi (coercion and dictatorship) are too much.Unemployment, paper leaks, inflation, and issues of contractual and government employees who are being exploited in government functions — not giving them the old pension scheme and issues of fixed-wage employees — all these are troubling people. Even if one cannot see a political narrative being set around it, these are the main issues.You emerged as a Dalit leader after the 2016 agitation. Since then, no major face has come up from the community. In the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, your organisation, do you attempt to groom young people for leadership roles?A leader cannot be made. A person becomes a leader with his hard work, struggle and talent. You cannot speak like me merely because I promote you. The guts to face imprisonment in Assam jail does not come merely because I promote you.Secondly, what is a leader?Everybody doesn’t need to get the fame and popularity that I got. At the district and taluka levels, there are many leaders. The Una incident got so much prominence that I became a face. There may not be faces like me, but there are a lot of leaders.Manibhai Vaghela (former Congress MLA from Vadgam) is the BJP candidate against you. How do you see his influence in Vadgam?Naturally, he will have contacts here since he was an MLA here. But my fight is not against an individual. My fight is against an ideology. A big force of the BJP is making efforts against me. The way I was targeted in the Assam case, and the way I was convicted in two cases after that. So much political vendetta is visible. I am fighting against the whole state machinery and not against an individual.

Jignesh Mevani interview: ‘People have lost spark to even aggressively react against BJP govt … They’ve not been able to speak due to oppression’
Houses Demolished, This Coastal Gujarat Fishing Community Questions Timing
Ndtv | 16 hours ago | |
Ndtv
16 hours ago | |

"Are we anti-nationals that our houses have to be demolished?" asks Vaishali.Jakhau (Gujarat): Standing outside her makeshift home, Vaishali Mangale is at a loss to understand why around 300 houses, huts, and godowns at the Jakhau harbour were demolished by authorities just ahead of polls in Gujarat for being "unauthorised" constructions.The Jakhau harbour, 120 km from Bhuj town in Kutch district, is part of the Abdasa Assembly constituency where polling will be held on December 1 in the first of the two-phase elections for the 182-member House.The issue of restoration of Jakhau Harbour, a major source of economic activity in the area, is an issue that the opposition has been harping on to target the BJP.The water crisis in the region, especially getting water from Narmada, is also a major poll plank of various political parties in the arid Kutch region.The Abdasa constituency, a stronghold of Congress, is now with the BJP after sitting Congress MLA Pradhyuman Sinh Jadeja switched to the saffron camp in 2020.A fish trader, who did not wish to be named, feels razing homes with bulldozers is more of a symbolic action than an administrative decision."The bulldozer politics is symbolic of sending a message to a particular community. The demolition of structures along the coastline has a general pattern," he said."Why was the time - just ahead of the polls - chosen for demolition?" Political analyst Hemant Shah said the demolitions were carried out to consolidate Hindu votes. "Demolishing some Hindu property during this exercise was aimed at projecting the government as being impartial," he added."Are we anti-nationals that our houses have to be demolished, and we have to be thrown out?" asks Vaishali.The district administration and the ruling BJP refuted the bulldozer politics claims, and said the demolition of illegal structures was necessary for national security."The demolitions were not undertaken suddenly. Eviction notices were sent to them last year, but they kept on building structures due to which there was no clear visibility of the coastline, which is very important for national security. The structures were demolished keeping in mind the national security," Superintendent of Police, Kutch (West), Saurabh Singh told PTI.The district administration, as part of state-wide operations in coastal areas of the state, including Porbandar and Dwarka, had demolished illegal structures considered a threat to national security.Mr Jadeja, the BJP candidate, said once the elections are over, the problems of the fishermen community will be looked into. "We are considering giving them land two kilometers from Jakhau harbour. The allegations that it (demolition) has been done to bully the minorities are baseless and politically motivated," he told PTI.A total of 10 candidates including BJP's Mr Jadeja, Mamad Jung Jat of the Congress and Vasantbhai Khetani of the AAP are in the fray.The constituency has a total of 2,49,484 voters, of whom around 11.7 per cent are from the minority community. The Scheduled Castes(SC) community accounts for about 14 per cent.Mr Jadeja is from the Kshatriya community and was the two-time Congress MLA from the constituency before switching over to the BJP in 2020. For him, the independents from the Kshatriya community and internal fighting within the BJP could pose some trouble.For the Congress, the AAP's entry is a threat, as it is wary that it might eat into the opposition space.In areas such as Abdasa, the work for the pipeline for the canal connecting it with the Narmada Main Canal (NMC) through Kutch Branch Canal is yet to start, thus leaving the entire region yearning for water.The fishermen of Jakhau recently submitted a memorandum to Kutch district collector, drawing his attention to people living in the open after their homes and huts were demolished during the demolition drive last month, citing coastal security."Our hometown is in Valsad, but we stay in Jakhau for nearly 10 months of the year as the catch is excellent in this area," a fisherman and Vaishali's husband Rajesh Mangale said."Industrial pollution has destroyed marine ecology in coastal areas, but these demolitions have put our lives and livelihood at stake. The bulldozers demolished our homes and our future." said Osman Gani of the National Fishworkers Forum.Fishermen and traders from coastal districts like Valsad, Jamnagar, Dwarka, and Amreli operate from Jakhau as industrialisation and chemical pollution along the coastline in their areas destroyed marine ecology, leading to depletion in fish stock.The Jakhau harbour provides livelihood to 10,000 fishermen and 12,000 fish traders, Mr Gani said. Around 1,500 fishing boats and trawlers also operate in the area every year, he added."The entire trade was stopped for nearly a month, leading to a loss of Rs 200 crore. In winter, the fishing business is generally on a decline. We are yet to come out of our losses, and the government is asking us to vacate the area. If we leave this area, we will be completely out of business, and families will starve," Jakhau Bandar Fishermen and Boat Association president Abdullah Shah said.Since the demolitions, fishermen and traders have set up makeshift homes and makeshift cold storages with tarpaulins and bamboo roofs and are determined not to leave the area until the government offers a suitable alternative arrangement.Mr Gani did not favour the move to set up a fishermen's colony two kilometres from the coastline, saying it was impractical. "Taking fishermen and traders two km from the coastline is like taking fish out of water and killing them. This proposition is impractical and will lead to huge losses for the fishing industry," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comKutch district Congress president Yajuvendra Sinh Jadeja alleged that the government failed to protect the interests of fishermen due to petty politics. "The government should have made alternative arrangements for the fishermen and traders,"he said. (This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayHow To Track FIFA World Cup

Houses Demolished, This Coastal Gujarat Fishing Community Questions Timing
People Fed Up With State Leaders Of BJP, We Will Win Polls: AAP's Isudan Gadhvi
Ndtv | 16 hours ago | |
Ndtv
16 hours ago | |

"There is no mass leader among them, while I am drawing support in every part of the state," he said.Khambhalia (Gujarat): With the BJP building its campaign around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AAP's chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi on Saturday said this shows how people of Gujarat are fed-up with the ruling party's state leaders and claimed his party is on course to end its uninterrupted reign of nearly 25 years.In an interview with PTI, the journalist-turned-politician asserted that the people of Gujarat will vote for a credible leader as their next Chief Minister in the assembly polls in which, he noted, PM Modi will not be a factor in their mind."Modi is Prime Minister, and he will remain in power at the Centre till 2024. The assembly polls are for electing the state government. People of Gujarat are fed up with state leaders of the BJP and the Congress. There is no mass leader among them, while I am drawing support in every part of the state," he said.While some poll watchers believe that 40-year-old Mr Gadhvi, once a popular Gujarati news anchor, has been caught in a tough fight in Khambhalia and social equations are also not very favourable to him, he said the AAP's poll entry has meant that conventional calculations will not work in either his constituency or in Gujarat.Though he is seen as a decent person with public connect, owed in some parts to his TV background, some critics have also described his party as a "general without soldiers", a pointer to the suggestion that it may lack the ground network to match the well-entrenched poll machinery of its rivals, especially the BJP, despite having a visible leadership.Mr Gadhvi, though, was quick to dismiss any such suggestions and cited figures to back his claim of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerging as a credible challenger to the BJP in the state.He claimed that the AAP has established its committees of 11-15 persons in each of the nearly 52,000 booths in the state and over 50 lakh voters have physically collected "guarantees" (manifesto) his party has promised to deliver if elected to power."We do not believe in the old pattern of politics practised by the BJP and the Congress, in which panchayat members and local caste leaders were co-opted by them during the polls to collect votes. Ground workers are with us and so are people. It will be reflected in the poll results on December 8," he said.In terms of the current popular vote share estimate, the AAP is ahead of the BJP while the Congress is far behind, Mr Gadhvi claimed.Mr Gadhvi, who comes from Other Backward Classes (OBC), described himself as the "son of a farmer" and said the AAP's three promises of "bijli, pani and daam" (power, water and remunerative prices for produce) have won it the support of the agrarian community.While farmers are generally supplied electricity in the night for irrigation purposes, the AAP has promised it during the daytime.Mr Gadhvi said the party's promises of free power to people besides filling up government jobs which, he said, are around two lakh, and boosting education and health sectors as its leader Arvind Kejriwal has "done" in Delhi besides monthly allowances to women and unemployed youth have struck a chord with people.While the BJP ran a "corrupt" government in Gujarat, the Congress, he alleged, failed in its role as an opposition by not raising the issues of people effectively.The AAP has sparked hope among the people of the state, and they will give it a chance to rule the state, he claimed.Mr Gadhvi's assembly seat Khambhalia falls in the Saurashtra region, which will go to polls in the first phase on December 1 along with south Gujarat and Kutch.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe rest of the parts of the state will vote on December 5 and counting will take place on December 8.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The Day"Some Said Our Country Wouldn't Survive, But...": PM Modi At Constitution Day Event

People Fed Up With State Leaders Of BJP, We Will Win Polls: AAP's Isudan Gadhvi
G20 tourism working group meeting to be held in Kutch
Times of India | 21 hours ago | |
Times of India
21 hours ago | |

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat will host a number of events of the G20 global forum over the next year as India holds the presidency of the G20 from December 2022 to November 2023. G20 is a forum of the 20 largest economies of the world and meets regularly to deliberate on pressing issues facing the global economy. Top sources in the state administration said 13 key G20 events will be held in Gujarat between January and September next year and the administration is finalizing preparations for these in coordination with the ministry of external affairs and other Union government departments. "Key G20 events concerning finance, banking, trade and investment, energy, urban development, environment and climate, tourism and women's empowerment, among others, will be hosted by Gujarat. The state government is working closely with MEA and other Union government agencies to finalize preparations for these events," said a senior government official. Over the past six months, top officers of the state administration led by chief secretary Pankaj Kumar have held meetings with MEA officials, during which the Gujarat team was briefed about the central government's role in hosting key G20 (Group of 20) meetings. "The schedule of various meetings has now been finalized and 13 key events of the G20 global forum to be held in Gujarat," officials said. India is holding the G20 global forum presidency from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023. G20 comprises of the world's major developed and developing economies, accounting for 85% of global GDP and 75% of international trade, making it the premier forum for international economic cooperation. As a founding member of G20, India has contributed towards its discussions on issues of global importance, including those that affect the most vulnerable around the world. The members of G20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

G20 tourism working group meeting to be held in Kutch
Gujarat’s bond with Modi has grown stronger because of his work… will help BJP win again: Amit Shah
Times of India | 23 hours ago | |
Times of India
23 hours ago | |

Union home minister Amit Shah, who has been campaigning extensively in Gujarat, is confident that the performance of successive BJP governments in the state and the growing affection for Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help BJP score an easy win there. In an exclusive conversation with TOI’s Diwakar and Akhilesh Singh on the campaign trail, he dismissed AAP’s challenge as exaggerated, insisting that Congress continues to be the main challenger but is headed for yet another defeat. Excerpts:What is your assessment on the Gujarat elections?■ The BJP is on a very strong wicket. We shall break all our past records – be it the number of seats or vote percentage – and come to office once again with a thumping majority. You recorded your highest tally – 127 – and highest vote share – 49. 85% – in 2002, the first election fought under Narendra Modi as CM. You hope to surpass that after having been in office for 27 long years?■ Yes. BJP had expressed similar confidence the last time but things did not turn out that way. Congress gave you a real scare and your tally dropped to 99…■ The last polls were an aberration. They were held in the shadow of three intense caste-based movements backed by Congress, which had, working through NGOs it funded, stealthily prepared the background for two years for the campaigns to create divisions among castes. The trick worked in the immediate run and had an impact on elections. But the antagonism that was manufactured and introduced in Gujarat was alien to Gujarat’s ethos. People quickly saw through the divide-and-win game plan. As a result, we won all the 26 Lok Sabha seats just two years later. BJP has since won most of the elections in the state. We hold 90% of seats in local body polls. Today, the party is in office in all districts and all municipal corporations. This clearly shows that the impact of the divisive politics that Congress introduced has worn off. What happened in 2017 was an exception, it could never be the norm in Gujarat. What else has changed since 2017 to make you so confident?■ A lot of issues that BJP consistently raised since its Jana Sangh days in the 1950s, and which resonated with large sections in Gujarat, have been resolved by Narendra Modi’s government. The end of the special status for J&K, removal of Section 35A, construction of Ram Mandir, ban on triple talaq, and beginning of the process to enact a Uniform Civil Code by setting up a committee and initiatingtalks: all this has found huge traction with the voter here. There is also appreciation of the Modi government’s effective management of Covid-19. Administering 230 crore doses of vaccines is no small feat and this is acknowledged by the people. Then, we have also ensured food security for 80 crore people who had lost their jobs and means of livelihood during the two years of the pandemic. All this has positively impacted the voter in Gujarat. I have personally sensed this on the ground. Our economy is stronger today and we have jumped from 11th to 5th spot in the ranking of global economies. This has also created a favourable impact for the BJP in a state like Gujarat where commerce and industry matters a lot and which is home to a large number of MSMEs. Few will dispute your success in turning Gujarat into a laboratory of your ideology. PM Modi’s popularity is obviously a big factor, while BJP’s organisation here is a well-oiled machine. Your advantages are evident. But what about the fatigue factor and the inevitable yearning for change? It felled the once-powerful CPM government in West Bengal.■ Yes, change is inevitable. It is the way of life and nobody can stop it from happening. But a party can also evolve to accommodate the desire for change. BJP consistently innovates and adapts to accommodate the yearning for change. In fact, the party has very often been the trigger for change. We keep carrying out changes. This gives people the confidence that the party is alive to their aspirations. Why would they seek to change a government which keeps improvising and innovating to satisfy their changing needs? So, you claim the BJP, despite being in power for close to three decades, is still seen as a change agent?■ Yes. BJP is a living organism, it keeps changing. That is what every party needs to do in order to be relevant, in order to survive. Our foundational beliefs never change, but our manner of working keeps changing according to the needs of the people. Our governments also keep innovating and have carried out multi-dimensional and dynamic changes in order to be more effective. Did you drop Vijay Rupani for the same reason?■ No. After Narendrabhai, we have had three chief ministers in Gujarat. First was Anandiben. We have a rule in our party that a member can be a part of electoral politics until the age of 75. And, accordingly, Anandiben was relieved from her post when she was 74 years and 10 months old. She has now been tasked with a different responsibility. … Vijaybhai also completed his five years. Then came Bhupendrabhai. We are fighting elections under his leadership and he will continue as the CM after the polls. We don’t dump people. There is always uncertainty on whether BJP will continue with the incumbent after the polls. In some cases, you did not declare your choice before the polls while faces were projected in other instances. What has Bhupendra Patel, a first-term MLA, done in such a short time that BJP has decided to retain him in the job and the Narendra-Bhupendra combo is being projected as the double engine of growth?■ In the one to one-and-ahalf years that he has been in office, Bhupendrabhai has followed all the norms that Narendrabhai had set. He has speeded up Gujarat’s development while upholding the party’s ideology. The results of his work can already be seen; even at the grassroots level. Gujarat’s share in overall exports has risen to 30%. Among the states, it has the largest share of MSMEs and startups registered in the past one year. It has successfully implemented the ‘One nation, one ration card’ scheme. The soft-spoken CM has also displayed firmness in dealing with illegal encroachments. And, there has been no controversy about him. Would you agree that playing the challenger is easier? When you are the incumbent, you are forced to play defence.■ As I had told TOI at the time of the UP polls, antiincumbency is relative. It does not apply to all situations and is dependent on how you have performed in office. We have seen parties winning polls because of pro-incumbency sentiments that their performance generated. And with the type of governance we have provided in Gujarat – 24-hour electricity in every house, road connectivity, business investment, FDI, and high export volume – we have no reason to fear anti-incumbency. The term anti-incumbency was coined during Congress rule for its listless performance. However, under BJP, we have seen the emergence of the concept of ‘pro-incumbency’ and that is the dominant sentiment in Gujarat. Isn’t the Morbi disaster a blot on the state’s performance?■ It was a heart-wrenching tragedy. We all – from PM Narendra Modi to the grassroots BJP worker – feel very sad for the victims. However, we shouldn’t rush to a conclusion just because an election is underway. An administrative inquiry is going on. The high court has also taken cognisance and asked Gujarat Human Rights Commission to look into the matter. The Supreme Court is also cognisant and has shifted all petitions to the HC. Let us wait for the HC’s order. I can assure you that the Gujarat government will accept whatever decision the court takes. There is something puzzling about your campaign. Congress is seen as a reluctant warrior. Its senior leaders are not even campaigning. And yet PM Modi and you keep attacking Congress…■ What you said is true of Congress across the country. Congress has been adrift. It neither has issues nor leadership or a programme. It is a confused party. Yet, the fact remains that Congress has always had a base in Gujarat. Since 1990, they have got at least 30% vote share in every election. That’s why we cannot take them lightly in Gujarat. Our fight is with them. A consistent vote share of 30% translates into one-third of the electorate. Does this not reflect on your failure to win over sections of the society?■ There was a time when the entire country wasn’t with us. Now a large section of the population believes in our vision. We hope that those who are still not supporting us would come around after seeing our work. People say the ‘Gujarat model’ is just hype, a marketing trick: it has only glitter, no substance…■ You can’t see the substance if you have blinkers on. You will be able to see if you take off your goggles of biases and prejudices. What about the criticism that there has been excessive focus on highways and the industrial base, and the social sector has not got adequate attention?■ Another baseless criticism by those blinded by bias and who don’t care to even look at the figures. Gujarat is among the top three states on all parameters. Going back to 2017, the BJP performed poorly in tribal-dominated areas. Are you expecting an improvement this time?■ I am convinced we will do better. . . In every election, we have improved our vote share from tribal areas. And this time I am convinced that we will succeed. There is appreciation in those areas of the way we managed the pandemic; how we have expanded infrastructure and welfare benefits right to the doorsteps of individuals. I am sure people will acknowledge this. The alienation of Patels was another factor. Have they come back to the fold?■ As I said, after 2017 we’ve had two elections. One Lok Sabha, where all sections voted for us and we swept. We have also won the polls forlocal bodies. This could not have been possible without the support of all sections. Everyone has understood that what Congress did in the couple of years preceding 2017 was low-level politics which resulted in the disruption of mutual harmony. Is Hardik Patel’s coming to BJP a testament to this?■ It is not about an individual. It is about the masses… That explains everything. It is said that your principal rival is AAP and you are attacking Congress because you want to shore them up so that there is a split in anti-BJP votes.■ Every party has the right to fight an election. But if you look at Gujarat’s political history, it has largely been a bipolar polity and a third party has never been successful. Be it Chimanbhai Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela, or Keshubhai Patel, Gujarat has always seen a two-party fight. I feel that the battle is between BJP and Congress. Congress has a lot of baggage and so it is easy for you to blunt their attack. AAP is a new player in Gujarat and is free of that handicap. Besides, a new player that also casts itself as an underdog has its own appeal. Do you agree?■ This is a never-ending debate. It seems you have made up your mind. I cannot convince you if you have already reached a conclusion and are looking for statements to fit that. Let us wait for the votes to be counted, doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani ho jayega. AAP has unleashed a bagful of freebies. This has worked for them in Delhi and Punjab. Don’t you think this can have an impact in Gujarat as well?■ They made similar promises in Uttarakhand and in Uttar Pradesh; in Maharashtra too. People are not fools. Gujarat has a budget of Rs 2. 42 lakh crore and the cost of implementing the promises that have been made would come to Rs 3. 6 lakh crore. Do you really think that people cannot see through this? They are smart, trust me. Does your confidence have to do with the ethos of Gujarat which values industry and enterprise?■ I don’t want to get into a meandering debate on this. But the fact is that we have given every home in Gujaratelectricity, toilet and gas cylinder. We have given every poor home an Ayushman Bharat card with health coverage up to Rs 5 lakh. And we have also given free rations as help during Covid-19. As against this, people make promises which are unrealistic and can never be kept. Making promises is one thing but what is crucial for winning people’s trust is whether you keep them. Our track record speaks for itself. There are reports about dissension over distribution of BJP tickets. So much so that you had to camp here to firefight.■ This is not new. But I don’t call it firefighting. Reaching out to a party colleague who is unhappy is not firefighting. It is an act of solidarity and camaraderie for someone who has been with you for years. It is my duty to hear them and assuage their feelings. It takes about 20 years to build a dedicated party worker. If a few of them are unhappy that their claim was not heeded, then it is our duty to put a hand on their shoulder and share their grief. And this is what takes BJP ahead. Many people say that the perception about BJP being the overwhelming frontrunner has its flipside too. It will lead to complacency and low turnout.■ Our booth-level presence is the strongest in Gujarat and our workers maintain constant rapport with people. The people of Gujarat have always participated in elections. I am confident that we will have a good turnout as in all elections, and BJP will score a massive win. Then why give a ticket to Payal Kukrani, whose father was convicted in the Naroda Patia violence?■ But what’s wrong about this? She’s a well-educated young woman; a doctor. She has been a hard-working member of the party. True, her father was convicted and has served his sentence. But what has that got to with the daughter? Does she not have a life of her own? You have pronounced her guilty because she is someone’s daughter. But you would never criticise AAP or NCP for not removing their ministers even when they are behind bars. Isn’t it a case of double standards? You have campaigned extensively, what is the feature of this election that has struck you the most?■ The nation has witnessed good governance under Narendrabhai’s leadership in the last eight years. Narendrabhai’s leadership has won laurels and glory for the country. Simultaneously, BJP’s ideological commitments have also been fulfilled. This has had a very positive impact on the people. Modiji was always loved by the people. But I can seethat the affection for him has grown because of the way he has stabilised the economy and strengthened national security. This is true of the entire country. But people here share a special bond with him because he is from Gujarat. His popularity is at its peak and will help BJP score a record win. What is your assessment of Himachal Pradesh?■ We are coming to office with a thumping majority. Over the years, BJP has made many promises in its manifesto. Some of them have been fulfilled, but others, like the Uniform Civil Code, remain on paper. Even CAA is in limbo because the rules have not been framed.■ You are mistaken. CAA is now the law of the land. It has to be implemented and we will do that… We just have to formulate the rules which we could not do because of the pandemic. We shall start working on this, now that the Covid situation has eased. As far as UCC is concerned, it is not just a part of our manifesto since our inception, the Constituent Assembly also directed the legislatures to enact one at the appropriate time. We are alive to our commitment and the task assigned by the framers of the Constitution. Your decision to ban the PFI has led to a backlash of sorts. We have seen serious terror plots being sought to be executed in Coimbatore and Mangalore.■ All challenges to internal security need to be strongly dealt with. We need to proceed against all such dangers, and while we need to analyse all the factors involved, the fear of risks should not deter us from taking on the threat itself. PFI, in many states, had become a danger to our unity and diversity, and our internal security. We watched them push our youth towards terrorism. I believe that the decision to ban it was correct and was taken at the right time. And if there is going to be any reaction, we have all the means and the intent to quell that. What is your assessment of the situation in J&K? When can we expect assembly polls?■ The entire world knows J&K is in very good shape. So far, investments worth Rs 56,000 crore – the highestever – have been committed in the state. Some 30,000 sarpanches have been elected and are working on local body polls. The roots of democracy have spread and gone deeper. People belonging to the backward classes who had been denied benefits available to their counterparts in other states have now been availing of reservations. Women have got their rights. All languages of J&K have got due recognition. And, for the first time, the public is getting a taste of what development actually means. As far as elections are concerned, the Election Commission has finished delimitation, grievances have been redressed. Now, constituencies have been delineated. Electoral rolls, which were riddled with irregularities, are being checked. The EC will announce the dates once the exercise is over. Very often, the judiciary does not seem to be in sync with what the government considers to be imperative for national security.■ There have been such instances. In our Constitution, the roles and responsibilities of the legislature and the judiciary have been very clearly defined and demarcated. We are keeping a close watch on the developments. We shall see how things move. We hope that everyone, including the judiciary, works within their remit. You have been cast as someone who is trying to impose Hindi. Regional parties have attacked you for this. However, you have also argued for regional languages to be used as a medium of education, including for higher and technical courses. What exactly is your position?■ We have championed the use of all Indian languages since the time of Jana Sangh. I am of the firm opinion that we have been able to utilise only 5% of the country’s intellect and talent as a section considers English as the only suitable medium of education and this prevents large sections from accessing quality education and training. The argument that a child will not get good education if he is not taught in English is rooted in misconception, steeped in bias and contrary to the findings of pedagogical studies. I have nothing against English as a language. But it is established that a child learns better and faster if he is taught in his mother tongue. If he is forced to switch to another language because of the hierarchy drawn by elites, his learning process is disrupted. We should be proud of our languages… We have the oldest language, the oldest grammar and the oldest literature. As I said, I am not opposed to English, but we have an excellent pool of Indian languages, which should not be wasted. It is directly linked to the country’s progress and growth.

Gujarat’s bond with Modi has grown stronger because of his work… will help BJP win again: Amit Shah
BJP can’t remember what they said 10 days ago: AAP leader Gopal Rai
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

With a week left for the MCD polls, Delhi environment minister and AAP state convenor Gopal Rai speaks to The Indian Express about the party’s promises, BJP’s allegations among other things.What is your strategy heading into the MCD polls?All our focus is on the ‘Kejriwal ki sarkar, Kejriwal ka parshad’ campaign. Under this, we are focusing on five aspects. Nukkad sabhas are being held by star campaigners at prominent crossroads. Manish ji is going around, I am going on the ground and interacting with the public. We have witnessed a turnout of around 500-1,000 people in every ward. A second round of door-to-door campaigning, booth samvaad, and dance for democracy are being held across all wards to engage with voters.The AAP campaign is centred around Kejriwal but he is in another state (Gujarat)…Kejriwal is everywhere. He will be here in person in the last week of campaigning, holding roadshows.Your party workers, including MLAs, are telling people they will lose electricity connections if they vote for BJP? But the power department comes under the Delhi government.No, a discussion is going on that if BJP comes to power, it will stop MCD elections. The BJP has sent out this message that they will not conduct civic polls in Delhi and will implement the system that was in existence earlier. The MCD ran the city earlier, so this has created fear among people, and gossip is doing the rounds that if their party comes to power, it will stop the benefits people are availing under the AAP government.Have the recent videos of AAP minister Satyendar Jain from inside Tihar impacted your campaign?The BJP was also in the same mode during the Assembly elections too. Back then, AAP’s key agenda was to talk about the positive work of the government, and we are going on with the same positive campaign.As for these allegations, ask any BJP spokesperson what they said 10 days ago, they won’t be able to answer. The party has nothing to show for their performance over 15 years, so they come up with allegations every day.

BJP can’t remember what they said 10 days ago: AAP leader Gopal Rai
The Story of Millets
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

At a pre-launch celebration of the International Year of Millets 2023 organised by the Ministries of Agriculture and External Affairs on Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar named “Covid, conflict, and climate” as the world’s main food security challenges, and placed the cultivation and popularisation of millets in the context of the wider imperative of “de-risking the global economy”.The event was attended by about a hundred foreign diplomats based in New Delhi.Millets, the cropThe word millets is used to describe small-grained cereals like sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet), little millet (kutki), kodo millet, finger millet (ragi/ mandua), proso millet (cheena/ common millet), barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and brown top millet (korale).Millets were among the first crops to be domesticated. There is evidence for consumption of millets by the Indus valley people (3,000 BC), and several varieties that are now grown around the world were first cultivated in India. West Africa, China, and Japan are home to indigenous varieties of the crop.Millets are now grown in more than 130 countries, and are the traditional food for more than half a billion people in Asia and Africa. They require much less water than rice and wheat, and are mainly grown in rainfed areas.Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop. The major producers of jowar are the United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan. Bajra is another major millet crop; India and some African countries are major producers.In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop. During 2018-19, three millet crops — bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) — accounted for about 7 per cent of the gross cropped area in the country, Agriculture Ministry data show.‘High nutritive value’Millets are considered to be “powerhouses of nutrition”. On April 10, 2018, the Agriculture Ministry declared millets as “Nutri Cereals”. Jowar, bajra, ragi/ mandua, the minor millets — kangani/ kakun, cheena, kodo, sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora, and kutki — and the two pseudo millets, buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai), which have “high nutritive value” are now regarded as “Nutri Cereals” for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade.The Story of Millets published by the Karnataka State Department of Agriculture in association with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research, Hyderabad, says, “Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre… Small millets are more nutritious compared to fine cereals. They contain higher protein, fat and fibre content.”Year of MilletsOn March 3, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The proposal was moved by India, and was supported by 72 countries. Several events and activities, including conferences and field activities, and the issuing of stamps and coins, are expected as part of the celebrations aimed at spreading awareness about millets, inspiring stakeholders to improve production and quality, and attracting investments.Millets under PDSUnder the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, eligible households are entitled to get rice, wheat, and coarse grain at Rs 3, Rs 2, and Re 1 per kg respectively. While the Act does not mention millets, coarse grains are included in the definition of “foodgrains” under Section 2(5) of the NFSA.However, the quantity of coarse grains procured for the Central Pool and distributed under the NFSA has been negligible. The latest data on stocks with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) show only 2.64 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of coarse grain was available in the Central Pool on November 1, 2022. In comparison, the stocks of rice, wheat, and unmilled paddy were 265.97 LMT, 210.46 LMT, and 263.70 LMT respectively.The push to distribute coarse grains under the PDS has not gained momentum. The Centre has accepted the recommendation of a committee set up by it, that millets be included in the PDS in order to improve nutritional support. On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said “the time has come for the Public Distribution System to shift the focus of distribution programs from basic calories to provide a more diverse food basket that includes millets to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age”.The government has set a target to procure 13.72 LMT coarse grains during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23, more than double the 6.30 LMT procured during KMS 2021-22. The target includes 4.12 LMT of bajra, of which 0.95 LMT had been procured until November 21.MSP for milletsThe government declares a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for jowar, bajra, and ragi only. For KMS 2022-23, the MSP for jowar hybrid was declared at Rs 2,970 per quintal, and that for jowar maldandi at Rs 2,990 per quintal. The MSP for bajra and ragi were Rs 2,350 per quintal and Rs 3,578 per quintal respectively.Main millets statesJowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh. In 2020-21, the area under jowar stood at 4.24 million hectares, while production was 4.78 million tonnes. Maharashtra accounted for the largest area (1.94 mn ha) and production (1.76 million tonnes) of jowar during 2020-21.Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Of the total 7.75 mn ha under bajra in 2020-21, the highest (4.32 mn ha) was in Rajasthan. The state also produced the most bajra in the country (4.53 million tonnes of the total 10.86 million tonnes) in 2020-21.Consumption patternsIn the latest available NSSO household consumption expenditure survey (which is more than a decade old), less than 10 per cent of rural and urban households reported consumption of millets.In rural areas, of the 11.231 kg of cereals consumed by a person in a month in 2011-12, 6.125 kg was rice, and 4.439 kg was wheat. Very little millets were consumed: 201 grams jowar, 246 g bajra, 75 g ragi, and 4 g of small millets. More than 95% of rural households reported consumption of rice and more than 59% wheat; only 8.5%, 6.6%, and 5.3% reported consumption of jowar, bajra, and ragi respectively.In urban areas, monthly per capita consumption of cereals (9.322 kg) was lower than in rural areas. The monthly per capita consumption of jowar, bajra, ragi, and small millets were recorded at just 139 g, 91 g, 60 g, and 1 g.The consumption of millets was reported mainly from Gujarat (jowar and bajra), Karnataka (jowar and ragi), Maharashtra (jowar and bajra), Rajasthan (bajra), and Uttarakhand (ragi).Political significanceMillet is grown mainly in low-income and developing countries in Asia and Africa, and are part of the food basket of about 60 crore people across the globe. By proposing the resolution to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, India pitched itself as a leader of this group. This is similar to the Indian initiative on the 121-nation International Solar Alliance.At home, millet growing states like Karnataka and Rajasthan will witness state Assembly elections next year. Activities around the celebrations can potentially be leveraged by the government to reach out to farming communities.

The Story of Millets
In pre-Budget meet, states ask for higher borrowing limit, more Central funds
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

A HIGHER borrowing limit to increase fiscal space available to states; enhancement of funds under the scheme for special assistance for capital investment; limiting the scope of centrally sponsored schemes. These were some of the key demands made by finance ministers of states and union territories in their pre-Budget meeting Friday with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Tamil Nadu and Bihar called for limiting centrally sponsored schemes, saying that states end up shelling out more funds for sustaining them. The Centre should increase its share of transfers to reduce states’ burden, they said. Chhattisgarh sought funds from the Centre for implementing the Old Pension Scheme.Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said all states, irrespective of the political party in power, expressed a common theme at the meeting — that states’ fiscal autonomy is constrained by the extent of centrally sponsored schemes, by the extent of changing ratios of funding of such schemes.“…and by the fact that states have to top up 2x, 3x and 5x of what the Union gives and still it is centrally sponsored or PM scheme…in old age pension, Tamil Nadu pays Rs 1,000 a month, the Union Government of India only gives Rs 200 a month. Every state, every minister of BJP-government states made the same exact request and many have asked for an extension of GST compensation and also 3.5 per cent fiscal deficit limit,” he told reporters.Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are implemented by state governments but funded jointly by the Central and state governments with a defined sharing pattern. Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said these schemes should be limited as the burden on states for them is increasing and Centre should implement only Central schemes if they want to help states. He also said that the borrowing limit should be fixed at 4 per cent of GSDP for states.The Old Pension Scheme found mention in the meeting, with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel asking for Rs 17,240 crore to be returned from the new National Pension System, which will be deposited in a separate pension fund to be used for future pensionary obligations. “Funds should be given for OPS which has been implemented in Chhattisgarh,” he said after the meeting.Finance Ministers of Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Nagaland, Odisha and West Bengal did not attend the meeting.The Union Finance Ministry said in a statement after the meeting that “most of the participants thanked the Union Finance Minister for financially supporting their States/ Union Territories by enhancing borrowing limits, providing two advanced devolution installments and through Special Assistance for capital expenditure. The participants also gave numerous suggestions to the Union Finance Minister for inclusion in the Budget Speech.”More funds for capital expenditure were also demanded by many states, including Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Bihar. Maharashtra put up a proposal of projects worth Rs 3,000 crore under schemes of special assistance to states for capital investment.Although the state has received a grant of Rs 6,800 crore, it urged Centre to consider additional allocation of Rs 3,000 crore for various projects. “The Centre has come up with a very good scheme for special assistance to states for capital investment. Its size has been increased from Rs 15,000 crore during the year 2021-22 to Rs 1 lakh crore for the year 2022-23. This will help states,” Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said.Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said he has demanded an increase in capital assistance given to the states. “Have asked for a system where it should be linked to the population. Village-based schemes should be stressed on,” Sangma said.Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said he has sought special assistance towards capital expenditure. “We have demanded that state-promoted renewable projects be included in the green bond funding scheme,” Reddy said.Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur sought better road, rail, air connectivity in the state to promote tourism, and wanted GST on apple packaging to be reduced to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.Pending dues of compensation cess were also sought by states. Chhattisgarh’s Baghel further urged for continuation of the system of GST compensation for the next five years after June 2022 and demanded Rs 1,875 crores as GST compensation for April-June along with coal royalty amount of Rs 4,140 crore. Royalty for minerals extracted in the state should be increased, he said, adding that it was to be fixed every three years but has not changed over ten years.

In pre-Budget meet, states ask for higher borrowing limit, more Central funds
Cops: Siblings bought private data for Rs 2 lakh
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

A day after the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested two brothers for their alleged role in procuring private data of Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat residents, it has come to light that the two purchased the data by paying around Rs 2 lakh.Crime Branch (Unit VI) is currently on the lookout for the person – allegedly from outside the state – who had provided the brothers the data in a hard disk nearly two years ago.Mulund residents Rahul Eligati (28) and Nikhil Eligati (25), both graduates, were arrested on Thursday after it came to light that they operated two websites that provided private details, including Aadhaar card and cellphone numbers, date of birth and addresses of private citizens for Rs 2,000 for a month, a half-year subscription of Rs 12,000 and an annual subscription of Rs 24,000.A senior officer said, “So far, it has come to light that nearly two years ago, Nikhil procured the raw data in a hard disk by paying around Rs 2 lakh.”The officer added that the data was used by the brothers to create a website and write codes in such a way that one just had to enter the name of a person, and all his details would pop up.The officer said that the brainchild behind this was Nikhil, who had earlier worked as a loan recovery agent and seen his employer purchasing such data from outside. “He would only provide access to the website through referrals. While they initially started one portal – http://www.tracenow.co.in – Nikhil shut it down and came up with a new one – http://www.fonivotech.com – to stay under the radar.”The officer further said that while the siblings resided with their parents at a rented accommodation in Mulund (East), Nikhil spent the money earned on himself. “His father works with a builder and earns a modest amount. However, Nikhil had purchased a Skoda vehicle and wore only branded clothes. During searches at their residence, while not a lot of money was found, we found several pairs of branded shoes purchased by Nikhil.”Rahul, who operated from a rented office in Mulund, had received a contract from some car companies, as per which, he used to call up clients and ask them to get their cars serviced. “As of now it appears that Rahul provided back-end support to Nikhil,” the officer said.Maintaining that the probe is at an initial stage, the officer said that it has emerged that the brothers did not directly procure the details from government records. “While at some stage, it appears that someone managed to access Aadhaar card data from government records, it was passed down the line and the siblings appear to be clients who purchased it.”“We want to go right to the top and find out how confidential data that even police are not allowed to access was obtained. It is a serious data privacy breach,” the officer said. The police have the custody of the accused for the next 11 days and have roped in cyber police and forensic experts to aid its investigation.

Cops: Siblings bought private data for Rs 2 lakh
Manoj Tiwari’s remarks threat to kill Kejriwal: Raghav Chadha
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

A day after BJP leader Manoj Tiwari’s comments on Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Gujarat elections co-incharge of the party, Friday alleged that the Delhi Lok Sabha MP has given an “open call for violence” and “threat to kill Kejriwal”. Chadha also added that the BJP is threatening Kejriwal as it was worried of losing the Gujarat assembly and the Delhi local body elections.Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Chadha made the allegations on the basis of a television clip of Tiwari.On Thursday, in an interview to ABP news in Ahmedabad, Tiwari said, “Why will I be scared of Arvind Kejriwal? Main toh Arvind Kejriwal ke liye suraksha ki maang kar raha hu. Delhi ki janta unko kahi payegi, toh aaj kal pitne lagi hai vidhaykon ko Aam Aadmi party ke. (I am demanding for the security of Arvind Kejriwal. People of Delhi have started beating up the MLAs of AAP)”He added that he wanted to save Kejriwal from being thrashed, “lest someone gouges out his eyes and breaks his legs”. The remarks were in reference to Matiala (Delhi) AAP MLA Gulab Singh Yadav who was allegedly beaten up by party workers on Monday.Later, Tiwari tweeted: “I am worried about the safety of Arvind Kejriwal ji, because AAP workers and public are angry because of continuous corruption, ticket sale and friendship with rapist and massage episode in jail. Their MLA has also been beaten up. That’s why this should not happen with the CM of Delhi.. Punishment should be given by the court only.”Chadha, when asked about Tiwari’s tweet and statement to the news channel, said, “Through his statement, he (Tiwari) has threatened to kill Arvind Kejriwal. This is an effort to incite a mob. Aisa bayan diya jisse mob ko incite kiya jaye, logon ki bhavna bhadkayi jaye (A statement has been given as such that incites mob and stirs up people’s emotions). Manoj Tiwari has given an ‘open call for violence’.”Appealing to the Delhi police and the Union home ministry to increase Kejriwal’s security, the Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab said, “They are so scared of Kejriwal that they want to kill him… This is BJP’s culture and mentality. They should be taken for treatment to some hospital…They have lost their mental balance.”He also said that if anything happens to Kejriwal, then Tiwari and BJP should be held responsible.Meanwhile, two AAP MLAs in Delhi—Saurabh Bhardwaj and Praveen Kumar—have written to the Delhi State Election Commission in connection with Tiwari’s statements to get him and others “arrested and have the matter investigated”.Chadha also reiterated AAP’s promise of implementing the old pension scheme for the government employees of Gujarat if voted to power. The state government employees have been agitating seeking to remove the new pension scheme.

Manoj Tiwari’s remarks threat to kill Kejriwal: Raghav Chadha
  • "Conspiracy To Kill Arvind Kejriwal": AAP Wants BJP Leader Arrested
  • Ndtv

    Manoj Tiwari brushed off the AAP leader's allegation (File)New Delhi: Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, today accused the BJP of conspiring to kill Arvind Kejriwal because it is afraid of losing to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the approaching Delhi civic polls and the Gujarat election.Mr Sisodia also accused BJP MP Manoj Tiwari of a role in what he called "the conspiracy to assassinate" the Delhi Chief Minister and demanded his arrest.Mr Tiwari had openly threatened Mr Kejriwal in a tweet, said the AAP leader."His language betrays the conspiracy being hatched to assassinate Arvind Kejriwal. We also demand that Manoj Tiwari be arrested for this threat," Mr Sisodia said. He also tweeted that Mr Tiwari is "openly asking his hooligans to attack Kejriwal and he has done complete planning".गुजरात व MCD हारने के डर से बौखलाई व @ArvindKejriwal जी को अपनी साजिशो मे फँसाने मे फेल भाजपा उनकी हत्या का ताना-बाना बुन रही हैइस तरह खुलेआम दिल्ली के मुख्यमंत्री को हत्या की धमकी देने वाले मनोज तिवारी के खिलाफ सख्त कारवाई करते हुए गिरफ्तार कर इस पूरी साजिश की जाँच होनी चाहिए— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) November 25, 2022Mr Sisodia cited the BJP leader's tweet yesterday expressing "concern" over Mr Kejriwal's security - a sarcastic reference to the attack on an AAP leader during a meeting to decide on civic poll candidates. A viral video from that meeting showed the AAP leader running from his own party workers, who were reportedly upset at not being chosen to contest the polls."I am concerned about the security of Arvind Kejriwal because people and AAP volunteers are angry over sustained corruption, selling of tickets for the municipal corporation (MCD) polls, friendship with rapist and massage in jail incidents. Their MLAs too have been thrashed. It should not happen with the Chief Minister of Delhi ...," Mr Tiwari had said in the tweet.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMr Tiwari brushed off the AAP leader's allegation. "Sisodia is reading an old script of the BJP conspiring to kill Kejriwal. Kejriwal claims Sisodia will be arrested while Sisodia predicts Kejriwal's murder. I don't know what is going on," said the BJP MP.Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has directed the police commissioner to take note of the allegations, reports said.

  • BJP is hatching a conspiracy to kill CM Kejriwal: Sisodia
  • The Indian Express

    Responding to a statement by BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Thursday alleged that the BJP was hatching a conspiracy to kill Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Earlier in the day, Tiwari, the MP of North East Delhi, had tweeted, “I am concerned about the security of Arvind Kejriwal because people and AAP volunteers are angry over sustained corruption, selling of tickets (for the MCD polls), friendship with rapist and massage (by them) in jail. Their MLAs, too, have been thrashed. It should not happen with the Chief Minister of Delhi…”AAP in a statement said that if anything happens to Kejriwal or any other party leader, BJP should be held responsible.“Threatening to kill Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister elected with a huge mandate, the man who is the national convenor of the party running governments in two states, is an insult to the people of Delhi and the country. It is clear from the BJP’s threat to CM Arvind Kejriwal that it has no faith in democracy, and that BJP can go to any extent for power,” the party’s statement said.In a tweet, Sisodia alleged that the conspiracy to kill Kejriwal was being hatched owing to the fear of defeat in Gujarat and MCD polls.Delhi L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena, meanwhile, is learnt to have reached out to the Commissioner of Delhi Police asking him to make sure no untoward incident takes place.“The L-G has taken note of tweets and statements by AAP leaders, including Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, and asked the Police Commissioner to ensure that such eventuality, orchestrated, or otherwise, does not happen, to the farthest possible extent,” officials in Raj Niwas said.AAP also raised the attack on the CM’s residence in March during a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha protest, when a group of people had rushed towards the gate of the CM residence and vandalised the area.  The BJP has given a ticket to one of the accused in the case.Recently, the Matiala MLA was punched and slapped, allegedly by party workers who were miffed at the MCD ticket distribution. BJP had alleged that the workers were angry over MCD tickets being “sold” to the highest bidder.

  • BJP Conspiring To Kill Arvind Kejriwal, Manoj Tiwari Involved: Manish Sisodia
  • Ndtv

    I'm concerned about the security of Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Tewari had tweetedNew Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the BJP on Thursday of hatching a conspiracy to kill Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, fearing poll defeats in Gujarat and the MCD, and alleged Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari's involvement in it. Mr Sisodia, however, asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is not scared of such petty politics."Due to the fear of defeats in the Gujarat and MCD polls, the BJP is hatching a conspiracy to kill @ArvindKejriwal. Their MP Manoj Tiwari is openly asking his hooligans to attack Kejriwal and he has done complete planning. The AAP is not scared of their petty politics and people will give a reply to their hooliganism," the deputy chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.His remarks came in response to Mr Tiwari's tweets earlier in the day, in which he had expressed concern over Mr Kejriwal's security, while highlighting recent allegations of corruption and "selling of tickets" for the MCD polls.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"I am concerned about the security of Arvind Kejriwal because people and AAP volunteers are angry over sustained corruption, selling of tickets (for the MCD polls), friendship with rapist and massage in jail incidents. Their MLAs too have been thrashed. It should not happen with the chief minister of Delhi....," the North East Delhi MP said in a tweet in Hindi.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The Day"Iran Not Becoming Brutal, Panel Set Up To Probe Protesters' Deaths": Iran Minister To NDTV

  • MCD polls: BJP, AAP push in Delhi today; Kejriwal calls it BJP’s ‘attack’
  • The Indian Express

    Delhi will see fervent political activity on Sunday with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal holding a public meeting in the Paharganj area in the morning and several senior BJP leaders holding small rallies across the city in the evening. Terming the BJP’s outreach a “hamla (attack)”, Kejriwal has exhorted the people of Delhi to fight against it.Fourteen senior BJP leaders, including party president JP Nadda, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Hardeep Puri and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, and chief ministers M L Khattar (Haryana), Pushkar Singh Dhami (Uttarakhand) and Jairam Thakur (Himachal Pradesh) are expected to hold public meetings and rallies across Delhi on Sunday.According to party officials, the leaders will hold roadshows based on the demography. For instance, Khattar will cover areas that have a significant population from Haryana, while Dhami will aim to woo Uttaranchali voters in Mandawali.Hitting out at the BJP, Arvind Kejriwal termed the party’s outreach a “hamla (attack)”. “Today, the BJP is going to attack Delhi. Many of their kings are going to attack Delhi from all four sides with their armies. But the people of Delhi will continue to fight these attacks by the BJP and their L-G just the way they have so far,” the AAP chief tweeted.Municipal elections in Delhi are scheduled for December 4, while the results will be out on December 7. The leadership of the three main parties is stretched due to the ongoing campaign for the Assembly polls in Gujarat, but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been having a relatively tougher time with Kejriwal spending most of this time in Gujarat.The AAP has also been under fire after a video of Delhi minister Satyendar Jain getting a massage in jail came to light. Jain has moved a Delhi court seeking contempt proceedings against the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly leaking the CCTV footage to the media. Special judge Vikas Dhull issued a notice to the ED on Jain’s plea, asking the central agency to file its response by Monday.Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the BJP of politicising an illness and conspiring to keep Jain in prison. “I cannot even imagine that the BJP has stooped so low that it is making fun of someone’s illness. Firstly, they put a man in jail who is innocent; now they are making fun of his illness by leaking this video of treatment,” Sisodia said, calling it “ghatiya soch, ghatiya harkat”.

Making Efforts To Protect Indian Baby In German Foster Care: Centre
Ndtv | 1 day ago | |
Ndtv
1 day ago | |

Arindam Bagchi said the case was a sensitive and subjudice matter. (File)New Delhi: Government on Friday said it was making all efforts to ensure the well being and protection of the rights of a 22-month-old girl in foster care in Germany, amid reports about her parents staging protests in Gujarat demanding her immediate repatriation.Responding to questions on the issue, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said the government has been intervening and engaging with the German authorities on the matter for over a year, since September last year."The Embassy of India, Berlin has also been extending relevant consular assistance to the family. It is also engaging with the German authorities with an expectation of early conclusion of the court proceedings," he said.Mr Bagchi said the case of the Indian baby currently in foster care in Germany was a sensitive and sub-judice matter."All efforts are being made to ensure the well being and protection of the rights of the child," he said.Mr Bagchi said the ministry was conscious of privacy issues and the sensitive nature of the circumstances surrounding the case.The baby daughter of a Gujarati couple was taken away by German Child Service after she suffered an injury at their Berlin home in September last year.The couple has been fighting a legal battle for the custody of the child.According to a website launched by the parents to seek repatriation of their daughter, the baby was hurt when she was under the care of her grandmother.The baby was taken away from the couple, as per Germany's child protection laws, when they had taken her to a hospital for treatment, accusing the parents of sexually assaulting the baby.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThough the criminal charges against the parents of assaulting the baby were dropped, the baby continues to be in the custody of German Child Service that has filed a civil case for termination of parental rights.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayGujarat Judge Won't Be Moved Out, Lawyers Had Protested Against Transfer

Making Efforts To Protect Indian Baby In German Foster Care: Centre
Rahul’s Bharat Jodo yatra pushes Pappu behind, strikes a chord — but hard work awaits off-camera
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

After 19 years of being an unsuccessful politician, Rahul Gandhi, dubbed as the “Pappu” of Indian politics, is beginning to be viewed differently as he walks the dusty bylanes from Kanyakumari to Kashmir on his Bharat Jodo Yatra.I went to see the yatra in Maharashtra and most of the people I talked to, driving 250 km from Aurangabad to Akola, and later following the yatra in Buldhana district, had, to my surprise, a positive word to say about the yatra. These were the aam aadmi and the aam aurat: a retired teacher, a fruit seller, a housewife, a cobbler, most of them in small towns and wayside villages. They all expressed a similar sentiment: “Paidal chalkar abhi tak humare paas koi nahin aaya hai. Humaen pasand aa raha hai.”(Nobody has come to us on foot like this and we like it.)A polio-hit retired government servant, 74, came from Nagpur with his son and daughter-in-law—old Congressis — to be part of the yatra for a few hours “to encourage Rahul”. An assistant professor from Amravati joined the yatra in Shegaon and said the time had now come “to work at the ground level because the opposition is blanked out.”Rahul talked about “berozgari, mehngai and nafrat,” (unemployment, inflation, hate) as he has done in the past, but it is resonating with many more today. With growing economic distress, some say they identify more with what Rahul “had been saying all along”.It is not so much Rahul Gandhi who has changed — as his comments on Savarkar illustrated; he had criticised in Maharashtra someone who is seen as an icon in the state.Nor do Rahul’s speeches set the house on fire. In a way, they are reminiscent of Rajiv Gandhi in the early years. In his campaign speeches in the 1983 state elections in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — which the Congress lost — Rajiv used to painstakingly explain the value of hard work and abstract concepts of political freedom to puzzled audiences. In his speech at Shegaon, Rahul, too, dwelt philosophically, and at length, on the need to shed fear, and the linkages it had with hatred and violence.Significantly, it is the people’s perception of Rahul that is undergoing a change. There is only one reason for it, and person after person mentioned it. Rahul Gandhi had come to them on foot, walking 25 km a day. He need not have undertaken the yatra; after all, he is from a “shahi gharana”, they said. And having embarked on a mammoth journey of 3500 km, he had not run away — but stayed the course. It is this which has caught the imagination of a section of the people.Senior Congress leaders say he is like a “man possessed”, determined to complete the yatra. Given his interest in martial arts over the years, and the daily fitness regimen he reportedly follows, Rahul walks so fast that if you blink, he is gone.As he walks, he is cordoned off by a rope held by a string of policemen to prevent people from entering the walking enclosure. He has two planned “sitting interactions” with individuals or groups and three daily walking “interactions”, all cleared by the party (and they do not allow media persons near him). It is not as if those waiting by the wayside get a chance to exchange a word with him — or he with them.The day I saw him, he walked with Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, signifying the coming together, once again, of the Gandhi and Nehru-Gandhi families for uniting India.And yet the yatra is rebranding Rahul Gandhi. It is also bestowing on him a legitimacy that was earlier missing. Two years ago, the dissenting group of G-23 in the Congress had questioned his leadership — and his behind-the-scenes decision-making without accountability. Today, without being the president of the party, he is emerging as the unquestioned leader of the Congress.Yet, without a revival of the Congress organisation, Rahul’s yatra will only be a flash in the pan. The elephant in the room, then, is the Congress organisation, admit senior Congress leaders.The curiosity about the yatra, and the visible response to it, has perked up the Congress cadre. It was after 10 years that the Congress organised a meeting in Maharashtra as large as the one in Shegaon, with 150 Congress leaders on the dais, and people pouring in from neighbouring districts and local police putting the estimates at 2-3 lakh jampacked in the 22-acre ground.These meetings will be no more than an exercise in event management unless followed up with an action plan — and painstaking, hard work behind the lights, which the Congress has shown little appetite for. The BJP’s winning streak combines Narendra Modi’s appeal with Amit Shah’s organisational prowess.It goes without saying that the acid test of Rahul’s yatra will lie in winning elections. But, curiously, he has tried to delink the yatra from electoral gains, not to appear power hungry —but this makes little sense. A political party is nothing if it cannot win elections and deliver on its promises.And this is not only about winning 2024 two years away. Nor about the elections due in Maharashtra the same year. All eyes will now be on the imminent 26 municipal corporation polls, including the BMC, that are due in Maharashtra. How will the Congress fare, for instance, in the local polls in Nanded, where Rahul walked for many days and is supposed to have made an impact? Or, in the four other districts of Maharashtra the yatra touched? How does the Congress encash the interest the yatra has rekindled in the party?If the Congress loses the Gujarat elections, which it seems to have given up on, and does not manage to get Himachal Pradesh in its bag, Rahul’s yatra can also lose steam. If the party wins Himachal – which even if it has little to do with Rahul or Bharat Jodo — it will give a further impetus to the yatra.Now that the yatra has strengthened his position, Rahul Gandhi will be watched for how he handles the latest crisis in Rajasthan, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot going ballistic against his younger colleague Sachin Pilot, calling him a “gaddar” (traitor). It is a pre-emptive strike by Gehlot to prevent Pilot from becoming the CM. By vehemently declaring that Pilot will not become CM, the normally measured CM has virtually threatened a split if the party high command replaces him with Pilot.Rahul Gandhi has to figure out how he redeems his word to Pilot, signals to younger leaders they will be rewarded if they work hard and deliver, weakens the anti-incumbency of four years by projecting a new face in the state like Pilot — and ensure that the Congress government does not fall in Rajasthan.Whatever be the outcome of the Bharat Jodo yatra, Rahul Gandhi has certainly set a new benchmark for political action — that leaders must go back to the people and listen to them. And even in a 24 X 7 image-rich politics, powered by the videoclip, the challenge is the effort they put in when the camera is off.Neerja Chowdhury, Contributing Editor, The Indian Express, has covered the last 10 Lok Sabha elections

Rahul’s Bharat Jodo yatra pushes Pappu behind, strikes a chord — but hard work awaits off-camera
Takeover of NDTV a ‘responsibility’, says Gautam Adani
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani sees the takeover of news broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) as a “responsibility” rather than a business opportunity, he said in an interview with the Financial Times on Friday.The ports-to-energy conglomerate run by Adani, Asia’s richest person, unveiled plans late in August to acquire a majority stake in NDTV, seen as a bastion of independent media.The takeover attempt has triggered concerns among journalists and politicians that a change of ownership could undermine NDTV’s editorial integrity.Founded in 1988 and owned by husband-and-wife team Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, NDTV previously said that the move by Adani Group “was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders”.Adani hails from the western state of Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Congress has often accused Adani and other billionaires of getting favourable policy treatment from Modi’s federal administration.“Independence means if government has done something wrong, you say it’s wrong,” Adani said in the FT interview. “But at the same time, you should have courage when the government is doing the right thing every day. You have to also say that.”Adani added that he has invited NDTV’s owner-founder Prannoy Roy to remain as chair when the acquisition is completed.NDTV’s business rivals include Times Group’s Times Now and Network18’s CNN-News18, controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.Adani also said in the interview that he is planning to invest more than $4 billion in a petrochemical complex in the state of Gujarat.He plans to launch a “super app” in the next three to six months to connect Adani airport passengers with other Adani Group services, according to the report.

Takeover of NDTV a ‘responsibility’, says Gautam Adani
Congress Says Gujarat "Will See Surprise", Terms AAP, Asaduddin Owaisi's Party "Marginal Players"
Ndtv | 1 day ago | |
Ndtv
1 day ago | |

Milind Deora, Congress observer for Gujarat, says "strong undercurrent" against BJP. (File)New Delhi/Ahmedabad: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a lot of "hype" but will remain a "marginal player" in the Gujarat assembly elections, Congress leader Milind Deora said on Friday and asserted that his party would belie predictions to spring a surprise in the polls.Mr Deora, who is a Congress party observer for the Gujarat polls, said there is a "strong undercurrent" of anti-incumbency against the BJP government in the state and the Congress has opted for a very localised campaign that is different from the 2017 elections.In an interview with PTI, the leader from Maharashtra said the Bharat Jodo Yatra will have a positive impact on the polls and though Rahul Gandhi was busy with it, he would make more visits to the state for campaigning.Asked about the low-key campaign of the Congress in the state, the former Union minister said, "I would not agree that we are not putting our best effort. It is a very different type of campaign from the last time." In the 2017 polls, there were issues such as the Patidar agitation, demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax, which led to public demonstrations against the government, he said.This time, there is a very "strong undercurrent" of anti-incumbency against the state government and the Congress is carrying out a very localised, personalised and orthodox campaign, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi alluded to, Mr Deora said."The prime minister himself told the (BJP) workers that the Congress has a very localised campaign. So, I think the strategy is different, it is not something as visible as last time because of the events preceding that election but the party is on the ground, exposing the government and taking advantage of anti-incumbency," he asserted.On the entry of the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP and if it will dent Congress' chances in Gujarat, he said the AAP was also cutting into the BJP's votes and so he does not think that it was a spoiler only for one party."I think it (AAP) is cutting into the votes of the BJP as well. So, in that sense the AAP will have a neutralising effect on both the main parties," he said.He asserted that the Congress still has a "very strong presence" in Gujarat and the voters who want to defeat the BJP understand that it is the "only option"."AAP definitely has a lot of hype, lot of media (attention), but on the ground the voters are still familiar with the Congress, we have a local rung of leaders cutting across regions and different communities that the public is familiar with," he said.Deora said he believes that the AAP will remain a "marginal player" and the real contest would be between the BJP and the Congress.Asked why the Congress was not able to capitalise on anti-incumbency in previous polls, Deora said there were many reasons for that and there were emotive issues that gave the BJP an advantage."Purely on development issues, there is certainly anti-incumbency, but in elections sometimes there are many emotive issues," he said.For instance, for several years now the fact that the prime minister hails from Gujarat certainly gives the BJP an advantage, he added."There are emotive issues that give the BJP an advantage but from a purely developmental standpoint, Gujarat is a state, the Congress has a base in Gujarat. We may not have come to power in a long time but it is different from a state such as Uttar Pradesh where we are a marginal player," he said.Noting that in the 2017 assembly polls, the Congress came extremely close to winning the election, Mr Deora said people should think several times before ruling out or writing off the party in Gujarat."I believe that the Congress will certainly surprise critics and political pundits," he said.The Congress still has a presence in Gujarat, it is popular among its core voters, there are regions such as Saurashtra where it is very strong, he said. "I do believe that there will be surprises in this election," Deora said.Asked if the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) would split the anti-BJP vote, Mr Deora said parties such as the AIMIM and the AAP were all "marginal players" in the Gujarat polls and have different agendas."But I think the voters in states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are different from West Bengal or Uttar Pradesh where voters against the BJP may rally behind a regional party. I think in states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the people see the Congress as an alternative to the BJP," he said.On Gandhi having just held two election rallies till now, Deora said the former Congress chief has chosen to take out the yatra but has campaigned on more than one occasion.Gandhi had held two poll rallies in Gujarat earlier this week and had also participated in an event before the yatra."In India, every six months there are elections, so by that rationale you can never take out a Yatra. There will always be a state election that will coincide with a five-month-long yatra," he said.Gandhi is campaigning and he will make more visits, Mr Deora added.He stressed that even though the Yatra is not passing through Gujarat, people are paying attention to it."People and workers of the party across the country are motivated by it. I think that it will have a positive impact (on the Gujarat polls) for sure," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"As I said, our campaign has been a very different campaign for a long time. There is anti-incumbency which is not manifesting in an agitation by a community or an event such as demonetisation," Deora said.Voting to elect a new 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases -- December 1 (89 seats) and 5 (93 seats) -- and ballots will be counted on December 8. Featured Video Of The DayHow To Track FIFA World Cup

Congress Says Gujarat "Will See Surprise", Terms AAP, Asaduddin Owaisi's Party "Marginal Players"
Centre generates about 16 lakh jobs every month, Railway minister Vaishnaw
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday claimed that about 16 lakh jobs are being generated every month by the Central government.Vaishnaw was addressing a ‘Rozgar Mela’ (employment fair) programme organized in Ajmer by the Central Reserve Police Force.He said that about 16 lakh jobs are being created every month under this Central government and transparency is the key of the Narendra Modi government, according to an official statement.The railway minister said, “India has emerged as a source of energy with full of opportunities even in the situation of global economic crisis.” He said that today the life of every class of society has become easier due to the Centre’s schemes.Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, Sh. @AshwiniVaishnaw graced the #RozgarMela event at #CRPF Group Centre 2 Ajmer, Rajasthan and distributed appointment letters to the newly recruited appointees. pic.twitter.com/BFXcWBzKXq— 🇮🇳CRPF🇮🇳 (@crpfindia) November 22, 2022Calling upon the youth to adopt the mantra of ‘Nation First, Always First’, he said that only those people achieved success in life who always put the nation first in their duty.Referring to the challenges faced by the youth, Vaishnaw said, “If they remember only one thing, only one mantra, then there will never be any doubt in their mind. That mantra is ‘Nation First, Always First’.” On this occasion, he also distributed job appointment letters to several candidates.On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed out job appointment letters to more than 71,000 youngsters, saying similar campaigns have been held in NDA-ruled states and Union territories in the past one month.The prime minister distributed 71,056 appointment letters to recruits via video conferencing. Physical copies of appointment letters were handed over at 45 locations across the country, except Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where the Model Code of Conduct is in force.

Centre generates about 16 lakh jobs every month, Railway minister Vaishnaw
Lumpy Skin Disease: Maharashtra government pays Rs 20 crore to those whose cattle died in outbreak
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

The Maharashtra government has paid a compensation of Rs 20.12 crore to 7,909 cattle owners whose cattle died in the recent Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) outbreak, a statement issued by the animal husbandry department said.Though the disease has been declining in the state, a total of 20,361 infected animals have died to date ever since the outbreak in September, the statement added.Lumpy Skin Disease is a rapidly spreading infectious disease in livestock but it is curable if treated promptly. Till November 24, the disease has been reported in 3,741 epicentres in 34 districts in the state. Out of the 2,98,285 infected livestock, 2,19,657 livestock have recovered after treatment, the statement said.Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh has now issued instructions to implement a ‘Majha Gotha, Swachh Gotha’ campaign to control the disease spread, especially as the state-level task force had found that both the practices of sending cattle for grazing in herds and taking them for watering at public watering facilities were also responsible for the spread of the disease.In an official statement, Singh has also called for stepping up awareness among animal owners to stop both of these practices till Lumpy Skin Disease is brought under control. He has appealed to farmers and Gram Panchayats to follow the insect vector control, disinfection and isolation guidelines published by Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Science University on October 7 this year in the form of a campaign.The government and private veterinary practitioners should treat animals infected with Lumpy Skin Disease as per the revised protocol of Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Science University dated October 17, he added.Farmers have also been urged to avail free treatment and vaccinations for their affected cattle at their doorstep, by providing details of the disease symptoms to nearby government veterinary dispensaries. Instructions have also been issued that the vaccine should be administered on a mission mode to calves of cows not infected with LSD, calves of cows not vaccinated and the cattle class animals that have not been vaccinated yet.Meanwhile, 138.47 lakh animals have been vaccinated for free. The state has completed 98.96% of the vaccination of cattle and 144.12 lakh vaccine doses have been made available to date.Lumpy Skin Disease is a cutaneous viral disease of bovines that is not transmitted to human beings either from animals or through cow milk.

Lumpy Skin Disease: Maharashtra government pays Rs 20 crore to those whose cattle died in outbreak
Modi counters AAP pitch: ‘We got you schools, clinics and power’
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

In what appeared to be a veiled counter to the Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign focus on health, education and electricity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked all three issues at his public addresses throughout the day, even stating at Dahegam that over the past 20-25 years, the BJP in Gujarat has managed to fulfill and accomplish the basic necessities of roads, electricity and water in the state.With electricity being a consistent plank taken by Modi at all four of his public addresses on Thursday, he said at Modasa that in the past 20 years, his government had worked towards ensuring round-the-clock electricity supply to farmers in villages.“Electricity is as important as water. Without electricity, development is not possible. None of you would be sitting with mobile phones here without electricity … We set up so many electricity generation units that today Gujarat is electricity-surplus … Because of consistent electricity supply, during the Covid-19 pandemic, children in villages could continue their studies on cellphones. This change has been brought about by the honest work of the BJP government … Today, we are producing electricity from wind and solar energy … We have made entire villages into electricity generation units by setting up solar panels on rooftops … Today electricity not only comes free, you even get to earn from it while sitting at home, selling the surplus electricity generated … We worked to bring this revolution to each household … You can now sell electricity the way you would sell vegetables. The era of producing cheap electricity is over, it is the era of selling surplus electricity and we are working on it.” Referring to solar energy initiatives for farmers in Gujarat, Modi also said that the BJP government has made farmers, ‘anna-data’, as well as ‘urja-data’.At Bavla, Modi added: “20 years ago, one could not even imagine electricity for 24 hours”, further pointing out that “today in villages, electricity supply is as good as in the cities” of Gujarat. At Dahegam, he said that Gujarat has already accomplished development on the issues of sadak-bijli-paani (roads, power and water) in the last 20 years. “There was a time when elections would have issues like corruption, casteism, nepotism. Then came the time when issues of sadak-bijli-paani (roads, power and water) became big. Today, because of the work done in the last 20 years, Gujarat has accomplished all that was there to be done in these areas. Gujarat has come out of the crisis. For 20-25 years, Gujarat concentrated on developing basic amenities and emerged as a leading state of the country. Today, 24 hours power is available for domestic use in Gujarat,” Modi said.At Dahegam and Bavla, Modi also exhorted BJP’s development work on the educational front, stating at Dahegam that the state government has “transformed the education sector in the region”.“Around 20-25 years ago,” Modi said, “Gujarat’s education budget was Rs 1,600 crore. Today, it has reached Rs 33,000 crore… The (entire) budget of many states isn’t as much.”He added that Gandhinagar was becoming a big centre of education in terms of higher secondary schools, engineering and diploma colleges, and other universities like a Children’s University, Forensic Sciences University, Pandit Deendayal Energy University, Maritime University, Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat National Law University, and the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG).At Bavla, Modi said, “Twenty years ago, [finding] a school at the taluka level was a stroke of fortune. Otherwise, one had to go to schools at the district-level.” He added that, “Twenty years ago, there was hopelessness when it came to education… Twenty years ago, there was only one university in Ahmedabad district. Today, there are 23 universities in the district.”Saying that historically, Gujarat had a prevalence of malnutrition, and that his government had worked in the last 20 years to ensure nutrition, Modi claimed at Modasa, “Due to efforts of the past 20 years, with the ‘Double Engine Sarkar’, BJP has taken the initiative to defeat malnutrition. It has especially benefitted our tribal women… Not only that, to ensure nutrition during pregnancy, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana’s benefits reach over three lakh households in Gujarat.”Attributing the Chiranjeevi Yojana, introduced in Gujarat in 2006 to encourage institutional deliveries, as the reason behind fall in infant mortality rates in the state, Modi also hailed Ayushman Bharat for reducing out-of-pocket expenditures in his public addresses. Noting in both Modasa and Bavla that women often suppress their health problems even when they are in extreme pain “because if they express their pain to their children, they think the family will be drowned in debt if she gets treatment”, Modi cited the Ayushman Bharat scheme for easing such difficulties for women. He went on to mention Ayushman Bharat at three of his public addresses, at Palanpur, Modasa and Bavla.

Modi counters AAP pitch: ‘We got you schools, clinics and power’
Photo I-cards to model code to spending limits: Why SC said Seshan ‘happens once in a while’
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

ONE OF the highlights of the Supreme Court’s recent hearings on the appointment of Election Commissioners was its reference to the contributions of late Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) T N Seshan.Hearing petitions seeking reforms in the system of appointing election commissioners, the Court said a CEC should be someone “with character” who “does not allow himself to be bulldozed”, and that a person like the late T N Seshan “happens once in a while”.The 10th CEC of India, Seshan headed the poll panel from December 12, 1990, to December 11, 1996 – serving the full tenure of six years. At its recent hearings, the Supreme Court also noted that few CECs had actually got to do that, with all appointees since 2004 retiring before that time.Appointed to the Election Commission (EC) after retiring from the IAS, Seshan’s tenure is remembered for strengthening the independence of the EC apart from strict implementation of its rules. The Model Code of Conduct came to be as rigidly observed as it is now after Seshan.He was also instrumental in introducing photo identity cards or Voter ID cards for voters, as a means to check fraudulent voting. While now almost all voters hold such cards, in 1995, when he announced the same, there was stiff opposition from political leaders, who insisted it could not be implemented in a country like India. Seshan also enforced spending limits on candidates during polls.In 1993, during Seshan’s term, the P V Narasimha Rao-led Congress government expanded the EC to a three-member panel, with all commissioners holding equal powers, seen a move to rein in Seshan.In a tribute to him after his death in 2019, the EC noted the change Seshan had brought about in office. “Shri Seshan redefined the very grammar of the electoral process. Holding the constitutional post of CEC, he enhanced the stature of the office by coming down heavily on electoral malpractices and dealing sternly, even ruthlessly, with violence and muscle power, which were at (an) all time high when he took over. He redeemed the autonomy and authority that the Constitution has bestowed upon ECI (Election Commission of India) under Article 324 of the Constitution. Refusing to act merely as manager of monitoring of electoral process, he started proactively purging the elections of their evils like money, liquor, muscle power, booth capturing etc,” the EC said.Seshan, the poll panel added, was the right person at the right place and right time.O P Rawat, who was the CEC from January 23, 2018, to December 1, 2018, told The Indian Express that while it was not appropriate to say that Seshan was “the only CEC” to have made a “sterling contribution”, his efforts were “singular”.“The first democratic elections were conducted under Sukumar Sen at a time when the conditions were bad. Lakhs of people had migrated due to Partition, people were in refugee camps and were looking for their kin. Making the electoral roll at that time was a Herculean task. From the limited franchise in British India, with only four crore electors, we had over 17 crore electors in the first elections after Independence. With all those odds, the single-man commission conducted the elections in a free and fair manner and proved the British and all other critics wrong,” Rawat said, speaking of the first elections held in independent India in 1951 and 1952.What Seshan achieved, Rawat added, was the revival of the reputation of the EC, which had taken a beating in the preceding decades. And in that regard, he said, the Supreme Court was right in recognising his role. “He brought many reforms and rose to the occasion.”Rawat also pointed out that even J M Lyngdoh, who was the CEC from June 14, 2001 to February 7, 2004, had left his mark by ensuring free and fair elections in Gujarat in the aftermath of the 2002 riots. “So, it is not appropriate to say that only Seshan did a marvellous job.”On the Supreme Court’s observation that the government seemed to pick officials near retirement age for the EC, apparently to ensure they didn’t have long tenures, Rawat said one way of checking this would be to increase the retirement age of an Election Commissioner from 65 to 67. Since bureaucrats retire at 60 from service, they would still get a six-year term if appointed to the poll panel, he said.One reason Seshan was able to have a six-year term was that the retirement age for the IAS at that time was 58 and not 60 as it is now, Rawat noted.After retiring from the EC, Seshan had taken on a different role in electoral politics. In 1997, he unsuccessfully contested the Presidential election against K R Narayanan, and in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, he was the Congress’s candidate against BJP leader L K Advani from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Photo I-cards to model code to spending limits: Why SC said Seshan ‘happens once in a while’