Category: News

Before filing papers, PM to hold ‘never before, never after’ show in Varanasi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a roadshow in his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, on Thursday, a day before he is due to file his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP president Amit Shah said, “The road show will begin from the Banaras Hindu University gate and will culminate at Dashashwamedh Ghat… At the ghat, Modi will participate in Ganga Arti.”

Another senior BJP leader said that this roadshow would be a “never before, never after” event.

Before filing his nomination papers at 11:30 am on April 26, PM Modi will visit the Baba Kaal Bhairav temple and offer prayers. He is also likely to offer prayers to Kashi Vishwanath temple before that.

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders, including Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) politicians from Tamil Nadu will be present when PM Modi files his papers.

The Congress is yet to name its nominee for the seat.

Congress fields Ajay Rai from Varanasi, ends speculation on Priyanka

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The Congress on Thursday fielded Ajay Rai from Varanasi to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ending speculation on party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra fighting polls from the temple town in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress also fielded Madhusudan Tiwari from Gorakhpur against BJP’s actor-turned politician Ravi Kishan.

Speculation on Priyanka Gandhi making her political debut from Varanasi was fuelled after Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to a question on whether he planned to field his sister against PM Modi, said last week, “I will leave you in suspense. Suspense is not always a bad thing.”

The Congress fielded Ajay Rai against Modi in 2014 as well.

He finished third in the contest, after Modi and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal.

 

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For ‘mahamilavat’ national security may not be an issue but for me it is: PM in Bihar

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that his government is committed to uprooting terrorism from the country and ensured that it will soon take substantial steps to destroy the terror factories set up near the borders.

He also slammed the Opposition for allegedly stating that terrorism is not an issue in India.

“National security may not be an issue for those who do ‘mahamilavat’ but in new India, it is a big issue. In our neighbourhood, several terror factories are running. This is the new India, we will enter terror factories,” he said while addressing a rally in Bihar’s Darbhanga.

“They keep questioning that why Modi talks about terrorism. They believe that it is not an issue. You (audience) tell me — are nationalism and terrorism, not the issues? The Opposition does not have the understanding that you all have. More than 350 people were killed in a terror attack in Sri Lanka. Is that not an issue?,” the Prime Minister questioned.

In a veiled attack at CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar who is contesting from Bihar’s Begusarai, the Prime Minister stated that “some people have a problem with Bharat mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram. “Should such people lose their deposits or not? These are the same people who complain when I talk about Bharat.”

PM Modi further hit out at Opposition for questioning the outcome of Balakot air strike and for crying foul over EVM malfunction.

“After the third phase of Lok Sabha polls got over, people seeking evidence of India’s airstrike, have vanished. Now, they are abusing Modi and the EVMs. These people are cut off from the grass root level and which is why they are unable to sense the mood the country,” he said.

He also criticised the Congress for not fulfilling the promise it made to poor in 2004 and said, ” Congress has expertise in doing scams. In the year 2004, the Congress promised in its manifesto that by 2009, every house of India will have electricity. Did they succeeded in fulfilling that?,” he said in Darbhanga.

In his concluding statement, the Prime Minister urged the people to cast vote in favour of the NDA candidates saying, “Your one vote can eliminate the terrorism, please support Chowkidar this Lok Sabha elections. Your votes will go to Modi and Modi is the only one which can end terrorism.”

The voting for Lok Sabha in Darbhanga constituency will take place on April 29.The key candidates for this Lok Sabha seat are Gopal Jee Thakur of BJP and Abdul Bari Siddiqui of RJD. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.

Supreme Court orders probe into ‘conspiracy’ against Chief Justice Gogoi

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The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed a former apex court judge, Justice A K Patnaik, to inquire into a lawyer alleging ‘conspiracy’ against the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi.

The top court also asked directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police to help in the probe.

The top court said Justice Patnaik would not go into the issue of sexual harassment charges against the CJI, which is being probed by an in-house committee of three judges.

Earlier in the day, lawyer Utsav Singh Bains, who has claimed that he was lured with money to frame Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case, handed an additional affidavit to the Supreme Court.

The affidavit was handed to the bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, comprising justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta.

In a first affidavit on Wednesday, Bains had claimed there was a larger conspiracy by “fixers” to frame the CJI.

On Thursday morning, the top court observed: “We are anguished with the way this institution is being treated… we will not survive if this will happen.”

The top court said there was a “systematic attack and systematic game to malign this institution”.

“Do rich and powerful people in the country think they can remote control Supreme Court,” the court asked.

It said four to five per cent lawyers were bringing a “bad name to this great institution”.

On a stronger note, the court said the day has come when “we rise and tell country’s rich and powerful that they can’t do it”. “The rich and powerful of this country are playing with fire and this must stop,” the apex court said on the lawyer’s claim of conspiracy against CJI.

Calling the charges “highly sensitive”, the court on Wednesday had met the chiefs of CBI, Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police. The entire episode is “very disturbing” as it concerns the independence of the judiciary, the Bench observed.

The three-judge special bench said if fixers continue to work and manipulate the judiciary as claimed, neither this institution not any of them would survive.

The court had also made it clear that the process of verifying the authenticity of Bains’ claims would in no way hinder the in-house probe being conducted by a three-judge bench comprising justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Indira Banerjee.

Bains’ first affidavit had said “he was informed by reliable sources that certain fixers, who claim to be engaged in illegally managing judgements in exchange for cash are behind this plot as the Honourable CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers”.

The woman, who has brought the sexual harassment allegations against the CJI, is a 35-year-old dismissed Supreme Court staff. She expressed “fear and apprehensions” on Wednesday before the in-house committee, saying her character had been damaged even before the inquiry began.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ full movie leaked online

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Avengers: Endgame’ is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The film is slated to release this week and there are reports doing the rounds on the Internet that the film has become the latest victim of piracy.

As per reports, the cam-print of the much-awaited film is leaked by a piracy website TamilRockers two days before its release.

“Avengers: Endgame” is the 22nd film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the latest after “Captain Marvel”, which released last month.

The film is based on how the surviving superheroes will take down the mad Titan Thanos. The film features stars Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd and Brie Larson, among others.

Recently, the makers arranged a World premiere Avengers: Endgame in Los Angeles and the pictures of the stars went viral on the Internet in no time.

Meanwhile, Marvel fans are finding themselves in a virtual queue to grab tickets for the highly anticipated superhero film “Avengers: Endgame”.

The rush for tickets for the film, which will show supervillain Thanos engaging in an epic battle with superheroes like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, was anticipated. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is not just a movie, it’s an epic culmination of a decade-long journey which the fans have taken with us across 22 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“The phenomenal interest shown by audiences across the country, is testament of how this is one of the most anticipated movies for the fans and we can’t wait for them to watch it,” said Bikram Duggal, Head – Studio Entertainment, Disney India.

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Have good friends in Oppn, Mamata sends personally selected kurtas: PM

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that he has many “good friends” in the Opposition and added that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sends personally-selected Kurtas and sweets to him.

“I have many good friends in the Opposition. We do eat food together once or twice a year. Long time back when I was not even the Chief Minister (of Gujarat), I had gone to Parliament for some work. There Ghulam Nabi Azad and I were having a friendly conversation. When we came out media people asked, how can you be friends with Azad as you belong to RSS. Ghulam Nabi gave a good answer. Hum dono saath khade se, bola dekho bhai bahar jo aap log sochte ho, aisa nahi h. Shayad ek family ke roop me hum log jitne jude hue hain sabhi dal ke log, wo shayad bahar kalpana nahi kar sakte (While we two were standing, he said that what you people think outside, it’s not like that. Maybe the way we the people of all the organisations are connected as a family it can’t be imagined outside),” Prime Minister Modi said in an interaction with actor Akshay Kumar.

“Mamata didi saal me aaj bhi mujhe ek-do kurte wo khud select karne jati hain (Even today Mamata didi herself selects one-two Kurtas for me in the year). She sends one-two Kurtas for me. Even Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sends sweets to me three-four times in a year especially from Dhaka. When Mamata didi got to know this, then she also sends sweets for me one or two times in a year,” he added.

Interestingly, Mamata has mostly been critical about Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government and has openly opposed their various initiatives including Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation.

On Sunday, Mamata had accused Prime Minister Modi of causing hardships to the people through demonetisation and said the electorate in West Bengal will pay back by not casting a “single vote” for him.

“In the (2014) elections, Narendra Modi’s BJP party had won. But, in the last five years, the government has betrayed Bengal. He (Modi) is coming here and saying lies. He comes flying to Bengal at the time of elections and is nowhere to be seen in other times,” she said at a public rally.

Before that on April 4, Mamata Banerjee had even termed Prime Minister Modi as “Hitler’s uncle”.

A day before that she called Modi as “expiry babu” and said, “His government has expired. You (Modi) said in Siliguri that we did not do anything for the poor. What have you done in the last five years? I have never seen a Prime Minister telling these many lies. Do not speak lies every day.”

On April 3 itself, Prime Minister Modi had called Banerjee as “speedbreaker Didi”.

Sri Lanka: 8 of 9 bombers identified, two millionaire brothers, 1 woman

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Poverty has been widely considered as the root cause of violence allowing religious fundamentalists to brainwash the poor to commit gruesome attacks. However, the recent terror attacks in Sri Lanka may change this narrative completely. Eight of the nine suicide bombers involved in the horrific attacks on the Easter morning have now been identified. Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim, aged 33 and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, aged 31, the two sons of respected Sri Lankan millionaire businessman Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim were amongst those eight suicide bombers. The Deputy Defence Minister of Sri Lanka has said that amongst the bombers was a woman too.

It is interesting that a prominent Sri Lankan family’s involvement has come into discussion even after Islamic State has claimed the responsibility of these attacks. It is pertinent to note that the Islamic State has, in the past, claimed the responsibility of attacks it was not involved in.

The Ibrahim family has been interrogated by the authorities after the attacks and it has been reported that three policemen have lost their lives while searching the house of Yusuf Ibrahim which was booby trapped with explosives. The authorities are hoping to get some leads from Ibrahim’s youngest fugitive son on training camps and jihadist network.

India had warned Sri Lanka of another possible attack after interrogating an Islamic State sympathiser Zahran Hashmi. Hashmi’s organisation named Tamil Nadu Tauhid Jamaat has been quite vocal about issues faced by Muslims in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Hashmi, along with Ibrahim brothers, was actively involved in recruiting people for Islamic State from Sri Lanka.

The death toll of the blasts has risen to 359 as confirmed by the official sources amongst which 11 are Indians.

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Twinkle’s repartee to Modi’s ‘gussa’ poke

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Actor-turned-author Twinkle Khanna on Wednesday reacting to social media comments on her actor-husband interviewing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom she has often criticised, said she was rather pleased with the turn of events.

Modi speaking to Akshay Kumar on Tuesday in a “candid and completely non political” conversation took credit for maintaining peace in the Kumar-Khanna household.

Twinkle next day tweeted she was rather pleased as it showed that the Prime Minister was not oblivious to her existence.

In the interview Modi did not miss the fact that Twinkle has been caustic towards him and said that he keeps a close tab on the social media and follows the couple’s tweet.

“I come to know a lot of things from the social media. I even follow you and your wife and that’s how I know she gets really angry with me, which is good. Since all her anger is focussed at me, your family life must be quite peaceful,” Modi remarked.

Reacting to it, Twinkle on Wednesday tweeted: “I have a rather positive way of looking at this. Not only is the Prime Minister aware that I exist, but he actually reads my work.”

An avid social media user, Twinkle, in 2017, had criticised the Modi government for imposing hefty taxes on sanitary pads.

She juggles many roles as a mother, newspaper columnist, film producer, former film actress and interior designer. Her first book “Mrs Funnybones” sold over one hundred thousand copies, making her India’s highest-selling female writer of 2015.

Wanted PM who can attack Pakistan: Uddhav Thackeray on alliance with BJP

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Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that his party went into an alliance with the BJP because he wanted a Prime Minister who can attack Pakistan.

“Shiv Sena wanted a Prime Minister who can attack Pakistan and so we went into an alliance with BJP,” said Thackeray while addressing a public rally in Aurangabad.

Slamming the Congress party on its stance on Article 370, he said, “All laws in Kashmir should be on par with the rest of India. Congress does not want to abolish Article 370, while leaders like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have said that if Article 370 is abolished there will be no one to respect the tricolor.”

Thackeray also came down heavily on former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar who is contesting on a CPI ticket from Begusarai in Bihar. “People like Kanhaiya Kumar preparing to enter Lok Sabha is very sad, he is a separatist,” he said.

Hitting out at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s statements on Shiv Sena’s pre-poll pact with BJP, Thackeray said, “Sharad Pawar left Congress abusing Rajiv Gandhi and pledged that he would never join Congress till the end. He is black at heart. Pawar later joined Congress. How can such a man say that the alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP is not fair?”

Fielding Sadhvi Pragya a reply to those who linked Hindu with terror: PM

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the recent Income Tax raids on certain politicians were not part of “political vendetta” and things were happening as per the law.

PM Modi also defended the decision to field Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, saying she is a “symbol” for those who described Hindus as terrorists. She will give a tough fight to the Congress there, he said.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is pitted against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh from the seat in Madhya Pradesh.

“The decision (to field Thakur) is a befitting reply to individuals who linked a whole religion and culture to terror,” the prime minister said taking a jibe at the Congress over saffron terror remarks.

PM Modi said the Income Tax raids were happening as per the law and were not part of any “political vendetta”.

He said the raids have all yielded proof of corruption, including siphoning of money from schemes meant for the most vulnerable sections of the society like children and expectant mothers.

Responding to a question on loan defaulters Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi escaping the country, PM Modi said when they realised that under the present government, they will have to return the loan; they escaped taking benefit of the system.

In 2019, they have been brought to the steps of jails, after 2019, they will be in jail, PM Modi said.

“Why aren’t the critics talking about the fact that some have lost their cases on extradition while others are rotting in jail,” he said.

He asserted that the BJP will return to power with greater numbers and said even the NDA allies would do better than 2014 polls. It will be a complete majority, PM Modi said.