Category: News

If you scrap Article 370, your relation with J&K will be over: Mufti warns Centre

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People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday warned that if the central government scraps Article 370, its relationship with the state will come to an end.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Mufti also said new conditions would emerge if Article 370 is scrapped.

“If you break that bridge (Article 370)… Then you will have to renegotiate the relationship between India and Jammu and Kashmir. There will be new conditions… A Muslim majority state, would it even want to stay with you? If you scrap Article 370, your relation with Jammu and Kashmir will be over,” she said.

Demands have surfaced time and again to revoke Article 370 along with Article 35 (A), which grants special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

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No leader matches stature of Modi, who’s your leader?: Thackerey to Oppn

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Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Saturday said although there were differences between his party and the BJP earlier, all the issues have been resolved now.

He also said the two parties had similar goals and their ideologies and hearts were woven together. Thackeray also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the opposition had no leader that matches his stature. He was speaking at a rally here ahead of filing of nomination by BJP chief Amit Shah for the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat.

Apart from Thackeray, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supremo Parkash Singh Badal and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) founder Ram Vilas Paswan were present on the stage. Thackeray said he took part in the rally to give his best wishes to Shah. “Many people will raise eyebrows why I am here, many people are happy that I am here, but some have stomach pain due to it,” Thackeray said. “Some people were rejoicing that the two parties with the same ideology are fighting with each other.

We had some manmutav (bad feeling) and matbhinnata (difference of opinion). But when Amit Shah came to my house and we sat and held talks, all the issues were resolved,” he said. “We have similar goals. Our ideologies and hearts are woven together. We have come together because Hindutva is what binds us,” he added. “My father (Bal Thackeray) taught us that whatever we do, we should not do it from behind. We had raised people’s issues. We have never back-stabbed and never will,” he said. “Shiv Sena and BJP have the same ideology of Hindutva. My father used to say Hindutva is our breath. But if our breath stops how can we survive?” he asked.

Thackeray said whatever happened in the last five years between the Sena and the BJP was past now. “We should not forget our history of partnership of 25 years that preceded these five years. We were just two parties carrying the saffron flag, nobody was ready to align with us except Badal sahib. “We were nowhere, but started walking, taking the saffron flag with us. Twenty-five years passed and our dream of hoisting the saffron flag in Delhi was realised. Today, our thinking is one, our ideology is one and our leader is also one,” he said.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP were engaged in a bitter war of words in Maharashtra for the last five years of the NDA rule, though they were sharing power both at the Centre and state levels. Before the 2019 election, there were doubts whether the two parties would join hands or not. However, finally both the saffron parties decided to patch up and fight the elections together. He said the opposition parties might have joined hands, but the Shiv Sena and the BJP are joined by hearts. “They have 56 leaders in a rally joining hands. It’s good…they should join hands, even if they do not get along well.

But Shiv Sena and BJP we are joined by hearts,” he said. “They (opposition) have started pulling each others’ legs even before the polls as everyone wants to become the prime minister and I am not sure how long it will go,” he said. He said the opposition has no leader that matches the stature of Modi. “I would like to ask who their leader is. If they organise a rally, will their supporters shout one name like you people shout,” Thackeray said, following which people started shouting ‘Modi, Modi’. “Who is against us (in opposition)?…Nobody in this election. You will only see saffron saffron and saffron,” he said.

Why is Modi wasting time, asks KTR

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Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which had conquered the state assembly elections held in December, has started feeling that it has the patent rights over Telangana and no other party has any right to seek votes from the people in the state.

But in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections are posing a different scenario in the state politics. Despite the strong position which the TRS is in, the Congress and even Bharatiya Janata Party are said to be giving a tough fight in some constituencies and there is no surprise, if both the parties would be able to win a couple of seats.

For example, the Congress is said to be having fair chances of winning Bhongir and Chevella constituencies while giving a tough fight to the TRS in Nalgonda, Mahabubabad and even Malkajgiri constituencies.

On the other hand, the BJP is also fancying the chances of winning Secunderabad and Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha seats. That is precisely, why both Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have chosen to address public rallies in these constituencies to attract voters.

This has obviously made the TRS anxious and angry. TRS working president K T Rama Rao is making every effort to play down the chances of two national parties by making sharp comments against them.

On Saturday, KTR took to twitter to take pot shots at Modi saying the Prime Minister was simply wasting his precious time.

“Dear @narendramodi Ji, instead of wasting your precious time criticising TRS in Mahbubnagar (where BJP had lost deposit 3 months ago), people of Mahbubnagar would have been happier to hear you announce national project status for their lifeline Palamur Lift Irrigation Project.“

KTR was reacting sharply to Modi’s comment on twitter: “Sought support for BJP at the rally in Mahbubnagar. The haste with which the Telangana Assembly was dissolved is inversely proportional to the speed with which the state got Ministers to work. For TRS, dynasty and astrology come before working for citizens.”

BJP may win 8, Trinamool to shine in WB: ABP-Nielsen

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The BJP could come up with its best ever showing by winning eight Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal but that will not be enough to stop the Trinamool Congress from finishing with 31 seats, three less than last time, according to an opinion poll.

The ABP News-Nielsen’s latest Opinion Poll has predicted that the Left Front, which ruled the state for a record 34 years from 1977 to 2011, may draw a blank while the Congress could keep itself afloat with three seats.

The Left Front led by the CPI-M bagged two seats last time and the Congress four.

The BJP, which won two seats in 2014, could do well in north Bengal as also in the southern district of North 24 Parganas, says the opinion poll, which predicts the BJP’s vote share to jump from 17.06 per cent from 2014 to 26 per cent now.

The Trinamool, which won 34 seats and got 39.4 per cent of votes in 2014, could end up with 37 per cent of the votes this time around.

The seats the BJP could win are Alipurduar, Raiganj, Darjeeling, Balurghat, Krishnanagar, Bongaon, Asansol and Barrackpur. It won Darjeeling and Asansol five years back.

The opinion poll predicted that the Congress, which is fighting alone after breakdown of its seat adjustment talks with the Left Front, could win Malda South, Jangipur and Baharampur.

The Trinamool was likely to make a clean sweep of the region in and around Kolkata by claiming all the seven seats – Kolkata North, Kolkata South, Jadavpur, Howrah, Dum Dum, Diamond Harobur and Uluberia.

It could also sweep the former Maoist affected western districts.

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Russia urges India to join multilateral mechanism to stop arms race in outer space

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Days after India announced A-SAT missile launch, Russia has urged India to join the idea of developing a multilateral legally binding instrument for keeping outer space peaceful based on the Russian-Chinese draft treaty, with the support of a solid group of like-minded nations to prevent weaponization of outer space.

In a statement, Russia said, “We noted the test of anti-satellite weapons conducted by India on March 27, as a result of which an Indian spacecraft – a target – in a low earth orbit was hit by an interceptor ballistic missile.”

“We highlight the nondirectedness of this test against any specific country declared by the Indian leadership, as well as the reassurance of the continuity of New Delhi foreign policy to prevent the deployment of weapons in outer space and thereby the development of an arms race in it”.

Russia slammed the United States for weaponisation of outer space and believes India’s test is a result of a degraded situation in the field of arms race.

Russia, in its statement, said: “We have to state that this action of India has been largely the result of the substantially degraded situation in the field of arms control.”

“Russia has repeatedly warned that the destructive actions of the United States to undermine the entire architecture of international security and strategic stability, including unilateral and unlimited development of the US global anti-missile defense systems, as well as the reluctance to abandon plans for the weaponization of outer space, make other states think about improving their own equal potentials in the interests of strengthening their national security” the statement added .

Russia urged Washington to take a “responsible stand, come to senses and drop the insane, and most importantly – absolutely unrealizable – the idea of universal military domination.”

“It is still possible to stop the arms race unfolding in various regions of the world. It is important to assist the responsible states in maintaining an adequate level of international security and stability,” it added.

Russia said that for its part, it intends to continue to make all necessary efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space.


Pentagon denies US spying on India’s ASAT test

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The Pentagon has strongly denied the reports that the US spied on India’s anti-satellite or ASAT missile test by sending a reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to monitor the development.

It, however, said that the United States was aware of India’s first test-fire of an anti-satellite missile.

“No US assets were spying on India. In fact, the US continues to expand its enduring partnership with India, resulting in enhanced interoperability and stronger economic ties,” US Defense Department spokesperson Lt Col David W Eastburn told news agency PTI.

Aircraft Spots, which monitors military air movements, had said that a US Air Force’s reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia went “for a mission in the Bay of Bengal to monitor India’s anti-satellite missile test”.

This was interpreted by many that the US spied on India’s ASAT test.

“I don’t think that it implies coordination between India and the US,” astronomer Jonathan McDowell from the prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told news agency PTI on the Aircraft Spots report.

“This implies that the US intelligence community were aware of the test in advance because to some extent they’re spying on India,” he alleged.

“Everybody spies on their friends as well as their enemies. That’s the way the world works these days. It would be surprising if the US were not detecting or observing the launch site and aware of activities preparing for the test. So one assumes that they knew it was coming,” he claimed.

Mr McDowell, who is a staff member at the Chandra X-ray Center and author and editor of Jonathan’s Space Report, an e-mail-distributed newsletter documenting satellite launches, said he has not looked into the issue of the aircraft, but it is certainly not surprising that the US would fly a sensor aircraft to try and observe the test.

The Pentagon, however, strongly denied the spying allegation.

“It’s a relationship so strong that no topic is off limits,” Lt Col Eastburn said.

“Both nations enjoy shared principles regarding our respect of sovereignty, free and fair trade, adherence to international norms, and peaceful resolution of disputes,” he said.

Air Force Space Command Commander Lt Gen David D Thompson told US lawmakers on Thursday that the United States was aware that India’s ASAT test was coming.

“First of all, we knew it was coming because of flight bans that India had announced and information they published previously. The launch occurred at 1:39 AM EST,” he told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces during a Congressional hearing.

“First of all, it was detected, characterised and reported by Air Force Missile Warning systems and Airmen at Buckley AFB. Immediately after the test (it struck the target vehicle), the Joint Space Ops Center and USAF 18 Space control Squadron began collecting information about the breakup of the vehicle,” Lt Gen Thompson said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Wednesday announced that India successfully test-fired an anti-satellite missile by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super-powers.

The test made India only the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China to acquire the strategic capability to shoot down enemy satellites.

Modi urges Andhra Pradesh to vote for ‘son-set’

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In a scathing attack on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for promoting his son into politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged people to vote for ‘son-set’ to ensure ‘sunrise’ of the state.

Launching BJP’s campaign for April 11 elections to Andhra Pradesh Assembly and all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state, he said he was sure that there will also be sunset of corruption in these polls.

Modi hit out at the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief for dynasty politics and corruption. He alleged that the schemes in the state were designed for scams.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, who earlier kicked off the campaign in Telangana and targeted its Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao for dynasty politics, voiced concern over the trend dominating the country. He said be it TDP, YSR Congress or Congress, he was fighting against this mindset.

Listing out the Central institutes sanctioned for the state and works done by the Centre during last five years, Modi said had he got cooperation from the state government, he would have done more.

“I did my best but those in power have no intention to develop Andhra Pradesh,” he said targeting Naidu, whose TDP walked out of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2018.

Calling Naidu ‘U-turn Babu’ Modi alleged that there was corruption in developing the new state capital and various other projects.

“People know what are the tricks being played and whose coffers are being filled. When your chowkidar raised questions and held him to account, ‘U-turn babu’ took U-turn from the promise of developing Andhra Pradesh and distanced himself from NDA.”

“U-turn Babu found friends who are on ‘bail-gadi’ and treading the path where Pakistan is treating them as the hero,” said Modi.

He also accused the TDP chief of spreading lies for vested interests and to hide his failures.

Pointing out that the TDP and the Congress ruled Andhra Pradesh for decades and Naidu was the Chief Minister for a long time, he said they neglected farmers and cited Polavaram as a living example.

“The project is being built for seven decades. Our government released Rs 7,000 crore but this project remained incomplete as the state government is going on increasing the project cost,” he said.

Lokesh Is Mohan Babu’s First Target!

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Starting Saturday, senior Telugu film actor-producer and former Rajya Sabha member Manchu Mohan Babu will kick-start his campaign for the YSR Congress party, in which he had joined early this week.

Interestingly, the first person Mohan Babu would be targeting in the Telugu Desam Party in his first campaign trail would be Nara Lokesh Babu, TDP general secretary and son of party president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

Mohan Babu will start his first election rally from Mangalagiri and the party leaders are expecting that his histrionic speeches will definitely attract huge crowds.

He has chosen Mangalagiri for obvious reasons because it will give him an opportunity to expose Naidu and his son at a time.

For the people of the constituency who are getting disgusted with the speeches of Lokesh which are full of goofs-up and tongue-slips, Mohan Babu’s speeches will be definitely electrifying.

He is expected to highlight the failures of the Naidu government and draw attention to the YSRC manifesto.

According to party sources, Mohan Babu, despite being a late entrant into the party, will turn out to be a major star campaigner. Because of his oratory skills, he will be definitely a major crowd puller, say analysts.

The party is expecting Mohan Babu to make extensive tour of several constituencies, as he has huge fan following among the people.

His appeal to the voters to cast their vote for YSRC will have a great impact on the party’s prospects, a party source said.

Janasena Effect: Chiranjeevi Goes Underground

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Mega fans expected Megastar Chiranjeevi to come in support of his little brother’s Janasena Party. However, Megastar decided to stay away from extending verbal support to his brother’s party let alone canvassing for him.

Although Megastar is not interested to support Janasena, Pawan’s another brother Nagababu joined Janasena and is contesting as MP candidate from Narsapur constituency.

Megastar was recently put in a spot when he made a public appearance. Fans gathered around forcibly made him say ‘Jai Janasena’ slogans.

Hence, Chiranjeevi decided to avoid public meetings and media appearances until elections are concluded in Andhra Pradesh.

Interestingly, Ram Charan, who always supported his Babai has been staying mum about the Janasena’s election campaign.

Pawan Kalyan has been campaigning all alone in spite of having nearly ten film heroes within his family.

Even Naga Babu’s son Varun Tej is not using his film glamour to pull votes for his father and his babai’s party.

11 surgical strikes carried out during UPA regime: KCR

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Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday claimed that 11 surgical strikes were carried out by India when he was a Minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Rao, who was Minister for Labour and Employment in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet in 2004-06, revealed this at an election rally in Miryalguda where he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for creating a hype over surgical strikes to garner votes.

“When I was a Cabinet Minister in UPA, there were 11 surgical strikes but we never spoke about it outside. These are strategic attacks carried by them and also by us. It keeps happening on the border,” he said.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief said that while Modi claimed that 300 people died in the Balakot attack, JeM leader Masood Azhar said not even an ant was killed.

“Do you seek votes by creating a hype on such issues, leaving real issues like poverty, problems of farmers and economy aside,” Rao asked.

KCR, who was speaking hours after Modi addressed an election rally in Telangana, alleged that the Prime Minister uttered lies. He asked Modi to specify what he had done for the poor, farmers, Dalits and backwards during the last five years.

He slammed Modi and the BJP for what he called their ‘political Hindutva’.

“They are pseudo Hindus. We are real Hindus. We have bhatki. Theirs is a political Hindutva aimed at only garnering votes and targetting other communities,” he said.

KCR asked both the BJP and Congress to explain to people why they failed to use available water resources and electricity in the country and why they failed to address real issues of people despite ruling the country for 70 years.

Reiterating that he wanted to bring a qualitative change in the national politics, KCR predicted that regional parties would form the next government at the Centre.

“The BJP-led NDA will not cross 150 seats and Congress will not get more than 100 seats. After May 23, the regional parties will rule this country,” he said