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LIVE! Naidu resigns as Union minister

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July 17, 2017

23:50  Naidu resigns as Union minister :  Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today resigned after he was chosen as the NDA's candidate for the vice presidential election.

The BJP Parliamentary board, in a meeting today, picked Naidu for contesting the poll for vice president, the post he is almost certain to occupy.

A source said Naidu has tendered his resignation.

He was holding two portfolios of Information and Broadcasting, and Housing and Urban Affairs.

"Although Naidu was not required to resign technically, he has tendered his resignation to set high political standards as he has entered the electoral fray (for vice presidential position)" he said. -- PTI
23:41  MEA rejects Pak media report of China killing 158 Indian soldiers:  India today termed as 'utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous' a report about casualties of Indian soldiers in Sikkim due to military action with another country.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay also said that no cognisance should be taken of these reports by responsible media.

"Such reports are utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous," Baglay said in response to a query on reports in Pakistani media.

His reaction came after a Pakistani media organisation reported at least 158 Indian soldiers have been killed on Monday as China fired rockets across the border on Indian border installations.  -- PTI
23:06  Anantnag: 3 terrorists killed in encounter:  Three terrorists were killed in Wani Hama village of Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday night.

The operation is underway.

Earlier gunshots were heard at Bulbul Nowgam and Brakpora areas of the district.

Further details are awaited.

Representative image.
22:06  Foreign secy to brief House panel on China standoff:  Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will brief a parliamentary committee tomorrow on the issue of the Sino-India standoff at the border tri-junction with Bhutan, a panel member said.

The member, who did not wish to be named, said the foreign secretary along with other senior officials will brief the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs.

The panel, of which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is a member, is chaired by party MP Shashi Tharoor.

There has been tension in the area for the past three weeks after a Chinese Army construction party attempted to build a road there.

Last week, a meeting was called by the government to brief opposition parties on the issue.

The government had told opposition leaders that China is constructing roads near the international border, hampering the country's strategic interests. -- PTI
21:11  Terrorists target army convoy in Bijbehara:  Terrorists today attacked an army convoy at Bijbehara in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, an army official said, adding that a man was injured when the forces fired back.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and launched an operation to track down the terrorists, the official said.

"Terrorists opened fire on the last vehicle of the army convoy near Bijbehara. We retaliated and a man was injured in the incident," he said.

Haji Abdullah, 60, a resident of Arwani in Bijbehara, suffered a bullet injury on his left thigh and is undergoing treatment at the Bone and Joint Hospital here, the official said.  -- PTI
20:11  Venkaiah a fitting candidate for office of vice president: PM:  NDA's vice presidential candidate Venkaiah Naidu meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah at the party headquarters.

Praising Naidu, the PM tweeted:

'I know Venkaiah Naidu Garu for years. Have always admired his hard work & tenacity. A fitting candidate for the office of Vice President.'

'A farmer's son, Venkaiah Naidu Garu brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum.'

'The years of Parliamentary experience @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu has will help him discharge the important role of Rajya Sabha chairperson.'

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu also expressed his happiness over the nomination of Venkaiah Naidu as vice presidential candidate. -- ANI
19:47  Naidu to file nomination tomorrow:   NDA's vice presidential nominee Venkaiah Naidu will file his nomination tomorrow, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah announced.

"Venkaiah ji has a lot of experience. All NDA allies have welcomed this decision," Shah said. -- ANI
19:43  Venkaiah Naidu is NDA vice prez nominee:   JUST IN: Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah announces that Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will be the vice presidential candidate of the National Democratic Alliance.
19:39  BJP to announce vice prez nominee shortly:  The meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party to finalise the vice presidential nominee has ended and the party will hold a press conference to announce the name shortly.

Most reports pitch Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu as the likely candidate. However, in a statement given to NDTV, Naidu dismissed all this as mere speculation. -- Agencies
19:26  99% turnout in Prez poll; Shivpal votes for Kovind:  Close to 99 per cent voting in presidential poll, says Returning Officer Anup Mishra.

"Possibly the highest voter turnout. Nine to 10 states witnessed 100% voting," Mishra said.

He said 714 MPs voted in Parliament.

Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh, 402 of the 403 MLAs and three MPs exercised their franchise while Samajwadi Party legislator Shivpal Singh Yadav voted for National Democratic Alliance nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

The senior Samajwadi party legislator arrived at the assembly complex along with Independent MLA Aman Mani Tripathi and Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal's (NISHAD) lone legislator Vijay Mishra, who too told reporters that they supported Kovind.

"My open support is for Kovindji, who belongs to Kanpur dehat and is our neighbour," Shivpal told reporters, adding, "Meira Kumar did not seek vote from me and I voted on the directions of 'netaji' (Mulayam Singh Yadav)." -- PTI
19:12  Suspected LeT terrorist apprehended from Mumbai Airport:  Suspected Lashkar-e-Tayiba Saleem Khan was on Monday arrested from the Mumbai Airport.

A resident of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, Khan was arrested as part of a joint operation carried out by the Mumbai Police and Uttar Pradesh's Anti-Terrorism Squad.

According to reports, Khan was travelling to India from the United Arab Emirates, when he was following which he was detained at the Mumbai Airport. -- ANI
18:46  JUST IN: ED arrests a director of a Dubai-based firm in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper scam case
18:29  Who will be BJP's vice-presidential candidate? PM, Shah lead meeting:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are heading a meeting of the BJP to finalise a name for vice president. 

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, believed to be the front-runner, said before going into the meeting: "I am not aspiring to become anything. Whatever the parliamentary board decides, that is final." 

Sources have said that the candidate will likely be a person from south India, where the party wants to strengthen its presence. 

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is another name in circulation for the polls to be held on August 5.

Like in the case of President, the BJP's VP nominee is also expected to sail through; with the backing of southern parties like AIADMK, Telengana Rashtra Samiti and YSR Congress, the government candidate is likely to win the votes of 557 MPs in the electoral college of 787 MPs. 
18:09  Sikkim standoff: Govt restores crucial ADG post in Indo-Tibetan Border Police:  
The government has restored a crucial senior-level post in the Sino-India border guarding force ITBP after three years, a development seen as strengthening the paramilitary in the wake of frequent military stand-offs between the two sides.

RK Mishra on Monday took over as the new additional director general of the about 90,000 personnel strong force.

The lone ADG post of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was diverted to the NDRF in February 2014 by the Union home ministry, under which the two forces function.

A senior official in the security establishment said the home ministry recently cleared an order for reverting the post to ITBP, a move, he said was taken keeping in the mind the "heavy occupation" of the paramilitary in its primary duty of border guarding along with other duties.
17:52  Supriya Sule @supriya_sule day of monsoon session, at #Parliament With my colleagues. NCP MP Sule with Hema Malini, Anupriya Patel, Meenakshi Lekhi, Kirron Kher and Kothapalli Geetha.
17:21  Parliament session in Parliament tomorrow :  The Congress gives notice for tomorrow in the Rajya Sabha to discuss repeated incidents of lynching and atrocities unleashed on Dalits and minorities.

The TMC also gives notice under Rule 267 in the Rajya Sabha for tomorrow to discuss Indo-China issue on a priority and suspend all other business. 
17:15  Ceasefire violations by Pakistan continue. In the Uri sector, Pakistan targets several posts. Indian Army retaliates. 
17:11  Prez poll ends :  Voting for the presidential poll ends. The results will be declared on July 20.
17:03  You can't give the PM flowers any more :  The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines to all states on how to welcome Prime Minister Modi during his domestic tours.

The MHA said that no bouquet should be presented to the PM during his tours within India.

At best, the PM may be given a single flower among with a khadi handkerchief or a book. All states and Union Territories have been requested to suitably sensitise all concerned to ensure strict compliance of the instructions.

16:36  Trouble within the TMC? 6 MLAs vote for Kovind:  
The cracks in the Trinamool Congress are wide open, as few of the party MLAs from Tripura voted for National Democratic Alliance candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election, while others backed Opposition candidate Meira Kumar.

TMC MLA Ashish Saha said they voted for Kovind as a mark of their protest against the Communist Party of India-Marxist, who has been ruling in Tripura for more than 25 years.

"Mamata Banerjee didn't fulfil her promise to remove the CPI-M from the state. Right now the BJP is in the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and to fight against them, she is backing the Congress and the CPI-M in the Presidential election," Saha said.

He added Mamata can support Meira, but they will not.

"The people of Tripura are suffering for the past 25 years. Six of the MLAs of the TMC have voted for Ram Nath Kovind. We've registered our protest against crimes of the CPM, the Congress and the TMC," he said.

Earlier, Mamata asked her party MPs to cast their votes in Kolkata, fearing of cross-voting during the Presidential election. 
16:12  Indu Sarkar director Madhur Bhandarkar to get police protection:  
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar has been given police protection amid protests against his film "Indu Sarkar" based on the Emergency.

Bhandarkar will have two policemen in the day and two at night.

The filmmaker has been facing Congress protests against the film, which is said to have characters inspired by Indira Gandhi and her younger son Sanjay Gandhi.

He had cancelled his promotional events in Nagpur and Mumbai over protests by local Congress workers.

The Congress has distanced itself from the protests, with senior leader Pawan Khera saying the party has "nothing to do" with them.

15:38  TMC admits Meira Kumar will lose, but says it's a protest vote :  West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's party the Trinamool Congress was the first opposition party to admit that Meira Kumar, the opposition's candidate for the presidential polls, will lose agains the NDA's nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Mamata said today the TMC voted for former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, to  register their protest against the atrocities in the country under the ruling BJP.

She said all opposition parties must unite together. "This is the best time. We will play an aggressive role in Parliament. We are ready to go to jail but will not bow our heads," she told PTI.

Mamata Banerjee had asked her party MPs to cast their votes in Kolkata to prevent cross voting. On July 1, all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members of the TMC received an SMS, which said that MPs would have to vote in Kolkata, and that they should fill up the form sent by the Election Commission stating their place of voting and hand over the form to her secretary. -- PTI.
15:08  India lacks power to challenge China: Farooq Abdullah:  Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah on Monday asserted that India lacks the power to take China-occupied Kashmir back from Beijing.

"In Ladakh, China has occupied the Aksai Chin. We shout about it, but do not have the power to take it back," Farooq said, adding that the only way to resolve the tension with China is to be friends with them, as war is not a solution.

"India should enhance their diplomatic channels and with that they should resolve this matter. China is Pakistan's friend, had we maintained our friendship with China, they would not have been friends with Pakistan," he said.

Farooq asserted that China's motive is to make the Karakoram by-pass, which would serve as their silk route and will connect them to the port. Which eventually passes through region occupied by China.

"Dalai Lama is another issue. They are asking to send him out of the country. India knows how to give one shelter, cannot throw someone out of the country," he said.
14:56  UP MLAs spit under their Assembly seats :  The search for more explosives at the Uttar Pradesh Assembly has ended up exposing a "dirty" secret: pan masala and gutkha sachets stuffed under the cushions and spit stains below the members' seats.

State police's anti-terrorist squad has been combing the Assembly hall after the discovery of 150gm of the deadly explosive PETN under a seat last week.

"It seems that many of the lawmakers chew gutkha and pan masala during the sessions and stick the sachets under their own seat cushions' or their colleagues'. They also spit below the seats," an investigator who didn't want to be named said.  Read more
14:51  This is Indias China war, Round Two:  With India and China interacting over more than 3,000km of undefined frontier, friction is constant and that one day it would break back into border war has seemed inevitable. Two great Indian delusions have created this situation.
Read more
14:31  It's an administrative process: K'taka CM on DIG Roopa's transfer :  Karnataka CM S Siddaramaiah on the transfer orders for DIG Police D Roopa to the Road safety & traffic department: "It is an administrative process, it is not necessary to disclose everything to the media."

D Roopa had spoken out against the alleged VIP treatment being given to AIADMK chief Sasikala Natarajan in jail.
14:20  Mumbai: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis casts his vote in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the Presidential Poll 2017.
14:14  Sena asks Cong to get 'mental balance' checked for nominating Gandhi:  The Shiv Sena on Monday tore into the Congress for nominating Gopalkrishna Gandhi for the post of Vice-President of India and said the party needs to get their 'mental balance' checked after taking this decision.

"I just want to ask her that on what basis, the Congress has nominated Gopalkrishna Gandhi for the post of the Vice-President. He is the same man, who advocated for the mercy plea for Mumbai serial blast conspirator Yakub Memon," Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.

"If they want Gopalkrishna Gandhi to hold a Constitutional position of the nation, then it is important to get their 'mental balance' checked," he added.

He even said the Congress should understand that nominating Gopalkrishna, who backed Memon, is like going against the nation.

Raut also hit out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her remark on the President, saying that the presidential poll is a fight against "narrow-minded communal vision".

"Who is narrow minded, I want to ask Sonia Gandhi. What is the definition of narrow mindedness? She should forget about Presidential election. Ram Nath Govind will have historic victory," he said.

India is casting its vote today in the Presidential polls 2017.

The Opposition has nominated Gopalkrishna Gandhi for the post of Vice-President, but the National Democratic Alliance is yet to announce the name of its candidate.The Vice-President election is scheduled on will be held on August 5.
14:11  100% polling in Himachal :  Hundred per cent polling was recorded in the voting for the presidential election in Himachal with all 67 MLAs casting their vote. One seat is lying vacant in the 68-member House following death of Congress MLA Karan Singh. The ballot boxes would be sent to Chandigarh tomorrow morning and flown to Delhi, a Vidhan Sabha official said
14:04  NCP denies supporting Kovind, says party has voted for Meira:  Amid reports of the Nationalist Congress Party voting for National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, party leader Praful Patel on Monday clarified that all their MPs and MLAs have voted for Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. Patel said NCP chief Sharad Pawar had declared his support for Meira in the beginning itself.

"This is all baseless. NCP chief Sharad Pawar himself declared the party's support for Meira Kumar. All the MPs and MLAs have voted for her," Patel told ANI.

Patel, however, also opined that the one, who can maintain the dignity of the President's post, should win.

"This is the supreme post of the country. It is the President's responsibility to safeguard the Constitution. We wish that the person who can maintain the dignity of the post and protect the Constitution wins," he said.

Earlier, as per reports, it was said that the NCP has extended its support to Kovind, leading to a huge gain for the NDA and loss for the Opposition.The polling for the Presidential election is underway.
13:47  Owaisi will support Meira, but prefers a non-Congress candidate :  The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said they voted for Opposition candidate Meira Kumar for the post of the President.

"We have decided to support Meira Kumar. But a non-congress candidate would have been better for this post," Owaisi told ANI.

Owaisi and his nine legislators in Telangana and Maharashtra will cast their votes for the Opposition candidate.

The party has seven members in the Telangana Assembly and two in the Maharashtra Assembly.

The Congress-led opposition nominated Kumar to face National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

Many of the Opposition parties including the Janata Dal (Secular), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) are backing Kumar.

While Kovind, apart from the NDA allies, is being supported by major non-NDA parties like the JD-U, the BJD, the AIADMK, the TRS and the YSR-Congress
13:34  Chinese Army conducts live-fire drills in Tibet:  China's military has conducted live-fire exercises in the remote mountainous Tibet region amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector.

The People's Liberation Army conducted the 11-hour long live-fire exercises in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, state-run China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Friday, without mentioning the exact timing of the drills.

The brigade that conducted the drills was from the PLA's Tibet Military Command and is one of China's two plateau mountain brigades.
13:17  Sasikala kitchen ghotala: Whistleblower top cop transferred :  The Karnataka Deputy Inspector General of Police, D Roopa, who spoke out against the alleged VIP treatment being given to AIADMK chief Sasikala Natarajan in jail, has been shunted out.

Roopa has now been posted as commissioner for road safety & traffic.

Creating a political storm in Tamil Nadu, D Roopa had revealed that AIADMK chief paid a bribe of Rs 2 crore for special treatment in Bengalurus Parappana Agrahara central prison.

The woman cop, who decided to go against the system and turn into a whistleblower in the matter, stated in her report that the Director General (Prisons) also received a hefty amount of that Rs 2 crore.

However, the DG (Prisons) rejected the allegations saying no such favors were provided to Sasikala.

The AIADMK general secretary, soon after taking over the reigns of the party, was sentenced to jail soon after she surrendered before a trial court in Karnataka capital.
13:06  It's not rocket science, Kovind will win: Praful Patel:  
There is no rocket science involved in predicting that the ruling NDA's nominee Ram Nath Kovind would win the presidential poll, senior NCP leader Praful said today.
Patel also expressed the hope that a candidate who could protect the Constitution would win the election.
The NCP is backing the opposition's joint candidate Meira Kumar for the election, the numbers for which are tilted in favour of the BJP-led NDA.
"There is no rocket science, Ram Nath Kovind will win today," Patel said in the Parliament House complex.
"Because all MPs don't necessarily vote only according to conscience, they also vote according to party lines and party lines are divided somewhat on ideology, principles and political positioning.
"So, I don't read too much into any other statement, except the fact that this is a clear case of the NDA scoring big in terms of the numbers," he added.
Notwithstanding the numbers being in favour of the NDA, he said every election had its importance and this applied to the presidential poll as well.
The voting for the election began at 10 AM today and will continue till 5 PM.
The poll result will be declared on July 20.
12:46  A woman was injured in the ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the LoC in Rajouri's Manjakote sector (J&K).
12:38  Jawan, girl, killed in Pak shelling along LoC:  An Army jawan and a nine-year-old girl were killed as Pakistani troops shell areas along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. Two more civilians have been injured.

The army said soldier Muddasar Ahmed (pictured) was hit when mortar shells landed on his bunker at around 7.30 am. The 37-year-old father of two was a brave and sincere soldier and "loved his job to the core", the army said.

India said the army "reserved the right to retaliate appropriately" to ceasefire violations.

India's Director General of Military Operations, in a conversation with his Pakistani counterpart said, "Made it implicit that Indian Army reserved the right to retaliate appropriately to any incident of violation of ceasefire but is sincere in its effort of maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of Control provided there was reciprocity."

12:34  Odisha CM Naveen Biju Patnaik casts his vote for the Presidential election at the Odisha Assembly. Polling began at 10 am and ends at 5 pm. 
12:03  Naidu, Sitharaman in VP race?:  Union ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Nirmala Sitharaman in VP race, says ABP News.

The Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentary board is slated to meet this evening to pick the vice-presidential candidate of the National Democratic Alliance.

Opposition presidential candidate Meira Kumar and vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi met members of political parties supporting their respective candidatures yesterday.

The JD-U had broken ranks with the opposition on the presidential election when it decided to support the ruling NDA's nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

11:51  Andhra Pradesh CM NChandrababu Naidu cast his vote for the Presidential Poll in Amaravati.
11:40  Prez poll results on Thursday :  The Election Commission has appointed 33 observers who are overseeing the conduct of the election. While two observers are present in Parliament House, one each is deployed in the respective state assemblies.

The results will be declared on July 20 in New Delhi.

The electorate, comprising elected Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members and members of state assemblies, is tilted in favour of the NDA, but the opposition is working to seek support of some regional parties in favour of its candidate.

The tenure of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, the 13th president of India, ends on July 24. The electoral college, which elects the president through the system of proportional representation, comprises MPs and members of state legislative assemblies.

Image: Union Minister Uma Bharti casts her vote in the UP State assembly in Lucknow.
11:31  Sensex hits life-time high of 32,131.92 in late morning trade; Nifty scales new peak of 9,920.30.
11:29  Ceasefire violation by Pak in Rajouri, Poonch, Indian Army retaliating:   The Pakistan Army on Monday violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in Poonch's Balakote and Rajouri's Manjakote and Bhimber Gali sector.

The Indian Army is strongly retaliating to it.

On July 12, two soldiers were killed after Pakistan violated ceasefire in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

On July 9, the Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector along the LoC.Reportedly, 23 cease fire violations have occurred so far in June alone.

On June 29, two Indian Army jawans were injured when the Pakistani troops initiated firing along the LOC in Poonch.

On June 26, the Pakistani Army fired small arms and shelled mortars along the LoC in the Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri. -- ANI

Representational image.
11:26  Both houses of Parliament adjourned till tomorrow. 
11:22  Lok Sabha adjourned till tomorrow after an obituary is read to former members and victims of the Amarnath terror attack.
11:16   Rehearsal for the swearing-in ceremony of the new President at Delhi's Vijay Chowk.
11:15   Presidential election 2017: MLAs queue up at Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly to cast their votes
10:55  MPs queue up in Parliament to vote in the Presidential poll. 
10:40  Prez polls: Voting begins across India :  So, PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah were the first to cast their vote in Parliament in the Presidential Polls being held today. Voting, which began at 10 am across the country, is underway simultaneously in all state assemblies as well as in the Parliament.

Every elected legislator will exercise his/her franchise to choose the country's next President.

The ruling NDA has thrown its weight behind former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, while a gathbandhan of of 14 Opposition parties have proposed former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as their presidential candidate.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who are yet to resign from the Lok Sabha, will vote at the respective Assemblies. Adityanath has already cast his vote in the UP Assembly.

After the PM and Shah vote, MPs have begun queueing up in Parliament to cast their vote.

Jailed MLAs Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramesh Kadam will be brought to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from prison for voting. MLAs have also begun queuing up at the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly to cast their votes
10:21  Prez poll begins: PM, Amit Shah vote :  PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah cast their votes in Parliament for the Presidential polls. The voting will take place in room number 62 inside Parliament House.

Across the country there are 32 polling stations with ballot papers in the state's official language and in English. For MPs, the ballot papers will be in English and Hindi. Specially serial-numbered pens with violet ink have been supplied by the Election Commission to ensure that only the writing instrument issued by it is used by voters to mark their votes.

Counting will take place on July 20.

10:12  PM wakes up to cost of thugs:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi today acknowledged that violence in the name of cow protection was tarnishing the image of the country and damaging the social fabric and asked political leaders to lend their support in fighting the menace. Read more
10:06  India will get a new president, vice-president in this session: PM:  PM Narendra Modi addresses the media ahead of the Presidential Election. He said the country will get a new President and Vice President in this session and it was a crucial session for the country.

"Jaise varsha nai sugandh mitti mein bharti hai vaise hi monsoon satr GST ki safal varsha ke karan nai umag se bhara hoga. Just as the monsoon infuses the earth with a new fragrance, in the same way because of the success of the GST the monsoon session will be infused by a new spirit. I salute our farmers before the session. "

The PM and Amit Shah will be the first to vote in the Parliament for the poll.
09:49  Prez polls: PM, Amit Shah to vote at 10 am in Parliament:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to cast their votes at 10 am in Parliament for the Presidential Poll.

In Varanasi, BJP supporters perform 'hawan' for NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind's victory in the Presidential Poll to be held today. 4896 legislators will vote. Voting will take place between 10 am and 5 pm.

Ram Nath Kovind, 71, a lawyer, has served twice as a Rajya Sabha member before he took over as the Bihar Governor. If elected, he will be India's second Dalit president after KR Narayanan, who served from 1997 to 2002.

MPs and MLAs who vote to elect the next President on Monday have been barred from carrying their personal pens inside the voting chamber and will have to mark their ballot with a specially-designed marker, the Election Commission said.

At a meeting of MPs from 17 opposition parties on Sunday, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said the election is a fight against "narrow-minded communal vision".

"In these contests, the numbers may be against us, but the battle must be fought and fought hard," she said. "We cannot and must not let India be hostage to those who wish to impose upon it a narrow-minded, divisive and communal vision."

Following the ink controversy in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year, the Election Commission has decided to use special pens for the electors to mark their votes in the presidential and vice presidential polls.

Specially serial-numbered pens with violet ink have been supplied by the Election Commission to ensure that only the writing instrument issued by it is used by voters to mark their votes on Monday.

09:47  Presidential elections fight between ideologies, not persons: NCP:  The Nationalist Congress Party on Monday said that the Presidential election is a fight between two different ideologies, and not between two persons.

Talking to ANI, NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, "I believe that this fight is not between two persons but between two ideologies. We will get to see that whether the Gandhian ideology wins or an orthodox ideology wins."

Another NCP leader Majid Memon told ANI that the arithmetic apparently shows that the ruling party is in a comfortable position because they have their own numbers for winning the elections.

"The arithmetic apparently shows that the ruling party is in a comfortable position because they have their own numbers for winning the elections. But, at the same time this has given a political opportunity to the Oppositions to come together. Most important aspect of this development is that the unity and the strength of the Opposition are now obviously visible and this is sending some kind of panic waves to the ruling party," Memon said.

The elected representative of the Parliament and various state assemblies on Monday will vote to elect India's next President.

There are two candidates in the fray for the coveted post- National Democratic Alliance candidate Ram Nath Kovind and United Progressive Alliance candidate Meira Kumar. President Pranab Mukherjee's term is expiring on July 25.
09:33  16 new bills to be introduced in Parliament today:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance government will be introducing 16 new Bills in Monsoon Session of the Parliament that is beginning on Monday.

Thirty-four Bills are on the agenda of the government for the Monsoon Session that is likely to be a stormy affair over issues like lynching incidents and vigilantism over cow, the Kashmir situation and the border stand-off with China.

Among the new Bills that are to be introduced are the Consumer Protection Bill and two bills to implement the GST in Jammu and Kashmir.

The new Bills that would be introduced are: The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017; The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, 2017; The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017; The State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017; The Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension To Chandigarh) Amendment Bill, 2017; The Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2017; The Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2017; The Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) Bill, 2017; The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Amendment Bill, 2017; The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2017; The Consumer Protection Bill, 2017; The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017; The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017; The Right of Children Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017; Labour Code on wages; and The National Sports University Bill, 2017.
09:18  Monsoon session of Parliament to begin from today :  
The monsoon session of the Parliament is to begin from today.

The Opposition is likely to corner the government on the issue of China, Jammu and Kashmir and Darjeeling unrest, impact of Goods and Service Tax and other issues.

Apart from this the Centre will also introduce 16 new bills in both the houses of the Parliament for consideration and passing.

Ahead of the monsoon session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday, while addressing the floor of leaders of parties of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha at the national capital, said that for preserving the institution of Democracy in India, it is important that all political parties support the Government to conduct business in both Houses of the Parliament without disruption and constructive discussion takes place on issues of national importance.

Modi further urged all parties to extend their support to the government in fighting corruption and the issue of communal violence in the name of cow protection.

The PM also called on all the parties to support the war against corruption, which has been initiated by the government.

He also mentioned that the highest level of dignity has been maintained in the whole process of presidential election till now and no situation of any bitterness surfaced among the political parties.
09:10  Prez polls: MPs, MLAs to have different coloured ballot papers:  
MPs and MLAs who vote to elect the next President on Monday have been barred from carrying their personal pens inside the voting chamber and will have to mark their ballot with a specially-designed marker, the Election Commission said.

Following the ink controversy in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year, the Election Commission has decided to use special pens for the electors to mark their votes in the presidential and vice presidential polls.

Specially serial-numbered pens with violet ink have been supplied by the Election Commission to ensure that only the writing instrument issued by it is used by voters to mark their votes on Monday.

"Before entering the voting chamber, a polling staff will collect personal pens from the voters and hand over the special pen to mark their vote on the ballot paper.

"When the member comes out of the voting chamber, the special pen will be taken back and the polling staff will return the personal pen," a Commission spokesperson explained the new rule.

While announcing the schedule of the election, the poll panel had made it clear that use of any other pen could lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting under the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections Rules, 1974.

These special pens have been procured from Mysore paints and varnish Ltd which supplies indelible ink to the EC.

Green-coloured ballot papers will be there for members of Parliament and pink for MLAs who vote in the election.
09:02  Leaders of opposition parties to meet at 10 am today in the Parliament.
08:49  Race to Raisina: MPs, MLAs to vote for Prez poll today:  
The elected representative of the Parliament and various state assemblies will vote to elect India's next President today.

Ruling National Democratic Alliance candidate Ram Nath Kovind has locked horns with opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the race to the country's top constitutional post.

Voting is scheduled be held from 10 am to 5 pm.

President Pranab Mukherjee's term is expiring on July 25. 

In the last presidential election in 2012, Mukherjee had defeated P A Sangma and got over 69 per cent votes.

Both Kovind and Kumar are from the Dalit community and have canvassed hard by visiting states to seek support of legislators.

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