Fri, 22 December 2017
CWC discusses indiscipline in backdrop of Aiyar's 'neech' jibe at PM

Timeline  Refresh

23:29   CWC discusses indiscipline in backdrop of Aiyar's 'neech' jibe at PM
Indiscipline in the Congress was one of the key issues raised today at the first Congress Working Committee meeting Rahul Gandhi chaired after taking over as the party president, against the backdrop of Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'neech' remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Though no names were mentioned, some Congress Working Committee members raised the issue of leaders making 'irrelevant' statements that hurt the party and adversely impacted its prospects in elections.

The issue cropped up at the meeting of the Congress's highest decision-making body days after senior leader M Veerapa Moily said controversial statements by Aiyar and Kapil Sibal might have undone the gains made by Rahul Gandhi during campaigning in the Gujarat elections.

Modi had used Aiyar's remark that he (the prime minister) was a "neech kism ka aadmi" (a vile sort of person) to the hilt at the hustings to whip up a sense of Gujarati pride.

Senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal's pitch for deferment of the hearing of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit till after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, many feel, also harmed the party's chances in elections.

The Congress suspended Aiyar's primary membership the day he made the comment, while it distanced itself from Sibal's remark.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, sources said the issues of indiscipline and leaders making out of turn statements were raised by many CWC members and discussed.

These members also suggested action against such 'errant' leaders. Gandhi, they said, was in agreement with those who brought up the issue.

"We will ensure discipline is enforced and the party is strengthened," Gandhi was quoted as having told the meeting.  -- PTI
20:55   Jaya probe panel issues summons to Sasikala, Apollo Hospitals
A one-man inquiry commission probing the death of J Jayalalithaa today issued summons to her close aide V K Sasikala and Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap C Reddy seeking information about the hospitalisation and treatment provided to the late Tamil Nadu chief minister.

The summons issued to Sasikala, now serving a four-year jail term in a Bengaluru prison in a corruption case, seeks within 15 days information known to her and evidence in respect of Jayalalithaa's admission to the hospital and medical treatment provided till her demise last year.

Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals here on September 22 and died on December 5 last year.

The Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission, probing the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and her death, issued the summons to Sasikala through the Parapana Agrahara Prison Superintendent in Bengaluru by e-mail and speed post, commission sources said.

Sasikala could furnish the evidence and information through an advocate, may file an affidavit or might appear in person according to her choice, the sources told PTI.

Incidentally, the commission issued the summons two days after a video footage purportedly showing Jayalalithaa in a hospital was released by a loyalist of Sasikala's nephew and sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran.

Vetrivel had claimed that the video was taken by Sasikala at the request of Jayalalithaa and he released it in view of doubts being raised over the death.

The commission has filed a complaint with police seeking action against Vetrivel, a disqualified MLA, for releasing the video with the 'intention' to 'degrade' it and to create law and order problems.

The panel also issued summons to the hospital Executive Vice Chairperson Preetha Reddy, daughter of Prathap Reddy. Summons to the two have been delivered in person and they have been asked to respond within 10 days, the sources said.

The summons to Reddy also has reference to his recent press briefing wherein he had spoken about Jayalalithaa's health condition during admission and thereafter.

Reddy and his daughter could appear in person or through an advocate.

The summons to them too asks them to provide information and evidence in respect of Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and death.  -- PTI
19:16   The whole foundation of BJP is based on lies: Rahul after CWC meet
Rahul Gandhi addresses the media after chairing first Congress Working Committee meet as the party president:

"The whole architecture of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is about lies, the whole structure is about lies."

"Everyone knows about 2G, the truth has come out on front of you."

"If you see the Modi model in Gujarat it was a clear lie, when we went to Gujarat the people said there is no model, they said what is going on is stealing of people's resources."

"You talk of 2G... whether you look at the Modi model or the promise of Rs 15 lakh in every bank account... Demonetisation, 'Gabbar Singh Tax'.. everything is a lie."

Photograph: ANI
18:28   Protests within Himachal BJP over new CM suspense
The members of Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party held a protest while a meeting of the party central observers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar was underway, saying that the next chief minister should be chosen from the elected MLAs and that there should be no lobbying.

This comes in the awake of Prem Kumar Dhumal, who has been the state's chief minister for two full terms, being considered as the front-runner for the state's top post once again, despite losing on the Sujanpur seat in the recently-held assembly polls.

To counter the protest, Dhumal's supporters also took to the streets and raised slogans outside the venue of Core Committee meeting in Shimla.

The name of the new chief minister was expected to be announced today.

Among the newly-elected MLAs, five-time lawmaker Jairam Thakur is also being seen as a contender for the chief ministerial post, along with Union Minister J P Nadda.

In the recently held assembly polls, BJP stood victorious with 44 seats, while the Congress acquired 20 seats in the total 68 constituencies. -- ANI
17:34   Rupani elected unanimously: Jaitley
Arun Jaitley addresses the media in Gandhinagar on the party's decision to retain Vijay Rupani as the Gujarat CM. This is what Jaitley said.

"Vijay Rupani has been chosen as Legislature party leader unanimously, Nitin Bhai Patel as the deputy Legislature party leader in a meeting today. Will inform you all about the swearing in, soon.

"The process of elections is that we set the process into motion as Central Observers, call upon elected MLAs to propose a name.

"Bhupendra Singh proposed these two names for the leader and Deputy leader, it was supported by 5 other MLAs who came to the dais and supported them. This was then put to the house which they unanimously accepted. I also asked the members if anybody had any alternative proposal, and since there was none, the two were declared as unanimously elected."
17:29   Band, bajaa aur mantri
Celebrations outside BJP Office in Gandhinagar after Vijay Rupani gets elected as the Gujarat Chief Minister again, Nitin Bhai Patel as Deputy CM.
17:27   Tiger Zzzzzinda Hai Review:Tiring, toothless, sequel
Tiger Zinda Hai returns to the same moronic space where it's all about slow-motion Salman, his checkered scarf, his fleeting shirtless-ness, his unrealistically beefed up body and a taken-for-granted indestructibility, says Sukanya Verma. Read the review before you go.
17:04   Vijay Rupani to continue as Gujarat CM
Vijay Rupani will continue as Gujarat CM. Nitin Patel retains the deputy CM portfolio. Rupani will also be the legislative party leader. The decision was taken at the legislative party meeting being held at Ahmedabad, which was attended by Arun Jaitley.

Rupani is the first BJP chief minister after Narendra Modi to face elections in Gujarat. He fought from a constituency (Rajkot West) from where Modi had contested his first election. He won by a comfortable margin from a seat that is considered safe and a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh stronghold.
16:56   Rahul holds 1st CWC meeting as party president
Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the AICC for the Congress Working Committee meeting which has begun. This is Rahul Gandhi's first CWC meeting as party President.

The CWC will accord a warm welcome to the new president and likely discuss the current political situation, including the ramifications of the Congress's strong performance in the Gujarat Assembly polls for the party in future.

The party is also expected to pass a resolution condemning PM Modi's allegations against Dr Manmohan Singh.

Party sources said the 2G spectrum case judgement acquitting all the accused is also likely to be discussed. The BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used the alleged scam to the hilt while mounting a fierce campaign against the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
16:45   SC refuses stay on K'taka HC order on pictorial warning on tobacco products
The Supreme Court today refused to grant any interim stay on the Karnataka High Court verdict which quashed the government regulation that packets of tobacco products must carry pictorial warning covering 85 per cent of the packaging space.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the high court to upload the judgement on its website and fixed the appeal against it for further hearing on January 8 next year. Several petitions, including the one filed by NGO Health for Millions Trust, have challenged the high court verdict.

The high court had on December 15 struck down the 2014 amendment rules that mandated the pictorial health warning to cover 85 per cent of the tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated the constitutional norms. -- PTI
16:18   2G scam case: We were wrongly framed, says Kanimozhi
A day after being acquitted in the 2G case, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam  MP Kanimozhi on Friday said she was wrongly framed in the multi-crore scam.

"The DMK was blamed unnecessarily and we had been framed wrongly. The whole case was based on a notional loss. What we have been saying all these years, now finally the judge said the same thing," she told media.

All accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases - including former telecom minister A Raja and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi - were, earlier on Thursday, acquitted by a Special CBI court.

The verdict was announced nearly seven years after the first arrest was made by the CBI in 2011.The alleged scam relates to the granting of 2G spectrum licence allocations in 2007-08, which caused, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the public exchequer.It was among the major corruption scandals that came to light during the second term of the UPA government headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh. - ANI
16:03   Sachin delivers debut Parliament speech on Facebook
Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar posts his Rajya Sabha speech on Facebook Live after he was prevented from speaking in the House yesterday by a raucous Opposition demanding an apology from the Prime Minister for his remarks against Dr Manmohan Singh.

In the 15-minute video, Tendulkar said it was his endeavour to transform India from being a sport loving nation to a sport playing nation. I urge you all to participate in this effort and help make my dream, our dream. Always remember, dreams do come true!"

Listen to the video here.

Tendulkar was slated to initiate a short duration discussion on the right to play and the future of sports in India, which was disrupted by the protests that led Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the House for the day.When the House met at 2 pm after an earlier adjournment, Naidu wanted to take up the short duration discussion to be initiated by Tendulkar.

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal however said he had a point of order and asked whether CAG reports can be leaked to newspapers before they are tabled.

"Can we summon people responsible for tarnishing those in constitutional offices on the basis of CAG reports," he asked. After the point of order, Naidu sought to initiate the discussion on sports saying this was Tendulkar's maiden speech and he should be heard.

Promptly, several Congress members got up and raised the issue of the prime minister's remarks and started raising slogans such as "Desh ko gumrah karna band karo' (stop misleading the nation) and seeking an apology from Modi.Naidu admonished the members, saying Tendulkar had done a lot for the country and was a 'Bharat Ratna' awardee.

As the Opposition members continued with their noisy protests, Naidu again chided them in his characteristic style, asking them to not shout as "all they would achieve was a hoarse throat and bad name."

He said Tendulkar was a legendary persona and an inspiration for the youth while urging the Congress members to allow the discussion.
Anushka Sharma @AnushkaSharma Second time for me on Forbes, first for #Nush. Thank you again @forbes_india #ForbesIndiaCeleb100.
15:13   Court to hear FERA violation case against Mallya on Jan 4
A Delhi court will hear on January 4 the issue of whether to declare fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender for allegedly evading summonses in a FERA violation case. The matter could not be heard today by the court due to the absence of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Shehrawat, who had initiated the process to declare him a PO after the Enforcement Directorate informed it that his presence could not be ensured.
15:07   MS Aiyar mutes reporter asking a question on Gujarat polls
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, now famous for his 'neech' remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, refused to respond to a question on the Gujarat elections asked by an ANI reporter.

Aiyar, who was at an event in Kolkata, refused to acknowledge the reporter and continued reading his newspaper even after the question was repeated.

Amidst the mudslinging between Congress and BJP leaders during Gujarat election campaigning, the senior leader made headlines when he called the prime minister a 'neech aadmi'. He later issued a clarification in this regard, citing what he had intended to say was lost in translation. -- ANI

14:46   Spurned man who burned woman alive held
A 25-year-old woman, who was allegedly set ablaze last evening in full public view in Secunderabad by a man suspected to be her lover, succumbed to her burns this morning, police said. She died around 7.30 am while undergoing treatment at Gandhi Hospital in Secunderabad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (north zone) B Sumathi said.

The woman worked as a receptionist at an aluminium fabrication unit, police said. As per preliminary investigation, the man, aged around 28, last evening called her to Lalaguda area, located about 10 km from Hyderabad.

After she reached the spot, the man suddenly poured kerosene on her and set her on fire before fleeing, a police official yesterday said.

Hearing her cries, some passersby rushed to her aid and put out the fire. The woman, who suffered 60 per cent burns, was then shifted to the hospital. "She passed away this morning. We are now altering the case sections also," Sumathi said. The police had yesterday registered a case under IPC section 307 (attempt to murder).  The Section 302 (murder) is likely to be added to the charges since the woman succumbed to her burn injuries.

A police official earlier said the man was apparently in love with the woman and was harassing her. However, the woman never told her family members about the man or the harassment, the official said. The man has been taken into custody. -- PTI
Jayalalithaa death probe commission summons Sasikala and Apollo Hospital Chairman Pratap Reddy. 
14:07   Delhi HC asks CBI to trace founder of Rohini ashram
The Delhi High Court today asked the CBI to trace the founder of the north Delhi-based ashram where girls were allegedly kept under illegal confinement.

Over 40 girls were rescued by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) along with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and the Delhi Police from Rohini's Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya.

The step was taken after the Delhi High Court formed a panel consisting of lawyers and the DCW chief, to inspect the premises of the so-called institute, owned by the Baba Virender Dikshit where girls and women were allegedly kept in illegal confinement.

"A 13-year-old victim said that she was raped by the Baba. It is high time to take action against such Babas. We were also held hostage when we went there to rescue the victims. Somehow we managed to rescue the girls," DCW chief Swati Maliwal said. -- ANI
Sheela Bhatt @sheela2010 BJP is 101 ( 99 plus 2) now in Gujarat assembly! Two independent MLAs have declared support to BJP.
13:50   Why is Javdekar carrying a telephone in Parliament?
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar was spotted using a landline-receiver in order to avoid the harmful radiation released by mobile phones, outside the Parliament, on Friday.

In order to safeguard himself from the radiation, Javadekar was seen talking over the purple landline-receiver - attached to his cellphone.

Javedkar was clicked with the landline-receiver outside the Parliament when he came to attend the winter session.The minister, however, didn't disclose the reason of carrying the prop. -- ANI
13:33   CBI opposes bail plea of boy accused of murdering Pradhyumn
The CBI today opposed in a Gurgaon court the bail plea of the 16-year-old student, accused of killing a seven-year-old boy, at the Ryan International school here.

Additional Sessions Judge Jasbir Singh Kundu fixed the matter for January 6 for arguments on the appeal filed by the accused against an order of the Juvenile Justice Board denying bail.

The probe agency opposed the appeal in a written submission before the court. The court posted the matter for the next date after an adjournment was sought by the counsel for the accused.

The JJB had on December 20 held that the 16-year-old boy would be tried as an adult and directed that he be produced before the Gurgaon sessions court today.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 lowers the age of juveniles from 18 years to 16 years for heinous crimes like rape, murder and dacoity-cum- murder, which warrant at least seven years of imprisonment. However, the JJB first decides whether the crime committed has been "child-like" or was it committed in an "adult frame of mind", following which the JJB orders the accused to be tried as juvenile or adult.

The JJB had passed the order on a plea that the accused teenager should not be treated as a juvenile. If convicted, he will stay in a correctional home till he is 21-years old after which the court can shift him to a jail or grant him bail, it had said.

The board had earlier rejected the bail plea of the Class 11 Ryan International School student, charged with killing Pradhuman Thakur, a Class 2 student of the same school, in the school premises on September 8. It had set up a committee which included a psychologist from the PGI, Rohtak for an expert opinion on the accused, who had been taken into custody by the CBI last month. The panel submitted its report in two sealed envelopes. The JJB had noted that the accused was mature enough to recognise the consequences of his actions.

Pradhyumn was found with his throat slit in the school's washroom. The Gurgaon Police had said the crime was committed by a school bus conductor, which the CBI later refuted. The CBI claimed the teenager had killed Pradhyumn in a bid to get the school closed so that a scheduled parent- teacher meeting and an examination could be deferred. -- PTI
13:17   8-year-old raped by six neighbourhood boys
An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped by six boys, a 19-year-old and five minors aged about 10, living in her neighbourhood, police officials said in Pune today.

All six have been held following a complaint from the girl's mother yesterday. She alleged that the six, all living in her neighbourhood in Kondhwa area, sexually assaulted her daughter, an official said.

The police arrested the 19-year-old and sent the five boys, in the age group of 10 to 11, to an observation home, he said. The incident came to light yesterday when the woman took her daughter to a doctor after she complained of abdominal pain.

The doctor found some marks on the girl's body during a medical examination and suspected it to be a case of sexual abuse, the official said.

When the doctor asked the girl about the marks, she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by the six on four to five occasions in the last couple of weeks, he said. The girl's mother then immediately approached the police.

The six have been booked under IPC Section 376 (rape) and relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, he added. -- PTI
13:15   Woman gets 7 yrs imprisonment for helping in friend's rape
A fast track court in Muzaffarnagar has sentenced a woman to seven years imprisonment for helping a man and his wife in the rape of her friend 14 years ago. Judge Ashok Kumar yesterday held that Rita Kumari helped Ugar Sain and his wife in the rape of a 22-year-old girl at Titawi village in the district on June 3, 2003. Ugar Sain and his wife were convicted in 2006, the government lawyer said.

Rita Kumari, a friend of the survivor, was found guilty under IPC section 210 B (criminal conspiracy). The court also imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 on her. -- PTI
12:44   RS adjourns: Cong insists on resolving impasse over PM's remarks
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day soon after it assembled today as Congress insisted that the impasse over the reported remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh should be resolved first.

For the past week, the opposition has been demanding a clarification from the Prime Minister over his remarks made during the Gujarat election campaign against his predecessor and others.

As soon as the House assembled and papers were laid, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the House should be adjourned till afternoon so that a solution can be found to end the impasse prevailing in the House since the first day of its sitting on December 15.

Azad said the opposition too wants the House to function and carry out legislative business. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel suggested that the House should continue to function and in the meantime, a solution is found. -- PTI
12:34   Raja submits 'historical' 2G verdict at 'saviour' Karunanidhi's feet
In wake of his acquittal in the high profile 2G spectrum allocation scam case, former telecom minister A Raja on Friday wrote to DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, thanking him for being his saviour.

"You are my saviour and I submit this historical verdict at your feet. You have always safeguarded and protected me through all these years," Raja wrote to the DMK patriarch.

Raja also raised doubts as to who worked to frame charges against the DMK leaders. "Who is responsible for tarnishing our image? Although they achieved success for a brief period of time, they could not succeed wholly. But who is responsible for this?" he said in the letter, and claimed the leaders were jailed despite working to bring about technological revolution.

"We brought revolution in IT sector by facilitating the technological revolution of Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, but all of this was termed as our wrongdoings and we were sent into jail for bringing about these revolutions. This can only happen in this country," the letter further read.

The special CBI court acquitted all the accused in the scam, including A Raja and another DMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, yesterday.The CBI announced it would challenge the verdict, citing the court may have had not appreciated the evidence in its proper perspective. -- ANI
11:44   No prosecution for Ashok Chavan in Adarsh scam
The Bombay High Court sets aside the sanction granted by the Maharashtra governor to prosecute Congress leader Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh housing scam. The court says the CBI failed to present any fresh evidence against Chavan while seeking a sanction to prosecute him in the Adarsh scam.

A day after a Delhi court acquitted all the 17 accused in the 2G scam which had tainted the UPA government and was fundametally responsible for victory of the BJP in the 2014 general elections, this will come as a huge relief for the Congress.

Since Ashok Chavan was a public servant when the alleged offence of criminal conspiracy in the Adarsh scam took place, the law required prior sanction from the government to prosecute him.

Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had, in April 2016, had given sanction to prosecute Chavan for cheating and criminal conspiracy in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case. The previous governor K Shankarnarayanan had, in 2013, declined sanction to prosecute Chavan.
11:35   At Uttarakhand's 'Bank of Happiness', kindness is the currency
Money can't buy you love, but there is now a bank in Uttarakhand that trades in good deeds.A Haldwani resident has been catering to the poor through a unique initiative - 'Bank of Happiness', which provides basic necessities, free of cost, to those who need them the most.

Here, the residents of the city can donate their clothes, shoes, utensils, bedding... and those in need can come and take away items of their choice.

Praveen Bhatt, who began this initiative last year on November 21, told ANI, "The aim behind setting up this bank was to ensure our poor brethren, including labourers, live comfortably and receive basic necessities free of cost. We have got great support from people, we have received donations from Dehradun and even Delhi".

The bank has also provided coolers and refrigerator to the needy, through donations, Bhatt informed, adding, "We are also thinking of expanding towards educations. Many children are not going to school so we are thinking of providing them free stationery."In the early hours of Friday, scores of people were seen thronging to the bank and sifting through the clothes and shoes.

Some residents also came to donate who had only words of praise for the humanitarian step."This is commendable, and it can become even better if members of the society contribute. Many want to but don't have a platform. Now they too can give their bit," Vimala Pandey, one of the donors said. -- ANI
11:08   India-China NSAs begin border talks
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart state councillor Yang Jiechi began the next round of formal negotiations on the boundary issue today.

This comes almost four months after the 73-day-long military stand-off at the Doklam plateau in the tri-junction region.

In the 20th round of special representatives talks since the establishment of the Special Representatives mechanism in 2003, Doval and Jiechi are expected to discuss ways to maintain peace and tranquillity along the 4,000-km-long border.

The two representatives will also discuss the Doklam stand-off. Last Doval and Jiechi had met during the BRICS summit in Xiamen in September.

Reportedly, the decision to hold talks in the connection was taken at a meeting held last week between External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) conference.

However, the announcement of the meeting was made by MEA on Wednesday.

"At the invitation of Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser and the Special Representative of India on the Boundary Question, Yang Jiechi, State Councillor and Member of the Politburo of Communist Party of China's Central Committee and Special Representative of China on the Boundary Question, will visit India on December 22 to hold the 20th meeting of special representatives," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing.Kumar averred that the discussions will be focused on the boundary issue, adding "we, of course, attach lot of importance to this dialogue mechanism."

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying while addressing a media briefing said that the Doklam stand-off had posed a "major test" for bilateral ties. -- ANI
10:52   PM Modi, shed raaj-hatth, clarify remarks on Manmohan: Cong
The Congress on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shed his "raaj-hatth" (stubbornness) and clarify in parliament his 'conspiracy with Pakistan' remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh to end the stalemate and enable a discussion on issues such as the Rafale deal.

With no end in sight to the current impasse on the issue, the proceedings in parliament continued to be disrupted.Congress leader Anand Sharma held the "obduracy" of the prime minister and the attitude of the government as being responsible for the impasse in parliament, that continued with a washout of the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

He also accused the government of wanting to continue the standoff so that issues of critical concern to the people are not taken up.

Sharma alleged that the government does not want the opposition to raise issues of acts of "commission and omission" and the wrong decisions of the prime minister.

He said that the government does not want that it is exposed on the floor of the House on issues such as the Rafale deal which the opposition wants to discuss.

"It is the responsibility of the PM to clear doubts regarding his accusations. It is his duty to restore the dignity of the office and in the interest of parliamentary democracy that this deadlock comes to an end," Mr Sharma told reporters.

"We urge the prime minister to shed his 'raaj-hatth' (stubbornness) and clarify his remarks against (Manmohan) Singh and (Hamid) Ansari, which he made to win Gujarat polls," Sharma said.

The stalemate, he said, continues primarily because of the attitude of the government and obduracy of the prime minister, who refuses to register the seriousness of the situation resulting from his "baseless and unwarranted aspersions" for electoral gains.

He said, as one who is occupying the constitutional office, it is the duty of the prime minister to restore the dignity of the office of the institution.

Whatever is said in politics, never before a prime minister has pointed any finger of suspicion on the commitment to the country of former prime ministers or former vice presidents or even the former Army chief.

"It is in national interest, in interest of parliamentary democracy that this deadlock is brought to an end. It is unfortunate that prime minister has still not apologised for his ill-thought accusations against the former PM Manmohan Singh who was PM for 10 years and dedicated his life for this country," he said.

Sharma, however, said it is being conveyed by government that the prime minister is not willing to take back his words.

He "disappointed" the opposition on Thursday when it was his day for the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress leader said.Mr Sharma said the opposition also wants to raise other issues concerning the economy and job losses.

The Indian economy has suffered losses due to some "wreckless" decisions of the prime minister, he alleged. -- PTI
A 47-year-old-woman shoots and injures brother and mother in Delhi's Defence Colony. Police have registered a case. Licensed pistol has been seized
10:08   Rahul likely to chair first CWC meeting today
Rahul Gandhi is likely to chair the first Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting as the party president today.

The CWC will discuss the current political situation, including the consequences of the Congress's strong performance in the Gujarat Assembly elections for the party in future.

The 2G spectrum allocation case verdict delivered yesterday by a Special CBI court, acquitting all the accused, will also be discussed.

Rahul succeeded his mother Sonia Gandhi and took over as the Congress president, on December 16. He was officially declared the party president in a ceremony held at the party's 24 Akbar Road headquarters in Delhi.
10:03   No terror safe havens in Pak: UN envoy
There are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, a senior diplomat has told the UN Security Council during a discussion on the security situation in Afghanistan.

The denial from Pakistan came at a time when, both US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have warned Islamabad of having terror safe havens in its soil.

"There are no such safe havens. The only havens that exist for the insurgents -- and for Daesh and other terrorists -are within the 40 per cent of Afghan territory, which is outside the control of the Afghan government," Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said in her address to an open debate on Afghanistan. Lodhi told the Security Council that peace will not be restored by the continuing resort to military force.
-- PTI
09:57   Ram Guha on India's UN vote on Jerusalem
Ramachandra Guha @Ram_Guha The countries that support President Trump on Jerusalem are Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and Israel itself. And the Modi toadies wanted India to join this list.

India on Thursday joined 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of United States President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Nine countries voted against the resolution, while as many as 35 countries abstained.

India's decision to vote against American recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital comes a day after Trump warned countries against opposing the US position.

09:32   Congress moves adjournment motion against Modi over Pak remark
The Congress has moved adjournment motion notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his "conspiracy with Pakistan" remark against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.

The Congress has been raising the issue since the beginning of the winter session of the Parliament and demanding an apology from the prime minister for his remarks against Singh during the poll campaign.

Prime Minister Modi had accused the former prime minister and former Vice President Hamid Ansari of meeting Pakistan's high commissioner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's residence to conspire against the government in the Gujarat elections.

It looks like the winter session is heading for the complete washout as the opposition is refusing to relent over the issue. 
08:59   Nawazuddin Siddiqui to play Bal Thackeray in biopic
Acclaimed Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui will play the title role of the late Shiv Sena founder-president Bal Thackeray in the upcoming biopic titled Thackeray.
The biopic penned by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, will be directed by Abhijit Panse.
Speaking at the launch of a teaser of the film on Thursday, Nawazuddin said, "It's an important day for me today as the teaser of the film is launched. I have got the opportunity to play the role of great personality like him, I think any actor would have agreed to play his role." 
The teaser was launched in Mumbai by superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
"I am thankful and grateful to Sanjay Raut, Uddhav Thackeray, Abhijit for the film and Bachchan sir for launching the teaser. I am sure Abhijit and we would take this biopic upto the mark," Nawazuddin, who is shooting in Mauritius, said via video conference.
"Everyone would be thinking, how can I speak Marathi, let me tell you, Bal Thackeray sahab would be giving me inspiration and would be showering his blessings (on me) to play the part," he said, in Marathi.
Bachchan said he was grateful for being invited for the teaser launch. He said a three-hour film will be too short to bring Thackeray's illustrious life on-screen.
"I don't think Balasaheb's life can be shown in three hours. I wish there is a series made on him of three-four hours, for his personality, work, life is much beyond a film. I feel it should be shown in a web series of many episodes. I congratulate and wish Sanjay Raut the best for this film.
"If I am required for the film I would love to be part of it in any capacity. I will always be ready to contribute to this film, in every way possible," Bachchan said.
Bachchan said he looked at Thackeray as a father figure.
"We were very close to each other, we were more like family. I respect him a lot," he said.
The "Pink" star recalled that when he got married, Thackeray had called him saying he wants to meet his newly wedded wife Jaya Bachchan.
Bachchan said Thackeray stood by him in his tough times. "I was hurt during the shoot of my film 'Coolie' and was hospitalised in a critical state in Bengaluru and when I was being brought to Mumbai, days weren't good due to monsoon. I did not get an ambulance at that time, due to rain, but Balasaheb's Shiv Sena ambulance was available. If this did not happen, I could have been more in danger," he said.
"There were instances in my life when there were some allegations on me, Balasaheb used to often call me and ask if it is true or not, he used to call me home, saying I want to talk to you.
"One such incident happened when there were allegations on me and my family and Balasaheb called me at his home and asked what is the truth, I told him I am talking truth, he told me don't be afraid, I am with you. No one stood by me as much as he did," the veteran actor recalled.
The "Piku" actor said he was saddened to see Thackeray on deathbed and was praying some miracle happens so that he could be saved.
"I got an opportunity to meet him. I was there with Uddhav, Aditya (Thackeray) and another person. We were only praying for him because we wanted him to live long with us. I never wanted to see him in this state, it was a tough time to see him like that. 
"I was surprised to see my picture in his room, next to his head. I was stunned and that moment has been captured for life," Bachchan said.
The biopic will release on January 23, 2019. -- PTI
08:26   India-China to hold border talks today, 1st after Doklam
India and China will today hold a fresh round of border talks under the special representatives mechanism which will be the first on the sticky boundary issue since the 73-day-long military standoff in Doklam.
In the 20th round of special representatives talks, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi are likely to deliberate on ways to maintain peace and tranquillity along the 4,000-km-long border between the two countries.
The Doklam standoff is expected to figure in the talks.
When asked about the talks, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the discussions will be focused on the boundary issue, adding "we, of course, attach lot of importance to this dialogue mechanism."
Ahead of the talks, China on Tuesday said that the Doklam standoff posed a "major test" for the bilateral ties and lessons should be learnt from it to avoid a similar "conflict" in the future.
The Doklam standoff began on June 16 over People's Liberation Army's plans to build a road in area claimed by Bhutan after the Indian troops intervened to stop it as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its North-eastern states.
The standoff ended on August 28 following mutual agreement between India and China.
Asked about the disengagement of troops in Doklam, Kumar refused to give details, calling it an operational matter.
During the weekly media briefing, he said it was not appropriate to comment on operational matters like how the disengagement had taken place, how many troops were stationed, where were they.
Asked about India's position on China's One Belt One Road project, he said India's policy is very clear and consistent.
India has opposed the OBOR due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The CPEC is part of the OBOR. -- PTI
00:49   Bill against instant triple talaq listed for introduction in LS today
A bill which seeks to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq has been listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

'Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill', prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, makes giving instant triple talaq 'illegal and void' and provides for a jail term of three years for the husband.

The bill was cleared by the Union cabinet last week.

Though the bill has been listed in Lok Sabha's agenda papers for on Friday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the bill would come up for introduction next week.

According to the provisions, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.

The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down 'talaq-e- biddat' (instant triple talaq).

The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or 'talaq-e-biddat' and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking 'subsistence allowance' for herself and minor children.

The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.

Under the draft law, triple talaq in any form -- spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp -- would be bad or illegal and void.

According to the draft law, which would be applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant talaq would attract a jail term of three years and a fine.

It would be a non-bailable, cognisable offence.

After the Supreme Court order striking down the practice, the government was of the view that the practice would end.

But it continued and there have been 177 reported cases of instant talaq before the judgment and 66 after the order this year. Uttar Pradesh tops the list.  - PTI