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Thu, 27 July 2017
Mahatma's memorial in Rajghat dismantled; sparks protests

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23:59   Mahatma's memorial in Rajghat dismantled; sparks protests
The memorial of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi at Rajghat area was today dismantled by the district administration and
temporarily relocated to a nearby place, triggering protests.

The memorial was facing a threat of submergence due to closure of gates of Narmada dam in neighbouring Gujarat.

The development came hours before Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar was to start her indefinite fast demanding rehabilitation of people displaced in Madhya Pradesh due to closure of Sardar Sarovar dam's gates last month.

According to activist Hinshi Singh, urns containing the ash of Gandhi, Kasturba and Mahatma's secretary Mahadev Desai were taken away from the memorial early morning.

However, District Collector Tejaswi S Naik said there was some confusion when the urns were being taken to a temporary place from Rajghat this morning.

The protestors did not allow the urns to be taken away from Rajghat, the officer said, adding they were shifted to a temporary place in Kukri area in the afternoon.

The collector said a grand memorial of the Mahatma, Kasturba and Desai would be constructed after a committee set up in this connection takes the final call.
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23:36   Loan waiver: Maharashtra to launch mobile app to help farmers
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the state government would soon launch a mobile app for farmers to apply online for the loan waiver and for this, the government has opened nearly 26,000 facilitation centers to help them fill the forms.

"We are launching mobile app for this in two to three days so that the farmers can fill this form on their mobile phones," he said.

The Maharashtra government had earlier expanded the ambit of its loan waiver scheme to include even those farmers who had taken loans after 2008.

Earlier, the loan waiver scheme, titled the ' Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sanman Yojana', covered only those farmers who have the loan outstanding between April 1, 2012 and June 30, 2016
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22:52   Melania Trump announces her first solo trip as US First Lady
In September, eight months into her tenure as First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump will make her first official solo trip to a foreign country.

Trump announced in a statement that she will lead the US delegation to this year's Invictus Games, being held in Toronto, Canada, September 23-30.

"In just two short years, the Invictus Games have allowed thousands of injured and wounded servicemen and women from many different countries to participate in adaptive sports competitions -- something that should be lauded and supported worldwide. I am honored by the opportunity to represent our country at this year's games," Trump said.

The Invictus Games were started in 2014 by Britain's Prince Harry, who was inspired to build global awareness for servicemen and women injured in combat. 

"I was heartened by the great success of the inaugural Invictus Games that took place in London in 2015, and the second games in Orlando, Florida, last year," said the first lady in her statement.

Trump will be following in the footsteps of former first lady Michelle Obama, who, with Prince Harry, kicked off the 2016 Invictus Games in the host city of Orlando.
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22:23   No immediate arrest under dowry harassment law, says Supreme Court
Immediate arrests - an integral process followed by the police in dowry harassment cases - was ruled out today by the Supreme Court. The top court said as in any other case, the police will now have to conduct a preliminary inquiry before making any arrest.

The court's latest order came as complaints piled up over the years alleging misuse of the anti-dowry harassment law -- framed in 1983 following a spate of dowry-related deaths - by disgruntled wives.

Three years ago, in July 2014, the court had given a 41-point checklist and said the police will have to consult it before making any arrest. The court had even suggested that the law ministry consider amending the Act to stop its misuse.

Today, the bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said the anti-dowry law was enacted with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives -- particularly when such cruelty drives the wife to suicide.


But in view of the current misuse of the law, the court said family welfare committees should be set up in every district across the country. Every dowry harassment complaint made under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code must be referred to the committee, which would look into them.  
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22:06   Pentagon says transgender policy for military unchanged for now
The US will continue to permit transgender individuals to serve openly in the military until Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has received President Donald Trump's "direction" to change the policy and figured out how to implement it, the nation's top military officer said.

In a memo to all military service chiefs, commanders and enlisted military leaders, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said "there will be no modifications" to current policy for now, amid questions about Trump's announcement on Twitter that the US government will not "accept or allow" transgender people to serve in any capacity in the military.

"I know there are questions about yesterday's announcement," Dunford began, adding that nothing would change until the president's direction has been received by Mattis and Mattis has issued "implementation guidance."

"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," Dunford wrote. "As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."
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21:58  
JUST IN: Terrorists attack joint patrol party of army & police, which was returning after a search operation, at J-K's Shopian district
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21:38   After Kerala, JD-U's Maharashtra chief criticises Nitish
Less than a day after resigning as Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar took oath on Thursday as the head of the government for the sixth time with Sushil Kumar Modi sworn in as deputy chief minister.

However, the decision hasn't been appreciated by many within Nitish's party itself. 

JD-U Maharashtra unit head Kapil has criticised Nitish's decision to go with the BJP. He says the party will decide future course of action in a meet soon.

Earlier, the Kerala unit chief voiced his disapproval of Nitish Kumar's move. 

Meanwhile, the Congress and many other parties on Thursday described Nitish Kumar's joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party as "treachery" with the people's mandate and said it was "a black day" for Indian democracy.
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20:56   Amazon's Bezos surpasses Bill Gates as world's richest person
A surge in Amazon.com Inc shares Thursday morning in advance of the online retailers earnings report has propelled founder Jeff Bezos past Bill Gates as the worlds richest person. 

According to Forbes and Bloomberg, the Amazon CEO had a net worth of over $89 billion as of the close of markets Wednesday, while Bill Gates had a net worth of just over $90 billion.
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20:22   Panamagate verdict on Pak's Nawaz Sharif tomorrow
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will learn his fate tomorrow as the court will deliver its verdict in the Panama Papers case at 11.30 am on Friday. 

The Pakistan Supreme Court had heard the petitioners and defendants in the case after the joint investigation team submitted its report on the Sharif family's financial dealings on July 10.

The JIT report maintained that the Pakistani PMs family owned assets beyond its known sources of income. It also recommended that NAB open a reference against the premier and his children.

The three-member implementation bench overseeing the JIT had reserved its judgment on July 21.
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20:13   Bihar development a wrong signal for democracy, says Mayawati
Terming the developments in Bihar as a "wrong signal for democracy", BSP president Mayawati said today that misuse of power and official machinery by the BJP leadership posed a serious challenge to established democratic norms.

She claimed that the people of Bihar had been betrayed with state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar switching sides from the grand alliance to the NDA.

Misuse of power and government machinery by the senior leadership of the BJP for the lure of power is continuously posing a challenge to the democratic norms of the country, she said.

"The latest political developments in Bihar after Manipur and Goa clearly prove that future of democracy is at risk under the Narendra Modi government," Mayawati alleged.
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19:42   No official info on issue of visa to Kulbhushan's mother: India
India has no official information on Pakistan's position on providing visa to Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother, the external affairs ministry said today.

There has not been any reply from Pakistan either to the request handed over by the high commissioner or the letter written by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz for grant of visa to Jadhav's mother, Avantika, the ministry's spokesperson Gopal
Baglay said.

"We have no official information on the change of status of the request made to grant the visa to Jadhav's mother," he said when asked if there was any formal communication from Pakistan on India's request for a visa for Avantika to meet her son.

India has moved the International Court of Justice against Jadhav's death penalty by a Pakistan military court. The ICJ had on May 18 restrained
Pakistan from executing the death sentence.

While Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran, India maintains that he was abducted from Iran where he had legitimate business interests. 
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19:03   NIA summons Geelani's elder son in connection with terror funding
The National Investigation Agency has summoned the elder son of separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani for questioning in the terror-funding case.

Earlier on Monday, seven people including Altaf Ahmed Shah, the son-in-law of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, were arrested on Monday in connection with its probe into the funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley, officials said.

The raids were part of the NIAs efforts at clamping down on separatist groups allegedly receiving funds for subversive activities in the Valley.

The NIA had registered a case on May 30 against the separatist and secessionist leaders, including members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organisations HM, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, LeT and other outfits and gangs, an official release said.
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18:36   Amid Bihar crisis, Congress leaders unhappy with Rahul
After being pink-slipped along with Lalu Yadav, the Congress branch in Bihar is awash in resentment - not just towards Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who laid off his allies last night, but also for party boss Rahul Gandhi, who was assigned to keep the government in Bihar from sinking.


Gandhi, 47, did not deliver. And along with the result, his party's legislators in Bihar are reportedly giving him an F for Effort. 
Sources said that Gandhi displayed an arrogance and disregard for the counsel of his leaders from Bihar - a charge levelled against him in the past in states like Assam where the Congress lost its governments. 

In this case, said sources, the Congress' senior-most leader in Bihar, Ashok Choudhary, was kept waiting for three days before Gandhi made the time to see him in Delhi earlier this week.
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18:09  
JUST IN: Former cricketer Virender Sehwag and former athlete PT Usha named in 12-member Committee to pick Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awardees while Pulela Gopichand and Pankaj Advani named in committee to pick Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awardees. 
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17:44   More trouble for Congress: 3 MLAs resign
In a big blow to the Congress, three of its senior legislators in the Gujarat assembly have resigned today signalling that a plan of Shankersinh Vaghela who exited the party last week, is now playing out. 

One of the legislators who has quit is Balwantsinh Rajput, the Congress' chief whip in the assembly, who is expected to file nomination tomorrow for next month's Rajya Sabha elections from the state. 

Rajput, who is Vaghela's close relative, is likely to be supported by the BJP to prevent Ahmed Patel, political advisor to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, from getting re-elected to the Upper House of Parliament.
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17:20   RJD MLA says Tejashwi should have resigned to save Grand Alliance
Less than 24 hours after he resigned as the chief minister of Bihar stating he could no longer continue amid allegations of corruption in his government, Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar came back as chief minister when he took the oath of office Thursday morning. The JD-U leader resigned over a CBI FIR against his deputy and ally Lalu Prasad Yadavs son Tejashwi Yadav.

Amidst all this, RJD leader Maheshwar Yadav said, Most of the MLAs of our party were of the opinion that Tejashwi should resign so that alliance and government remain saved.

He said, It is Nitish Kumars habit not to keep a tainted person in his alliance, which is why the alliance has broken. (Nitish ji ki aadat hai ki wo apne gathbandhan mein daagi vyakti ko nahi rakhte hain, isiliye gathbandhan toot gaya)
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17:02   You can't sleep on the job anymore with Smriti as I&B minister
Smriti Irani, the newly minted union minister for Information and Broadcasting is quite the terror as she springs surprise visits to the Doordharshan and All India Radio offices. Staff who are not regular or found to be inattentive have been suspended.

On a Sunday morning, in New Delhi, she told the senior official of Doordarshan to visit her house and thereafter the two left for the Doordharshan HQ at Delhi's Mandi House.

In Doordarshan, she walked into a technical room and found a senior official taking a nap. The minister whipped out her phone and took a photograph and then asked the official to wake up only to be told he was being suspended.

She has also ordered an internal inquiry by the Additional Secretary to the Government and asked for report on any irregularities in Doordarshan. She also plans to have surprise checks during her visits to the state capitals. Beware!
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16:50   Read the tea leaves: Nitish dumping grand alliance was clearly written
Nitish Kumar's resignation drama was scripted in New Delhi and implemented in Patna with only a few senior leaders in the BJP and JDU privy to the developments.

But to most political observers the developments were apparent.

The Bihar CM and Prime Minister Modi were in constant touch with each other via mediators. While BJP president Amit Shah was in the know of the exchanges between Modi and Kumar, the active participant to the dialogues was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The hotline phones between Nitish and Modi were also active during the late evenings.

On July 25, after President Ram Nath Kovind was sworn in, Jaitley and Nitish had a 'secret' meeting at an undisclosed location.

Quite naturally, the PM, was kept in the loop all through. Parallely Sushil Kumar Modi was in touch with Amit Shah.

Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad have also had frequent meetings where the  BJP has ostensibly gathered inputs from the Congress about the political scenario in Bihar.  And then there were Intelligence Bureau inputs as well before Nitish actually decided to dump the grand alliance.

But the main players who helped Nitish decide were, unsurprisingly, Narendra Modi and  Amit Shah.
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15:36   ED case against Lalu and family
When bae divorces you...

The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members in a railway hotel allotment corruption case. 
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15:31   Meira Kumar loses again, won't be Cong's RS candidate from Bengal
The Congress will be fielding senior party leader P Bhattacharya as the party's candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections instead of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. 

The West Bengal Congress leadership had urged the party high command to consider Kumar as a candidate for the RS elections in the state.

Meira Kumar was the joint opposition candidate and ruling Trinamool Congress and the Left had supported her. Senior Congress leaders, WBPCC president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had met the party's leadership in New Delhi to discuss the probable name of its lone candidate for the Rajya Sabha poll in West Bengal.


Earlier, Congress had expressed keenness on extending support to CPI(M), provided it fielded its general secretary Sitaram Yechury. But the CPI(M) leadership itself is in a dilemma over Yechury as a third term MP.


Polls will be held in six RS seats in the state in August. Out of the six, four are held by TMC, one by CPI(M) and one by Congress. However, TMC with its increased strength after the 2016 assembly polls is in a position to send five MPs to the Rajya Sabha. Congress, the second largest party, will be able to elect one MP on its own strength.


With the present strength of the assembly and the number of Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, a candidate will need about 43 votes to get elected to the RS. The CPI(M)-led Left Front has 32 MLAs in the Assembly. The Congress has 44 MLAs and the ruling TMC has 211 members.


Although five Congress MLAs and one Left MLA have switched over to TMC, they are yet to resign from their parent parties. Only Manas Bhunia, a Congress MLA, resigned today to contest the Rajya Sabha polls as a TMC candidate. He had earlier joined TMC in September last year.
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15:20   Vendetta, vicious, opportunistic: Tejashwi explains mahagathbandhan divorce
Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's son and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday said that political vendetta against him exposed the Opposition's viciousness.


His comments came after JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who resigned as Bihar Chief Minister on Wednesday, again took oath as Bihar Chief Minister on Thursday with BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi taking oath as Deputy Chief Minister.

Tejashwi, in a series of tweets, said, "I delivered manifolds than what was expected of me. My performance perturbed our ally & BJP. Vendetta against me exposes their viciousness."


He further added: "I entered in government with a clean slate with a keen desire of writing a positive story for people of Bihar, only to find an opportunist rival.


"Past baggage, though unjustified, didn't perturb me when I was entrusted to carry the expectations of people's mandate, in the role of DyCM!" former Bihar deputy chief minister said, who is being held responsible for the departure of 'mahagathbandhan' government in the state.


Bihar witnessed political upheaval soon after Nitish Kumar resigned on Wednesday as Bihar Chief Minister to protest against his Deputy Tejashwi Yadav's stubbornness to stay in the Cabinet despite being named in FIR over the corruption charges.


However, Tejashwi put onus on Nitish and BJP for the latest political development in the state.


He said, "Much to their dismay, they were unable to point a single lacuna in my performance. So, they resorted to low level vindictive & opportunistic politics. Whenever there is change in a system, however unjust, those at vantage point were bound to get irked. Repercussions were expected & imminent."


He further added: "Vicious greed for power of opportunism will spell its own doom. People are not fools that they digest their penchant for wicked power grab."


However, the BJP on Thursday alleged that RJD supremo Lalu Yadav sacrificed the 'mahagathbandhan' for his son Tejashwi.
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14:42   No objection in sending Sanjay Dutt back to jail, Maha govt tells HC
In what could spell fresh trouble for actor Sanjay Dutt, the Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court that if rules have been flouted in giving parole or furlough to Dutt then the government has no objection in sending him back to jail.  The Maharashtra High Court has also asked the government to submit a fresh affidavit explaining the criteria of good behaviour applied to Sanjay Dutt.

The Bombay high court last month, asked the Maharashtra government to justify its decision to grant the actor early release from prison in the 1993 serial blasts case.

Dutt was earlier sentenced to five years in jail for possession of arms, which were a part of the consignment used in the 1993 blasts.

The actor, who was on bail during the trial, had surrendered in May 2013 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction.

Dutt was let out in February 2016, eight months early, on account of his good conduct while in Punes Yerwada prison.

A division bench of justices R M Sawant and Sadhana Jadhav was on Monday hearing a public interest litigation by Pune resident Pradeep Bhalekar challenging the regular paroles and furloughs granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence.

The court then directed the state government to file an affidavit stating what parameters were considered and the procedures followed while deciding that Dutt deserved leniency.


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14:29  
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweets this image of chameleons in an embrace, writing, "Bihar Mahagathbandhan".
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13:51   What does JD-U president Sharad Yadav's silence mean?
JD-U President Sharad Yadav on Thursday refused to comment on Nitish Kumar forming the next government in Bihar with the BJP led NDA.

Nitish Kumar on Thursday was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar while BJP leader Sushil Modi took over as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Earlier, reports emerged that Yadav was unhappy with reports suggesting that Nitish Kumar might break away from the Grand Alliance and form the government in Bihar with the NDA.

Bihar witnessed political upheaval soon after Nitish Kumar resigned on Wednesday evening to protest against Tejashwi Yadav's stubbornness to stay in the Cabinet despite being named in FIR over the corruption charges.

Nitish's resignation came hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav took a jibe at Nitish Kumar, saying he was aware of his longtime friend's party's JD-U's growing bonhomie with the BJP.

Previously, the CBI registered a corruption case against Lalu Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav on allegations of awarding the tender for development, maintenance and operation of hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006.

Since then, the BJP had been mounting pressure on Nitish to oust Tejashwi Yadav from the Cabinet.
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13:38   Lalu sacrificed mahagadhbandan for son: BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said that Rashtriya Janata Party supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav sacrificed 'mahagathbandhan' for his son.

The party also said Lalu compromised his party's interest to save his son Tejashwi Yadav, who was under immense pressure to resign as Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.

Bihar was witnessing upheaval soon after Nitish Kumar resigned on Wednesday evening and termed his alliance with the RJD as "unnatural".

The political uncertainty ended on Thursday morning when Nitish Kumar and BJP leader Sushil Modi took oath as Bihar Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively.

Talking to ANI, BJP leader Nitin Naveen said, "Lalu Yadav is in discomfort. Love for his son led to heavy loss for him. Because of his son, he compromised with interests of the party and sacrificed 'mahagathbandhan'.

"Meanwhile, BJP state president Nityanand Rai said, "Now, Bihar will go on the path of development. We are very happy with Nitish Kumar's decision."
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13:06   Kilo won't be a lump of metal
Away from politics, an interesting read...

Beneath a hill overlooking Paris, there is a vault. On the door of the vault there is a lock requiring three keys, only two of which are kept in France. Inside you will find the most important lump of metal in the world: the kilogram. Soon it will just be "a" kilogram.


The platinum-iridium cylinder that for 125 years has defined the mass of everything is to be retired. When it does, the half century-long modernisation of the world's measurements system will at last be completed but the basis of those measurements will also, for most people, be harder to understand. Rather than being linked to a lump of metal, the weight of everyone and everything on the planet will be linked to a number, the Planck constant. 
Read more
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12:54   Yeh match fix tha, says Lalu and promises to go to court
Even as Bihar CM Nitish Kumar will have to prove his majority in the Assembly tomorrow, his former ally in the mahagathbandhan, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, is holding a press conference in Ranchi railing against the Nitish's new ally, the BJP. Excerpts...

"Nitish Kumar bolte the ki mai mitti me miljaaunga lekin BJP se haath nahi milaaunga. Nitish Kumar is a huge opportunist.

"Some media who we had thought were good, they took supari. See how the US media is fighting Trump, here media fights opposition. Amit Shah is the Super Editor, he decides how news should be & he tells owners of media, who tells editors, not reporters fault

"On many occasions, Nitish Kumar met PM Modi, had lunch. The timing of whatever happened was already fixed. Hum boley Shankar bhagwan ki tarah jao, raaj karo, par yeh toh Bhasmasur nikla. Yeh match fix tha. Maine koi takleef Nitish ko nahi diya ha. Nakli chhavi bana kar Nitish khud ko PM material batate the. Chahta to mai Nitish ko CM nahi banata, sirf 71 vidhayak the.

"I put a tika on his forehead, said go rule the state, I had no greed in my heart, else why would I nominate him as Chief Minister?

"The mandate was against the BJP, to throw Modi-Shah out of Bihar. The mandate was for Nitish and me.

"They said I was a beef eater. Past 15-20 yrs I have been fighting cases in courts. I was sentenced in a hurry. There was a conspiracy between Nitish Kumar and the BJP.


"Narendra Modi ne achhe din, naukri ka jhansa diya, dhong racha. It is regrettable there is no Gandhiji among us to unite this country. Amit Shah and  Modi's khandan of Godse-RSS killed him.  Bihar bohot jagrook pradesh hai; aaj gaon-gaon ke log naraaz hain.

Our fight will go on. We will go to the top court." 


Also read: Nitish Kumar only bats for himself
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12:38   I reiterate that I won't declare anyone dead without proof: Swaraj on 39 missing Indians
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said the day she gets proof of whereabouts of 39 missing Indians, abducted from Mosul in Iraq, she will inform about them via Twitter or in the Parliament if the session is on.

Addressing the Upper House, the Foreign Minister reiterated her stand that she will not declare anyone dead without proof.

"The day I get proof of whereabouts of 39 missing Indians, I will come here if the session is on or inform via Twitter But I reiterate that i won't declare anyone dead without proof," she said.

Yesterday, Swaraj said that there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that 39 Indians missing in Mosul, Iraq, have died. "And declaring anyone dead without proof is a sin that I won't commit," she said.

Sushma was giving her statement on the 39 missing Indians after a morning of uproar in the Lok Sabha.Sushma Swaraj asserted that Iraq never claimed that the missing nationals are "dead".

"Why should I believe Harjit Masih's claims that the 39 Indians are dead? It is a crime to do this without proper proof", she said.Lok Sabha witnessed uproar as the Minister started speaking on the missing Indians, leading to her refusing from giving statements on the issue.
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12:28   PM unveils statue of Kalam playing the veena at Rameswaram memorial
PM Narendra Modi unveiled a statute of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and paid tribute to the former president on his second death anniversary at the memorial at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram. 


Modi unveiled a statue of Dr Kalam playing the veena and offered a floral tribute. Kalam learnt playing the veena when he was with the DRDO during 1985-95, and he used to play it whenever he felt relaxed. The PM also met with the family members of Dr Kalam.


The prime minister hoisted the national flag at the memorial designed and built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Later, the Prime Minister will flag off the 'Kalam Sandesh Vahini', an exhibition bus, which would travel across various states of the country and reach Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 15, which marks the birth anniversary of the former President.


The Prime Minister will also address a public rally at Mandapam and will inaugurate a number of welfare measures.
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11:56   Decision taken in the interest of Bihar, says Nitish after taking oath
The decision to part ways with the RJD and join hands with the BJP was taken in the interest of Bihar and will ensure development and justice for the state, Nitish Kumar today said after being sworn in as the chief minister.


Kumar resigned the post last night after a fall out with the alliance partner RJD over corruption charges against Lalu Yadav and some of his family members, including son Tejashwi, who was the then deputy CM.


"Whatever decision we have taken will be in the interest of Bihar and of its people. It will ensure development and justice. It will also ensure progress. This is a collective decision. I ensure that our commitment is towards the people of Bihar," Nitish Kumar told reporters.


Kumar was worn in as the chief minister of the state along side senior BJP leader Sushuil Kumar Modi, who will be his deputy in the new government, at the Raj Bhawan in Patna.


File pic.
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11:44   Voices on social media are exposing journalistic inconsistencies
At periodic intervals over the past three years, a section of India has been agitated by what has come to be known as the 'intolerance' debate. The process began shortly before the outcome of the 2014 general election when it seemed that Narendra Modi was likely to emerge as the winner. With small breaks - as during the furore over demonetization and the Uttar Pradesh assembly election - the controversy has been ongoing and there seems to be no conclusion in sight. There are many facets to this debate.

Read Swapan Dasgupta's column here.
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11:36   News updates
-- Infiltration bid foiled in Gurez sector in north Kashmir, three militants killed, says the Army.

--  The Supreme Court has refused to stay the release of Hindi film Indu Sarkar. Priya Singh Paul, who claimed to be Sanjay Gandhi's daughter, had filed a plea seeking a stay on the release of the film.


-- Tejashwi Yadav tweets: I delivered manifolds than that was expected of me. My performance perturbed our ally & BJP. Vendetta against me exposes their viciousness.


-- PM Modi has reached Rameswaram to inaugurate the memorial of former President APJ Abdul Kalam on his second death anniversary.
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11:26   JD(U) pledges to drag Lalu to court for defaming Nitish
The Janata Dal (United) on Thursday slammed Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for accusing their chief of being involved in an alleged murder case and said that they will drag Lalu to the court for making such an accusation.


JD(U) leader Sanjay Singh asserted that no one can point fingers at Nitish Kumar."No one can put a blot on Nitishji. We will keep our point of view and take the matter to the court," Singh told ANI.


After Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar Chief Minister on Wednesday, Lalu said that Kumar stepped down fearing his exposure in a murder case slapped against him.


He also questioned Nitish's intent behind the decision."I talked with Nitishji last night and asked him to clear all the misunderstandings. We talked for 40 minutes and he did not mention about his resignation even once. He also advised me to clarify the corruption charges (against Tejashwi Yadav) through media. Nitish Kumar knew that he is accused in a murder and an Arms Act case under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC, which also declared this in elections affidavit. Nitish knew that if he would ask Tejashwi to resign then his crime will be exposed," Lalu told media.


"This is zero tolerance of my younger brother (Nitish Kumar). This is why he stepped down. When a reporter asked Nitish if he would take the BJP's support to form a government, then he did not deny. I am sad that he resigned. I asked him to not resign," he added.


Lalu further accused Nitish of being been and-in-glove with the BJP and the RSS. "Nitish is hand-in-glove with the BJP, and the RSS. What a setting! Minutes after he resigned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to congratulate him," he said.
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11:09   Nitish back in BJP bed
Nitish's resignation last evening - citing his "inner voice", a phrase invoked by Mahatma Gandhi as well as Sonia Gandhi - torpedoed the Grand Alliance that had stormed to power 20 months ago and had been projected as a secular model of Opposition unity. Read the report on the Telegraph.

Image courtesy: The Telegraph.
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10:53  
Narendra Modi tweets, "Congratulations to @NitishKumar ji & @SushilModi ji. Looking forward to working together for Bihar's progress & prosperity."
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10:53   Netas do anything for power, Rahul says as Nitish takes oath
Left high and dry after Nitish Kumar ditched the mahagathbandhan in favour of an alliance with the BJP, Rahul Gandhi said the Congress was aware of the 'planning' at least four months ago.

"Teen-char mahine se humein pata tha ye planning chal rahi hai," the Congress party vice-president said today after Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi were sworn in as Bihar Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively.

"Apne swaarth ke liye vyakti kuch bhi kar jata hai," Rahul said indicating that Nitish Kumar had embraced some people for his personal politics against the mandate of the people. Netas will do anything for power. That is the problem of Indian politics, Rahul Gandhi said.

He addded that the mandate was given to Nitish-ji for the anti-communal fight but now he has joined hands with them for his personal politics. "koi neeyam, credibility nahin hai," Rahul said.

The Congress expressed disappointment last evening over the resignation of Nitish Kumar and said it will continue to strive to resolve the differences in the 'grand alliance'.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the 'grand alliance' was given a mandate for five years and the Congress will strive to respect that.

"We are deeply disappointed by the news of resignation of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. We, in the Congress party, particularly Congress president and party vice president have great respect and affection for Nitish Kumar," he said.

The Congress leader said the 'Mahagathbandhan' was given a five-year mandate by people of Bihar based on the policies, principles and cumulative leadership that was presented.

It was also a mandate against the BJP and Prime Minister Narender Modi, who challenged the honour of Bihar, he said.

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10:27   Sushil Modi tweets confirmation of news he will be deputy CM
Shortly before he was sworn-in, senior BJP leader Sushil Modi confirmed the news that he would be taking oath as Bihar's deputy chief minister.

He also confirmed receiving an invitation from Bihar Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi to take oath and be a part of the Bihar government.

Modi took to Twitter and wrote, "Just received invitation from Hon'ble Governor to take Oath and be a part of Bihar Govt."

Kumar and BJP leader Sushil Modi took oath as Bihar Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively at 10 am today.

Earlier, the news of Sushil Modi swearing in as the Deputy Chief Minister came from BJP Bihar president Nityanand Rai.

"The Governor invited us for oath ceremony at 10 a.m. today. Two people are to take oath- Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister and Sushil Modi as the Deputy Chief Minister," Rai told ANI.

This will be the sixth time, when Nitish will take the oath as the Bihar Chief Minister.


Image: Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi immediately after the swearing in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.
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10:10   Nitish Kumar sworn-in as Bihar CM
Nitish Kumar sworn in as Bihar CM, followed by Sushil Modi as the Deputy CM by Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at the Raj Bhawan to cries of Nitish Kumar ki jai.

The BJP and JD-U have two days to prove their majority and form the new government.

The JD-U chief resigned last night saying it has become difficult to run the grand alliance government.

Citing irreconcilable differences with the Lalu Prasad-led RJD over corruption charges against his son Tejashwi, Kumar announced his resignation after meeting Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, hours after the RJD supremo rejected outright the demand for his sons ouster.

Kumars resignation capped days of stand-off between his party the Janata Dal-United and the RJD with the former insisting that Tejashwi defend himself against the allegations.
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10:01   Didn't Nitish know about Lalu and his family, asks Digvijaya
The Congress has been taking potshots at Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar and dubbed his resignation and collaboration with the Bharatiya Janata Party as "disappointing".

Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh took to Twitter and questioned Kumar saying, was he not aware about Lalu and his family before he agreed to be a part of grand alliance.

"Nitish's step is disappointing. Was he not aware about Lalu ji and his family," tweeted Singh.

"Nitishji should know that Bihar chose the 'maha gatbandhan' against the BJP/Modi government; he should come back and be the part of grand alliance," he added.

Bihar is witnessing upheaval soon after Nitish Kumar's resignation came in yesterday evening.Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Modi will take oath as Bihar Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively on today at 10 a.m.

This will be the sixth time, when Nitish will take the oath as the Bihar Chief Minister in 12 years. -- ANI
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09:58   Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi reach Raj Bhavan for swearing-in
Two people are to take oath at the Bihar Raj Bhavan today - Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister (for the 6th time) and BJP's Sushil Modi as the Deputy Chief Minister. Bihar is witnessing upheaval soon after Nitish Kumar's resignation came in yesterday evening. He will have two days to prove his majority in the Bihar Assembly.

However, RJD is claiming that it has support of more than half of the JD(U) MLAs and they have every right to stake claim to form government, as their party is the single largest party.

Meanwhile, the Bihar Congress is holding an emergency meeting right now. 
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09:50   Nitish was left with no option but to resign as Bihar CM: BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday hailed Nitish Kumar's decision of resigning as the Bihar Chief Minister and said that the rigid stand of Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav not to resign from the cabinet left the JD(U) leader with no option but to step down from his post.

Speaking to ANI, BJP leader S Prakash said, "Tejashwi Yadav was adamant not to resign from the cabinet after he was chargesheeted by the CBI in the disproportionate asset case. Nitish Kumar, who has a clean image, could not stand with the rigidness of Tejashwi Yadav to continue in the cabinet and he was left with no choice but to resign himself.

"Prakash further added that "as a gentleman, Nitish chose to resign."Nitish Kumar and BJP leader Sushil Modi will take oath as Bihar Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively on Thursday at 10 am.

The news of Sushil Modi swearing in as the Deputy Chief Minister came from BJP Bihar president Nityanand Rai. "The Governor invited us for oath ceremony at 10 am today.

Two people are to take oath- Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister and Sushil Modi as the Deputy Chief Minister," Rai told ANI.

Bihar is witnessing upheaval soon after Nitish Kumar's resignation came in yesterday evening.

However, RJD is claiming that it has support of more than half of the JD(U) MLAs and they have every right to stake claim to form government, as their party is the single largest party. -- ANI
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09:45   Bihar crisis: Will move court against governor's decision, says Tejashwi
Tejashwi Yadav met Bihar Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi in Patna to register protest over Nitish Kumar being invited to form his government ahead of RJD, which is the single largest party in the state assembly.
Kumar has been asked by the governor to prove his majority in the assembly within two days of taking oath at 10 am today.
Kumar resigned as the chief minister last night. The ostensible reason for him to quit was his falling out with Tejashwi, the son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad. Yadav is facing corruption charges but had refused to step down as the deputy chief minister despite Kumar's exhortations.
After Kumar's meeting with the governor late last night, Tejashwi, accompanied by some RJD MLAs and leaders, marched to the Raj Bhavan to meet Tripathi.
"RJD being the single largest party should have been invited to form the government. We are taking legal advice and will move court against the governor's decision," he told reporters after the meeting.
He said the people of Bihar had given the grand alliance the mandate to run its government for 5 years which Kumar "betrayed".
He also threatened of protests across the state against Kumar "who will find it difficult to move around".
Tejashwi claimed he had support of most JD-U MLAs.
"I'm confident that most JD-U MLAs who are committed to social justice will vote against the government in the floor-test," he said.
He said the governor told him that he has already invited Kumar for taking oath and it is not possible to take back the invitation letter. PTI

IMAGE: Tejashwi Yadav with his brother Tej Partap Yadav heads to Raj Bhavan after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar resigned in Patna on Wednesday. Photograph: PTI Photo 
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09:35   My conscience doesn't allow me to support Nitish, says JD-U MP
Reacting to Nitish Kumar resigning as Bihar chief minister and his alliance with the BJP, JD-U MP Ali Anwar said he wouldn't support the decision. 

Anwar said his conscience did not allow him to support Nitish Kumars decision of forming the government with the BJP.

"Nitishji has taken the decision of going with BJP because his conscience allowed him. Mine does not. My conscience does not allow me to support his move," Ali told ANI.

Anwar told CNN News18, "While Nitish Kumar has been clear with his stand against corruption since the beginning but he also had another stand -- to fight against communalism. If we see any agreement with that on his part, then we have to take a decision."

Nitish Kumar incited a political earthquake yesterday when he resigned from the post of CM. He reasoned that he couldnt work under the prevailing corruption in RJD with party leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav.  

However, later, he stitched an alliance with the BJP and will take oath for the sixth time as the Bihar CM.
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09:24  
Congress legislative meet will take place at 2 pm today. Congress leader CP Joshi will be attending the meet.
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08:55  
Akhilesh Yadav's take on Bihar's political drama 
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08:31   Nitish to take oath as Bihar CM at 10 am, PM likely to attend swearing-in
Nitish Kumar met Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Wednesday night to stake claim to form government with the support of the BJP, hours after he dramatically resigned as the chief minister.   

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi also met the governor and submitted a letter with the support of 132 JD-U and BJP MLAs,  Bihar BJP vice-president Ram Narayan Mandal told Rediff.com.   

Kumar will take oath as the chief minister of a new government with Sushil Modi as his deputy.

The ceremony will be at 10 am.   

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend the oath taking ceremony.     

-- Shailaja N Mishra/Rediff.com
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00:33   Cop who exposed VIP treatment given to Sasikala in jail served notice
A top police officer, who came out with a controversial report on alleged special treatment in jail to AIADMK (Amma) leader V K Sasikala, was today served a legal notice by transferred Karnataka DGP H N Satyanarayana Rao.

"You (D Roopa) are required to get an apology duly published in all leading newspapers in the next three days, failing which, I will be constrained to initiate appropriate legal proceedings both civil and criminal, against you to recover damages from you and the same is quantified as Rs 50 crore tentatively," Rao said in the notice issued to Roopa.

Roopa had alleged that Rs 2 crore had exchanged hands to provide special facilities to Sasikala and had dragged Rao into the case, claiming there was a "talk" that he was also a beneficiary.

Though she was eased out of the prison department subsequently, she continues to stick to her stand.

Rao claimed the allegations have caused severe damage to his name, fame and integrity, apart from causing mental agony to him.

He argued that if Roopa could take pictures elsewhere on prison premises, how could she miss to take photo of a convict getting VIP treatment such as setting up of a kitchen in her cell to get special food.

"The reason is obvious she could not take photo because the kitchen was not existence at all," he claimed.
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00:14   Tejashwi Yadav to stake claim to form government
Bihar's political crisis seems to have deepened after RJD's Tejashwi Yadav said that his party too will stake claim to form the government. Tweeting about the developments, Lalu's son wrote, "Have asked the governor for time to meet.Being the largest party we will stake claim to form the government. We will also get support from JD-U MLAs."

Earlier, Nitish Kumar broke the Grand Alliance when he announced his resignation as the Bihar CM. However, with the support of the BJP, he announced once again that he would take the oath of office on Thursday at 5 pm. 

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