Sat, 29 July 2017
British Sikh MPs seek inquiry into UK's role in Op Bluestar

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21:29   British Sikh MPs seek inquiry into UK's role in Op Bluestar
Britain's two new Sikh MPs today sought an independent inquiry into the role of the UK government in Operation Bluestar, an Indian Army action in 1984 to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple.
Britain's first turban-wearing MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Preet Kaur Gill said the UK government would be accused of a cover up if the alleged revelations in the new documents, released by the UK's National Archives, are not taken note of.
According to the Sikh Federation UK, the release of FCO files from 1985 reveals that the then Indian Army chief General Arun Shridhar Vaidya, who planned Operation Blue Star in June 1984, received a confidential briefing from the British Army earlier in 1984.
Dhesi, who is in Chandigarh on a private visit to India, said, "As far as 1984 Operation Bluestar is concerned, you know that all felt pain. But we never knew that there was any role of the UK government in it. We always thought it was an action taken by the Indian government."
Addressing the media, he claimed that some journalists in the UK while analysing secret documents found "involvement of the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher."
"Whether the role was in advisory capacity or something more but when we learnt about it, we were sad because we never thought our government would have any role in it," the British MP said.
"That is why we are demanding that independent inquiry should be held to establish the extent of then Thatcher government's involvement in 1984 operation Bluestar," the Labour Party MP said.
Dhesi said the Conservative Party-led government had earlier ordered an inquiry in this regard. But it was "an eyewash".
"Neither anything came out of that inquiry nor any document was released. That is why the demand for independent inquiry is growing to put pressure on the UK government," he said.
The onus for ordering inquiry is entirely on the present UK government, Dhesi said, adding "If the UK government makes any delay in ordering independent inquiry then it will be called as justice delayed, justice denied."

Image: Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher
21:03   Xi to inspect PLA's 90th anniversary parade tomorrow
President Xi Jinping will inspect a military parade at China's biggest base at Zhurihe in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sunday as the country gets set to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the world's largest 2.3
million-strong People's Liberation Army.
Xi, 64, who is also head of the military and the ruling Communist Party of China, will inspect the troops and also deliver an important speech.
The event will be broadcast live by state-run TV and Radio, official Xinhua news agency reported.
The PLA was founded on August 1, 1927 when the ruling CPC under the leadership of Mao Zedong carried on with his national liberation movement.
It is one of the rare national armies which still continues to function under the leadership of the CPC and not the Chinese government.
Xi heads the Central Military Commission, which holds the overall command of the PLA.
Earlier, the Hong Kong-based 'South China Morning Post' reported that PLA was planning to hold the biggest drills at the Inner Magnolia base which is also regarded as China's biggest military base.
The Xinhua report, however, did not refer to any such plans.
This year's August 1 anniversary will be held amid an over a month long standoff with India at Doklam in Sikkim section.
Besides Doklam, China is also concerned by the situation in North Korea and the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missile by the US in South Korea much to the opposition of the Beijing.
The biggest military parade in China's modern history was held in Beijing on September 3, 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II.
More than 10,000 servicemen and servicewomen marched down Changan Avenue past Tiananmen Square, along with about 500 military vehicles, as nearly 200 PLA aircraft flew overhead.

20:47   After Gujarat, PM to visit Assam to review flood situation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Assam on August 1 to review the flood situation in the state. The floods in Assam this year have claimed 79 lives so far.
During the visit, the prime minister would discuss all the aspects related to the floods with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior officials, an official release said today.
Matters related to flood management and the damages caused by the floods are also likely to feature in the discussions.
The Centre has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each under the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured in the floods.
A seven-member inter-ministerial central team was on a four-day visit to Assam from July 25 to carry out on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused by the floods and would soon submit its report with recommendations to the Centre for early release of funds.
Meanwhile, Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit has contributed a month's salary to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund for the flood-hit people, said a Raj Bhawan spokesman.

Two waves of floods have affected over 25 lakh people in 29 districts of Assam this year, with the administration setting up 1,098 relief camps and distribution centres.

Though the current wave of floods has receded, six districts are still reeling under floods and over 2,000 people have taken shelter in the relief camps.

20:07   Make BJP invincible: Amit Shah tells partymen in UP
Making the BJP "invincible" should be the goal of party workers and leaders, its chief Amit Shah today said as he stressed on greater co-ordination between the government and the organisation to continue growing from
strength to strength.
"After forming governments in some of the states, the BJP has not lost and is continuously augmenting its strength. In this scenario, our target should be to build a BJP which is invincible," Shah said addressing party office bearers in Lucknow on the first day of his three-day visit to Uttar Pradesh.
He said that the state was in disarray when the BJP won the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election but the Yogi Aditynath Government has within three months fulfilled promises such as loan waiver for farmers and record purchase of wheat.

"In five years, the state government will fulfil each and every promise mentioned in the Sankalp Patra," the BJP chief was quoted as saying in a party statement.
The BJP chief said the party's workers are its strength.
"It is because of the hard work of the party workers that we were able to secure big wins in the country and the state. With better co-ordination between the government and organisation, we will take the policies and work of the Centre and the state government to the people," Shah said.
The BJP chief arrived on a day when two SP and one BSP MLCs quit. The development assumes significance as the saffron party has to soon take a decision on five of its ministers in Uttar Pradesh, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who are not members of either of the two Houses.
Besides Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, ministers Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza are not members of either the state assembly or the legislative council and will have to get elected to one of the Houses to continue as ministers.
19:58   Trump intends to sign Russia sanctions bill, says White House
United States President Donald Trump plans to sign legislation slapping punitive sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea that the Congress approved this week, the White House has said.
The legislation bars Trump from easing or waiving the penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees.
In its statement, the White House said Trump "negotiated regarding critical elements" of early drafts of the bill and approved the final draft "based on its responsiveness to his negotiations."
The Senate passed the bill, 98-2, two days after the House of Representatives pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3. Both were veto-proof numbers.

"President Donald J Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a late-night statement.
"He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it," Sander said without giving a time frame when it would be signed into law.
The new sanctions come as the White House grapples with several ongoing probes into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which the President has blasted as unnecessary.
The legislation, could put strain on Trump's ability to improve ties with Russia, which he has vocally pursued, but has been restrained by the allegations that his associates had contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign.
Trump has denied any collusion between his associates and Moscow and termed the Russian investigation "a witch hunt".

Other than Russia, the legislation also seeks to make Iran pay for its "continued support of terrorism", and includes provisions to curb North Korea's nuclear programme.
19:52   Macchil encounter: Justification for granting bail scary, says Omar
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah today termed as "unbelievably scary" the "justification" for the Armed Forces Tribunal decision's to grant bail to five army personnel convicted in the 2010
Macchil fake encounter case.
The Armed Forces Tribunal suspended the life sentence awarded to the Army personnel, including two officers, for allegedly staging the killing of three Kashmiri men in Macchil and granted them bail.
"They wore Pathan suits, which are worn by terrorists... What an unbelievably scary justification. You can be killed for what you wear!" Abdullah wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
He was reacting to a media report that claimed the tribunal had suspended their sentence and granted them bail on the grounds that the victims of the encounter were wearing Pathan suits which are worn by terrorists.
The five army personnel had approached the tribunal challenging the punishment given to them following court martial proceedings in 2014.
The encounter of the three civilians on the intervening night of April 29 and 30 in 2010 in Macchil sector had triggered widespread outrage and violence in the state. 
19:23   Why Nitish refused to induct new ministers from two NDA members?
Even as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inducted 13 National Democratic Alliance members in his Cabinet, he refused to include members from the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and the Hindustani Awam Morcha, two other members of the NDA.

Nitish Kumar has a strong reservation against RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, who had repeatedly attacked him and HAM chief and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, a Janata Dal-United leader, close to Nitish Kumar told

As far as Manjhi is concerned, Nitish hasnt forgotten how the Dalit leader ditched him when he was made the CM. Nitish told BJP leaders that he will not induct minister from these two parties, he added.  

Nitish expanded his Cabinet on Saturday by inducting 27 new ministers from his Jad-U and the NDA.

While 14 from the JD-U were made ministers, the NDA's share was 12 from the BJP, one from the LJP -- Pashupati Kumar Paras, a brother of Union minister Ramvilas Paswan.
The new ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy at a function at the Raj Bhavan by Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi.

-- M I Khan in Patna
18:34   Missing soldier Zahoor Ahmed has joined us, claims Hizbul
The Hizbul Mujahideen on Saturday claimed that Territorial Army soldier Zahoor Ahmed Bhat, who had fled from his army base along with his service rifle on July 6, has joined the terror outfit.   

In an emailed statement, Hizbul Mujhadeen's Syed Salahuddin said that other policemen and officers will follow suit.   

"Earlier as well so many policemen and officer have joined militant ranks and sacrificed their precious life... Zahoor Ahmed, hopefully, will prove an asset," the statement said.   

Zahoor, a resident of Pulwama district in South Kashmir, was reported absconding since July 5 night by the army unit located in Gantmulla area of Baramulla.   

Umar Ganie in Srinagar
18:30   BJP's 'greed for power' is putting democracy at risk: Mayawati
Lashing out at the BJP for its "greed for power", BSP supremo Mayawati today said the recent developments in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have put "democracy at risk".
"The political developments in Goa, Manipur, Bihar and now in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are proof enough that the Modi government has put democracy at risk," she said in a statement.
"BJP's greed for power has turned into lust for power.. the manner in which the official machinery and power is being misused is most condemnable," she said.
The BSP chief said the central government had misused its power in a very blatant manner in Gujarat following which MLAs have been forced to leave their state and move to a safer place.
After forming its government in Goa and Manipur by "crushing democracy", whatever is happening in Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh is an example of misuse of official machinery like ED, CBI, income tax etc against opposition leaders, she said.
All this is being done to divert attention from the wrong policies and works of the BJP government, she said.

"The governments in Odisha and West Bengal are also facing 'official' terror," she alleged.
On the resignation by three MLCs, two from Samajwadi Party and one of BSP in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati said rather than bowing before the BJP, they should have faced the challenge.
18:11   List of MLAs inducted in Nitish's Cabinet

Janata Dal-United

- Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh
- Bijendra Yadav
- Shravan Kumar
- Krishnandan Verma
- Maheshwar Hazari
- Santosh Nirala
- Madan Sahaney
- Khurshid Alam Firoz
- Sailesh Kumar
- Jai Kumar Sinha
- Manju Verma
- Kapildev Kamat
- Ramesh Rishidev
- Dinesh Chandra Yadav

Bharatiya Janata Party

- Nandkishore Yadav
- Prem Kumar
- Ramnarayan Mandal
- Mangal Pandey
- Vinod Narayan Jha
- Suresh Sharma
- Krishnakumar Rishi
- Vinod Kushwaha
- Rana Randhir
- Vijay Sinha
- Pramod Kumar
- Brij Kishore Bind

Lok Janshakti Party

- Pashupati Kumar Paras
18:03   Nitish Kumar expands Cabinet, inducts 13 NDA faces
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today expanded its Cabinet by inducting 27 ministers including 14 from his own party, Janata Dal-United and 13 from the NDA.   

Governor Keshrinath Tripathi administered the oath to all new ministers.   

BJP leaders Prem Kumar and Nand Kishore Yadav and Ramvilas Paswan's younger brother Pashupati Paras took the oath today.   

Nitish on Wednesday resigned and dumped its allies the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress over corruption charges against former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadaav.   

Within three hours after Nitish resigned, the BJP had extended support to him to form new government. 
17:31   Shahid Khaqan Abbasi picked as interim Pak PM
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been named as Pakistan's interim Prime Minister.

Abbasi will run the government as interim prime minister until Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz is elected as member of parliament, Pakistan media said.
In order to become the prime minister, he would have to be elected first. 

Yesterday, the Supreme Court disqualified 67-year-old Nawaz Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the embattled leader out of office.

16:42   Conflicts started in several states after NDA came to power: Rahul
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the NDA government, alleging that strife started in several states, including Jammu and Kashmir, after it came to power in May 2014.
He claimed that the prevailing unrest in parts of the country under its rule was benefiting the the RSS, China and Pakistan.
"After the NDA came to power in Delhi, conflicts started in several states. There was peace in Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorism there had nearly come to an end during the UPA rule," he alleged.
"We held talks with people from various sections... our idea was to reach out to people, provide jobs to the youth. We conducted Panchayati Raj elections," he said.
Gandhi was interacting with tribal students during a programme, 'Amcho Hak' (our rights), organised by the National Students Union of India in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.
"When we came to power in 2004, we gradually controlled terrorism in J&K and it nearly came to an end. But now unrest is everywhere in the country--Srinagar, Sikkim and Bastar," the Amethi MP alleged.
"Peace has vanished from Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu. Who's getting benefit from the conflict in Kashmir? It's the RSS, Pakistan and China," the Congress leader alleged.
Questioning who was fuelling civilian unrest in Kashmir, he said "You all have seen how the people of Jammu and Kashmir were living peacefully" when the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre.
"Situation worsened after the BJP came to power there in coalition with the PDP. Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, the RSS and industrialists are getting benefits of conflict in Bastar," he claimed.
He said Chhattisgarh was a rich state with water, forests and minerals and alleged that "they want to snatch your resources and they can't do that till there is strife".
"That's why they are spreading discord, they want to make you fight among yourselves. Adivasis will never benefit from industrialisation," Gandhi claimed.

The Congress MP alleged that the RSS wanted Dalits, adivasis and OBCs to remain weak and oppressed so that they could rule over them.
16:22   Why Christopher Nolan did not allow chairs, water bottles on 'Dunkirk' set
Veteran actor Mark Rylance has revealed that filmmaker Christopher Nolan apparently banned chairs and water bottles from the sets of his latest war drama Dunkirk.
"He does things like he doesn't like having chairs on set for actors or bottles of water, he's very particular," Rylance told The Independent.
The 46-year-old director of the masterpiece reportedly banned the seemingly essential items from his set in order to keep his actors focused on the task of bringing the World War II drama to life, according to Barry Keoghan.
"They're distractions -- the noise of (the bottles), they're like toys almost, playing around with toys. (The lack of chairs, meanwhile) keeps you on your toes, literally," he said.
The actors, however, did not seem to mind Nolan's strict ways.
"He's definitely into the craft of it, and serious," said Rylance. 

15:56   Aamir Khan urges fans to help flood victims in Assam, Gujarat
Aamir Khan has asked his fans and followers on social media to help flood-stricken states of Assam and Gujarat by contributing in the Chief Minister Relief Fund. 

The 52-year-old star today shared a video message on Twitter urging everyone to come together to support those affected floods.

"Some areas of Gujarat and Assam are terribly affected by floods. People are facing a tough time. Many have lost their lives. We are helpless in front of nature, but can surely do something for our brothers and sisters. 

"Let us come together and help the people in Gujarat and Assam. Let us contribute in the Chief Minister Relief Fund of both the states," Aamir said.

In Assam, as many as 79 people have lost their lives in the devastating floods, till yesterday. 

According to the figures of the State Emergency Operation Centre, Gujarat, 72 people have drowned in the state this monsoon. 

Till July 26, 123 people had died in the state due to rain-related incidents.
15:36   2 SP MLC resign, Akhilesh Yadav blames BJP

Three members of the UP legislative council, including two from the Samajwadi Party and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party, resigned today.
SP leaders Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh, and Thakur Jiaveer Singh from the BSP submitted their resignation to Chairman of the Legislative Council, Ramesh Yadav.
Reacting on the development, SP chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said he had met Nawab on Eid and wondered why he had a "sudden change of heart".
"I will ask him (Nawab) as to why he was not giving the BJP leaders (ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government) a chance to face the (election)...(why) some MLCs are being lured and tutored so as to enable (their leaders) from not facing the people," he said.
"After the 'political corruption' on a big scale in Bihar, it seems the same will be done in Uttar Pradesh...people are seeing what is happening ...those who have to go will go, they cannot be stopped," he said.
After submitting his resignation, Nawab said he was "feeling suffocated" in the party since the past one year and that he was ready to meet the BJP leadership if called by them.
The resignation of three MLCs on a day BJP president Amit Shah arrived in Lucknow on a three-day visit assumes significance as the saffron party has to soon take a decision on five of its ministers in Uttar Pradesh, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who are not members of either of the two Houses.
Besides Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, ministers Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza have not been elected to either the state assembly or the legislative council. 
14:35   Pak PM Sharif to chair crucial party meet to choose successor
Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif will chair a crucial meeting to decide his successor, a day after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court yesterday disqualified 67-year-old Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the embattled leader out of office.
Senior Pakistan Muslim League leader and former railway minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the party meeting will be held later today. The meeting is likely to include discussion on candidates for the post of the prime minister, party's new president and members of the Cabinet.
"Different options were discussed in a similar meeting yesterday but no decision was taken," he said.
Meanwhile, party sources said that Sharif proposed name of his younger brother Shehbaz in yesterday's meeting and none of the participants raised any objection to the proposal.
But Shehbaz, 65, cannot immediately replace his brother as he is not a member of parliament.
In order to become the prime minister, he would have to be elected first.
Hence, an interim prime minister would have to be chosen from among Sharif's confidants who will resign once Shehbaz is elected.
Pakistan has seen such arrangements in the past too.
During former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharrafs time, politician Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was appointed as an interim prime minister until Shaukat Aziz, who was nominated by Musharraf, got elected by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam.
14:29   PM Modi 'man of moment' but 'India is Indira' for me, says Mehbooba
Hailing former prime minister Indira Gandhi as the ideal representative of the India that she envisions, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said 'India is Indira Gandhi' for her.

"When I was growing, Indira Gandhi represented India for me. Maybe some people won't like it, but to me, India is Indira Gandhi," she said, while speaking at a Kashmir event on Friday.

However, Mufti was all praises for 'the man of the moment', Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, she believes, can be the true harbinger of peace and stability in The Valley.

"Prime Minister Modi has the potential to become the man of history and his leadership is an asset which needs to be harnessed. Our hopes are pinned on him to work together and bring Kashmir out of the mess," said Mufti.

Saddened by the portrayal of Kashmir and India as separate identities by the media, Mufti highlighted that the country is being misrepresented, adding that the society should be more welcoming to the idea of Kashmir and its natives.

"Kashmir is a mini India within India. We are a diverse state with all kinds of multi-diversity of religion and everything. Opposing religious divide, the state had aligned to a more secular and accommodative India where Hindus and Muslims pray together at a shrine and statues of Hindu gods are being made by Muslim artisans," she said, urging that the sentiment of 'azadi' needs to be replaced with a better idea.
14:07   Lanka, China sign USD 1.1 bn Hambantota port deal
Sri Lanka today signed a USD 1.1 billion deal to sell a 70-per cent stake of the strategic Hambantota port to China, amid concerns over the massive debt the island nation incurred in building the port.
The deal had been delayed by several months over concerns that the deep-sea port could be used by the Chinese navy.
Cash-rich China has invested millions of dollars in Sri Lanka's infrastructure since the end of a brutal civil war in 2009.
As part of the deal, the stake in the loss-making port has been sold to China's state-run conglomerate China Merchant Port Holdings.
Sri Lanka's Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe and China's envoy to Colombo Yi Xianliang were present when the Concession Agreement was signed.
Under the 99-year lease agreement, CMPort is to invest up to USD 1.1 billion in the port and marine-related activities.
"This is a very favourable agreement compared with the plan in 2014," Samarasinghe said, referring to the original plan laid out during former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure.
The agreement was open for further amendments, he said.
The deal may raise security concerns in India.
According to the new deal, only Sri Lankan Navy will be responsible for security of the deep-sea port, and the port will not be allowed to become a base for any foreign navy.
The new provision is seen as an attempt to allay India's concerns over Chinese navy's possible presence in Sri Lanka.
The port, overlooking the Indian Ocean, is expected to play a key role in China's Belt and Road initiative, which will link ports and roads between China and Europe.

The Sri Lankan government had to face huge opposition to the deal from trade unions, who called it a sellout of the country's national assets to China.
13:25   Kejriwal used worse abuses than crook for Jaitley: Jethmalani
After quitting as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's counsel in the defamation case against Arun Jaitley, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani in an explosive letter has revealed that the Aam Aadmi Party chief "used worse abuses" than 'crook' for the Union finance minister.

Firing a fresh salvo at his former client, the senior counsel alleged that the Delhi chief minister had instructed him to use derogatory words against Jaitley.

"When Arun Jaitley filed the first suit and criminal case, you naturally sought my services. Ask your (Kejriwal) conscience how many times you used worse abuses than a mere 'crook'. You have hundred times asked me to teach this crook a lesson," the lawyer said in a letter that he wrote to Kejriwal on July 20, a copy of which was uploaded on his blog.

On July 26, Jethmalani announced that he has quit as the counsel of Arvind Kejriwal and accused Delhi chief minister of blatantly lying to him.

Speaking to ANI, Jethmalani said, "The reason behind it is he (Kejriwal) has spoken a lie. He has gone and said that I have not given any instructions, but fact is he did and I have them recorded. I'm not disappointed at all. I did all that I could do. If he does not pay me, I don't mind, because I have fought for many for free. It does not make a difference if I lose one".
12:15   Impossible for Ahmed Patel to win RS poll: Gujarat Congress MLA
Amid the exit of six Congress MLAs ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, a senior party legislator has said Ahmed Patel will find it difficult to win the elections as more opposition lawmakers are likely to resign in the days to come.
Congress MLA Raghavjee Patel, considered close to former party strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, indicated he would also resign and join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Ahmed Patel has been fielded by the Congress for the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls.
"The state party leadership, along with Congress high command, is responsible for whatever is happening right now. In the coming days, around 20 Congress MLAs would severe ties with the party. Thus, it will be  impossible for Ahmed Patel to win the Rajya Sabha polls," Raghavjee told media on Friday.
"When I met Ahmed bhai recently, I cautioned him about this situation and urged him not to contest polls, as I already saw this coming. I firmly believe the Congress cannot win the Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat," said the MLA from Jamnagar (Rural) seat.
"Since there are only two main parties in Gujarat, the BJP is the only option for me if I leave the Congress. I have already had a word with BJP national president Amit Shah and state president Jitubhai Vaghani and conveyed my wish to join the party," said Raghavjee.
Another Congress MLA from Jamnagar, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, also indicated he would leave the party.
11:23   MP mob targets Muslim women over beef rumour, 27th attack this year
A video showing two Muslim women being slapped, kicked and abused for nearly half an hour by a mob of cow vigilantes, as police stand by has surfaced.

Gau mata ki jai! (hail mother cow), the attackers scream, as onlookersone of whom filmed the videowatch but do not intervene.

After the attack, the two women were arrested on suspicion of carrying beef. No action was taken against the attackers.

The attack on the two women in the town of Mandsaur in western Madhya Pradesh was the 26th in 118 days since 55-year-old Pehlu Khan died after a mob attack on April 1, 2017, bringing the count to 27 cases of cow-related violence in seven months this year, the most in eight years, according to a database that records such violence in India.
10:53   Jethmalani fires fresh letter to Kejriwal, copies it to Jaitely
Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani fired a fresh salvo at his erstwhile client Arvind Kejriwal. 

Following up on his July 20 letter to Kejriwal conveying his decision to quit as the CM's counsel, Jethmalani, who is upset with the Delhi CM for telling the court that the lawyer acted on his own in using a demeaning expression against Jaitley , took the unprecedented step of sending the letter to the finance minister. 

In his July 20 letter to Kejriwal, Jethmalani said, "When Arun Jaitley filed the first suit and the criminal case, you naturally sought my services. Ask your conscience how many times you used worse abuses than a mere '.......' (the derogatory word Jethmalani had used, triggering the second Rs 10-crore defamation case against Kejriwal).

Kejriwal had accused Jaitley of complicity in the "DDCA scam", leading the latter to file a defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore.

In his July 20 letter to Kejriwal, Jethmalani said: "You have hundred times asked me to teach this '......' a lesson. Incidentally, for the last couple of weeks, you only met me briefly. However, your assistant Raghav Chadha and advocate Anupam Srivastava have been briefing me in the matter. Of course, the law is settled that no suit for damages lies against parties and lawyers even if the suggestion made only in court judicial proceedings proves to be false or malicious."

The CM engaged Jethmalani, a known detractor of the finance minister, to defend himself. But the two fell out over the use of an unsavoury term by the lawyer for the finance minister during the proceedings on May 17. Stung by the expression, Jaitley threatened to file a second defamation suit and asked the advocate whether he was using the word on his client's instruction. With Jethmalani replying in the affirmative, Jaitley filed a second defamation suit against Kejriwal, demanding another Rs 10 crore in damages from him.

However, Kejriwal disputed the claim in an affidavit he filed with Delhi HC as well in a letter he wrote to Jethmalani. In his affidavit, Kejriwal said it was "inconceivable that he would even think of instructing the senior counsel to use such objectionable words. 
10:37   Nitish Kumar to expand Cabinet today, likely to add more NDA faces
A day after Nitish Kumar won the crucial floor test in the Bihar assembly, securing 131 votes against the oppositions 108, the chief minister is all set to expand his Cabinet on Saturday.

Nitish Kumar will expand his ministry on Saturday evening a Janata Dal-United leader, close to Nitish Kumar said.

According to sources, about 16 to 18 ministers will be inducted in Nitish Kumars cabinet. There may be new faces also.

According to sources, the faces in Nitishs cabinet wont consists only from the JD-U and the BJP, but will also feature a few from BJPs allies -- the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and the Lok Janshakti Party. 

Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned and dumped its allies the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress over corruption charges against former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadaav.

Within three hours after Nitish Kumar resigned, BJP had extended support to him. 

-- M I Khan in Patna
10:09   Nitish 'breaks' ranks again, to back UPA nominee Gopal Gandhi as vice president
Though Nitish Kumar has switched partners to head a JD-U-led NDA government in the state, he is set to stand by his promise to support UPAs vice presidential nominee Gopal Krishna Gandhi. 

The question has been doing rounds over JD-Us stand, since Wednesdays political upheaval, in the changed circumstances. 

A senior party leader said the Bihar CM has cleared his stand on the issue, saying the tie-up with BJP has been done in the interest of the state, but the decision to support Gandhi was taken keeping his ability and identity in mind. 

The chief minister, who also heads the party, has asked legislators not to mix the two issues.

There is no cause to prompt a change in partys stance, he said, hinting that the fast-paced political development had no bearing on its earlier stand. 

Gandhi was the first choice of the JD-U for being declared as the presidential face from the Opposition block, with Kumar himself proposing the name to CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury at a meeting in Chennai coinciding with DMK strongman M Karunanidhis birthday. 
09:54   3-member team to probe RSTV
JUST IN: Three-member vigilance committee has been set up to inquire into alleged financial irregularities in Rajya Sabha TV, with department of expenditure as the nodal authority. 
09:26   North Korea says 2nd ICBM test puts much of US in range
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said today the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the US mainland, hours after the launch left analysts concluding that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and
Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons.

The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed "great satisfaction" after the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometres and traveled 998 kilometres before accurately landing in waters off Japan.

Analysts had estimated that the North's first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska, and said that the latest missile appeared to extend that range significantly.

Immediately after the launch, US and South Korean forces conducted live-fire exercises. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo called for the deployment of strategic US military assets which usually means stealth bombers and aircraft carriers as well as additional launchers of an advanced US anti-missile system.
08:34   Sharad Yadav called us up, says Lalu after trust vote
Senior Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav hasn't said a word on the splitting of the Grand Alliance and Nitish Kumar joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party. 

However, reports state that the senior JD-U leader isn't happy about the recent developments and has chosen to maintain a stony silence. 

Lalu Yadav, the former alliance partner of Nitish, on Saturday said that Sharad Yadav was, in fact, on his side, and did not approve of the ways things have progressed. 

"Sharad Yadav called me," said Lalu, adding, "He has been in touch with us and told us he is with us."

The statement comes after RJD and the Congress failed to garner the majority votes in the trust vote where Nitish sailed through. 
07:57   Trump replaces Chief of Staff Priebus, appoints John Kelly
United States President Donald Trump has fired Reince Priebus as chief of staff, replacing him with Homeland Security Secretary Gen John Kelly (retd), amid growing tensions at the White House due to infighting among top staffers.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff,"Trump told his more than 34.8 million followers on Twitter soon after his return from New York.

"He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration," Trump said.

The latest shakeup of the White House leadership comes as the feud between Priebus and the new Communication Director Anthony Scaramucci went nasty over the past few days, hogging the media limelight.

Scaramucci was appointed the new White House Communication Director on July 21.

Soon after, Sean Spicer had resigned as the White House Press Secretary in protest.

Trump also promoted his Deputy Sarah sanders as the new White House Press Secretary.
00:06   Amid border stand-off, Shourie lauds Chinese leadership
As the Indian and Chinese armies stand eyeball to eyeball in the Sikkim sector, former Union minister Arun Shourie said the leadership in China at all levels was "much more qualified".

He also said today the "main challenge" before the nation was to elect leaders who have "integrity, dedication and competence".

"If we compare the levels of our tehsildar to the official of the similar cadre in China, state governments, both in India and China, or their politburo with our cabinet, they (the Chinese) are much more qualified," he said. 

Shourie, a former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government and a bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said there was deterioration in the "value system" in politics today with "ego, insecurity, remorselessness and opportunism" being manifest.

"Leaders like Sardar Patel and Jawahar Lal Nehru also did politics but there were no such elements. They transformed our country without resorting to opportunism that we see today," he said.