Mon, 23 April 2018
Congress trying to rig Karnataka polls: BJP to EC

Timeline  Refresh

23:16   Congress trying to rig Karnataka polls: BJP to EC
The Bharatiya Janata Party moved the Election Commission today alleging that the Congress was trying to rig the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka and also complained that some officers in the state were biased towards the ruling party.

Four senior BJP leaders led by its General Secretary Bhupender Yadav submitted a memorandum to the poll panel, demanding deployment of adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces and 'micro-observers preferably from outside Karnataka'.

The state goes to polls on May 12.

Citing a number of incidents where the state government officials had shown their alleged bias and worked under the influence of the Congress government in the state, the BJP demanded such officers not be put on poll duty.

Alleging that BJP chief Amit Shah was not allowed to garland a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar in Mysuru by the city's DEO/DC on April 14, the party said the officer should be 'removed from election duty for committing such an indiscretion at the bidding of ruling party'.

According to the memorandum, the BJP also requested the commission to change the criteria of 'vulnerable' and 'critical' assembly seats in the state.

It should not be based only on historic data and records but also on the changed political situation and threat perception of possible mischief in the areas that have otherwise remained peaceful, the party said.

Claiming that its workers have not been allowed to hoist flag, the BJP said they should be permitted to do so on their own premises.

At the same time there must be no bar in party offering meals to its workers in its meetings, the party said in the memorandum.  -- PTI
22:38   First look of the new prince: William, Kate leave hospital
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton outside London hospital following the birth of their third baby. Photograph: ANI
22:27   What PMO said in reply to RTI seeking details of 'promised' Rs 15 lakh
A query on when the Rs 15 lakh promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 2014 election campaign would be transferred to people's bank accounts does not come under the definition of 'information' under the Right to Information Act and so cannot be answered, the Prime Minister's Office has told the Central Information Commission.

RTI applicant Mohan Kumar Sharma filed a plea on November 26, 2016 --nearly 18 days after demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 was announced by the prime minister -- seeking to know the date of deposit of Rs 15 lakh in the account of each citizen as promised by Modi, besides other queries.

During the hearing, Sharma told Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur that complete information had not been provided to him by the Prime Minister's Office and the Reserve Bank of India.

"The respondent no. 1 (PMO) stated...they have informed the appellant that information sought by him on point nos. 1 and 4 (regarding date of deposit of Rs 15 lakh in the account of each citizen as promised by PM Narendra Modi; how print media houses came to know before the announcement of PM Narendra Modi about the demonetisation, etc.) of the RTI application does not fall under the definition of 'information' as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act," Mathur noted.

According to the section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 'information' means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information related to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.

"The action/steps taken by the respondent nos. 1 (PMO) and 2 (RBI) in dealing with the RTI application are satisfactory," Mathur noted.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi had said each Indian would receive Rs 15 lakh when black money would be repatriated from abroad.  -- PTI
22:23   Pak troops shell forward areas along LoC in Poonch
Pakistani troops today targeted forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir with mortar shells and gunfire in violation of the ceasefire, an official said.

"Pakistan army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 1730 hours (5.30 pm) today in the Krishnaghati sector along the LoC," the Army official said.

The Indian Army was retaliating strongly and effectively, he added.

There has been a spurt in the ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir this year, resulting in the death of 30 persons, including 16 security personnel, in over 650 such incidents, according to officials.  -- PTI
21:54   Sitharaman arrives in China to attend SCO defence ministers' meeting
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived in China today to attend a preparatory meeting related to upcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

During her visit, Sitharaman is likely to meet a number of Chinese leaders. She will attend the SCO defence ministers' meeting tomorrow.

The annual summit of the SCO, in which India is the latest entrant along with Pakistan, will take place in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend it.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is already in Beijing on a four-day visit here to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers meeting to finalise the agenda for the summit of the eight-member political, economic and security bloc.

The SCO, headquartered in Beijing, was founded in 2001.

Comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan, the SCO aims at military cooperation between the member states and involves intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia and joint work against cyber terrorism.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman received in Bejing on Monday. Photograph: @EOIBeijing/Twitter
21:07   Parents arrested for killing newborn, abandoning body
The parents of a newborn, whose body was found abandoned at Puthur in Kollam district with hands and legs bitten off by stray dogs, were arrested today in connection with the child's death, police said.

The parents-- Mahesh, 26, and Ambili, 23, were arrested after several rounds of questioning, they said.

The couple, who had got married two years ago, told police they did not want to have a second child soon.

Though they tried to abort the baby after Ambili became pregnant, doctors of a hospital at puthoor refused to terminate the pregnancy.

Ambili said she delivered the baby boy a couple of days ago, killed it soon after birth and abandoned the body in a thicket.

'Kudumbashree' (Self Help Group) workers had alerted police two days ago after they saw stray dogs attacking the body of the child.

Police said a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including punishment for murder and preventing a child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth, had been registered against the couple.  -- PTI
20:42   SC seeks Centre's stand on plea to decriminalise gay sex
The Supreme Court today sought the Centre's stand on a hotelier's plea for striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises 'unnatural sex', including the carnal intercourse between consenting adults of the same gender.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued notice to the Centre on the plea by the Lalit Suri hospitality group head Kesav Suri, seeking the 'Right to choice of sexual orientation' to be declared as part of the fundamental Right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, considered the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of the hotelier and asked the Centre to respond within a week.

The bench then ordered tagging of the petition with other similar pleas which have already been referred to the Constitution bench. The apex court had on January 8 referred to a larger bench a plea seeking decriminalisation of gay sex between two consenting adults.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code refers to 'unnatural offences' and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

Suri, in his plea, has said that he himself being part of the lesbian, gays, bisexual, transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, has suffered mentally and been stigmatised on account of his sexual orientation at a personal and professional front.

'The petitioner had to deal with non-acceptance of his fundamental and intrinsic choice, ie; his homosexuality with his family and thereafter even professionally questions were raised about his sexuality, which does not happen normally with heterosexual individuals,' the plea said.

Suri also said he was constantly living under the fear of a false or potential prosecution under Section 377 of the IPC and was unable to express his relationship and his right to choose his sexual partner without being worried.

The petition also pointed out that the LGBTQ community is being 'ridiculed' in various spheres of life and equal work or pay opportunities were not given to them.

While consenting to reconsider its 2013 verdict criminalising gay sex, the apex court had on January 8 said that the section of people or individuals who exercises their choice should never 'remain in a state of fear'.

It had also said the determination of order of nature is not a constant phenomenon as social morality changes from age to age.

The apex court is already seized of similar pleas filed by celebrities like dancer N S Johar, chef Ritu Dalmia and another hotelier Aman Nath challenging the validity of section 377 criminalising the consensual gay sex.

The Delhi high court, on July 2, 2009, had legalised homosexual acts among consenting adults holding that the 149-year-old law making it a criminal offence is violative of the fundamental rights and making it not punishable.  -- PTI
19:48   Situation created by Modi government worse than emergency: Sinha
Two days after quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha has alleged that the situation during the last four years of the Narendra Modi government was 'worse than Emergency'.

Sinha, who resigned from the BJP and taken sanyas (retirement) from party politics on April 21, has also claimed that the people in the country were feeling insecure due to the actions of the Modi government, which, he said, has 'destroyed the temple of democracy'.

Talking to reporters at his home, about 8 km from Hazaribag, Sinha said that his resignation had nothing to do with the birthday of his son Union minister Jayant Sinha.

He said it was just a mere coincidence that his son's birthday was on the same day he had resigned from the BJP.

"The situation created by the Modi government is even worse than the Emergency proclaimed by Indira Gandhi," Sinha alleged, adding that no community was feeling secure due to the actions of the present government at the Centre.

Referring to the washout of the Budget session of Parliament, he claimed that it was the Modi government which did not want it to function smoothly as it did not want to face the no confidence motion despite the Opposition demand.

The former external affairs minister pointed out that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had not hesitated to table no confidence motion in 1998 when his government had fallen by just one vote.

But the present government did not care to maintain the sanctity of Parliament, Sinha alleged and expressed concern over what he called as the government's approach to control the Supreme Court, the Election Commission and gagging of the press.

He said this was the reason why he took the responsibility of protecting democracy, and described as 'unprecedented' the impeachment notice against the CJI challenging his style of functioning.

Sinha also questioned the use of agencies such as CBI, NIA, ED and Income Tax by the government for 'harassing and gagging opposition leaders'.

Asked what he would do after quitting the BJP, Sinha said he will continue his fight for protecting the cause of the distressed farmers, workers of the unorganised sector, youth, students and weaker section of society by addressing meetings throughout the country.

Alleging that there is no inner democracy in the BJP, he said, "Leaders will speak and the cadres will remain silent as they have no guts to raise their voices".

Without naming anyone, he said that a large number of people were backing him and supporting his fight for saving democracy in the country.  -- PTI
19:26   I fear for my life: Indrani Mukerjea tells court
One of the prime accused in Sheena Bora murder case, Indrani Mukerjea on Monday told the special Central Bureau of Investigation court that she fears for her life.

"I fear for my life, I have not given my statement to IG Prisons. I confirm that I have not spoken to anyone," Mukerjea told the court.

This statement from Indrani comes two weeks after she was hospitalised in JJ Hospital for an alleged drug overdose.

Mukerjea has been lodged in Mumbai's Byculla jail on charges of killing her daughter Sheena Bora.

Sheena, 24, was abducted and killed on April 24, 2012, allegedly over a financial dispute, and her body was disposed of in a forest in adjoining Raigad district.

Indrani and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna were arrested in August 2015 along with her former driver Shyamvar Rai, while Indrani's present husband Peter Mukerjea was nabbed in November the same year.

MUST READ: The Sheena Bora Murder Trial
19:07   Raghuram Rajan contender for top job at Bank Of England: Report
Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, has been named as one of the possible contenders for the top job at the Bank of England, according to a report by UK-based Financial Times.

"Attracting Raghuram Rajan, the highly respected Chicago-based economist and former Reserve Bank of India Governor, would be a coup, as would securing Agustin Carstens, Mexico's central bank chief and the new general manager of the Bank of International Settlements," stated the article on Sunday.

It said that UK Chancellor and Exchequer Philip Hammond is starting the process to select the next Governor of the Bank of England to replace Mark Carney in 2019.

Hammond, according to the article, said he had already begun looking for candidates in forums such as the International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington.

"The formal process has not yet started but I, and many other people I am sure, may have cast their eye around various rooms to see if any likely looking candidates hove into view," Hammond said on the sidelines of the meetings.

The article said that Hammond's comments showed his willingness to look abroad for Carney's successor and that he was seeking a figure who can make an impact on the global stage as the UK prepares for Brexit.

Rajan, who is currently a Professor of Finance with the University of Chicago at the Booth School of Business, was the RBI Governor between September 2013 and September 2016. He was the first non-westerner and the youngest Chief Economist and Director of Research at the IMF.
18:57   Yeddyurappa's son not to contest polls, BJP workers erupt in protest
The sons of the two political veterans running for Karnataka chief minister will not face off in the constituency of Varuna in Mysuru. 

Varuna, a rural area with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as its current legislator, was prepping for weeks for a show down between Siddaramaiah's son, Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah, a pathologist by training, and BY Vijayendra, the son of the BJP's presumptive Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa. 

The news triggered massive protests by BJP workers in Mysuru, who threatened to resign if Yeddyurappa Junior is not named a candidate.

"This was a decision taken by us," said Yeddyurappa, who headed the BJP's first southern government when it won the Karnataka election in 2013.

Around him, BJP workers broke down, distressed by what they see as a betrayal of their leader. Shouting slogans against BJP chief Amit Shah, angry workers damaged furniture at the venue at Nanjanagudu near Mysuru. 

Later, BY Vijayendra was unable to move out of his hotel because of the thick layers of supporters who had gathered outside. 

Both Dr Yathindra and BY Vijayendra are in their 30s. Neither has contested an election before this. Yeddyurappa's son had said last week that he wanted to run against the Chief Minister's son. Indeed, he has spent weeks campaigning in Varuna as the unofficial candidate of the BJP. "I am not upset, this was a decision taken by me," said Yeddyurappa.
18:33   13-yr-old accused of raping 8-yr-old in UP's Bareilly
An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a minor in a village in CB Ganj area in Bareilly, police said today. The alleged incident took place yesterday when the girl was taken to an orchard by the 13-year-old boy, who raped her, Superintendent of Police, City, Abhinandan Kumar SIngh said.

An FIR was registered today on the complaint of the victim's family members, he said. The medical report has confirmed rape, according to the official. The accused teenager has been detained, the officer said. -- PTI
18:14   Was there scientific assessment that death penalty is deterrent to rape: HC to Centre
The Delhi High Court asked the Centre today if it had done any research or scientific assessment before coming out with an ordinance to award death penalty for rape of girls below the age of 12. The high court was dealing with an old PIL that challenged the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, in which a penal provision -- minimum of seven years of jail term -- for a rape convict was included and the court's discretion to award less than that was taken away.

"Did you carry out any study, any scientific assessment that death penalty is a deterrent to rape? Have you thought of the consequences to the victim? How many offenders would allow their victims to survive now that rape and murder have the same punishment," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the government.

The Union Cabinet, two days ago, cleared the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018, which proposes stringent punishments, ranging from a minimum of 20 years to life term or death, for rape of girls under the age of 12 years.

If the victim is less than 16 years and more than 12 years, the ordinance has increased the minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years and the maximum has been set at imprisonment for the rest of the convict's life.

The Centre's decision came in the wake of a nationwide outrage over cases of sexual assault and murder of minors in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and Surat in Gujarat, and the rape of a girl in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. The high court today said the government was "not even looking at the root cause" or "educating people" as the offenders are often found to be below the age of 18 years and in majority of the cases, the perpetrator is someone from the family or known to them.

It further questioned whether any victims were asked what they want before coming out with the ordinance. The observations came after the bench was informed about the recent ordinance during the hearing of a PIL which seeks to strike down the amendments made in the rape law after the December 16, 2012 gangrape of a 23-year-old women in the national capital. The plea by academician Madhu Purnima Kishwar has claimed that the amendments to the law related to sexual offences is being abused in practice.

Under the new ordinance, minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment. -- PTI
17:39   It's a boy! Prince William and Kate have third child
It's official! Britain's Prince William and Kate have had their third child -- a baby boy. On their official Twitter handle, @KensingtonRoyal, they wrote, "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 1101hrs. The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth."

Kate was admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour on Monday morning. 

The baby prince will be fifth in line to the throne, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's sixth great-grandchild and a younger brother for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
17:16   Sania Mirza just announced she's expecting a baby
Congratulations are in order for tennis ace Sania Mirza.

Mirza, who has been away from the game for a couple of months owing to a right knee injury, due to which she missed the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, just tweeted saying: @MirzaSania  "#BabyMirzaMalik" and posted this cute graphic.

The self-explanatory graphic shows a wardrobe with three sections -- one for herself, marked 'Mirza', one for her Pakistani cricketer husband Shoaib Malik, marked 'Malik' and the middle section for 'Mirza-Malik' with a cute baby vest.

The very best to the woman who did India proud acing  her game for decades. 
16:59   AFSPA completely revoked from Meghalaya, partly from Arunachal
Update: The AFSPA has been removed completely from Meghalaya and its area of operation in Arunachal Pradesh has been restricted to three police stations bordering Assam and three districts neighbouring Myanmar, officials said today. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which empowers security forces to conduct operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice, has been removed from all areas of Meghalaya from March 31. The decision has been taken due to a significant improvement of security situation in the state, a Home Ministry official said.

In Arunachal Pradesh, areas under the controversial act have been reduced from 16 police stations areas bordering Assam to eight police stations besides Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, the official said. There have been demands from various organisations in the north-east as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the act, which, they say, gives "sweeping powers' to the security forces to act against "civilians'.

The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades and in Assam from early 1990s. It was not withdrawn in Nagaland even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R N Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Another official said there has been a substantial improvement in security situation in the north-eastern states over the last four years. The year 2017 recorded the lowest insurgency incidents and casualties among civilians and security forces during the last two decades since 1997.

While insurgency has been wiped out from Tripura and Mizoram, there has been a marked improvement in security situation in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur, the official said.

In Assam, sustained counter-insurgency operations against NDFB (S) have resulted in killing of 63 cadres and the arrest of 1,052 cadres/linkmen besides recovery of huge arms and ammunition between December 2014 and March this year.

Across the north-east, there has been a huge reduction of 96 per cent in casualties among the security forces from 289 in 1997 to 12 in 2017. Civilian casualties also dropped by 96 per cent from 907 in the year 2000 to 37 last year, the official added.

Insurgency incidents during the same period reduced by 85 per cent from 1963 to 308. So far as kidnapping and abductions are concerned, there has been a 40 per cent drop from 168 incidents in 2016 to 102 last year. PTI
16:36   Jessica Lall murder case: Sister pardons murderer Manu Sharma
Jessica Lall's sister Sabrina Lall on Monday said she has no objection to the release of Manu Sharma from Tihar Jail where he is serving a life term after being convicted for murder.Sabrina said she held no grudges against Sharma now as the only thing she had ever wanted was him to be convicted.

Talking to ANI, Sabrina said, "I have been fighting for this since 1999. He has spent 15 years in jail. You need to let go off anger. I thought it is okay if Manu Sharma walks free. There is no specific reason. You need to rest your mind and move on with your life. I have no objection if the court releases him."

Sabrina has reportedly written a letter to the welfare officer at Tihar Jail, where Sharma has already spent 12 years.

Sharma's release by a trial court sparked outrage across the nation until the case was reconsidered in 2006 in the Delhi High Court. After examining the evidence again by the court, he was held guilty of murder. Later, the Supreme Court upheld the high court's verdict.

Jessica was shot by Manu when she refused to serve him liquor at Tamarind Court restaurant, owned by socialite and designer Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi's Mehrauli on April 29, 1999. Manu Sharma is a son of former Congress leader Venod Sharma.
16:12   Rejection of impeachment motion destroyed legitimate process of law: Sibal
Slamming the rejection of the impeachment motion by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, today's move was unprecedented as an impeachment motion was never rejected at its initial stage.

Criticising the Vice President, Kapil Sibal said, the chairman should have consulted other collegium members as charges against the Chief Justice of India are very serious.

Congress will challenge in the Supreme Court the Rajya Sabha chairman's decision to reject the impeachment notice against the CJI, says senior leader Kapil Sibal.

"Never before in India's history has a motion been moved by MPs dismissed at the preliminary stage, Sibal says and adds that the Rajya Sabha chairman's order was illegal and passed without full-fledged enquiry.

Kapil Sibal also questioned the speed with which Vice President Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment motion. Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment notice citing lack of substantial merit in it, news agency PTI reported, quoting sources.

15:35   SC directs Delhi, Haryana to sort out Yamuna water sharing dispute
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Chief Secretaries of Delhi and Haryana to hold a meeting with the Secretary of Water Resources Ministry of Centre in order to sort out the dispute of sharing Yamuna's water.

The move comes after the Delhi Jal Board said it was not receiving enough water to supply to the national capital. The top court was hearing a plea filed by the Delhi Jal Board alleging that Haryana had reduced by one-third the supply of Yamuna water leading to a grave water crisis in the national capital.

The Delhi government earlier sought the apex court's direction to request the Haryana government to provide more water to Delhi faces water shortage due to the onslaught of the summer season.

According to reports, the top court had accused Haryana government of not releasing 450 cusecs of Yamuna water daily to Delhi for drinking in accordance with a 1996 order.

Currently, Haryana only shares 330 cusecs of water to the capital. The Haryana government which caters to the capital's water needs had refused to share increased amount of water citing its own needs due to the current season. ANI
AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh.
15:03   Padmaavat row: SC dismisses plea alleging glorification of 'Sati'
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea to ban the last scene of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat'.Social activist, Swami Agnivesh who filed the petition, alleged that the last scene glorified the practice of 'Sati'.Earlier on February 22, the Delhi High Court had given the same verdict in accordance with this matter. -- ANI
14:57   Save the Constitution is Cong's campaign to save dynasty: Shah
Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, BJP president Amit Shah today said the 'Save the Constitution' campaign launched by the Congress chief is an exercise to save the dynasty and that the opposition party's "Modi hatred" has turned into "India hatred".

In a statement soon after Gandhi launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah said if there is one political party that has trampled over the Constitution in letter and spirit, time and again, it is the opposition party. He made a mention of the Congress' move to impeach the Chief Justice of India and said it is part of a trend to demonise and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity and does not "kowtow to the dynasty", a reference to the Gandhi family.

The BJP chief also cited the Congress' alleged attack on the CAG, Election Commission, the Army and the Supreme Court at different points of time and its imposition of the Emergency in 1975 to hit back

"Those who do not trust the Army, the judiciary, the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, EVMs, the RBI are now saying democracy is in danger. India has a vibrant democracy and a vibrant Constitution.

"The Congress' 'Save the Constitution' campaign is nothing but a farce that seeks to perpetuate the rule of dynasty over the rule of democracy. Like in the past, we need to protect the Constitution from the Congress," Shah said.

When Gandhi says the Congress made the Constitution, he is continuing his family legacy of humiliating Bhimrao Ambedkar, Shah said. "By repeatedly saying the Congress made the Constitution, Rahul Gandhi is carrying forward his family tradition of insulting Dr. Ambedkar. The Nehru-Gandhi family insulted him when he was alive and is humiliating him even more now. Shameful and petty," the BJP chief said. --  PTI
14:41   BMC, railways begin checks so that you don't have to walk the tracks like this
Senior railway officials today said that pre-monsoon works, to ensure heavy rains don't stall train traffic in the metropolis and adjoining regions, had begun and a review was carried out by the civic body chief and general managers of Western and Central Railways.

The work, officials said, involves the cleaning of drains and culverts that run beneath the rail tracks, removal of muck, trimming of branches of trees, surveying hilly areas for loose boulders and provision to drain out excess water from low-lying rail areas in case of heavy monsoon rains.

Chief spokesperson of CR, Sunil Udasi, said, "The preparatory work for monsoon started from February-March 2018. We have cleaned 79 culverts. An additional opening at Tilaknagar has been provided to curb flooding in Kurla area." -- PTI
14:25   Paris terror attacker Abdeslam sentenced to 20 years' jail
A Belgian court has sentenced to Paris terror attack convict Salah Abdeslam to 20 years in jail. He is the sole surviving terrorist from the 2015 Paris terror attacks, over a gunfight that led to his arrest.

Abdeslam was found guilty of a terror-related charge of attempted murder. He exchanged fire with officers who raided a flat in Brussels in March 2016. He had been on the run for four months. Abdeslam, who is being held in a jail in France, is to face trial there over the Paris attacks themselves.
13:41   If I'm allowed to speak in Parliament, PM will run away: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the rising cases of crime against Dalits in the country. Rahul said Dalits are angry with PM Modi because of his ideology. "You can worship Ambedkar with flowers but can never respect him. Each and every Dalit knows that when he looks at Modi, he knows that the PM does not have place for Dalits, Scheduled Castes, or women in his heart," he said. The Congress president launched his party's nationwide 'Save the Constitution' campaign on Monday at Delhi's Talkatora stadium. Excerpts from his speech.

Parliament logjam: The Modi govt is crushing Supreme Court, has shut down Parliament. If I am allowed to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament, PM Narendra Modi will run away.

Crimes against women: The country may burn and women may be raped but Modi only interested in becoming prime minister again. Entire world thought that India's richness lies in its diversity. They though India's constitution, institutions, the Supreme Court had a lot of value and looked up to us. When I was in South Africa, they said India guides them. But this reputation has been destroyed by BJP. Now Minor rapes, attacking minorities, Dalit atrocities are taking place. They have wasted our efforts over 70 years. Modiji ab naya slogan denge -- 'Beti Bachao, BJP ke logon se bachao'.

Dalits: Every democratic institution is being killed by the RSS. In his (PM's) book 'Karmayog', PM Modi justifies manual scavenging by calling it a 'spiritual experience' for the Valmiki community. This speaks volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset.

Tolerance: A press person has asked me a question in MNREGA. I will answer it, ask this to PM Modi and you will be thrown out of the room. Even if you are against us, we will defend and support you.
13:25   BJP to use Brahmastra for Karnataka -- PM Modi
The opposition BJP is banking heavily on a high voltage presence by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last leg of campaigning in the state before it goes to polls on May 12.

Modi's presence is being dubbed as the X factor in this tri-cornered contest in the Karnataka assembly elections. While there is no evidence of any anti-incumbency wave against the present Congress government led by Chief Minister Siddaramiah, the confidence exhibited by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and his father, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda seems to indicate that a fractured mandate might make this closely watched election anybody's game.

In all this speculation, where does the Prime Minister fit in? Clearly Narendra Modi is an unparalleled campaigner. He brings energy and tumult to state politics whenever he lands to campaign. And, it seems to have worked every single time for the BJP other than in Bihar, where the Bihari 'brothers' campaign run by election strategist Prashant Kishore, once a BJP acolyte, worked in favour of the coalition against Modi. But in the end, the BJP had the last laugh with the party being back in the saddle in Bihar in cohorts with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

In Karnataka, the BJP plans to make its Dravidian entry and dispel the notion that it is only a north-based political party. However, it has a following only in pockets in the state, unlike the Congress party which has a long history and a strong pan state presence.

But before Narendra Modi arrives to campaign for his party's so far mild mannered chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa, he heads to China to meet with President Xi Jinping.

The Prime Minister clearly putting foreign relations on priority before domestic agenda. But is he? When he begins speaking at rallies in Karnataka, if he can speak about a rapprochement with China, increasing trade relations, improvement in bilateral ties, more job opportunities with a potential tie up with the Asian giant, would it click with urban voters?
 -- ANI
13:03   Kate hospitalised in early stages of labour
The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour with her third child. The royal couple already have two children -- Prince George and Princess Charlotte -- aged four and two. George is set to start school in London this week and Charlotte celebrated her second birthday on May 2 this year.
13:00   J-K coaching centres to remains shut for next three months
In wake of the continuous protest in the Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to shut the coaching centres for next three months.

Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Altaf Bukhari, while talking to the media, said that the state government is focusing on providing proper schooling.

He said, it was found that the coaching centres operating in the valley were major distractions for the students and efforts are being made to keep a check on the same.

"We were looking at distractions and one of the distractions we found was coaching centres. We will pass an official order for coaching centres to shut their shops for a while. We will review this is in 90 days," Bukhari said. -- ANI
12:33   Naidu has rightly applied his mind: Sorabjee on impeachment notice decision
Eminent jurist and former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee today welcomed Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject the impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra, saying he has "rightly applied his mind".

Sorabjee said the vice president has found no merit in the notice given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment and has consulted legal experts before arriving at the decision.

"The vice president has applied his mind. He has consulted legal experts and has come to a decision. We did not want the matter hanging indefinitely.

"He (Naidu) has gone into the matter and has found no merit in it and no ground for impeachment, therefore, he rejected it," Sorabjee told a TV channel. When asked about the procedure ahead if the opposition moves the apex court to challenge Naidu's decision, Sorabjee said he did not see the petition succeeding.

"I don't see chances of the writ petition (challenging the VP's decision) succeeding," he said. Naidu has rejected the impeachment notice against the CJI, citing lack of substantial merit in it.

"We cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action," the vice president said in his order. Seven opposition parties led by the Congress had last week moved a notice before him for impeachment of the CJI on five grounds of "misbehavior".

This is the first time ever that an impeachment notice has been filed against a sitting CJI. Leaders of the opposition parties had on Friday last met Naidu and handed over the notice of impeachment against the CJI bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former members, who recently retired. The parties had briefed the media after handing over the notice to the Upper House chairman. -- PTI
12:05   Swamy hails VP's decision rejecting impeachment notice
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today hailed Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu's decision of rejecting the impeachment notice moved by the Congress and seven other opposition parties against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Naidu, the Rajya Sabha chairman, rejected the notice citing lack of substantial merit in it.

"The vice president should have rejected it (impeachment notice) the day it was filed because the content of the notice was made public," Swamy told PTI after coming out of the CJI's courtroom.

The BJP leader was among the first few litigants to mention their respective petitions for urgent hearing. He had mentioned for urgent hearing of his plea seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the disputed site at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

"Anyway, it's a good decision," he said on the rejection of impeachment notice. Senior advocate Harin Raval, who had worked as additional solicitor general during the UPA regime, however, refused to comment on the issue. PTI
12:04   1st working day after impeachment verdict CJI holds court 15 minutes late
Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra, today initiated court proceedings at 10.45 am instead of the scheduled 10.30 am amid speculation that they held a brief meeting on the issue of the impeachment notice against the CJI.

CJI Misra, who usually holds his court at 10.30 am, entered the courtroom almost 15 minutes late and started hearing lawyers who wanted their petitions to be listed for urgent mentioning. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was among the first few litigants to mention his petition for urgent hearing. The CJI's courtroom was packed with lawyers including those who had no matters to argue for.

Besides the CJI, all other courts sat late at 10.45 am to undertake today's court proceedings. Speculation was rife among lawyers that judges held a brief, informal meeting before they started today's business.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu today rejected the notice given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment of the CJI, citing lack of substantial merit in it. Naidu held extensive consultations with top legal and constitutional experts, including former chief justices and judges, before taking the decision, sources said. The rejection of the notice comes a day after he held the consultations to determine the maintainability of the motion. -- PTI
11:55   Sensex rises over 100 pts, Nifty above 10,600
The BSE Sensex was trading higher by 119.85 points in late morning deals on buying led by key frontline shares in IT, Teck, realty, healthcare, telecom, energy and auto sectors, despite weak Asian cues. Investors turned optimistic ahead of key corporate earning of index heavyweights this week.
11:55   Need for Indians and Chinese to learn each other's language: Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today asked Indians and Chinese to learn each other's language as it will help them overcome communication barriers, resulting in further strengthening the relationship between the two nations.

Swaraj, who is on a visit to Beijing, made the remarks during a programme, titled 'Contribution of Hindi in India-China Friendship', organised by the India Embassy.

"When two friends sit together, what do they want? They want to talk their hearts out to each other, share what they feel. And for that we need a language. I should be able to understand Chinese when you speak, and you should be able to understand Hindi when I talk," Swaraj said.

"If there is an interpreter sitting between two friends, he may be able to translate the words but not the feelings with which I say something. So, it is essential that we learn a language, and understand it," she said, a day after it was announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold an informal summit from April 27 to 28.

"I want to say that the way India and China's relation are strengthening, trade is increasing, we are working together on international forums, it has become increasingly important that you learn Hindi and we learn Chinese. So that when Indians visit China they don't face difficulty, and when Chinese visit India, you don't require an interpreter," Swaraj said.

Swaraj said during her meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday, she had told him that people are the biggest strength for any foreign minister and when people of two countries love each other, it only strengthens the governments.

"And this, your love for Hindi... You may not be aware that two foreign ministers can't strengthen the relations between Indian and China as much as these students learning Hindi can. You (students) all are doing great service (to the two countries)," she said.

The minister invoked "Dangal", "Secret Superstar" and "Hindi Medium" to stress that Hindi films are gaining popularity in China, but said an understanding of the language instead of subtitles could improve their experiences of watching such films.

Noting that during the programme, a Chinese student learning Hindi had expressed that her dream was to visit India, Swaraj instructed the Ambassador to make arrangements for a visit of such students to India

"I want to tell her, that your dream would come true right here, right now. I am telling our Ambassador here to send a delegation of 25 Hindi students from here on India visit. "We will entertain you there and gift you Indian traditional clothes - Saree for girls and kurta pyjama for boys. I entrust our Ambassador here with the responsibility of sending a delegation of students learning Hindi here," she said. PTI

File pic.
11:28   Season of acquittals
Leaders and spokespersons of the Bharatiya Janata Party were particularly exuberant all through last week, adopting a tone that was triumphant and aggressive. Looking at them from afar, it would seem that the party had won a war, or, at the very least, an election.

The reason for their exultation lay elsewhere. It was not victories in the battlefield but a series of court verdicts that the BJP leadership seized upon with unseemly glee. The verdicts were delivered by different courts on unrelated issues.  Read Manini Chatterjee's column here
11:09   Impeachment motion against CJI undermines independence of judiciary: VP
Rejecting the opposition parties' impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said that charges made against the CJI is on suspicion and assumption.

"Charges made on suspicion and assumption. Allegations seriously undermine the independence of the judiciary. None of the five allegations in the notice were tenable or admissible," Naidu said in the 10-page order. 

He further said, "I've applied my mind to all five charges made out in impeachment motion and examined all annexed documents. All facts as stated in motion don't make out a case which can lead any reasonable mind to conclude that CJI on these facts can be ever held guilty of misbehavior."

"Motion undermines independence of judiciary. No credible or verifiable facts. MPs are unsure of their own charges against the CJI. Most of the charges are internal matters to be resolved by Supreme Court itself," Naidu added. 
10:55   Third Front will not be successful if formed with sole aim of coming to power: Yechury
Re-elected Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that any non-BJP and non-Congress third front would not be successful if it was formed with the sole aim of coming to power.
Speaking at a public meeting in Hyderabad at the conclusion of the party's 22nd"Congress, he said the third front should have a strong basis and policy under which it should be formed and would emerge only through public movements. 
He said the Telangana Chief Minister spoke with him some days back, wanting to bring a Non-Congress and non-BJP front.
"He asked my opinion. I said the third front exercise was done about 20 years ago in 1996. We formed a government under the leadership of Deve Gowda without BJP and Congress."
Yechury said the question now what was the main expectation of the third front and on what policies would it be formed.
"The front that will be formed specifically to come into power will not work. We will take a decision based on the policies on which the front would be formed," he said.      

Yechury said defeating religious-based politics and 'religious fanatics' was the prime objective
"We will decide what sort of strategy is to be followed during elections. They"(religious forces)"will not be defeated"through"mere"poll alliances. We will have to strengthen public"movements"to"defeat"them," he opined.
10:45   Will talk to legal experts and take next step: Congress on rejection of impeachment
The Congress has reacted to rejection of their move to remove Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

"This is a really important matter. We don't know what was the reason for the rejection. The Congress and other opposition parties will talk to some legal experts and take the next step," Congress leader PL Punia

10:03   Naidu rejects impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Rajya Sabha chairman, has rejected the opposition's notice for impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra

Leaders of the opposition parties had on Friday met Naidu and handed over the notice of impeachment against the chief justice of India bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former members, who recently retired.

The opposition parties, led by the Congress, initiated the unprecedented step to impeach the CJI by moving the notice levelling charges against him. 

The parties had briefed the media after handing over the notice to the Upper House chairman.
09:37   Rahul to launch 'Save the Constitution' drive today
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will today launch his party's nationwide 'Save the Constitution' campaign, aiming to highlight alleged attacks on the Constitution and Dalits under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led regime.
Seen as the party's effort to reach out to the community ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the campaign launch is expected to be attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, its senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sushil Kumar Shinde among others.
The campaign will continue till next year's April 14, the birth anniversary of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
Congress's present and former Dalit lawmakers, those holding offices in zilla parishad, civic bodies and panchayat samitis, the party's office-bearers attached to its regional units will also attend the event, aimed at sensitising the attendees on the current state of affairs with regard to the community.
The attendees are expected to take the message forward, holding similar campaigns in states to reach out to the community members, sources said.
"Ever since the RSS-supported BJP came to power at the centre, the Indian Constitution has been under severe attack, in one form or the other, thereby, denying the marginalised sections of society their constitutional rights," chairman of Congress's Scheduled Castes department Nitin Raut said in a statement.
He added: "The BJP-RSS combine is set to dismantle the social security available for SCs, STs and other weaker sections. The RSS ideology attacks the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. This would be countered by Congress Party."
Raut also hit out at the Centre over the Supreme Court's March 20 verdict allegedly diluting stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act. Raut charged the government with "intentional failure" to place before the apex court background and relevant facts relating to the act "holistically".
The action of the government is in itself an atrocity on the SCs and STs, he added.
Another party leader, wishing not to be named, said, "The community is being denied opportunities in spheres of education and jobs. The programme aims to highlight these issues nationwide."
Dalits form roughly 17 per cent of the country's electorate. 

There are 84 parliamentary seats reserved for candidates belonging to the scheduled castes. 

The BJP had bagged nearly half of the seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, reflecting on its success in politically key states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The leader noted that only three-four of those seats were won by the Congress then. -- PTI 
09:19   Informal Modi-Xi summit will enhance chemistry between them: Chinese envoy
China's Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui has hoped that an informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping later this week in the Chinese city of Wuhan will enhance "good chemistry" between the two leaders and strengthen bilateral ties.
After a meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced in Beijing that Modi and Xi will hold an informal summit in Wuhan city from April 27 to 28. 
"The summit will highlight the personal friendship and enhance the good chemistry between the two leaders. I believe with the guidance of our two leaders and through joint efforts of the Chinese and Indian people including you and me, China-India relations will turn a new page,"? Luo said in a video message while making a debut on Twitter.
Luo said Wuhan is his home town and that it will be an honour for him to witness the "historic" event in the city.
In a separate tweet, he said, "Smt. @SushmaSwaraj's visit to China is part of the warm-up efforts for the informal summit between Chinese and Indian leaders." -- PTI
09:08   BJP should win all polls for 50 yrs: Amit Shah to party workers
To make India a global leader, the Bharatiya Janata Party needs to serve the nation for a longer time and party workers should work hard to win all elections from panchayat to Lok Sabha for the next 50 years, its chief Amit Shah said on Sunday.
Shah urged the party cadre to not rest till it emerges victorious in states like Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
The BJP chief also elaborated on the measures taken by the government to empower women. In the Indian culture and society, women have a high stature equivalent to goddesses, he said. 
His comments come at a time when there has been wide-spread outrage over Kathua and Unnao rape cases which have again brought the issue of safety of women to the centre stage.           
Addressing the concluding session of the party's 'Mahila Morcha' national executive meeting here, Shah said the top priority of the BJP government was to ensure security on borders and handling terrorism strictly by adopting a zero tolerance policy. 
"We have not entered politics for electoral success; we have joined it to make India great again and to ensure food, education and health facilities to the poor in the country," Shah said according to a party statement.
He said the BJP wants to make India, developed, secure and a country that influences the world.
"And to make India a global leader the party needs to serve the country for a longer time. Therefore, party workers should unitedly work hard to win all the elections from panchayat to Lok Sabha for next fifty years," he said.
He told party workers that they should not sit idle till the BJP does not win in Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
Speaking on issues related to women, Shah cited various steps and measures taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to empower them.
"We hail from a culture where women have been give the place of a goddess. They were given priority and have very high stature," he said. 
08:49   Shiv Sena leader Sachin Sawant shot dead in Mumbai
Shiv Sena leader Sachin Sawant was shot dead on Sunday nigth allegedly by two motorbike-borne assailants in suburban Kandivali in Mumbai, police said.
Udaykumar Rajeshirke, senior police inspector at the Kurar police station, said the incident happened around 8 pm when the 40-year-old leader was travelling in his car.
The two unidentified assailants stopped his vehicle and fired four rounds at Sawant, an up-shakha pramukh (deputy branch head of Shiv Sena), in Gokul Nagar area, a police official said.
Sawant was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead, he said
Rajeshirke said the police were in the process of filing a case and investigations are underway. Senior police officers refused to divulge details. 
The Kurar Police are investigating the matter. -- PTI  
08:42   AIADMK to join hands with BJP? Signs are visible, says TN ruling party
In politically significant remarks, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has said that signs of its working together with Bharatiya Janata Party like a "double-barrelled gun" in the political arena were visible and "no one can sever ties" between the two parties.
Coming out strongly against the principal opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led persistent protests over the Cauvery imbroglio, the AIADMK said "whatever be the number of protests and  demonstrations, no one can sever the ties between the AIADMK and the BJP."
No one can weaken the bond between "the Central and the State governments" either, the AIADMK said in its Tamil mouthpiece "Namadhu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma."
The state's ruling party said the protests by the DMK, its allies and friendly parties on the Cauvery issue were only aimed at spoiling the warmth between it and the BJP.
"The signs are (increasingly) becoming visible for the AIADMK and the BJP to work like a double-barrelled gun in Indian politics. The pathway is clear," the daily said, while emphasising upon the need for the leadership of the two parties to chart out a roadmap for the purpose.
"A roadmap for it should be thrashed out by the high commands of both the parties. That is the need of the hour," the AIADMK mouthpiece added.
"The state and the Central regimes led by the AIADMK and the BJP respectively are working responsibly and are headed towards a final resolution of the issue," the daily said, referring to the Cauvery issue.
Under such circumstances, the AIADMK said, the main opposition DMK was holding "unnecessary protests" as it was "apprehensive" that the State and the Central governments, working in cohesion, would succeed in resolving the Cauvery issue. -- PTI