Fri, 05 April 2019
Pro-incumbency wave in the country: Modi

Timeline  Refresh

23:54   Pro-incumbency wave in the country: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed confidence that his government will get a massive mandate from the people as there is a 'pro-incumbency wave' in the country.

He hit out at the Congress for its promises on national security and asked that if it suits the party to 'ridicule' the Army in such a way.

Modi also slammed the Congress for proposing to repeal the sedition law in its manifesto, saying the party that booked 6,000 people under the law in Tamil Nadu for protesting against a nuclear plant is now preaching the world.

"Do you (the Congress) want that talk of disintegration of the country be strengthened," he said in an interview to ABP News.

He also attacked the Congress for its alliance with the National Conference, saying, "(NC leader) Omar Abdullah says that there should be two prime ministers in the country.

"Now the Congress party has to give an answer that your partner is saying that...what is your stand?"

Asked about the challenge of securing more seats than last time, Modi said, "I am not seeing anti-incumbency in this election. For the first time I see that there is a pro-incumbancy wave in the country."

To another question, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies will get a massive mandate from the people.

On Congress chief Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad in Kerala apart from his traditional seat of Amethi, Modi said it was up to the Congress to decide where he contests from.

"We have not started this discussion. The media had raised the issue that Amethi is now difficult for him...there is a discussion that why he had to run away from Amethi, and the BJP has the right to discuss that," Modi said.  -- PTI
23:06   EC asks Yogi to 'be careful in future'
JUST IN: The Election Commission issues Censure (Censure is to express disapproval of someone/something in a formal statement) to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over his 'Modi ki Sena' remark.

The Commission has advised him to be more careful in future, being a senior political leader.

"Be careful in your utterances in future," the EC told UP CM.

On Wednesday, the EC had issued a showcause notice to Adityanath for his remark made during a poll rally at Ghaziabad.

Sources in the poll panel had said that, prima facie, Adityanath violated the EC's advisory of keeping armed forces away from political campaign.

A functionary said Adityanath was asked to reply by Friday evening.  -- ANI/PTI
22:42   PM unable to list even one achievement of his rule: Priyanka
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he should tell the country what he did in the last five years instead of seeking an account of the work done by former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Priyanka, who was speaking after holding a road show in support of party candidate Dolly Sharma, alleged that the prime minister was serving lies to the masses and is unable to list a single achievement of his five-year tenure.

"He has an obsession with our family. He says Nehru did this, Indira Gandhi did this, but Modiji what did you do, you must say what you did in five years," she said addressing party workers at Maiwara after her roadshow covered 2.5 km stretch starting from GT Road Ghantaghar where she garlanded the statue of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

"He came out to campaign after five years in office but could not list a single achievement," she claimed.

The Congress general secretary said that people of Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi told her that the prime minister 'never visited any village' and only 'comes and gives speeches'.

"The prime minister did not get five minutes during his five-year rule to met even one family in his own constituency. You have seen he has travelled the whole world.

"He hugged people in Japan, in the US also he hugged, in Pakistan he ate biryani, in China he hugged, in Africa he hugged, but have you seen him hugging any poor family of Varanasi".

She said Modi 'calls himself a nationalist but he refused to open his door when the farmers reached Delhi to speak to him'.

"Farmers are committing suicide, youths are desperately looking for employment.  Hefty loans of industrialist have been waived. In Bhadohi district near Varanasi all carpet industries are facing financial crunch due to GST and most of the units have closed down," Priyanka said.

"On one side is propaganda politics, while on the other is the politics which wants to work for you," she said.

Urging the people to study the Congress manifesto, she said Rs 72,000 will be given to poor families every year and loans of the farmers will be waived.

"When we say this, the prime minister says from where will the money come. They have money to waive loans of industrialists but not of farmers, they don't have money to build your roads or to bring you water," he said.

She alleged that the small shopkeepers, traders and industrialists, who supported the Bharatiya Janata Party, 'have been killed by GST'.

Earlier, the road show was to start from Dudheshwer Nath temple where Piryanka Vadra was to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. However, it was later curtailed.

DIG Upendra Agarwal said the district administration had no objection to the route of her road show and her visit to the temple, but her programme might have been changed by the SPG due to security reasons.

BJP's V K Singh and Suresh Bansal of SP-BSP-RLD combine are the other main contestants in the fray from Ghaziabad.  -- PTI
22:13   EC says NITI Aayog VC violated poll code
The Election Commission on Friday expressed 'displeasure' over NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar's remarks against the Congress' proposed NYAY scheme.

In a communication sent to Kumar, the EC asked him to be cautious in future while making statements.

On March 27, the poll panel had sought Kumar's response on his remarks in which he had attacked the Congress over its minimum income guarantee promise.

The EC had felt that since Kumar is a bureaucrat, his remarks were prima facie violative of the model code.

Kumar is learnt to have told the Election Commission that he spoke against Congress's Nyuntam Aay Yojna (Nyay) scheme as an economist and not as part of the policy body.

At a press conference here on March 25, Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced that 20 per cent families belonging to the poorest category will be given Rs 72,000 each annually as minimum income if his party comes to power.  -- PTI
22:04   Cops attacked in Budgam, constable held hostage
Police personnel deputed to execute an arrest warrant came under attack by a mob in Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam district on Friday and a constable was briefly held hostage, an official spokesperson said.

Personnel from the Beerwah police station were tasked to execute the non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a court under Section 512 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against accused Tariq Malik, a resident of the Waragam area of Budgam in central Kashmir, a police spokesman said.

He said the police party came under attack soon after reaching the village.

The constable, who was held hostage by the mob, was eventually let go, the official said.

A case has been registered under relevant sections of the law and an investigation initiated, he added.  -- PTI

Image only for representation.
21:32   Suspected flying object seen over Jaipur Military Station: Police
A suspected flying object was seen hovering over Jaipur Military Station in Jaipur on April 2 night after which an investigation was launched, officials said.

"It is not clear what was this object. The local police were informed by the Army," Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur, Ajay Pal Lamba said.

He refused to divulge further details. -- PTI
21:17   LS polls give chance to people to safeguard J&K's interests: Mehbooba
People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said the Lok Sabha elections give a chance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to safeguard the state's Muslim-majority character and its core interests.

Speaking at a workers convention in Uri in Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, she cautioned the people about the 'sinister motives' of the Bharatiya Janata Party to fragment people on the basis sects, communities and regions.

"They want to give an impression that only Kashmiri-speaking people of the valley are for special status of the state. The fact remains that every single citizen of the state irrespective of his religion, language and sect holds our special status dearer than life," Mufti said.

"These nefarious designs are being implemented in the state so that they could deprive us of our special status and unique identity, besides altering state's Muslim-majority character," she claimed.

She said Lok Sabha elections give a chance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to safeguard the state's Muslim-majority character and its core interests.

Mufti alleged that a 'dreadful trap' is being laid by the BJP to 'divide the residents of Jammu and Kashmir into Paharis, Gujjar Bakerwal, Shia, Sunni and Barelvis'.

She asked the people to stay alert and not to allow the divisive and communal elements to succeed in their motives.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said the state is going through tough times but the people were knowledgeable enough to know how proxies were being fielded in Kashmir so as to erode the special status and scrap Article 35A.

"We must all resolve to defeat proxies and send a strong message to the world about how dear the unique identity of the state is to us," Mufti said.  -- PTI
20:43   BJP likely to release its manifesto on April 8
The Bharatiya Janata Party's manifesto is likely to be released on April 8 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said on Friday.

The BJP is releasing its manifesto for Lok Sabha polls, just three days before the first phase of polling on April 11 and a week after the Congress released its.

The party's Sankalp Patra (manifesto) is scheduled to be released on April 8 at an event New Delhi and the party's entire top brass, including BJP chief Amit Shah, will be present at the event, the sources in the party said.

Prime Minister Modi is also expected to be present there.

The party has formed a 20-member manifesto committee headed by senior party leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The panel includes Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley among others.

All sub-committees set up by the BJP to provide inputs for the manifesto have already submitted their reports to Singh.

The party had also gathered suggestions from citizens through boxes on the 300-plus video raths that crisscrossed through the country and feedback received through other means such as emails and public meeting-level consultations in all states.  -- PTI
20:09   PM biopic to release on April 11, says director
Omung Kumar, director of film PM Narendra Modi tweets that the biopic will release on April 11.

'Thank you everyone for your support. Here's the date when our film PM Narendra Modi will be releasing. 11th April. Jai hind,' the tweet said.

The release of the biopic, which was supposed to be released today, was deferred indefinitely yesterday, its producer Sandip Ssingh had said.

The Election Commission was expeted to take a final call on the release of the movie today.

The Opposition raised the pitch for deferring the release of the film by citing poll code violation.

Sources in the Central Board of Film Certification said the film was yet to get a clearance.

The biopic was originally set to release on April 12, but its producers had advanced it by a week, claiming 'public demand'.   -- with ANI inputs
19:08   Pak F-16 was shot down: IAF refutes US report
The Indian Air Force has refuted the US report which stated that no Pakistani F-16s had been shot down. 

sources said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down Pakistan Air Force F-16 aircraft 7-8 km inside Pakistan Occupied Area in Sabzkot area there.

Furthermore, IAF sources confirmed that radio communication of Pakistan air force intercepted by it confirms that one of the F-16s that attacked India on February 27 did not return to its base.

Earlier, a United States count of the F-16s with Pakistan has found that none of them are missing, contradicting India's claim that one of its fighter jets shot down a Pakistani F-16 during an aerial dogfight on February 27, a leading American magazine reported on Thursday.

Two senior US defense officials with direct knowledge of the situation told the Foreign Policy magazine that American personnel recently counted Islamabad's F-16s and found none of the planes missing.

18:31   Vivek Oberoi is star campaigner for BJP in Guj
Actor Vivek Oberoi, who is playing the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a yet-to-be-released biopic, is among the 40 star campaigners
for the ruling BJP in Gujarat.

Other actors on the star campaigner list include Union minister Smriti Irani as well as Hema Malini and Paresh Rawal, both sitting Lok Sabha MPs, the latter opting out this time.

The obvious names on the list, submitted to the Election Commission by the BJP, are PM Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah, who is fighting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar.

The Omang Kumar-directed biopic, titled PM Narendra Modi, is facing legal hurdles with the opposition complaining to the Election Commission about the timing of its release against the backdrop of the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress, as well as other opposition parties, have claimed that the film is less a biopic and more a hagiography and will give undue mileage and advantage to the BJP in the general elections.

A Congress leader has also filed a public interest litigation against the release of the film in the Supreme Court, hearing of which is scheduled for Monday.

Party sources said Oberoi will campaign in various constituencies in the state though a detailed schedule is yet to be drawn up.

The star campaigner list also includes former MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia.

-- PTI
18:12   Cong hurting armed forces' morale by seeking AFSPA review: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused the Congress of hurting the morale of the armed forces by seeking a review of the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a rally in Dehradun, Modi termed the Congress' manifesto a "Dhakosla patra" and alleged that the grand old party had plans to trample and suppress the "honest' and "tax-paying" middle classes.
The Congress is committing a "sin" by promising to revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and do away with the sedition law just for votes, Modi said . 

-- PTI
17:27   For Modi it's 'self first, country last': Naidu
TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Friday latched onto veteran BJP leader L K Advani's blog to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it was "self first and country last" for him. 

"Advani's remarks in the blog reflected his anguish. For him, country came first, party second and self last. It's reverse in the case of Modi. For Modi and (Amit) Shah, it is self first and country last. The ideals of Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee no longer have value in the BJP," Naidu, an erstwhile ally of the BJP, said. 

In his blog, Advani has said his party has never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as "anti-nationals" or "enemies". Advani's comments assume significance as top BJP leaders, including Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, have been attacking opposition parties with anti-national barbs in the aftermath of the Balakot air strikes. 

Addressing a sit-in in front of Ambedkar's statue in Vijayawada and condemning recent Income Tax Department raids on some Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Congress, Janata Dal (Secular) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, Naidu said such raids were being carried out in a planned manner. 

He claimed all liberties had vanished under Modi's rule. "It's a fascist regime. Unrest, insecurity and fear have gripped all sections," the TDP chief said, adding that there was a need to protect democracy and the Constitution. Citing I-T raids on some TDP leaders in the last few days, Naidu warned department officials not to act according to the "diktat of the ruling party" in Delhi. 

"You will pay a heavy price if you continue with such acts," he warned the officials, even as he maintained that the leaders would cooperate if they acted as per law. 

"These raids are a part of the BJP-YSRC-TRS conspiracy against the TDP. They are intended to demoralise our leaders," he said. 

In a symbolic gesture, Naidu submitted a memorandum to Ambedkar's statue, denouncing the I-T raids. As a mark of protest, he also released into the air black balloons with pictures of Modi, Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress (YSRC) chief Jagan Mohan Reddy attached. -- PTI
17:18   Priyanka campaigns for Ghaziabad candidate
Congress General Secretary for UP (east) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the party's candidate from the Ghaziabad Parliamentary constituency Dolly Sharma hold a road show. 
16:56   Beti Bachao failure, Kanyashree won award: WB CM
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee Thursday said the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' scheme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a flop whereas the Kanyashree scheme for girls introduced by her in West Bengal has won a UN award. 

The West Bengal chief minister said the state government has won the United Nations Public Service Award for its Kanyashree programme, which was introduced in 2012 to aid the girl child in education and her wellbeing. 

"Modi's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' has not been able to provide any real help to the girl child and is a flop," she said at a rally in Naxalbari which falls in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency. 

Countering Modi's claim that Banerjee is a 'speed breaker' in the path of West Bengal's development, she spoke of the number of welfare schemes and programmes started by her government. 

She claimed that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre has curtailed funds for many projects such as ICDS and Asha for the welfare of women. But these have been kept alive by her dispensation in West Bengal with funds from the state government, she said. 

Banerjee said that the TMC-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha combine has fielded Amar Rai, a son of the soil for the Lok Sabha elections, unlike the BJP which had got an "outsider" as its candidate for the Darjeeling seat, who won and was not seen again in the hills. 

The BJP has fielded Raju Bista this time instead of S S Ahluwalia, who was elected in 2014 but had earned the ire of the people because of his absence from the hills during the 2017 agitation. -- PTI
16:07   Rahul, Sonia to file nominations on April 10, 11
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will file his nomination from the Amethi Lok Sabha seat on April 10 and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will do the same from the Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency on April 11, party sources said on Thursday. 

Newly-appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be present with her brother and mother when they file their nomination papers. 

The family will be together on both days with Rahul Gandhi accompanying his mother in Rae Bareli and Sonia Gandhi present while he files his papers in Amethi, the sources said. They said the filing of nomination papers will be a big show of strength and the top Congress leadership will be present. 

A road show is also likely to be taken out after the filing of papers, the sources added. While both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are contesting from the constituencies they have have represented for many years, the Congress chief has this time also decided to contest from Wayanad in Kerala. 

Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers on Thursday in Wayanad, where he was accompanied by his sister. Elections in Amethi and Rae Bareli will be held in the fifth phase of elections on May 6. The process of filing of nomination starts on April 10 and continues till April 18. 

The Congress has decided to go it alone in Uttar Pradesh after it was left out of the alliance between SP and BSP. They said they will not field any candidates for the two seats being contested by the top Congress leadership. -- PTI
15:56   Haven't taken any names: Michel tells court
Christian Michel, prime accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case has moved a Delhi court on Friday claiming he has not taken any names before the Enforcement Directorate.

This comes after, the ED on Thursday claimed to have traced the trail of 70 million euros that had come allegedly in the form of "kickbacks" in the VVIP chopper deal. The ED has to probe who all received the kickbacks, the agency said as it filed a supplementary charge sheet before a special CBI court in New Delhi.

Michel also alleged that the central leadership was using government agencies to suit their personal agendas.

Advocate Aljo K Joseph, Michel's counsel also told the court that a copy of the chargesheet was provided to media before it was provided to Christian Michel.

Through his counsel, Michel also pleaded that he had not named anyone during the probe.

The matter will be heard by the Court on April 6. Michel, who was extradited from the UAE in December last year, is currently lodged in Tihar Jail. -- ANI
15:13   How Hema stayed cool in Mathura heat?
Slow clap for Mr Abdullah. 

Omar Abdullah tweets: What are those drums on the side? Please don't tell me those are mist generators for cool air? Wow, that's one fancy tractor .
14:43   Chal Dhanno! Hema drives a tractor in Mathura
Optics matter in elections. 
A canny politician knows that.
And former actress will second that. 

And so it was that today, BJP MP and Mathura candidate Hema Malini got behind the wheel of a tractor in Govardhan in her constituency. 

Dressed in pale pink sari, soothing to the eye in the searing heat of Mathura, she smiled for the cameras knowing well the picture will make it to the papers. 

In fact, the former actress,  started her election campaign amid the golden harvests in a farm in Mathura with a sickle in her hand. 

Draped in a saree matching the golden wheat fields, the actress lent a hand to women working in the field, carrying bundles of freshly harvested crop.

The BJP Lok Sabha lawmaker is seeking a second term from Mathura.

14:26   Sumitra Mahajan won't contest polls
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's letter announcing that she doesn't want to contest the 2019 elections. She also asks why a candidate has not been declared yet from Indore, appeals to BJP to name a candidate.
14:00   Maya's cryptic message to cadre decoded
BSP supremo Mayawati on Friday accused both the Congress and the BJP of making the life of the people in the country "miserable". 

"India suffered immensely under the Emergency imposed by the Cong govt of Indira Gandhi but the undeclared political & economic emergency of notebandi has made the lives of 130 crore people miserable causing huge unemployment. They now eagerly await to get rid of this BJP govt (sic)," she said in a tweet.

With the tweet, Mayawati is understood to have given a message to party cadre to maintain equal distance from both the Congress and the BJP. 
-- PTI
13:57   Nitish made many attempts to rejoin grand alliance: Tejashwi
Ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections, Rashtriya Janta Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Friday said that his father Lalu Prasad Yadav has mentioned in his upcoming autobiography "From Gopalganj to Raisina" that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made many attempts to rejoin the grand alliance within six months of reuniting with National Democratic Alliance in 2017.

Talking to ANI in Patna, Tejashwi said, "My father in his upcoming book "Gopalganj to Raisina" has mentioned that Nitish Kumar made many attempts to get back and ally with us."

The RJD leader emphasised that he has proof that Nitish Kumar tried his best to contact him, Lalu Yadav and even Congress to form the grand alliance. "We will not ally with Nitish Kumar ever," he added.

On the question of his meeting with JDU vice-president Prashant Kishor, the man behind bringing RJD and JD (U) under the banner of Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in 2015, the RJD leader said, "He has not invited him, instead, he came on his own."

"Everyone one knows Prashant Kishor does not meet anyone without reason," he added.

Former JDU leader Sharad Yadav, who is contesting Lok Sabha Polls from Madhepura on RJD ticket also confirmed that Nitish Kumar had tried to patch up with the grand alliance.

Speaking to the media in Patna on Friday, Yadav said, 'It is true what Lalu Yadav has written in his book about Nitish Kumar making several attempts to join the grand alliance." -- ANI
13:53   Cong infested with 'virus' Muslim League: Yogi
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath said on Friday that Muslim League is like a "deadly virus" and the Congress party is infested with it. He further said that if Congress and the Muslim League win the election then the virus would spread across the nation.

"Muslim League is a virus. The type of virus which if somebody is infested with cannot be saved and today the principal Opposition party Congress is infested with it. Just think if they win then what will happen? The virus will spread across the nation," tweeted Adityanath. -- PTI
13:29   I love Modi, Rahul tells students in Pune
Congress president Rahul Gandhi looks west today with an informal chat with students at a college in Pune. The Congress president was in Wayanad, Kerala, along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to file his nomination, yesterday. 

In Pune, Rahul was asked that despite personal tragedies (the assassinations of his grandmother and father), where did he get the courage to join the same profession. Rahul replied he got courage through experience. On a lighter note he said that as a kid, he used to hide behind a curtain to scare    his grandmother (Indira Gandhi). 

Speaking on the Congress poll manifesto, he said it was made after speaking to all stakeholders. 

He said around 27,000 jobs are being lost per hour in India. ON the implementation of the Nyay scheme or the minimum income guarantee to the poor, he said money to finance the scheme won't be taken from the middle class and income tax  won't be raised. 

He also promised to reserve 33 per cent of seats in   Parliament, assemblies for women.

ON Priyanka calling him courageous, Rahul said, "I stand up for the weak."

He said the Indian Air Force should take credit for the Balakot air strike. 

On being asked who should play a heroine in a biopic on him, he deftly parried the question saying, he was wedded to his work. 

And the headliner, Rahul said he loved Modi and that he genuinely has no hatred or anger towards the man. 
13:11   SC refuses to grant interim stay on operation of electoral bonds
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim stay on the operation of electoral bonds scheme and asked an NGO to file an appropriate application for it. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the issue requires detailed hearing and, therefore, it will be taken up on April 10. 

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Association of Democratic Reforms, alleged that thousands of crore are anonymously being given to political parties. He alleged that 95 percent of electoral bonds are being given to one party that is the ruling party. 

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said electoral bonds scheme was brought to check the flow of black money into political funding. He said Bhushan was giving an election speech that 95 percent of the electoral bonds have gone to ruling party. 

The bench in lighter vein said, "it's election time. We will hear on April 10". ADR' application seeks stay on the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, which was notified by the Centre in January last year. The BJP-led NDA government had announced electoral bonds in the earlier budget, claiming that the scheme would clean up political funding. -- PTI
12:57   Advani trends on Twitter following blog post
BJP veteran leader LK Advani who broke his silence yesterday and came out in support of his party through a blog, has made quite a buzz onTwitter. Advani's take on nationalism is ever since trending /on the social media site.   

Advani in his blog titled "Nation First, Party Next, Self Last" on Thursday asserted that the BJP had "never regarded those who disagree with us politically as enemies, but only as our adversaries" and that the BJP's conception of Indian nationalism never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as "anti-national".

Prime Minister Modi also endorsed Advani's post by saying he summed up the true essence of the BJP and also tweeted the 91-year-old leader's blog.

Soon Advani was among the top five Twitter trending in the country according to with the hashtag L K Advani figuring among the top three trending items.

Advani, who has won the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat six times since 1991 has been replaced by BJP chief Amit Shah for the ensuing general elections. -- PTI
12:51   SC stays Delhi HC decision asking AJL to vacate National Herald House building
The Supreme Court Friday stayed the Delhi High Court order asking the Associated Journals Ltd to vacate the National Herald House building in New Delhi. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also issued notice to the Centre's Land and Development Office (L&DO) on the plea of AJL, publisher of the National Herald. 

Earlier AJL had moved the apex court against the high court order dismissing its plea to restrain the Centre from taking any "coercive steps" to vacate its premises at Herald House in ITO area in the heart of the national capital. -- PTI
12:50   Income tax won't be raised to fund Nyay: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi Friday said the 'Nyay' minimum income scheme for the poor will be implemented without raising income tax or burdening the middle class.

The opposition party has said that if voted to power, it will give Rs 72,000 per year as minimum income to poor families, benefiting around 25 crore people, a move Gandhi has termed a 'surgical strike' on poverty.

"Money won't be taken from the middle class and income tax won't be raised," Gandhi said when asked how funds will be raised for the Nyuntam Aay Yojna (Nyay) scheme. Interacting with students here, the Congress chief said all calculations have been done to fund the scheme. He said the Congress manifesto was prepared after taking inputs from all sections of the society, including farmers and the poor. 

"The Congress poll manifesto was prepared after speaking to all stakeholders," Gandhi said. Asked about employment scenario in the country, he said around 27,000 jobs are being lost per hour in India. The Congress chief promised to reserve 33 per cent seats in Parliament, assemblies for women if his party is voted to power. -- PTI
12:22   Delhi Cong leaders meet.
Delhi Congress leaders meeting underway at state party office. Sheila Dikshit,Haroon Yousuf and state incharge PC Chacko also present. 
12:05   'JNU sedition charge sheet filed secretively'
The Delhi government on Friday told a court in New Delhi that the police filed the charge sheet in the 2016 JNU sedition case in a "hasty" and "secretive manner" and that it will take over a month to decide whether to grant sanction to prosecute former JNU student's union president Kanhaiya Kumar in the case. 

The AAP government made the submission to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat. It accused the police of filing the charge sheet secretly and in a hasty manner without obtaining the required sanction from the competent authority. 

The court had earlier directed the state government to file a "proper reply", citing a definite time-frame. DCP of Special Cell of Delhi Police, Pramod Kushwaha, had told the court that the agency has already sent a request to the Delhi government seeking sanction and added sanction was an administrative action and the charge sheet can be filed without that. 

On January 14, police had filed a charge sheet in the court against Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised in the JNU campus during an event on February 9, 2016. 
-- PTI
11:49   Rahul Gandhi wins eyeballs in Wayanad
Tens of thousands crowded roadside eateries, balconies and terraces in this town on Thursday, waiting hours in the steamy heat to catch a glimpse of Rahul Gandhi as he arrived with sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to file his nomination from Wayanad constituency.

"I have never seen anything like this here before,' said a middle-aged Moosa Haji, who had waited more than two hours by the barbed-wire fencing of the helipad where the Congress president's aircraft landed at 11.02 am.

He seemed to be struggling to believe that a heavyweight was indeed contesting from sleepy Wayanad. "He'll win by more than 5 lakh votes." 

Police estimated that 3 lakh people had gathered along the 2.5km stretch of National Highway 212 that passes through the town '" and was blocked to all traffic except Rahul's motorcade since at least 8am.

Read the report here. 
11:43   SC refuses to entertain plea challenging Aadhaar
The Supreme Court Friday refused to entertain a plea challenging the recent Aadhaar Ordinance brought by the Centre and asked the petitioners to approach the high court first with its grievances. 

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer said they are not expressing anything on the merits of the case and they would like to have the view of the high court on the issue. 

"We would like to have advantage of view of the high court," the bench said. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the petitioners, told the bench that it was a matter of national importance as it would have a pan-India effect and the apex court should decided the issue. 

The bench, however, allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea and granted liberty to approach the high court. President Ram Nath Kovind had on March 3 given his assent to the Aadhaar Ordinance that allowed voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts. -- PTI
Tejashwi Yadav on Nitish Kumar wanted to rejoin mahagatbadhan says Lalu in upcoming book: I say this with full responsibility, Nitish Kumar made many attempts to get back and ally with us, he tried many different approaches, that also within 6 months of returning to NDA.
11:12   No urgent hearing on release of PM Modi film
Supreme Court declines urgent hearing of an appeal filed against the Bombay High Court order which had refused to interfere with the release of the Vivek Oberoi-starrer 'PM Narendra Modi.'
11:08   SC to hear Lalu's bail plea on April 10, asks CBI to file reply
The Supreme Court Friday said it will hear on April 10 a plea of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav seeking bail in three cases related to the multi-crore-rupee fodder scam, in which he has been convicted. 

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the CBI to file reply by April 9 and said Yadav's bail plea will be taken up for hearing next Wednesday. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the RJD supremo, sought urgent listing of the bail plea saying notice has been issued in the matter.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the agency needs to file reply in the matter. "You (CBI) file the reply by April 9. We will take up the matter (Yadav's bail plea) on April 10, the bench said.

Prasad, currently lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi, has challenged the January 10 verdict of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his bail plea.

The three cases in which Prasad has been convicted are related to the over-Rs 900-crore fodder scam, which pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of money from the treasuries in the Animal Husbandry department in the early 1990s, when Jharkhand was part of Bihar. The RJD was in power in Bihar with Prasad as the chief minister when the scam had allegedly taken place. -- PTI
11:01   Chowkidar will go to jail after Rafale probe: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said that if his party comes to power after the Lok Sabha polls, there will be a probe into the Rafale jet deal and the "chowkidar will go to jail", in a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He alleged that the Prime Minister changed the Rafale purchase deal, which led to price increase.

Each fighter aircraft was worth Rs 536 crore but was bought at Rs 1600 crore a piece, Gandhi said.

"There will be an inquiry and the 'chowkidar' will go to jail," he said addressing a rally in Nagpur on Thursday.

"Have you ever seen a chowkidar outside a labourer's house? No, the chowkidars are found outside Anil Ambani's house, thousands of chowkidars are in front of his house for guarding the money that is stolen. Earlier, it was the slogan 'aache din ayenge, but in 4 years it got converted into 'chowkidar chor hai' in front of all," the Congress leader said.

"And he has not stolen any small amount, I tell you there will be an inquiry after the elections... Inside jail there will be another chowkidar and outside jail there are other chowkidars," he said.'

Main Bhi Chowkidar' campaign was launched on March 16 by Prime Minister Modi. A day after the launch, the Prime Minister, as well as a number of BJP leaders across the country, added the prefix 'chowkidar' to their Twitter handles as a mark of support to the poll campaign. 
10:50   Liquor seized in AP
Andhra Pradesh: Police seized liquor worth Rs 50,000 from the residence of one K Venkat Rao, in Moguluru, Krishna district. A case has been filed and the man has been taken into custody. Further investigation is on. 
10:30   Sensex rises over 200 points on positive global cues
The BSE benchmark Sensex jumped over 200 points in early trade Friday led by gains in realty, metal, oil and gas and banking stocks amid positive global cues on hopes of a trade deal between the US and China. 

The BSE gauge Sensex was trading 200.69 points, or 0.52 per cent, higher at 38,885.41. The 30-share Sensex index settled 192.40 points, or 0.49 per cent, lower at 38,684.72 in its previous session. 

Similarly, the NSE benchmark Nifty rose 60.45 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 11,658.45 in early session. Top gainers in the Sensex pack include IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, Infosys, TCS, Vedanta, M&M, Kotak Bank, M&M, Sun Pharma, ONGC and ICICI Bank, rising up to 1.60 per cent. On the other hand, Asian Paints, Hero MotoCorp, Bharti Airtel, PowerGrid, HUL, Maruti and SBI were the top losers, falling up to 0.74 per cent.  -- PTI
10:26   As potato crop prices plunge, farmers woes continue in N Bengal
More farm distress: With prices of potatoes plunging by 50 per cent, potato farmers in northern regions of West Bengal are faced with an acute crisis since the beginning of this year.

Last year, the farmers say they sold potatoes for Rs 8-Rs 9 per kg, which is exactly the double amount of money they received this year i.e, Rs 4.50 to Rs 5 for one kilo. 

Akbar Miya, a potato farmer here says, "I have 6.5 bighas of land where I have already spent Rs 1.2 lakh but in return I have received only Rs 55,000. From the next season onward I have to think whether to continue potato farming or not."

Current potato crop prices are available in market at Rs 15 per kilogram. It has also been observed that farmers who sow cold storage seeds have incurred more losses compared to certified seed.

Jaganath, another farmer says, "One cannot run a family depending on agriculture alone. We need to have another source of income for earning a livelihood.

"Unable to reimburse losses incurred several potato farmers here are gradually moving away from traditional means of livelihood in search of new source of income.Ujibar Miya a potato farmer said, "this season we are not getting what we expected."

"Moreover, with every bigha of land we incur losses which amounts between Rs 5000 to Rs 7000," he said.
10:16   Naxals kill CRPF jawan, injure another in C'garh
A Central Reserve Police Force jawan was killed and another injured in an encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh Friday, police said. The skirmish took place in the forest near Chameda village in Dhamtari district when a joint team of CRPF's 211 battalion and District Force was out on an anti-naxal operation, a police official told PTI. 

He said the patrolling team, comprising around 50 personnel of the CRPF and 10 of the DF, had launched the operation on April 3 in the interiors of Khallari and Borai police station areas. 

On Friday morning, when security forces were advancing through Chameda, around 150 km from Raipur, a group of Naxals opened fire on them, leading to a gunfight, the official said. He said Naxals fled when security forces retaliated.

"Head Constable Harish Chand was killed in the incident while Sudhir Kumar got injured," the official said. Reinforcement has been rushed to the spot and efforts are on to evacuate the body and the injured personnel, he added. The incident occurred a day after Naxals ambushed a team of security forces, killing four BSF personnel and injuring two others in Kanker district of the state. -- PTI

Representational image. 
09:36   BJP's alliance with PDP was 'milavat sarkar': PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that everyone including him wants Ram Mandir to be built but he is waiting for the Supreme Court's decision.

"It's not just me but everyone wants Ram Mandir to be built. We can only wait for the Supreme Court's decision to find a solution for it," Modi told news channel ABP news in a pre-poll interview.

Criticising Congress's manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, the PM said that the Congress has insulted country's army in its manifesto and that it is in sync with the language, separatists use for the country.

Talking about Kashmir, Modi termed BJP's alliance with PDP as "milavat wali sarkar." 

On Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Modi says, "There is a pro-incumbency wave this time. I am part of the public and I will be in support of them. Parties joining together does not prove public's opinion."

Talking about Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics, Modi said, "In Democracy, anyone can contest from anywhere. I don't fear about who are contesting from where,  it doesn't matter to me."

Talking about Nirav Modi and his extradition, the PM said, "The fugitives are being jailed because of measures being taken by the BJP, the fraud has been happening for years but it was caught by us and people like Nirav Modi will be in jail as soon as he's brought to India."
08:30   Irani mostly angry, trying to copy Amitabh: Congress
The Congress on Thursday hit out at Union minister Smriti Irani for her attack on its president Rahul Gandhi, saying she was mostly angry and trying to copy actor Amitabh Bachchan but ends up being a villain as she gears up to face another defeat in Amethi.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the people of Amethi will ensure her "decisive defeat" and will show her what "temperate behaviour is and what respect for the opponent is".
"I can understand the scepticism and also the constant fear that prevails in the mind of Smriti Irani ji. She is mostly angry, trying to copy Amitabh Bachchan but she always ends up being the villain in the story. She is getting ready for her third successive defeat," he said.
"We will defeat her with the blessings of the people of Amethi, but we will always respect her as an opponent," Surjewala said.
The Congress leader also took a swipe at her saying despite her third defeat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give her a Rajya Sabha seat and she should not be worried, "for she has never won even a panchayat election in her whole life".
On her first visit to Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's parliamentary constituency, after the Lok Sabha elections were announced, Irani attacked the Congress president, saying his decision to contest from Wayanad in Kerala was an 'insult' to Amethi.
The 48-year-old Congress chief is contesting from Kerala in addition to his traditional stronghold Amethi, where he is pitted against the Union textile minister.
Terming herself didi (elder sister), Irani told a gathering in Parsadepur in Amethi, "This is a coincidence, a sign from God that 'didi' arrived here and the missing MP reached Kerala. I have come to seek (people's) blessings and he rejected the blessings." -- PTI  
08:22   Close to a trade deal with China: Trump
United States President Donald Trump on Friday said the United States and China are close to entering into a trade agreement and something very "monumental" could be announced in next four weeks.
He also said that a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping would take place only if a deal is finalised.
Top Chinese and US officials are meeting in  Washington to reach an agreement after the world's two biggest economies entered into a trade war and imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade.
Trump has been accusing China of indulging in unfair trade practices, like the theft of US technology and massive state intervention in markets, contributing to the huge trade deficit amounting to USD 375 billion.
Last week, negotiators from both the countries met in Beijing.
"The deal is coming along really well. We'll probably know over the next four weeks. It may take two weeks after that to get it papered, but I really think that, over the next fairly short period of time, we're going to know," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House during his meeting with the visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
"It's looking very good. A lot of really good things have been negotiated and agreed to. I would really say, and I say it again, a lot of the most difficult points that we didn't think we could ever do or we wouldn't agree to, on both sides have been agreed to," he said.
The two sides, he said, have negotiated some of the toughest points, but there are still some ways to go. "I think we have a very good chance of getting there".
Responding to a question if he was looking forward to meet Xi, Trump said the summit would take place only if the trade deal is finalised.
"I look forward to seeing President Xi. It will be here. If we have a deal, then we're going to have a summit. If we don't have a deal, we're not going to have a summit. But there's a very good chance that we'll have the summit," said the US President. -- PTI
00:15   Rahul's assets rise by Rs 6.48 cr in 5 yrs
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has assets worth over Rs 15.88 crore, according to the affidavit filed by him on Thursday while submitting his nomination papers for Wayanad Lok Sabha seat.

In the 2014 elections, he had declared the value of his total assets as Rs 9.4 crore.

The affidavit shows that Rahul Gandhi does not own a car and has a total liability of Rs 72 lakh as loans from various banks and other financial institutions.

Gandhi has declared movable assets to the tune of Rs 5,80,58,799 and immovable assets worth Rs 10,08,18,284, with his total assets being worth Rs 15,88,77,083.

The Congress president, who is also contesting from Amethi seat, has declared in his affidavit that there were five cases pending against him.

Two of the cases against him are registered in Maharashtra and one each in Jharkhand, Assam and New Delhi, according to the affidavit.

While the Congress chief has Rs 40,000 as cash-in-hand, he has Rs 17.93 lakh as deposits in various banks.

Gandhi also has investments worth Rs 5.19 crore in bonds, debentures and shares in various companies in mutual funds.

The assets also include 333.3 grams of gold.

He continues to own a share in the inherited farm in Sultanpur Village in Delhi.

The affidavit also shows that Gandhi owns two office spaces in Gurugram. The affidavit shows that the total income for the year 2017-18 was Rs 1,11,85,570.

Gandhi has declared that his source of income was MP's salary, Royalty income, rental income, interest from bonds, dividends and capital gain from mutual funds.

The Congress chief has said that his education qualification was M.Phil (Development Studies) from Trinity college, University of Cambridge in 1995.

The affidavit shows that Rahul Gandhi does not own a car and as an SPG protectee he is required to travel in an SPG vehicle for security reasons.  -- PTI