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LIVE! BJP's Satpal Satti gets notice for abusing Rahul

April 16, 2019

23:40  BJP's Satpal Satti gets notice for abusing Rahul:  
The Himachal Pradesh election office on Tuesday served a notice to the state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Satpal Singh Satti for allegedly using an expletive against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, an official said.

The election office and the local police are also looking into a BJP complaint that a Congress supporter has offered a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anyone who cuts off Satti's tongue.

The police registered a first information report against Satti for his alleged derogatory comments at a recent election meeting.   -- PTI
22:56  Post Pulwama, military gets more financial power:  
In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the government has granted emergency powers to the three services to procure weapons and military hardware to enhance their operational preparedness along the border with Pakistan, official sources said.

The government also relaxed certain rules to cut delays in military purchase like allowing the three services to procure required weapons and equipment from a single vendor.

In March last year, the vice chiefs of the three services were granted additional financial powers to carry out specific procurement to ensure operational preparedness.

Now, the government has granted more powers to the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force to go for buying of critical weapons and equipment to help them effectively deal with any hostilities along the border with Pakistan.

In March last year, the defence ministry enhanced the financial powers of the three vice chiefs from Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore for specific procurement arms and ammunition.

Sources said the threshold granted to the three forces couple of weeks ago for each proposal is around Rs 300 crore.

India's military planes struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26, in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 41 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.

Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.

A day after the Balakot strike, Pakistan launched a counter-offensive, unsuccessfully targeting several Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir.  -- PTI
22:25  TN BJP chief hoarding crores of rupees: Stalin on I-T raids:  
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M K Stalin on Income Tax raids on Kanimozhi: "Crores and crores of rupees are kept in Tamilisai Soundararajan's (Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party) residence, why no raids there?

"Modi is using I-T, CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), Judiciary and now EC (Election Commission) to interfere in elections. They are doing this as they fear losing."
22:22  EC orders re-polling in one Assam polling booth:  
The Election Commission of India has ordered re-polling in one booth in Dhemaji district,where election was held in the first phase, for not erasing the mock poll data.

The re-poll will take place along with the second phase of polling on April 18 from 7 am to 5 pm, an official release said.

The polling booth falls in the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency where election took place on April 11.

According to the election department, the officials of the polling station number 165, Dhemaji Town High School did not erase the test data of the mock poll conducted in the presence of the agents of different parties.

The actual election on April 11 had begun with the mock poll date intact in the EVM, which was pointed out laterby Congress' polling agent, officials said.

Replacement of the EVM was ordered immediately but the replaced voting machine did not reach on time, the officials said.

In the first phase of polling, 78.23 per cent votes were cast.

Karimganj (SC), Silchar, Autonmous District(ST), Nowgong and Mangaldoi seats will go to the polls in the second phase.   -- PTI
22:04  Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam workers protest as Income Tax Department conducts raids at house where DMK candidate Kanimozhi is staying, in Thoothukudi.  -- ANI
22:02  Dust storm damages part of tent for Modi's Guj rally:  
A dust storm on Tuesday damaged part of a tent being erected for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's April 17 rally in Himmatnagar town in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat.

Some covering material of the structure was either blown away or torn apart, local Bharatiya Janata Party leaders said, adding that the structure, which is intended to provide shade to people and dignitaries on stage, remained largely intact.

Gujarat Home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja was taking stock of the preparations when the incident occurred. He exuded confidence that the damaged portion will be repaired soon.

"The PM's rally will take place as perschedule tomorrow afternoon. The storm damaged some potion of the dome as well as the decoration. It will be repaired soon," Jadeja told reporters.

As per a BJP release, Modi would address three election rallies Wednesday at Himmatnagar, Surendranagar and Anand, and one at Amreli on Thursday.

The Meteorological Centre here had issued a warning earlier in the day that 'thunderstorm /dust raising winds' with light rain would occur in some parts of north Gujarat.  -- PTI
21:29  I-T raids at house where Kanimozhi staying:  
JUST IN: Income Tax Department conducts raids at house where Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate Kanimozhi is staying, in Thoothukudi.

More details awaited.   -- ANI
20:38  Market top gainers today.
20:37  BSE Sensex today.
20:30  Bangladeshi actor loses visa over TMC campaign:  
The Centre on Tuesday issued a 'Leave India' notice to Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed and cancelled the business visa given to him for allegedly campaigning for a Trinamool Congress candidate in West Bengal, officials said.

Ahmed has also been 'blacklisted' by the Union Home Ministry, thus jeopardising the chances of his future travel to India.

"After receiving a report from the Bureau of Immigration regarding visa violations committed by a Bangladesh national, Ferdous Ahmed, the home ministry has cancelled his business visa and issued him a Leave India notice. He has also been blacklisted.

"The FRRO Kolkata has been directed to ensure compliance of these orders," a home ministry official said.

The move comes hours after the central government sought a report from the Foreigner Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), Kolkata, on the Bangladeshi actor for allegedly campaigning for a Trinamool Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha polls.

Ahmed, along with a few Indian actors, allegedly took part in campaigning for TMC's Raiganj candidate Kanhaiyalal Agarwal.

The Bangladeshi film star was reportedly seen seeking votes for Agarwal at campaign rallies across Hemtabad and Karandighi near the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The FRRO is responsible for providing visa services in the area under its jurisdiction.  -- PTI
19:42  Cash haul: No polling in Vellore on April 18:  
JUST IN: Election Commission says that accepting its recommendation dated April 14, 2019, President has rescinded the election to Vellore parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu.

The EC decided to cancel the Lok Sabha election in Vellore scheduled for April 18 after a large sum of cash was allegedly seized from a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate's office a few days ago, NDTV reported quoting sources.

"A recommendation to cancel Lok Sabha polling in Vellore has been sent to the President," the report quoted sources as saying.  -- with ANI inputs

Image only for representation.
19:24  EC orders re-poll in 19 polling stations of Outer Manipur:  
The Election Commission on Tuesday ordered re-poll in 19 polling stations of Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency following complaints of voter intimidation by militants and destruction of electronic voting machines and voter-verified paper audit trails.

Repolling in these polling stations spread over four districts -- Senapati, Chandel, Churachandpur and Ukhrul -- will be held on April 18, the same day of voting for Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat, according to an order by the Election Commission.

Eleven polling stations in Senapati, four in Ukhrul, three in Churachandpur and one in Chandel will witness repolling.

In a communication to the returning officer of Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat, ECI Secretary Mohammed Umar said the repoll has been ordered on the basis of reports of the officer and observers 'after taking all material circumstances into account'.

The BJP had filed complaint with the Manipur Chief Election Officer last week, alleging voter intimidation by the cadre of the National Socialist Council for Nagaland (NSCN-IM) to vote for the NPF's Outer Manipur candidate Lorho Mao that went to polls in the first phase on April 11.

On the other hand, the NPF had also alleged that EVMs were tampered with by opening three rooms at Churachandpur DC office where these were kept after voting.

Chief Electoral Officer P K Singh had stated that two polling booths at Poi in Chingai in Ukhrul district were ransacked by unidentified persons who also destroyed EVMs and VVPATs on April 11.  -- PTI
18:56  N D Tiwari's son Rohit Shekhar dead: Delhi cop:  
JUST IN: Deputy Commissioner of Police South Delhi Vijay Kumar said that Rohit Shekhar Tiwari, son of late former Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand chief minister N D Tiwari, has been brought dead to Max Hospital in Saket .

Further details are awaited.

After a four-year-long paternity suit, DNA test results released by the court in 2012 established that Rohit Shekhar was the biological son of N D Tiwari.

On May 14, 2014, Tiwari married Shekhar's mother Ujjwala Tiwari in a ceremony in Lucknow.

N D Tiwari died on his 93rd birthday on October 18, 2018 in New Delhi from multiple organ failure.   -- with ANI inputs
18:30  Row over Bangladeshi actor campaigning for TMC:  
A controversy has erupted in West Bengal after popular Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed campaigned for the state's ruling Trinamool Congress, prompting the Bharatiya Janata Party to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission claiming it violated the model code of conduct.

State BJP leaders Jay Prakash Majumdar and Sisir Bajoria met the state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab and urged him to take appropriation action over the alleged violation of the model code.

A video showing Ferdous and Bengali actors Ankush and Payal participating in a roadshow to seek votes for Trinamool Congress candidate for Raiganj Lok Sabha seat Kanhaiyalal Agarwal on Sunday has gone viral on social media.

The BJP leaders met Aftab on Monday to register their complaint.

"We believe that it is a compeletely illegal move executed intentionally. This is a proof of the TMC's bankrupt politics," the Majumdar, the state BJP vice president, said.

He wanted to know how a Bangladeshi national visiting the country on a tourist visa could campaign for a candidate, and alleged that the actor was brought it to polarise minority voters in the constituency.

"All should vote for the Trinamool Congress. All should vote for didi (TMC chief Mamata Banerjee)," Ferdous was claimed to have told voters while sharing the dais with Agarwal.

When reached by PTI for comments, Agarwal said he had no knowledge of the actor canvassing for him.

"I have no knowledge about this (Ferdous campaigning for him). I have only two star campaigners Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikary. I have participated in Mamata's two rallies and today I took part in a roadshow in Islampur where Suvendu Adhikary was present," Agarwal said.

Senior TMC leader and former state minister Madan Mitra was dismissive about the violation of the model code because of a Bangladeshi national campaigning in an election in India.

"I don't know whether the actor participated in the rally or was invited by the candidate. But I don't think there is any violation of the model code. The code says a foreigner cannot be a candidate but I think there is no harm if anybody participates in campaigning. I don't see any violation of the MCC," Mitra said.

When approached for comments, a senior official at the CEO's office tersely said the matter is being looked into.  -- PTI

Photograph: Kind courtesy @SuPriyoBabul/PTI
17:39  Rising airfares: DGCA intervenes, promises action:  
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation will continue to monitor airfare movements on a daily basis and also engage with airline for appropriate action, a senior official said on Tuesday amid concerns over rising ticket prices.

With crisis-hit Jet Airways drastically curtailing its operations, there has been an adverse impact on the number of flights being operated on various routes.

As concerns persist on higher air ticket prices, the DGCA on Tuesday held a meeting with representatives of airlines, the official said.

Airlines were advised to continue to monitor at their level and provide information to the DGCA to keep fares low as far as possible, he noted.

"Airlines representative also intimated DGCA that they have removed the few higher buckets from sale and offering tickets to passengers in lower fare buckets.

"DGCA will continue to monitor fare movement on daily basis and engage with airline for appropriate action," the official added.

According to him, the regulator monitors domestic airfares on a daily basis, particularly on high density routes and routes where alternate mode of transport is not available or is difficult.

Based on the monitoring process, the DGCA engages with airlines when the spurt in airfares is observed in any sector for appropriate action, he added.

Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu had called for a review of issues related to struggling Jet Airways, including rising fares and flight cancellations.

'Directed Secretary @MoCA_GoI to review issues related to Jet Airways, especially increasing fares, flight cancellations etc,' Prabhu said in a tweet.

Besides asking Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to take necessary steps to protect passenger rights and safety, Prabhu also called for working with all stakeholders for their well being.  -- PTI
17:13  Jet Airways' shares nosedive:  Shares of Jet Airways plunged nearly 8 per cent Tuesday amid reports that the company is likely to temporarily shut down its operations. The scrip tumbled 7.62 per cent to close at Rs 241.85 on the BSE. 

During the day, it plummeted 18.56 per cent to Rs 213.20. At the NSE, shares plunged 7.71 per cent to close at Rs 241.50. On the traded volume front, 48.67 lakh shares of the company were traded on the BSE and over five crore shares on the NSE during the day.

The company's market valuation also fell by Rs 225.65 crore to Rs 2,747.35 crore on the BSE. The BSE has sought clarification from Jet Airways (India) Ltd with reference to news that it is likely to temporarily shut down its operations.

Jet Airways is grappling with acute financial crunch and is operating less than 10 planes besides temporarily suspending international operations. -- PTI
17:09  Petition filed in SC seeking direction for EC to ensure safety,security of EVMs :  A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction for Election Commission to ensure safety and security of Electronic Voting Machines so that these are not tampered with in the post-poll period.

The petition filed by M Srinivasan, an advocate and president of Tamil Nadu Annal Ambedkar Law Association, said the mandate of EC was not only to conduct free and fair elections but to act without fear or favour while doing it.

Democracy is the basic structure of the Constitution and free and fair elections form the basic element of democracy. If the potential threat of tampering EVM during post poll is going unchecked, then it will be a death blow to democracy, said the plea.

"The apprehension of the petitioner is about the possibility of tampering with the EVMs during post-poll period since it is possible to tamper the EVMs in broad daylight and it is very much possible to tamper it during post-poll situations since the post-poll period is a dark period in which EVMs have very less access to the outer world except to a limited administrative functionaries," petition stated.

The petitioner submitted that to substantiate his allegations about the partial and weak knee conduct of EC also wants to bring to the knowledge of the court about a letter that was written by 66 former bureaucrats and ambassadors to the President of India questioning the impartial functioning of the Commission. -- ANI    
16:30  Don't field candidate in Lucknow, SP tells Cong :  Ravidas Mehrotra, SP: Poonam Sinhaji will be the SP-BSP-RLD candidate from Lucknow. She will file nomination on April 18. We appeal to the Congress that do not field your candidate from here so that BJP can be defeated
16:25  Demo, GST locks Aligarh's fate :  Demonetisation locked their destiny into airless rooms where they do double the work for less than half the pay, say daily wage workers in this western Uttar Pradesh town's famous 'Tala Nagri'.

Aligarh has been synonymous with locks since the Mughal era but the once thriving lock industry, employing more than one lakh people, has been brought to its knees with demonetisation and GST dealing it a body blow. So, Shanti, who spends nine hours a day with four others making locks in 'Tala Nagri' (lock town), finds herself earning dramatically less than she did before November 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised high value currency notes. Four machines around her lie vacant.

"They have been lying vacant for the past three years since demonetisation. Now I do the work of two at Rs 150 per day,' she said. Before November 2016, she said she earned Rs 400 per day. Her colleague Jamal said his vote in the elections on April 18 will be for the candidate that can help them improve their lives. 

"These are poll issues for us. We will be voting keeping in mind the brunt we bore because of demonetisation and high GST rate,' he said. Jamal and Shanti are among the semi-skilled labourers not eligible for minimum salary because the company she works for has less than 20 employees. The minimum salary for workers like her in a cottage industry with over 20 employees is Rs 324 per day. 

"You get nothing from Rs 150 per day. My house is three kilometres away and I have to walk because e-rickshaws take Rs 20 one way. I tried getting a job elsewhere but the lock companies are so badly hit by GST that they cannot afford more workers like us," Shanti said. 

The legendary lock industry of Aligarh, about 150 km from the national capital Delhi, accounts for almost 75 per cent of the production in the country, earning the city the sobriquet 'Tala Nagri' and making the 'Aligarh lock' a byword for quality and also a distinct brand. 

"We don't have automation in our industry despite the talk of make in India and digitisation and we are dependent on labour intensive machines. The end result is that we are not able to compete with China. -- PTI

Image: Workers at a lock factory in Aligarh
15:49  Shatrughan's wife, Poonam, joins SP:  Shatrughan Sinha's wife Poonam Sinha joins Samajwadi Party in the presence of the party's Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav. Sinha is likely to go against Rajnath Singh from the Lucknow constituency. The fact that Congress has not fielded anyone from the crucial constituency yet is being considered significant enough to suggest that Sinha will have the backing of the Congress, SP and BSP. 
15:11  The Obamas tweeted on Notre Dame and the world felt better :  A tweet by former US president Barack Obama has won hearts. "Notre Dame is one of the world's great treasures, and we're thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It's in our nature to mourn when we see history lost -- but it's also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can," Obama tweeted and shared a picture of him along with his family in the Notre-Dame Cathedral. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama also tweeted, "The majesty of Notre Dame -- the history, artistry, and spirituality -- took our breath away, lifting us to a higher understanding of who we are and who we can be. Being here in Paris tonight, my heart aches with the people of France. Yet I know that Notre Dame will soon awe us again." 
14:54  All Modis thieves, said Rahul; case to be filed :  Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday announced that he will file a defamation case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his alleged "all thieves have Modi in their surnames" comment.

"I will file a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi in Patna High Court within two days," Modi told reporters in Patna. The BJP leader claimed that Gandhi has hurt the sentiments of crores of people with Modi surname. The Deputy Chief Minister said, "He (Rahul Gandhi) has referred to crores of people with 'Modi' surname as 'chor' and hurt their sentiments."He asked whether it is a crime to have used the title. "Is it a crime to have 'Modi' surname?" he asked. 

Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a rally in Maharashtra on Monday, asked how come all "thieves" have Modi as the common surname as he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of corruption. "But tell me one thing...Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra come they all have Modi as a common name. How come all the thieves have Modi as the common name?" Gandhi had asked. 
14:23  Won't get work if you don't vote BJP: MLA :  In continuum of the line of thought of a senior party leader and MP, a  BJP MLA from Fatehpura, Ramesh Katara tells voters if they don't vote BJP, they won't get work. 

"You will see the photo of Jaswant Sinh Bhabhor (BJP candidate from Dahod) and the lotus symbol on the EVM, look for that and press the button. There should not be any room for error as Modi saab has installed cameras this time. Who voted for BJP, who for Congress, can be seen. Aadhaar Card and all cards have your photo now, if there are less votes from your booth then he will come to know who did not cast vote and then you will not get work."

BJP MP and union minister Maneka Gandhi on Sunday caused a furore when she announced a ABCD system for voters to demarcate voters and accordingly reward them after the elections. Those villages which cast 80 per cent votes to the BJP will be under category A. Those which cast 60 per cent votes in favour of BJP will be category B, villages in which she loses and records less than 50 per cent votes will come under category C. Finally, those villages which record less than 30 per cent votes in her favour will be in category D.

As per the category system, the villages will be prioritised for developmental work based on the category they belong to.

The Election Commission Monday yesterday barred Gandhi for 48 hours from campaigning.
13:36  Naresh Goyal opts out from bidding for ailing Jet Airways:  Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal has decided not to bid for acquiring stake in the cash-strapped airline, sources said Tuesday. The full service carrier, which is currently operating less than 10 aircraft, is awaiting fresh fund infusion under a debt resolution plan. Airline sources said Goyal, who had stepped down as chairman of the carrier last month, has withdrawn the bid for the airline. On April 12, sources said that Goyal had also put in bid for the carrier. 

SBI Capital Markets has the mandate for Jet Airways' sale on behalf of the SBI-led consortium of the domestic lenders to the debt-ridden private carrier. Last month, Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal stepped down from the board of the airline, which has more than Rs 8,000 crore debt. PTI
13:20  EC checks Yeddy's luggage:  Karnataka: Election Commission flying squad checks luggage of former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa at helipad in Shivamogga.
13:17  BJP to approach EC over poll ban on Yogi :  A delegation comprising senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Jagat Prakash Nadda, will approach the Election Commission later today against the ban on UP CM Yogi Adityanath from election campaigning for 72 hours. Clearly, the other BJP leader, also facing a 48-hour ban -- Maneka Gandhi -- is not on the priority list of the party. 

IN any case, just this morning, the Supreme Court, while expressing satisfaction over the Election Commission's action against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP supremo Mayawati and others for allegedly making hate speeches during poll campaign, refused to consider the plea of Mayawati challenging the EC's 48-hr ban.

Taking note of the EC action, the court said it seems the EC has "woken up" and barred various politicians from poll campaigning for varying hours. 
13:04  Grenade attack at NC leader's house in Kashmir :  Jammu & Kashmir: Terrorists hurl a grenade at the house of National Conference leader Mohammed Asharf Bhat in upper Tral today. The grenade exploded outside the house. No injuries/casualties have been reported. Details awaited. 
12:38  Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore files his nomination :  Rajasthan: Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore files his nomination from the Jaipur parliamentary constituency for the Lok Sabha elections. Yog guru Ramdev and Rathore's wife Gayatri Rathore were also present.
12:15  Rahul is trying to play a communal game: Wayanad opponent:  
Even in tiny Kalpetta, the district headquarters of Wayanad that sits at the tri junction of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, it is not easy to find the guest house Thushar Vellapally is camping at.

Vellapally, a businessman and president of the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala -- was brought in from the Thrissur Lok Sabha seat to contest against Rahul Gandhi by BJP President Amit Anilchandra Shah, whom Thushar refers to as Amitbhai.

The guest house is a bungalow in the midst of an abundantly green garden; the car that will take him campaigning for the day is ready in the driveway.

In the sitting room, the sofas are occupied by family and friends -- one among them is Thushar's wife Asha.

A soft spoken and pleasant lady dressed in a kurta and parallel pants, she comes out to say hello -- today is the first day she will go out campaigning with women to muster support for her husband.

The BDJS is a political party associated with the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalanayogam, SNDP, an organisation for the prominent Hindu Ezhava community in Kerala.

The party was formed in 2016 and contested 37 seats in the assembly election.

The BJP-BDJS alliance won one seat (BJP veteran and former Union minister O Rajagopal was elected an MLA from Thiruvanathapuram) and accounted for nearly 15% of the vote share.

This is Tushar Vellapally's first Lok Sabha election and he has launched an aggressive campaign to take on Rahul Gandhi.

Wayanad is dotted with posters of all three major contestants, and Vellapally had undertaken a road show through Sulthan Bathery -- another town in Wayanad -- the previous evening.

Just before setting out for the day's campaign, the candidate spoke to's Archana Masih under a shady tree, ahead of a very hot day in Wayanad.

Read the engaging interview here. 
12:09  PM failed to fulfill promises: Rahul:  Coming down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Tuesday said he has "failed" to fulfill the promises made during the last five years.

"The promises Modi has given to you, he has not fulfilled. but Anil Ambani gets Rs 30,000 crore in Rafale deal. "The Prime Minister is speaking of nationalism and he gave the biggest defence deal to a person who has not made a single aircraft," Gandhi charged. 

The Congress President was addressing an election rally at the St Stephen college grounds in Kollam district. 

Hitting at the Sangh forces, the AICC chief alleged the country is now under attack from the BJP-RSS and there was an idealogical fight going on between the BJP on one side and Congress on the other. 

"No matter how many times you (BJP/RSS) attack us, we will use love and non-violence to convince you are wrong," he said. "In the last five years, our Prime Minister promised several things.Two crore job opportunities.. Rs 15 lakh deposits in bank accounts and price support for farmers," he said. 

Gandhi asked the people how many of them had received the money in their bank account promised by the Prime Minister. Gandhi assured the cashew farmers in the state that his party, if voted to power, will to take up their cause. 

"We will start a conversation to help make cashew growing a viable alternative", he said adding that it was an "honour" for him to fight elections from Kerala. 

Rahul Gandhi arrived in Pathanapuram last night on a two day visit to Kerala. Besides Kollam, he would address rallies in three more districts. Gandhi, who is contesting from Wayanad district as a second constituency besides the Congress stronghold of Amethi, will be addressing meetings in his constituency on Wednesday. -- PTI
11:32  SC refuses to hear Maya's plea on EC ban:  The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the Election Commission's action against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP supremo Mayawati and others for allegedly making hate speeches during poll campaign. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also refused to consider the plea of Mayawati challenging the EC's 48-hr ban on the leader and asked her counsel to file a separate appeal against the poll panel's order.

Taking note of the EC action, the court said it seems the EC has "woken up" and barred various politicians from poll campaigning for varying hours. 

The bench also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna made it clear that no further order was required for now. Following the SC rap for EC, the poll panel on Monday afternoon took action against Adityanath, Mayawati, Azam Khan and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi. 

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by an NRI Yoga teacher based in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seeking a direction to the EC to take "strict action" against political parties if their spokespersons make remarks based on caste and religion in the media in the run up to general elections. -- PTI
11:26  Rajnath's roadshow in Lucknow :  Lucknow: Union Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh holds a road show ahead of filing his nomination from the Lucknow parliamentary seat.
11:24  Suresh Prabhu calls for review of issues related to Jet Airways:  Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has called for a review of issues related to struggling Jet Airways, including rising fares and flight cancellations. 

Prabhu has also asked Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to take necessary steps to protect the rights and safety of passengers. 

Jet Airways is grappling with acute financial crunch and is operating less than 10 planes besides temporarily suspending international operations. "Directed Secretary @MoCA_GoI to review issues related to Jet Airways, especially increasing fares, flight cancellations etc," Prabhu said in a tweet. 

Besides asking the secretary to take necessary steps to protect passenger rights and safety, Prabhu has called for working with all stakeholders for their well being. -- PTI
11:12  Jet Airways stock slips 3% ahead of board meeting:  Shares of Jet Airways slumped over 3 per cent in morning trade on bourses Tuesday, ahead of the meeting where the management will seek guidance from the board on the next steps forward for the airline. Shares of Jet Airways opened on a weak note at Rs 254.50, then lost further ground and touched a low of Rs 252 on BSE, down 3.74 per cent over its last close. Similar movement was seen on NSE, where the stock opened at Rs 255, then fell to a low of Rs 252.10, down 3.66 per cent over its previous closing price. 

Jet Airways chief executive Vinay Dube, in an internal communication, had said the lenders could not decide on the emergency funding and that the board of the airline will meet Tuesday to take a call on the future. 

"As you are aware, we have been working with the lenders to secure interim funding for our operations. The interim funding has not been forthcoming thus far, and as a result we have extended cancellation of international operations until April 18. 

"The current status of our engagement with the lenders and other related matters shall be placed before the board tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, where the management will seek guidance from the board on the next steps forward. We will keep you updated on all critical developments," Dube said in a mail. 

Jet Airways pilots' union, the National Aviators Guild had Sunday deferred a decision to strike from Monday saying that it wanted to give more time to the airline ahead of the lenders' meeting here. -- PTI
10:36  Gulberg massacre survivor to contest against Amit Shah in Gandhinagar :  Two brothers who survived the 2002 Gulberg massacre - Imtiyaz Pathan and Firoz Khan Pathan- have entered into politics and filed their nominations from Kheda and Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituencies, respectively.

Imityaz, 42, is a candidate of the Apna Desh Party and has been allotted the election symbol of pressure cooker, while Firoz, 45, is contesting as an independent candidate against BJP chief Amit Shah.

Shah, who is a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP), is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time. He has been fielded from Gandhinagar constituency, which was last represented by BJP veteran LK Advani.

Firoz now lives in Vejalpur, which falls under the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency while his younger brother Imtiyaz resides in the city area of Gomtipur. When a mob attacked Gulberg society in Ahmedabad following the 2002 Godhra riots, the Pathan brothers lost as many as 10 members of their family, including their mother.

Imtiyaz, who is the key prosecution witness in the Gulberg case, said both the BJP and the Congress did nothing for the riot victims.
10:28  Notre Dame fire under control :  The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been brought under control, Paris police said on Monday (local time).

French President Emmanuel Macron praised firefighters for saving the cathedral's iconic facade and towers. "Thanks to their bravery, the worst has been avoided," CNN quoted Macron, as saying.  

"Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents the Crown of Thorns, the Tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted.

A deadly blaze engulfed the historic cathedral on Monday evening, taking down the structure's famous spire, much to the horror of onlookers and world community alike.

The cathedral houses a few of the most coveted relics in Christianity, including the Holy Crown, which many believe to be from the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus. Catholics have prayed to the crown at the Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 16 centuries now, as per the cathedral.

Speaking to reporters near the cathedral, Macron said that an international fundraising campaign to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral would be launched on Tuesday.  -- ANI
10:22  In 2014, Modi ran on aspiration. In 2019, he is running on fear.:  Narendra Modi, India's powerful prime minister, is seeking a second term. But in 2019, he is sounding less like the man who campaigned in 2014 and much more like his previous avatar -- the abrasive, vitriolic and inflammatory chief minister of Gujarat. Read Barkha Dutt's column for the Washington Post here  
10:08  Sitharaman visits Tharoor in hospital, MP is 'touched' :  In a departure from the vitriol of politics, the normally acerbic defence minister cut a warm picture as she dropped in to meet the incapacitated, but cheerful MP from Thiruvananthapuram -- the Congress party's Shashi Tharoor. 

Tharoor as you may recall, sustained injuries on his head, which required six stitches, when the hook of a weighing scale came off and its iron panel hit his head while performing 'thulabharam' ritual at a temple. Tharoor was given first aid at the government general hospital and then taken to the Trivandrum Medical College for examination.

Tharoor tweeted on Nirmala Sitharaman's visit: "Touched by the gesture of @nsitharaman, who dropped by today morning to visit me in the hospital, amid her hectic electioneering in Kerala. Civility is a rare virtue in Indian politics - great to see her practice it by example!"

Sitharaman was also in Kerala at the time, participating in a roadshow with Kummanam Rajasekharan, the BJP candidate fighting against Tharoor from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat.

The Thiruvananthapuram seat is seeing a triangular contest between the Congress, BJP and the LDF. '

Tharoor also tweeted to say that his LDF rival C Divakaran called in the morning to express concern about his well-being. 

"Said he had spoken to the Hospital Superintendent to assure himself I would be ok. Dont  be demoralised, he added. Im not: Im more determined than ever to see this through!," Tharoor tweeted.  
09:36  Jailed Reuters scribes win Pulitzer for Rohingya report:  
Jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for uncovering Rohingya killings in Myanmar's Rakhine state, on Monday.

The two reporters were imprisoned by authorities in Myanmar, on charges of breaking the country's Official Secrets Act, while they were conducting investigations into the killings. They have been handed a total sentence of seven years in jail - a move that has been slammed by human rights and press freedom groups all around the world.

They have spent 490 days in jail already, as Reuters continues pushing for their release.

"I'm thrilled that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues have been recognised for their extraordinary, courageous coverage...I remain deeply distressed, however, that our brave reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are still behind bars," Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said.

The investigative report revealed the killing of 10 Rohingya at Rakhine state's Inn Din village. The two reporters were moved into action after stumbling upon a mass grave filled "with bones sticking out of the ground," according to Reuters.

Their investigations led them to obtain three pictures from villagers, out of which two showed the 10 Rohingya men bound and kneeling. The third picture portrayed the bullet-ridden bodies of the very same 10 men in the same grave.

Before they could finish their report, however, they were arrested by the authorities in 2017. Named "Massacre in Myanmar," the report was completed by Wa and Kyaw's colleagues, Simon Lewis and Antoni Slodkowski, and published in February last year. -- ANI
09:17  Notre Dame fire is under control :  
The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been brought under control, Paris police said.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised firefighters for saving the cathedral's iconic facade and towers. 

"Thanks to their bravery, the worst has been avoided," CNN quoted Macron, as saying.  

"Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents the Crown of Thorns, the Tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted.

A deadly blaze engulfed the historic cathedral on Monday evening, taking down the structure's famous spire, much to the horror of onlookers and world community alike.

The cathedral houses a few of the most coveted relics in Christianity, including the Holy Crown, which many believe to be from the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus. 

Catholics have prayed to the crown at the Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 16 centuries now, as per the cathedral.
09:06  Jadeja bats for BJP after father, sister join Congress:  
Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja on Monday said he supports the Bharatiya Janata Party after a family divide which saw his wife joining the saffron party, and his father and sister becoming members of the opposition Congress in Gujarat in run up to the Lok Sabha polls.
On Sunday, over a month after Ravindra Jadeja's wife Rivaba was inducted into the BJP, the Saurashtra cricketer's father and sister joined the Congress in the presence of party leader and Patidar quota spearhead Hardik Patel.
"I support BJP," Ravindra Jadeja, who was Monday selected in the Indian squad for the upcoming World Cup, said in a short tweet, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rivaba Jadeja.
Ravindra Jadeja's father, Anirudhsinh, and sister, Nainaba, joined the Congress at an election rally in Kalavad city of Jamnagar district Sunday. Congress candidate for the Jamnagar Lok Sabha seat, Mulu Kandoriya, was also present.
Ravindra Jadeja (30) hails from Jamnagar.
The Chennai Super Kings all-rounder's wife, Rivaba Jadeja, had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on March 3 in Jamnagar in the presence sitting MP Poonamben Maadam, who has been renominated by the saffron party.
Voting for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held in a single phase on April 23. -- PTI
08:19  LS polls likely to be cancelled in TN's Vellore:  
The Lok Sabha polls in Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu is likely to be cancelled over excess use of money power, sources aware of the development said Monday.
The Election Commission is learnt to have prepared a recommendation in this regard to be sent to the president.
"It would be sent today itself," an official said on Monday.
Since the president signs the notification for Lok Sabha elections, it is he who rescinds it.
The decision came after a large sum of cash was allegedly seized from the DMK candidate's office a few days ago. 
The district police had filed a complaint against DMK candidate Kathir Anand as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on April 10. -- PTI 
00:44  No plans to join politics: Robert Vadra:  
Putting rest to all speculations, Robert Vadra, son-in-law of United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, on Monday clarified that he had no plans of joining politics.

He said he will make his debut in politics only when the people feel he is worthy enough to do so.Asked when he intends to join politics, Vadra told ANI, "As of now there are no plans. I have no wish to join politics right now. I am amongst the people and working hard. When people will feel that I should enter politics, I will come with full force."

Vadra had earlier said that he would campaign for the Congress all over India in the ongoing general elections.   -- ANI

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