Fri, 24 June 2022
Sena like a sword, take it out, it shines: Uddhav

Timeline  Refresh

23:52   Pragati Maidan tunnel to be shut for traffic on Sunday, pedestrians can visit murals
The Pragati Maidan Tunnel, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, will be shut for vehicular traffic every Sunday as authorities have decided to let pedestrians visit the Rs 920 crore worth project and treat themselves to the mesmerising artwork inside. 

The 1.3-km-long tunnel, which has eased connectivity between central Delhi with satellite towns of Noida and Ghaziabad, has turned into a selfie point as people are often seen clicking pictures with the murals depicting India's culture, flora-fauna, zodiac symbols and six seasons in different parts of the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. 

Officials of the International Trade Promotion Organisation, a central government entity that is managing the tunnel, said the artwork inside the facility is a "feast to the eyes" and the public should be allowed to witness the splendid work. 

"We have decided to keep the tunnel closed for traffic every Sunday for the time being and allow the public to witness the mesmerising artwork inside. 

Pedestrians will be allowed to walk around. 

This arrangement will come into force coming Sunday," ITPO chairman and managing director LC Goyal on Friday. 

The Delhi police also took Twitter to keep the people informed about the move. 

"Pragati Maidan Tunnel will be closed on Sunday, ie, 26.06.22 for vehicular traffic. Only pedestrians will be able to access the tunnel. Kindly use Ring Road, Bhairon Road & Mathura Road as an alternative," it tweeted. -- PTI
23:44   Sad day for court and country, says Biden on top court decision over abortion right
US President Joe Biden termed the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling and restore the right of states to restrict abortions as a sad day for the court and for the country. 

During remarks at the White House on Friday, Biden said that the decision by the top court removes a constitutional right from the Americans and moves the nation back 150 years. 

"Today the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people ... It's a sad day for the court and for the country," Biden said during remarks at the White House. 

"The court literally is taking America back 150 years," he added, Sputnik News Agency reported. 

Biden called on Congress to take action to codify protections for abortions into federal law, stressing the importance of voters casting ballots in favour of pro-abortion candidates during elections this fall. 

The Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion and ruled that states may regulate the practice of it. 

The decision was announced on Friday by a majority of conservative justices. 

The ruling upholds Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, which directly clashed with Roe's requirement that states permit abortion up to the point of fetal viability, around 24 weeks. -- ANI
23:29   Sena like a sword, take it out, it shines: Uddhav
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that even as Congress and Nationalist Congress Party are supporting the Shiv Sena in the ongoing crisis, its own people betrayed the party. 

"Many of you might be getting phone calls -- some loving and some threatening. I say, har sher ko sava sher milta hi hai. You'll find sava sher in Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena like a sword, if you keep it in sheath, it rusts. If you take it out, it shines. It's time to shine," said Thackeray while addressing partymen. 

He said that Congress and the NCP are supporting the Shiv Sena today. 
Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi have supported it. 

"But our own people have backstabbed us. We gave tickets to people who could not have won and we made them victorious. Those people have backstabbed us today,' he said. 

Thackeray said that when the BJP and Shiv Sena were considered untouchables in the name of Hindutva and nobody was ready to go with the BJP, Balasaheb said there shouldn't be a division of Hindutva votes. 

"We remained with the BJP and we are suffering its consequences now,' he said. 

The Maharashtra CM said that those who left the Sena have no option but to go to the BJP.  The BJP wants just one thing -- to finish Shiv Sena, added Thackeray. 

"If you think I'm useless and incapable of running the party, tell me. I'm ready to separate myself from the party, you can tell me. You respected me so far because Balasaheb said so. If you say I am incapable, then I am ready to quit the party right at this moment,' said Thackeray. -- ANI
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23:12   Zomato to acquire quick commerce company Blinkit for Rs 4,447 crore
The board of directors of food delivery company Zomato Limited on Friday approved a proposal to acquire cash-strapped quick commerce company Blinkit for Rs 4,447 crore. 

It will be an all-stock deal. 

In a regulatory filing to the stock exchange, Zomato said its board has approved the acquisition of up to 33,018 equity shares of Blink Commerce Private Limited, formerly known as Grofers India Private Limited for a total purchase consideration of Rs 4447,47,84,078 at a price of Rs 13,46,986.01 per equity share by issuance and allotment of up to 62,85,30,012 fully paid-up equity shares of the company having face value of Rs 1 each. 

Last year, Zomato had extended $150 million loan to Grofers India Private Limited, which has now been renamed as Blink Commerce Private Limited.

The share price of Zomato Limited rose 1.15 per cent to Rs 70.35. 

The company made the announcement after the closing of the trading session. -- ANI
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22:47   Mumbai civic body announces 10% water cut from June 27
In view of inadequate rainfall in the catchment areas of lakes supplying water to Mumbai, the civic body on Friday announced a 10 per cent water cut starting from June 27. 

In a release, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said besides the city and its suburbs, the 10 per cent cut will also be enforced in areas falling under neighbouring Thane and Bhiwandi municipal corporations and some villages till water stock improves in the lakes. 

Highlighting that the June rainfall has been about 70 per cent less than the average showers recorded during the month in the previous year, the BMC appealed to citizens to use water judiciously. 

A senior civic official told PTI that due to insufficient rainfall in the catchment areas of lakes supplying water to the city, the existing stock in them has dropped below 10 per cent. 

Seven lakes, located in Mumbai, Thane and Nashik districts, provide 3,800 million litres per day water to the financial capital. 

"Upper Vaitarna lake (in Nashik district) has zero useful water stock," the official said. -- PTI
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22:35   Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by Israeli fire: UN
United Nations on Friday said that its findings showed that the shot that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 this year came from Israeli forces, according to a media report. 

"All information we have gathered ... is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians," UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva on Friday, Al Jazeera reported. 

The United Nations Security Council last month called for an "immediate, thorough, transparent and independent" probe in to the matter. 

The Al Jazeera journalist was tragically gunned down on May 11, while another journalist Ali Al Samudi who was present with Akleh was also shot, according to CNN

The UNSC in a statement had asserted that the members of the Security Council also conveyed their sympathy and deepest condolences to the victim's family. 

"The members of the Security Council called for an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation into her killing, and stressed the need to ensure accountability," the statement read. -- ANI
NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu
NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu
22:09   Complaint filed against Ram Gopal Varma over tweet against Droupadi Murmu
A Bharatiya Janata Party leader has filed a complaint in Hyderabad against Bollywood film director Ram Gopal Varma for controversial remarks against NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. 

"If DRAUPADI is the PRESIDENT who are the PANDAVAS? And more importantly, who are the KAURAVAS?" Varma tweeted. 

Reacting to this, Telangana BJP leader Gudur Narayana Reddy filed a complaint against the director at the Abid Road Police Station, accusing him of disrespecting the SC and ST community. 

"This tweet is tantamount to disrespecting the SC and ST people. Here, he calls 'Draupadi' the President. If he would have only mentioned Draupadi, Pandavas and Kauravas, we would have had no objections. We, the BJP workers, are hurt at such comments from RGV," Reddy said. 

He requested the police to register a case under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and demanded severe punishment for the director. BJP-led NDA on Tuesday announced former Governor of Jharkhand Draupadi Murmu's name as a Presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. 

Reddy further defended the senior tribal politician and former governor of Jharkhand, by saying, "She has been nominated by the NDA government, and by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi ji." -- ANI
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21:59   Mask may be made mandatory in Mumbai local trains
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday discussed the COVID-19 situation with senior government officials and explored the possibility of making face masks mandatory again in Mumbai suburban trains in view of the rising cases. 

An official statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office said Thackeray reviewed the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the state, which has been recording a steady rise in new infections, especially in Mumbai and some other big cities. 

The chief minister, at a virtual meeting with senior bureaucrats, also discussed the possibility of making face masks mandatory for suburban train commuters, the statement said. 

The mask mandate option was discussed as a measure to curb growing cases of the novel coronavirus infection in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, it said. 

Maharashtra withdrew its mandatory mask rule in early April and made it optional in view of a sharp drop in daily cases. 

"Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the state, chiefly in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigad and Palghar districts. People should follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour on their own," the CM was quoted as saying in the statement. -- PTI
Youtuber S Karthik Gopinath
Youtuber S Karthik Gopinath
21:24   FIR against TN Youtuber stayed
The operation of the First Information Report registered against Youtuber S Karthik Gopinath, alleging he had collected lakhs of rupees on the pretext of renovating a temple in Perambalur district and swindled the amount, was stayed by the Madras high court on Friday. 

Justice N Sathish Kumar granted the stay when the criminal original petition from Gopinath to quash the FIR registered against him came up for further hearing on Friday. 

When the matter came up, the government advocate told the judge that the prosecution wants more time to collect and furnish details about the financial activities of Gopinath. 

Irked over the submission, the judge stayed the FIR after holding that enough time was already given by the court to produce evidence to substantiate its claim of misappropriation of the funds collected by Gopinath. 

According to the complaints from an individual and the executive officer of the temple, Gopinath had collected about Rs 33 lakh under the guise of renovating the Madhura Kaliamman temple in Siruvachur village in Perambalur district. 

He was alleged to have misappropriated the same for his personal gain. He was arrested and remanded in judicial custody on May 30 this year but granted bail later by a local court. -- PTI
Arjun Khotkar/Twitter
Arjun Khotkar/Twitter
21:06   ED attaches Rs 78cr assets of ex-Shiv Sena MLA
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday attached over 200 acres of land and other assets worth a total Rs 78.38 crore of a Jalna-based sugar mill linked to Shiv Sena leader and former party MLA Arjun Khotkar in connection with the alleged Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam-linked money laundering probe. 

Apart from the land, plant, machinery and building belonging to the Jalna Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. located at Sawargaon Hadap village in the said district have been attached after the agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED said in a statement. 

The assets of Jalna SSK are "currently held in the name of Arjun Sugar Industries Pvt. Ltd., a company incorporated by Arjun Khotkar and others on May 8, 2012 only with a view to purchase the Jalna SSK Ltd," the federal probe agency said. 

Sixty-year-old Khotkar has been a Shiv Sena party MLA from Jalna and has also served as a minister in the Maharashtra government. 

He is considered close to party supremo and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. 

The ED last year had similarly attached assets worth Rs 65 crore of a Satara-based sugar mill in the MSCB scam case and had said that a company linked to state deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar and his wife were involved in the case. 

The MSCB money laundering case stems from an August, 2019 FIR of the Mumbai police economic offences wing. 

The police complaint came after the Bombay high court issued an order on August 22 that year to investigate the allegations of selling sugar factories in the Maharashtra cooperative sector through alleged fraudulent means and also that they were sold at throw-away prices. 

The ED probe found that the "fraudulent mode and manner in which the bidding process was followed for sale of SSK and subsequent distribution of assets of SSK among family-based business entities of the members of the MSCB indicates sale of SSK". 

"Hence, the properties of the said SSK which includes government land of 100 acre, plant and machinery, building, structure which was acquired illegally (now owned by Arjun Sugar Industries Pvt. Ltd) are proceeds of crime." -- PTI
20:36   Justice Vipin Sanghi to be sworn in as Uttarakhand HC chief justice next week
Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi high court will be sworn in as Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice Tuesday.  

Justice Sanghi succeeds former chief justice of the high court RS Chauhan who retired in December, 2021.

The oath of office to Justice Sanghi will be administered by Uttarakhand Governor Lt Gen (retd) Gurmit Singh at a function at the Raj Bhawan in Dehradun on June 28, according to an order issued by the HC's registrar general on Friday.

Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra is the acting chief justice of the high court at present. -- PTI
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20:15   US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade landmark abortion ruling
The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark verdict Roe v Wave that upheld abortion rights, saying that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion, reports

What the verdict means is that going forward, abortion rights will be decided by individual states and not the federal government. 

A sense of what awaits one half of the American population'can be gauged from the fact that half of American states have banned or will ban abortion, while many others have strict controls on the procedure. 

The SC opinion represents the culmination of a decades-long effort on the part of critics of abortion seeking to return more power to the states.

''It was made possible by a solid six-member conservative majority -- including three of Donald Trump's nominees,' reports Ariane de Vogue in CNN.comhere.
Shiv Sena supporters outside Matoshree in Mumbai/ANI
Shiv Sena supporters outside Matoshree in Mumbai/ANI
20:10   Maha police on alert over likely Sena protests
Police authorities in Maharashtra have issued an alert across the state as Shiv Sena supporters are likely to stage angry protests following senior leader and minister Eknath Shinde's rebellion, an official said on Friday. 

A couple of incidents of Sena workers targeting the hoardings or boards featuring rebel MLAs who are with Shinde have been reported in the state. 

A general alert has been issued to all district unit commanders like superintendents of police and police commissioners, asking them to take steps to prevent any untoward incident, said an official in Mumbai. 

Majority of Shiv Sena MLAs have shifted their loyalty to Eknath Shinde and are camping in Guwahati, plunging the MVA government led by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Sena, into a crisis. 

In western Maharashtra's Kolhapur, Shiv Sena supporters came out on the streets in large numbers and staged protests against the rebel leaders. 

In Mumbai, Sena workers tried to smash a board outside Kurla MLA Mangesh Kudalkar's office. 

Shiv Sena workers also blackened a hoarding put up in support of Shinde in Ambedkar Nagar area of Nashik. 

Considering the possibility that such protests by Thackeray loyalists may intensify in the coming days, police have been asked to take precautionary measures to maintain law and order, the official said. -- PTI
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19:58   Mumbai reports 1,898 new Covid cases, two deaths
Mumbai on Friday recorded 1,898 new coronavirus infections and two pandemic-related fatalities, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a bulletin. 

The daily COVID-19 cases dipped by 581 as compared to Thursday's figure. 

The caseload in the city rose to 11,03,760, and death toll reached 19,591. 

On Thursday, the financial capital of the county had reported 2,479 cases and one fatality. 

Of 1,898 new COVID-19 patients, 1,802 were asymptomatic. 

Only 12 of the patients were put on oxygen support. 

A total of 77 patients are on oxygen support in city hospitals at present, as per the BMC bulletin. 

Mumbai has 13,257 active COVID-19 cases now. 

With 2,253 patients recovering during the day, the tally of recuperated patients climbed to 10,70,912. 

The recovery rate in the city is 97 per cent. 

Mumbai has been reporting COVID-19 cases in four digits since June 7. 

As many as 14,944 COVID-19 tests were carried out in 24 hours, taking the total of samples tested so far to 1,74,51,795. 

The growth rate of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai was 0.173 per cent for the period between June 17 to 23. -- PTI
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19:32   Sharad Pawar meets Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree
Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Friday evening met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's residence amid the political crisis caused by Sena leader Eknath Shinde's rebellion. 

State NCP president Jayant Patil and deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar accompanied Pawar as he arrived at `Matoshree', Thackeray's private residence in Bandra area. 

A day before, Ajit Pawar had said the NCP will do all it can to save the ruling alliance of the Sena, NCP and Congress. 

Sharad Pawar had made it clear that the fate of the coalition government will be decided on the floor of the Maharashtra assembly and not at a hotel in Guwahati where Shinde and his supporters are camping. -- PTI
Poster of Shiv Sena MLA Dilip Lande, who is currently in Guwahati with rebel leader Eknath Shinde, being smeared with ink in Mumbai/ANI
Poster of Shiv Sena MLA Dilip Lande, who is currently in Guwahati with rebel leader Eknath Shinde, being smeared with ink in Mumbai/ANI
19:09   Sena workers attack rebel MLA's office in Mumbai
Shiv Sena workers on Friday vandalised a board outside the office of party MLA Mangesh Kudalkar who is part of the group of rebel legislators led by senior Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde, the police said. 

Kudalkar represents the Kurla assembly constituency in the city. 

He is camping in Guwahati along with Shinde and other Sena MLAs who have rebelled against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. 

A group of Shiv Sena supporters gathered outside Kudalkar's office in Nehrunagar area of Kurla and tried to smash up a board bearing his name and photograph, said a police official. 

Before they could attack the MLA's office, police personnel on the spot intervened, following which they dispersed, he added. 

Mumbai police have stepped up security at several locations including Shiv Sena shakhas (local offices) in the city to prevent any untoward incident following Shinde's rebellion. -- PTI
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18:47   Twitter withholds columnist's account on govt's request
Twitter has withheld the account of CJ Werleman, a columnist who writes on Islamophobia and issues such as conflict and terrorism, at the request of the ministry of information and broadcasting.  

"@cjwerleman's account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand," read a message on the columnist's Twitter handle.

An official said the account has been withheld following a request from the ministry of information and broadcasting for comments spreading "anti-India propaganda".

Werleman said his account has been withheld in India because of demands made by the "far-right, Hindu fascist regime of Narendra Modi".

The Kalinga Rights Forum, which describes itself as a legal activism group for national interest, claimed that the Centre had acted on its complaints against Werleman's "anti-India propaganda".  -- PTI
18:19   Shinde drops video of MLA: This is why we're hurt
Eknath Shinde drops a video of a rebel MLA Yamini Jadhav explaining why she is so disappointed and hurt with what has happened with the Shiv Sena. 

Yamini Jadhav says when she and her family were fighting cancer, (she's a cancer survivor) her husband, BMC standing committee member Yashwant Jadhav, informed people at the helm. Sainiks were there at hand to help. But the people she actually expected help from, did not. She doesn't name anyone, but inference is that the Thackerays did not help her and her family. 

Yashwant Jadhav is a two-time corporator. 

Yamini has served as the chairman for the BMC child and women welfare committee. Considered to be staunch Shiv Sainiks, Yamini contested the 2019 polls against AIMIM's Waris Pathan.

She was raided by the income-tax department a few months ago. 

Watch the video here.
17:59   Kejriwal vs LG: CM's Singapore visit file stuck
Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has not yet cleared the Delhi government's several important files, including one relating to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's scheduled visit to Singapore in July to attend World Cities Summit, official sources claimed on Friday. 

 This is likely to trigger a fresh round of tussle between the L-G office and the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation. There was no immediate reaction from the L-G office on the matter. 

 Earlier this week, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had accused Saxena of "bulldozing the law" to favour the BJP after the L-G gave his nod to the Anti-Corruption Branch to probe allegations of irregularities in the construction of seven temporary hospitals here during the Covid pandemic. 

 Official sources said the file on the chief minister's Singapore visit has been pending with the L-G office for approval since June 7. "Several important files of the Delhi government have not yet been cleared by the L-G, including the one about the CM's visit to Singapore. 

 The file has been lying with the L-G since June 7. Kejriwal has to participate in the World Cities Summit in Singapore," official sources said. They claimed that even files on small issues are "stuck" with the L-G office. It may affect governance in Delhi, official sources said. -- PTI
17:48   SFI activists vandalise Rahul's office in Wayanad
Update: A protest march of the SFI, the students wing of ruling CPI(M), against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's office in Wayanad on Friday turned violent as a group of protestors allegedly entered the Lok Sabha member's office and vandalised it.

 Police said the protest march contained around 100 Students' Federation of India (SFI) activists and they barged into the office.

 "There were around 80-100 activists. As of now, eight of them are under custody. More police have been deployed," police told PTI. 

 The student organisation protested alleging that Gandhi failed to intervene in the issue of creating buffer zones around forests in the hilly areas of Kerala. Television channels aired visuals of a group of protestors creating ruckus inside the MP's office. 

 Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan sharply reacted to the incident and said the attack showed lawlessness and "goondaism". 

 "Ghastly attack by SFI goons at Rahul Gandhi's MP Office at Wayanad. It is lawlessness and goondaism. CPM has turned into an organised mafia. Strongly Condemning the attack," the Congress leader tweeted. PTI
17:40   Disappointed by SC verdict, says Zakia Jafri's son
Tanvir Jafri, son of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, on Friday said he was disappointed by the Supreme Court's verdict dismissing a petition challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 post-Godhra riots cases. 

 Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots.

 Zakia Jafri, his wife, had filed the petition challenging the Special Investigation Team's report giving a clean chit to Modi and 63 others.

 "I am disappointed with the court verdict. Since I am out of the country, I will give a detailed statement after studying the judgement," Tanvir Jafri told PTI. 

His lawyer said he was in Mecca for Haj pilgrimage, while Zakia lives in the United States with her daughter. Senior Congress leader from Gujarat Arjun Modhwadia said there was no option other than to accept the Supreme Court's verdict. 

 "Many people were burnt alive during the riots. One of them was our party's former MP Ehsan Jafri. His wife Zakia was fighting the case even at the age of 85 because she was hoping to get justice. Now, there is no other option for us than to accept the Supreme Court verdict," said Modhwadia, former state Congress chief. 

"The judgement in the Zakia Jafri case was delivered today and it was over in precisely two minutes. The SIT report of February 8, 2012, has been fully accepted by the SC. The protest petition dated April 15, 2013, has been completely rejected. There was no infraction of rule of law, said the Supreme Court, and accordingly the appeal has been dismissed," said activist Teesta Setalvad in her reaction. Setalvad had supported Zakia Jafri throughout her legal battle. -- PTI
17:33   Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad office vandalised
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's office in Wayanad has been vandalised, says police. Congress alleges role of SFI in attack. Details awaited.
17:30   Rupee falls to all-time low
The rupee on Friday slipped 1 paisa to close at its all-time low of 78.33 (provisional) against the US dollar. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local currency opened at 78.20 and finally settled at its all-time low of 78.33, down 1 paisa from its previous close.
17:24   Sensex, Nifty gain for 2nd day
Benchmark Sensex and Nifty rose by nearly 1 per cent on Friday, extending gains for a second straight day on the back of buying in auto, banking, and energy stocks in line with firm global trends. 

 The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced further by 462.26 points or 0.88 per cent to settle at 52,727.98 as 23 of its constituents ended in the green. During the day, it rallied 644.15 points or 1.23 per cent to 52,909.87. 

 The Nifty rose by 142.60 points or 0.92 per cent to settle at 15,699.25 with 39 of its scrips posting gains. Sensex and Nifty had recovered nearly 1 per cent Thursday. -- PTI
Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir
Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir
17:07   Have left Varsha, but not will to fight: Uddhav
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray's address to his district leaders seems to have galvanised the party. 

"Today we had a party meeting with district leaders. After CM Uddhav Thackeray's speech, party leaders got energy. MLAs may not be here, but the party is intact. Party's full base is there and with this spirit, we will fight," Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir said. 

As Eknath Shinde appears to be tightening his grip on the Shiv Sena with the number of rebels rising to 38, Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting of the party's district chiefs today where he said that he left the Varsha Bungalow but not the "will to fight". 

"I have said it earlier also that I don't have anything to do with power. The people who used to say that they would rather die than leave Shiv Sena have fled today," the Shiv Sena chief said during his virtual address at the meeting. 

"The rebel MLAs want to break the party. I had never thought in dreams that I would become the chief minister. I have left Varsha Bungalow but not the will to fight," he added. 

"I did everything for Eknath Shinde. I gave him the department which I held. His own son is an MP and comments are being made regarding my son. A lot of allegations are levelled against me," he said. 

"If they have courage, they should go among people without taking Balasaheb & Shiv Sena's names," he added. Thackeray, who underwent a cervical spine surgery last year, said, "I had pain in my neck and head, I was not able to work properly, I could not open my eyes but I did not care about it. Shivaji Maharaj was defeated but people were always with him."
Eknath Shinde with the Thackerays
Eknath Shinde with the Thackerays
16:43   I did everything for Eknath Shinde: Uddhav
Just in: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting with Shiv Sena district leaders who had been called to Sena Bhavan in Mumbai. The CM attended the meeting through video conferencing.

"I had pain in my neck and head. I was not able to work properly, I could not open my eyes. Bu I did not care about it. Shivaji Maharaj was defeated but people were always with him," said Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray in the meeting.

"Eknath Shinde's son is an MP from Shiv Sena. I did everything for him. The department I had, was given to Shinde. But he is making several allegations against me. I did everything for Eknath Shinde," said the Maharashtra CM at the meeting.

Shinde is the Urban Development Minister in the MVA government. He is also the Guardian Minister of the Gadchiroli district.

Meanwhile, Eknath Shinde returned to Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati after around 2.5 hours. He reportedly visited Kamakhya Temple.
Zakia Jafri
Zakia Jafri
16:28   Satyamev Jayate, says BJP on clean chit to Modi
"Satyamev Jayate" was the unanimous reaction of BJP leaders on Friday after the Supreme Court upheld the SIT's clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the Gujarat riots of 2002, when he was the state's chief minister, and dismissed a plea by slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri's wife Zakia alleging a larger conspiracy. 

 Union minister Anurag Thakur said, "Satyamev Jayate! Supreme Court of India gives a clean chit and has dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) report on post-Godhra violence in Gujarat. The Supreme Court says the petition is without merit." 

 "Satyamev Jayate," (Truth alone triumphs) was how another Union minister Smriti Irani put it while party spokesperson Sambit Patra also tweeted the same expression. 

 BJP secretary Y Satya Kumar claimed that Congress' last attempt to malign Modi has fallen flat and justice prevailed as he cited the apex court's observation that Jafri's appeal was devoid of merits and deserved to be dismissed.

 Bringing the curtains down on the bid to reopen the probe, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the material collected during the investigation does not "give rise to strong or grave suspicion regarding hatching of larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level" for causing mass violence against Muslims. 

 The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, termed Zakia Jafri's plea devoid of merit. It spoke of "the devious stratagem to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design" and noted that all those involved in "such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law". PTI
16:14   Niti Aayog gets new CEO
Former Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer appointed Niti Aayog CEO. He will replace Amitabh Kant. 

16:01   NCP leaders to meet Uddhav at Matoshree today
Maharashtra update: Deputy CM and NCP leader Ajit Pawar says NCP leaders will meet CM Uddhav Thackeray at 6.30 pm today at the Thackeray residence, Matoshree. "Our stand is the same as yesterday. We will try to keep the govt stable. They (Eknath Shinde faction) say that they are Shiv Sena. So Shiv Sena+NCP+Congress together, we have a majority."

Responding to BJP MLC Pravin Darekar's letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Pawar said, "We are in power and have the majority. We are making decisions as a government does. Wouldn't you have done the same if you were in power and had majority? The government does have the right to take such decisions. The concerned minister and officers are making decisions together."

Darekar, in his letter, demanded the governor's intervention into the manner in wich the "MVA govt in the state is suspiciously taking rapid decisions one after other pertaining to schemes, projects & giving contracts".
15:53   Guj minister urges woman sarpanch to shun ghungat
A woman sarpanch from a conservative community removed her ghunghat (veil) after state Education Minister Jitu Vaghani urged her to shun the custom at an event in Gujarat's Mehsana district, an official said on Friday. 

 When 35-year-old Meenaba Zala, who belongs to the Rajput community, came on stage to present a memento to Vaghani as part of his felicitation at Rantej village on Thursday, the minister noticed that she had covered her entire face with her saree. Vaghani then urged Meenaba to shun this tradition at least during public events.

 "I believe that she should not cover her face at least at public events. It is just my request and it is up to the elders to decide," Vaghani said in a lighter vein. 

 When a person from the audience said they were Rajputs and hence, their women stay behind veils, the minister said it was not about any caste and he is not against this tradition. 

 "This is not about any caste. I request Meenaba to remove the head covering. I am not against this tradition. But we all need to adapt to changing times. This is only my request, and the village elders have to take a final call on this. Bring your women out of this tradition. Make them equal," Vaghani appealed from the stage. 

 Convinced by Vaghani's suggestion, a Rajput community elder Gaubha Zala in the audience gave permission to the woman sarpanch to remove her veil. "Vaghani urged me to come out of this tradition at least when I am attending public events as a sarpanch.

 He even urged the community elders, sitting in audience, to come forward and shun the practice to bring equality. 

Without forcing anyone, Vaghani said the villagers need to decide on this," Meenaba told PTI on Friday. 

 The minister was assured that that Rajput women in the village will not cover their faces in public and follow the ghunghat practice only at home from now onwards, said Meenaba, who is the first woman sarpanch of Rantej. PTI
15:17   Vax no safeguard for newer Omicron subvariants
The newer Omicron sub variants of SARS-CoV-2 substantially escape neutralising antibodies induced by both vaccination and previous infection, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

 The study provides the immunologic context for current surges among populations with high rates of vaccinations and previous infection, the researchers said. 

 Since the initial highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant -- known as BA.1 -- of COVID-19 emerged last year, its new subvariants continue to evolve.

 The researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Israel evaluated antibody response to multiple SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants in 27 vaccinated and boosted individuals and 27 individuals who had previously contracted COVID-19. 

 They found that the three Omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 substantially escape neutralising antibodies induced by both vaccination and previous infection. 

 Neutralising antibody responses to BA.4 and BA.5 were approximately 20-fold lower than to the original WA1/2020 strain and were 3-fold lower than to the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants.

"Our findings suggest that the Omicron variants have continued to evolve," said study senior author Dan H Barouch, director of the Center for Vaccine and Virology Research at BIDMC. -- PTI
14:52   Noose for rapist who killed mentally-challenged girl
The Supreme Court on Friday confirmed the death penalty awarded to a man convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a physically and mentally challenged seven-and-a-half-year-old girl, and noted that the crime was brutal and inhuman.

A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar confirmed the death penalty awarded to convict Manoj Pratap Singh and dismissed his appeal challenging Rajasthan High Court order.

 The top court noted the fact that the innocent victim was kidnapped on a stolen motorcycle by misusing the trust gained by the offer of confectionary items and also, and she was brutally and inhumanly raped.

The top court noted the nature of the crime and called it extreme depravity, which shocks the conscience, particularly looking at the target (a seven-and-a-half-year-old mentally and physically challenged girl) and then, observed to the manner of committing murder, where the hapless victim's head was literally smashed, resulting in multiple injuries including a fracture of the frontal bone. -- ANI
14:47   Aaditya Thackeray to address party today
With the Shiv Sena and the party-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government getting caught in a political turmoil following a rebellion by its leader Eknath Shinde, Sena minister Aaditya Thackeray will address the party functionaries in Mumbai on Friday afternoon. 

Talking to reporters, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut said Thackeray, who heads the state environment and tourism ministries, will address the party office-bearers at the Shiv Sena Bhavan, its headquarters at Dadar in central Mumbai, in an attempt to ensure that there is no confusion in its rank and file. 

 "He will address the district chiefs and 'sampark pramukhs' (liaison heads) at the Sena Bhavan," he said, adding that the party firmly stands behind Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. 

 Aaditya, son of Uddhav Thackeray, is the president of the Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the party. 

 Shinde, a minister in the Thackeray cabinet and a heavyweight from Thane district, has rebelled against the party, pushing the MVA governmemt, in which NCP and Congress also share power, to the brink of collapse. 

Shinde has claimed the support of 37 MLAs and 10 independents, and all of them are currently in Guwahati in Assam. Shinde has claimed that the faction led by him is the "real Shiv Sena". 

 However, Sena's chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut has made it clear that the fate of the MVA government will be decided on the floor of the House. PTI
Sand sculpture by Sudarsan Pattnaik
Sand sculpture by Sudarsan Pattnaik
NDA presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu file her nomination for the July 18 presidential election today.
14:35   All that's happening in Maharashtra politics today
--Another Shiv Sena MLA Dilip Lande reaches Guwahati.
--Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde chairs meeting in Guwahati of MLAs supporting him.
--Shinde claims 50 MLAs, including 40 from Shiv Sena, backing him. 
--Shiv Sena minister Aaditya Thackeray attends meeting of party district chiefs and other functionaries in Mumbai. 
--Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government will complete its five-year term. 
--NCP chief Sharad Pawar attends party meeting in Mumbai amid political developments in Maharashtra. 
--Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil says his party has nothing to do with ongoing drama within Shiv Sena. 

Image: A poster is put up in support of Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, at Mira Bhayandar, in the Thane district. Shinde says he is a true follower of the late founder of the Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray and the late Sena leader Anand Dighe.
14:20   Rebels' show of strength
Rebel Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLAs with Eknath Shinde at a Guwahati hotel. Shinde claims he has the support of 38 Shiv Sena MLAs.
Aaditya Thackeray at Sena Bhawan
Aaditya Thackeray at Sena Bhawan
13:58   Aaditya Thackeray reaches Sena Bhawan for meet
Updates from Maharashtra:
-- Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray reaches Shiv Sena Bhawan in Mumbai. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray calls a meeting of the party's district presidents at Shiv Sena Bhawan, Mumbai at noon, today.

-- Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly approves Shiv Sena's proposal to appoint MLA Ajay Chaudhary as Shiv Sena legislative party leader in the state Assembly. A letter in this regard was sent to the Shiv Sena office secretary by the Deputy speaker's office.
13:22   Droupadi Murmu calls Sonia, Pawar seeking support
NDA's Presidential election candidate Droupadi Murmu speaks with Congress interim-President Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and NCP chief Sharad Pawar seeking their party's support for her candidature in the Presidential election. The NDA nominee is Yashwant Sinha.

Droupadi Murmu on Friday filed her nomination papers for the July 18 presidential election, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over the set of papers to Returning Officer P C Mody. 

 Murmu was also accompanied by union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal, BJP president J P Nadda and several chief ministers including Yogi Adityanath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Manohar Lal Khattar, B S Bommai, Bhupendra Patel, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Pramod Sawant and N Biren Singh.

 Besides the NDA leaders, YSR Congress' V Vijaysai Reddy and BJD leader Sasmit Patra, who are not part of the alliance, were also in Parliament to back her nomination. AIADMK leader O Paneerselvam and M Thambidurai, JD-U's Rajiv Ranjan Singh also reached Parliament early.
The departments were headed by the NCP and Congress
The departments were headed by the NCP and Congress
13:12   Maha govt issues orders for release of funds
Even as the Shiv Sena-led MVA dispensation is currently facing a survival crisis due to a rebellion by Sena minister Eknath Shinde, the departments - mostly controlled by ruling allies NCP and Congress - have issued government orders for the release of funds for various development-related works worth thousands of crores in the last four days.

 Between June 20 and 23, the departments issued as many as 182 government resolutions (GRs), while on June 17, they passed 107 such GRs. These orders can be seen on the government's official website.

 Technically, these are called government resolutions or GRs, which are essentially an approval order sanctioning release of funds for development related works. 

 From Tuesday, Maharashtra's ruling alliance - the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) - started battling its worst crisis since coming into existence in 2019 after senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde rebelled against the party and herded some MLAs to BJP-ruled Assam. 

 The crisis, which erupted hours after the Legislative Council polls held on June 20, which saw the opposition BJP managing to get its fifth candidate elected. Shinde had gone incommunicado following the results. He and a group of rebel MLAs first stayed in Gujarat, but later moved to Assam. He is currently camping in a Guwahati hotel along with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents.

 Although Shinde's rebellion became public on June 21 morning, his growing discomfort had been sensed by Sena's allies - NCP and Congress. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had even claimed that he had sounded Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about the possible rebel from Shinde and some MLAs, sources said. 

 So since the ruling partners had sensed what was coming, the departments controlled by these parties went on a spree to issue the GRs, they said. 

 The water supply and sanitation department, headed by Shiv Sena's Gulabrao Patil, issued over 84 GRs on a single day on June 17. Most of the orders were pertaining to sanction of funds, administrative approvals and for salaries of staff working on various water supply schemes in the state. Patil was among the last Sena legislators, who joined hands with Shinde by reaching in Guwahati.
13:07   BJP puts its weight behind Droupadi Murmu as she files nomination
Update: The BJP-led NDA's nominee Droupadi Murmu on Friday filed her nomination papers for the July 18 presidential election, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over the set of papers to Returning Officer P C Mody. 

Murmu was also accompanied by union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal, BJP president J P Nadda and several chief ministers including Yogi Adityanath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Manohar Lal Khattar, B S Bommai, Bhupendra Patel, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Pramod Sawant and N Biren Singh. 

Besides the NDA leaders, YSR Congress' V Vijaysai Reddy and BJD leader Sasmit Patra, who are not part of the alliance, were also in Parliament to back her nomination. 

 AIADMK leader O Paneerselvam and M Thambidurai, JD-U's Rajiv Ranjan Singh also reached Parliament early. Every set of nomination has to have 50 proposers and 50 seconders among elected representatives. Murmu, if elected, will be the first tribal president and the second woman in the post. 

She will also be the youngest president ever, second only to N Sanjeeva Reddy, who was a few days elder to her when he became the President. PTI

12:46   Droupadi Murmu files her nomination papers
NDA's Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu files her nomination in the presence of PM Modi, Union cabinet ministers and CMs of BJP and NDA ruled states, at Parliament building.
12:34   Shiv Sena faces a moment of reckoning
Bal Thackeray, founder of Shiv Sena (1966) and a towering leader of Maharashtra followed an unwritten dictum: Never occupy power. Control it.

His son Uddhav, daughter-in law Rashmi and grandson Aditya broke the rule.

Read Sheela Bhatt's column for the Gulf News. 
File pic of Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar
File pic of Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar
12:32   Maha CM, Sharad Pawar in constant touch: Raut
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut says Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are in constant touch. "All leaders of NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena are in touch with each other," says Raut. 

He also added that the MVA will win on the Floor of the House.

"We won't give up. They (rebel MLAs) have taken a very wrong step. We also gave them a chance to return to Mumbai. Now, we challenge them to come to Mumbai." 
12:22   Droupadi Murmu set to file nomination papers
NDA's candidate for the Presidential election Droupadi Murmu arrives at Parliament for filing her nomination.
11:52   BJP Maha chief: Fadnavis in Delhi for 'some work'
Amid allegations of BJP's involvement in Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde's revolt against his party that has posed a question mark over the survival of the MVA government, BJP's Maharashtra unit chief Chandrakant Patil on Friday asserted that his party did not play any role in the ongoing political crisis in the state. 

 He, however, admitted that Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis visited Delhi on Thursday "for some work", without divulging any details. 

 Patil's remarks come a day after NCP chief Sharad Pawar asserted that the BJP has played a role in the crisis that has befallen the Uddhav Thackeray-led government.

 Incidentally, rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde, while addressing the MLAs in his camp in Guwahati, said in a veiled reference to the BJP that a "national party" has supported his rebellion and assured all help to the rebels. 

 Talking to reporters in Kolhapur, his hometown, Patil said, "The BJP has nothing to do with the current internal bickering in Shiv Sena or in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) (comprising Sena, NCP and Congress). I had a lunch with Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon, and then he left for New Delhi for some work."

 "During our discussion, Fadnavis told me that some things are taking place. But had it (any development) been anything important, he would have definitely taken me into confidence," he said.

 Patil said the BJP is currently busy in preparations for the 2024 elections. Shinde is presently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in a Guwahati hotel. 

 On Sharad Pawar's statement about BJP playing a role behind Shinde's rebellion, Patil said, "I feel Pawar and Sena's Sanjay Raut exercise their right to freedom of speech excessively. I am not even watching daily news so not aware of what exactly happening in Sena." 

 When asked about reports that Mumbai-based BJP functionary Mohit Kamboj was in Guwahati with rebel Sena leaders, Patil said, "He has friends in every political party. He might have gone to help someone. I have no idea about his whereabouts." PTI
11:47   Jet Airways starts operational hiring, invites former cabin crew to rejoin
Jet Airways began its operational hiring on Friday and asked its former cabin crew members to rejoin the airline. Aviation regulator DGCA had on May 20 granted Jet Airways a revalidated Air Operator Certificate (AOC), allowing the airline to resume commercial flight operations. 

"Our operational hiring has commenced, with a call out to former Jet crew," the airline's CEO Sanjiv Kapoor said on Twitter. "Commencement of hiring for pilots and engineers to follow in the coming days, when we make our aircraft choice reveal," he added. 

 The opening batch of the cabin crew members in the airline will consist of former staff only. In its old avatar, the airline was owned by Naresh Goyal and had operated its last flight on April 17, 2019, due to financial distress. The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is currently the promoter of Jet Airways. The airline intends to restart commercial flight operations in the July-September quarter. -- PTI
RPI's Ramdas Athawale says 'Uddhav Thackeray's time is up'.
RPI's Ramdas Athawale says 'Uddhav Thackeray's time is up'.
11:25   Sena's count down, but will win floor test: Raut
In the wake of Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde's rebellion, MP Sanjay Raut on Friday admitted that the party's numbers in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly have dwindled, but expressed confidence that the rebel MLAs will support the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) combine during the floor test, saying that "figures can change any time". 

 He said the rebel MLAs will face the real test of their loyalty towards the party when they return to Mumbai.

 Raut also attacked BJP leader Narayan Rane, without naming him, for "threatening" NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Shinde is currently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in a Guwahati hotel.

 Talking to reporters, Raut, who is Sena's chief spokesperson, admitted that his party's numbers in the Assembly have gone down due to the revolt.

 "The rebel group claims to have the required figures and democracy runs on numbers. But figures can change anytime. When the rebels return, it will be a test of their loyalty towards Balasaheb Thackeray and the Shiv Sena," he said. 

"This is a legal battle. There are some rules and Supreme Court directives," the Sena MP said. 

 "MVA (comprising Sena, NCP and Congress) is together...We are confident that the rebels will support the MVA during the floor test," he added. 

 Earlier, talking to PTI, Raut said the party was waiting for the rebels to return to Mumbai. "Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is confident most of the rebels will return to the party fold. The rebels will have to be back in Mumbai to meet the Governor, followed by a head count and the trust vote," he said. 

Taking to Twitter, Raut slammed Union minister Narayan Rane for "threatening" Sharad Pawar. "Does the BJP approve of such language. Governments will come and go. But Maharashtra will not tolerate such language against Sharad Pawar," he said. 

Rane on Thursday took on Pawar, alleging that the latter was threatening rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, and said if anything happened to them in the Maharashtra Assembly, then consequences will have to be faced.
The massacre happened under then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's watch
The massacre happened under then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's watch
11:12   SC dismisses Zakia Jafri's plea against Modi
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea of Zakia Jafri, the wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the Special Investigation Team's (SIT) clean chit to 64 people, including then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.

 A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar upheld the Special Metropolitan Magistrate's order rejecting Jafri's protest petition against the closure report filed by the SIT. The top court upheld the Gujarat High Court order and said Jafri's plea is devoid of merit. 

 Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed in Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra killing 59 people and triggering riots in Gujarat. PTI
10:50   Uddhav to meet Sena district presidents at noon
After a day of being incommunicado, Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray calls a meeting of the party's district presidents at Shiv Sena Bhawan, Mumbai at noon, today.

With the Shiv Sena faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seeking cancellation of membership of several rebel MLAs, minister Eknath Shinde, who has spearheaded the revolt against the party, has claimed that the group led by him is the "real Shiv Sena", and also hit back saying he and his supporters will not be intimidated by the disqualification threats. 

 In a series of tweets posted late Thursday night, Shinde who is camping in Guwahati along with 37 Sena legislators and 10 independents, said as per the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, a party whip is issued for the legislature proceedings and not for attending a meeting.
Zakia Jafri with the portrait of her late husband Ehsan Jafri
Zakia Jafri with the portrait of her late husband Ehsan Jafri
10:42   SC dismisses Zakia Jafri's plea against Narendra Modi
In other news: The Supreme Court dismisses a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and several others in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
10:40   Bengaluru police detain Shiv Sena leader sent to meet Shinde
Update from Guwahati: Police detain Sanjay Bhosale, deputy district chief of Shiv Sena from Maharashtra's Satara, who was present near Radisson Blu hotel. He has been sent to urge party MLAs lodged at the hotel to return to Maharashtra. "This is a sensitive area. Action will be taken as per law," say police. The message he is carrying asks Eknath Shinde to return to Matoshree, the family home of the Thackerays. In other words, to get back on board as an MLA aligned with a Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray. 
10:36   Sainiks will take to roads if need be, warns Raut
Update from Maharashtra: Shiv Sena's firefighter, MP Sanjay Raut asks Eknath Shinde to realise home truths. 

"The Eknath Shinde faction that's challenging us must realise that Shiv Sena workers are yet to come on the roads. Such battles are fought either through law or on the roads. If need be then our workers will come on the roads.

"A process is underway to disqualify 12 MLAs (of the Eknath Shinde faction). Their numbers are only on the papers. Shiv Sena is a big ocean such waves come and go," Raut said.

All 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who are camping in Guwahati on Thursday sent a letter to Maharashtra Assembly's Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, stating that Eknath Shinde will remain their group leader in legislature.

Earlier in the day, Zirwal had said that he had approved the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the group leader of the Shiv Sena legislature party, replacing senior minister Shinde who has rebelled against the Shiv Sena leadership.

10:02   MLAs in Shinde camp likely to cross 50 today
Eknath Shinde is appearing to be holding a tight grip on the Shiv Sena, as the strength of MLAs supporting him is expected to cross 50 as more legislators are likely to reach Guwahati on Friday thus further deepening the political crisis in Maharashtra.

The political crisis in Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra erupted after party legislators joined a rebellion led by Eknath Shinde who is staying at a hotel in Guwahati.

Shinde camp has claimed the support of 46 MLAs, which includes 37 Shiv Sena MLAs and nine independents.

The rebel MLAs who are at a hotel in Guwahati since June 20, authorised Shinde on June 23 to decide on a further course of action.

The Shinde faction also said that Bharat Gogawale has been appointed as Chief Whip of the party.

The letter has the signatures of 37 Shiv Sena MLAs and a copy of the letter has been sent to Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, and Secretary to the Legislative Council Rajendra Bhagwat.

The three legislators who arrived in Guwahati on Thursday include Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathore and MLC Ravindra Phatak.

Phatak is believed to be a close associate of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who had sent him as an emissary to Surat where the rebel MLAs were lodged.

The situation for Thackeray continues to become grimmer with his close aide switching sides and the chief minister himself falling short of numbers.   -- ANI
09:41   Droupadi Murmu to file Prez nomination today
The presidential candidate nominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, Droupadi Murmu is scheduled to file her nomination papers on Friday.

The sources also informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be proposing her name for the nomination on June 24, which will be seconded by the party's national president J P Nadda.

The sources also informed ANI that the BJP has invited all of their allies to join in the nomination ceremony including the chief ministers of NDA-ruled states of the country.

Meanwhile, the National People's Party (NPP) chief and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Nagaland Chief Minister Nephiu Rio have already confirmed their participation in the nomination for the Presidential election on Friday.

It is also being said that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will also be present during the nomination.

On Wednesday evening Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made an appeal to all MLAs of Odisha to support Murmu's candidature.

Notably, Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal is not an ally of the NDA but is often seen supporting the NDA government on crucial bills and legislature.

He openly came out and endorsed the candidature of Murmu for the upcoming presidential elections that are scheduled to take place on July 18.  -- ANI
09:17   J-K to host G-20 meetings in 2023, forms 5-member coordination panel
In a significant development, Jammu and Kashmir will be hosting the 2023 meetings of G-20, an influential grouping that brings together the world's major economies, with the Union Territory government Thursday setting up a five-member high level committee for overall coordination.

This will be the first major international summit to be held in Jammu and Kashmir after the erstwhile state's special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn and it was divided into two union territories in August 2019.

In September last year, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was appointed as India's Sherpa for the G-20.

The Ministry of External Affairs had said that India will hold the G-20 presidency from December 1, 2022, and will convene the G-20 leaders' summit in 2023 for the first time.

According to an official order issued in Jammu on Thursday, the Union Territory's housing and urban development department principal secretary will be the chairman of the committee which was formed in response to a June 4 communication from the Ministry of External Affairs.

'Sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of a committeefor overall co-ordination of G-20 meetings to be held in the Union Territory of J&K,' the order issued by Principal Secretary, General Administration Department, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi said.

The members of the committee include Commissioner Secretary (Transport), Administrative Secretary (Tourism), Administrative Secretary (Hospitality and Protocol) and Administrative Secretary (Culture).    

'Further, principal secretary to the government, housing and urban development department is also nominated as UT level nodal officer to coordinate the arrangements for G-20 meetings in the Union Territory of J-K,' the order said.

Prime Minister Modi has been leading India's representation at G-20 summits since 2014.

India has been a member of the G-20 since its inception in 1999.     

According to the MEA, India will be part of the G20 Troika (preceding, current, and incoming G-20 Presidencies) from December 1, 2021 till November 30, 2024.

G-20 brings together 19 of the world' leading economies and the European Union, with its members accounting for more than 80 per cent of global GDP, 75 percent of global trade and 60 percent of the global population, according to the MEA.

G-20 member nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.   -- PTI
08:28   Shinde 'not scared' by disqualification demands
Rebel leader Eknath Shinde has hit back at the Shiv Sena after the party on Thursday wrote to the Maharashtra assembly deputy speaker seeking the disqualification of 12 rebel MLAs.

Taking to Twitter, Shinde wrote, 'You cannot scare us by giving the names of 12 MLAs for disqualification because we are followers of the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. We know the law, so we do not pay heed to threats.'

'We know your ways and the law too! According to Schedule 10 of the Constitution, the whip is used for assembly work, not for meetings,' he further said in a tweet.

The Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has filed a petition before the Deputy Speaker of the state assembly seeking the cancellation of membership of 12 rebel MLAs including Eknath Shinde for 'not attending' legislative party meeting held on Wednesday.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant told ANI that a notice had been issued before the meeting which said that if an MLA does not attend the meeting, legal action will be taken.

"We've filed a petition before the Deputy Speaker (of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly) and demanded that the membership of 12 (MLAs) should be cancelled as they didn't attend yesterday's meeting," Sawant said.

"Before the meeting notice was issued in which it was said that if you didn't attend the meeting then legal action will be taken as per the constitution. Some didn't come and some gave unnecessary reasons," he added.

Apart from Shinde, Shiv Sena has sought disqualification of Prakash Surve, Tanaji Sawant, Mahesh Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandeep Bhumare, Bharat Gogawale, Sanjay Shirsat, Yamini Yadhav, Anil Babar, Balaji Devdas, and Lata Chaudhari.

The petition has been filed by Ajay Choudhari, who was appointed 'legislative party leader' after Shinde was 'removed' from the post by the Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena's Chief Whip, Sunil Prabhu had issued a letter to party MLAs, asking them to be present in the meeting.

The letter stated that if someone remains absent, it will be considered that the said MLA has decided to quit the party voluntarily.

The letter also warned that if any MLA remains absent from the meeting without proper reason and prior information, they should keep in mind that action will be initiated to cancel their membership as per constitutional provisions.

However, the Shinde camp has written to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari stating that Shinde continues to be the legislative party leader.

Shinde camp has claimed the support of 46 MLAs, which includes 37 Shiv Sena MLAs and nine independents.

The rebel MLAs are at a hotel in Guwahati and held a meeting on Thursday authorising Shinde to decide on the further course of action.The resolution, adopted on Tuesday by rebel MLAs, said that Shinde was unanimously elected as leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party in 2019 and continues to be the leader of the legislative party.

Amid the continuing turf war within Shiv Sena, the Shinde faction also said that Bharat Gogawale has been appointed as Chief Whip of the party.

The three legislators who arrived in Guwahati on Thursday include Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathore and MLC Ravindra Phatak.

Phatak is believed to be a close associate of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who had sent him as an emissary to Surat where the rebel MLAs were lodged.   -- ANI

IMAGE: Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA Dadaji Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathod and MLC Ravindra Phatak with Eknath Shinde, at Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati on Thursday. Photograph: ANI Photo
00:30   Modi to form 50 states in India after LS polls?
A Karnataka Minister has said there will be 50 States in the country after the 2024 general Lok Sabha election and north Karnataka will be one among the new ones.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to form 50 states in the country after the 2024 elections. I came to know that he is mulling over it," Umesh Katti, who holds the food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, told reporters in Belagavi.

He said the idea of splitting the State is good because the burden of population has increased over the years.

"Such thought is good because population is increasing, and that region (north Karnataka) should also see development. North Karnataka should become a State and develop. We will remain as Kannadigas but there is no harm if the State (Karnataka) is divided," Katti said on the sidelines of an event.

Stating that the idea of forming 50 States was good given the increase in population, Katti said it has increased from two crore to 6.5 crore in the last 60 years.

Two States should be carved out of Karnataka, four in Uttar Pradesh, three in Maharashtra, and so on, the minister said.

Reacting to Katti's statement, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said there was no proposal at the government level for separate Statehood to north Karnataka.

"This is not the first time Umesh Katti has spoken about it. He has been saying it for many years. He himself should reply to this question," the chief minister told reporters in New Delhi.

Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka said Katti's statement is not an issue at all.

"Katti has been saying this. This is not the first time that he has spoken about separate statehood to north Karnataka. He has said it more than 100 times till now. Karnataka is one. Many Kannadigas have struggled to form a united Karnataka," Ashoka said in Bengaluru.

He added that Bommai would discuss with Katti on this issue.  -- PTI