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    Showing posts with label Narendra Modi. Show all posts

    Allahabad HC orders CBI to arrest Kuldeep Sengar, present report on 2 May Updates Unnao rape case

    The CBI on Friday arrested BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in connection with the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district last year and the custodial death of her father earlier this week.

    Sources said, “The central agency decided to arrest the MLA when he failed to satisfactorily reply to questions during interrogation. He was giving conflicting versions during questioning and remained uncooperative,”

    Sengar will be produced before a designated court on Monday. Earlier in the day, the Allahabad high court passed an order saying that the CBI should arrest the MLA and not just detain him and the probe agency should consider filing of an application for cancellation of bail granted to other accused in the case. The court also asked the CBI to present a status report in the case on May 2.

    In an early morning raid, a CBI team picked up Sengar from his residence at 4.30 am on Friday and took him to its local office in Lucknow. A seven-member team interrogated him while another team left for Unnao to record statements of the victim and her family who are putting up at a hotel, said sources. The CBI team also arrested six suspended police personnel from Unnao and brought them to Lucknow for questioning.

    CBI supreintendent of police Raghvendra Vats went to Makhi police station in Unnao and seized all case documents. Those arrested include CO Kunwar Singh, SO Ashok Kumar and other police personnel.

    Meanwhile, chief minister Yogi Adityanath, while talking on the Unnao rape case, reiterated that his government would follow a zero-tolerance policy on crime and corruption. He said that the guilty would not be spared.

    The Yogi government had recommended a CBI inquiry into the case on Thursday morning and the request was immediately accepted. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is said to have intervened to hasten the formalities and the DoPT which works under the Prime Minister immediately issued a notification to ensure that the CBI reached the state capital on Thursday evening. The Yogi government had lodged a case of rape against Sengar but decided against arresting him, saying that a decision on taking him into custody will be taken by the CBI.

    Sonia Gandhi's advice to revitalise Congress, counter Modi juggernaut will not be easy for party president Rahul

    If Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to counter the Narendra Modi juggernaut in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he will have to revitalise the party from scratch. That’s the indication UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave on Friday.

    Referring to party’s Steering Committee meeting, she said, “Certainly, Rahul always wanted new and younger people in the party. It’s very valid that without them, how could a party grow? (sic) But he also said that older leaders who, worked for years (in Congress), can’t be ignored.”

    During her interaction at the India Today Conclave, Sonia commented on Rahul’s leadership style after he took over as the new party chief and said that the leadership style doesn’t make much difference. Whether it’s Rahul or any other, Congress has its policies that everyone follows.

    File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI
    While emphasising that Congress had to adopt a new style of connecting with people, the former Congress chief said that the need of the hour was to revitalise the party.

    She asserted that older generation leaders couldn’t be done away with and a balance was needed between the younger lot and senior leaders.

    And to revitalise the grand old party of India, Rahul obviously would have to take tough decisions, which might not go down well with the senior leadership.

    Recently, the Congress has faced electoral debacle in three northeastern states — Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. From being in power in 13 states, Congress is reduced to just four now. The party might have tasted victory in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh bypolls, but upcoming elections in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will pose a tough challenge for Rahul’s leadership.

    By emphasising the importance of the old guard and the need to maintain a balance vis-à-vis revitalisation of the party, Sonia has probably placed a handicap before her son.

    A balancing act

    For Rahul, it will be like walking a tight rope to maintain a balance between the young leaders and the old guard, while revitalising the party.

    Many a times it had been a point of debate and discussion that it won’t be palatable for the old guard within the Congress party – who have worked with Rahul’s grand mother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi – to accept the leadership of this Nehru-Gandhi scion.

    While Sonia had always backed the old order, Rahul has often faced difficulty in reining in the senior leaders.

    Sources in the party said that when Rahul was vice-president, he, on many occasions, maintained distance from a few senior leaders, who are apparently close to Sonia Gandhi.

    Gujarat election is a case in point, when senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech".

    Rahul was quick to control the damage and asked Aiyar to apologise. Later, Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the party.

    Let’s not forget that Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who was once regarded as Rahul Gandhi’s ‘political guru’, fell out of favour in 2012 after repeatedly going against the party line on issues such as the Batla House encounter in September 2008 against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists.

    India's ruling BJP wins power in northeast, expands influence

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party declared victory on Thursday in the northeastern state of Assam, an election boost that will help his right-wing nationalist government rebuild some momentum after poll losses last year.

    Grabbing power in Assam, one of five states electing new assemblies, would be a first for the Bharatiya Janata Party in India's volatile northeast, a sign its political influence is expanding beyond its traditional northern and western belt.

    The BJP led in the races for 81 of the 126 seats in Assam where clear trends had been set, unofficial tallies compiled by television broadcasters showed.

    The opposition Congress Party, which has ruled the state assembly since 2001, trailed with 26 seats.

    Modi called the Assam victory an "exceptional win" on Twitter and congratulated his party leaders.

    Elsewhere, tallies by television channels showed popular regional parties heading for victory in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the eastern state of West Bengal, where the BJP has a small presence and was not expected to win.

    Modi called the chief ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu to congratulate them, he said on Twitter.

    "The BJP had nothing to lose in these elections, only something to gain," said Manoj Joshi, a political analyst at the Observer Research Foundation. "And they have gained. It shows the momentum is still with them."

    Counting of votes from the five states began at 0230 GMT and complete results are expected later on Thursday.


    The BJP waged a polarising campaign in Assam, an underdeveloped state rife with ethnic and religious tension, and vowed to disenfranchise millions of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants, to curry favour among discontented Hindus.

    Modi took a less prominent role in elections this year after a bad loss in a November poll in the eastern state of Bihar that turned into a referendum on his personal leadership. His party also lost in the capital New Delhi early last year.

    "The people of Assam have accepted our winning combination. This is going to be a great victory," BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal told Indian television, as supporters gathered in the state capital, Guwahati.

    Victory in Assam, while symbolic, will have little impact on Modi's ability to control the upper house of parliament, where his party lacks a majority and the opposition has stymied key economic reforms.

    But the prospect of Congress weakened further by the state vote will raise his party's hopes for its bitter foe to be less resistant to the legislation.

    Unofficial counts showed a Congress-led coalition was headed for defeat at the hands of leftist parties in Kerala.

    (Additional reporting by Biswajyoti Das in GUWAHATI and Sujoy Dhar in KOLKATA; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Clarence Fernandez)

    28 years after Rajiv Gandhi's near disastrous visit, confident Modi strides into Sri Lanka

    Optics, symbolism and body language are crucially important in diplomacy. If one goes by that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a powerful statement in Sri Lanka already.

    He came here with folded hands, and then stretched out his arms with an open mind. In bitter contrast, the last time an Indian Prime Minister visited Colombo – Rajiv Gandhi on 30 July, 1987 – he was famously hit by a soldier’s rifle butt when he was inspecting a guard of honour.

    If Rajiv Gandhi had not been alert and ducked, he may have died on the spot. Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva’s rifle butt hit Rajiv on the shoulder, not on the head where it was meant to land. Wijemuni instantaneously became a popular figure, so much so that after his release from prison he even contested a general election under a ticket for the Sihala Urumaya party in 2000, but lost. Less than two years ago, he admitted in an on-record interview that he intended to kill the Indian premier. Read the full interview here.
    Modi with President Maithripala Sirisena: PTI

    Modi with President Maithripala Sirisena: PTI
    Wijemuni’s action was meant to be an act of revenge against Rajiv Gandhi’s fateful decision of sending the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka.

    This was the time when India-Sri Lanka relations were at their nadir and anti-India rabid Tamil parties were born and got strengthened in Tamil Nadu and Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu on 21 May, 1991.

    This contrasting tale of two Indian Prime Ministers in Sri Lanka conveys a lot. To drive the point further home, PM Modi visited the IPKF memorial here and paid homage to IPKF soldiers. This ritual will definitely become a must-do for all future Indian Prime Ministers who visit Sri Lanka.

    The significance of his visit is not lost on Modi himself.

    Sample his words in his media statement after his talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena: "I am conscious of the significance of this visit. It is the first standalone bilateral visit to Sri Lanka by an Indian Prime Minister since 1987. Last month, President Sirisena honoured us by making India his first foreign visit as a President. I am glad to be here so soon. This is how it should be between neighbours. We should meet regularly. It helps us understand each other better; find solutions to mutual concerns; and, move our relationship forward. That is what we achieved in my meetings with President Sirisena today."

    Rahul Gandhi: Modi put Jayanthi Natarajan against me

    Breaking his silence, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said his former party colleague Jayanthi Natarajan had been pitted against him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he had been fighting for the poor and other weaker sections of the society.

    "Ek din maine Modiji ke baare mein kuch kaha, agle din unhone Natrajan ko khada kiya (One day, I said something about Modi, the very next day, he put up Natarajan)," the Congress Vice President said at a rally here. This was his first reaction to Natarajan's allegation that he used to interfere in grant of green nods when she was Environment Minister before being forced out in December 2013. She resigned from the party on Saturday last, reported PTI.
    "I want to tell you that I have fought for the poor and the adivasis and I had told Jayanthi Natarajan that we should look into the welfare of the environment, poor and the adivasis. I will continue to fight for the poor, the hutsmen and the weaker sections," the Congress vice-president said at an election rally here. Alleging that the Prime Minister is working only to benefit his "industrial friends", he said he had joined politics to ensure welfare for the poor and the weaker sections of the society and not to benefit some businessmen.
    Natarajan had last Saturday resigned from the primary membership of Congress alleging that she was "vilified" for rejecting green nod to industrial projects during her tenure as Environment Minister, which she said she had done following communications by the Congress vice-president. She had also written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi a few months back alleging that she had received specific requests from Rahul on environmental clearances and consequently rejected big ticket projects, a contention she reaffirmed at the time of announcing her resignation.

    India at kissing distance of Mars; Indian scientists script history

    India Wednesday created space history by becoming the first country in the world to enter Mars' orbit in its debut attempt. A beaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wearing a red jacket symbolic of the Red Planet, described it as "achieving the near impossible", congratulated the feat of Indian scientists and called for challenging the next frontier.

    India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) traversed over 650 million km through deep space for over nine months to successfully reach the planet's orbit. The US, Europe and Russia had failed in their first attempts.

    "The spacecraft (Orbiter) successfully entered the Martian orbit at 7.55 a.m. and is located at about 515 km from its surface...," a senior space official told IANS at the mission control centre here.

    Radars at the earth stations of NASA at Goldstone in the US, Madrid in Spain, Canberra in Australia and India's own deep space network at Baylalu near Bangalore received the radio signals from the Orbiter, confirming its insertion into the Mars orbit.

    Modi, who witnessed the event from an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) facility in Bangalore, said that the successful Mars mission "must become a base for challenging the next frontier".

    The success "will go down as landmark in history", said a visibly delighted Modi.

    India's Mars mission is "a shining symbol of what we are capable of as a nation" and we have gone beyond boundaries of human enterprise and imagination, he added.

    The 475 kg (dry mass) Orbiter will take 77 hours or 3.2 earth days to rotate around the red planet over the next six months and will study its surface and mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas in search of life-sustaining elements.

    The prime minister said that the MOM was built "indigenously, in a pan-Indian effort".

    "With today's spectacular success, ISRO joins an elite group of only three other agencies worldwide to have successfully reached the Red Planet," he added amidst applause.

    Modi, who spoke in English and Hindi, said that the "odds were stacked against us".

    "Of the 51 missions attempted across the world so far, a mere 21 had succeeded. But we have prevailed...Travelling an incredible distance, of over 650 million or 65 crore km, we have gone beyond boundaries of human enterprise and imagination."
    Indians, including those living abroad, were elated and many took to Facebook and Twitter saying "mission accomplished".

    #Mangalyaan #MissionMars #proudindian were some of the top trending topics on Twitter and Facebook since Wednesday morning.

    The success of the Mars mission has made India join the elite club of the US, Europe and Russia, which reached the second smallest planet of our solar system after initial failures.

    The state-run ISRO became the fourth international space agency after National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US, Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA) and European Space Agency to have undertaken successful missions to Mars.

    India also became the first Asian country to have entered the Mars sphere of influence (gravity) Tuesday, as a similar mission by China failed in 2011.

    The success of the mission to Mars will "inspire our scientists to make even greater strides", said President Pranab Mukherjee who described it as a "historic achievement".

    The final orbiting exercise began at 4.17 a.m. Wednesday.

    After rotating the Orbiter towards Mars at 6.57 a.m., the main engine was ignited at 7.17 a.m. for enabling the spacecraft enter its orbit from the sun orbit, where it cruised for over nine months and 24 days during its voyage to Mars from the Earth.

    During the crucial operation, when a solar eclipse occurred on Mars from 7.12 a.m., the main engine started its burn at 7.30 a.m. and lasted for 24 minutes till 7.54 a.m. to swing the spacecraft into the Martian orbit. The speed of the spacecraft was also reduced.

    Why Narendra Modi govt cancelled diplomatic talks with Pakistan: Explained

    Bangalore, Aug 19: Sending a serious warning to the neighbouring country, Narendra Modi government on Monday, Aug 19 announced that India would not continue bilateral talks with Pakistan. Here's why Indian government took this decision.

     Pakistan ignored India's previous warnings:

     Foreign Secretaries of both India and Pakistan were scheduled to meet on August 25 in Islamabad.

    Meanwhile, Abdul Basit, Pakistani High Commissioner, invited Kashmiri separatists to meet with him in Delhi.

    Pakistan's invitation to the separatists leaders irked Indian high commission. India warned the neighbouring country of not meeting separatist leaders in India.

    The separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah are known for their anti-India rhetoric.

    The government sources informed that Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had spoken to the Pakistani High Commissioner over phone and warned, "Either talk to separatists or talk to us."

    Snubbing all warnings from India, Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi met Shabit Shah on Monday.

    Violation of ceasefire at India-Pakistan border: Already angered and aggrieved by repeated ceasefire violations at border, India took this bonhomie as interference in internal matter and cancelled the upcoming talk

    Around 50 border violation has been done by Pakistani troops in this year and that has been increased since new Government took the power. However, Pakistan denied all allegations and retaliated by saying India should not practice "a blame game."

     India took its tough stand:

     Spokesperson of Foreign Ministry of India -- Syed Akbaruddin finally announced, "It was underlined that the Pakistani High Commissioner's meetings with these so-called leaders of the Hurriyat undermine the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by Prime Minister Modi in May on his very first day in office".

    He also said, "Under present circumstances, it seems no useful purpose will be served by the Foreign Secretary visiting Islamabad, therefore the visit stands cancelled."

    How did Pakistan react to India's decision? Foreign Office of Pakistan termed India's decision as a setback to efforts by prime ministers to promote good neighbourly relations. In an official statement, Pakistan said, "It is a long-standing practice that prior to Pakistan- India talks, meetings with Kashmiri leaders are held to facilitate meaningful discussions on the issue of Kashmir."

    SC asks Centre to give roadmap for cleaning Ganga in two weeks

    Reminding the Narendra Modi government that cleaning of Ganga was on its poll manifesto, the Supreme Court today asked why urgent steps are not being taken on it and set a two-week timeline for it to come up with a road map for making the 2500 km long river pollution free.

    A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said the issue of cleaning Ganga is very important and it has to be put on the front burner.

    "Are you saving river Ganga? It was also there in your manifesto. Why don't you act on it?," the bench said, while referring to BJP's pre-poll promise to clean the river.

    "Is the issue on the front burner or the back burner? These issues are very important and it has to be put on front burner," it said when Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar sought more time to respond, saying that the matter has been assigned to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation which was earlier handled by Ministry of Environment and Forest.
    The bench then adjorned the matter asking the Centre to file affidavit within two weeks giving details about what it proposes to do for cleaning the river.

    "In this matter you said there is urgency... Now there is no urgency for you. You are shuttling the issue between two ministries," the bench observed.

    The bench also said that cleaning project should be done in stretches as it cannot be undertaken at one go. It suggested that initially the government should focus to clean first 100 km of the river and then it should take the task of cleaning another part of the river.

    On the last date of hearing on August 5, the case was adjourned as the Centre sought more time to file response.

    The issue of cleaning up of river Ganga has been monitored by the apex court and several applications have been filed.

    The unchecked pollution of river Ganga has evoked sharp criticism by the apex court which has been hearing the case since 1985.

    The 2,500 km stretch of the river passes through 29 major cities, 23 small cities and 48 towns.

    Has the Modi govt stumbled in Delhi's power corridors?

    As an election campaigner, Narendra Modi promised sweeping market reforms to revive India's economy and put the country to work. As prime minister, he has dismayed admirers, apparently reverting to the script of the hapless government he defeated.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to supporters during a public rally in Kargil. (AFP Photo)

    To some of the economists and business leaders who as his campaign cheerleaders dared to dream of a Thatcherite revolution, he seems not to be listening. Three months after his win, it is dawning on them that their views count for little.

    "As of now, the momentum is lost. They might still recover it, but we have lost the moment," said Bibek Debroy, a prominent economist who co-wrote a book laying out a reform agenda that the new prime minister himself launched in June.

    Debroy told Reuters that so far there had been no signs of the promised change at institutions sapped by graft and over-regulation that many Indians have grown to revile.

    Back in the heady days of the election campaign, Modi and his supporters seemed much more in tune, all lambasting the last centre-left government for years of waste and policy paralysis and building expectations of a regime of "minimum government and maximum governance" that would unshackle key sectors of the economy from the state.

    But now there is a sense that the 63-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strongman, who made his reputation putting his home state Gujarat on a high growth path, has somehow stumbled in New Delhi.

    To be fair, the government has a five-year term to achieve Modi's goal of transforming India into an economic and military power able to withstand the rise of China on its doorstep.

    On Friday, Modi will make his first Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Old Delhi, and the expectation within his party is that he may use the occasion to announce bold changes that have so far been absent.

    According to economists at HSBC, the government has already moved with "unaccustomed alacrity" on a number of fronts, such as opening up the state railways to foreign investment and providing new guidelines for a more streamlined bureaucracy.

    PM Narendra Modi arrives in Bhutan, receives guard of honour

    A cutout outside Taj Tashi hotel in Thimpu, where Narendra Modi will stay during his two-day Bhutan visit on Sunday and Monday, read, "Welcome to our close friend, India's prime minister Narendra Modi."

    It is a welcoming step, shows Modi ji wants to open a new chapter in strengthening foreign policy, says Sudhanshu Trivedi (BJP) on PM's Bhutan visi

    Embarking on his first foreign visit since taking over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Bhutan on Sunday to cement India's "unique and special relationship" with this SAARC country and his thrust to make the ties more effective.

    A grand welcome was accorded to him by the Bhutanese government which rolled out a red carpet and gave a ceremonial guard of honour to him.

    Modi, accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, was received at the Paro airport by Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and several of his Cabinet colleagues.

    The Prime Minister drove down from Paro to Thimphu, a distance of about 50 kms, traversing through the picturesque mountainous ranges. Common people, including children, in colourful attire lined up most of the road between Paro and Thimphu, waving Indian and Bhutanese flags.

    Big hoardings carrying Modi's photographs also could be seen en route.

    Soon after his arrival, Modi called on Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.
    Before embarking on the two-day visit, Modi said Bhutan was a "natural choice" as his first foreign destination because of the "unique and special relationship".

    The fact that the Prime Minister chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to woo it and establish full- fledged diplomatic ties with Thimphu.

    'Modi government will take neighbours along to path of prosperity'

    The new Indian government's foreign policy focus on its South Asian neighbourhood and to work towards creating a peaceful, stable and economically inter-linked neighbourhood "bodes well" not only for the collective SAARC but also for Bhutan as the Narendra Modi government will "take everybody along to the path of prosperity", says an editorial in a Bhutanese daily.

    The Bhutanese, in an editorial ahead of Modi's two-day visit to the Himalayan country that began Sunday, said that "Bhutan, as an old friend, would want India to do well and surge ahead in the global scene as experience in the past has shown that the economic rise and prosperity of India has translated into benefits for Bhutan, including other countries in the region."

    "However, for any major country or regional bloc, they can only ever truly rise on the global platform if their neighborhood is stable and happy, so to speak. The new dispensation in New Delhi led by Mr Modi has wisely realized this, and is thus, focusing with renewed energy and depth in its own neighborhood which is loaded with a lot of potential and unexplored opportunities, apart from the well known challenges," says the editorial.

    Modi a friendly person, visit to further strengthen ties: Bhutan PM

    As Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday begins a two-day visit to Bhutan, the Bhutanese leadership has described the Indian leader as "a friendly person and well disposed towards Bhutan" and as one who "gives a sense of purpose and hope".

    Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that even though there are no specific issues to discuss during the meeting with Modi from Bhutan's side, all commitments made and the generous support that the government receives from India will be discussed, according to The Bhutanese daily.

    RBI governor Raghuram Rajan meets Narendra Modi

    Ahead of monetary policy review on Tuesday, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan on Sunday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is likely to have discussed the macro-economic situation and issues related to price rise.

    The RBI’s bi-monthly policy review on 3 June will be the first after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office on 26 May. Last week, Rajan also met the newly appointed finance minister Arun Jaitley and had said fighting price increase is a priority, stressing that the central bank has always maintained a balance between the need to check inflation and prop up growth.

    “Governor of the RBI Raghuram Rajan called on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at 7, Race Course Road today (Sunday). It was a courtesy call,” an official statement said.

    India’s economic growth stayed below 5% for the second year in a row at 4.7% in 2013-14. Growth remained subdued at 4.6% in the fourth quarter. The RBI may leave key interest rates unchanged in its 3 June monetary policy review as Rajan is likely to prefer containing stubborn inflation before conceding to demands for a rate cut to boost growth.

    “RBI is likely to maintain status quo as inflation is still high and the threat of monsoon being weak this time is looming large,” Indian Overseas Bank chairman and managing director M. Narendra told PTI.

    Rajan had kept the policy rate unchanged at 8% in its 1 April review as inflation, especially of food items, hovered at over 8%. Food inflation in April stood at 9.66% and retail inflation was at 8.59%.

    Modi against move to include his life in school books

     Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to put a stop to the race among Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled States to include a chapter on his life in school text-books by articulating his reservations about the move on Twitter which he uses regularly to connect with people.

    ``Am reading that some states want to include Narendra Modi’s life struggles as part of their school curriculum. I firmly believe that the life story of living individuals should not be included as a part of the school curriculum. Young minds should read about the great stalwarts of India who made our nation what it is & emulate them,’’ he tweeted from his personal and Prime Minister’s Office Twitter handles.

    The governments of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat had announced their intent to include a chapter on Mr. Modi in their school textbooks. With the Prime Minister speaking out against such a move, reports from Gujarat suggest that the State Government has already dropped the proposal.

    Compared to some of Mr. Modi’s tweets on controversial subjects, this time round his comments did not generate an animated debate on Twitter. Actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna’s wife Kavita Vinod Khanna differed with Mr. Modi. ``Humbly, I disagree with you. Lessons & inspiration are not just from those deceased but living legends too.’’

    Emotional Modi promises to work hard, fulfil aspirations; swearing in as PM on May 26

    An emotionally charged Narendra Modi on Tuesday said people have voted for "new hope and aspiration" and he would try his best to live up to their expectations after he was unanimously elected the leader of the BJP parliamentary party.

    BJP leader and the NDA prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi receives a bouquet from newly-elected BJP Members of Parliament as he arrives at the Parliament building in New Delhi. (AFP ...

    BJP president Rajnath Singh arrives in Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

    BJP leader and the NDA prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi gestures as he arrives at the Parliament building in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

    Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader Lal Krishna Advani arrives for the BJP parliamentary party meeting in New Delhi. (AP photo)

    Newly-elected BJP Member of Parliament Varun Gandhi arrives in Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

    Newly-elected BJP Member of Parliament and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal arrives in Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

    Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader Lal Krishna Advani arrives in Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

    Newly-elected BJP Member of Parliament and Bollywood actress Hema Malini arrives in Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP photo)
    He expressed his gratitude to the leaders of the party and specially thanked party patriarch LK Advani and president Rajnath Singh for giving him their "blessings".

    "We are here in the temple of democracy. We will work with all purity... not for the designation but for the people of the country. Work and responsibility are the biggest things," Modi told the gathering.

    Referring to his humble background, Modi said it was an ode to Indian democracy and its founding fathers that he was standing there, all set to be the new PM.

    "Today I'm standing before you as the son of a poor man. This is the strength of democracy."

    Modi said the recent election result had increased people's faith in democracy and there is a "new hope" among people that this dispensation can fulfill their aspirations.

    "The new government will dedicate itself for the poor, crores and crores of youth and for the safety and security of the mothers and sisters, those in the rural areas, oppressed and the deprived," he said.

    "I will try to live up to expectations of people," he said and promised to present a report card of his government to the people in 2019.

    "This is the time for new hope and strength." Modi said in 2019 he will meet the MPs again with a report card.

    Referring to the nature of the verdict, he said if it had been a hung or a fractured verdict then one can say that people had vented their anger against the government and that it was anti-establishment.

    "But by giving BJP an absolute majority they have voted for hope and trust. People have voted for hope and faith. and I will do everything to fulfil their aspirations," he said, adding that he is a man full of optimism.

    "I want to assure the people of the country that there is no need for pessimism going by the past bad experience... I am a very optimistic man and only an optimistic man can bring optimism in the country."

    During his 30-minute acceptance speech, 63-year-old Modi broke down when he referred to LK Advani's mention that he had done a favour to the party by taking up the responsibility.

    "Can serving the mother be a favour? A son is only dedicated to serve the mother... The favour has been done by the party," he said addressing the newly-elected MPs of the party in the historic Central Hall of Parliament.

    The PM-to be also took the opportunity to praise the work of the past governments, saying every government and its leaders have contributed to the welfare of the country and he will carry forward whatever good they have done.

    He also invoked former PM and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying it would have been an icing on the cake had the ailing leader been present among them.

    Modi, who led the saffron party to a spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha elections, was earlier elected as the leader amid chants of "Bharat Mata ki jai" and a standing ovation.

    BJP president Singh announced Modi as the leader of the BJP parliamentary board after Advani proposed the name of "popular" and "famous" leader.

    "This is a historic moment in the politics of India," said Rajnath Singh.

    Murli Manohar Joshi seconded the proposal with a sense of "pride" and "joy" and Sushma Swaraj hoped that Modi will be a "famous" prime minister.

    Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari also supported the proposal for electing Modi.

    Advani, who embraced Modi after he was chosen as the leader of BJP parliamentary party, got emotional as he greeted the Gujarat strongman.

    The election was an important formality before Modi approached President Pranab Mukherjee to stake claim to form the new government.

    According to reports, Mukherjee congratulated Modi and invited him to form the government.

    Before that, a 15-member delegation of the NDA, led by Advani, called on Mukherjee on Tuesday afternoon to convey to him that Modi has been elected as the leader of the alliance.

    The NDA delegation comprised of BJP president Singh and senior party leaders Advani and Joshi.

    Leaders from alliance partners included Akali Dal's Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh, TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu, Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan and Neiphu Rio of Naga People's Front.

    Other BJP leaders who were part of the NDA delegation included Swaraj, Jaitley, Naidu, Gadkari, Ananth Kumar and TC Gehlot.

    After the meeting, BJP chief Singh told reporters that the Modi government will be sworn-in on May 26. ?

    According to reports, as the race for key posts in the Modi government intensified the BJP president may get the home portfolio while Arun Jaitley could be the new finance minister.

    Reports also said that Joshi could be chosen as the defence minister and Advani could be asked to guide the party.

    Amid a flurry of meetings, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar also paid a visit to Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday morning.

    On Monday, hectic consultations were on in the BJP for the second consecutive day ahead of the government formation in New Delhi. A stream of leaders met Modi, Singh and senior RSS functionaries.

    Swaraj, who is tipped to be one of the four top ministers of the next government, reportedly conveyed her readiness to work in a "respectable position" in his team.

    The PM-designate, however, has not revealed anything about who his cabinet colleagues will be.

    "He is hearing everyone out and will make his mind known at the right time," a BJP leader considered close to Modi said.

    Was never friends with Narendra Modi, says Ahmed Patel

    CONGRESS president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel Friday refuted Narendra Modi’s claims that they shared a warm friendship.

    “This is a political stunt to create confusion and create a cloud of doubt in the midst of elections. How can Modi be able to make friendship with me when he has never been able to strike friendship within his own party?”, Patel said, reacting to Modi’s claims in an interview to the Doordarshan, which were edited out by the broadcaster.

    He said Modi’s claims of closeness between them were “baseless” and “a complete lie”. In the interview, Modi had claimed that he used to go to Patel’s residence and dine with him. Patel said Modi did come to his place for lunch when he was BJP general secretary in the eighties. “But I never had any one-on-one meeting with Modi before or after the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002,” Patel said.
    “I do not know who are and who are not his friends in Congress, but if somebody is saying that I was very close to him or is very close friend... It is all to create doubts in the midst of elections. It is all baseless and ridiculous, a complete lie.... If he proves that I ever visited his house or his office or taken any favour, I will quit public life,” Patel said.

    “It is far from truth what he is talking about our dining at each other’s house. I remember once in the eighties he had come to my residence, when he was general secretary of BJP in the eighties. I did offer him food then.... When he became CM for the first time... he used to call me on phone whenever there was a festival and I used to answer him out of courtesy, to acknowledge that his phone call had come,” he said.

    NDA will win 300 seats, only Narendra Modi will be PM: Rajnath Singh

     BJP president Rajnath Singh has indicated that he will not be part of the government if his party comes to power after the Lok Sabha election.

    BJP president Rajnath Singh has indicated that he will not be part of the government if his party comes to power after the Lok Sabha election.

    "My responsibilities are already decided and I think, in the BJP, I have many colleagues who are capable who should be given a chance in the government," he added.

    Rajnath Singh categorically said Narendra Modi will be the prime minister if the party comes to power.

    "No matter what happens, under any circumstances, Modi will be India's PM.

    "I want to clarify this as president of the party, because just by sitting in an office, people can't run a government," he added.

    Rajnath Singh gave an interview to Zee news and spoke about the party leadership and why Narendra Modi would become the PM:

    *In an exclusive interview with Zee News, BJP President Rajnath Singh denied that he had any ambitions of becoming the PM. He said only Narendra Modi would be the PM of a BJP-led NDA government, under any circumstances.

    *Rajnath Singh also claimed that Narendra Modi was made the PM nominee after consultations with and agreement of all party leaders. He said the party cadres and leaders are disciplined and there is agreement on key issues.

    *Singh also brushed aside the suggestion that the Lucknow seat, on which he is contesting, is of any significance to the PM's post. Atal Bihari Vajpayee won from Lucknow in 1998 and became the PM. However, Singh said that this does not imply that he would also become the Prime Minister. He quoted the example of Lalji Tandon, who also won from the Lucknow seat after Vajpayee. Rajnath Singh went on to say that it would be against his values to seek the Prime Minister's post after anointing Narendra Modi as the nominee.

    *Singh asserted that a Prime Minister must not merely possess legal and constitutional authority, but also moral authority to be the Prime Minister. He said Narendra Modi possessed such moral authority to take over the reigns of governance at the Centre.

    *The media has been abuzz about the bonhomie between Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi. Singh however denied that there was anything extraordinary about this. He said that there must be good relations between the party president and the Prime Minister for efficient functioning of the country. Singh explained that he had always believed Modi to be the most popular leader in India, even before becoming the party president.

    *Singh though stated that Narendra Modi would have the complete authority to run the country once he became the PM. There would be no interference from him or the party leadership. Rajnath claimed that it was the Congress that believed in remote-controlling the Prime Minister, because they were run by a single family all the time. He said that BJP was a democratic party which did not believe in such remote-controlled governance.

    Modi may contest for LS elections from UP, Gujarat

    Narendra Modi may contest the Lok Sabha elections from Gujarat as well as Uttar Pradesh.

    This follows a fresh assessment by BJP strategists who feel that that their prime ministerial nominee's candidature from two states may boost local cadre, improve prospects of other candidates and help the BJP in its quest for 272-plus seats in the Lok Sabha.

    The assessment comes as Modi completed the first phase of his election campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with rallies in Lucknow on Sunday and Muzzafarpur on Monday. Both states account for 120 of the 543 seats in the LS and are crucial for any party wishing to rule at the Centre.
    A decision on Modi's candidature could be taken when the BJP's election committee meets on March 8, when the first list of candidates for UP is expected to be announced.

    BJP strategists are keen that Modi contests from Varanasi — the nerve centre of eastern UP that is close to Bihar — as they feel it could electrify the mood in neighbouring Poorvanchal and parts of Bihar that together account for over 50 seats.

    Key Modi aide Amit Shah, who is in-charge of UP, believes that Modi should accede to the demand of BJP workers to contest from Varanasi.

    Party leaders said Modi might eventually exercise the option of contesting from both UP and Gujarat as he would not like to disappoint supporters in his home state who are "clamouring" for him to contest from there.

    So far, sitting MP from Varanasi and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has been reluctant to give up his seat. But party insiders said fresh efforts were on to persuade him to shift to another constituency, like Kanpur.

    Party sources said that Joshi apparently had no reservations about giving up Varanasi if veterans like LK Advani also gave up their old seats. Advani has already announced that he intends to contest from Gandhinagar, a seat he has been associated with for several years.

    Modi's managers say he can contest from any seat in Gujarat, ideally Gandhinagar. But Modi is not keen on displacing Advani and may prefer Ahmedabad or any other constituency, any of which should be a cakewalk for him.

    Modi blames Cong for lack of development in Jharkhand, addresses rally amid watertight security

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday blamed the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for lack of development in mineral-rich Jharkhand.
    BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is garlanded along with party president Rajnath Singh at the Vijay Sankalp rally in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)

    Addressing a rally in state capital Ranchi, the Gujarat chief minister highlighted Jharkhand’s unemployment problem and said the central government had done nothing to bring about change.

    “Chhattisgarh has developed a lot. Chief minister Raman Singh has scored a hat-trick (of assembly poll wins). Why are Jharkhand and Uttarakhand lagging behind?” Modi said at the rally, which saw a huge gathering.

    The three states were created in 2000, when the BJP-led NDA government was in power at the Centre. While Chhattisgarh has been ruled by the BJP for the past 10 years, the other two have undergone regime changes. Maoist-hit Jharkhand has seen nine governments and three spells of President’s rule.

    Modi, who has recently got a clean chit from an Ahmedabad court in a Gujarat riots case, also attacked the Centre over price rise.

    A supporter of BJP at party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's Vijay Sankalp rally at Dhurwa in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)

    The BJP’s PM nominee stressed the Congress had lost contact with the people of the country.

    “Jharkhand’s people were heard only when (veteran BJP leader) Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power... a separate state was created,” he said.

    Heavy security arrangements were in place for the rally in the Jharkhand capital, which had grabbed the headlines two months ago for links with the October Patna blasts accused.

    More than 2,500 security personnel were deployed at the venue. As many as 40 CCTVs kept an eye on the proceedings.

    The Jharkhand Police were on toes to avoid a Patna-like incident. In the last week of October, serial blasts had rocked the Bihar capital ahead of a rally addressed by Modi, killing five people and leaving more than 90 injured. Probe led the investigators to Ranchi, the native place of the accused.

    Earlier in the day, Modi reached the venue in a chopper after landing at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport. Senior BJP leaders such as former chief minister Arjun Munda, Yashwant Sinha and Ravindra Rai, welcomed Modi amid a gathering of around 2 lakh people from across Jharkhand. The saffron party booked five trains and 2,000 buses to ferry the supporters from different districts.

    The stage was a replica of Parliament building. A message ‘Mission-2014: 272 +’ was displayed at the top.

    “It’s a Modi wave and the benefit of the wave will be seen in the 2014 elections in Jharkhand,” said former chief minister Munda.

    The state BJP is on the back foot, with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) withdrew its support to the Munda government in January. The JMM has now formed a government in the state with the Congress' help.  Source

    Let all 14 seats come to BJP in 2014 polls, says Narendra Modi in Ranchi

    2:50 pm Modi concludes his rally by ensuring that the BJP will usher in a better and brighter future for Jharkhand. And the people (Congress) who just believe in doing 'Aakashwani', will be of no use.

    2:50 pm This is a historic rally. When I was watching it from the chopper, I could see a sea of humanity queued up for this rally.

    2:48 pm The country need development, and not division. People need employment and not political chaos. The elders need support and not struggle.

    2:47 pm The Congress is cut off from the people. Their leaders can't hear the public's voice.

    2:45 pm Jharkhand's electorate must support the BJP and we ensure it a bright future. Otherwise, its young can never be 'Bharat ke Bhagya Vidhata'.

    2:40 pm People ask me what's your vision? Jharkhand has coal but no electricity stations. Where is the vision? If there were power stations here, then Jharkhand could create so much electricty as to illuminate the entire nation. But the Centre doesn't care.

    2:32pm: Delhi government has been paralysed. The Centre has done nothing for Jharkhand since Independence.

    2:30pm: In 2014, we have Lok Sabha Elections. Let all 14 Lok Sabha seats come to the BJP.

    2:21pm: Jharkhand people would have not been poor if there was a BJP government in the state. People ar epoor here despite abundant resources.

     Narendra Modi in Ranchi
    2:14 pm: Three states were formed at the same time - Jharkhand,Chhattisgarh & Uttarakhand. Why is it that Ch'garh is on a development trajectory but other two are lagging way behind?

    2:10 pm: It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji who had a vision for Jharkhand, that vision needs to be realised.

    2:05 pm: Modi starts addressing the rally

    1:30 pm: Modi reaches the venue

    Narendra Modi landed near the venue in a chopper from Birsa Munda airport.

    11:00 am: Crowd starts to gather at the venue

    The people of Jharkhand began assembling for the Narendra Modi's speech. Modi will make the speech from the stage which is shaped like a Parliament House.

    The Dhurva Ground in Jharkhand's Ranchi is all set to be graced by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modion who will address the crowd in his 'Vijay Sankalp' rally today.

    The remarkable point about this rally is that Modi will address the crowd from the stage with a model of the Parliament in the background.

    The back side of the stage from where Modi will address the crowd, has been made in the form of a Parliament house to give an impression of the Parliament. Read More

    Article 370 doesn't give Women Equal rights, says Narendra Modi in Jammu Drawing on Abdullah Family for Examples

     BJP today downplayed its own stand on Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, saying it should be debated whether the constitutional provision has been beneficial for the state and even hinted that it may give up its demand for abrogation if such a view emerges.

    Addressing his first rally here after being named the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi said his party wanted a discussion on various aspects of the issue.

    He echoed views expressed by BJP President Rajnath Singh, who earlier even told the 'Lalkar' rally that if Article 370 proved to be beneficial, his party would stand by the measure.

    It is a departure from BJP's position seeking complete abrogation of the Article giving special status to J-K in the Union of India.

    Referring to the provision, Modi said that women had not been given equal rights in the state unlike in other parts of the country.

    "If Omar (Abdullah) married outside Kashmir, his rights of being a citizen remain whereas his sister Sara loses the right for the same. Is this not discrimination against the women in the state," he asked, while referring to the Chief Minister's family.

    Taking on the Centre for its China policy, the Gujarat Chief Minister claimed that China had been distributing free SIM cards to villagers along the border with India.

    "I want to ask whether our Telecom Ministry can't provide the same," he said.

    Modi also spoke about "non-implmentation" of the 73rd Amendment providing financial powers to Panchayats and took a veiled dig at the ruling National Conference, saying, "Those who talk about autonomy are not ready to provide the same to their own elected local bodies."

    He accused the state government of indulging in corruption and said the Prevention of Corruption Act is applicable everywhere other than Jammu and Kashmir.

    "For 60 years they talked about separate state (autonomy) but what did people get? Nothing and there is no accountability also...In the name of separate state, they encouraged separatism.

    Centre peeved at Bihar Police's handling of Narendra Modi's security

    The "lackadaisical attitude" of Bihar Police in handling the security at Narendra Modi's Patna rally, which was hit by multiple blasts, has peeved the Home Ministry as, even three days after the explosions, live bombs were found at the venue.

    "Live bombs were found at the venue after the serial blasts. Live bombs were found a day after the blasts. Live bombs were found two days after the blasts and live bombs were found three days after the blasts," a Home Ministry official said, expressing frustration over the alleged carelessness of Bihar Police.

    The official said that reflected how Bihar Police had acted while providing security at the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate's public rally in Patna on October 27.

    Gandhi Maidan in Patna, which was the venue for the rally, is a site of hardly 800m x 300m size and it should not be difficult for any police force to scan it before a public function, the official said.

    "Live bombs were being discovered at Gandhi Maidan itself for three days after the blasts. That shows how they (Bihar Police) handled the security at the venue," the official said.

    Home Ministry has already asked all states to ensure foolproof security for any visit by Modi after he was declared the BJP prime ministerial candidate.

    A Home Ministry team, which visited Patna after the serial blasts, had also found that even though the stage, from where Modi had addressed the public, was sanitised and an anti- sabotage drill was carried out, Bihar Police officials were not ready to sign the relevant papers to that effect.

    "Perhaps state police officers did not want to annoy their bosses," another Home Ministry official said.

    The Centre has already upgraded Modi's security by ensuring that an advance foolproof drill is held wherever he goes ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

    The move will ensure that Modi's rally venues are sanitised the same way as is done for the SPG protectees like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani.

    The drill, called the Advance Security Liaison (ASL), will see Modi's security detail ensure anti-sabotage checks while the venue is sanitised well in advance in close coordination with local police.

    Besides, door-frame metal detectors will be installed at each entry point into the venue and each visitor would be thoroughly checked through multi-layered frisking with hand-held metal detectors.

    Every minute of Modi's itinerary will be documented in writing by the police of the state hosting him and will be monitored by officials from the state government and other security agencies. 

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