News

  • MHA has issued orders to suspend the LoC trade in Jammu & Kashmir w.e.f 19-04-2019. This action has been taken as the Government of India has been receiving reports that the Cross LoC trade routes are being misused by the Pakistan based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency etc.

    It may be recalled that the LoC trade is meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir.

  • Shri N. Kashinath took over as Member (Signal &Telecom) Railway Board on 16.04.2019. Shri N. Kashinath belongs to the 1980 Batch of the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE) with his lien on Southern Railway.

  •  Shri V.P. Pathak, Indian Railway Stores Service Officer of 1980 batch, took over as Member  (Materials Management) Railway Board on 16th April, 2019. Prior to joining this post, he had been  working as Director General (RS), Railway Board since 12th June, 2018 and General Manager of  Chittaranjan Locomotive Works since December, 2016.

  • The State of Karnataka will go to the polls tomorrow on 18th April 2019 in Phase 02 of the General Elections. Out of total 28, only14 Parliamentary constituencies in the state are scheduled to go to polls in a second phase.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that the life of Bhagwan Mahaveer and the philosophy of Jainism hold many crucial lessons for contemporary world.

    Addressing the gathering during the Bhagwan Mahaveer Janam Kalyanak Mahotsav organized by the Jain Seva Sangh on Mahaveer Jayanti, in Hyderabad today, the Vice President said that some of the answers to the serious questions of our times could be found in the philosophy, principles and teachings of Lord Mahaveer.

  • In the backdrop of the growing maritime engagement between India and Vietnam, the Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy at/ off  Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam from 13 to 16 Apr 19. The maiden edition was conducted from 21 to 26 May 18 at Da Nang, Vietnam.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed grief at the loss of lives due to unseasonal rains and storms in MP, Rajasthan, Manipur & various parts of the country.

    “The government is doing its best to provide all possible assistance to those affected.

  • The maiden national level Coastal Defence Exercise SEA VIGIL was conducted by Indian Navy from 22-23 Jan 19. The exercise witnessed the simultaneous activation of the coastal security apparatus across the country involving maritime stakeholders at the Centre and all the 13 Coastal States and Union Territories.

  • The 11 member ‘Himalayan Heights Motorcycle Expedition’ which was flagged off from Karu (Leh) on 07 April 2019 traversed the challenging terrain of Eastern Ladakh, across the Chang La pass and has reached the mighty ‘Karakoram Pass’ situated at an altitude of 18,176 feet on the Karakoram Ranges on 16 April 2019.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed his grief on the loss of lives due to unseasonal rains and storms in various parts of Gujarat.

    “Anguished by the loss of lives due to unseasonal rains and storms in various parts of Gujarat.

  • The Election Commission of India made a recommendation to the Hon’ble President of India, under Article 324 of the Constitution read with Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, to rescind the Election to 8-Vellore Parliamentary Constituency, Tamil Nadu vide its proceedings no.464/ECI/LET/TERR/TN/SS-I/2019 dated 14.4.

  • 2nd Marshal Arjan Singh Memorial International Hockey Tournament is being organised by Air Force Sports Control Board at Astro Turf Hockey Ground, 3 Base Repair Depot, Air Force Chandigarh from 16 April to 25 April 2019.

  •             The Election Commission of India has decided to hold bye-election to fill one clear vacancy from 42 – Chincholi (SC) Assembly Constituency in State Legislative Assembly of Karnataka.   

                After taking into consideration various factors like, festivals, electoral rolls, etc., the Commission has decided to hold the bye-election to fill this vacancy as per the programme mentioned as under: -

    Sl No.

    Poll Events

    Schedule

    1

    Date of Issue of Gazette Notification

    22.

  •             On the basis of the results of the written part of the CISF AC (Exe) Limited Departmental Competitive Exam, 2019 held by UPSC on 03.03.2019, the candidates with the under mentioned roll numbers have qualified provisionally for Physical Standards/Physical Efficiency Tests and  Medical Standards Tests.

  • As many as 1,40,76,635 electors are on the Final Electoral Roll of eight constituencies in Uttar Pradesh which will go to polls in second phase of the General Election- 2019. The constituencies in this phase are - Nagina, Amroha, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Hathras, Mathura, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.

  • As many as 85 candidates are contesting for eight Lok Sabha seats in UP in phase –II of the General Elections- 2019. The constituencies going to poll in this phase are- Nagina, Amroha, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Hathras, Mathura, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.

  •  

    The state of Andhra Pradeshrecorded 79.74% voting in its first General Electionsince the reorganisation of the State. Polling for all 25 Lok Sabha constituencies was held in the first phase of the General Elections on 11th April, 2019.

  •  The National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN) has been authorized to conduct an examination for confirmation of enrollment of Goods and Services Tax Practitioners (GSTPs) in terms of the sub-rule (3) of Rule 83 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017, vide Notification No. 24/2018-Central Tax dated 28.5.

  • A one-day National Consultation on Loss and Damage, to deliberate and brainstorm on emerging perspectives on approaches to assess, minimise and address climate-related loss and damage, was hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in New Delhi today.

  • A major catastrophe was averted by the well trained Indian Naval aircrew, when their Chetak helicopter ditched at sea last week.

    The helicopter was integral to an Indian Naval Warship operationally deployed in the Arabian Sea.

     

    As per reports, the helicopter developed technical failure prior ditching and the crew displayed immense professional prowess and sound training thereby deftly landing the helicopter in the water and successfully egressing from it.

  • "Internationally renowned players from around 15 Asian countries will be participating in this championship and the people of the region will be able to witness world-class talent in action. This is expected to give a big boost to the sport and help enthuse the budding players of the region to better their skills and performance," PBSA president D.S. Bains said.

    The participating countries include India, China, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, Syria, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Iran and others.

    The current World Billiards Champion, Pankaj Advani, will spearhead the Indian challenge along with the current Asian Ladies snooker champion Amee Kamani and international medal winners like Dhruv Sitwala, Vidya Pillai and current national billiards champion Shrikrishna.

    "International Billiards and Snooker Champion Alok Kumar, is from the region and with exposure at this level, we hope that more champions will emerge when such prestigious tournaments are organized in the region," Bains said.

    The championship is being organized under the aegis of the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports (ACBS) and Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI). PBSA general secretary Alok Kumar, who is an Arjuna awardee, said that the championship will be played on specially imported tables.

    "Joseph Law of Hong Kong will be the tournament director and international referees along with Indian referees will be adjudging the games," Kumar said.

    "All players will be seeded and the seeding will be done by the ACBS Seeding Committee, who will take into consideration previous Asian Championship records for seeding criteria, including other performance records achieved at other multi-sport events and/or at the IBSF world snooker championship and the WSA professional circuits," Kumar added.

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs said a probe conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had revealed that some individuals, who have crossed over to Pakistan and joined militant organisations, have opened trading firms there and these were under the control of militant organisations and were engaged in the LoC trade.

    Noting that India had already withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack, it said the latest action has been taken after receipt of inputs that "in order to evade the consequent higher duty, LoC trade is likely to be misused to a much larger extent".

    "It has, therefore, been decided by the government to suspend the LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect."

    Meanwhile, "a stricter regulatory and enforcement mechanism is being worked out and will be put in place in consultation with various agencies", it said, adding the issue of reopening of LoC trade will be revisited thereafter.

    The government, it said, "has been receiving reports that the cross-LoC trade routes are being misused by the Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency etc".

    The LoC trade, meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, is allowed through two trade facilitation centres located at Salamabad in Baramulla district and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch district.

    The trade takes place four days a week and is based on barter system and zero duty basis.

    "However, reports have been received that the LoC trade is being misused on very large scale. It has been revealed that the trade has changed its character to mostly third party trade and products from other regions, including foreign countries, are finding their way through this route," the statement said.

    "Unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for hawala money, drugs and weapons, under the garb of this trade," it added.

    The MHA said that during the ongoing investigations of certain cases by NIA, "it has been brought out that a significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organisations involved in fuelling terrorism/separatism".
     

  • After rising to an intra-day record of 39,487.45 points, the 30-share index turned negative to settle 135.36 points, or 0.34 per cent, lower at 39,140.28. The broader NSE Nifty slipped 34.35 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 11,752.80.

    The benchmark indices had closed at record highs on Tuesday on earnings optimism and forecast of a near-normal monsoon. Markets were closed Wednesday for Mahavir Jayanti.

    Top losers in the Sensex pack included Yes Bank, Vedanta, IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel, L&T, SBI, NTPC, Kotak Bank, HDFC, HDFC Bank, PowerGrid, Infosys and ITC, falling up to 4.18 per cent.

    On the other hand, RIL was the biggest gainer on the index, rising 2.79 per cent ahead of its Q4 results.

    Tata Motors, Asian Paints, TCS, Coal India, Hero MotoCorp, Axis Bank and HUL also ended in the green, rising up to 2.32 per cent.

    Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased equity worth a net Rs 1,038.58 crore on Tuesday, and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares to the tune of Rs 37.22 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.

    Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Japan, China and Korea ended in the red.

    In Europe, bourses in Germany, France and the UK were trading on a mixed note in early deals.

    Global crude oil benchmark Brent futures fell 0.17 per cent to USD 71.50 per barrel.

    Meanwhile, the Indian rupee appreciated 5 paise to 69.55 against the US dollar intra-day.

  • Garcia, 69, fatally shot himself in the head on Wednesday at his home in Lima as police waited in another room to arrest him in the Odebrecht case, which has ensnared three other former Peruvian presidents.

    Garcia had denied the corruption allegations that had long dogged him until the end, saying he was victim of political persecution.

    “Others might sell out, not me,” he told journalists in some of his last public comments on Tuesday, repeating a phrase he used often as his foes became ensnared in the bribery investigation into Brazilian builder Odebrecht in recent years.

    The son of an accountant and a schoolteacher, Garcia became one of Latin America’s greatest orators and governed Peru as a firebrand leftist from 1985-1990. He remade himself as a champion of foreign investment and free trade to win another five-year term in 2006.

    Garcia benefited from his family’s connections with Victor Raul Haya de La Torre, the founder of Apra, which was once Peru’s largest and most powerful political party.

    After earning a law degree in Lima and studying political science in Madrid, he won a seat in Congress and in 1985 became Apra’s first president at age 36. He had promised to bring historically excluded Peruvians into the political fold and extend the country’s vast minerals wealth to the millions who lived in desperate poverty.

    He once enjoyed tremendous support - near 90 percent at his height - and was touted as Peru’s John F. Kennedy.

    But the popularity soon began to crack. In June 1986, security forces killed hundreds of rioting guerrilla inmates in Lima jails, putting in doubt Garcia’s reputation as a defender of human rights.

    His approval sank further when he tried to nationalize banks in 1987 and refused to pay foreign debt, alienating the business class and sparking a deep recession.

    The end of his term was marred by an escalating war with Shining Path guerrillas, hyperinflation surpassing 2,000,000 percent and accusations of widespread corruption.

    In July 1990, he left office in disgrace.

    A SECOND CHANCE

    Garcia was down but not out.

    After spending nine years abroad to avoid corruption probes, he eventually returned to Peru and charmed his way back into politics by convincing voters he had returned older and wiser.

    He ran and lost the 2001 presidency but succeeded in re-creating his image. This time, Garcia promised, he would avoid of the mistakes of his first presidency and would control spending, attract investment and handle insurgent rebels with a heavy hand.

    In 2006, Garcia again ran for the presidency and eked out a win, defeating Ollanta Humala, who had spooked investors and was closely connected in many voters’ minds with the socialist politics of Venezuela’s late former president Hugo Chavez.

    In his second term, a visibly pudgier Garcia oversaw explosive economic growth. He brought billions of dollars of mining and energy investment to Peru and is credited with opening its economy to the world.

    The country became a darling of global investors under his watch but his popularity continued to sink after he left office in 2011, in part due to thousands of pardons his government granted to drug traffickers in his second term.

    Garcia, who had six adult children, ran for president again in 2016 but came in a distant fifth in a race of 10. He resigned as president of Apra and urged members to revamp the party without him.

    Garcia was one of nine people whom a judge had ordered arrested in connection with the bribery investigation into Odebrecht on Wednesday. But he shot himself after police arrived to arrest him and died at a hospital hours later.

    President Martin Vizcarra, who Garcia had accused of trying to silence him, ordered Peru’s flags to be flown at half staff.

  • Most health care workers need a surgical mask, goggles, hooded coveralls, an apron, rubber boots and two pairs of gloves to avoid catching the virus that typically kills around half those it infects.

    The outfits are hot, and in the stifling tropical temperatures of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this limits the time they can spend with patients fighting for their lives in isolation units.

    But Masika has antibodies in her system after she won her own battle against Ebola last year, and she now has immunity.

    The 33-year-old mother of six can spend entire days with patients at a treatment centre in the North Kivu town of Beni, offering a comforting presence among a crowd of faceless figures with names written on their suits in marker pen.

    Masika is one of dozens of survivors who are providing care - and much-needed human contact - to some of the littlest victims of the second-worst Ebola epidemic on record.

    Of the more than 1,260 confirmed and probable Ebola cases, 28% are children, according to figures from the World Health Organization. More than 800 people, including at least 248 under the age of 18, have died since the outbreak began in August.

    The outbreak is surpassed only by one in West Africa in 2013-16, which is believed to have killed more than 11,000 people.

    Masika lost 10 relatives to the virus; four of those infected in her family survived.

    “It was as if Ebola had chosen my family,” she said.

    She was admitted to the same treatment centre where she now works in September and stayed there for 21 days, battling horrific symptoms.

    “It’s like suffering from all the diseases of Congo at the same time,” she said. “I felt bad all over my body: headache, stomach ache, diarrhoea, vomiting, tiredness.”

    Masika’s experience inspired her to join the fight against Ebola, comforting sick and frightened children who have to be isolated from their families and familiar surroundings to avoid infecting others. She is one of at least 23 former patients employed at the centre in Beni, which is run by the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA).

  • The scientists emphasized that their work did not even come close to reawakening consciousness in the disembodied pig brains. In fact the experiment was specifically designed to avoid such an outcome, however improbable.

    Still, the study raises a host of bioethical issues, including questions about the very definition of brain death and potential consequences for protocols related to organ donation.

    The research grew out of efforts to enhance the study of brain development, disorders and evolution. The main practical application is the prospect of allowing scientists to analyze whole brain specimens of large mammals in three dimensions, rather than through studies confined to small tissue samples, Yale said.

    The study, backed by the National Institutes of Health, offers no immediate clinical breakthrough for humans, according to the authors.

    Results of the experiment, to be published on Thursday in the journal Nature, run contrary to long-accepted principles of brain death, which hold that vital cellular activity ceases irreversibly seconds or minutes after oxygen and blood flow are cut off.

    The limited rejuvenation of circulatory function and cellular metabolism in pig brains, which were harvested from animals slaughtered at a meat-packing plant, was achieved four hours after death by infusing the brains with a special chemical solution designed to preserve the tissue.

    “The intact brain of a large mammal retains a previously underappreciated capacity for restoration of circulation and certain molecular and cellular activities multiple hours after circulatory arrest,” lead researcher Nenad Sestan said in a Yale press release issued ahead of the study.

    It was in the lab run by Sestan, a Yale professor of neuroscience, comparative medicine, genetics and psychiatry, that researchers developed the so-called BrainEx system used to pump artificial nutrients into the pig brains’ vascular network.

    Scientists stressed, however, that the treated brains still lacked any detectable signs of organized electrical activity associated with perception, awareness or consciousness.

    “Clinically defined, this is not a living brain, but it is a cellularly active brain,” study co-author Zvonimir Vrselja, associate researcher in neuroscience.

    The BrainEx preservative included substances to block nerve signals. Researchers also were ready to halt any electrical activity that might have emerged through anesthetics and temperature reduction, according to Yale.

    While the study offers no immediate therapeutic benefits for humans, it creates a new research platform that may ultimately help doctors find ways to revive brain function in stroke patients or to test new treatments for restoring brain cells damaged by injury, the authors said.

    In the meantime, the research could spark new quandaries surrounding the determination of death itself, widely defined by one measure as the irreversible loss of all brain function. The blurring of that line has implications in turn for deciding when doctors are ethically bound to go from preserving a patient’s life to preserving their organs.

    “For most of human history, death was very simple,” Christof Koch, president and chief scientist of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, said in a Nature article accompanying publication of the Yale study.

  • Attorney General William Barr’s planned release of the nearly 400-page report comes after Mueller wrapped up his 22-month investigation last month into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and questions about obstruction of justice by the president.

    Its disclosure, with portions expected to be blacked out by Barr to protect some sensitive information, is certain to launch a new political fight spilling into the halls of Congress and the 2020 presidential campaign trail, as Trump seeks re-election in a deeply divided country.

    The release marks a watershed moment in Trump’s presidency, promising new details about some of the biggest questions in the probe, including the extent and nature of his campaign’s contacts with Russia and actions Trump may have taken to hinder the inquiry including his 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey.

    It also may deepen an already bitter partisan rift between Trump’s fellow Republicans, most of whom have rallied around the president, and his Democratic critics, who will have to decide how hard to go after Trump as they prepare congressional investigations of his administration.

    Barr said he would hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) on Thursday to discuss the report, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May 2017.

    Copies of the report will be delivered to Capitol Hill more than an hour later, between 11 a.m. and noon (1500-1600 GMT), a senior Justice Department official said. The delay in seeing the report sparked Democratic complaints that Barr, a Trump appointee, wanted to shape the public’s views during his news conference before others had a chance to draw their own conclusions.

    Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has called a “witch hunt,” raised questions about the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency and laid bare what the special counsel and U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a Russian operation to derail Democrat Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and elevate Trump, the Kremlin’s preferred candidate.

    Some Democrats have spoken of launching impeachment proceedings against Trump in Congress, allowed under the U.S. Constitution to remove a president from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” but top Democrats have been notably cautious.

    Mueller charged 34 people and three Russian companies. Those who were convicted or pleaded guilty included figures close to Trump such as his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, personal lawyer Michael Cohen and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

    Mueller submitted the report to Barr on March 22. Two days later, Barr sent lawmakers a four-page letter saying the inquiry did not establish that Trump’s 2016 campaign team engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia and that Mueller had not exonerated Trump of committing the crime of obstruction of justice. Barr subsequently concluded that Trump had not committed obstruction of justice.

    Since Barr released that letter, Trump has claimed “complete and total exoneration,” and condemned the inquiry as “an illegal takedown that failed.” At a March 28 rally in Michigan, Trump said that “after three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead.”

    Citing people with knowledge of the discussions, the New York Times reported on Wednesday that White House lawyers held talks with U.S. Justice Department officials in recent days about the conclusions in Mueller’s report, aiding them in preparing for its release.

    Justice Department regulations gave Barr broad authority to decide how much of Mueller’s report to make public, but Democrats have demanded the entire report as well as the underlying investigative files. Barr is due to testify to Congress in public about the report in early May.

    The Justice Department has been working for weeks to prepare the redactions, which will be color coded to reflect the reason material is omitted.

    Barr said he would redact parts to protect secret grand jury information, intelligence-gathering sources and methods, material that could affect ongoing investigations and information that unduly infringes on the privacy of “peripheral third parties” who were not charged.

    Democrats are concerned that Barr, appointed by Trump after the president fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, could black out material to protect the president.

  • Televised images showed the bus had spun off the road, apparently having flipped several times, before crashing into a house at the bottom of a slope.

    Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Twitter that he had contacted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to convey his condolences.

    Filipe Sousa, mayor of Santa Cruz where the accident happened, said 17 women and 11 men were killed in the crash, while another woman died of her injuries in hospital. 21 others have been injured.

  • Rajasthan Relief Secretary Ashutosh A T Pednekar said twenty-five deaths occurred in the state. In Madhya Pradesh, senior police officials confirmed 22 deaths. 

    Gujarat government's Director of Relief G B Manglpara said that at least 10 people have died due to rain and dust storms. 

    In Maharashtra, three persons died in rain related incidents. The Met department said in New Delhi on Wednesday that several parts of north and northeast India are likely to witness thunderstorm and rainfall over the next 24 hours.

  • Chasing a target of 133 runs to win, Sunrisers Hyderabad scored 137 for 4 in 16.5 overs. Jonny Bairstow smade 61 not out and David Warner 50. 

    Earlier, opting to bat, Chennai made 132 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in the stipulated 20 overs. Opener Faf du Plessis top-scored with a 31-ball 45 while Shane Watson made 31. 

    Thursday, the second spot on IPL Points Table will be on the line, when Delhi Capitals face Mumbai Indians at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. The match will start at 8 p.m.

  • The FIH has given the Pakistan sports body time until 20th June to pay the fine or else the penalty would be doubled. 

    Confirming the fine, the cash-strapped PHF said it is in no position to pay the penalty. 

    PHF Secretary General Shahbaz Ahmed said in Karachi today that he has requested the FIH to reduce the fine and allow it to be paid in instalments. 

    PHF was fined for not sending the national team for the Pro League matches in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

  • 51 constituencies spread over 7 states will go to polls on the 6th of May. Scrutiny of nominations will be held on Saturday. Monday is the last date for withdrawal of candidature. 

    In Bihar 19 candidates have  filled nomination papers for the fifth phase of elections in the state on Wednesday. With this 88 candidates have filled nomination so far. Former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy filed nomination from Saran constituency. 

    Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh filed his nomination from East Champaran for the sixth phase of election in state. 

  • Earlier, 97 constituencies were scheduled to be covered in the second phase. But election to Vellore seat in Tamil Nadu was cancelled over allegations of excess use of money power and polling to Tripura (East) has been postponed to the third phase, over law and order concerns.

    Polling will be held in 38 constituencies in Tamil Nadu, 14 in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur and Puducherry.

    In Tamil Nadu, besides polling for the 38 Lok Sabha seats, by-elections will also be held in 18 Assembly constituencies. 822 candidates are in the fray for Parliamentary elections and 269 for Assembly by-elections. Nearly 6 crore electors are eligible to vote.

    NDA consisting of AIADMK, BJP, PMK and DMDK is taking on UPA comprising DMK, Congress, the two Left Parties and Vaiko-led MDMK besides others.

    In Maharashtra, a total of 179 candidates are in the fray. Prominent candidates are former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde of Congress. Mr Chavan is contesting from Nanded and Mr Shinde from Solapur. Voting will also take place in Buldhana, Akola, Amravati in Vidarbha and Hingoli, Parbhani, Beed, Osmanabad and Latur in Marathwada. Maharashtra Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dilip Shinde said 'Sakhi' polling booths have been set up to encourage more female voters to exercise their franchise.

    In West Bengal, Jalpaiguri, Raigunj and Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituencies will go to polls in the second phase. 42 candidates are in the fray. More than 49 lakh electors are eligible to vote. Meanwhile, the Election Commission has appointed senior IAS officer Ajay V Nayak as a special observer for the state. The Commission has already appointed Vivek Dubey as a special police observer to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

    In Bihar, Purnia, Kishanganj, Katihar, Bhagalpur and Banka will be covered in second phase. Meanwhile, RJD has expelled Ali Ashraf Fatmi from the party for six years because of his anti-party activities. He has already resigned from the primary membership of the party. Mr Fatmi announced that he will file nomination from Madhubani Parliamentary constituency as an independent against the grand alliance candidate.

    In Uttar Pradesh, polling will be held in Amroha, Aligarh, Mathura, Fatehpur Sikri, Nagina, Bulandshahar, Hathras and Agra. The fate of 85 candidates will be decided in this phase. They include BJP's Hema Malini from Mathura, Congress state chief Raj Babbar from Fatehpur Sikri and SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidate Kunwar Danish Ali from Amroha.

    Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party has announced film star-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha's wife Poonam Sinha as its candidate from Lucknow against senior BJP leader leader Rajnath Singh.

    In Assam arrangement has been made for webcasting and video recording at some places. Special arrangements are made for Divyang, female and elderly voters so that they could exercise their franchise easily. The Election Commission of India has ordered re-polling at 19 polling stations in Arunachal Pradesh due to various reasons, including EVM malfunctioning.

    Speaking to media persons, State Additional Chief Electoral Officer Kangki Darang informed that the ECI has ordered fresh polling on 20th of this month.  Fresh polling will be held at 6 polling booths in Arunachal East Parliamentary seat and 13 in Arunachal West Parliamentary seat.

    In Madhya Pradesh, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur will contest against senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh from high profile Bhopal Parliamentary constituency. She formally joined the BJP on Wednesday.

     

  • As finishing touches were being given for phase two of polling, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued his campaign blitz for the remaining 5 phases in Maharashtra and Gujarat on Wednesday.

    His first rally was in Madha, Maharashtra where he hit out at the Congress-NCP alliance. PM criticised Sharad Pawar's "dynastic politics" and said Pawar  "fled" the poll arena from Madha Lok Sabha constituency as he sensed defeat. He also said Rahul Gandhi has maligned the entire backward community in his zeal to abuse PM Modi.

    PM MODI CAMPAIGNS IN GUJARAT

    Prime Minister Modi also addressed rallies in Himmatnagar and Surendranagar in Gujarat. He accused the UPA government of arresting BJP president Amit Shah and some police officers in Gujarat in a bid to topple the state government then headed by him. He asked the crowd if they approved the language being used by Congress president Rahul Gandhi against him.

    The last rally of the day was in Anand. PM Modi said that this election will decide if nationalist forces will rule the country or those who want to help the "tukde tukde gang" by scrapping sedition law.

    26 Parliamentary constituencies across Gujarat will poll in the third phase on 23rd of April. The state has been a BJP bastion with PM Modi heading the state as Chief Minister for 12 years.

  • Tripura East is a reserved constituency for Scheduled Tribes.

    The seat has 30 Assembly sections under it. The date has been deferred from April 18 to April 23 due to adverse report on law and order.
     

  • Images from four different corners of the country making it evident that it's all set for the second phase of general elections on Thursday.

    95 of the country's 543 lok sabha seats going to polls starting at 7 am. Voting for most seats will wind up by 6 pm. Polling concludes earlier in some naxal affected and North East seats.

    ALL SET FOR MANDATE 2019 PHASE-II

    -- The 95 Lok Sabha seats going to polls in phase II are spread out over 11 states and one union territory
    -- Over 15 crore voters will seal the fate of 1,596 candidates on these seats
    -- Apart from 38 of the total of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu..this phase will see voting take place for 14 of 28 seats in Karnataka, 10 of 48 seats in Maharashtra, 8 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 5 of 40 in Bihar, 5 of 21 seats in Odisha, 5 of 14 in Assam, 3 of 11 in Chhattisgarh, one of 2 in Manipur and the lone seat in Puducherry
    -- 35 of 147 seats in the Odisha assembly are also polling in the same phase
    -- And bypolls are also being held for 18 of 243 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu

    Preparations for voting are complete with lakhs of personnel deployed to ensure free, fair and secure polling..Both central paramilitary and state police forces are being deployed to maintain vigil..The entire state of Tamil Nadu with its 39 seats is voting except for the cancelled election in Vellore because of exorbitant cash seizures a few days ago.

    Phase II is also seeing election being held in 10 seats in Maharashtra and 14 in Karnataka..All poll preparations have been completed in both the states.

    Among the 8 seats that are voting in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday are Agra, Mathura, Nagina, Amroha, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Hathras & Fatehpur Sikri..All preparations for polling are in place.

    The same day will see multiple seats going to polls in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Odisha..Adequate arrangements have been made to ensure incident free voting.

    In Bihar, the second phase will see voting for the Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur & Banka seats. The Election Commission has made all arrangements for free and fair polling.

    2 seats in Jammu & Kashmir are also going to polls in the second phase..12 candidates are wying for the Srinagar-Budgam seats with over 12.95 lakh voters..All arrangements are also in place for voting in the Udhampur seat.

    In case of the North East..voting is taking place for one seat in Manipur where polling officials have been deployed to all far flung areas.

    Voting was scheduled to be held for the Tripura East seat as well but the Election Commission postponed the election for the 23rd of April owing to security concerns..Prominent candidates include.
     

    PHASE II VVIP CANDIDATES
    -- Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda
    -- BJP leader and MoS PMO Jitendra Singh
    -- Union Minister Sadananda Gowda
    -- Film actor and MP Hema Malini
    -- Former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran
    -- DMK leader Kanimozhi
    -- Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan
    -- Former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde
    -- Former Law Minister Veerappa Moily
    -- UP Congress President Raj Babbar
    -- Former NCP co-founder Tariq Anwar
    -- Scam accused Karti Chidambaram
    -- Former J&K CM Dr Farooq Abdullah
    -- CPM MP Mohammed Salim
    -- and BSP leader Danish Ali

    Clearly, politicians and eletion officials have done their part for the second phase of general elections. It's now time for election machinery, security and voters to step up.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind rescinded the notification to hold the election to the seat based on the recommendation made by the poll panel Monday.

    Polling in Vellore was scheduled in the second phase on April 18. 

    The EC took the decision after the district police had filed a complaint against the accused, Kathir Anand, as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on April 10.
     

  • He added that five generations of Congress ruled the country but did nothing for India.
     

  • Having faced brickbats&abuse across board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate.

  • The Congress president and party's candidate from Wayanad parliamentary constituency, Rahul Gandhi offered prayer at the Thirunelli temple.

    He also performed various rituals after offering prayers.

    While addressing rally in Kannur in Kerala, Congress President said that he is contesting from Wayanad because he wanted that their voice to be heard at national level.

  • Prime Minister Modi slammed Congress President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly labeling entire backward community thieves by calling him one of them.

    PM Modi's next stop was at Himmatnagar in Gujarat where he slammed Congress.

  • Party spokesperson G. V. L. Narasimha Rao demanded an apology from Congress on the issue.

    Earlier in the day, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Ram Nath Kovind was made president of the country to balance caste equations ahead of the assembly election in Gujarat in 2017.

  • Anchor: Hello. The entire country is facing the rising electoral temperatures in the country right now. And why just India, the entire world is talking about the Lok Sabha elections in the country. Every election is crucial but this election is special. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, people gave majority to a single party to form the government after 30 years. The election campaign at that time centred around one name, one personality. And that person is none other than our Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is with us for a special interview on DD News and Rajya Sabha TV. Thanks a lot sir.

    Prime Minister: My greetings to all the viewers of DD News and Rajya Sabha TV

    Question: Your critics used to say that your entire push is towards improving relations with the US, while our relations with Russia are worsening. Did the critics got their reply when Russia bestowed its highest civilian honour to you?

    Prime Minister: In a democracy, criticism is good and is also necessary. However, without any substance, criticism becomes allegations. I want criticism but it is very rare. I have experienced that mostly they are allegations. If they wanted to criticize, they would have studied the facts about India’s relations with US and Russia, the issues, where do we stand at multilateral forums and bilateral forums etc. Then they wouldn’t have drawn such a halfbaked conclusion.

    Question: You got several awards. However, questions are being raised about the timing of awards given to you by Russia and the UAE as you got them close to elections.

    Prime Minister: See, every country has its own mechanism, its own ways. They decide their timing. We also give Padma awards to many foreigners. At that time we don’t consider what’s going on in their country. Anyone can ask why we gave Bharat Ratna in election year. There is no logic behind such criticism. Secondly, when I went to Saudi Arabia, I was awarded with their highest civilian honour. I was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine and they honoured me. Afghanistan also gave me their highest civilian honour. I believe it’s a natural process. The Election Commission has always talked about letting these natural processes continue.

    Question: The kind of support India received from the international community after Balakot showed that our relations with the foreign countries have improved.

    Prime Minister: What you are saying is absolutely true. Today, India has arrived at the global fora. Earlier we were a mere spectators but today we are a player. For example, earlier during discussions on global warming and environment, India was seen as a hindrance. But today, the world commends India as a leading player. We have initiated concrete plans like International Solar Alliance. We have good ties both with Israel and Palestine even though there is conflict between them. I am fortunate to have visited the both countries. There are tensions between Arabic nations and Iran but we have friendly relations with both of them. Our aim is to keep national interests paramount while maintaining diplomatic ties with the world. Earlier, the world was bipolar and that’s why we were forced to be a part of one or the other bloc. But in this globalized era, the entire world is inter-dependent and inter-connected. In this situation, India cannot remain in an isolated state. We should try to take everyone along and this is what we have done in the recent past and have got good results.

    Question: Your manifesto also talks about your vision for India. It talks about New India @75 by 2022. What are the five top priorities to achieve that vision?

     Prime Minister: For the first time, we have come up with a manifesto that talks about giving a report card to the nation, mid-way through the govt. We have set goals for 2022 and 2024. In 2022, India is completing 75 years of independence and we aim to create an inspiring environment. We must remember those who gave their lives for the nation. Taking inspiration from there, all 125 crore citizens should participate in India’s growth. Keeping that in mind, we have set 75 goals to achieve by 2022. This means that in 2023 and 2024 people will ask me what I said and what has been done. No one in the past has dared to take such huge responsibility but we did this. I am confident that by 2022, we will provide pucca houses to every family that is homeless. We said that by 2022, no family in the country would be without electricity. In a way, we are encouraging ease of living. We also want to double farmers’ income by 2022 and reduce the input cost, increase yield per acre, spike productivity, give boost to food processing, food storage, grain storage, cold storage, warehousing. How to prepare a good infrastructure with all this along with animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, honey and connecting all these together. We have given a new point of view - the farmer becomes energy-producer. Farmers waste a few patches of land in fencing the farms. If that space can be used to install solar panels, then he will be able to produce energy. This energy can be used for running pumps and all. The additional power produced can be also be sold to the state governments. Some places experience water crisis and only one or two crops can be grown per year. If such places get electricity for six months using solar panels, an additional source of income will be generated. This is our revolutionary thinking which will pan out in the coming times.

    Question: When you talk about solar panels, there is a cost input. Have you thought of ways to reduce cost of the solar panels?

    Prime Minister: You see, LED bulbs are a great example. LED bulb wasn’t a new thing and people were aware of them. Before our government, the cost of LED bulbs was around Rs 350-400. Now due to their usage, the electricity bill of a middle class family has reduced by Rs 2000-3000 per year. It has also reduced energy consumption in the country along with saving the natural resources. It also helps in reducing global warming. We have taken a huge initiative of distributing thousands of crores of LED bulbs. The cost of the bulbs has been reduced to Rs 45. In the beginning when the mobile phones came their prices were very high but today they have reduced a lot. Same thing is going to happen to the solar panels too.

    Question: You talked about farmers. In your manifesto you have aimed to double their income by 2022. However, people say that the farmers are still in distress, they are committing suicides in different parts of the country. This is being made a political issue repeatedly. Farmers have been protesting in Delhi, saying no concrete steps have been taken to provide them immediate relief. They say long term is fine for 2022 but they want immediate relief.

    Prime Minister: We initiated soil health cards. With these cards, the farmers get to know about the health of their soil immediately. They can decide whether the soil is good for the crop they plan to gorw. Many decided to shift to other crops. Earlier farmers used fertilizers more than actual need. They would use the same pesticides as used by the other farmers. Soil health card is a big move to shift the farmers towards scientific ways of farming. The other big point is MSP. This was a big issue highlighted by the Swaminathan Committee. The UPA government was sitting on the files since 2007. They didn’t care about the farmers. Had it been implemented in 2007, the farmers would have been in a much better state now. We implemented the report and ensured that farmers got 1.5 times the cost. We also increased the scope of MSP. Earlier pulses were not covered under MSP. The third important thing we did was to reduce the agricultural imports to zero and produced the concerned crops in the country. For example, to reduce import of palmolein, we pushed those working in the agriculture sector to produce more palmolein. Reduction in imports will strengthen the farmers of the country. We brought the crop insurance scheme for the first time. Earlier if there was a natural calamity like hailstorm etc, the ways and means of providing relief to the farmers were very llimited. We changed old ways and ensured that the farmers faced no losses. We started eNam scheme to provide the farmers a national market. Farmers can now decide on their mobile phones where can they find a good market for their produce and get good prices. We have done many such things. We have now started Kisan Samman Nidhi to help farmers in distress. Earlier, it was done once in ten years to reap political dividends. During the UPA regime, the net loans of the farmers amounted to Rs 6 lakh crore but they only waived off 52 thousand crore. This clearly was a political gimmick. They cheated the farmers forcing them to commit suicides. Out of the 52 thousand crore, only a few lakhs were given to the people. Many farmers got nothing. The CAG report said that out of total beneficiaries, 35-40 people were not even farmers and hence points towards the pre -designed fraud.

    Question: Sir like you just said that the government is going to be formed after 2023. What is the basis of your confidence. The first round of polling has just got over. Now there are six more rounds to go. Today, in a newspaper, a news came came that the government has already fixed its hundred-day agenda. You are talking about 2022. If you are talking about 2047, then what is the reason for this self-confidence?

    Prime minister: We have completed Five years with complete dedication ... With full devotion ... I was new.. I kept trying to learn like any eager student ... The biggest advantage was that I was Gujarat's longest serving chief minister, I learnt a lot there. So with all these positives I started work in 2014. And you must have seen that this government never had shortage of work. There is not a single department that has not taken initiatives. We emphasized on policy governance.. We also emphasized on timely delivery.. the sanitation coverage was 38% since independence until 2014, today it is nearly cent percent. So we have been successful in offering the last mile delivery.. We have also doubled the number of LPG gas connections in the last five years. So people are witnessing our speed, watching our scale, and also looking at our work skills. So these five years of hard work and dedication can create confidence in anyone, I'm constantly travelling and meeting people in diffrent corners of India specially during the weekend. I have met different leaders owing to continous travelling.

    Question: What is going on in a particular clip ... I was looking at ...

    Prime Minister: It was not a road show which happened in Mangalore ... I was passing through a road, people were standing at the side, so I thought that i should look out and greet them. But when I go out I was surprised when it turned out to be huge crowd. I came out to honour their sentiments. ... It was not a road show. and when I saw this clip on social media, someone might have shot it from above.... Yes, I was surprised ... It was visible up to 25- 50 feet from my car... and there was a large number of people around my car ...

    Question: You attend so many rallies, what do you think are the issues on people's mind standing infront of you.

    Prime Minister: In past five years, we tried addressing those basic human needs which should have been theirs in the first decade of independence. They could not get those needs fulfilled even after 60 years. it was our first priority. And as you know that when I was chosen the NDA Leader, I went to the Central Hall of Parliament and said that my government is dedicated to the poor. In the five years I started to fulfill the needs of the common man. They got home, gas, electricity, education for children, arranged for health, many such unprecedented initiatives by my govt. And in the first five years efforts were made to address those needs, the next five years are now focuused on fulfilling the aspirations and ambitions of India and its citizens.

    Question: Sir, if we talk about MANIFESTO, yours or Congress, one thing stands out- i.e. social security, do you believe that this is going to be a big issue in this country.

    Prime Minister: First, every government has this obligation, Social Security. Whether it is in MANIFESTO or not, and we have done the same for the last five years, we focussed on a scenario where a citizen gets home to live, ie; under the social security, Ayushman Bharat ensures he gets five lakh rupees as health cover, one rupee i.e. INSURANCE in 90 paisa as social security, and close to it, the data will have to be checked but I don’t remember the exact amount, I remember, 3000 crores rupees corpus for insurances under social security. Question: The opposition alleges that you are using the cover of nationalism to obfuscate the other important issues – Your Comment. Prime Minister: There is small segment of so called secular media which work on the set agenda of targeting Modi and his govt. Let me point out Bofors case. It was directly related to the nationalism. ‘’He’’ is cherry picking the Rafale issue only to hide sins of his father late Rajeev Gandhi. For the past 6 months, he is levelling allegations without producing even an iota of evidence. The idea is to raise the bogey of nationalism and encash voters’ sentiments. Ditto with Chowkidaar, he went around calling names, attacking me, only to lose the battle of perception in the peoples’ court. He is led by a core team with western ideals and this team has limitations. I want to point out that whenever a farmer is killed or commits suicide, it becomes a political issue. But why we fail to apply the same yardstick to the defence forces. Why it should not become a political issue. Since last 40 years, we are fighting against scourge of terrorism and have lost several brave soldiers till now. I don’t see any logic in keeping this issue under wraps. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir too is like an albatross around India’s neck since time of Pandit Nehru. Its 70 years now, we must try find a solution with a different roadmap this time. We do have specific plans pertaining to Art 370 and 35A. I believe in taking the entire nation into confidence on this issue. I also firmly believe in the power of patriotism. It energises the nation. An Indian youth inspired by light of patriotism can certainly bring medals for India in the Olympics.

    Question: Sir, Article 370 was always part of BJPs manifesto but its for the first time that Congress is opposing it. Ditto with Art. 35A. Kashmiri leaders like Farookh Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are on record opposing it. They even went to the extent of issuing threat of pulling Kashmir away from India in 2020. Your comment ...

    Prime Minister: These leaders are used to such toxic language. They have emotionally exploited and blackmailed since long. They exhorted Kashmiri citizens to boycott panchayat polls whenever they were announced. But these leaders have now run their course. The Kashmiri citizens now refuse to acknowledge them as their leader. For instance, panchayat elections recently held during governor’s rule, were boycotted by them as per habit. Despite of such boycotts the polling percentage was between 70- 75 percent. And today, the elected Sarpanches are successfully running the show in their villages. The funds from the centre directly reaches them. There are no middlemen.

    Question: Dear Sir, despite of heat of elections and presence of Nehru-Gandhi family, can we say that the narrative this time revolves around Prime Minister Narendra Modi

    PM: In a recent interview, I was asked the same question- My reply was that we believe in raising issues. Currently, we are discussing nepotism. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, in the speeches that he gave in 30s, 40s in Jalandhar and Pune, had ticked nepotism as a huge danger to the democracy. If today, I choose to highlight this issue, then it is to save our democracy. Nepotism blights democratic traditions. This country was run by a family for 55 years. If questions are now raised on my 55 months tenure then they too answerable for 55 years of their rule. As far as calling names are concerned, I come from a humble family that sold tea to earn livelihood. I do not have the privileged background like him which has produced number of prime ministers. Such people consider abusing lesser beings as their privilege. There is huge chasm between our status.

    Question: Sir, you said that you are used to expletives thrown at you- so are you the most reviled prime minister this country has ever seen.

    Prime Minister: I’m being abused since almost last 2 decades. Every available expletive in the dictionary was used against me but I never lost my composure. I’m serving my nation with full commitment.

    Question: What is the reason behind it.

    Prime Minister: Simple, they cannot digest the love and affection showered on me by nation and the common man.

    Question: Sir, these general elections are being held when India faces many challenges. The borders are under severe stress. Our forces are engaged full time specially in Kashmir. As the Prime Minister your attention is divided on various fronts. How you cope with it.

    Prime Minister: I believe in carrying out my duty no matter how tough they are. My experience as a CM too helps me. See, the country is facing problems since independence, the scourge of terrorism and bomb blasts has singed this nation and its cities many times. Though now, we have succeeded in limiting it to the 2-3 districts of J&K. My I my duties towards the nation goes beyond elections. I went to Seoul after the announcements of election were made. We recently also succeeded in launching ASAT missile and became the 4 th nation in the world to do so. So eventually, I believe that the govt must function normally even in face of adversities.

    Question: With reference to incidents like Balakot- how you perceive the role of national and international media.

    Prime Minister: The people of the country are the final judge. But their increasing dependence on social media is not a good sign.

     Question: Sir- There were some recent global media reports undermining the strength and capability of our defence forces. These reports also got traction in the local media. Do you find it unusual? Is this an effort to influence the Indian election?

    Prime Minister: I firmly believe that the opposition must draw a line when it comes to national security. They should not cross that thin line while opposing Modi. Unfortunately what starts as anti-Modi campaign ends up landing on anti-national fault lines.

    Question: Sir, talking of fake news, you mentioned Rafale, in this case a lot of unverified information found its way in the media. A stream had also filtered in from abroad. Even Rahul Gandhi said that Chowkidaar Chor hai, though Supreme Court did took note of it recently, do you think all this information is used to CREATE narratives.

     Prime Minister: I know it’s all lie and I’m hardly bothered. But it’s certainly a cause of concern for a grand old party like Congress. It is relying on such canards to survive. The Congress party worker must seriously introspect on this issue specially after the censuring it got from the Supreme Court. Question: It’s been seen that there are concerted efforts to keep alive the Rafale issue. Articles in global media appear at regular intervals. Do you see a design behind it. Prime Minister: As of now, yes, it’s pretty clear.

    Question: So, How will the truth come out?

    PM: The truth has come out. The report of the CAG is there. the report of the Supreme Court has arrived, has been kept on the table of Parliament, everythinh is out there. But the media do not dare to tell the truth.

    Question: Mr. Prime Minister, now let’s talk in the context of elections, about certain states. You look confident. You are saying that you will form the government. But taliking about Karnakataka - you said that people welcommed you in large numbers. BJP also claims that Karnataka as gateway to South, But the JDS and Congress stopped you even when they contested seperately. This time they are fighting as a single unit. Do you think BJP can repeat its winning performance in the state.

    PM: Please remember the Maharashtra scenario- there NCP and Congress were fighting together, they were in power as well. but what was the final result. In Uttar Pradesh assembly elections the Congress-SP together was fighting together. what was the result? In Tripura , there was an informal alliance. In Tripura, Left was in power for a long time. Its history now. Henceforth, such half hearted analysis done by the media means nothing at the ground zero. The situation does not changes there.

    Question: Do you also feel the same in Uttar Pradesh as two opposition parties are in coalition. it is believed that this coalition has a very good vote bank, since BJP performed very well last time here. does you see a repeat performance.

    PM: Bharatiya Janata Party will perform even better this time. The people of the country, the people of Uttar Pradesh, more than ever and have mad up their mind. Families who have their ancestral seats since the last four decades have run away from the battlefield. If the coalition had this brute strength then it would have supported them. They ran despite of coalition. This reveals the true ground sitaution. I do not have to give any evidence.

    Question: You are referring to Amethi?

    PM: Yes, I am speaking about Amethi. I have no hesitation in speaking the truth. Question: You think Rahul Gandhi got scared and went to Wayanad seat?

    PM: I do not think. It is THE truth.

    Question: Mr. Prime Minister, but as we talk about Uttar Pradesh, some people in BJP believe that mahagathbadhan will damage the prospects of the party and that we will be able to compensate for this loss in West Bengal because BJP's position in West Bengal is very good. But Mamata continuos to play hardball.... what do you think about this challenge...

    PM: As far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned, I am saying this with full authority that the people of Uttar Pradesh have made up their mind. The people of Uttar Pradesh have come out of crisis after many years. And therefore, they understand the gathbandhan politics very well; they also understand national politics, so please let’s not talk in the name of Uttar Pradesh. Thirdly, you are saying that the government of Bengal is trying all ways to stop BJP. BJP is in a powerful position there that is why they are trying to stop. If you do not have the strength, then they wouldn’t have noticed us. This means that the BJP is getting mass support in West Bengal very fast. They tried sttopping me too, wherever I went. They are not worried about congress, they do not care about the Left. This means that the People of West Bengal have accepted BJP.

    Question: About West Bengal, how do you see the politics of Mamta Banerjee in West Bengal? What she did with central agencies. Do you see it as violation of federalism?

    PM: I have been chief minister for a long time. All the agencies of the Indian government have troubled me. UPA government was there in the centre for 10 years. For 8 hours policemen have grilled me. I was the Chief Minister. But I still did not speak. I followed the constitution in letter and spirit. So federalism becomes everyone’s responsibility. I leave it to the scholars like you, that what they are doing is right or not, evaluate it and if necessary then write about it. Secondly, what they have done to their people, it is more dangerous. I am more worried about that. Panchayat elections were held. In J & K Panchayat elections were held, there is discussion of terrorism and violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of people in Jammu and Kashmir came out victorious in Panchayat elections. Not a single incident occurred at any polling booth. There was no single incident of violence. There was not a single village in West Bengal where there was no violence, and people were killed in very large numbers. It is the responsibility of the state government to ensure safety of its own citizens and elections of the district council, taluka, election of panchayat elections. The media of this country has suppressed this matter. The amount of truth that was supposed to come out did not come out. Because of that, now they are enjoying going on this path and there is no one to question.

    Question: In this regard, they accuse and Congress also supports them that your government is politically using the central agencies in a wrong way?

     PM: There is no such evidence. The cases in UPA’s time, if its process is going on, the court is asking to do this and do that. Now what the courts say, they should do it nor not? Secondly let’s assume in the train 5 to 25 people are going and a small leader is also going and gets caught without ticket, so if there is an election going on, that leader should not be held? Election is being held if he is travelling without ticket in the railway so he should not be held. Does this happen? Law is for everyone, for me as well.

    Question: Sir, we discussed about Bengal and you said in the context of justice, Congress dismissed the state governments, in the same context, if I see the figure after independence about 124 times the central government has sacked (dismissed) the state government. But when such violence took place in Bengal. When political activists in Bengal were murdered, not only the BJP but the political workers of Congress also were murdered. In Kerala BJPCongress workers were killed, RSS too. People have been saying that this is fit case of imposing Art. 356, but still you refused to react.

    PM: In my opinion, even in Jammu and Kashmir, we used to wait for the government to be formed. We kept the Assembly in Suspended n Animation, but when there was no possibility of government formation we had no option but to impose 356. it should be the last resort.

    Question: I once again come back to Karnataka and South politics. In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, especially in Tamil Nadu it is happening after many years that there is no such personality as Jayalalitha. DMK does not have big leaders, then how do you see politics for BJP in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Especially as your hopes are high for Karnataka?

    PM: Bharatiya Janata Party will perform well in South. Take any state of South whether it is Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

    Question: Sir, let’s deviate from election talk. In coming years, our country will have a large number of middle class. You have talked about it in past few days. It was mentioned In the budget tax rebate also . How do you see their aspirations and means to fulfill it?

    PM: You have asked the right questions. The guide and philosopher of Congress Party has come especially from America. They gave a statement that middleclass is selfish and tax has to be implemented on them. The Congress party is officially saying that if they come into the government, they will break the middle class. My conviction is that the bulk of the middle class is increasing in the country. By nature middle class does not have the habit of doing anything wrong. They live as law abiding citizen and are a growing class of our country. Even today the highest contributors towards tax etc. are the middleclass people. We have neglected middleclass people for many years. Our opinion is middleclass should get respect, should get opportunity. For many years the middle class was demanding for more than 2 lakh concession in income tax. Many governments came and went. Keeping in mind the middle class with income of 5 lakh, now there is no income tax up to Rs 5 lakh. In the same way, the Home loan, It is the dream of Middle class to have their own home. For the first time a government thought for the urban middle class. This has happened for the first time that any government has thought about the middle class. For housing sector, we introduced RERA. The builder community used to loot middle class… a person from middle class family used to run from pillar to post for a house and yet was never satisfied with the end result. Middle class was hassled for a house. To protect the rights of middle class, we introduced RERA. We have introduced many policies that will benefit middle class now and even in near future. Middle class, noveau middle class…or those who have managed to step out of poverty need special attention. This huge block of population, I believe will be the force that will change India’s fate. This has happened for the first time that any government has thought about the middle class. For housing sector, we introduced RERA. The builder community used to loot middle class… a person from middle class family used to run from pillar to post for a house and yet was never satisfied with the end result. Middle class was hassled for a house for the longest. To protect the rights of middle class, we introduced RERA. We have introduced many policies that will benefit middle class now and even in near future. Middle class, neo middle class…or those who have managed to step out of poverty would need special attention. This huge block of population, I believe will be the force that will change India’s fate.

    Question: Prime Minister sir, I would like to shift focus back to elections…especially on your home state Gujarat. In 2014 elections, Gujarat became congress-mukt, you won all 26 seats but when assembly elections were held, BJP could not touch the figure of 100 and was stopped at 99. You are not even contesting from Vadodara this time…some people feel that after BJP’s hold has weaken after you have made your way to Delhi.

    Prime Minister: The Bharatiya Janata Party started emerging in Gujarat from 1987-88. We fought in one Lok Sabha election in alliance with Chimanbhai Patel. BJP got 12 seats and others had 14 seats. We won 12 out of 12 and they won 11 out of 14…. So even at our first attempt we did not get 26 out of 26, but we won all 12 seats. And this time too, Gujarat will vote for BJP and we will win from all 26 seats. It is natural that people of Gujarat prefer development.

    Question: With growing population, it will be difficult to provide opportunities to all… how will you be able to tackle these aspirations of the new generation?

     Prime Minister: In India, ambit of middle class is growing rapidly…we have over 800 million youth… we must consider this as an asset. India is undergoing urbanisation and we have not considered this as a challenge… but have taken it as an opportunity. This lot will become the growth centre… Thirdly, India’s talent has become part of world’s biggest eco system… that is of Start-up. Who is behind this revolution? Not someone at the age of 40-50 but they are the youth… There are some entrepreneurs, who are making selling their 2-3 year old start up to other companies… So, a new sector has come up. Hence to benefit them, we have given them money without guarantee through Mudra Yojana. We have opened all doors of financial help for these budding entrepreneurs. 17 crore people have taken advantage of it, and out of these…. 4.25 crore people are those who have taken money from the bank for the first time. We want to strengthen technology, build modern infrastructure… for all this we would need lots of talent… We want to make world class infrastructures… we would require such talent in these field too. It’s the power of youth that will take the country forward.

    Question: That’s correct, but don’t you think you must also focus on growing population? The growing population will sooner or later will put immense pressure on present resources.

    Prime Minister: First of all people have to be educated….just how southern states have managed to achieve tremendous success in controlling population growth… Those states that have worked hard to reduce population growth will not be unjustified by the Finance Commission. The commission has taken up this role for the first time. In a way, this will benefit the people….This is also a way to strengthen the states.

    Question: Prime Minister, in the last five years, your government's economic policies has been debated worldwide…. There has been a report of the IMF two days ago, which says that India will be the fastest growing economy…at the same time, actions taken by your government against NPA was appreciated but there are certain reports that say it is a jobless growth and steps like demonetisation, GST have caused damage

    Prime Minister: Only those people are crying over demonetisation who had to lose something. Those who have unaccounted cash were troubled by the demonetisation and so they kept crying, but today it has been proven that our steps were right and due to which the formal economy has got strengthened in the country. Those who earn money honestly, those who do not have any black money… is now able to purchase things from the market. Earlier they were not able to because people used to ask for 50% cash and 50% cheque. … But how will that person get black money from? So this was a huge issue for the honest lot. Secondly, we have increased tax bracket too…If you would have noticed, since Independence number of people filing their taxes have doubled. Whether it’s World Bank, IMF or other group… they all have accepted India as the fastest growing world economy and even in future India will be counted in the list of fastest growing economies. Thirdly, before 2014, before we came into power… When India stood at 11th number at the world economy… our the then Finance Minister celebrated the event with much fervour… And we have managed to take it to number six… and very soon we will reach the number five spot. So, whatever the current situation is… one need to understand it better. This is not even an issue. Those people can continue criticising it.

     Question- You said that there are no issues. Some issues have been created in the last 5 years. Some said that there is a state of undeclared emergency in the country. Some people started returning their awards. It was also said that under your Government, citizens don’t have freedom of speech. Such incidents have been constantly happening. How do you view this?

    Prime Minister- One, the people of the country did not pay heed any of these people. The people of the country did not accept what they were being told by these people. So this is a specific set of people. What is the reason behind all that was being said? The biggest reason is the people that make up this set. This aspect is not discussed in our country. You have asked a good question. So, I want to inform the people of the country. In our country, there is a law for bringing wealth from abroad as a donation, and under that law, whoever brings money from abroad, be it for an organization, or charity, or education, or health, has to give an account to the government, compulsorily. There was no accounting. Money from abroad kept coming in. We came and tried to follow the law. We sent letters, asked the people who had been receiving money from abroad to account for it. You’ll be surprised to know that there were 20 thousand people… 20 thousand organizations who declined to give us information. They did not even put in fresh applications. This clearly meant that the money which was coming in was being used for wrongful activities. It was being used to damage the country. Now, definitely these people were indulging in wrongful activities. In these 20 thousand organizations, somebody or the other would have a link. Now these shops got closed when Modi took such a big step. If there are 20 thousand such powerful people, then there will be some people from among them, who would misguide other people to spread such hoax.

    Question- Prime Minister, one final question for you ... Manmohan Singh, who was the Prime Minister before you… He gave a statement which was debated upon a lot… he said that the resources of this country should be the first right of one particular religion. What is your take on it?

    Prime Minister- In that meeting, I was present as Chief Minister and when Manmohan Singhji said such a thing, the whole House was shocked, people were astonished as to what he was speaking … and at the same time, I came out and gave a byte that first rights on the resources of this country are that of the poor, the downtrodden, the victims, the exploited. We should not paint the resources of our country with the color of one sect. Such vote bank politics should not be practiced and such a declaration from the Prime Minister's mouth, on such an important forum will never acceptable this country. I had said that day and I am still saying that the resources of this country should be used for the future of the country… should be used for every poor of the country.

    Question- Prime Minister, since the elections are going on… our best wishes for you … and thank you very much for giving time to DD Doordarshan and Rajya Sabha TV.

    Prime Minister- I am also grateful to Doordarshan and Rajya Sabha TV for this opportunity to meet you your audience through you. Thanks a lot.

     

    WATCH INTERVIEW HERE:

     

  • The Sun is probably the most studied celestial object, but it still hosts mysteries that scientists have been trying to unravel for decades, for example, the origin of coronal mass ejections which can potentially affect the Earth.

    A team of scientists at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, Maharashtra have been leading an international group of researchers to understand some of these mysteries.

    "The sun is a surprisingly challenging radio source to study. Its emission can change within a second and can be very different, even across nearby frequencies," said Divya Oberoi, from NCRA, who led the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

    "In addition, the radiation due to the magnetic fields is so weak that it is like looking for the feeble light from a candle in the beam of a powerful headlight," Oberoi said in a statement.

    "On top of this, seeing coronal emission at radio frequencies is a bit like looking through a frosted glass, which distorts and blurs the original image," he said. The Sun has some of the most powerful explosions in the solar system. Their possible impacts on Earth include electric blackouts, satellite damage, disruption of GPS based navigation, and other sensitive systems. Hence, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and predict space weather reliably.

    The magnetic fields in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, are the energy source for these massive explosions, and they are notoriously difficult to measure. Observations in radio wavelengths are best suited for this problem, but even there, this information is very hard to extract.

    A new telescope extremely well suited for solar studies has recently become available: the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia.

    To keep up with the rapid changes in solar emissions, it is necessary to make images of the sun at every half-second interval, and also at hundreds of closely spaced frequencies, totalling to about a million solar images every hour.

    The researchers recently developed an automated software pipeline for making these images. "The solar images from this pipeline also offer the highest contrast, which has ever been achieved, and are a big step toward understanding space weather," said Surajit Mondal, the lead author the study.

    This pipeline is called the Automated Imaging Routine for Compact Arrays for the Radio Sun, or AIRCARS. The contrast of the images from AIRCARS is much better than the best solar images available.

    These high-contrast images have already yielded their first discovery -- a group of weak radio bursts, researchers said. This work has also led to the exciting discovery of oscillations in the size of the radio-emitting region and its brightness.

    "These findings challenge the conventional wisdom of these oscillations arising in the local magnetised plasma and point to a new phenomenon operating deep down at the base of the solar atmosphere," said Atul Mohan, PhD student at NARC.

    These images have also led to a technique for estimating, for the first time, the details of exactly how passing through the corona distorts the radiation passing through it, researchers said. 

  • While the meeting of the ailing airline's board in Mumbai that went on for over three hours remained inconclusive, officials at the lenders and the government maintained that efforts are on to revive the carrier.

    However, the carrier's pilots union NAG on Tuesday threatened to seek resolution under insolvency law as salaries dues remained unpaid. 

    With uncertainty mounting over the future course for the airline, which has been in operation for more than 25 years, its shares crashed nearly 19 per cent during the day amid reports that the carrier might temporarily suspend operations.

    Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said the airline has sought emergency funds worth around Rs 400 crore from banks and that the matter is between the carrier and the lenders. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, he said Jet Airways was operating only five planes.

    Government officials said lenders are discussing ways to revive the crisis-hit carrier and fresh funds are likely to be infused shortly. "Discussions for reviving the airline are underway and nothing has been finalised as of now," Punjab National Bank Managing Director and CEO Sunil Mehta told reporters in New Delhi.

    Representatives of various lenders to Jet Airways are also understood to have discussed issues related to Jet Airways with Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar.

    Jet Airways has a debt burden of more than Rs 8,000 crore. Jet Airways said it is awaiting "emergency liquidity support" from the SBI-led consortium of lenders to arrest further deterioration in its services.

    In the morning, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu called for a review of issues related to Jet Airways, including rise in airfares. The civil aviation ministry, in a late evening tweet, said that as instructed by the minister, a review meeting was held under the chairmanship of the secretary. "Airlines agreed to use lower price buckets for selling tickets in order to keep fares within reasonable limits," it said.

    NAG's Vice President Aseem Vlianini said the union might approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for a resolution. Entities seeking resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) should have to first get the go-ahead from the tribunal.

    The union, which has around 1,100 members, said the airline is only operating around 450 seats per day and that operations would have to be suspended if money does not come in.

    Management has said that salaries are to be paid from the additional funding only but SBI has said that salaries would not be part of the funds, according to Vlianini.

  • "Authorities are monitoring the situation very closely. All possible assistance is being given to those affected," he tweeted.

    In another tweet, it was informed that PM Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to unseasonal rain and storm in various parts of Gujarat.

  • Ninety seven constituencies, spread over 12 States and one Union Territory, will go to polls in this phase. 

    These include- all 39 constituencies of Tamil Nadu, 14 in Karnataka; 10 in Maharashtra; eight in Uttar Pradesh; five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha; 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal; two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry. Campaigning for this phase ended last evening. Political parties will resort to door to door campaign Wednesday.

    As all the seats in Tamil Nadu are identified as expenditure sensitive, special measures are being taken by the Election Commission to check money power. The number of sensitive booths in the state has escalated to 8,293, where polling would be web-streamed or video-graphed.

    The state also faces bye-elections for 18 Assembly seats along with the Lok Sabha polls. 

    In Karnataka, over two crore 67 lakh voters will decide the fate of 241 candidates in this phase. The Director General and Inspector General of Police, Neelamani N Raju has informed that Hassan, Mandya, Tumkuru and Bengaluru Rural are vulnerable constituencies where the additional police force is deployed. 

    In Maharashtra, a total of 179 candidates are in the fray for the ten seats. Preparations are on in full swing with both men and machinery expected to reach their respective booths by evening.

    Some key personalities whose fate will be decided in this phase include BJP’s sitting MP Pritam Munde from Beed, state Congress president Ashok Chavan from Nanded, former Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde from Solapur and Mahagathbandan candidate Navneet Rana from Amravati.

    In Uttar Pradesh, polling will take place for Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Amroha, Bulandshaher, Nagina, Hathras, Aligarh and Mathura Lok Sabha constituencies.

    In Assam, Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Sahu has said that polling parties at some remote areas have already left for the polling stations. The CEO said, adequate security measures are being taken to ensure peaceful polling. Special arrangement will be made for senior citizens and PwD voters.

    In Puducherry, 18 candidates are in the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat.  Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements. 1,850 police personnel and 10 companies of central forces have been deployed.

    222 polling booths have been identified as vulnerable and 25 as critical stations. Around 4,400 polling personnel in all the 970 polling booths have been deployed.

    Meanwhile, electioneering has gained momentum for the third phase of polling slated to be held for 115 constituencies spread across 12 states and 2 Union Territories on 23 April.

  • It is one of the most sacred days for Jains. The followers of Lord Mahavir celebrate this festival by chanting prayers, offering prasad and participating in chariot processions.

    President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and PM Narendra Modi have greeted the people on this occasion.

    In a message, the President said that Lord Mahavira’s message of peace and non-violence has enriched our cultural heritage. He said, on this auspicious day, the people should resolve to ceaselessly strive for harmony in our country and across the world.

    In his message, the Vice President said, that Bhagwan Mahavir’s messages of non-violence, truth and universal compassion illuminated a path of righteousness and honesty. Mr Naidu said, his teachings are universal and therefore relevant to the entire world. 

    The PM, meanwhile said, "Bhagwan Mahavir is a shining beacon of a tradition whose exemplary teachings have furthered the spirit of peace, harmony, brotherhood and non-violence. May his blessings enhance happiness and well-being among our citizens."

  • Food marketing, designed to foster strong positive associations with junk food in kids' minds and to drive overeating, is one of the biggest obstacles in the public fight against obesity.

    The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, found that a simple and brief intervention can provide lasting protection for adolescents against these harmful effects of food marketing.

    The method works in part by tapping into teens' natural desire to rebel against authority, researchers said.

    The team from the University of Chicago in the US went into classrooms and had one group of students read a fact-based, expose-style article on big food companies. The article framed the corporations as manipulative marketers trying to hook consumers on addictive junk food for financial gain.

    The stories also described deceptive product labels and advertising practices that target vulnerable populations, including very young children and the poor.

    A separate, control group of students received traditional material from existing health education programs about the benefits of healthy eating. The researchers found that the group that read the exposes chose fewer junk food snacks and selected water over sugary sodas the next day.

    Teens first read the marketing expose material, and then did an activity called "Make It True," meant to reinforce the negative portrayal of food marketing. The students received images of food advertisements on iPads with instructions to write or draw on the ads -- graffiti style -- to transform the ads from false to true.

    The study found that the effects of the marketing expose intervention endured for the remainder of the school year -- a full three months.

    The effects were particularly impressive among boys, who reduced their daily purchases of unhealthy drinks and snacks in the school cafeteria by 31 per cent in that time period, compared with the control group.

    Researchers found that reframing how students view food-marketing campaigns can spur adolescents, particularly boys, to make healthier daily dietary choices for an extended period of time. "Food marketing is deliberately designed to create positive emotional associations with junk food, to connect it with feelings of happiness and fun," Christopher J Bryan, from University of Chicago.

    The intervention produced an enduring change in both boys' and girls' immediate, gut-level, emotional reactions to junk food marketing messages. Teenage boys, a notoriously difficult group to convince when it comes to giving up junk food, started making healthier food and drink choices in their school cafeteria.

    "One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods," said Bryan.

    This relatively simple intervention could be an early sign of a public-health game changer, researchers said. 

  • "A glimpse beyond the dedicated Service and Sacrifice of the @UN blue beret - Indian peacekeepers receive medals of honour in Malakal -@India Be Proud," the UN mission tweeted Monday, along with pictures of the Indian peacekeepers participating in a parade and receiving the medals for their exemplary service.

    The medals were given to the 150 Indian peacekeepers serving in UNMISS in Malakal during a ceremony filled with parades and performances by a piped band.

    Colonel Amit Gupta, deployed with UNMISS in Malakal, was among the recipients of the medal of honour.

    A UNMISS news article said Gupta commands a battalion of 850 soldiers in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan. Under his command, his men have conducted highly sought-after veterinary camps and run a veterinary hospital in Malakal, with a second expected to be completed in Kodok - a major town along the west bank of the Nile - in a few weeks' time.

    "I want to be remembered as having left positive memories for the people in South Sudan," Gupta is quoted as saying in the UNMISS article. "I also want to leave them in a better place, where they are able to generate income for themselves and build their country." 

    Indian peacekeepers serving with the mission have undertaken numerous training sessions of community animal health workers, providing value addition training for farmers to help them make the most of their produce. "If a group of volunteers in India can come together and create one of the largest milk production entities in our country, then surely, it can be done here as well," he says, "If even 10 percent of our trainees apply what they've learnt, this country will be better for it." 

    Gupta has previously served the United Nations in Northern Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Private Ankush Cheema, another recipient of the medal of honour, had joined the unit in 2017 when he found out that they were scheduled for a peacekeeping mission.

    "I grew up near Kashmir where several army units have been based and so I consider myself an army boy," he says in the UNMISS article. "Besides this, my father and grandfather before him, were both army men. They however, never got to participate in a peacekeeping mission." 

    During his deployment, Cheema has participated in air and riverine patrols and is also among the distinct men who are in his Commander's quick-response force. "Those I joined the army with, will probably earn their first medal of honour in another two years. I consider myself lucky. I have my UN medal and when I return home, I will get my foreign service medal," he said.

    Earlier in a tweet, UNMISS had said that the Indian Horizontal Mobility Engineering Company serving with the mission completed the renovation of 145 km of roadway connecting Bentiu and Leer "easing the way for the delivery humanitarian aid, trade and inter-communal dialogue."

    India is one of the top troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions. More than 2,00,000 military and police have served over the past 70 years and 168 Indian military personnel have lost their lives under the UN flag.

    India is the second largest contributor of peacekeepers to UNMISS with more than 2,400 military and police personnel currently deployed the mission. 

  • More than 190 million Indonesians are set to cast a ballot as polls opened shortly after 7:00 am local time in restive Papua. The vote is slated to end at 1:00 pm in Sumatra at the other end of the volcano-dotted archipelago.

     A record 245,000 candidates are running for public office, from the presidency and parliamentary seats to local positions -- the first time all are being held on the same day.

    Opinion polls show Widodo, 57, is a clear favourite -- but he faces a tough challenge from Subianto, 67, who has leaned on a fiery nationalist ticket and warned he will challenge the results over voter-list irregularities if he loses. Subianto narrowly lost to Widodo in 2014 elections, and unsuccessfully challenged those results.

    Voters will flock to more than 8,00,000 polling stations where they'll punch holes in ballots -- to make clear their candidate choice -- and then dip a finger in 'halal ink', a measure to prevent double-voting in a graft-riddled country where ballot-buying is rife.

    The polls present a huge logistical challenge in a country stretching 4,800 kilometres across more than 17,000 islands with a population of more than 260 million, including hundreds of ethnic groups and languages. Officials were moving cardboard ballot boxes by motorbikes, boats and planes -- as well as elephants and horses -- to reach mountaintop villages and communities deep in the jungle.

    A series of so-called "quick counts" are expected to give a reliable indication of the presidential winner later Wednesday. Official results are not expected until May.

    The poll has been punctuated by bitter mudslinging and a slew of fake news online that threatens to sway millions of undecided voters. Widodo has campaigned on his ambitious drive to build much-needed roads, airports and other infrastructure across Southeast Asia's largest economy. Raised in a bamboo shack in a riverside slum, the soft-spoken Widodo stands in stark contrast to Subianto, whose strongman image is underscored by a penchant for slamming lecterns as he accuses Jakarta of selling the country off to foreign interests.

    Subianto -- joined by running mate Sandiaga Uno, a 49-year-old wealthy financier -- has courted Islamic hardliners, promised a boost to military and defence spending and, taking a page from US President Donald Trump, vowed to put "Indonesia first" by reviewing billions of dollars in Chinese investment.

  • Citing reports of state chief electoral officer and special police observer, the poll panel said, "The law and order situation prevailing ... is not conducive to the holding of free and fair poll." The returning officer had feared that "miscreant elements" may thwart the polling process in the constituency.

    Based on the ground and intelligence reports, he had requested for additional central police force, it said.

    "Everyone saw what happened during polling on April 11. I have travelled to different districts and saw videos where activities, which were against the rules of Election Commission of India, were seen," Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said.

    "We have forwarded those details to the Election Commission. We hope to develop law and order situation conducive for holding the elections on April 23," he added.

    Elections for the first phase were held on April 11.

     

  • The maximum temperature was recorded at 30.7 degrees Celsius, six notches above the normal, while the minimum settled at 20.5 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal, the Meteorological (MeT) office said.

    However, this was nearly 10 degrees lesser than what was recorded Monday.

    Several parts of the city received light rains and witnessed gusty winds at different intervals of the day.

    The MeT Department attributed the change in the temperatures to a western disturbance that impacted several parts of north India, including Delhi.

    While 1.1 mm rainfall was recorded till 8.30 AM, the MeT office registered 0.2 mm rainfall till 5.30 PM. The humidity levels oscillated between 83 and 47 per cent.

    The temperatures are expected to drop Wednesday as cloudy skies and gusty winds are likely during the day.

    "We can expect comfortable weather to persist on Wednesday as well. As per the weathermen, we can expect more pre-monsoon activities on Wednesday, but with a reduced intensity," a private weather forecasting agency, said.

    The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 36 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature may touch 28 degrees Celsius, the MeT office said.

  • A government notification rescinding the polls said the EC was "fully satisfied that the current electoral process in Vellore has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of certain candidates and some workers of the political party."

    Perhaps, this is the first time election to a Lok Sabha constituency has been cancelled over use of money power. The byelection to RK Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu was cancelled in April 2017 following similar seizure of huge cash, allegedly meant for bribing voters.

    The EC notification said in the commission's considered opinion conducting the poll in Vellore in such a vitiated atmosphere would "severely jeopardise the conduct of free and fair election."

    Hence, the commission recommended cancelling the polls to the government which was accepted and poll for Vellore seat was annulled.

    President Ram Nath Kovind issued the order rescinding the polls by amending portions of the original poll notification that called the electorate in Vellore to elect a member to the Lok Sabha.

     

  • Opener Rahul hit a 47-ball 52, while Ashwin (2/24) smashed 17 off four balls in the last over and then took two crucial wickets as KXIP bounced back after successive losses in the last two matches to record their fifth win in this IPL.

    Invited to bat, Rahul, who was named in India's World Cup squad on Monday, and David Miller (40 off 27) shared a 85-run stand to lay the foundation.

    Ashwin then smashed a four and successive sixes in the last two balls to put KXIP in a strong position. The hosts then returned to restrict Rajasthan to 168 for seven, courtesy some superb bowling by Ashwin and Murugan Ashwin (1/24) in the middle overs after Arshdeep Singh's maiden two IPL wickets.

    Mohammad Shami was expensive but came good in the final overs, scalping two wickets. After this win, KXIP Punjab grabbed the fourth spot in the points table with 10 points to keep play-off hopes alive.

    However, it was Rajasthan's sixth loss and they will need to pull up their socks if they have to salvage any hopes of making it to the knockout stage. Defending the total, KXIP dismissed the big-hitting Jos Buttler (23) early as Rajasthan reached 55 in the first six over.

    After blasting two sixes and one four, Buttler was caught by keeper Pooran as young pacer Arshdeep scalped his maiden IPL wicket.

    Opener Rahul Tripathi (50) and Sanju Samson (27 off 21) added 59 runs to take Rajasthan close to the 100-mark.

    However, after two tight overs, Ashwin produced the breakthrough with a carrom ball in the 12th over when he cleaned up Samson, who looked to play a sweep shot. Shami then returned only to concede 11 runs with Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane sending him across the rope.

    Needing 66 off last six overs, Tripathi completed his fifty in 44 balls before being caught at long off boundary by Agarwal off Ashwin.

    Australian Ashton Turner's IPL debut ended with a first-ball naught, while Jofra Archer was send back by Shami as RR slumped to 133 for five in 17.1 overs. Stuart Binny scored a quickfire 11-ball 33 but it was not enough as Rahane too was dismissed in pursuit of quick runs.

    Earlier in-form Rahul played a controlled innings after he lost his opening partner Chris Gayle (30) before powerplay. Gayle hit three sixes and two boundaries before being sent back by Archer as KXIP were 39-1 at the end of powerplay.

    The dashing opener dispatched Unadkat for two sixes in his first over, then hit Dhawal Kulkarni for a six and a four before edging one off Archer into the hands of wicket keeper Sanju Samson.

    Mayank Agarwal, who walked in after Gayle's fall, looked dangerous but failed to last long. He made 26 of 12 balls and was claimed by RR's New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi as Punjab slipped to 67 for two.

    Rahul then tried to steady the ship with Miller, who came into the side due to the last-minute ankle injury of Australian allrounder Moises Henriques.

    In the 14th over, Rahul and Miller exploded after bringing up the hundred for KXIP. The duo amassed 19 runs off Sodhi's over with Rahul smoking a massive six over deep square leg and Miller thumping one over long-off.

    The two batsmen piled up 20 runs in the next over with Rahul clearing the cover with an inside-out shot for a six off Unadkat, and Miller disposing a full-toss over deep midwicket.

    Rahul was then picked up by medium pacer Jaidev Unadkat in the 18th over with the opener hitting straight to Archer at point.

    Punjab then lost Nicholas Pooran (5) and Mandeep Singh (0) -- both claimed by Archer in his last over, while Miller too handed a catch to Buttler off Kulkarni in the 20th over as Punjab slipped to 164 for six.

    Ashwin then smashed a four and successive sixes in the last two balls to put KXIP in a strong position.

  • The vote, which sends the amendments to a national referendum, was seen by critics as another step back to authoritarianism, eight years after a pro-democracy uprising ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule.

    The 596-member assembly, packed with el-Sissi's supporters, overwhelmingly gave its initial approval in February, sending it to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee to finalize the wording before Tuesday's final vote.

    Of the 554 lawmakers who attended the session, 531 voted "yes," 22 voted "no" and one abstained. "Today we are concluding what we started in February," speaker Ali Abdel-Al said at the beginning of the session. "In this great day, we offer to the Egyptian people a draft bill of the constitutional amendments."

    The national referendum will likely take place before early May when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts.

    Since early April, the Egyptian capital has been awash with large posters and banners encouraging people to vote in favor of the changes. In Cairo's central Tahrir Square, where mass protests became the symbol of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising and of hopes for democratic change in Egypt, the posters urge people to vote in the referendum.

    "Take part, say ... 'yes' for the constitutional amendments," says one banner near the pro-government Nation's Future Party.

    Most of the posters were apparently funded by pro-government parties, businessmen and lawmakers. The constitutional changes would only extend a president's term in office from four to six years and allow for a maximum of two terms.

    But they also include a special article specific to el-Sissi that extends his current second four-year term to six years and allows him to run for another six-year term in 2024 ? potentially extending his rule until 2030. Justifying this clause, speaker Abdel-Al said it was aimed at "political justice ... and the required stability."

    The February draft of the special article was different, proposing to allow el-Sissi to run for two more six-year terms after his current term expires in 2022, possibly putting him at the helm of Egypt until 2034.

    No reason was given for the change, apparently made by the committee that drafted the final version of the text. Lawmaker Ahmed Khalil said his Salafi Nour party, which promotes strict adherence to sharia law, rejected the proposed changes because the constitution states that Egypt is a civilian state, which is understood by some people as a "secular country."

    Sharia law, or Islamic law, is based on Islamic principles, particularly those found in the Quran and Hadith.

    Later in the day, he said his party approved the proposals after the speaker clarified that a civilian state doesn't mean a secular state. It has been nearly six years since el-Sissi led the military overthrow of the country's first freely elected but divisive Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, after mass protests against his rule.

    El-Sissi was elected president first in 2014 and re-elected to another four-year term last year after all potentially serious challengers were arrested or pressured to withdraw from the race.

    The amendments also introduce one or more vice presidents, revive the senate and enshrine a 25 per cent quota for women in parliament's lower, legislative chamber.

    It also includes provisions for what it describes as adequate representation for workers, farmers, youth and people with special needs. The amendments also allow the president to appoint top judges and bypass judiciary oversight in vetting draft legislation.

    They declare the military the "guardian and protector" of the Egyptian state, democracy and the constitution, while also granting military courts wider jurisdiction in trying civilians.

    In the last three years, over 15,000 civilians, including children, have been referred to military prosecution in Egypt, according to Human Rights Watch. 

  • The proposed text seen by AFP warns that the offensive by Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) "threatens the stability of Libya and prospects for a United Nations-facilitated political dialogue and a comprehensive political solution to the crisis."

    The council "demands that all parties in Libya immediately de-escalate the situation, commit to a ceasefire, and engage with the United Nations to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities throughout Libya," the draft states.

    After Britain circulated the text late Monday, a first round of negotiations was held during which Russia raised objections to references criticising Haftar, diplomats said.

    "They were very clear. No reference anywhere," a council diplomat said. Britain was hoping to bring the measure to a vote at the council before Friday, but diplomats pointed to Russia's objections as a hurdle.

    At least 174 people have been killed and more than 18,000 displaced since Haftar ordered his forces to march on Tripoli on April 4, according to UN figures. A rocket attack on the city killed two people and injured four on Tuesday.

    Last week, Russia blocked a draft council statement that would have called on Haftar's forces to halt their advance on Tripoli. The proposed measure echoed a call for a ceasefire by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was in Libya to personally advance prospects for a political solution when the offensive was launched.

    Haftar, seen by his allies Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as a bulwark against Islamists, has declared he wants to seize the capital, now controlled by a UN-recognized government and an array of militias.

    Haftar backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that is refusing to recognize the authority of the Tripoli government.

    The draft resolution calls on all sides in Libya "immediately to re-commit" to UN peace efforts and urges all member-states "to use their influence over the parties" to see that the resolution is respected.

    Resolutions adopted by the council are legally binding. Diplomats have long complained that foreign powers backing rival sides in Libya threatened to turn the conflict into a proxy war.

    Saudi Arabia is also seen as a key Haftar supporter, while Qatar -- which has tense ties with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi -- has called for stronger enforcement of the UN arms embargo to keep weapons out of Haftar's hands.

    Russia and France, two permanent council members, have praised Haftar's battlefield successes in defeating Libyan armed groups aligned with the Islamic State in the south of the country.

    Haftar's offensive on the capital forced the United Nations to postpone a national conference that was to draw up a roadmap to elections, meant to turn the page on years of chaos since the 2011 ouster of Moamer Kadhafi.

    Guterres has said that serious negotiations on Libya's future cannot resume without a ceasefire. 

  • The technical experts and foreign office officials from both sides participated in the talks held at Kartarpur.

    In a major initiative last November, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur Corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib -- the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev -- to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

    Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

    The corridor will be opened in November this year in connection with the 550 birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

  • BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday campaigned in the southern states of Karnatka and Kerala. He held road shows and rallies in different places in the two states.

    Meanwhile the process of filing of nominations is also underway for the remaining phases of Lok Sabha Polls. While senior BJP Leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh filed  his nomination papers from Lucknow,  parliamentary constituency.

    Union Minister & BJP Leader Col Rajywardhan Rathore filed his nomination papers from Jaipur Rural in Rajasthan. He also offred prayers at the local temple.

    Meanwhile accusations and counter accusations continued to fly thick and fast in the heat of elections. BJP Leader Ravi Shankar Prasad accused Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of playing politics on matters of national security... and indulging in divisive politics.

    As the election season  progresses the war of words is likely to intensify further.

  • Prime Minster Modi held rallies through the day on Tuesday for the remaining phases and appealed for votes.

    Prime Minster 's first rally was in Sambalpur in odisha where he not only hit out at BJD but also Congress. He said till sometime back corruption was rampant but the NDA government took major steps to curb corruption and now if the government sends 100 paise the entire 100 paise is spent on the poor.

    Prime Minster said the only achievements of Cong and BJD are discrimination on the basis of region and caste.

    Prime Minster also said that when he acted on the corrupt practices of the opposition they felt pained and now want to remove him.

    Prime Minster's next rally was in Korba in Chhattisgarh  he hit out at Congress and said Naxals will get a boost because of Congress and said conspiracy is on to plunge Chhattisgarh again into dangerous times. He said utmost caution must be practiced against sympathisers of Naxals and Maoists.

    Prime Minister then reached Bhatapara and said these elections will determine the role of New India. He hit out at the corrupt practices of the Congress and said Congress and its allies are loosing sleep over the popularity of BJP.

    For the last rally of the day, Prime Minister reached Odisha. He held a roadshow from the airport to the ground. People gathered on both sides of the road. He later held a rally.

  • Union Minister & BJP Leader Col Rajywardhan Rathore filed his nomination papers from Jaipur Rural in Rajasthan.

    Rathore will face Congress candidate Krishna Poonia in Jaipur Rural.

    Prior to filing his nominations. the BJP Leader Visited temple and sought blessings from almighty.

  • Curtains have come down for campaigning for the second phase of the world's largest general elections. Din of canvassing fell silent at 5 pm on Tuesday for the 2nd phase which will see polling on the 18th of April. Political parties spared no effort on the final day of campaigning to garner maximum support for their candidates contesting in the second phase..

    ROUND 2 OF 2019 MAHA POLL BATTLE

    -- The 2nd phase will see voting taking place in 12 states & one Union Terroritory for 97 Lok Sabha seats

    -- Over 15.79 crore voters will exercise their franchise in this phase
    -- Apart from all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, 14 from total of 28 in Karnataka, 10 from total of 48 in Maharashtra, 8 from a total of 80 in Uttar Pradesh, 5 from a total of 40 in Bihar, 3 from total of 42 in West Bengal & 2 from a total of 6 in Jammu and Kashmir will go to polls in this phase
    -- 5 Lok Sabha seats from Odisha, 5 from Assam, 3 from Chhattisgarh, one each from Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry will also witnessing voting on Thursday
    -- 35 of 147 vidhan sabha seats of Odisha will also witness polling in this phase
    -- Agra, Mathura, Nagina, Amroha, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Hathras & Fatehpur Sikri are among the 8 seats in U.P. polling in the second phase
    -- The 5 seats in Bihar are Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur & Banka
    -- Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling & Raiganj are polling in West Bengal
    -- and Srinagar as well as Udhampur in J&K

    Polling will start on all these seats at 7 am and wind up in a range between 3-8 pm. The naxal affected seats in Chhattisgarh will see polling till 3 pm. It will wind up for some seats in Odisha at 4 pm. Most of the other seats will see polling till 6 pm..It's only in case of the Madurai seat in Tamil Nadu that voting will go on till 8 pm. A total of 1,629 candidates are in the fray for the 97 Lok Sabha seats. Prominent among them are.

    PHASE II VVIP CANDIDATES
    -- Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda
    -- BJP leader and MoS PMO Jitendra Singh
    -- Union Minister Sadananda Gowda
    -- Film actor and MP Hema Malini
    -- Former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran
    -- DMK leader Kanimozhi
    -- Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan
    -- Former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde
    -- Former Law Minister Veerappa Moily
    -- UP Congress President Raj Babbar
    -- Former NCP co-founder Tariq Anwar
    -- Scam accused Karti Chidambaram
    -- Former J&K CM Dr Farooq Abdullah
    -- CPM MP Mohammed Salim
    -- and BSP leader Danish Ali

    Furious campaigning has taken place for the phase II seats..Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

    Top ministers and leaders canvassed support for the BJP's candidates in this phase.

    The campaign was led by party President Rahul Gandhi & his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the Congress.

    In U.P. it was the leaders of the SP-BSP-RLD Mahagathbandhan. AIADMK and DMK leaders in Tamil Nadu.

    Shiv Sena and NCP leaders in Maharashtra, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal Naveen Patnaik in Odisha & leaders of JD(U) & RJD in Bihar who led the campaigning charge.

    Clearly, no party has left anything to chance. Now the ball will in the voters' court on Thursday for 97 parliamentary seats.

  • Rajnath Singh won the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from western UP's Ghaziabad but shifted to Lucknow for the 2014 polls.

    The BJP has won the Lucknow seat continuously since 1991; Atal Bihari Vajpayee represented the constituency from 1991 to 2009.

    Rajnath Singh said that country wants Prime Minister Modi to once again become the Prime Minister of the country.

    Earlier, before filing his nomination, Rajnath Singh visited a temple.

  • As of April 11, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 555 cases of the disease since the beginning of the year, up from 465 cases confirmed by April 4. The cases were found in 20 states spanning the country.

    The measles virus is highly contagious and can lead to complications and death, particularly in children. The CDC report did not say whether there have been any fatalities.

    The U.S. outbreak is part of a worldwide rise. The World Health Organisation reported on Monday that global cases had risen nearly four-fold in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year.

    A growing and vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose vaccines believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in them can cause autism or other disorders.

    Five parents filed a lawsuit with the New York State court against the city’s health department on Monday, requesting a halt to emergency orders requiring the measles vaccine on the grounds that it goes against their religious beliefs.

    “There is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or dangerous outbreak to justify the respondents’ extraordinary measures, including forced vaccination,” said the lawsuit, identifying the parents only by their initials.

    The city’s Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment.

  • Hardik Pandya produced a sensational late cameo of 37 not out off just 16 balls smashing five boundaries and two sixes.

    Yuzvendra Chahal and Moeen Ali claimed two wickets each for RCB.

    Earlier, put in to bat Royal Challengers Bangalore posted 171 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in the stipulated 20 overs.

    This was Mumbai's fifth win in eight games and they are now at third spot with 10 points.

    Today, Kings Eleven Punjab will take on Rajasthan Royals at IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali at 8 PM.

  • The squad was announced by the BCCI Acting Honorary Secretary Amitabh Choudhary in Mumbai, with Chairman of Selectors M.S.K. Prasad sharing the dais. 

    While there were no major surprises in the 15, the inclusion of Dinesh Karthik was the notable factor. 

    Karthik returned to India's World Cup squad after 12 years, while Rishabh Pant was excluded. 

    Veteran Dinesh Karthik pipped young turk Rishabh Pant in the fight for the second wicket-keeper's slot. The 33-year-old Karthik got the nod ahead of the 21-year-old Pant despite an indifferent IPL campaign with the Kolkata Knight Riders.

    Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar made it for his three-dimensional qualities.

  • The raids are being conducted in state capital Bangalore, Hassan and Mandya and the department said the action is aimed against tax evaders and black money generators.

    Official sources, however, indicated that links of these persons with respect to ongoing polls will also be a part of the investigative operation.

    "The searches are based on credible intelligence that certain businessmen have earned income not disclosed to tax and are in possession of undisclosed assets. Taxpayers covered in the search operations are engaged in the business of real estate, quarrying and stone crushing, executing government contracts, operating petrol bunks, saw mill and managing cooperative banks," the department said in a statement.

    These are sectors, it added, which are "prone" to generation of black money. It said five residences in Hassan, one each in Bangalore and Mandya along with their business premises are being covered as part of the search operations.

    About a dozen premises are being searched, sources added. 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state will go to polls in two phases on April 18 and 23.  

  • Directed by Sriram Raghavan, the thriller drama features Ayushmann, Tabu and Radhika Apte. The film, which released in China under the title "Piano Player", breached the Rs 200 crore mark within 13 days.

    "As an artiste it's always extremely satisfying to see a film not only receiving appreciation from audiences but also delivering big at the box office. I'm thrilled with the fabulous response that 'Andhadhun' has received first in India and now in China," the actor said in a statement.

    Ayushmann said the film's achievement has reinstated his faith in the fact that "universal stories will always have a bigger reach". "It's absolutely incredible to see the run that Andhadhun is having in China and having a 200 crore feat in the country will always be memorable for me personally," he said.

    "Sriram Raghavan has given the world a thriller that is keeping everyone on the edge of their seats and language is not being a barrier. Thus, 'Andhadhun' has passed the true test for cinema given its universal appeal," he added.

    According to the makers, it is the fifth highest grossing Indian film in China after "Dangal", "Secret Superstar", "Bajrangi Bhaijaan", and "Hindi Medium". "We had no idea that our little 'experimental film' would travel so much. Experimental doesn't mean no fun.

    The film, I learn, is screening in both subtitled and dubbed versions in different screens. My whole team is super thrilled," Raghavan said. The critically-acclaimed film, produced by Sanjay Routray's Matchbox Pictures, ran successfully for over 75 days, earning over Rs 100 crore after its release in October 2018 back home in India.

    Last week, "Andhadhun" opened the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) and also received a standing ovation in the presence of Tabu, Raghavan and Routray.

    "This April has been especially exciting for all of us at Matchbox Pictures. We are overjoyed that his (Raghavan) vision and our film is being celebrated across the world now," Routary added

  • 97 constituencies spread over 13 States and one Union Territory will go to polls in this phase on Thursday.

    All 39 Parliamentary constituencies of Tamil Nadu, 14 in Karnataka, 10 Maharashtra, 8 Uttar Pradesh,  5 each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, and 2 in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry will be covered in this phase.

    On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address four rallies in Odisha and Chhatisgarh.

    In Odisha, he will hold public meetings in Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar and a road show in Bhubaneswar. 

    In Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Modi will also address rallies in Raipur district of the state.

    Congress President Rahul Gandhi will hold multiple rallies in Kerala on Tuesday.

  • The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on Monday issued the guidelines for monetisation of non-core assets of CPSEs and immovable enemy properties, following a Cabinet decision in February.

    According to the guidelines, an inter-ministerial group  chaired by the secretary of DIPAM, will identify the non-core assets of the CPSEs on its own and also on the basis of recommendations of the Niti Aayog. 

    Once the Alternative Mechanism, comprising the finance minister, road transport minister and the minister of concerned administrative ministry, approves the assets for monetisation, it should be completed within 12 months from the date of approval.

    The government has set a target of Rs 90,000 crore to be raised through CPSE disinvestment in current financial year, up from the Rs 85,000 crore mopped up in the previous financial year.