News on Elections and Politics
Kerala government has lost its direction: CPI-M
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat on Friday described the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala as the most corrupt and one that has lost its direction. "For the past five decades, our party in the state has been the dominant political force and we should continue to strengthen our party," Karat said, inaugurating the 21st Kerala Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) party conference Alappuzha, Kerala. Describing the Congress-led UDF government in the state as the most corrupt one, he said: "We should come out with an alternate development model for the progress of the state." The four-day party conference began with party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and his arch-rival V.S. Achutanandan sharing the dais. Achuthanandan raised the party flag at the conference venue with Vijayan standing close to him. Vijayan on Thursday slammed Achutanandan and said that the latter continues to breach the party discipline. Achutanandan hit back at him, saying that he will listen to the party politburo and not to anything from anyone.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 05:08:44 PM
Sonia Gandhi writes to PM for special status to Andhra
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that special category status is granted to Andhra Pradesh immediately. In her letter, copies of which were shared with the media on Friday by the Andhra Pradesh unit of the Congress party, she urged the prime minister to provide financial assistance to the state and support the construction of the state capital. She said that even after eight months of the division of Andhra Pradesh, the commitments made to the people of the successor state of Andhra Pradesh were not fulfilled. Gandhi also drew Modi's attention to her earlier letter dated June 22, 2014 on the implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. She had written it for ensuring that all commitments made to the people of the successor state of Andhra Pradesh are fulfilled in letter and spirit.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 05:03:56 PM
Mamata congratulates Nitish after Manjhi's exit
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar after her embattled Bihar counterpart Jitan Ram Manjhi dramatically resigned just ahead of a floor test on Friday. "I had congratulated Nitishji on 7 February, 2015. Let me congratulate him again today," Banerjee said in a tweet. Claiming that he as well as some other Bihar legislators had received threats to their lives, Manjhi said his request to Governor K. N. Tripathi that the confidence vote be held through secret ballot was not accepted. "I realised that secret ballot may not happen, a lot of legislators would have lost their membership if it would have been known that they had voted for me, that's why I decided to quit", said Manjhi who was locked in a battle with Kumar after the latter claimed the chair. on Feb 7, Banerjee had tweeted a message congratulating former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. "Nitish Kumar to become the chief minister of Bihar again. My warmest best wishes and congratulations to Nitishji," she said. Banerjee is now on a three-day trip to Bangladesh capital Dhaka.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 04:55:39 PM
Petroleum ministry leak: Accused sent to jail
A court in Delhi on Friday sent all seven accused in the petroleum ministry document leakage case to jail. All the accused were produced in the Patiala House court in connection with their alleged role in providing secret documents of the petroleum ministry to corporate houses. Santanu Saikia, who runs a web portal and covered the crime beat for several years, was sent to police custody till Feb 23 along with Prayas Jain, a Melbourne-based energy consultant; and Rakesh Kumar, 30 and Lalta Prasad, 36 -- both brothers and residents of Delhi. The court also sent Rajkumar Chaubey, 39, a resident of Ghaziabad; and government employees Asharam, 58 and Ishwar Singh, 56, to judicial custody for 14 days. All the seven arrested have been charged under various sections of the IPC relating to theft, forgery, trespass and criminal conspiracy in leaking the documents.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 04:24:36 PM
Nitish Kumar sorry for quitting, says won't repeat it
Senior JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who may become the next Bihar chief minister after Jitan Ram Manjhi quit, on Friday publicly apologised to the people for his mistake in having resigned last year. "I admit that I had made a mistake by resigning as chief minister. I publicly apologise for it to people of Bihar. Please forgive me for it as I will not repeat my mistake," Nitish Kumar said at a press conference in Patna. Nitish Kumar saying sorry was akin to Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal's apology for resigning as the Delhi chief minister after 49 days last year. The AAP went on to make a stunning comeback in Delhi, winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats. Nitish Kumar apologised twice during his half an hour address to the media in Patna. He made it clear that he will not take any such emotional decision in the future. Manjhi on Friday resigned just ahead of a floor test.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 04:18:56 PM
Kejriwal inaugrates 28th Garden Tourism Festival in Delhi
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday inaugurated the 28th Garden Tourism Festival in New Delhi and said that his government will soon make Delhi one of the best tourist hubs in the country. "The parks and gardens of Delhi have great potential to be one of the best in the world. My government will soon make Delhi one of the best tourism hubs in the country. Work is in progress," Kejriwal said while addressing the people during the inaugration of the tourism festival at the south Delhi-based Garden of Five Senses. The Garden Tourism Festival was for the first time organised in 1988 in a Delhi Development Authority park (DDA) in Greater Kailash. The three day festival with the theme "Landscaping with Hanging Plants" will exhibit 400 different types of flowers along with various other plants. Musical nights will also be organised every evening during the occasion.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 04:06:07 PM
Celebrations in Nitish Kumar's camp after Manjhi quits
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) workers in senior leader and former chief minister Nitish Kumar's camp began celebrating while the houses of the supporters of his successor Jitan Ram Manjhi wore a deserted look after Manjhi quit as Bihar CM on Friday. Manjhi was to face a floor test later in the day and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had declared support to him. JD-U leaders close to Nitish Kumar distributed sweets and took to the streets to express their happiness. "There is a festival like atmosphere at the JD-U's state headquarters in Patna. Party workers and leaders played with colours even though Holi, the annual festival of colours, is in March," JD-U leader Sanjay Singh said.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 04:00:49 PM
There is need to tackle Hindutva: Prakash Karat
There is a need to tackle two forces - big business houses and Hindutva - in the country, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said on Friday while attacking the Narendra Modi government. Karat said that big business houses and corporates who are getting numerous benefits and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which is pushing forward its communal agenda under the nine-month-old Modi government should be tackled. He was speaking in Alappuzha, Kerala at the inauguration of the 21st Kerala Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) party conference, which will continue for four days. "To appease the corporates, the Modi government has gone ahead by passing three ordinances, it includes increasing the FDI in the insurance sector. For the first time, the coal mining is going to be opened for the private sector. The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 is going to be amended, which will be detrimental for farmers and the beneficiaries would be the big business houses," he said.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 03:56:17 PM
President wishes Bhutanese king on his birthday
President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday wished Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on his birthday on Feb 21. In his message to the king, the president said: "It gives me great pleasure to convey the warm greetings and felicitations of the government and people of India on the occasion of Your Majesty's birth anniversary." "We wish you a long life of good health and happiness as you guide the people of Bhutan towards ever greater progress and prosperity," he added. Drawing upon the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries, the president said: "The people of India appreciate and value the contribution of the visionary Druk Gyalpos (the king of Bhutan) to the present state of excellent relations between India and Bhutan."
Source: IANS2015-02-20 02:19:18 PM
Waiting for word from governor: Nitish Kumar
We are now waiting for a word from the governor, said JD-U leader Nitish Kumar after Jitan Ram Manjhi put in his papers as Bihar chief minister. "We are waiting (for a word) from the governor," said Nitish Kumar and added that they had submitted letters of support to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi on Feb 8. Nitish Kumar described the sudden decision of Manjhi to quit as chief minister just ahead of the floor test as "unique situation". "There was high-voltage drama." "This is perhaps happening for the first time...The speaker was to address the joint session, half an hour before that the chief minister resigned," Nitish Kumar told reporters. Nitish Kumar, who quit last year after JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls, sought forgiveness for the "mistake" he had made. "Please forgive me," he said. Countering Manjhi's accusation, Nitish Kumar said that it was "hilarious".
Source: IANS2015-02-20 02:14:46 PM
Modi flags off Arunachal-Delhi train
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar on Friday to participate in the state's 29th foundation day has flagged off the first ever express train from Naharlagun to New Delhi. "PM @narendramodi dedicates line to the Nation! Flags off the AC express train from Naharlagun to New Delhi in presence of MR @sureshpprabhu," the PMO said in its Twitter handle. "AC express train - an ''anmol nazrana'' for the state of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of its birthday," said Modi. He also expressed pride in the rail connectivity from Naharlagun to New Delhi and to Guwahati. Modi said: "I am glad to come here on the occasion of your statehood day. The Governor and the CM came and told me to come. The affection of this state is such that I had to come." "A big impediment in the Northeast's development is connectivity be it rail, roads, air. The more connectivity increases, better it is. With the rail connectivity I am sure the tourism will increase, people will see the beauty of this land," the prime minister said.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 02:10:55 PM
Modi arrives in Itanagar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar on Friday to participate in the 29th foundation day of the hill state. Modi is likely to flag off a train between Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh to New Delhi and inaugurate some other projects in the northeastern state. The prime minister is accompanied by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 12:06:05 PM
Modi wishes Arunachal, Mizoram on statehood day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday greeted the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram on their statehood day. Extending his greetings to the people of Arunachal Pradesh, the prime minister said: "Warmest greetings on the statehood day of your state. Arunachal Pradesh is a land known for its natural beauty and its warm people. I am committed to ensuring all possible support that enhances the state's development journey." Statehood day was conferred on Arunachal Pradesh on Feb 20, 1987. Wishing his "sisters and brothers" of Mizoram, Modi in his message said: "Greetings on Mizoram's statehood day. My best wishes for the overall development of Mizoram. May the state scale new heights of progress in the years to come." The formalization of Mizoram took place on Feb 20, 1987.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 12:02:37 PM
Seven Congress workers held for blocking Patnaik's cavalcade
At least seven workers of the opposition Congress party were arrested in Bhubaneswar for blocking Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's cavalcade in Bhubaneshwar, police said on Friday. "We have arrested seven people. They all are Congress workers. We are likely to arrest a few more in the incident soon," Deputy Commissioner of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said. Patnaik was on his way to Utkal University in the city to attend the annual function of its students' union on Thursday when dozens of activists of Congress' youth and student wings waylaid his convoy near Keshari Talkies. Shouting anti-government slogans, some of the protestors also waved black flags, and hurled eggs on the chief minister's vehicle. Patnaik was, however, escorted by the police safely from the spot without any damage to his vehicle.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:59:49 AM
Government asks Congress to vacate party headquarters
The Congress party has been asked by the urban development ministry to vacate four government bungalows including the one on 24 Akbar Road which serves as its headquarters, sources said. Congress treasurer Motilal Vora on Thursday said that the party has replied to the notice from the Urban Development Ministry. "We will reply to any further query," Vora said. The sources said that the party has been asked to vacate the premises following cancellation of their allotment. They said that the Congress had been asked to pay penal fee till the bungalows are vacated. The sources said that the ministry communicated to the Congress last month that it was required to vacate the four bungalows that are in its possession in June 2013 according to policy for allotment of land for political parties. Congress has been allocated land to build its office at Rouse Avenue near ITO.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:55:29 AM
Manjhi quits, claims threat to life
Embattled Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday dramatically resigned just ahead of a floor test, the move coming despite the BJP extending support to him. Manjhi said that he did not get respect as chief minister. "I have submitted my resignation letter to the governor. I should have quit before," said Manjhi soon after he met Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi in Patna on Friday. He claimed that he as well as some legislators had received threats to their lives. An official said tha Manjhi met the governor ahead of a trust vote he faced later in the day. Manjhi was picked by former chief minister and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar as his replacement when he quit last year after JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls. In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators - most of whom are with Nitish Kumar. The party has the support of 24 Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators, five Congress MLAs, two Independents and a CPI MLA. The BJP has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents. Nitish Kumar was quick to react on Manjhi's resignation and said: "Our stand has been vindicated."
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:48:07 AM
BJP defeat in Delhi a setback, says Naidu
Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said that party's defeat in Delhi assembly elections was a "setback" and the party will learn lessons from it. In an interview to Karan Thapar in "To The Point" programme on Headlines Today news channel, Naidu said that the party will need to reach out more to people and be able to win in a contest where opposition parties combine against it. The Bharatiya Janata Party could win only three of 70 seats in Delhi with the Aam Aadmi Party winning the remaining 67 seats. Asked if elections in Delhi should have been held soon after the Lok Sabha polls, Naidu said that this was a "tactical mistake". "Definitely every election is a lesson. It is a setback. We will analyse, understand and take corrective steps," he said. He claimed the outcome was decided the day the AAP promised to reduce power tariff by half and slash water bills, adding the BJP could not have made such promises as it is difficult to fulfil them.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:40:30 AM
Religion should be personal choice: Naidu
Clearing the government's position on the controversial 'ghar wapsi' events organised by various Hindu groups, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said "if religion conversion is wrong, than re-conversion is also wrong". In an interview to HeadLines Today channel, the minister said that 'ghar wapsi' programmes by various organisations might have angered people, but the central government was not responsible for those programmes as the state governments concerned must take care if there was any problem. "If people convert on their own, than it's alright," he said. Naidu also said that there was no proposal by the government to bring in an anti-conversion law. He accused some parties of playing vote-bank politics on the issue.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:34:54 AM
Eggs thrown at Naveen Patnaik's carcade
Eggs were hurled and black flags waved by a group of protestors at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's cavalcade in Bhubaneshwar on Thursday. The incident occurred near Keshari Talkies in Bhubaneswar while the chief minister was on his way to attend the annual function of Utkal University students' union. Breaching the security cordon, the activists pelted eggs at the chief minister's car when it stopped near the cinema hall. Police resorted to cane charge to disperse the protestors, who blocked the road for nearly five minutes. The activists were protesting against Patnaik for not learning Odia language during his 14-year tenure and failing to provide employment to the youth. "The chief minister has failed to learn the mother language despite governing the state for the last 14 years. He has also failed to provide employment to the youth in the state. Such incidents will occur in future too," said Odisha Youth Congress president Rajat Choudhary.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:27:48 AM
Strict action against those stealing documents: Pradhan
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that strict action will be taken against those involved in stealing secret documents of his ministry. "Law will take its own course. Whoever it may be they will be severely dealt with," he said. Pradhan said that police was investigating the matter and it will not be appropriate to say who might be benefiting from the stolen documents. "Let police do its job. Everything will come out," he said. Two petroleum ministry employees and three others were arrested by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police for allegedly stealing and selling official documents to corporate houses.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:22:10 AM
President condoles film producer Daggubati Ramanaidu's death
President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday condoled the death of film producer Daggubati Ramanaidu, saying that the film industry has lost a creative personality who left an indelible mark on Indian cinema. "I am saddened to learn about the passing away of Daggubati Ramanaidu," Mukherjee said in a condolence message to Daggubati's wife Rajeshwari. "Ramanaidu was a parliamentarian and acclaimed film producer. His contribution to the Indian film industry, especially Telugu cinema, was recognised by the nation through the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan in 2012," he added.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:19:29 AM
Government taking steps to prevent swine flu spread: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday assured her government was taking necessary steps in containing swine flu that so far has claimed two lives in the state. "For swine flu we are taking all action, we have readied isolated beds. While it is not possible for us to prevent the disease, it is our humanitarian duty to provide treatment to the affected," Banerjee told media persons in Kolkata. She also attributed mosquito bite as one of the reason for the disease. "People are constantly on the move from one place to another, it happens from mosquito bites and various other reasons," said Banerjee. So far 42 cases of swine flu have been reported from the state while there have been two deaths in Kolkata.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:15:46 AM
Jharkhand CM expands cabinet
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Thursday expanded his cabinet by inducting six ministers. Governor Syed Ahmed administered the oath of office to six ministers at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi. The six BJP legislators who were administered the oath are Saryu Rai, Ramchandra Chandravansi, Raj Paliwar, Neera Yadav, Amar Bawari and Randhir Singh. Amar and Randhir quit the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). After the induction of the six ministers, the total number of ministers in the state cabinet has increased to 11. One ministerial post is still vacant. The first cabinet expansion took place after the completion of 50 days of the BJP government in the state.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:07:12 AM
Public health area of concern: Nadda
The public health system was a key area of concern and the central government will provide an assured set of services encompassing preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative healthcare, Health Minister J.P. Nadda said on Thursday. "Providing assured and comprehensive health services will be the foremost priority of the health ministry, which will provide an assured set of services encompassing preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative healthcare," Nadda said that at the second meeting of the Mission Steering Group (MSG) of the National Health Mission in New Delhi. Pointing out that one of the key areas of concern was the quality of healthcare in the public health system, Nadda said that healthcare needs to be patient-centric.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 11:04:09 AM
Bihar sees the CM's floor test today
It is the moment of truth for Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi as he faces the floor test today. Manjhi will have to face a Confidence Motion in the state assembly and the members will hold a trust vote. The speaker of the house Uday Narayan Chaudhary has added a twist to an already intriguing affair by giving the ruling party, Janata Dal - United, the status of the main opposition party. Untill now it was BJP who had the status of the main opposition party. The ruckus started when the incumbent chief minister Manjhi was expelled from the primary membership of the party over his refusal to step down from his post.
Source: News Reports2015-02-20 10:05:17 AM
Modi suit draws fresh bid of Rs.1.41 crore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's famous 'name-striped' jacket ruled the roost for the second day on Thursday of the three-day charity auction with an opening bid of Rs.1.25 crore, another of Rs.1.39 crore and a final bid of Rs.1.41 crore. The highest closing offer of the day came from a diamond trader and ship-breaking tycoon from Bhavnagar, K.K. Sharma, who is also the chairman of the Leela Group of Companies. Though Sharma was absent on Thursday, he is likely to be present to pick up delivery of the Modi suit if his bid proves the highest on Friday, his official agent Chirag Mehta told media persons. Prior to this, local diamond merchant Mukesh Patel made a bid of Rs.1.39 crore, improving upon an earlier bid of Rs.1.25 crore by textile tycoon Rajesh Maheshwari.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 09:49:52 AM
Mamata confident of breakthrough in LBA during Bangladesh visit
Hours before her maiden visit to Bangladesh as the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee on Thursday exuded confidence of a breakthrough in the land boundary agreement (LBA). While the chief minister chose not to comment on the Teesta river water sharing deal, Banerjee said that she has assured External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that West Bengal and Bangladesh - who share the common language Bengali - are continuing to build bridges. "We have already informed the central government about our willingness for the settlement of the land border agreement. We have told the centre about preparing a rehabilitation package for the enclave dwellers. We are very positive about the issue being settled this time," Banerjee told media persons in Kolkata.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 09:42:37 AM
Adopt new methods to boost agri-production: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that there is a need to adopt new scientific methods to boost agricultural production in the country. The agricultural production can be transformed with the use of new scientific methods, he said while launching the 'Soil Health Card' (SHC) scheme in Suratgarh, situated over 300 km from Jaipur. The SHC scheme will help farmers to know the quality of soil and appropriate usage of fertilisers. Highlighting the importance of soil-testing, Modi said that "it can help farmers to know what exactly is the problem in their land and how it can be sorted out". "The health of soil needs to be assessed at regular intervals so that farmers add required nutrients to the soil. You (farmers) can have bumper production only if land is fertile," the prime minister said.
Source: IANS2015-02-20 09:33:43 AM
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