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All should cooperate for a peaceful election: Punjab CM

(Chandigarh, Jan 4, 2016): With Punjab set to go to polls on February 4, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal appealed to political parties to cooperate with the Election Commission (EC) in conducting the elections in a peaceful and fair manner.

In a statement issued here today, the Chief Minister said that Punjabis have always upheld the lofty ideals of peace, communal harmony and brotherhood and hoped the glorious tradition would be maintained.

Punjab, together with Goa, will go to polls on February 4, the Election Commision announced today.

Irrespective of political differences, every party has a right to disseminate their ideology, the chief minister said, adding that Punjab government fully respected this and was committed to carrying out elections in a peaceful, free and fair manner.

The Chief Minister also said the state government would fully cooperate with the Election Commission in strictly implementing the Model Code of Conduct. (PTI)

Hazare is part of 'RSS conspiracy', alleges NCP

(Mumbai, Jan 4, 2016): With Anna Hazare moving the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI inquiry into the alleged "Rs 25,000 crore sugar cooperative factories scam", the NCP today dubbed the social activist as an "agent of the RSS".

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik alleged that Hazare was playing a role in the "RSS conspiracy" to defame senior NCP leaders like Sharad Pawar.

"Why is Hazare not protesting over any issue in the BJPruled Maharashtra," Malik asked.

Hazare recently moved the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI inquiry into what he termed a "Rs 25,000 crore sugar cooperative factories scam".

He filed two civil PILs and a criminal PIL seeking a CBI probe into the issue. The criminal PIL is listed for hearing on January 6 before a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.

The petitions alleged that fraud had been committed in governance by first burdening sugar cooperative factories with debts and thereafter selling these sick units at a throwaway price, causing loss of Rs 25,000 crore to the government, cooperative sector and members of public.

The petitions also demanded an inquiry by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) into alleged role of "politicians into the sugar cooperative scam, including NCP president and former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and his nephew and former irrigation minister Ajit Pawar". (PTI)

Arvind Kejriwal helping forces who want to disturb Punjab's peace, says Rahul Gandhi

SANGRUR, Feb,2,2017: Launching an allout attack against Arvind Kejriwal in the backdrop of the Maur Mandi blast+ , Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused him of "helping" forces who want to disturb Punjab's peace and push it back to the dark days of militancy.

On the last day of the poll campaign in Punjab, Rahul addressed a gathering in Ballian village here and referred to the Tuesday night's car explosion in Maur Mandi+ , which left six dead.

The blast had occurred shortly after the "jansabha" of Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi, who is contesting the February 4 elections from Maur assembly seat.

"The most important thing is the atmosphere you live in. If that atmosphere gets spoiled, violence starts or anger prevails, then the work of farmers, labourers, weaker sections suffers, entire state suffers," Rahul said.

Taking a veiled dig at the ruling Akalis and the AAP, Rahul said, "from one extremist thinking, Punjab should not go to other extremist thinking. Congress is one such party which takes all sections along. We want that Punjab should rapidly progress."

"But if violence breaks, anger prevails+ , then everything will be destroyed. We have to understand that those forces, which destroyed Punjab earlier (referring to militancy period in the state), because of whom violence broke, such forces are yet again raising their head."

" Bomb blast took place+ and six people died (Maur). Arvind Kejriwal, who is Delhi's Chief Minister, is helping these forces and helping them raise their head. And this is most dangerous thing for Punjab.

"If these forces raise their head again, then entire agenda will be hijacked and Punjab will look in some other direction," he warned.

Rahul said, "So, it is necessary all of us together, be from any religion, caste or creed, we all should again stand up so that we can build a Punjab, which was known for its spirit of giving, a path as shown Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh."

Addressing the gathering while sitting on a cot with villagers and farmers of Ballian here, Rahul also talked about farmers issues, saying during UPA's time loans of farmers amounting to Rs 70,000 crore were waived off and promised that if Congress forms the next government in the State, the burden of state's farmers will be

Rahul is also scheduled to address poll rallies in Malwa belt later in the day, which constitute bulk of the seats in the 117member Punjab assembly.

After interacting with local villagers, Rahul also sat on a mat and shared food with them.

From Sangrur constituency, Congress has fielded its former MP Vijay Inder Singla, who was also present.

Jayalalithaa's Medical Report Made Public by TN Govt to End 'Speculation'

(Chennai, March,06,2017): The Tamil Nadu government on Monday made public the medical report of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa to “put to rest speculation surrounding her hospitalisation, treatment and death”.

According to the report, Jayalalithaa had suffered a heart attack, had diabetes issues and needed prolonged life support.

Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had earlier on Monday handed over the medical report to the state government. The report contains the analysis of Jayalalithaa's health condition by the doctors of the premier institute during their five visits to Chennai.

The move assumes significance in the backdrop of doubts being raised from different quarters over the former AIADMK chief's death on December 5.

Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters in New Delhi after receiving the report by AIIMS doctors that there "is no basis to the speculation which has been circulated in the media" on Jayalalithaa's treatment.

To quash these kinds of speculations, the medical report by AIIMS doctors has been received "from the Government of India at our request", he said.

"It is a very selfexplanatory report and we have not held back anything," Radhakrishnan added.

Meanwhile, the press statement quoting the report said Jayalalithaa was administered resuscitation and provided ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrance Oxygenation) support within an hour.

"Every possible clinical attempt was made to sustain her revival as per prescribed medical protocols," the statement said, quoting Radhakrishnan.

He said a team of doctors, including experts from Apollo and AIIMS, assessed the situation. It was clinically concluded that there was no heart function and also no neurological improvement, denoting futility of life support.

Hence, after following all procedures, the position was conveyed to senior ministers and political leaders O Panneerselvam (former Chief Minister), Health Minister Vijayabhaskar, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, and AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala.

It was also conveyed to the chief secretary, the health secretary and other top government officials, the statement quoted him as saying.

All of them understood the situation and asked the medical team to act as per the standard protocol.

The Tamil Nadu government had on Sunday rejected former chief minister and rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam's claims of foul play in the treatment of Jayalalithaa, an allegation which has been dismissed by state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar.

The opposition DMK, too, has approached the Madras High Court seeking a comprehensive probe into the death of Jayalalithaa.

Twelve AIADMK MPs, belonging to the O Panneerselvam group, had met President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on February 28 and handed over a petition seeking a probe into the medical treatment provided to Jayalalithaa.

Army jawan held for colleague's murder in J-K

Poonch (J&K), Mar 15 (PTI) Police have cracked the case of death of a soldier due to bullet injuries here with the arrest of another jawan for his involvement in the alleged murder.

"We have arrested Army jawan Lance Naik Sukh Pal Singh of 16 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) today in connection with alleged murder of his colleague Sepoy Balraj Singh in an army camp in Draba belt of Surankot tehsil of the district on March 9," a police official said.

A case was registered against him for murder in Police Station Surankote, he said.

Sepoy Balraj was found dead under suspicious circumstances with several bullet injuries in Draba belt of the district on March 9 and police commenced investigation into the case.

AIADMK camps get new symbols, party names from EC for RK Nagar bypoll

(Chennai, Mar,23,2017): The Election Commission (EC) allotted new party names and symbols to the two warring factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Thursday after deciding to freeze the “two leaves” symbol and name of the party, thus signalling a formal split in the party that rules Tamil Nadu.

Both factions—one led by former chief minister O. Panneerselvam and the other by interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala—have claimed that since it’s an interim order for the RK Nagar bypoll on 12 April, they would reclaim the original name and symbol after the byelection.

While the faction led by Panneerselvam was granted the name AIADMK Puratchi Thalavi Amma with the electric pole as its symbol, the team under Sasikala will go by the name of AIADMK Amma with the hat for a symbol.

The Panneerselvam faction is fielding veteran E. Madhusudhanan as its candidate, while Sasikala’s nephew T.T.V Dinakaran is the man standing from her camp.

The EC ruled in an interim order on Wednesday that neither group can use the original name and symbol, but said the decision is “purely for the purposes of the current byelection” in RK Nagar assembly constituency.

RK Nagar, represented by chief minister J. Jayalalithaa until her death on 5 December, is seen as a prestigious assembly seat. According to Gnani Sankaran, Tamil writer and a senior journalist, winning here could even play a role in deciding the future of the AIADMK.

“After the symbol freeze, the disadvantage is for both the factions and it becomes a levelplaying field,” said Sankaran. “It is a life or death situation for the two factions of the AIADMK and (opposition) Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) will not lose anything out of this byelection,” he added.

With no single leader at the vanguard, the vacuum at the helm of the AIADMK is discernible, similar to what the party had witnessed after the death of its founder M.G. Ramachandran. And some analysts think that the freeze on the “two leaves” symbol could even help the DMK in the byelection, citing history.

The AIADMK went through a similar phase 27 years ago, when the symbol was frozen following a factional feud after the founder M.G. Ramachandran’s (MGR) death in December 1987. The party had split into two camps—one under MGR’s widow Janaki Ramachandran and the other under Jayalalithaa.

The fight went on for months. Janaki was sworn in as chief minister and held the office for 22 days, but pandemonium broke out during the trust vote, prompting the Centre to impose President’s Rule.

Just before assembly elections, the EC froze the “two leaves” symbol. While the Jayalalithaa camp got a cock as its symbol, the Janaki faction was given the symbol of a pair of pigeons.

Eventually, it was the DMK that won the assembly elections in January 1989—only to be dismissed by the Centre in January 1991 for its alleged links with the Sri Lankan Tamil militants.

After losing the elections, Janaki announced that she would quit politics, thus clearing the way for Jayalalithaa to stake her claim over the AIADMK and MGR’s legacy.

Babri Masjid demolition case: SC adjourns hearing for two weeks

(New Delhi, Mar,23,2017): The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L. K. Advani, M. M. Joshi and other accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case to give their written submissions and adjourned the matter for two weeks.

A bench comprising Justices P.C. Ghose and R.F. Nariman asked all the parties in the case to file their written arguments by 6 April and posted the matter for further hearing on 7 April. At the start of the hearing, senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the BJP leaders, sought permission from the court for appearing before another bench in a partheard matter. The bench allowed Venugopal’s plea but said that the parties should file their written submissions in the case before the next date of the hearing.

On Wednesday, Justice Ghose had adjourned the matter for Thursday as Justice Nariman was not present. On 6 March, the apex court had decided to examine the appeal against dropping of conspiracy charge against the accused including Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti in the case related to demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.

The top court had also came up with an option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure. However, the clubbing of two FIRs was opposed by the counsel for the accused on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places.

They were of the view that joint trial would lead to the beginning of proceedings de novo (afresh). Altogether, 13 persons including Advani, Joshi and Bharti were discharged of conspiracy charge in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Raebareli. The second set of case was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure and the trial was being held at a court in Lucknow.

The appeals were filed by Ahmad and the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi and 19 others for demolition of the disputed structure on 6 December, 1992.

Punjab CM should ask Sidhu to refrain frm doing TV: Rohatgi

New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) Navjot Singh Sidhu, as a public servant, should refrain from doing television owing to his moral responsibility to disassociate with any commercial activity, even though there is no law which bars such a move, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said today.

He said Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh should advise his cabinet colleague to refrain from doing the popular TV show.

The 53yearold cricketerturnedpolitician is a special judge on the popular 'Kapil Sharma Show'.

The top law officer, while speaking to a TV channel, said there was no provision in the Constitution to disqualify an MLA or minister if he engages in private business, adding that "there is a moral and ethical responsibility as per which a public servant must disassociate from any commercial activity."

"The greater the position, the greater the responsibility. So if you indulge in business in the evening, it is like saying switch off and switch on. You say you are a public servant from 10 AM to 6 PM and from 6 PM to 8 AM you are not a public servant. That is not a position which is countenance in democracy," the AG said.

"If a gentleman continues to do so, while there might not be a legal bar, it is the duty of the CM or the PM (as the case may be) to advise his minister and take remedial action," Rohatgi said.

"If the CM (of Punjab) thinks it is inappropriate, Sidhu may not continue with it," he added.

The Attorney General's response came hours after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he has no problems in Sidhu continuing to work in television, if it was allowed as per legal and constitutional provisions.

The CM, however, said, he may have Sidhu's portfolio as Culture Minister changed in case of a conflict.

Sidhu is in the centre of a row over his television stint despite being a minister in Punjab. He has nevertheless expressed willingness to continue with his show, saying he has to earn a living for himself.

The Congress leader emphasised that he sees nothing wrong in continuing with the show.

H S Phoolka to be Leader of Oppn in Punjab

New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) Senior Supreme Court advocate H S Phoolka will be the leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly with Aam Aadmi Party MLAs electing him as leader of the legislature party.

In a meeting today at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence here, attended by newly elected party MLAs from Punjab, Phoolka was elected as the leader of the AAP legislature party.

The MLAs also discussed the reasons behind AAP's "disappointing" performance in the state, where the pollsters had predicted a sweep by it.

The AAP came a distant second in the Punjab assembly polls winning 20 seats, while Congress got 77 seats. The SADBJP alliance bagged just 18 seats in the 117member Assembly.

62yearold Phoolka, known for fighting cases of 1984 antiSikh riots victims, was the only prominent party leader to have won the polls in Punjab.

He had resigned from all posts of AAP in September 2015 to focus on providing justice to 1984 antiSikh riot victims.

Sukhpal Singh Khaira was appointed party's chief whip in Punjab Assembly.

"We will fight for the rights of the people in Punjab in the assembly as well on the streets and highlight the plight of farmers," Phoolka said after being chosen as the leader of the AAP legislature party.

Shiv Sena MP punches, assaults Air India manager with slippers

(New Delhi, Mar,23,2017):Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad punched and hit a 60yearold Air India Duty Manager with his slippers nearly 20 times and tore his shirt at IGI airport here today just because he could not travel business class in an alleconomy flight.

The airline will be filing an FIR against the MP. It has also constituted a committee to look into the incident and will be submitting its report shortly to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, according to Air India.

"The MP turned violent, broke the duty manager's spectacles, tore his shirt, hit him with slippers 1617 times," said Air India sources.

According to the airline, Gaikwad was booked on an open ticket in business class with Air India which allows a passenger to take a flight on any date.

But Gaikwad insisted on taking the 7:35 am AI 852 this morning from Pune to Delhi, which is an alleconomy flight, sparking an argument between Air India staff and the politician.

The MP boarded the flight but refused to alight from the aircraft when it landed at IGI airport here.

This is when the 60yearold duty manager, Shivkumar, approached the MP to try and placate him but was brutally manhandled, said Air India sources.

Gaikwad admitted hitting the Air India employee with his slippers.

"He asked who is this MP and said he would complain to Modi. So I slapped him. I hit him 25 times with my sandal.

"I am Shiv Sena member, not of BJP, to entertain abuses (hurled at me)," he said adding he "will not apologise".

Gaikwad said he would also complain to the Lok Sabha Speaker about the incident.

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