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Chhattisgarh

Modi appeals to left-wing extremists to shun violence, join mainstream

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made an emotional appeal to left-wing extremists to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream of development.
 
Violence does not have any future, peace does: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made an emotional appeal to left-wing extremists to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream of development.
 
Addressing a large public meeting at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, one of the hotbeds of Naxalism in the country, Mr Modi urged all misguided youth to cast aside their weapons and spend a few days with children who have lost their parents to incidents of left-wing extremism.
 
He said those children would inspire such youth to lay down arms forever. "The shoulders of youth should now bear ploughs, rather than guns," he said.
 
Mr Modi, who had an extensive interaction with children of Dantewada earlier in the day, said that those children had both the dreams and the confidence to achieve them. He said those children and the state of Chhattisgarh needed an atmosphere of peace for their dreams to be realized. 
 
Mr Modi pointed out that Punjab had successfully overcome violence, and expressed confidence that Chhattisgarh too would be able to overcome left-wing extremism.
 
He said Chhattisgarh had the potential to emerge as one of the most developed states in India. He added that the investment of Rs. 24,000 crore that would flow into the region, as a result of the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed at Dantewada today in his presence for projects in the railways and steel sectors, would bring about a big change in the lives of people. 
 
The Prime Minister said that employment for youth was the first and foremost requirement of all parts of India, and his Government was working to achieve that goal. He said India had successfully left behind its past of corruption and slow pace of development. He said the whole world had now recognized India to be one of the fastest growing economies. 
 
The Prime Minister, who had visited the Livelihood College before arriving for the public meeting, appreciated the initiatives for skill development being taken by the Government of Chhattisgarh. 
 
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Vishnudeo Sai were amongst those present on the occasion. 
 
The MoUs signed today in the presence of Mr Modi include one between the government of Chhattisgarh, NMDC, IRCON and SAIL for a 140 km rail line between Rowghat and Jagdalpur at an estimated project cost of Rs 2000 crore.
 
An MoU was signed between the Ministry of Steel, government of Chhattisgarh, SAIL and NMDC fo a 3 million ton Ultra Mega Steel Plant with an investment of approximately Rs. 18,000 crore. 
 
The third MoU was signed between the Chhattisgarh government and NMDC for a slurry pipeline and a 2 MTPA pellet plant at Nagarnar in Bastar district with an investment of Rs 4000 crore.
 
The fourth MoU was signed between the Chhattisgarh government and SAIL for setting up a 1 MTPA pellet plant at Dalli-Rajhara, Balod district with an investment of Rs. 826 crore. 
 
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Earlier, at his interaction with students at Education City at Jawanga n Dantewada, Mr Modi called for development of the innate sporting talent that exists among the tribal youth. 
 
He said tribal youth could excel in the global sports arena. He added that sports was important for children, because it led to the development of sportsman spirit in society. 
 
Responding to questions from students, the Prime Minister said life should not be measured on a scale of success or failure. Talking about his own experiences, he said he had faced failure often in life. However he added that one could learn more from failure, than from success. He said one should be clear about one's goals, and have a firm resolve, in order to achieve success. 
 
The Prime Minister also visited 'Saksham' - a school for specially-abled children - and interacted with students there. 
 
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2nd T20: Kohli stars as India register 7-wicket win over SA

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Virat Kohli slammed an unbeaten half century and took a stunning catch to lead from the front as India eased to a seven-wicket win over South Africa in the second T20 international here on Wednesday.

Skipper Kohli first took a brilliant catch running to his left from mid-off off Navdeep Saini's bowling in the 12th over to send counterpart Quinton de Kock (52 off 37 balls; 8x4) back in the hut and stymie South Africa's run-flow as they ended up with 149/5 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.
 
Chasing a modest 150 for victory, Kohli smashed an unbeaten 72 from 52 deliveries, his innings studded with four fours and three sixes as India won with an over to spare. They put up 151/3 in 19 overs. Kohli's superlative knock got him past vice-captain Rohit Sharma as the leading run-getter in T20 internationals.
 
Kohli brought up his 22nd fifty in T20Is off 40 balls by hitting Andile Phehlukwayo for a four in the 17th over and in the next, flicked Kagiso Rabada for a six to underline his dominance. In the 19th over, Kohli hit debutant Bjorn Fortuin for a six and a winning four to seal the deal as Shreyas Iyer (16 not out) looked on from the non striker's end.
 
Besides Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan (40; 31 balls, 4x4 1x6) also got runs on his comeback to the team after getting injured during the World Cup. India were off to a superb start with Rohit and Dhawan, finding the fence at will. Phehlukwayo got rid of Rohit in the fourth over to hand his team some respite as the Indian vice-captain missed a straight delivery and was trapped in front.
 
In came Kohli and together with Dhawan the pair added 61 runs for the second wicket as the hosts seemed to be easing to the target. David Miller injected fresh life into South Africa's cause by taking a breathtaking catch, diving full length to his right to pluck the ball out of the air with his right hand at long on.
 
Kohli's reaction said it all as to how good the catch was as Miller's teammates ran to him to celebrate. Rishabh Pant, under the pump for his poor shot selection, did not do his cause any good as he picked out Shamsi at short fine leg off Bjorn Fortuin and was gone for 4, leaving new batting coach Vikram Rathour shaking his head in the dressing room.
 
But Kohli was batting in a league of his own and Iyer also joined him for two fours as India coasted to victory. Earlier, newly appointed captain de Kock got off to a flying start and brought up his fifty as the away side looked good after ten overs after the first rubber was washed out without a ball being bowled.
 
De Kock was gone for 52 off 37 balls, (8x4) as South Africa could never recover from the setback. In the last over, Andile Phehlukwayo (8 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (10 not out) took 16 runs off Saini's over to take them to near the 150-run mark.
 
Indian bowlers, led by Deepak Chahar who returned best figures of 2/22 did a good job to bowl a tight line and not let the batters free their arms post de Kock's dismissal. Only 39 runs came off the last five overs.
 
De Kock was in the mood from the outset, hitting Navdeep Saini for three back-to-back fours in the third over. The stumper-batsman smashed Deepak Chahar for a four in the first ball of the fourth over to signal his intent but his team suffered their first setback when Reeza Hendricks was taken at mid on by Washington Sundar off Chahar for just 6.
 
Debutant Temba Bavuma joined de Kock in the middle but it was the latter who was doing the bulk of the scoring as South Africa reached 39/1 at the end of Powerplay. In the 10th over, Bavuma joined the act as he slapped comeback man Hardik Pandya for two successive fours through the deep point region.
 
At the halfway stage, the visitors were 78/1 and de Kock brought up his third T20 fifty in 35 deliveries before Kohli took the stunner of a catch off Saini in the 12th over to send his counterpart back to the hut.
 
Rassie van der Dussen (1) was caught and bowled by Jadeja but it was Kohli's brilliant catch to remove de Kock that proved to be the turning point of South Africa's innings as the scoring rate dropped despite Bavuma's 49 from 43 balls.
 
Bavuma was one run short of his fifty when he holed out to Jadeja at mid-on off a Chahar slower ball. David Miller's 15-ball 18 ended in the 19th over just when his team needed him to go big. South Africa played three debutants in Anrich Nortje and Bjorn Fortuin besides Bavuma.
 
Brief scores: South Africa 149/5 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 52, Temba Bavuma 49; Deepak Chahar 2/22) vs India 151/3 in 19 overs (Virat Kohli 72 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 40)
 
 
 

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Child actor Shivlekh Singh killed in road accident

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"Sasural Simar Ka" actor Shivlekh Singh was killed in a car crash here on Thursday, police said. He was 14.
 
Shivlekh and his parents were travelling from Bilaspur to Raipur when their car crashed into a truck on the outskirts of the Chhattisgarh capital. 
 
Police In-charge of Dharsiwa police station Narendra Banchhor told IANS: "The incident occurred around 2 p.m. on July 18. Shivlekh died on the spot while his parents and one more person named Naveen got injured and are being treated in a hospital." 
 
Shivlekh also acted in the TV show "Sankatmochan Hanuman".
 
IANS
 

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Harichandan appointed Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Anusuiya Uikey of Chhattisgarh

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President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed Odisha BJP leader Biswa Bhusan Harichandan as the new Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Anusuiya Uikey as the new Governor of Chhattisgarh.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said the appointments would take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.
 
Harichandan replaces E S L Narasimhan, who served as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh since January 2010. A former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, he is also the Governor of Telangana. He was earlier the Governor of Chhattisgarh for three years from January 2007.
 
The post of Chhattisgarh governor was under the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel.
 
Harichandan is a five-time member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
 
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Maoists kill 5 policemen, BJP MLA in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh

The site where Maoists exploded an improvised explosive device (IED) killing five policemen who were escorting BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi who, too, was killed, in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on April 9, 2019.
The site where Maoists exploded an improvised explosive device (IED) killing five policemen who were escorting BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi who, too, was killed, in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on April 9, 2019.
Maoists exploded an improvised explosive device (IED) in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Tuesday, killing five policemen who were escorting BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi who, too, was killed, authorities said.
 
The deadly explosion took place around 5.30 p.m. in Kuakonda area in Dantewada. 
 
"All the killed security personnel are from District Reserve Group," said an official. The District Reserve Group is a locally raised force to combat Maoists. 
 
Mandavi was the lone Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from the Bastar region which accounts for 12 Assembly seats. 
 
The Maoist attack came two days before the start of the Lok Sabha polls. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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CRPF trooper killed in Chhattisgarh Maoist attack

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A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper was killed on Friday and another injured in a gun battle with Maoists in Chhattisgarh's Dhamtari area, the paramilitary force said.
 
Head Constable Harish Chandra Pal, 44, a resident of Bhopal and Constable Sudhir Kumar were evacuated to a city hospital. During operation, Pal succumbed to his injuries, a CRPF statement said. Kumar is stable. 
 
The two suffered bullet injuries when Maoists opened fire on the paramilitary patrol party moving in the forested area as part of their area domination operation that started on Wednesday, the statement added. 
 
The gunfight began around 4 a.m. in deep forest of Saleghat in the Borai area, in which the Masoists also faced "heavy loss", the statement said.
 
The incident took place a day after four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed in a Maoist ambush in Kanker district of the state. 
 
IANS
 

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4 BSF troopers killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh

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Four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and two others were wounded on Thursday in a gun battle with Maoists in Chhattisgarh, the BSF said.
 
The troopers were deployed in Pakhanjur, Kanker, area when they came under attack from the Maoists with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), triggering an exchange of fire, a BSF statement said.
 
"Maoists also suffered casualties," the statement said, adding that the area had been cordoned off. The injured BSF troopers were evacuated to a hospital.
 
IANS

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Four Maoists killed in gunfight with security forces in Chhattisgarh

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CRPF troopers on Tuesday shot dead four Maoists in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
 
The Central Reserve Police Force {CRPF) said the four were killed in a gunfight with Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) unit that was on a search mission in the forested areas around one kilometre from Bimapur early in the morning.
 
"Four bodies of Maoists in uniform, one Insas rifle and two 303 rifles were recovered," said a CRPF official.
 
The CRPF's specialised unit, proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare, continues with its anti-Maoist operations, the official added.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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BJP axes Raman Singh's son, 4 other Chhattisgarh MPs

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The BJP, which has already axed five of its sitting MPs in Chhattisgarh, on Sunday fielded new faces in five more constituencies, denying tickets to sitting MPs including six-time Raipur MP Ramesh Bais and Abhishek Singh, son of former Chief Minister Raman Singh.
 
According to the list, cleared by BJP Central Election Committee, the party has fielded state General Secretary Santosh Pandey from Rajnandgaon. Abhishek Singh had won the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by a margin of over 2.35 lakh votes.
 
Bais, who has been continuously winning the Raipur parliamentary constituency since 1996, has been replaced by Sunil Soni.
 
The party has fielded Jyoti Nand Dubey from Korba in place of Banshilal Mahto while in Bilaspur, Arun Saw has been given ticket, in place of Lakhanlal Sahu. 
 
In place of Mahasamund MP, Chandulal Sahu, who had defeated former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi in 2014, the BJP has fielded Chunnilal Sahu. 
 
Durg, the only Lok Sabha constituency which the BJP could not win in the Modi wave in 2014, with Saroj Pandey defeated by Congress' Tamradhwaj Sahu, has gone to Vijay Baghel. 
 
In the first list, the party had finalised the names of five candidates from the state.
 
Minister of State Vishnu Deo Sai, who has represented Raigarh parliamentary constituency since 1999, was denied a ticket.
 
Candidates for all five reserved Lok Sabha seats -- Surguja, Bastar, Raigarh and Kanker and Janjgir-Champa were announced when the party came out with its first list on Thursday.
 
The party had announced earlier that it will replace all ten incumbent MPs in the state after the party lost the Assembly elections last year.
 
Chhattisgarh will see polling on April 11, April 18 and April 23.
 
IANS
 

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Dreaded woman Maoist leader killed in Chhattisgarh

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A dreaded woman Maoist leader accused in the murder of Madhya Pradesh minister Likhiram Kawre in 1999 has been gunned down in Chhattisgarh, police said.
 
Jamuna, 45, carried a reward of Rs 18.50 lakh. 
 
She was killed at Bhave in Chhattisgarh in an encounter with the security forces, a police statement said on Wednesday. 
 
Kawre, then Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister, was killed by the Maoists on December 16, 1999. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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BJP to drop all 10 sitting MPs in Chhattisgarh

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The BJP will change drop all its 10 sitting MPs in Chhattisgarh and field new candidates in the coming Lok Sabha elections, party General Secretary and state in charge Anil Jain said on Tuesday.
 
"We will bring 11 new candidates and win on all 11 seats. This has been approved by the party's Central Election Committee," Jain told reporters even as the meeting of the CEC, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was underway at the BJP headquarters.
 
The decision to drop all sitting MPs comes in the wake of BJP's drubbing in the state in the November Assembly polls after 15 years of rule under Raman Singh and is seen as an attempt to beat anti-incumbency against the sitting parliamentarians.
 
Among the sitting MPs, Dinesh Kashyap is from Bastar, Lakhan Lal Sahu from Bilaspur, Kamla Devi Patle from Janjgir-Champa (SC), Vikram Usendi from Kanker (ST), Banshilal Mahto from Korba, Chandulal Sahu from Mahasamund, Vishnu Deo Sai from Raigarh (ST), Ramesh Bais from Raipur, Abhishek Singh from Rajnandgaon and Kamalbhan Singh from Surguja (ST).
 
BJP's Saroj Pande had lost the Durg seat in 2009 to Congress leader Tamradwaj Sahu while its other ten candidates won. Sahu, who was the Congress state unit chief, later resigned from the seat to contest the Assembly polls. The Durg seat is vacant since November.
 
IANS
 

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World Bank to provide $ 25.2 million loan for Chhattisgarh Public Financial Management and Accountability Program

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The Government of India, the State Government of Chhattisgarh and the World Bank signed here today a $25.2 million loan agreement to support the state’s reforms in Expenditure Management. 
 
This support will cover Expenditure Planning, Investment Management, Budget Execution, Public Procurement and Accountability, an official press release said.
 
The Chhattisgarh Public Financial Management and Accountability Program, which is the first World Bank-financed state-level project in Chhattisgarh in nearly a decade, will also help the state strengthen its Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and Tax Administration Systems, it said.
 
The release said the new project would build capacity of the state’s human resources and the institutions handling management of public finances. The World Bank will facilitate cross-learning from Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms undertaken by it in other Indian states while bringing in global experiences.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that the Government of India supports reforms that will contribute toward improving Public Expenditure Management. The Chhattisgarh PFM reflects the priorities identified by the State, and builds, incrementally, on ongoing reforms around Public Financial Management, he added.
 
 
The loan agreement was signed by Khare on behalf of the Government of India; Kamal Preet Dhillon, Secretary, Finance, on behalf of the Government of Chhattisgarh; and Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
Abdo said that the Chhattisgarh Government has correctly identified improvements in Public Financial Management as a key step for achieving its development potential. This will ensure that the state can invest more and with greater efficiency for its poor and vulnerable. He said that the new project, with its focus on IT solutions, will benefit almost 11,000 village panchayats and 168 urban municipalities in the state.
 
With 92 % households in the state belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, the Direct Benefit Transfers (DBTs) are increasingly being used by the Central and state governments to channel resources to households and individuals. The program will support development of systems that will facilitate inter-departmental data interaction under secured protocols and automate most of the processing and payment of DBTs in the state.
 
It will also support the state government’s initiative to put in place systems to automate most of the processing and payment of DBTs to beneficiaries; improve property tax collection through the digitization of property tax rolls; and extending the property surveys to 47 municipalities. Enhanced outreach and improved tax return filing performance are also likely to help the state’s objective of increasing the number of GST taxpayer registrations.
 
Mr. Manvinder Mamak and Mr. Papia Bhattacharjee, Senior World Bank Financial Management Specialists, and Mr. John Blomquist, Lead Economist and the Task Team Leaders for the Program said that with enhanced devolution of taxes, 60 percent of the public expenditure now takes place at the state level. This, coupled with greater flexibility in planning development programs to suit local needs, deepening public financial management capacity at the state level is imperative. They said that the World Bank’s international experience and learning from other states of India will help Chhattisgarh gain from appropriate solutions.
 
 The $25.2 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 10.5 years, the release added.
 
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Minimum Income Guarantee for poor if Congress voted to power: Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi declared on Monday that his party would ensure a Minimum Income Guarantee for the poor in the country if it is voted to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held in April-May.
 
Rahul Gandhi promises minimum income guarantee to poor
Congress President Rahul Gandhi declared today that his party would ensure a Minimum Income Guarantee for the poor in the country if it is voted to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held in April-May.
 
"We have taken a decision that in the year 2019, the Congress Government at the Centre will guarantee 'Minimum Income' to every poor individual in the country," he told a farmers rally at Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
 
Gandhi said it would be a historic step and something that will be implemented for the first time anywhere in the world.
 
He recalled that the Congress had, in the past, helped usher in the Green Revolution, the White Revolution and the Telecom Revolution and also implemented measures such as the nationalisation of banks to take India forward on the path of development.
 
He also said that, in its previous tenure in Government, the party had implemented the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, the Right to Food, the Right to Information and other such measures.
 
Gandhi said that under the proposed Minimum Income Guarantee, a minimum amount would be transferred into the bank accounts of each eligible individual.
 
"There will be no hunger, there will be no poverty in the country," he said.
 
At the outset, the Congress President thanked the people of the predominantly tribal and resources-rich state for reposing their faith in his party in the recent Assembly elections, ending 15 years of rule by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
"It is not an ordinary, but a very heavy, responsibility that you have given our party, our workers and our leaders and I assure that, with all our heart and all our strength, we will try to fulfil that responsibility," he said.
 
He said the Congress had repeatedly raised the issue of farm loan waivers to help overcome the agrarian crisis, but the BJP governments in states ruled by them and at the Centre had always insisted that there were no funds for such schemes.
 
He said that, while it claimed there were not enough resources for measures such as farm loan waivers and remunerative prices for farmers, the Government had written off loans worth lakhs of crores of rupees taken by top industrialists, some of whom had also fled the country.
 
Gandhi also repeated his allegations that the Narendra Modi government had helped industrialist Anil Ambani get a lucrative offset contract in the Rafale fighter jet deal signed with Dassault Aviation of France.
 
He recalled that he had promised during the campaign for the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan that the Congress governments would waive farm loans within ten days of assuming office and that they had, in fact, done it in less than two days of taking over.
 
"There is no shortage of funds for such schemes, but Narendra Modi and the BJP will not do anything, except speak about their Mann Ki Baat," he said, referring to the Prime Minister's monthly radio address to the nation on various topics.
 
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He said the decision to take away the Rafale offset contract from public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition meant that thousands of young men and women were deprived of jobs that could have been theirs. 
 
He said farmers in India were living in perpetual fear and when their crops were damaged by rains or hailstorms, they do not get their crop insurance claims.
 
"This means that insurance companies make huge profits, and Anil Ambani flies around in  private jets. We don't want such an India," he said.
 
Gandhi also spoke about how the Modi government allegedly tried to dilute the Land Acquisition Act and about measures such as demonetisation.
 
He said the Congress, if elected to power in the coming Lok Sabha elections, would set up food processing and cold chain facilities across the country to ensure that the vegetables, fruits and foodgrains produced by Indian farmers reached tables across the world.
 
Promising that the Minimum Income Guarantee scheme would be implemented in all States and Union Territories, he said, "We  don't want two countries, we want one country. We will be the first government in the world to do this," he said.
 
He also promised the people of Chhattisgarh that the Congress leaders, including the Chief Minister and he himself, would always be available to hear the farmers, youth and women of the state and solve their problems. "You are the masters, we are here to carry out your wishes, not to impose our Mann Ki Baat on you, not to give you long speeches," he added.
 
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Chhattisgarh CM expands Cabinet, inducts nine ministers

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday expanded his Council of Ministers with the induction of nine ministers.
 
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to the ministers at a ceremony held at Police Parade Ground. 
 
The MLAs who were sworn in as ministers included Mohammed Akbar, Ravindra Chaubey, Shiv Dehariya, Kawasi Lakhma, Anila Bhediya, Premsai Singh, Jay Singh Agrawal, Guru Rudra Kumar and Umesh Patel.
 
Umesh Patel is son of former state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel who was killed in Jheeram valley massacre in May 2013 in Bastar in which several other Congress leaders were killed by Maoists including veteran leader V. C. Shukla and tribal leader Mahendra Karma.
 
As of now 12 ministers including the Chief Minister have been sworn in the state cabinet. One berth is still vacant.
 
Besides Baghel two ministers T. S. Singhdeo and Tamradhwaj Sahu were sworn in on December 17.
 
IANS
 

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Chhattisgarh announces Rs 6,100-cr farm loan waiver

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Within hours of being sworn in as Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel on Monday announced to waive off farm loans amounting to Rs 6,100 crore. The new government has also decided to raise minimum support price of paddy to Rs 2,500 per quintal.
 
The Chief Minister presided over a cabinet meeting and decided to waive off farm loans which would benefit 16.65 lakh farmers reeling under debt.
 
The farm loan waiver was a major promise of the Congress during the Assembly election campaign that helped the party bag 68 seats in a 90-member House.
 
The farm loan waiver announcement has been widely hailed by farmers' representative bodies.
 
Addressing his maiden press conference as Chief Minister, Baghel briefed media persons about the cabinet decisions and said he decided to form an SIT to unravel conspiracy behind Jheeram valley massacre in May 2013 in Bastar in which several Congress leaders were killed by Maoists including then state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, veteran leader V.C. Shukla and tribal leader Mahendra Karma.
 
IANS
 

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Bhupesh Baghel sworn in as Chhattisgarh's 3rd CM

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State Congress President Bhupesh Baghel, credited for powering the Congress to a landslide victory in Chhattisgarh, was on Monday sworn in as the third Chief Minister of the state, bringing to an end 15-year rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
Baghel, who represents Patan Assembly constituency in Durg district, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Anandiben Patel in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Chief Minister and BJP veteran Raman Singh. 
 
Among others present at the ceremony were former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Loktantrik Janata Dal party leader Sharad Yadav and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha chief Babulal Marandi, besides a host of prominent Congress leaders. 
 
Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot, who was on the day sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Rajasthan, was also present along with his deputy Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Guna MP from Madhya Pradesh. 
 
Besides Baghel, Ambikapur MLA T.S. Singh Deo and Durg Rural lawmaker Tamradhwaj Sahu took oath as ministers.
 
After the swearing-in ceremony, Gandhi took to twitter to thank the people of the state and vowed to build a "new Chhattisgarh". 
 
"We will work shoulder-to-shoulder to build a new Chhattisgarh. Farmers, youth and women will have a special claim to this government," said Gandhi expressing his gratitude to party workers and leaders for the hard earned victory.
 
Made the state party chief in October 2014, Baghel led from front in scripting the rout of Raman Singh-led BJP in the tribal-dominated state, where Congress won 68 seats in the 90-member Assembly.
 
Baghel had taken over the reins of party nearly a year-and-half after the top state leadership was wiped out in a Maoist attack in 2013, including the then state unit chief Nand Kumar Patel and party veteran Vidya Charan Shukla. 
 
A powerful leader of the OBC community, Baghel was a Minister in Digvijay Singh's cabinet in undivided Madhya Pradesh and later became a Minister in Ajit Jogi's government after Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.
 
Launching his political career as a student leader, Baghel was elected to the undivided Madhya Pradesh Assembly for the first time in 1993.
 
The 58-year-old Baghel was on Sunday elected the Congress Legislature Party leader by the MLAs. 
 
He was also embroiled in a controversy during the build-up to the Assembly polls when the CBI charge-sheeted and arrested him for his alleged role in the circulation of a sleaze CD allegedly featuring a BJP leader. 
 
In 2017, the Chhattisgarh Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had registered a case against Baghel and members of his family for allegedly allotting plots meant for people from lower income groups to his wife and mother.
 
Baghel, during his campaign. had dismissed the charges as "BJP's political vendetta".
 
IANS
 

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Bhupesh Baghel is Chhattisgarh's new CM

State Congress President Bhupesh Baghel was on Sunday named the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and he vowed in no time to cancel within 10 days bank loans taken by farmers -- a campaign promise that led to the BJP's rout in Assembly elections.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister-designate Bhupesh Baghel with Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and P L Punia in Raipur. (Photo: IANS)
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister-designate Bhupesh Baghel with Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and P L Punia in Raipur. (Photo: IANS)
State Congress President Bhupesh Baghel was on Sunday named the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and he vowed in no time to cancel within 10 days bank loans taken by farmers -- a campaign promise that led to the BJP's rout in Assembly elections.
 
Shortly after the 58-year-old Baghel was elected the Congress Legislature Party leader by party MLAs, the Congress leader announced that he would take oath as the third Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh on Monday at 4.30 p.m. at the Science College Ground here.
 
Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress observer for Chhattisgarh, told the media that Baghel was elected unanimously by the MLAs but only he would take oath on Monday. The names of Ministers would be declared later "after detailed discussions with all stake-holders". 
 
"I am committed to waiving farmers' bank loans within 10 days," said Baghel, a father of four.
 
He added that the Congress government will unravel the conspiracy that led to the killing by Maoists of top Congress leaders in the Jheeram Valley in Bastar in May 2013 including the then state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, the veteran V. C. Shukla and Mahendra Karma.
 
In his first tweet as Chief Minister-elect, Baghel expressed his gratitude towards Congress President Rahul Gandhi and said Gandhi had given him the responsibility of building "a new Chhattisgarh".
 
"I can assure the great people of Chhattisgarh that the new Congress government would live up to their expectations and wishes."
 
The Congress said on Twitter: "We wish him the best as he forms a government of equality, transparency and integrity starting off with farm loan waiver for farmers as we promised."
 
Baghel is a powerful leader of the OBC community which makes up 52 per cent of the state's 2.55 crore population.
 
The five-time MLA was elected from Patan in Durg district. He was Revenue Minister in Ajit Jogi's first government in Chhattisgarh that was voted out in 2003.
 
Baghel was also in the centre-stage of the ousted BJP government's attacks and was recently jailed for some days in Raipur after he was charge-sheeted by the CBI for his alleged role in the circulation of a sleaze CD against a powerful BJP Minister in Chhattisgarh.
 
He launched his political career in early 1980s from Durg district under the guidance of the late Chandulal Chandrakar. He joined the Youth Congress in 1985 and was elected to the undivided Madhya Pradesh Assembly for the first time in 1993.
 
Hailing from a farmer's family, Baghel is credited with leading the party from the front in the fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and scripting the crushing defeat of the 15-year-old regime of Raman Singh. The Congress won 68 of 90 seats.
 
With Sunday's development, all three states in the Hindi heartland where the BJP lost power to the Congress now have Chief Ministers.
 
Ashok Gehlot is Rajasthan's Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh has Kamal Nath in the top post. They too will take oath on Monday.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul hints at resolving Chhattisgarh CM tussle

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hinted at the end of tussle for the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, tweeting a picture of himself flanked by all the four claimants to the post.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Chhattisgarh Congress leaders Bhupesh Baghel, T. S. Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant in New Delhi, on December 15, 2018.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Chhattisgarh Congress leaders Bhupesh Baghel, T. S. Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant in New Delhi, on December 15, 2018.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hinted at the end of tussle for the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, tweeting a picture of himself flanked by all the four claimants to the post.
 
Posting pictures of the four contenders in the race for the CM post-- Bhupesh Baghel, T. S. Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant -- Gandhi quoted American internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman saying: "No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you're playing a solo game, you'll always lose out to a team."
 
The party is expected to announce the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister soon.
 
Gandhi's tweet follows his hectic parleys with Chhattisgarh leaders, along with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, party's observer for Chhattisgarh, and P.L. Punia, who is in-charge in the state. 
 
The Congress President had earlier tweeted similar pictures of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Kamal Nath and his rival claimant to the post Jyotiraditya Scindia as well as Rajasthan Chief Minister-designate Ashok Gehlot and his state party chief Sachin Pilot who has been named as the Deputy Chief Minister.
 
Before the announcements of Kamal Nath and Gehlot as the respective Chief Ministers, there had been power jockeying between the rival camps, with both Scindia and Pilot strongly advocating their stake to the post. 
 
IANS
 

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Chhattisgarh CM likely to be announced on Saturday

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The Congress is likely to announce the Chief Minister for Chhattisgarh on Saturday with the contenders to the post -- state party chief Bhupesh Baghel and Ambikarpur MLA T. S. Singh Deo -- meeting party President Rahul Gandhi in the national capital on Friday.
 
"We had a meeting with Gandhi over the issue and a decision on who will be the Chief Minister will be taken on Saturday," Deo told IANS after the meeting.
 
The meeting of the Chhattisgarh leaders with Gandhi at his residence followed that of Ashok Gehlot who has been named as the new Rajasthan Chief Minister and Sachin Pilot who has been named his deputy.
 
With multiple claimants to the Chief Minister's post in all the three states, there have been tussles between the rival camps, with each of them strongly staking their claims for the post. 
 
There was high drama both in case of selecting Kamal Nath and Gehlot as the respective Chief Ministers.
 
IANS
 

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Scindia, Gehlot, Pilot meet Rahul ahead of CM decision

Hectic parleys were on at Congress President Rahul Gandhi's residence on Thursday to choose the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the party dislodged the BJP from power in the Assembly elections.
Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
Hectic parleys were on at Congress President Rahul Gandhi's residence on Thursday to choose the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the party dislodged the BJP from power in the Assembly elections.
 
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were also present during the consultations when party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is a contender for the Chief Minister post in Madhya Pradesh, met Rahul Gandhi.
 
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, who are aspirants in Rajasthan, also met Rahul Gandhi.
 
Gehlot and Pilot reached Gandhi's residence one after the other to apprise the party chief of their views. Central party observer for Rajasthan K.C. Venugopal also met Gandhi. 
 
The meetings came a day after newly-elected Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh passed unanimous resolutions authorising Rahul Gandhi to take a decision on who will lead the legislature party in the these states.
 
Scindia and Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath are contenders for the post of Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The Congress, which fell two short of the majority mark in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, has staked claim to form the government with the support of Independents 
(Congress rebels), Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party MLAs. 
 
In Rajasthan the party got 99 seats and crossed the halfway mark with its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal in the 200-member Assembly
 
The Congress has registered a landslide victory in Chhattisgarh.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul to announce MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan CM names

Amid intense negotiations, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that he will soon announce the names of Chief Ministers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
Amid intense negotiations, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that he will soon announce the names of Chief Ministers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
 
"We are taking inputs from different people in the party -- from party workers, MLAs... 
 
"We are getting a comprehensive answer to what the Congress party and others feel... of course you have to see a Chief Minister soon," he told reporters outside Parliament, as he left for his party office to meet Rajasthan contenders Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who reached New Delhi earlier in the day. 
 
In Madhya Pradesh, state Congress chief and veteran MP Kamal Nath and Jyotiradhitya Scindia are the two contenders for the hief Ministerial post, while Bhupesh Baghel has emerged as the front-runner in the race in Chhattisgarh, where the Congress won a landslide victory.
 
On Wednesday, Gandhi through an audio message, congratulated the party workers for the victory in the assembly elections in the three states and urged them to reveal their choice of Chief Minister.
 
"I want to ask you an important question: Who should be the chief minister? Please mention just one name. I'm the only person who would know whom you are naming. No one in the party will know. Please speak after the beep," he was heard saying. 
 
IANS
 

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Rahul to decide on Chhattisgarh chief minister

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Like in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Congress President Rahul Gandhi will decide on the Chief Minister's name in Chhattisgarh after a meeting of the newly-elected Congress MLAs.
 
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the Congress observer for the meeting of the newly-elected legislators, told reporters shortly after his arrival here that the there is a procedure which the party always follows for such elections. 
 
"We have to consult the MLAs, seek their consensus and then only a decision will be taken."
 
The meeting is likely to authorise Gandhi to take the final call. 
 
Asked about the possibility of state unit chief Bhupesh Baghel being made the chief minister, Kharge said: "Don't ask about single names. We have a procedure."
 
To another query about reports of confusion on the issue because of presence of four contenders, he said, "No confusion. Our people are united, solid. They know each other, they understand each other. So this problem will not arise."
 
In Chhattisgarh the Congress scored a landslide victory decimating the ruling BJP by winning 68 seats in the 90-member assembly.
 
IANS
 

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Eight of 13 BJP Ministers lose seats in Chhattisgarh polls

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s rout in the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections took the scalps of several party heavy weights, including eight ministers, while Chief Minister Raman Singh won by a narrow margin.
 
The eight ministers who lost their seats are Amar Agarwal, Prem Prakash Pandey, Kedarnath Kashyap, Rajesh Moonat, Ramsewak Paikra, Dayaldas Baghel, Bhaiyalal Rajwad and Mahesh Gagda.
 
Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra in Raman Singh-led government, which faced defeat in the state where the BJP was in power for the last 15 years, lost Pratappur seat to Congress' Premsai Singh Tekam. 
 
Culture and Tourism Minister Dayaldas Baghel lost Navagarh seat to his nearest Congress rival Gurudayal Singh Banjare.
 
Commercial Tax and Urban Development Minister Amar Agarwal faced defeat at the hands of Congress's Shailesh Pandey in Bilashpur constituency, while Higher Education Minister Prem Prakash Pandey lost Bhilai Nagar seat to Congress' Devendra Yadav.
 
Tribal and Scheduled caste Minister Kedarnath Kashyap lost Narayanpur seat to his Congress rival Chandan Kashyap, who bagged 58,652 votes and secured victory with a margin of 2,647 votes, while Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Moonat was defeated in Raipur West seat by Congress's Vikash Upadhyay.
 
Labour and Sport Minister Bhaiyalal Rajwade lost Baikunthpur seat to his Congress rival Ambika Singh Deo, while Forest and Law Minister Mahesh Gagda was defeated in Bijapur seat by Congress' Vikram Mandavi. 
 
The BJP, however, had denied ticket to Women and Child Development Minister Ramsheela Sahu. Ajay Chandrakar, Brijmohan Agarwal and Punnulal Mohle won from their respective seats. 
 
Counting of votes in the elections to the 90-member Assembly began at 8 a.m on Tuesday decided the fate of 1,269 candidates, including that of Chief Minister Raman Singh, who sent his resignation to the Governor before the final results were declared.
 
Around 76.35 per cent turnout was recorded in the two-phase polls held on November 12 and 20. It was a little less than the previous 2013 polls when 77.40 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise.
 
In the last Chhattisgarh Assembly election, the BJP had won 49 and Congress 39, while one seat each was bagged by the BSP and an Independent.
 
IANS
 

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Raman Singh resigns as Chhattisgarh CM

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh resigned on Tuesday taking moral responsibility for the BJP's stunning defeat in Assembly elections.
 
He told the media that he had sent his resignation to the Governor.
 
"I take moral responsibility for the defeat," Raman Singh, who was Chief Minister for 15 years, said as it became clear that the Congress was headed for a thumping victory in the 90-member Assembly.
 
He said he would continue to serve the state while in the opposition ranks.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Congress may be heading for landslide win in Chhattisgarh

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The Congress appeared to be heading for a landslide victory on Tuesday in Chhattisgarh, dealing a major blow to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Election Commission officials said.
 
After the first round of voting, Congress candidates were ahead of their rivals in 61 of the 90 seats in the battle for an Assembly where the half-way mark is 46.
 
BJP candidates were ahead in 21 constituencies. While Chief Minister Raman Singh managed to reverse the trend after initially trailing to the Congress, all his cabinet Ministers were way behind their rivals.
 
The alliance of Janta Congress Chhattisgarh of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi and the Bahujan Samaj Party were leading in seven constituencies.
 
In the outgoing Assembly, the BJP had 49 members and the Congress 39. The BJP has ruled Chhattisgarh since 2003.
 
IANS
 

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