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Gujarat

Modi poised for huge win in Gujarat, Congress wrests Himachal from BJP

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both States today.

 
Counting begins in Gujarat, BJP secures early lead

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both states today.

As results and counting trends became available for all the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, the BJP had won 52 and was leading in 65 others, making for a total of 117 seats, the same number that it has in the outgoing house.
 
The Congress had won 27 seats and was leading in 32 others. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress, had won two seats while the Janata Dal (United), an ally of the BJP, was leading in one constituency. Other parties were ahead in three seats.
 
Adding to the Congress' misery in Gujarat, its state unit chief Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil lost their seats.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP conceded defeat as the Congress won 34 seats in the 68-member Assembly and was leading in two others. The BJP had won 23 and was ahead in another three, while others had won four and were leading in two more.
 
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal admitted his party had lost and congratulated the winners. He said the reasons for the BJP's defeat, despite his government's good record of governance, would be analysed at party fora in due course.
 
In Gujarat, Mr Modi retained his own seat, Maninagar, bagging 120440 votes against 34097 secured by his nearest rival, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
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The controversial former Minister of State for Home, Mr Amit Shah of the BJP, won from Naranpura, garnering 103988 votes against the 40653 secured by his rival Jitubhai B Patel of the Congress.
 
In the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad, Ms Jagruti Pandya, widow of assassinated former Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, ended up in the third place. Ms Pandya, a candidate of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, could muster only 9075 votes against Mr Raesh Shah of BJP, who got 106631 votes. Mr Kamleshkumar Shah of the Congress got 29959 votes.
 
Mr Modhwadia lost in Porbandar, getting only 60458 votes against the 77604 votes secured by Mr Babubhai Bokhiria of the BJP. Mr Gohil lost from Bhavnagar (Rural) to Mr Purshottam Solanki of the BJP. Mr Solanki got 83980 votes as against 65426 secured by Mr Gohil.
 
The BJP had won 117 seats in the Gujarat Assembly in the last elections in 2007, while the Congress had 59 seats.
 
Counting of votes began in both states at 0800 hours today and all the results are expected by this evening.
 
Elections to the 182-member Gujarat assembly were held in two phases on December 13 and 17, when a record 71.3 per cent of the 38 million voters had exercised their franchise.
 
Polling for the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly was held in a single phase on November 4, and about 74.7 per cent of the 4.60 million voters had cast their votes.
 
The supporters of Mr Modi, who has been in office since 2001, are hoping that, with yet another big win, he would be propelled to the centrestage of national politics and become the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Exit polls had predicted a huge win for Mr Modi again this year, while they had given a slight edge in a close contest in Himachal Pradesh.
 
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Six of 11 lions in Gir die in infighting: Forest Department

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As many as six of the 11 Asiatic lions found dead during the last eleven days in their only abode, Gir Forests, died fighting among themselves, according to Gujarat Forest Department officials. The cause of death of the other five is yet to be ascertained.
 
Five other lions, who were injured in the in-fighting, were rescued and moved away from the others.
 
All the carcasses were found in Dalkhania and Jasadhar range in the heart of the Gir lion sanctuary in a decomposed state. It took time for a team of forest officials, who rushed to the spot, to even identify their gender.
 
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) G.K. Sinha said: "A male lion carcass was found on September 12. It died following respiratory and hepatic failure, caused during infighting. The next day, a lioness was found which too had died from the same cause."
 
He said carcasses of three lion cubs were found on September 15 and the injury marks on their bodies suggest they were killed by a male lion belonging to another pride.
 
Another lioness was found dead on September 17 and officials believe the death was a result of respiratory failure, again caused during in-fighting. 
 
On the very next day, two cubs, a lion and a lioness, were found dead. The cause of death of cubs was yet to be ascertained, Sinha said. 
 
Another body of a lion was also found in a decomposed state on September 19 and the cause of death was not known.
 
"We are waiting for the post-mortem reports of the lion and lioness, which we should get by Friday. These bodies were found in the Dalkhania range (nine) as well as Jasadhar range," Sinha said.
 
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"We have rescued five lions hurt in infighting and have placed them under observation in Sarasia Vidi (grassland). This will curb the in-flighting," the official said.
 
Sinha said the entire area would be screened for any infection or traces of epidemic. The forest staff would be checking the cattle too in the area for infection, " said Sinha.
 
The forest department found micro chip embedded in only one of the lions found dead. "While from the rescued lions, we found chips in a male and a female. The other two rescued lionesses and a lion did not have a chip," the PCCF said. 
 
The forest department tags the animals with micro chips whenever they are rescued to keep a tab on them through the GPS system.
 
The state forest department carries out a census of lions every five years. The 2005 survey counted 359 lions in the Gir sanctuary and adjoining areas, while the number grew to 411 in 2010. The latest census in 2015 found 523 lions, 109 of which were male, 201 female, 140 were cubs and 73 sub-adults.
 
According to the forest department, lions produce around 210 cubs every year, out of which 140 die of natural and unnatural causes and the remaining one third attain adulthood.
 
IANS
 

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Renovated Unit-2 of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station attains criticality

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The 220 MW second unit of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS-2) attained criticality (initiation of controlled self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the reactor) at 0222 hours today after completion of renovation and modernisation (R&M) works.
 
The R&M works included En Masse Coolant Channel Replacement (EMCCR), En Masse Feeder Replacement (EMFR) and other safety upgrades. 
 
"This task was completed about three and half months ahead of schedule," an official press release said here.
 
"In this endeavor, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Nuclear Fuel Complex (manufacturer of coolant channels), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and various vendors/contractors rose to the occasion for this achievement," it said.
 
According to the release, the approach to criticality was undertaken after meeting all the stipulated regulatory requirements. This will be followed by conduct of various tests, connection to the grid and increase in power level to full power as per laid down procedures and regulatory clearances.
 
KAPS, located in Surat district of Gujarat, comprises two units of indigenous 220 MW pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) (KAPS-1&2) which commenced commercial operation in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
 
Two more units of 700 MW PHWRs (KAPP-3&4) are under construction at the site.
 
NPCIL operates twenty two nuclear power reactors (including RAPS-1 of 100 MW owned by DAE) with a capacity of 6780 MW and has eight reactors with a capacity of 6200 MW under construction. Work has also been initiated on twelve more reactors (9000 MW) accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the Government.
 
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Road improvement works in Gujarat worth Rs 200 crore approved

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Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Mansukh L Mandaviya today announced sanctioning of nine road construction and improvement works in  Gujarat worth around Rs 200 crore.
 
These projects would enhance the connectivity between five States – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Diu.
 
Nearly 33,000 km of national highways have been constructed in the last four years and work is underway on another 53,000 km. The aim was to complete 200,000 km of national highways by the year 2022, he said.
 
The Minister said the nine works had been approved under EI/ISC Scheme. The concerned authorities have been asked to prepare DPRs and tendering for these projects will start soon, he added.
 
The approved works are widening and strengthening of the 14.80 km-long Dantiwada-Kuchavada Road (state highway) at an estimated cost of 19.5 crore, widening and strengthening of the 15.10 km-long Chandisar Danthinda road (state highway) at an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore, widening and strengthening of the 15.50 km Kodinar Velan Kotada road (state highway) at a cost of Rs 24.74 crore.
 
The works also include widening and strengthening of 14.40 km of the Delwada Ahmedpura Mandavi Vaso, Kob Road (major district road) at a cost of Rs 14.75 crore, the 31.20 km Kalu river causeway to Maharashtra border (state highway) at a cost of Rs 39.50 crore, widening and strengthening of the 19km Ahwa Navapur road (state highway) at a cost of Rs 43.88 crore.
 
Widening and strengthening of the 13.20 km Gangardi-Garbada-Jambua-Agawada Road (major district road) at a cost of Rs 6 crore, construction of a bridge across River Anas on Chakaliya Nani Mahudi Anas road (major district road) at Rs 15.90 crore and widening and strengthening of Vansda Sitapur Khamphla Bilmoda Road (major district road) at a cost of Rs 13.20 crore are also included.
 
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Gujarat: Fasting Patidar leader Hardik Patel discharged from hospital

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Patidar leader Hardik Patel, whose indefinite fast continued on the 16th day on Sunday, was discharged from a private hospital and taken home from where he intends to continue with his indefinite hunger strike.
 
A key community organisation pledged support to the agitating leader while processions were taken out in north Gujarat to back him.
 
After the state government refused permission for any venue for his agitation, the 25-year-old Patidar leader on August 25 launched an indefinite fast from his home to press for his demands for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for his community, debt waiver for farmers and release of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Alpesh Kathiria, who has been jailed on sedition charge.
 
As his health deteriorated, Patel was first shifted to the Sola Civil Hospital on Friday and later moved to a private trust-run SGVP Holistic Hospital. He was discharged on Sunday but he continued his fast from the hospital bed.
 
Before his discharge, Patel told his supporters through a Facebook Live message that he would continue his hunger strike from his residence. 
 
He, meanwhile, also alleged in a tweet that a police officer had threatened to kill him when he was brought out of the hospital.
 
Leading Patidar organisation, Shri Umiya Mataji Sansthan, Unjha, on Sunday held a meeting and resolved to support Hardik Patel in his agitation till the state agreed to his demands. 
 
"We pledged support to Hardik on his demand for debt waiver and release of Alpesh Kathiria," Sansthan's Chairman Dilip Patel told reporters. 
 
As a mark of solidarity, a large number of people from the Patidar community took out a march from Patan to Unjha, a distance of 30 km, in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district in north Gujarat in support of Hardik Patel.
 
Congress MLAs Lalit Vasoya and Asha Patel joined the "padyatra". People walked from Patan to offer prayers to their family deity, goddess Umiya, at the temple in Unjha.
 
A posse of police was deployed at the entrance to Greenwoods housing colony where Hardik Patel resides, and prevented mediapersons from following him. Some reporters were even pushed around and baton-charged by the police.
 
Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A. K. Singh later ordered an inquiry into police action against journalists after their protest while Joint Commissioner of Police J. K. Bhatt spoke to them to cool the tempers.
 
In his Twitter message, Hardik Patel condemned the "attack" on the media. He said the deployment of police reminded him of "angrez hukumat" (British rule).
 
IANS
 

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Former President Pranab Mukherjee to teach IIMA students

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Former President Pranab Mukherjee will teach students of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) who will be attending a new course called "Public Policy for Inclusive Development of India".
 
The course will be taken by students across the PGPM (Post Graduate Programme in Management), FABM (Food and Agri-Business Management) and PGPX (Post Graduate Program in Management for Executives) programmes at the institute.
 
The new course is housed within the JSW School of Public Policy at IIMA and Mr. Mukherjee will be the faculty for at least 12 of 22 sessions, a press release from IIMA said.
 
Prof. Vijaya Sherry Chand, Chairperson of JSW School of Public Policy and Prof. Anil Gupta will handle other sessions of the course.
 
The course deals with a broad overview of the interplay between the desired end of inclusive development and the system of parliamentary democracy in India.
 
The pedagogy draws on the experiences of Mr. Mukherjee to reflect on the theory and practice of public policy for the inclusive development of India. 
 
During the last five decades, Mr. Mukherjee has not only had a ringside view of Indian politics and governance, but has shaped many public policies and triggered off institutional innovations to execute many of these. 
 
"The course provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from the deep insights that Mr. Mukherjee alone can share with complete authenticity and conviction.
 
Mr. Mukherjee will be delivering lectures on the following broad themes:
 
-- Constitutional Provisions for Socio-economic Inclusivity: Theory and Parliamentary Practice
-- Policy and Institutional Intervention for Financial Inclusion: A Legacy to be Built Upon
-- Articulating Policy and Institutional Agenda for Future Transformation of India
 
Out of these, certain sessions will also include presentations of selected student projects that address developmental and institutional challenges identified in the beginning of the course.
 
Prof. Chand said, “Listening to Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, our students should develop a better understanding of the politics of inclusive development. In a complex democratic society such as ours, technically ideal solutions to public problems have to be balanced by the management of conflicts that are inevitable when there are multiple and contradictory pulls. This should also help in understanding why the idea of inclusion goes beyond narrow economic perspectives on poverty and its alleviation.”
 
After leaving his office as President, Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam had also taken up teaching positions at three IIMs, including IIMA. At IIMA, Mr. Kalam taught a course titled “Globalising and Resurgent India through Innovative Transform”.
 
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Day 14 of fast: Hardik in hospital following breathing trouble

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Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel was on Friday rushed to a hospital on the 14th day of his indefinite fast as he complained of difficulty in breathing.
 
He was admitted to the Government Civil Hospital in Sola a day after he gave up even taking water in protest against the government ignoring his demands.
 
His associates in the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), who had given a 24-hour ultimatum till Thursday to the Bharatiya Janata Party government to hold negotiations with him and stated that Patel would give up water, rushed him to the hospital.
 
The 25-year-old leader has lost over 20 kg in the past two weeks. His kidney and liver had been affected by his continuous fast, PAAS leader Manoj Panara told reporters.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Court rejects police remand of Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt

Sanjiv Bhatt
Sanjiv Bhatt
A court here on Thursday rejected the Gujarat Police plea seeking remand of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and sent him to judicial custody in connection with a 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest a man.
 
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police had picked up Bhatt and then inspector of Palanpur police station I.B. Vyas on Wednesday.
 
The CID produced them before Additional Judicial Magistrate V.R. Charan here in Banaskantha district, seeking their 14-day custody.
 
Arguing against the plea for remand, the defence lawyers pointed out that the case was over two decades old and a petition related to it was pending before the Supreme Court.
 
The magistrate accepted the arguments and rejected the CID's demand, and sent both the accused to judicial custody at the Palanpur sub-jail.
 
Bhatt was Banaskantha district superintendent of police in 1996 when the alleged incident occurred. According to details, the Banaskantha police arrested Sumersingh Rajpurohit, a lawyer, on charges of possessing around one kilogram of opium.
 
Police claimed the drug was found in a hotel room rented by Rajpurohit at Palanpur.
 
But later a probe revealed that Rajpurohit was falsely implicated by the police to pressurise him to vacate a disputed property in Pali, his hometown in Rajasthan.
 
Following complaints, the Gujarat High Court in June handed over the case to the CID and asked it to complete the investigation within three months.
 
CID officials told reporters on Wednesday that the former IPS officer and others allegedly hatched the conspiracy to arrest Rajpurohit by planting drugs on him, so as to force him to vacate the disputed property.
 
Bhatt, who has often criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, was sacked by the Union Home Ministry in August 2015 for "unauthorised absence" from service.
 
IANS
 

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Former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt arrested in 1996 case

Sanjiv Bhatt
Sanjiv Bhatt
The CID Crime Branch of Gujarat Police on Wednesday arrested dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a 1996 case relating to falsely framing a lawyer in a narcotics peddling case.
 
The CID picked up Bhatt and seven others, including two former police officers, following directives from the Gujarat High Court. 
 
"Sanjiv Bhatt was initially detained for questioning and shortly after that he was arrested by CID while others are still under detention," Director General of Police (CID) Ashish Bhatia said.
 
Going by the details of the case, lawyer Sumersingh Rajpurhoit was arrested by Bhatt in 1996 with a kg of drugs and booked in a case under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. 
 
Bhatt was then serving as the District Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha district.
 
Police claimed that the drugs were found from the room of a hotel that was occupied by Rajpurohit. However, an investigation by Rajasthan Police later revealed that the lawyer was falsely implicated in the case. 
 
This, Rajasthan Police claimed, was done to compel the lawyer to let go a disputed property in Pali district in Rajasthan.
 
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The Rajasthan Police also claimed that Rajpurohit was abducted by Banaskantha Police from his residence at Pali. 
 
Following this investigation, former Banaskantha Police Inspector I. B. Vyas moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a detailed probe in to the incident. 
 
The court in June handed over the probe to the CID and asked it to complete the investigation within three months.
 
Bhatt, who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media platforms, has had several spats with the ruling establishment in the state since the 2002 communal riots. 
 
In 2011, Bhatt even filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, accusing Modi of being complicit in the 2002 riots.
 
Bhatt was dismissed from the Indian Police Service in 2015 for "unauthorized absence" from service. Bhatt even met fasting Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel last week and extend his support for Hardik's cause.
 
"I have been fighting for justice for over two decades now and those responsible for my suffering have been arrested today," lawyer Rajpurohit told reporters.
 
IANS
 

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Former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt detained

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The Gujarat Police on Wednesday detained for questioning former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt here in a case relating to falsely framing a lawyer in a criminal case in 1998.
 
The Gujarat CID, which took Bhatt into custody following directives from the Gujarat High Court, also detained six other people, including two former police officers. 
 
Sources said they were all being questioned and might subsequently be arrested.
 
When Bhatt was serving as the Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha, in North Gujarat, he was accused of trying to frame a lawyer in a fake case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. 
 
Bhatt was dismissed from the Indian Police Services (IPS) in 2015 for taking on the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi's administration for the 2002 Gujarat riots. 
 
In 2011, Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing Modi of being complicit in the 2002 riots.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Ahmedabad bank files defamation suits against Congress chief, Surjewala

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The Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank on Monday filed two criminal defamation complaints against Congress President Rahul Gandhi and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a court here for their tweets regarding deposits made in the bank after demonetisation.
 
The complaints pertain to Surjewala's press statement about alleged conversion of over Rs 745 crore in old currency in five days following demonetisation on November 8, 2016. 
 
He had later backed it with Twitter messages on the same. Similarly, Gandhi had posted tweets on the matter. 
 
The court of Additional Metropolitan Magistrate ordered an inquiry under Section 22 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and posted the matter for September 17.
 
Pointing out that BJP President Amit Shah is a bank director, the Congress leaders had alleged that it was involved in a "national scam" after demonetisation.
 
Gandhi and Surjewala's tweets on June 22 had targeted both the BJP and Shah.
 
The cooprative bank and its Chairman Ajay Patel, through their counsel S.V. Raju, contested the allegations in the defamation suits and claimed that the allegations were false and defamatory.
 
IANS broke the story on June 22 about the bank netting the highest deposits among such cooperative banks of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were abruptly demonetised on November 8, 2016.
 
The information on the matter accessed under the Right to Information Act by a Mumbai-based RTI activist said that the ADCB had secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the spiked notes in just five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement. 
 
On November 14, 2016, five days after demonetisation, all district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the banned currency from public amid fears that black money could be laundered through this route.
 
IANS

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Modi coins new slogan 'Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas', gifts women Rakhi homes

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday set rolling a new slogan, "Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas", about his government as he gave away over 1 lakh houses to women under the flagship Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Rural) scheme, calling it a Rakshabandhan gift.
 
The Modi government's oft-mentioned slogan has been ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' right from the BJP's election campaign ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The Prime Minister was speaking at an event in Jujwa village in the tribal-dominated regions of Valsad district in South Gujarat after he ushered in ‘e-Gruh Pravesh' in the houses to women. Over 1.15 lakh residential units have been built at a cost of Rs 1,727 crore under the scheme. 
 
Modi also spoke on video to women across 26 districts who are the beneficiaries of these houses.
 
"Our government is marching ahead on the commitment of 'Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas' and this is why I can ask you all here in everyone's presence if anyone has cheated you," the Prime Minister said.
 
Modi went on: "I got an opportunity to talk to women across the state today who got their homes under the PM Awas Yojana. It's a Rakshabandhan gift to my sisters in Gujarat.
 
"Providing over 1 lakh houses to them before the occasion of Rakshabandhan is really a satisfying moment for me," he said. The houses were "wonderful" because no middlemen were involved in their allotment, he added. 
 
The Prime Minister said: "It is my dream, it is our endeavour to ensure that every Indian has his own house by 2022."
 
Modi even took a jibe at Congress by indirectly referring to a statement of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had said that only a fraction of a rupee sent by Delhi reaches beneficiaries.
 
"Now, for every rupee we send from Delhi, 100 paise reaches the beneficiaries directly," he said.
 
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Modi also laid the foundation stone of the Rs 586 crore Astol group water supply scheme for the benefit of tribal villages tucked away deep in the forests of Dharampur and Kaprada talukas in Valsad district.
 
"There might have been several Adivasi Chief Ministers in the country in the past but it is our government that is working to reach water to every nook and cranny in the tribal areas."
 
He said the Astol Group Water Supply Scheme, of which he laid the foundation stone, was "glaring evidence of our commitment to provide drinking water to smallest villages with 200 to 300 houses in the tribal regions".
 
Under the scheme, water would be lifted from the Damanganga dam and supplied to these villages through a pipeline network.
 
Meanwhile, addressing students graduating from the Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhinagar at its fourth convocation function, the Prime Minister said the role of forensic science assumed significance as fear of detection and prosecution in courts helps contain crime in a big way.
 
Referring to the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2018, Modi spoke about the need to use latest technology to detect and solve crime. 
 
He dedicated a newly built Civil Hospital and inaugurated a slew of projects in Junagadh district in Saurashtra region, where he stressed on the need for good doctors and paramedical staff. 
 
"We also want medical instruments to be made in India. The sector must also keep pace with the technological advancements globally."
 
Before leaving for New Delhi later in the evening, Modi attended the meeting of Somnath Trust in Gandhinagar. The meeting, among others, was attended by former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, the Chairman of the Trust, and BJP President Amit Shah.
 
IANS
 

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Police pick up Hardik from home to foil his protest fast

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The Gujarat Crime Branch on Sunday detained firebrand Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel from his residence, hours before he could undertake a day's token fast atop vehicles in Nikol industrial suburb here.
 
He was to hold the day-long dharna in protest against the government not giving him permission for his indefinite fast demanding reservation for his community in government jobs and educational institutions under OBC quota and loan waiver to farmers. 
 
Patel had vowed to re-launch his agitation that had lost steam after the December Assembly elections on August 25, the same day in 2015 and at the same venue, GMDC Grounds in Ahmedabad, when he addressed a mammoth public rally. 
 
A posse of police force swooped down at Patel's Ahmedabad residence in the morning and after a scuffle whisked him and several of his supporters away to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch. 
 
Along with him, the police also detained his close associates Manoj Panara, Alpesh Kathiriya and Dharmesh Malviya. 
 
The police claimed that Hardik Patel was planning to hold the fast without any official permission. Patel had earlier announced he would sit atop parked vehicles in Nikol. The police have registered cases against him under IPC section 144 and 189.
 
The action sparked off a chain of statewide protests from the Patidar community who have threatened to disrupt the programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 23 if Patel was denied permission to begin his indefinite fast from August 25 at the GMDC Grounds in Ahmedabad. 
 
Angry Patidars staged roadblocks at various places across the state and police had to intervene to disperse them. 
 
Meanwhile, Gujarat Pradesh Congress President Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani condemned the police action against Hardik Patel. 
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat High Court stays Hardik Patel's jail term

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The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday suspended the jail term awarded by a trial court to Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel in a 2015 rioting case. The stay order, passed by Justice S. H. Vora, would be valid till the next hearing.
 
"The High Court has given its order in a case filed by me. Now whatever process is required in the High Court, we will do that," Hardik Patel told reporters soon after the order. "I have been maintaining that we have not carried out any illegal activity that we should be punished."
 
A mob of up to 500 people had turned violent and vandalized the then BJP legislator Rushikesh Patel's office during a rally organised in 2015 to demand job and educational quota for the Patel community. 
 
Other than Hardik, two others who got jail term include Sardar Patel Group leader Laljibhai Patel and A. K. Patel. Fourteen others who were also booked for rioting, arson, damage to property and unlawful assembly, were, acquitted by the trial court.
 
"We have been working for truth and if I raise the issues of people and you want to dub Hardik as a rebel, then I am a rebel," Hardik said adding that he would undertake an indefinite fast on August 25, the third anniversary of the first mega rally of Patels in 2015.
 
"The government may have converted the venue of my fast into a parking lot but there are 11 other venues nearby. I would meet Police Commissioner and Collector on Friday and this would be the last warning for them to agree or disagree. We are seeking permission as per our democratic rights and hope that they would agree," Hardik said.
 
IANS
 

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A Japanese town in Gujarat soon

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The Gujarat government has decided to develop a township for Japanese expats to further promote flow of investment from Japan that has filled the state's first country-specific industrial estate in less than two years.
 
"We have declared about 700 hectares (1,700 acre) as Japanese township in Khoraj village, five km from the existing Sanand Industrial Estate," said D. Thara, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).
 
The 120-hectare Japanese Industrial Park in Mandal, 90 km from Ahmedabad, has got saturated with 13 companies either under construction or already operating. The state saw a need for a larger industrial area and a place for Japanese to call home.
 
"Now that we are having a traction from Japanese companies, the Japanese will need a place to stay, to establish their culture. They will need a comfort zone," Thara said and added the township will have all amenities like schools, hospitals and market.
 
The Japanese government is working with the Gujarat government to develop the Japanese Industrial Township, which will have residential, commercial and industrial areas. While the state is constructing major roads, Japan will design the township.
 
"Japan is planning to engage industrial park developers like Toyota Tsusho. We will give them land and they will develop and give it to Japanese companies. In a plug-and-play environment, the firms can start production and then purchase land," she said.
 
Eight Japanese companies have already expressed their interest in setting up their units at the township in Khoraj. Apart from the lure of homes and the homelike ambience, Khoraj is centrally located and just 25 km from Ahmedabad.
 
"A minimum of 15,000 to 20,000 direct jobs will be generated and you can expect five times of that in generation of indirect jobs in areas like services, transport, goods, banking and food. We are talking about one lakh jobs in this township," she said.
 
The flow of Japanese companies to Gujarat, alone or in a joint venture with Indian companies, has instilled a new work culture, discipline and efficient use of resources, particularly land, apart from the sharing of advanced technologies. 
 
"The number of residences will depend on the number of industries and the number of workers and officers who will come from Japan. There is no question of constraint of land as the residential area will only grow in height (vertically) after this," she said.
 
Thara will lead a delegation to Japan in October-end. The purpose of the visit will be to invite Japanese delegations for "Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit" to be held on January 18-20, 2019. Like earlier years, this time too Japan will be the country partner.
 
IANS
 
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Hardik Patel gets bail, says fight to continue

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A local court in Visnagar town of North Gujarat sentenced firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel and two others to a two-year jail term and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 in a 2015 rioting case. The court later granted bail to the three.
 
The case refers to mob violence that resulted in then BJP legislator Rushikesh Patel's office being vandalized during a rally in 2015, organised for reservation for the Patel (or Patidar) community in government jobs and educational institutions.
 
Hours after the sentence, Hardik Patel described the BJP rule in Gujarat as "Hitlershahi." "I am a sinner, if it is a sin to fight for social justice and rights. If those who fight for truth and their rights are rebels, then I am a rebel," he said in a statement on a social media platform on Wednesday.
 
"There was not a single witness who saw me where the incident took place. I respect the court's decision, but I will exercise my right to challenge it," he told reporters.
 
"What about action against policemen who unleashed terror on the agitating Patidars and their families after the August 2015 rally?" he asked. Patel was referring to the massive police crackdown after a rally on August 25, 2015, which led to the death of 14 Patel community members. 
 
"The BJP might think I would not be able to fight an election (in 2019) if I am in jail for two years, but let them take it that I am not here to fight elections," he said. "If I get an opportunity, I can contest an election," he added.
 
Patel said he would go ahead with his indefinite fast from August 25, the third anniversary of the Patels' rally, and re-launch his agitation. 
 
Besides Patel, the other two sentenced were Sardar Patel Group leader Laljibhai Patel and A K Patel. There were 14 others in the same case who were booked for rioting, arson, damage to property and unlawful assembly. However, they were let free.
 
The earlier ban on Hardik Patel from entering Mehsana district where Visnagar is located, however, remains in place.
 
IANS
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 
 
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Hardik Patel gets 2 years in jail for rioting in 2015

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A Gujarat court on Wednesday sentenced Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel and two of his associates to two years in jail on charges of vandalising a BJP legislator's office in Mehsana district in 2015.
 
This was after a rally demanding reservations for Patidar youth in government jobs and educational institutions turned violent in Visnagar town. 
 
A mob of around 3,000 to 5,000 people vandalised BJP MLA Rushikesh Patel's office. 
 
In all, 17 people, including Hardik Patel, were charged with arson, rioting, and criminal conspiracy. 
 
Patel was arrested and released on bail, and subsequently barred by the court from entering Mehsana district. 
 
IANS
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 
 
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8 dead as car catches fire after colliding with truck in Gujarat

 
8 dead as car catches fire after collision with truck in Gujarat
 
 
Eight persons died after the car in which they were travelling caught fire after colliding with a truck on the Rajkot-Morbi highway near Tankara town in Morbi district of Gujarat on Tuesday night.
 
Police sources said the victims were all occupants of the Maruti Eeco car and belonged to the same family, which was returning home to Rajkot after visiting a temple in Kutch.
 
One person has suffered serious injuries in the mishap and is currently undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.
 
According to the police, the car, which was running on gas, erupted into flames after the collision.
 
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Vaghela threatens to sever political ties with son who joins BJP

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Hours after his son joined the BJP on Saturday, former Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela warned him that he should quit the saffron party within a week, else he would sever all political ties with him.
 
"I am not happy with the way Mahendrasinh joined the BJP. He should have consulted his supporters. I give him a deadline of one week to do that and quit the saffron party if the consensus is against his decision. Otherwise I will sever all my political ties with him," said the former Chief Minister.
 
Vaghela said he was aware about the move two-three days ago. "Mahendra had told me that BJP chief Amit Shah had been nudging him to join the BJP. I told him that he should first think of his supporters," said Shankersinh. He said he was surprised that Mahendrasinh switched over without informing anyone in the party.
 
Mahendrasinh, a former Congress legislator from Bayad in central Gujarat, had won the 2012 Assembly polls. But he quit the party before the Rajya Sabha elections in 2017 along with his father and 13 other legislators. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the party nominee for the seat, had barely scraped through due to cross-voting by the rebel MLAs.
 
Vaghela Jr. was expected to join the BJP before the 2017 Assembly elections, but he stayed away from contesting as his father led a little-known outfit, Jan Vikalp Morcha. Despite the Morcha contesting over 105 seats, none of its candidates made it to the 182-member Assembly. Most of them even lost their deposits. The Jan Vikalp Morcha is a non-entity now.
 
Talking about his next moves, Shankarsinh said he would call his party workers and decide. "I am in touch with non-BJP parties. Politically, I am active as general elections draw closer," he said. On whether he was approached by any party, he said: "I have not received any offers. But I don't take offers, I give offers."
 
Both BJP and Congress have been poaching on each other in the recent months. 
 
The announcement of Mahendrasinh joining saffron brigade was made by BJP state president Jitu Vaghani on Saturday morning, at the inauguration of a two-day Youth Parliament held at Karnavati University, situated on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. The youth Parliament was attended by BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and several other senior leaders.
 
IANS
 
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3 dead as heavy rains lash Gujarat's Saurashtra region

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Friday, the 13th, turned out to be a nightmare for the usually dry Saurashtra region of Gujarat, as the rain gods lashed it with torrential downpours that claimed three lives.
 
During the last 10 hours, the region has received from 60 mm to more than 180 mm rainfall, particularly in the Junagadh district, the state emergency response centre said.
 
For the past 10 hours, heavy rains hit Kodinar taluka (tehsil/block) of Junagadh district with 180 mm downpour. Heavy downpour also took place in Maliya and Sutrapada talukas of Gir-Somnath district, with 175 mm and 166 mm of rains, respectively. Visavadar in Gir-Somnath received 96 mm of rains on Friday.
 
Other talukas like Bhesan and Mendarda of Junagadh district and Talala of Gir-Somnath district registered 85, 105 and 85 mm rainfall over the past 10 hours. Veraval in Gir-Somnath received 75 mm and Jamkandorna taluka in Rajkot district received 98 mm rains.
 
According to the Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL), power supply has been affected in 24 villages of these districts, besides Amreli, where supply has been cut off in five villages.
 
Shetrunji Dam in Saurashtra is overflowing with flood waters. The authorities have shut 154 roads of the state, including one national highway and four state highways.
 
Meanwhile, incessant rains continued in south Gujarat, with Waghai in Dang district receiving 60 mm, Mangrol in Surat 55 mm and Meghraj in Aravalli 52 mm rainfall.
 
The Met Department has predicted that torrential downpour will continue in Gujarat over the next two days, with heavy to very heavy rains in some regions.
 
IANS
 
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Gujarat BJP vice president quits after rape charge by Surat girl

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Gujarat BJP vice-president and former legislator from Kutch Jayanti Bhanushali on Friday stepped down from his post after a 21-year-old girl from Surat filed a police complaint of rape and blackmail against him.
 
The complaint says that the girl came in contact with Bhanushali for her admission in a fashion designing college. She said Bhanushali had called her to Gandhinagar, where she alleged he raped her in a moving car, threatening her with a sharp weapon.
 
She claimed Bhanushali's men got a video made of her and later pressured her for sexual favours. According to the girl's complaint, Bhanushali's driver and others were also involved in the crime.
 
The same complainant had made similar allegations sometime back against the nephew of a former legislator, Sunil Bhanushali. However, Sunil Bhanushali alleged that the girl and her husband were demanding  a Rs 10-crore ransom.
 
The State BJP vice president has rubbished the allegations and claimed that this was a part of a conspiracy against him. In his resignation letter to state BJP president Jitu Vaghani, he said he would not resume his post until his innocence was proved in the case.
 
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Heavy rains claim 19 lives in one week in Gujarat

 
Heavy rains lead to flood-like situation in Gujarat's Valsad
 
 
As many as 19 people died in Gujarat following torrential rains during the past one week, even as the state government relocated more than 1,000 persons to safer places.
 
"Heavy rains have caused a total of 19 deaths in the state since last week. We also have reports of 84 cattle perishing in the rains. Around 978 persons from across the state, primarily South Gujarat, have been evacuated to safety," Manoj Kothari, Relief Commissioner, Gujarat, told reporters on Thursday.
 
"Many villages also do not have electricity but we are trying to restore power supply at the earliest," he said.
 
Navsari district in South Gujarat, which has been witnessing heavy rains this season, is the most affected in the state. The authorities have put around 10 villages in Navsari on alert, with a dozen others in danger of being marooned.
 
The state has deployed a total of fifteen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the state, out of which four teams are in South Gujarat, four teams in Vadodara, three teams in Gandhinagar and one team each in Amreli, Jamnagar, Palanpur and Mahisagar districts.
 
During the past 24 hours, 118 of the total 251 talukas (tehsils/blocks) in the state have received heavy rainfall, with more than two inches of rains lashing over 30 talukas. Heavy rains continued in the South Gujarat region on the second consecutive day. Waghai in Dangs district received over 121 mm of rains, followed by Surat city with 107 mm and Bharuch and Dolvan in Tapi district with around 95 mm.
 
With heavy inflow of waters from the catchment area, Ambika river in Navsari district and Poorna river in Dangs district were in spate and 206 roads, including one national highway and four state highways were shut down for vehicular traffic.
 
A police station in the Sachin GIDC estate region of Surat had to be evacuated after it got flooded, forcing policemen to move out. The authorities asked the schools and other educational establishments to remain shut for the day.
 
The Saurashtra region of the state also had good downpour with Kodinar in Gir Somnath district receiving heavy rains of 115 mm and Talaja in Bhavnagar district about 100 mm of rain till 6 p.m. on Thursday, according to figures provided by state emergency operation centre.
 
The meteorological department issued warnings of heavy to very heavy rains in many parts of the state for next 48 hours. "South Gujarat, East-Central districts of the state and coastal Saurashtra districts would receive heavy to very heavy rains and at some isolated places even extreme heavy rains are expected in Surat, Navsari and Valsad."
 
"Heavy rains are also expected to lash some isolated regions of Panchmahals, Dahod, Mahisagar and Kheda districts. Other part of the state could witness moderate to heavy rains in coming four days," Jayanta Sarkar, Director, Met Department, said.
 
IANS
 
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Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kalsaria joins Congress

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Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kanu Kalsaria, who had successfully spearheaded a huge public agitation against a Nirma cement plant in the state's Mahuva area, on Wednesday evening joined the Congress party after a meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
 
Kalsaria, who is a social activist and a surgeon, drifted away from the BJP while running the agitation against the cement factory because of the "pro-capitalist" regime of Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister.
 
"I have been fighting social causes but needed the right political strength to do it more effectively. I feel I can do it through the Congress party," he told mediapersons after meeting Gandhi.
 
Kalsaria, who had joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and became its chief in Gujarat, said: "Somehow, AAP could not emerge strongly in the State and I also tried as an independent candidate but could not make a dent."
 
"Farmers are unhappy, they want their rights. There is unemployment, health and education are serious issues in Gujarat. I decided I should join the Congress where I can work effectively," said the three-time BJP lawmaker (1997-2012).
 
State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi told IANS: "Kanubhai is a sincere man with a clean image dedicated to public welfare for years. It is a good news for the Congress party that he has joined us and that too without any conditions whatsoever." 
 
IANS
 
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Congress' Gujarat unit plans to woo defectors, calls it 'Ghar Wapsi'

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After losing out two bigwigs in two months in the form of senior legislator Kunwarji Bavaliya and former MLA Indraneel Rajyaguru, the Congress in Gujarat has decided to bring back the defectors into the party fold, calling it "Ghar Wapsi".
 
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani said the party was open to welcome all those who left the party to join the BJP and were feeling suffocated as well as disgruntled BJP members. He claimed that several such leaders would return to the party in near future.
 
"After having a detailed discussion in the party, it has been decided that the Congress will be holding a 'Recruitment Mela', a sort of 'Ghar Wapsi', in the coming days for disgruntled BJP members into the Congress.
 
"They include all those BJP members, who once originally belonged to the Congress as well as the original BJP members dissatisfied with the party," he said.
 
Asked if this would not create dissatisfaction amongst the loyal party workers who have been consistently working hard over the years, Dhanani said: "There's a difference between this recruitment and the way we do. We will be asking our grassroots level workers and party leaders before deciding who to take back. 
 
"But one thing is certain, the party won't compromise on discipline and ideology. The party will only welcome those who are ready to follow the ideology."
 
He claimed that many BJP members have expressed such desire to join the party. "Many such BJP members, once belonging to Congress and now repenting, are in touch with our rank and file and keen to return. They believe in the party's vision and ideology. This will be an attempt to save democracy, preserve the constitutional values and it will be a 'Bharat Bachao Campaign'.
 
Many former MLAs, local body representatives at various levels, including political leaders from cooperative bodies, have showed their willingness to join the Congress," he added.
 
IANS
 
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SC asks Gujarat HC not to proceed with case against Ahmed Patel

Ahmed Patel
Ahmed Patel
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat High Court not to proceed with the case filed by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel's election to the Rajya Sabha.
 
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought Rajput's response on Patel's plea seeking direction to the High Court to not proceed with the plea challenging his election. It asked the Gujarat High Court to frame the issues to be decided by it on Rajput's petition and posted the matter before it for hearing in August.
 
Rajput, a Congress MLA, had defected from the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just ahead of the August 8, 2017 Rajya Sabha election for three seats in the state.
 
Fielded as a BJP nominee for one of the seats, he lost the election to Patel after the Election Commission passed an order invalidating the votes of then Congress MLAs Raghavjee Patel and Bholabhai Gohel over flouting of poll norms as the two had gone against the party's decision, and voted for Rajput instead.
 
The decision paved the way for Patel's victory.
 
After the elections, Rajput filed the petition in August 2017 questioning the Commission's order that came following objections raised by the Congress.
 
He had also accused Patel of indulging in corrupt practices by taking 44 Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru and keeping them in captivity and spending lavishly on them.
 
The Gujarat High Court had rejected Patel's plea against admission of Rajput's petition challenging the Election Commission's decision that resulted in his victory, and he subsequently approached the Supreme Court.
 
IANS
 
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