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Cyclone Vayu begins skirting Gujarat coast, brings heavy rainfall: IMD

Moving north-westwards, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday afternoon started skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat while heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue till the evening, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
Moving north-westwards, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday afternoon started skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat while heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue till the evening, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
 
The 'severe cyclonic storm' did not make landfall in Gujarat but was passing over the Saurashtra region, affecting Amreli, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Dwarka districts, bringing widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy rains.
 
Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, said that although the IMD has informed that the cyclone has changed its course, "it may still cause heavy winds and rains, and so we are still on stand-by mode".
 
"Cyclone Vayu is 110 kilometres from Veraval to the south-west and 150 kilometres from Porbandar to the south. The cyclone is moving towards the north and was crossing over Saurashtra," he said.
 
The Chief Minister's Office in Gujarat said Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani immediately after reaching Bishkek for the SCO Summit and inquired about the cyclone preparedness and assured all assistance and support from Centre to mitigate the effects of the storm.
 
Skymet Weather had earlier stated that the 'Very Severe Cyclone' might weaken into a Category 1 Cyclonic Storm from Category 2, though the wind speed will be 135-145 kms per hour gusting up to 175 kms per hour.
 
Gujarat has, meanwhile, already evacuated over 3.1 lakh people and the Union Territory of Diu that touches the Saurashtra coast has moved over 10,000 people to safety.
 
The Coast Guard has stated that the cyclone would take up to Saturday before it completely moves over into the sea at Dwarka.
 
Iqbal Singh Chauhan, DIG of Coast Guard, Porbandar, told reporters that, "The next 50-60 hours will be very important for Gujarat." He said all fishermen and coastal residents were requested to shift to safer places if they had not done so.
 
Those living in 'katcha' (thatched) houses were advised to take shelter at the relief camps set up by the Gujarat government as the sea was expected to surge to about 1-1.5 metres.
 
"I want to inform all the citizens of India that the pre-emptive steps taken by the administration, government agencies and armed forces will ensure that there is no loss of life," Chauhan said.
 
Meanwhile, the Western Railways have cancelled as many as 70 trains from the Saurashtra and Kutch regions, while 28 trains had been short terminated.
 
According to Western Railways PRO Pradeep Sharma, special relief trains had been started to supply essential commodities to the areas that are affected and move people to safer places. Hundreds had been shifted through state transport buses.
 
According to the Airports Authority of India, the impact of the cyclone has been mild at most airports in Gujarat and no damage has been caused to the infrastructure of aerodromes.
 
Flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla had already been suspended since midnight of Wednesday.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Vayu to skirt Saurashtra coast, affect Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Diu

Cyclone Vayu is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast from Thursday afternoon with wind speed 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, affecting the districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
Vayu, the very severe cyclonic storm over the Arabian Sea, is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast from this afternoon with wind speed 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, affecting the districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu.
 
But, even as the cyclone changed its course towards the sea overnight and it appeared that it may not cross the coast, the authorities in Gujarat had evacuated some three lakh people from the coastal areas and the Diu administration had shifted about 10,000 people to safety by yesterday evening.
 
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) at 0830 hours today said the cyclone over Eastcentral and adjoining Northeast Arabian Sea had moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 11 kmph in the previous six hours and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST near latitude 20.3°N and longitude 69.5°E, about 150 km south-southwest of Diu, 110 km southwest of Veraval (Gujarat) and 150 km nearly south of Porbandar (Gujarat).
 
"It is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 135-145 kmph gusting to 160 kmph from afternoon of 13th June 2019," the  bulletin said.
 
The bulletin said widespread rainfall would occur over Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat today and tomorrow, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places.
 
It also forecast fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places in Konkan and Goa and other parts of Gujarat today.
 
The bulletin said gale wind speed of the order of 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast today. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
Tomorrow, gale wind speed of the order of 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast in the morning hours, after which it will decrease gradually. It is very likely to be 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, over northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
On June 15, gale wind speed of the order of 100-110 kmph, gusting to 125 kmph, is very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till evening and decrease gradually thereafter.
 
The bulletin said the sea condition will be phenomenal over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till June 15 and over northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea during the next 12 hours.
 
The sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high along and off north Maharashtra coast today, it said.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the affected areas during this period.
 
According to the bulletin, storm surge of height of about 1.6m near Mangrol, Junagadh district above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas this afternoon.
 
The IMD warned of the possible destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to kutcha houses and some damage to pucca houses in Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Diu. It warned of uprooting and bending of power and communication poles, damage to roads, flooding of escape routes, minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems.
 
There could also be widespread damage to standing crops, plantation, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds. 
 
The IMD called for regulation of road and rail traffic in  the districts likely to be affected, total suspension of fishing operations and evacuation of people from low-lying areas.
 
People in the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone have been advised to remain indoors.
 
NNN
 

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Mumbai businessman gets life, Rs 5 crore fine for creating hijack scare in 2018

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In the first conviction under the amended anti-hijacking law, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday sentenced a Mumbai-based businessman to a life term and a fine of Rs 5 crore for creating a hijack scare on a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight on October 30, 2017.
 
Convicting Birju Kishor Salla for violating provisions of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016, the court, in its order, said that the fine amount would be used to compensate each pilot of the Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339 with Rs 1 lakh, each air hostess with Rs 50,000 and each passenger with Rs 25,000 for the misery they underwent.
 
Salla was arrested by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) after a letter warning of a hijack and bomb threat was discovered on Mumbai-Delhi bound Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339, which had 122 passengers, including seven crew, on board. 
 
Following the scare, the flight had to be diverted to Ahmedabad and then grounded at the Ahmedabad airport. It was only after all passengers were disembarked and screened at a remote bay there that the flight was cleared for take-off.
 
The NIA took over the probe on November 7. During investigation, the NIA claimed that it found clinching evidence regarding preparation of the threat note and its placement on the plane. 
 
The pilot had alerted the Ahmedabad airport authorities about the threat letter, reported to be in Urdu and English. The NIA said that Salla intentionally put the printed threat letter inside the toilet to disrupt the aircraft operation thus jeopardising the safety of the passengers and the crew members on board. 
 
The NIA filed a charge sheet against Salla on January 23, 2018 in the NIA Court under several sections of Anti-Hijacking Act 2016.
 
IANS

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Nine of a family killed in accident in Gujarat

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Nine people of a family, including eight women, were killed and 27 injured near Ambaji temple town in North Gujarat's Banaskantha district on Friday evening when the brakes of the tourist bus they were travelling in failed, official sources said.
 
The injured were rushed to the government hospital in Palanpur. The bus overturned after its brakes failed, the sources added.
 
The accident occurred nearly 200 km from Ahmedabad when they were returning to their village Bhal in Vadgam taluka (tehsil) in Banaskantha district after offering prayers at the popular Ambaji temple.
 
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed shock and grief over the accident and conveyed his sympathies to the family of those killed.
 
Rupani issued instructions to the Banaskantha district administration to ensure the best possible care for the injured. 
 
IANS
 

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BJP issues notice to MLA for kicking woman

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Hours after getting him to issue an apology, the Gujarat BJP on Monday slapped a show cause notice on its Ahmedabad legislator Balram Thawani for kicking a woman and asked him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
 
Even as the Naroda MLA, who was caught on camera roughing up and kicking a woman on a street, insisted he did not hit her intentionally, his party strongly condemned his behaviour.
 
State BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said: "We condemn this behaviour which is shameful and unbecoming of a people's representative."
 
He said Gujarat BJP President Jitubhai Vaghani had issued Thawani a show cause notice to "explain in three days why disciplinary action should not be taken against him".
 
This came several hours after Thawani apologized for his behaviour, while in a rapprochement of sorts the woman in question on Monday evening went ahead and tied a rakhi to him.
 
"Vaghani immediately called up Thawani on Sunday night on knowing about the incident and directed him to issue a public apology. He has also sought his explanation," Pandya told IANS earlier.
 
Nitu Tejwani, a municipal ward in-charge of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had gone to Thawani's office in Naroda as part of a group protesting over water supply.
 
A video that went viral of the lawmaker kicking the woman shows Tejwani fallen to the ground after being roughed up by another man.
 
Witnesses confirmed that Thawani came out of his office when this man was beating her and joined him in kicking her. This only stopped after a passer-by intervened and slapped the MLA.
 
Talking to reporters, Tejwani, who also filed a police complaint against Thawani and others, claimed that she had gone to meet the MLA to represent about the water supply issue in her area.
 
She added: "Without reason and without saying anything, he (legislator) came out and started kicking me and beating me up and even slapped me."
 
She claimed that her husband, who came to her rescue, was beaten up with sticks. Other women protesting over the issue were also roughed up, she said.
 
Thawani admitted that he did kick the woman but insisted that it was in self defence and he did not intend to hit anyone.
 
"I got carried away in a fit of anger. I have apologized for my mistake. I will say sorry to her," the BJP MLA said.
 
The Congress asserted that the ruling party as well as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should personally apologize.
 
"The BJP must take strict action against the MLA," Congress' Gujarat affairs in-charge Rajeev Satav stated. "It is time women are protected from BJP leaders."
 
NCP's Reshma Patel, who had quit the BJP over six months ago, met Tejwani at the Civil Hospital where she was admitted. Condemning the "MLA's behaviour", she said she would stand by Tejwani's "fight for justice."
 
IANS
 

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Next five years crucial to regain India's global position: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the next five years would be crucial for India to regain its global position.
 
He equated his first tenure as the Prime Minister (2014-2019), with the five years from 1942 to 1947 leading to Independence, which were key to laying the foundation for a strong India. 
 
Making his first public address in Gujarat after his landslide victory, Modi said: "If we look at the five years leading to Independence from 1942 to 1947, they were very important to revive the idea of India and galvanise the people to fight the external forces."
 
"This is a similar opportunity to awaken the public consciousness and work hard to scale new heights for the country. We must work as one society with one purpose and in one direction to achieve this goal," he said in his speech outside the old BJP headquarters at JP Chowk, where he took his first steps in politics in the 1980s.
 
Addressing thousands of people, Modi said wherever he went for campaign during the 2014 and the 2019 elections, the stories of Gujarat's development had already reached there.
 
Giving an example, he said: "I watched a social media interview of an elderly woman in Bengal where she kept on repeating Modi-Modi. But when asked who she will vote for, she said she will vote for the Communists.
 
"When she was asked why, since she wanted Gujarat like development, she said this is Bengal, we can't say all this publicly, you never know what happens to you."
 
Modi, along with BJP President Amit Shah, arrived here on a two-day thanksgiving visit to Gujarat, which gave the party all the 26 Lok Sabha once again. Modi later took his nonagenarian mother Hiraba's blessings at Raisin near state capital Gandhinagar. He would spend the night at the Raj Bhawan in the state capital before returning to Delhi on Monday. 
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat: Amit Shah set to win, BJP ahead on all 26 seats

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday appeared all set to capture all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat yet again even as its national President Amit Shah was leading by a hefty margin of over 2.38 lakh votes at the end of the first 10 rounds of counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections.
 
Shah, contesting from the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency for the first time, has bagged 3,52,099 votes to establish a lead of more than 2.38 lakh votes over his nearest rival C. J. Chawda of the Congress who has managed 1,13,436 votes.
 
As many as 15 BJP candidates were well ahead of their nearest rivals by more than one lakh votes. Woman candidate Ranjan Bhatt from Vadodara has established a margin of around 2 lakh votes over Congress' Prashant Patel.
 
Another woman candidate of the BJP, Geeta Rathwa, contesting from the tribal seat of Chhota Udepur in central Gujarat, was leading by more than one lakh votes. BJP's Ahmedabad West candidate Kirit Solanki, Mohanbhai Kundaria from Rajkot, Bhartiben Shiyal from Bhavnagar, Mitesh Patel from Anand, Mansukhbhai Vasava from Bharuch, Parbhubhai Vasava from Bardoli, Darshnaben Jardosh from Surat, C. R. Patil from Navsari and K. C. Patel from Valsad were all leading by over one lakh votes after the 10th round of counting.
 
The only saving grace for the Congress appears to be in the Amreli Lok Sabha constituency in Saurashtra where leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani was trailing by a narrow margin against Naran Kachhadiya of the BJP.
 
The BJP had bagged all the 26 seats in the 2014 general elections when as many as 64.7 per cent voters exercised their franchise while this time the polling percentage was 64.11.
 
Besides the Lok Sabha seats, counting of votes was also being held in four Assembly constituencies where bye-elections were conducted on April 23 during the third phase of the seven-phased parliamentary elections. There are 28 counting centres for these seats.
 
IANS
 

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Adani Group to withdraw defamation cases against 'The Wire'

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The Adani Group is set to withdraw all defamation suits filed against news portal thewire.in and its editors in an Ahmedabad court for articles against its companies, highly placed sources said on Wednesday.
 
Adani Power Maharashtra Limited had filed two suits against the web portal, while Group firm Adani Petronet Port Dahej Limited had moved a defamation case against it.
 
Besides the portal, its founder-editors Siddharth Varadarajan and M.K.Venu, as well as Siddharth Bhatia, Monobina Gupta, Pamela Philipose and Noor Mohammed were also named in the law suits.
 
Confirming the development, Varadarajan told IANS: "We understand that the Adani Group has moved to withdraw all the defamation cases, civil and criminal, instituted against The Wire over the past two years for various articles we have published on the Group's businesses. We will issue a statement once this process attains finality." 
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat to shift 8 Asiatic lions to UP zoo

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Eight Asiatic lions from the Sakkarbaug (Junagadh) zoo of Gujarat will be soon transferred to a zoo in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, as part of the Animal Exchange Programme.
 
Junagadh Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Dushyant Vasavada said, "Two male and six female lions from the Gujarat zoo will be transferred to the Uttar Pradesh zoo..., and we are ready for the transfer." 
 
It is not yet disclosed which animals are to be transferred from the Gorakhpur zoo to Gujarat under the programme. 
 
The date and the mode of transport are yet to be decided by the zoo officials, he added.
 
The idea of such mutual exchange for the zoos came up at the Annual Conference of Indian Zoos held in December last year. It was organized by the Central Zoo Authority at Mysore where 25 directors of different zoos across the country visited the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.
 
Sakkarbaug zoo, also known as Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden, is spread over 200 hectares of land and it opened in 1863. It is one of the oldest zoos in the country that is considered an important centre for providing Asiatic lions to other zoos and for safaris across the state and the country.
 
IANS
 

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PepsiCo withdraws case against Gujarat potato farmers

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Facing increasing pressure, food and beverages giant PepsiCo on Thursday said it has withdrawn the case it filed against nine Gujarat farmers for growing a potato variety which it claimed was its registered product.
 
"To safeguard the larger interest of farmers, PepsiCo India was compelled to take judicial recourse to protect its registered variety. PepsiCo from the very start had also offered an amicable settlement to farmers. After discussions with the government, the company has agreed to withdraw cases against farmers...," the company said in a statement. 
 
PepsiCo had sued the nine farmers of Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts of north Gujarat for allegedly growing the FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes for which it has claimed Plant Variety Protection (PVP) rights.
 
It held that it obtained PVP rights over the potato variety under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right (PPVFR) Act, 2001 and that the farmers were violating its rights over the seed variety.
 
IANS
 

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Ahmedabad court summons Rahul in defamation case

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A court here on Wednesday issued summons to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a suit filed by a BJP member accusing him of making defamatory statements against party President Amit Shah at a poll rally in Madhya Pradesh last month.
 
The case was filed by Krishnavadan Brahmbhatt, a BJP corporator from the city's Khadia ward, who contending that the Congress chief's terming Amit Shah a "murder accused" at the rally was defamatory as well as false "because Amit Shah had been discharged honourably by the CBI court in January 2015" in the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an allegedly staged gunfight.
 
Issuing the summons, Metropolitan Magistrate D. S. Dabhi fixed the next hearing on July 9.
 
Brahmbhatt's lawyer had argued that an Ahmedabad court could have jurisdiction though Gandhi made the remarks in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur since the speech was televised nationally while city newspapers also reported it.
 
IANS

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Voter ID stronger than IED: Modi after voting

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said people must vote in large numbers as the power of the Voter ID is stronger than the IED (improvised explosive device) used by terrorists.
 
"Terrorists' weapon is IED while democracy's strength is Voter ID. I believe that the power of Voter ID is much stronger than the IED. Understand the importance of Voter ID and vote in large numbers," Modi told the media after casting his vote here. 
 
Modi said voters of India were wise to decide whom to vote. "They know the difference between good and bad." 
 
He said the feeling one gets after voting was akin to what one feels after the holy dip during the Kumbh.
 
The Prime Minister cast his vote at a polling booth in Ranip in Ahmedabad, a part of Gujarat's Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, in the third phase of the parliamentary polls.
 
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is the party candidate from this constituency, which was earlier represented by BJP veteran L. K. Advani. 
 
Modi also asked the youths and first-time voters to exercise their franchise in the interest of the nation.
 
"I welcome the youths for their active participation in making a decisive government..."
 
Voting was underway on Tuesday across 117 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 15 states and Union Territories as the third - and largest - phase of the seven-phase electoral exercise kicked off. All 26 constituencies in Gujarat are voting on Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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Hardik slapped at rally, slugfest between BJP, Congress

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Firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel was on Friday slapped at a public meeting in Gujarat's Surendranagar district by a man who alleged Patel was playing politics with the sentiments of the community.
 
Patel was addressing an election rally described as a 'Jan Aakrosh Sabha' at Baldana village when a man identified as Tarun Gajjar from Kadi town in north Gujarat climbed onto the stage and slapped him. Gajjar was heard saying that 14 Patidar youngsters had been killed in 2015 during Hardik Patel's agitation for reservations to the community but now the latter was playing politics over it.
 
He was later overpowered by Congress workers who thrashed him and took him away from the venue of the rally. Gajjar was detained by the police who also hospitalized him for treatment.
 
The attack snowballed into a political slugfest between the BJP and the Congress with the latter blaming the ruling party for the incident and the former calling it a gimmick to gain sympathy.
 
The Congress dashed off a memorandum to the Election Commission demanding that Patel be immediately provided protection and his Y Category security cover which was removed "for reasons best known by the state government" be restored.
 
It alleged that the BJP was deliberately attempting to disrupt the election meetings of the party. 
 
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya, however, strongly denied it, claiming that the Patidars were disillusioned by Hardik Patel and so he was inviting public anger, for which the BJP should not be blamed.
 
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also plunged into the matter, saying: "As stated by the assailant himself, the slap was an expression of his anger against Hardik for personal reasons and the BJP had nothing to do with it. I suspect it could be a Congress-sponsored drama to catch people's sympathy."
 
He said that the "peace-loving" BJP or any of its workers could never indulge in such violent activities and said that the culprit would be punished. His deputy, Nitin Patel, asserted that the Patidar leader was being paid back in his own coin by the community. 
 
Hardik Patel, who later lodged a complaint at the Wadhvan police station, said: "This was the handiwork of the BJP, and the party may someday send someone to shoot me but our fight will continue."
 
Meanwhile, Gajjar told reporters from his hospital bed that he was not a Patidar and he slapped the leader because he and his family "suffered" medical emergencies because Hardik held rallies and meetings blocking traffic in his hometown in 2015.
 
"My wife had even suffered a miscarriage. I wanted to take revenge on Hardik for the last three years and got the opportunity today." He claimed it was his "personal decision". 
 
Tarun's father Manu Gajjar, however, said he did not know anything about his daughter-in-law's alleged miscarriage, nor Tarun had ever said anything about his anger against Hardik at home. He also claimed that Tarun was "missing" for the last 15 days or so and did not contact his family in Kadi.
 
Postings on Tarun's Facebook page give ample evidence of his sympathy for the BJP. The page was full of pro-Narendra Modi, pro-BJP and anti-Congress postings. There also was not a single posting to indicate that he had any personal enmity with Hardik or his agitation.
 
Meanwhile, Hardik Patel's former associate in his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Reshma Patel, who had joined the BJP but later quit it, was attacked allegedly by three BJP workers at Vanthali in Junagadh district this morning.
 
Reshma Patel, a Nationalist Congress Party candidate for the Manavadar state Assembly seat where a bye-election is scheduled to be held along with the Lok Sabha poll on April 23, was admitted in a hospital with injuries.
 
The bye-election was necessitated after sitting Congress legislator Jawahar Chavda quit and joined the BJP to be made a minister in the Vijay Rupani cabinet. He is contesting the election on a BJP ticket. 
 
No arrest has yet been made in this connection.
 
IANS

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Alpesh Thakore quits Congress, takes one MLA along

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After days of pulls and pressures and flip-flops, maverick Gujarat legislator Alpesh Thakore finally resigned from the Congress on Wednesday, along with another MLA owing allegiance to his Gujarat Kshatriya Thakore Sena, claiming that the party's state leadership had "sidelined" him and not given him respect.
 
Alpesh Thakore, who is an MLA from Radhanpur, however, said that he and his associate Dhavalsinh Jhala, the legislator from Bayad, would continue as MLAs and would "never join the BJP". 
 
They would, however, campaign for Swarupji Thakore who is contesting the Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat as an independent candidate and Natwarji Thakore, fighting the Unjha Assembly bye-election, both in north Gujarat.
 
In his resignation letter to state Congress President Amit Chavda, the OBC leader claimed he, his community and supporters were feeling "cheated" and "ignored" within the party set-up and were suffocated.
 
"The youth of my organization are angry over insults and being ignored by Congress. To me, my organization is supreme... It is my organisation's order that I should not be at the place where I am ignored, insulted and betrayed."
 
Speaking to reporters later at his office in Ahmedabad, he said while he had resigned from all posts of Congress, he would continue to remain a legislator. 
 
Hinting at his future, he said: "We will show the strength of our organization and it is we who will make the king of the state in 2022." 
 
Congress sources said Alpesh Thakore had been smarting after the party denied him a ticket to contest the Patan Lok Sabha seat, which he claimed he could easily win, and chose veteran party hand and former MP Jagdish Thakore.
 
The party also ignored the Thakore Sena's demand for tickets to contest the Sabarkantha and Banaskantha seats.
 
The development came hours after the core committee of the Gujarat Kshatriya Thakore Sena, which he had himself floated several years ago, late on Tuesday night, decided to sever all ties with the Congress and exhorted Thakore to resign from the party.
 
"During our meeting we decided that the Thakore Sena would have no ties with the Congress. We did not consult Alpesh Thakore but we have conveyed him to make up his mind within 24 hours," Jagat Thakore, member of the Thakore Sena, told reporters.
 
Alpesh Thakore had joined the Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly elections and was elected from Radhanpur seat on a party ticket. He recently met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his displeasure against the functioning of the party's state leadership.
 
However, days after this, he claimed his issues were sorted out. He was learnt to be miffed with the party leadership that they selected senior Congress leader Jagdish Thakore for the Patan seat.
 
Asked about this, he said: "We have no issues. You may give tickets to whoever you want but at least consult and take the youth in confidence."
 
IANS
 

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Day before polls, Alpesh Thakore quits Congress

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Congress's maverick Gujarat legislator Alpesh Thakore, who had been keeping the party on tenterhooks for some time, resigned on Wednesday, over his "sidelining" by state leaders in several key issues.
 
Thakore was due to address a press meet soon to formally announce his decision.
 
The development came hours after the core committee of the Gujarat Kshatriya Thakore Sena, which he had himself floated several years ago, late on Thursday night, decided to sever all ties with the Congress and exhorted Thakore to resign from the party. 
 
"During our meeting, we decided that the Thakore Sena would have no ties with the Congress. We did not consult Alpesh Thakore but we have conveyed him to make up his mind within 24 hours," Jagat Thakore, member of the Thakore Sena, told reporters.
 
"We have made it clear that if he wishes to be with the Congress, he must leave the Thakore Sena and if he remains with the Thakore Sena, he should sever ties with the Congress and resign as an MLA," he added.
 
According to Jagat Thakore, the Congress has been sidelining the Thakore Sena in the selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections as well as in taking important decisions.
 
Congress sources said Alpesh Thakore had been smarting after the party denied him a ticket to contest the Patan Lok Sabha seat, which he claimed he could easily win, and chose veteran party hand and former MP Jagdish Thakore. 
 
The party also ignored the Thakore Sena's demand for tickets to contest the Sabarkantha and Banaskantha seats.
 
Thakore Sena's Swarupji Thakore has already filed his nominations in Banaskantha, while another member Natwarji Thakore is contesting the bye-election to Unjha assembly constituency, as Independent candidates.
 
A prominent OBC leader, Alpesh Thakore had joined the Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly elections and won from the Radhanpur seat on a party ticket. He recently met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his displeasure against the functioning of the party's state leadership.
 
The OBC leader had claimed his community and supporters were feeling "cheated" and "ignored" but later claimed his issues were sorted out. 
 
IANS
 

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Hardik Patel's plea seeking stay on court conviction rejected

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In a major blow to the Congress, the Gujarat High Court on Friday rejected a plea by Patidar leader Hardik Patel seeking a stay on his conviction by a district court to enable him to contest the general elections.
 
The decision is a jolt to the Gujarat Congress as Patel was projected to be a candidate for the Jamnagar seat in the 2019 general elections.
 
Justice Abdullahmiya Uraizee rejected the petition filed by Patel seeking a stay on the Mehsana court conviction in a rioting and arson case in Visnagar during the Patel agitation in 2015. 
 
The Mehsana court had ordered a two-year imprisonment in July last year.
 
Patel had prayed for a stay on the order so that he could contest the Lok Sabha polls.
 
Patel on March 12 joined the Congress in Gandhinagar in the presence of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. 
 
Since he still stands convicted in the case, he cannot contest elections as per a Supreme Court order unless the High Court stays his conviction. 
 
IANS
 

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Two workers killed in fire at ONGC oil well near Ahmedabad

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Two contractual workers were killed in a fire that broke out at an oil well of the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) near here while repair and maintenance operations were being carried out by a chartered hire workover rig last night.
 
The fire broke out at around 2030 hours yesterday in well number 6 at Nandej, near here, while the workover operations were being carried out by the rig, Akash 4, an ONGC press release said.
 
"Unfortunately two contractual workers have lost their lives in the incident. While Sanjay Mahendra Singh, 25 was brought dead, Shahjad Alam Ansari, 27 succumbed to the injury at 0700 hours today.
 
"Four other contractual workers who were afflicted with severe burn injuries are being treated at a nearby hospital in Ahmedabad," the release said.
 
Senior officers from ONGC Ahmedabad Asset including Asset Manager, Crisis Management Team, HSE (Health, Safety and Environment), Security and Medical services had immediately rushed to the spot to take all possible measures to bring the fire under control. 
 
The state administration including police and fire services provided all supports to contain the situation, the release said.
 
Nine fire tenders, four of ONGC and five from the District Fire Services, were deployed and the fire was completely extinguished by 2120 hours, it said.
 
"While reasons behind this accident are being enquired into, ONGC is committed to provide all support as per its policy to the bereaved families as well as the ones who have suffered burn injuries," the release added.
 
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Rahul says BJP will be ousted, vows one GST

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the BJP-led NDA government will be ousted in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and promised farm loan waiver, minimum income guarantee scheme and a single-rate GST regime if the Congress comes to power at the Centre.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with party leaders Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi during a public rally in Gandhinagar, on March 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with party leaders Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi during a public rally in Gandhinagar, on March 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the BJP-led NDA government will be ousted in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and promised farm loan waiver, minimum income guarantee scheme and a single-rate GST regime if the Congress comes to power at the Centre.
 
He said the Congress would deliver on its promises unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) "which only made promises but didn't fulfil them in the last five years".
 
Addressing a public rally here after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in Ahmedabad, Gandhi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's patriotism, asking why he was not telling the nation that it was the earlier National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government which had released Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar -- the man behind the Pulwama suicide bombing. 
 
He said Azhar was nabbed and sent to jail during the Congress government, and claimed that it was incumbent National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who had escorted him to Kandahar in Afghanistan in a special aircraft.
 
Gandhi also questioned Modi's "self-proclaimed" fight against corruption and accused him of taking financial favours from industrialists such as Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya.
 
Attacking the Prime Minister over his promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every citizens, he asked the gathering: "Did you get Rs 15 lakh as promised by Modi?"
 
The Congress President also said that his party is going to come to power and would do "something historic".
 
"Modi waived loans worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore of 15 industrialists...he gave money to the rich. But the Congress will give money to the farmers and the small businessmen. I assure you that we will form the government in 2019 and implement a minimum income guarantee scheme across the nation and will put money directly into the bank accounts of the poor," he said.
 
The Congress delivered on its promise within two days of forming governments in the states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi said, adding that he felt bad for not being able to do the same for Gujarat's farmers who also need it just as much.
 
Accusing the BJP of spreading hatred, Gandhi said by doing so, the party is trying to divert attention from the real issues like unemployment, "which was the highest in the last 45 years", and the farmers' issues. 
 
He also criticised the BJP for creating a complex Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime with five different taxes, which people "do not understand even now". He said the Congress will reform the GST after coming to power by making it a single-tax regime.
 
Gandhi also questioned Modi's demonetisation decision, saying while the Prime Minister claimed it was part of a fight against black money, it only hurt the poor.
 
"In those queues outside banks, did you see Nirav Modi or Mehul Choksi? It was only the poor who stood in those queues," he said.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul confident Hardik Patel will win after Patidar leader joins Congress

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday expressed confidence that Patidar leader Hardik Patel will not only contest the Lok Sabha polls but also win, soon after the youngster embraced the grand old party and set at rest speculations about his political affiliations.
 
"Hardik jeetega (will win)," Rahul snapped back at a question if Patel would contest the elections on Congress ticket. The Gandhi scion was speaking to reporters at the Ahmedabad airport after attending the party's working committee meeting here.
 
Patel formally joined the party at a public rally as Rahul Gandhi put a party scarf around him and welcomed him.
 
Patel, 25, was already at the Congress podium hours before the party rally at Adalaj, near state capital Gandhinagar, waving at the crowds cheering him. He was in tow with another young turk and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore.
 
The Congress public rally was being held after an all-important meeting of the party's key decision making arm, the Congress Working Committee. The CWC met for the first time in nearly 60 years in Gujarat.
 
Hardik Patel had announced months ago that he was keen on contesting the elections while he was yet to make up his mind from which party.
 
He had aggressively campaigned against the ruling BJP in the 2017 Assembly elections in which the opposition party came close to forming the government.
 
IANS

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Vote for your future, Priyanka tells people

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Terming the coming Lok Sabha elections "another independence struggle", Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday urged the voters to ask tough questions from the government and raise "real issues" facing them and the country instead of getting drawn into trivialities.
 
"Those who make tall promises to you, ask them where are the two crore jobs that were promised to the nation? Where is the Rs 15 lakh which was supposed to come into your bank accounts? Ask right questions in these elections," she said while addressing an election rally at Adalaj near here after the Congress Working Committee meeting in Ahmedabad. 
 
"Irrelevant issues should not be raised. The issues that are to be raised should be about what is most important to you -- how you will progress, how our youth will get employment, how would women feel safe, what will be done for the farmers. These are the real election issues.
 
"Only your awareness can bring these issues to the front," Priyanka Gandhi said, terming voters' awareness and their votes "their biggest weapons". 
 
"Your greatest weapon is awareness about the realities facing the country, your vote is your weapon. Use it with after due consideration and due discretion. Ensure that it does not hurt anyone.
 
"You will have to consider what you are going to vote for. You are going to vote for your future. This nation has been built over the foundations of social harmony and love. But whatever is happening in the country, it pains us," she added.
 
"You tell them (the Bharatiya Janata Party) what is the true character of this country. The true character of this country is such that it will turn the winds of hatred into breeze of love and compassion.
 
"This is your country. You have built this nation. It belongs to none other than you people. Only you can protect this nation. Our institutions are being destroyed, hatred is being spread," she said.
 
"True 'desh bhakti' is getting aware about real problems and challenges before the country." 
 
Amid slogans comparing her with her grandmother and late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, in her short speech in a conversational style in Hindi, said this was her first visit to Gujarat. 
 
"When I went to the Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, I was almost driven to tears," she said, adding that it was "crucial that the message about real issues should go out from this land of the Mahatma.
 
IANS
 

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Congress flays Modi for 'exploting' national security

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "cynically exploiting the national security to hide his colossal failures", the Congress at its working committee meeting in Ahmedabad on Tuesday resolved to defeat the "RSS and BJP's ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness".
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and others during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad on March 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS/AICC)
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and others during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad on March 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS/AICC)
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "cynically exploiting the national security to hide his colossal failures", the Congress at its working committee meeting here today resolved to defeat the "RSS and BJP's ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness".
 
The meeting of the Congress' highest decision-making body held in Modi's home state Gujarat was attended by top party leaders including party chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and newly appointed General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, among others.
 
"The Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad, resolved to defeat the RSS, BJP ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness. No sacrifice is too great in this endeavour, no effort too little, this battle will be won," said Gandhi.
 
In its resolution, the CWC said Modi and the BJP were insulting the struggle, sacrifices and enormous contribution in nation-building by leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel by "brazenly seeking to hijack their legacy and pretending to be the champions of their values".
 
"Congress expresses its strong disappointment that the Prime Minister is cynically exploiting the issue of national security, on which we are all united, to divert attention from his colossal failures, bogus claims and persistent falsehoods," it said.
 
The Congress said the five years of Modi-BJP government has been a period of false promises and betrayal of people's trust and confidence.
 
"This government has been a failure on all fronts and has inflicted pain and misery on the people through its reckless decisions of demonetisation and hasty imposition of a flawed GST," it said.
 
It said demonetization and GST disrupted the economy, trade and industry, led to closure of lakhs of factories and tens of millions of workers lost their jobs and livelihood.
 
"The unprecedented joblessness, agrarian crisis and distress of farmers and agricultural laborers are issues of grave national concern. The Modi government is guilty of monumental mismanagement of the Indian economy. National savings and investments have sharply declined.
 
"Banks are burdened with NPAs and credit off-take of the industry has reached a record low. Exports are stagnant and industrial production has been falling continuously notwithstanding Government's boastful and misleading claims," it said.
 
The CWC also endorsed the promise made by the Congress President to ensure minimum income support to the poor, weak and marginalised sections of society when the Congress party comes to power.
 
Briefing the media about the CWC meeting, Congress leader Anand Sharma said an atmosphere of fear and insecurity was all pervasive particularly among women, students, academics, writers and the business community.
 
"There are deliberate attacks on the Constitutional and other safeguards for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs and minorities; and there is subversion of all institutions of governance," he said
 
Sharma also blamed Modi and the BJP for political discourse becoming bitter.
 
"They talk of dividing the society merely for political gains. Modi is playing with emotions of people. We condemn it," he added.
 
IANS
 

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Restored Vikram Sarabhai Library inaugurated at IIM Ahmedabad

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The restored Vikram Sarabhai Library (VSL) at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), visualised as an interactive and technology-rich space for learning, collaboration and information discovery, was inaugurated here on Monday.
 
"Vikram Sarabhai Library at IIMA’s Louis Kahn Plaza is a landmark structure that leaves visitors awestruck. Its design and grandeur is almost impossible to miss," a press release from IIMA said.
 
"The iconic Louis Kahn buildings have witnessed years of academic lives on campus and even withstood the Gujarat earthquake, but had aged so as to need restoration and upgrade on priority. So, IIMA has initiated a program for the important and painstaking process of restoration and upgrade of these structures in 2016," it said.
 
IT services major Tata Consultancy Services funded the restoration of VSL for a future-ready knowledge hub for digital learning and collaboration, the release said.
 
At the inaugural function, Prof. Errol D’Souza, Director, IIMA said, “The Vikram Sarabhai Library is at the epicenter of the IIM Ahmedabad campus and is not just a location for preserving books but is intended to provide a workshop for readers and for conversations that expand our horizons. The architecture of the library expands on the theme of the interplay between light and darkness and is a representation of how academics is the emergence from darkness into the light. The users of the library at IIM Ahmedabad are indebted to the TCS Foundation for its contribution to the restoration of this enriching experience.”
 
Tata Consultancy Services, through its CSR arm TCS Foundation, is engaged in promoting and funding projects and programs under corporate social responsibility, and supported this landmark project with funding of Rs.  20 crore.
 
“The Vikram Sarabhai library at IIM Ahmedabad has witnessed the confluence of students and faculty ever since its inception. The TCS Foundation is proud to have associated with transformation of this iconic library to be future ready integrating leading-edge digital learning technologies and flexible collaboration spaces creating a vibrant experiential learning environment. We hope this state- of- the art library will set a benchmark for knowledge management among academic institutions globally,” said, Milind Lakkad, Executive Vice President & Global Head -Manufacturing Business Group and Deputy Head HR, TCS.
 
Somaya & Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai were appointed as the restoration and conservation architect for the project and led the entire reconstruction of VSL building.
 
The release said the reimagined library provides a technology-rich learning environment that includes intelligent identification technologies, seamless integration, and discovery of digital content. There is an emphasis on digital collections, while print collections retain their importance to the library. Open and flexible spaces provide an environment of collaboration among students, academics, and visitors.
 
In addition to funding, TCS has been actively engaged with the library team in developing the VR app in addition to making valuable contribution to the discussions while finalising the layout of VSL. The app was also launched at the inaugural.
 
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Another Gujarat Congress MLA quits party, Assembly

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In a jolt to the Congress a day before it holds its Working Committee meeting and a rally here, another of its Gujarat legislators resigned from the party and the Assembly on Monday.
 
Vallabh Dharaviya, who represents Jamnagar (Rural), submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi in Gandhinagar on Monday.
 
"He (Dharaviya) has stated that he has resigned on his own volition, without any pressure. I have accepted his resignation and now he is no more a legislator," Trivedi told reporters.
 
Dharaviya is the third legislator in last four days to leave the Congress and resign as legislator. Last week, four-time legislator from Manavadar, Jawahar Chavda and Dhrangardra legislator Parshottam Sapariya had quit. 
 
Both have since joined ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, with Chavda sworn in as a Cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani government last week.
 
Dharaviya is said to be miffed over his chances of being considered for Jamnagar Parliamentary seat receding, as Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, who has announced his decision to join Congress on March 12 in presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, may be fielded from there.
 
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Rahul, Sonia among 15 candidates finalised by Congress for Lok Sabha elections

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are in the first list of 15 candidates from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat finalised by the party today for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held in April-May.
 
Rahul Gandhi will contest again from his Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh and Sonia Gandhi from her seat of Rae Bareli.
 
The 11 candidates finalised for Uttar Pradesh also include former Union Ministers Salman Khurshid (Farrukhabad), R P N Singh (Kushi Nagar), Jitin Prasad (Dhaurahra) and Saleem Shervani (Badaun).
 
Other candidates are Imran Masood (Saharanpur), Annu Tandon (Unnao), Rajaram Pal (Akbarpur), Brij Lal Khatri (Jalaun-SC) and Nirmal Khatri (Faizabad).
 
In Gujarat, the Congress has decided to field former Rajya Sabha member Raju Parmar from Ahmedabad West-SC, former GPCC chief Bharatsinh M. Solanki from Anand, Prashant Patel from Vadodara and Ranjit Mohansinh Rathwa from Chhota Udepur-ST.
 
The names were finalised at a meeting of the Congress Central Election Committee held here today, a press release from the party added.
 
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Modi urges Opposition not to play 'vote-bank politics' over national security

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Monday that his government was committed to righting terrorism, corruption and other such menaces the country is facing and assured the people that strict action would be taken against elements working against the nation.
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that his government was committed to righting terrorism, corruption and other such menaces the country is facing and assured the people that strict action would be taken against elements working against the nation.
 
Speaking after launching a slew of development projects in Ahmedabad on the first day of a two-day visit to home state of Gujarat, he urged the Opposition not to play "vote-bank politics' over national security, saying such actions would only demoralise the armed forces and strengthen the enemy.
 
Among other projects, Modi inaugurated the first phase of the Ahmedabad Metro Rail at the Vastral Gam station. He also laid the foundation stone for the second phase of the project and also launched India's indigenously developed payment eco-system and automatic fare collection system based on the One Nation, One Card mode. 
 
After flagging off the first Metro train, he took a ride in it.
 
The Prime Minister inaugurated the 1200-bed New Civil Hospital, New Cancer Hospital, Dental Hospital and Eye Hospital in Ahmedabad. He also dedicated to the nation the Dahod Railway Workshop and Patan-Bindi railway line and laid the foundation stone of Lothal Maritime Museum.
 
Addressing the gathering at the BJ Medical College Ground, the Prime Minister said that it is an historic day, as the dream of Ahmedabad Metro has come into fruition. He said that the metro will provide a convenient and environment friendly mode of transportation for the people in Ahmedabad. Before 2014, there was only 250 km operational network of metro in the country, while now there is 655 km, he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that the common mobility card unveiled today eliminates the need for having multiple cards for travelling in metro and using other means of transportation throughout the country. He said the card would ensure ‘One Nation-One Card’ for mobility. He added that the indigenously built card has removed the previous international dependence on making such cards. India is one of the few countries in the world having a One Nation-One Card for transportation, he said.
 
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Modi also spoke about the various initiatives taken by the State Government and Union government for the development of Gujarat, like water supply schemes, electricity for all, infrastructure development, housing for all and schemes for poor. He also explained in detail the various schemes undertaken for the welfare of Adivasi community in the State.
 
He said the transformation of Gujarat in the past couple of decades was due to meticulous planning and hard work of the people of the state. He said the state should be taken up as a case study on how development should be undertaken.
 
He said that the large number of infrastructural development projects being implemented in Gujarat would transform the state massively.
 
The Prime Minister said that Lothal Maritime Heritage Complex, once completed, will showcase the maritime strength of ancient India. He said that the museum will have world class facilities and will increase the tourism potential of the state.
 
Stating that health was a priority of the Union Government, Modi said that it was building quality health care infrastructure throughout the country, from Wellness Centres to Medical Colleges. He also mentioned about the world class health facilities being built throughout Gujarat. He added that, once completed, Medicity will cater to around ten thousand patients.
 
Earlier in the day, at Jamnagar, Modi flagged off the Bandra-Jamnagar Humsafar Express train.
 
He also dedicated the new 750-bed annexe of Guru Gobind Singh Hospital to the nation and unveiled various irrigation and water supply projects under the SAUNI scheme. He also launched other development projects at Jamnagar including the 51-km pipeline from Aaji-3 to Khijadia.
 
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister talked about the resolve and hard work of the Gujarat Government in the past couple of decades to deal with the water shortage problem. In this context, he mentioned about his determination to not allow ‘Tanker Raj’ in Gujarat and how Sardar Sarovar Dam has brought relief to the people of the Gujarat. He appealed to the citizens to conserve each and every drop of water for the benefit of present and future generation.
 
Hailing the health sector revolution in Gujarat, Prime Minister said that the hospitals that have come up in the past few years in Gujarat will greatly benefit the poor. He said that Ayushman Bharat scheme rolled out by the Union Government will ensure affordable and quality healthcare for the poor.
 
Modi said that structural and long terms measures are required to overcome the challenges faced by the country, instead of poorly thought out short term ones. In this context, he mentioned about the long term visionary schemes introduced by the Union Government. He said that PM –KISAN scheme is a long term and comprehensive plan for the welfare of the farmers.
 
Talking about the Union Government’s efforts in boosting the MSME sector, he said that the easy availability of credit and people-friendly GST will greatly benefit the youngsters. He said that the initiatives taken by the Government has ensured improved India's Ease of Business rankings.
 
At Jaspur in Ahmedabad district, Modi laid the foundation stone of the Vishva Umiyadham Complex.
 
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