Civility a rare virtue in Indian politics, says Shashi Tharoor after Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets him in hospital
Thiruvananthapuram: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday called on Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is in hospital after suffering head injuries while performing a ritual at a temple here. Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP and party candidate in the April 23 Lok Sabha polls, was injured when the hook of a weighing scale came off and its iron panel hit his head during the “Thulabharam” ritual.
He was admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical college hospital on Monday, and is expected to be discharged later on Tuesday. The former union minister later tweeted, “Touched by the gesture of @nsitharaman, who dropped by today morning to visit me in the hospital, amid her hectic electioneering in Kerala. Civility is a rare virtue in Indian politics – great to see her practice it by example!”.
‘Thulabharam’ is a Hindu ritual in which a person is weighed against a commodity such as flowers, grains, fruits and similar articles in temples and the equal value or quantity is offered as donation. Monday being the Malayalam new year day (‘Vishu’), Tharoor performed the ritual by offering sugar equal to his weight in the morning before embarking on his poll campaign.
Sitharaman had reached Kerala on Monday night and held a road show at Thiruvananthapuram along with BJP candidate Kummanam Rajashekaran along the coastal stretch, besides addressing a campaign meeting at Attingal for Shobha Surendran.
C Divakaran, the CPI and left front candidate, who is opposing Tharoor, also visited him at the hospital. “Very gracious of my LDF rival C Divakaran to call this morning to express concern about my well-being.Said he had spoken to the Hospital Superintendent to assure himself I would be ok,” Tharoor said.
Divakaran asked Tharoor not to be demoralised,. “I’m not: I’m more determined than ever to see this through!,” Tharoor said. The Thiruvananthapuram constituency is witnessing a fierce triangular fight among the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, Opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP-led NDA.
BJP MLA dedicates patriotic song to Indian Armed forces, Pakistan Army claims he copied it
Islamabad: The Pakistani Army on Sunday asked India to emulate Pakistan in speaking “truth” as it mocked an Indian legislator, claiming that the politician has copied its anthem and dedicated it to the Indian armed forces. Thakur Raja Singh Lodh, a BJP member of the Telangana legislative assembly representing the Goshamahal constituency in Hyderabad, had tweeted, “My new song which will be released on 14th April at 11:45 AM on the occasion of #SriRamNavami is dedicated to our #IndianArmy forces.”
However, as Lodh shared a snippet of the song on social media, the Pakistani Army claimed that the composition was a copy of a song released by its media wing on March 23 for Pakistan Day. The song was written by Sahir Ali Bagga. “Glad that you copied. But copy to speak the truth as well,” Pakistan army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted.
According to local media reports, Lodh copied the song ‘Zindabad Pakistan’ and recorded it by changing it to ‘Zindabad Hindustan’ and dedicated it to Indian armed forces. The relationship between the two neighbouring countries have further soured in the recent months after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.
Hyderabad: Missing woman’s body found stuffed in suitcase; boyfriend arrested for murder
Hyderabad: The body of a woman, missing for the last few days, was found stuffed in a suitcase in Soorarum area here, police said on Sunday. Police said the body, identified as of one Lavanya, has been sent for a post-mortem examination. The prime suspect in the case Sunil Kumar, who was allegedly in a live-in relationship with her since the year 2017, was arrested today.
Ramachandra Rao, Circle Inspector, RC Puram Police station told ANI over phone: “Lavanya who was missing for the last few days was in a relationship with Sunil Kumar since the year 2017. The duo were classmates while studying engineering. Sunil Kumar with an intention to sexually exploit Lavanya had proposed to her in the year 2017 and she accepted it.” “Later their engagement was also fixed but Sunil somehow managed to postpone it. Lavanya was pressurising Sunil Kumar to marry her, so he (Sunil) hatched a plan to kill her,” he added.
The police officer further said that Sunil had lied to Lavanya’s parents about getting a job in Muscat. “He told her parents that he wanted to take Lavanya to Muscat on the pretext of the job. Lavanya’s parents agreed for it and they came to the airport on April 4 to see them off. After her parents left the airport Sunil took Lavanya to nearby lodge in Shamshabad and throttled her to death,” Rao said.
According to police, he later stuffed her body into a suitcase on April 5 and threw it in a drain in Soorarum area. The suspect Sunil was nabbed on Sunday after Lavanya’s parents filed a missing complaint on April 7. The accused confessed to killing her, police said. “He has been charged under Section 302 IPC. The dead body of Lavanya has been recovered from Soorarum area and shifted to a government hospital for PME,” the police officer said.
Marathas sulk in underdeveloped Marathwada
Mumbai: Despite giving a Deputy Prime Minister, a Lok Sabha Speaker, several Union Ministers, four Maharashtra Chief Ministers and a Deputy Chief Minister, the Marathwada region remains the most backward in the state. As the eight Lok Sabha constituencies – Beed, Hingoli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani – go to polls on April 18 and Aurangabad on April 23 – the dominant Marathas strain their eyes for the promised development of their lands that has eluded them since Independence.
Besides, the region is plagued by chronic drought due to scanty rains, insufficient irrigation facilities and lack of water for both humans and animals, problems of unemployment and absence of any major industries. One possible reason for this is that the powerful political lobbies from adjoining western Maharashtra have dominated over the Marathwada leaders and most chose to succumb instead of fighting back, leaving the area neglected for years. “Even a powerful Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh could barely grapple with the western Maharashtra chieftains and do little for his region. As a consequence, all major industries, domestic or foreign investments, and jobs kept going to western Maharashtra,” said veteran political commentator A. Shaikh of Aurangabad.
Ditto with the father-son Chief Minister duo – the late Shankarrao B. Chavan and Ashok Chavan, or the first Chief Minister Yeshwantrao B. Chavan who later went onto become India’s Deputy Prime Minister, and also the late Gopinath Munde, a former Deputy Chief Minister and Union Minister. Against this backdrop, the contest in Nanded – a Congress bastion which it has won 12 times – will be a keen one between Congress’ Ashok Chavan and BJP’s veteran legislator Pratap Chikhalikar. This was also one of the ‘safe seats’ being considered for Congress President Rahul Gandhi (who later selected Wayanad in Kerala) besides his traditional Amethi.
Along with Nanded, Hingoli was one of the two seats which weathered the ‘Modi wave’ of 2014 and elected Congress’ Rajeev S. Satav, though by a thin margin of around 1,600 votes. This time, Satav opted out for party work and Congress has nominated former Shiv Sainik Subhash Wankhede, who is pitted against Shiv Sena’s Hemant Patil. In Beed, BJP’s Pritam Gopinath Munde won in 2014 in a by-election after her father’s death, by 696,321 votes, the highest ever victory margin in India, where she’s pitted against Nationalist Congress Party’s Bajrang M. Sonawane. This time, curiously, a NDA ally, Shiv Sangram Party’s MLC Vinayak Mete, has decided to support NCP’s Sonawane, ostensibly since Pritam and her sister, state minister Pankaja Munde, had insulted him (Mete) several times in the past few years.
Jalna is another BJP bastion where sitting MP Raosaheb Danve-Patil, the state party President, will lock horns with Congress’ Vilas K. Autade, but BJP activists claim “there’s no fight in Jalna and Beed”. An important contest is lined up in Osmanabad where two cousins from bitter rival political families are pitted against each other – the Shiv Sena’s Omraje Nimbalkar and the NCP’s Ranajagjitsinh Patil. The Sena may face a tough time as it dropped its sitting MP Ravind Gaikwad, famed for attacking an Air India staffer with a chappal.
The erstwhile bastion of the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, which earlier elected former Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj V. Patil seven times, Latur is currently held by the BJP’ Sunil B. Gaikwad. But the BJP dropped him and nominated Sudhakar T. Shrungare, who is pitted against Congress’ Machhindra Kamant, who recently quit the NCP. There’s Parbhani, a Shiv Sena bastion since 1989, except between 1998-1999, when it reverted to the Congress. The Sena has repeated Sanjay H. Jadhav, who is pitted against NCP’s Rajesh U. Vitekar and the Communist Party of India’s Rajan R. Kshirsagar.
Jadhav faced a huge embarrassment when the Parbhani District Election Officer ruled that all articles on him published in five newspapers should be treated as ‘Paid News’ and be accounted for in his election expenditure statement. Going to polls in the third phase on April 23, Aurangabad – a Muslim-dominated city – is another Sena stronghold where sitting MP Chandrakant Khaire has been winning since 1999. This time, he’s pitted against Congress veteran Subhash Zambad and the VBA-AIMIM nominee and local legislator Imtiyaz Jaleel. Earlier only once – in 1980 – was a Muslim, Qazi Saleem of the Congress was elected to Lok Sabha from here. — IANS
Shashi Tharoor left by local leaders to fend for himself
Thiruvananthapuram: With the flamboyant Congress leader Shashi Tharoor facing a possible defeat in Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, senior party leaders have started abandoning him. A few days ago, an exasperated Tharoor, who is seeking re-election, dashed off a detailed letter to AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, listing the local committees which have not been cooperating with him during the campaign. Subsequently, the AICC rushed Congress party’s Nagpur constituency candidate and All India Kisan Congress chairman Nana Patole as an observer to Thiruvananthapuram. Patole will station himself in the city till the completion of polls and will oversee the election campaigning.
Patole is a former BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondiya constituency in Maharashtra and had then defeated senior Congress leader Praful Patel. He later became a critic of Narendra Modi and joined the Congress in 2017. The party has fielded him in Nagpur against sitting MP Nitin Gadkari. Patole will have his hands full as over 20 local committees in the constituency have not been actively participating in Tharoor’s campaigning. Tharoor, in fact, named a local and influential committee president who did not even respond to his call despite trying him 16 times on mobile. With a series of poll surveys showing Tharoor on a sticky wicket, Congress leaders have started keeping away from campaigning. There is another angle, too. He was parachuted to Thiruvananthapuram
by the party high command in 2009 and this never went down well with local leaders who wanted the seat for themselves. As one source said: “We do not want Tharoor, a visiting MP with interests in Delhi, to become a permanent feature in Thiruvananthapuram”. The situation has alarmed Tharoor who has now set up his own dedicated squads for campaigning. Mostly, well-wishers and professionals are members of these squads. Not just the Congress leaders, the Nair Service Society too has been lukewarm to Tharoor. His flip-flop on the Sabarimala temple controversy has dented his traditional Nair community vote bank.
He had met NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair, but a majority of NSS ”Karayogams” (units) under taluk unions have already taken a pro-BJP stand. The two-time Congress MP is facing BJP leader and former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekheran and senior CPI legislator and former State Minister C.Divakaran. But Tharoor is not alone. V K Sreekandan (Palakkad) and M K Raghavan (Kozhikode) too have complained that local Congress leaders are openly working to a BJP win as the Sabarimala issue is gaining traction.
Moreover, most Congress leaders have gone to Wayanad on the pretext for working for Rahul Gandhi who is a candidate there. The disharmony has once again brought to the fore the factionalism in the Congress party – something that was expected to be capped with Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad. An upset and angry KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran has issued a series of warnings, but he has no weight in the party. He has warned district leaders that they were under high command’s close watch. But that is like telling a child reluctant to eat his food that a policeman is coming.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh busy with ‘parivar bhakti’, visited Jallianwala Bagh with ‘naamdaar’ instead of VP: PM Narendra Modi
Kathua: Taking a jibe at Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the former did not get time to attend the government’s Jallianwala Bagh event with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu as he was busy with ‘parivar bhakti’.
The jibe comes a day after Amarinder accompanied Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to the Jallianwala Bagh memorial on the centenary of the massacre. Addressing a rally here, Prime Minister Modi said: “I have known Capt Amarinder Singh for a long time. I have never raised a question on his patriotism. I can understand the kind of pressure which must have been put on him for this kind of ‘parivar bhakti’ (devotion for family).”
“He boycotted the event. Do you know why? Because he was busy in ‘bhakti’ of ‘Congress parivar’. He went to Jallianwala Bagh with naamdar (Rahul)but did not find it right to attend an event with Vice President. This is the difference between ‘Rashtrabhakti’ (nationalism) and ‘Parivar bhakti’,” he added. Prime Minister Modi also accused Congress of politicising a “sensitive occasion” like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, adding that the Vice President was in Amritsar for a government event.
On Saturday, Gandhi laid a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial on the centenary of the massacre. He was accompanied by Amarinder Singh and state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, among others. Hours after Gandhi’s visit, the Vice President also visited the memorial and released a commemorative coin of Rs 100 and a postage stamp. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired machine guns into a crowd of unarmed protesters and pilgrims who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab’s Amritsar on the occasion of Baisakhi.
The crowd had assembled peacefully at the venue to condemn the arrest of two national leaders — Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew — when they were fired at indiscriminately by General Dyer and his men. According to British government records, 379 people including men, women, and children were killed while 1,200 were wounded in the firing. Other sources place the number of dead at well over 1,000.
Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh offers to resign from Cabinet and Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, a senior BJP leader from Haryana, Sunday said he has offered to resign from the cabinet and from Rajya Sabha. The announcement, made by the minister during a press conference at his official residence here, followed selection of his son Brijendra Singh’s name as the BJP candidate from Hisar in Haryana.
The senior leader said he has informed the BJP president Amit Shah about his resignation offer, with which he wants to send across a message of anti-dynastic politics as his son has got the Lok Sabha ticket. In 2016, he was shifted to Steel Ministry from the Ministry of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation. Singh had joined BJP in 2014 after his over four-decade-old association with the Congress party.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Veteran actor Dharmendra campaigns for wife Hema Malini in Mathura
Mathura: Actress and BJP’s Mathura MP Hema Malini was happy to have her husband, veteran actor Dharmendra, campaign on her behalf for a day in her constituency. “Today is also a special day for me! Dharamji is here in Mathura to campaign for a whole day on my behalf. The public is waiting eagerly to get a glimpse of him,” Hema tweeted on Sunday along with a photograph in which the couple is all smiles. “A photo taken in my house in Mathura just now before we leave for campaigning.”
The actress’ campaign has been inspiring jokes and memes galore on social media. Her farm woman avatar, wherein she joined farmers and tried her hand at cutting the wheat crop in this region in Uttar Pradesh, invited not just scorn from the opposition but also the tag of ‘drama girl’ over the ‘dream girl’ she has been known as.
Andhra Pradesh: One TDP worker killed during clashes with YSRCP members at Anantapur
Amaravati: One TDP worker was killed and more than 10 others, including Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao, were injured as clashes between TDP and YSRCP at various places marked the polling on Thursday. Siddha Bhaskar Reddy, a worker of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), was killed when he was attacked allegedly by the activists of opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Tadipatri Assembly constituency in Anantapur district, police said.
Reddy was critically injured in the clash at a polling booth in Devapuram village. He succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital. Clashes between the workers of the two parties were reported from various parts of the state including Guntur and Prakasam districts.
Senior TDP leader and Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao fell unconscious in an alleged attack by YSRCP activists in Sattenapalli Assembly constituency in Guntur district. Kodela’s shirt was torn by the attackers at a polling centre in Yanametla village. Polling was underway for all 25 Lok Sabha seats and 175-member Assembly in Andhra Pradesh.
Lok Sabha elections 2019: While Arvind Kejriwal alleges mass deletion of votes, ‘How to remove vote ink’ surges in Google trends
The first phase for Lok Sabha elections are being held for 91 constituencies spread across 18 states and two union territories. Amid elections the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has alleged that votes across India have been deleted on unprecedented scale.
In a series of tweets Arvind Kejriwal said, “Reports coming from all across India that votes have been deleted on unprecedented scale,” tweeted Kejriwal quoting a tweet of Kiran Majumdar Shaw who complained of her mother’s name missing from the voters’ list. He further alleged that, “Anti-BJP votes deleted all across India.” In a tweet he also questioned election Commission, asking whether “are these elections fair?”
Meanwhile, Google Trends showed a surge in search for ‘How to remove vote ink’.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu also expressed his unhappiness over Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) not functioning at several polling booths. “We have long been saying that there is scope for technical problems and manipulation in EVMs. Even technologically advanced countries are using ballot papers,” the TDP chief said. He said 22 political parties in the country demanded that at least the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips be counted.