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Ajit Pawar not avoiding Room 602 in Mantralaya

Mantralaya's Room No. 602, on the sixth floor, has not been given to anyone, bearing, as it does, an invisible 'unlucky' tag.

Mumbai: Thirty-six days after government formation, followed by the expansion of the state cabinet on December 30, 2019, ministers have been allocated cabins and bungalows but continue to languish without portfolios. The latter allocation seems to be stuck in the quagmire of meetings.

Mantralaya's Room No. 602, on the sixth floor, has not been given to anyone, bearing, as it does, an invisible 'unlucky' tag.

The room in question does not have a glorious past. It was occupied by senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse in 2014, when he was the agriculture minister.

The senior BJP leader had to face the ignominy of resigning after his name surfaced in a land grab case. As fate would have it, another BJP leader, Pandurang Fundkar, who happened to occupy the room, died of heart attack in 2018. By an uncanny coincidence, in 2019, BJP leader Anil Bonde, who held the room, lost the assembly elections.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday tried to dispel the impression that he is a superstitious person and is assiduously trying to avoid occupying room number 602 in Mantralaya.

He clarified to the news portal, which originally ran the story, that he only wants a cabin close to the Chief Minister and neither he nor Sharad Pawar have ever been superstitious.

Incidentally, Aaditya Thackeray has room no 717 on the 7th floor. There is also a scramble for bungalows.

Ajit Pawar has been already allotted the plush Devgiri bungalow while Ashok Chavan has Meghdoot, Dilip Walse Patil has Shivgiri, Dnyaneshwari is for Anil Deshmukh, Satpura for Dr Rajendra Shingane and Jetwan for Rajesh Tope.

The 36 ministers who took oath earlier this week have been allotted their respective bungalows.

Last month, CM Uddhav Thackeray became the new occupant of Varsha, Chhagan Bhujbal got Ramtek, Jayant Patil got Sevadan and Eknath Shinde got the Royalstone bungalow.

Aaditya Thackeray, who is part of the power centre, has been given the A6, while Bacchu Kadu has got Rockhill Tower 1202, Vishwajit Kadam Nilambari 302, Satej(Bunty) Patil got Suruchi 3 and Aaditi Tatkare the Suniti 10 living room.

CAA-NRC ‘targeted’ laws – Swara Bhasker

New Delhi: Amid the New year celebrations, protests continue against the discriminatory CAA in various parts of the nation including Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Millia Islamia and at India Gate where the protestors took a pledge to “defend the Constitution”.

Scores of students, civil society members carrying the flag, banners gathered outside Jamia Millia Islamia University, the location has become the epicentre of the protests in Delhi since the Police crackdown on students, TOI reports.

Joining the fight to defend the Constitution, Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker and her co-star from ‘Raanjhanaa’ Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub too attended a public meeting outside the university and lauded protesters’ efforts in continuing the agitation.

“We have woken up late but now we have woken up. You have woken up the entire country. We are here to thank you,” Bhasker said, terming the CAA a “targeted” law.

Raanjhanaa Actors Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub join the protest
Actor Ayyub raised slogans ‘Hum EK Hain’ and ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, Swara recited lyricist Varun Grover’s poem against the citizenship law which has the punchline ‘Hum kaagaz nahi dikhayenge (We won’t show documents)’.

The students of Jamia welcomed the New year with cries of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and ‘Azaadi’.

Swara Bhasker also visited the protest site Shaheen Bagh after addressing the gathering at Jamia Millia Islamia. Joining the agitation, Dadis too attended the protests.

“Hum kaagaz nahi dikhayenge” and “tanashahi nahin chalegi” slogan continues across New Delhi


Social media polls on CAA-NRC reveal majority view

Hyderabad: Polls on CAA-NRC put up by some organisations and individuals on social media seeking to gauge how people perceive these related issues are quite revealing. which claims to be an independent platform with sole purpose of providing people’s voice to the people put up a poll asking question ‘Do you support NRC & CAA? So far 20,87,004 people have voted, of which just 2,13,545 i.e. 10.2 % voted in support while 18,73,459 i.e. 89.8 pc voted against them.


MP Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the National Tribal Dance Festival: Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel will preside over the program

R aipur : Shri Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament will be the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony held on December 29 on the last day of the National Tribal Dance Festival at the Science College ground in Raipur. The program will be chaired by Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel. The closing ceremony is held from 7.30 pm. Prize distribution will be done to the winning participants at the closing of the festival.

Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly Speaker Shri Charan Das Mahant, Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Shri Nanabhau Padole and Rajya Sabha MP Shri Madhusudan Devaram Mistry will be present as special guests in the program. Minister T.S. Singhdev, Mr. Tamradhwaj Sahu, Mr. Ravindra Choubey, Dr. Premasay Singh Tekam, Mr. Mohammad Akbar, Mr. Kavasi Lakhma, Dr. Shivkumar Dahria, Mrs. Anila Bhendia, Mr. Jaysingh Agrawal, Guru Rudrakumar,

Mr. Umesh Patel, Mr. Amarjeet Bhagat, MLA Mr. Satyanarayana Sharma, Mr. Brijmohan Aggarwal, Mr. Dhanendra Sahu, Mr. Kuldeep Juneja, Mr. Vikas Upadhyay, Mrs. Anita Yogendra Sharma, Mrs. Sharada Verma, President of Raipur District Panchayat and Mr. Pramod, Mayor of Raipur Municipal Corporation Dubey will be present.

In the National Tribal Dance Festival, there will be dance competitions by folk artists of various states on marriage and other rites, traditional festivals and rituals, harvesting and agriculture and other traditional trades. On December 29, the last day of the festival, artists of Uttarakhand performed Lashpa dance, Bakarwal dance of Jammu, Bhadam dance of Madhya Pradesh, Gaddi dance of Himachal Pradesh, Dance of Karnataka and Sikkim, Damakach dance of Jharkhand, Dandami dance of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh Will go.

Vajpayee to Shah - 6A Krishna Menon Marg has come a long way

New Delhi: The occasional appearance of the peacock still adorns its sprawling lawns, the security in and around the building continues to be on its toes, but the occupant of one of Lutyen Delhi's most significant address has changed. The tall banyan trees at the 6 A, Krishna Menon Marg has seen history being made from the Atal era right through when he was bed-ridden due to his illness and finally witnessing Amit Shah making it his "home".

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in more ways than one an unique personality -- a bachelor Prime Minister, a champion of women's rights, a poet and an unapologetic follower of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which made him go to jail as well.

Vinod Mehta, a former journalist who was very close to Vajpayee had recounted in his memoir 'Lucknow Boy', "My relations with Vajpayee were good. Very good...He was leader of the Opposition and I often found myself sitting next to him at banquets. He didn't say much, but listened with interest. Like Ronald Reagan he loved jokes. He was not overly humble, but neither was he pompous. He knew his own worth and therefore did not need to prove anything."

When his government fell in 13 days, many in the opposition ranks would mock him as "Prime Minister of 13 days". His next tenure lasted for 13 months. While, Vajpayee never went on record to answer opposition's dig at him, he was well aware of the scoff he was subjected to. But one fine day, he told media while answering on the instability of the Government, after the 13 months "Raj" came to an end, that his next Government will be of 13 years and he will come to be known as the Prime Minister of 13 years. It clearly showed the man occupying the highest office of the country could take jokes cracked on him, so easily.

Vajpayee's poetry and him using it in his public life was unparalleled. In many of his election rallies to Parliament speeches, he would recite poems he had written. Legends have it that when the BJP got just two seats in 1984 election, a heartbroken L.K. Advani took Vajpayee for a movie at Delhi's Golcha cinema. Years later, at a book release, Advani himself said after coming back that night Vajpayee had penned, "Aao fir se diya jalaye". The poem would go on to become one of the best remembered ones written by him.

Ironically, when Advani was narrating the tale, Vajpayee was reduced to a vegetative state, lying in his 6 A Krishna Menon Marg residence, that hardly saw any visitors.

Vajpayee in his pinnacle of power, when he was the Prime Minister in 1996, had joined a Rediff chat, a very new phenomenon in India at that time. With internet still in its early stages and no medium like Twitter available where politicians could directly talk to people, he chose to try that out. His aides Shakti Sinha and Kanchan Gupta reportedly helped him when he decided to engage in the chat.

Vajpayee was a man who could take people along and rise above the narrow concept of partisan politics. Often referred to as "Ajatshatru of Indian politics", former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had fondly remembered Vajpayee to be too eager to help her in bringing Delhi Metro. This was quite unlike today's political scenario where the ruling Aam Aadmi Party accuses the Governor of working at behest of the BJP-led Union Government.

When he died, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the almost entire cabinet, walked during Vajpayee's final journey. The overpowering emotions visible in all political attendees, particularly from the non-BJP parties, was an evidence of the place he held in India's polity. Yet, his final years have been of a rather sorry state when he could barely recognise anyone.

Even as Shah walked into the sprawling Krishna Menon Marg residence this year, making it the power centre of Delhi, Vajpayee's memories will forever be etched across every corner of that estate.


Kamlesh Tiwari murder case: UP Police files chargesheet against 13 accused, two charged with murder

On Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh Police filed a chargesheet against 13 accused in connection with the murder of Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari. Of the 13, Ashraf and Moinuddin have been charged with murder.


Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari murder case: Police files chargesheet against 13 accused, of the 13, Ashraf and Moinuddin have been charged with murder

6:58 PM - Dec 24, 2019
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Of the 13, Ashraf and Moinuddin have been charged with murder. Kamlesh Tiwari was shot in Naka area of Lucknow on October 18 and succumbed to his injuries at a hospital during treatment. After his death, Tiwari's wife had threatened to self-immolate herself demanding justice for her husband while the family members refused to cremate Tiwari's body and demanded that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should visit them in Sitapur.


The attackers wearing saffron clothes had walked into Tiwari's office in Khurshid Bagh on the pretext of handing over a box of sweets. When the assailants were inside the office, they opened the box, and fired bullets at Tiwari and fled. Tiwari was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had sanctioned a financial help of Rs 15 lakh and a house to the wife of Kamlesh Tiwari.



Home Ministry withdraws 72 CAPFs companies from Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect

New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry has issued an order for withdrawing 72 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) or paramilitary forces from newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir "with immediate effect".

Of the 72 companies being withdrawn, 24 are from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) while 12 each are from the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, issued on Monday, informed the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police of Jammu and Kashmir that these security personnel are being withdrawn with "immediate effect".


A copy of the order was also sent from the Ministry to Inspector Generals (Operations) of the CRPF, the BSF, the ITBP, the CISF and the SSB for necessary follow-up action, and also to CRPF's Additional Director General and J&K in charge Zulfiquar Hasan. "It is to intimate that the matter has further been reviewed in this Ministry. It has been decided to withdraw 72 Coys (companies) of CAPFs (CRPF-24, BSF-12, CISF-12 and SSB-12) with immediate effect from J&K and revert back to their respective locations," reads a fax message issued by the Ministry.

The Home Ministry issued the order after the review of security situations in Jammu and Kashmir where these forces were deployed even before August 5 - the day the Centre announced abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, giving Jammu and Kashmir special status.

On August 5, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced abrogation of Article 370 in Parliament and moved a Bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one. Additional deployment of CAPF was made in Jammu and Kashmir much before the announcements by the Centre.


35 civilians, 80 terrorists killed in attack in Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou: A militant attack in northern Burkina Faso on Tuesday killed 35 civilians, almost all of them women, the president said, one of the deadliest assaults in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the West African country.

Seven soldiers and 80 jihadists were also killed in the double attack on a military base and Arbinda town in Soum province, the army said. Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen regular jihadist attacks which have left hundreds dead since the start of 2015 when militant violence began to spread across the Sahel region. "A large group of terrorists simultaneously attacked the military base and the civilian population in Arbinda," the army chief of staff said in a statement.

"This barbaric attack resulted in the deaths of 35 civilian victims, most of them women," President Roch Marc Christian Kabore added on Twitter, praising the "bravery and commitment" of the defence and security forces. Communications minister and government spokesman Remis Dandjinou later said 31 of the civilian victims were women, adding around twenty soldiers were injured. The president has declared 48-hours of national mourning.

The morning raid was carried out dozens of jihadists on motorbikes and lasted several hours before armed forces backed by the air force drove the militants back, the army said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has been blamed on militants linked to both Al Qaeda and Islamic State groups. Leaders of the G5 Sahel nations held summit talks in Niger earlier this month, calling for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against the Islamist threat.

Militant violence has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, having started when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012. The Sahel region of Africa lies to the south of the Sahara Desert and stretches across the breadth of the African continent. The G5 group is made up of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, whose impoverished armies have the support of French forces as well as the UN in Mali.

In Burkina Faso, more than 700 people have been killed and around 560,000 internally displaced, according to the United Nations. Attacks have targeted mostly the north and east of the country, though the capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times. Prior to Tuesday's attack, Burkina security forces said they had killed around a hundred jihadists in several operations since November.

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company in November killed 37 people. Attacks have intensified this year as the under-equipped, poorly trained Burkina Faso army struggles to contain the Islamist militancy.

Fire breaks out at two factories in Delhi’s Narela Industrial area

New Delhi: A fire broke out at two different factories in the Narela Industrial area of the national capital early Tuesday morning.

Seven fire tenders managed to douse the flames at the factory that manufactured 'Dona-Pattal' (leaf bowl and plate). No casualties or injuries have been reported from the factory. On the other hand, fire fighting operations are underway at the other factory, where the fire broke out at around 4:52 am.

Further details are awaited.


JioFiber Preview Offer ends for most: Lack of information, limited data, and capped upload speed irks users

Every good thing comes to an end – said the person dejected with abrupt discontinuation of the JioFiber preview offer.

He is as clueless as the thousands of other users who have been enjoying the free data party for over a year offered by Jio, one of the largest telecom companies in India.

Every month these people were entitled to over a terabyte of high-speed broadband data for free. Jio called this as the JioFiber preview offer and did not bill the customers for the data usage because the broadband had not been announced commercially yet.

My jio fiber just stopped working. I have recharged as they asked. Still no access to internet. #JioFiber @JioCare. I may have to go for a replacement to @airtelindia. What are your competing plans airtel?

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1:08 AM - Dec 21, 2019
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However, the party is getting over for most of the JioFiber users and their internet pack is getting disabled asking them to pay for the services. There is a 7-day buffer period along with 50 GB of data being offered, in case you’re still doubtful and may want to switch your internet service provider.

Users are getting a message for this ‘grace period’ after the Jio preview plan expires.

Chiranjit Chowdhury
@JioCare #JioFiber Internet has been shutdown and moved to the New Plan without notice.

1:37 AM - Dec 21, 2019 · Kolkata, India
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During the annual general meeting held a couple of months back, the company announced the impending commercial launch and revealed the data plans.

Below are the JioFiber plans and pricing:

· Bronze Plan: Costs Rs 699/month and offers include 100GB data at 100Mbps speed. Includes free voice calls, set-top box and access to JioSaavn and JioCinema.

· Silver Plan: Costs Rs 849/month and offers include 200GB data at 100Mbps speed. Includes free voice calls, set-top box and access to OTT apps.

· Gold Plan: Costs Rs 1,299 /month and offers include 500GB data at 250Mbps speed. Includes free voice calls, set-top box and access to OTT apps.

· Diamond Plan: Costs Rs 2,499/month and offers include 1250GB data. Includes free voice calls, set-top box and access to OTT apps.

· Platinum plan: Costs Rs 3,999/month and offers 2500GB high-speed data. Includes free voice calls, set-top box and access to OTT apps.

· Titanium plan: Costs Rs 8,499 and offers 5000GB high-speed data at 1Gbps. Includes free voice calls, set-top box and access to OTT apps.

Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, each plan comes with free data for 6 months, with additional benefits for users who choose to pay for annual/biannual or quarterly plans. The prices mentioned above do not include GST.

 · Dec 21, 2019
My jio fiber just stopped working. I have recharged as they asked. Still no access to internet. #JioFiber @JioCare. I may have to go for a replacement to @airtelindia. What are your competing plans airtel?

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Shwetank Shekhar Roy
Same is happening in Dwarka too .... Can't connect.

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1:40 AM - Dec 21, 2019
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Users were found complaining about various discrepancies in regard to the initial claim when the services were first announced. The set-top box is provided by the company is actually an Android streaming box and unlike your regular DTH set-top box, Jio’s box will run on the internet plan in your package.

You might end up using 100-150GB of data per month just for streaming your favourite TV shows and since you’re paying for data, the service is not free at all.

Talking about the TV channels on offer, Jio has not shared the official list of channels one can enjoy using this set-top box. We’ve reached out to Jio for clarification and are still waiting for a response from them.


In a piece of related news, Jio is reportedly capping the upload speeds to one-tenth of the download speeds in your plan. A few users took to Twitter to report that the upload speeds were reduced drastically without any communication.

In case you are on a 1Gbps plan then your upload speed would max out at 100 Mbps only and for people on 100 Mbps plan, the upload speeds would be approximately 9-10 Mbps only.

JioFiber Preview Offer ends for most: Lack of information, limited data, and capped upload speed irks users
Almost all service providers offer similar upload and download speeds, however, Jio might heavily cap the upload speeds even though the data consumed for both way traffic is counted in your total data consumption.

With limitations in both overall data allocation and now with the capped upload speeds, users did not sound too happy and claimed that the commercial plans are totally opposite to what was promised initially by Jio.