Latest Political Updates

T’gana BJP leader arrested for derogatory skit against KCR


Telangana Police on Friday arrested state BJP leader Jitta Balakrishna Reddy for insulting Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao by organizing a skit.

Police arrested him from Ghatkesar toll plaza near Hyderabad in the early hours of the day. A court in the Rangareddy district later granted him bail.

Police said the BJP leader was arrested for indulging in hate speech and inciting hatred and causing provocation for violence through an event organized by the cultural team of the BJP on Telangana Formation Day (June 2).

On a complaint by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) social media convenor Y. Satish Reddy, police booked Balakrishna Reddy, state BJP chief Bandi Sanjay and others under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 114 (abettor present when the offense is committed), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505(2) (statements causing public mischief, promoting enmity) read with 109.

A case was registered against them at the Hayathnagar Police Station under Rachakonda Police Commissionerate.

The complainant had alleged that the organizers misused the platform to defame the government schemes with false accusations of the CM and the government with an intention to mislead the people and provoke hatred and unrest.

According to police, under the leadership of state BJP president Bandi Sanjay and organizers, Jitta Balakrishna Reddy and Rani Rudrama organized an event in view of Telangana Formation Day and ‘misused the dais for performing a skit (hate act)’ with the help of the BJP cultural team member Boddu Yellanna alias Daruvu Yellanna by insulting a person who is holding a constitutional post being democratically elected by the people of the state. The skit was telecast on a Telugu TV news channel.

A case was registered against Bandi Sanjay, Balakrishna Reddy, Rani Rudramma, Boddu Yellanna, and his team.

On examining the video, police found that the organizers made ‘derogatory comments, personal attacks depicting the chief minister as a boozer, cheater, etc., to lower the image of a person elected by democratic means and holding a constitutional post’.

The police also recovered the ‘chief minister’s face mask’, a liquor bottle, and Flexi of Telangana Formation Day.

Meanwhile, Bandi Sanjay condemned the midnight arrest of Balakrishna Reddy. He alleged that the TRS government was trying to create an atmosphere of fear by resorting to ‘undemocratic means’.


Bihar Minister records statement in a defamation case filed against Rahul


In a criminal defamation suit filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the statement of Nitin Navin, the road construction minister of Bihar, was registered in the MLA-MLC court here on Friday.

The criminal defamation case was filed by former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi in the MLA-MLC court on April 12 this year in Patna.

S.D. Sanjay, senior lawyer and former solicitor general of Bihar told IANS that the statement of Bihar BJP leader Sanjiv Chaurasia has already been registered in the MLA-MLC court on April 12 and BJYM leader Manish Kumar on April 22.

“Apart from Sanjiv Chaurasia and Manish Kumar, Nitin Navin is the key witness of this case. Now, the statement of Sushil Modi is remaining and his statement will be recorded at the next hearing,” Sanjay said.

During the hearing of the case on Friday, complainant Sushil Kumar Modi was accompanied by a team of lawyers — S.D. Sanjay, Subodh Jha, Arjun Kumar, Ratnesh Kumar, and Priya Gupta — were present in the court.

Sushil Modi, in a complaint case number 1551(C) of 2019 leveled allegations against Rahul Gandhi for his poll speech in Karnataka where he said that all Modis are thieves.

Rahul Gandhi, during the public meeting in Kolar district in Karnataka, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed demonetization in the country and put entire countrymen in the queues at banks.

“He (Narendra Modi) has partially restricted the money of common people to withdraw from banks and the money of common people would be given to his 15 friends,” Rahul Gandhi said in his speech.

“There is a group of thieves. They have a team. They are taking money from your pockets, snatching the money from farmers, and small traders, and giving it to those 15 friends. PM Narendra Modi is saying to you people that it is a fight against black money. He put you in the queues of banks, taking the money from your pockets and depositing into the banks and then you learn about your money being taken away by Nirav Modi who fled from the country with Rs 35,000 crore,” Gandhi said at that time.

“There is a long list of names apart from Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi is the other name, Lalit Modi. Now, I want to ask a small question. Why do all thieves have the names Modi-Modi-Modi. Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi and if we search more, we will get some more Modi,” Gandhi said.

Based on the speech of Rahul Gandhi in Kolar on April 13, 2019, Sushil Modi, the BJP Rajya Sabha MP believes that it was a derogatory statement on the people having surname Modi.

“Rahul Gandhi in a statement had said that all people having Modi surnames are thieves. He (Sushil Modi) is also having Modi surname and as it was election time, his statement may influence the voters. Hence, he has filed a criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi,” Sanjay said.


Congress leaders pray at Charminar temple amid row


Hyderabad, June 3 Telangana Congress leaders on Friday visited Bhagya Lakshmi temple abutting Charminar amid a temple-mosque controversy at the historic monument.

A day after state BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar attacked Congress over the signature campaign launched by one of its Muslim leaders for the re-opening of the mosque at Charminar, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, senior leader V. Hanumantha Rao, MLA Seethakka and others visited the temple to offer prayers.

The Congress leaders said they offered prayers for the speedy recovery of their party chief Sonia Gandhi, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

They dismissed Bandi Sanjay’s allegation that Congress has a secret understanding with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and they along with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) were trying to remove the temple from Charminar.

Vikramarka told reporters that they had been offering prayers at the temple even before Bandi Sanjay started coming here. “This temple is not an asset of BJP or Bandi Sanjay,” he said.

The Congress leaders alleged that the BJP leader was trying to gain political mileage by creating a controversy.

A row erupted after a Congress leader launched a campaign for the re-opening of the mosque at Charminar for Muslims to offer prayers.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Rashed Khan says that Muslims used to offer Namaz at the 16th-century monument till two decades ago. He recalled that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) closed the mosque on the top floor of the monument after a family of four had committed suicide by jumping down.

He started a signature campaign requesting the ASI and the ministry of tourism and culture to re-open the mosque for prayers. He also plans to make a request to Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in this regard.

The Congress leader said that the Bhagya Lakshmi temple is an illegal construction as clearly stated by ASI in one of the reports. He said since prayers were being allowed in the ‘unauthorized’ temple, the authorities should allow Muslims to offer prayers in the mosque which has been there since Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah built Charminar in 1591.

However, the Congress leader’s demand angered BJP which alleged a conspiracy to target the temple. Some BJP leaders even demanded Khan’s arrest for trying to create trouble.

Bandi Sanjay, who is a Member of Parliament, warned against any attempt to touch the temple. “Why the demand for Namaz at Charminar now? Just because we started offering prayers at Bhagya Lakshmi temple, you are making this demand,” said Sanjay, who last year launched his padayatra after offering prayers at the temple.

He alleged that Congress has a secret understanding with TRS and they along with AIMIM were trying to create a problem for the Muslim votes.

Biden urges Congress to act on gun violence amid partisan tensions


Washington, June 3 US President Joe Biden has urged Congress to take action on gun violence in a prime-time address from the White House.

In his address on Thursday night, he urged Congress to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, or at least raise the purchasing age from 18 to 21, reports Xinhua news agency.

Other proposals included expanding background checks, passing “red flag” laws, and repealing the liability shield for gun manufacturers and dealers.

The remarks came after the US was shaken by a spate of mass shootings over the past few weeks.

Biden traveled to Uvalde, Texas, on Sunday to meet families of the victims and survivors of a school shooting on May 24, in which the 18-year-old gunman, killed by responding officers on the scene, used an AR-15-style rifle, a popular range of semiautomatic weapons, to kill 19 children and two teachers.

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are negotiating gun reform measures but it is unclear how much talk would be turned into action.

Also on Thursday, a committee in the House approved along the party line a package of gun control legislation, a response to the recent mass shootings.

Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, dismissed the package as partisan.

“No one wants another tragedy. No one wants this to happen again. That’s why it’s regretful that Democrats have rushed to a markup today in what seems more like political theatre than a real attempt at improving public safety or finding solutions,” he said.

Republicans deem such measures, including restricting gun buyers’ age and the sale of magazines, as unconstitutional and depriving Americans of the right to defend themselves.

Representative Dan Bishop, Republican of North Carolina, said that “you are not going to bully your way into stripping Americans of fundamental rights”.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democratic of Maryland, accused Republicans of “misleading the American public about the Second Amendment”.

“My colleagues are throwing up the Second Amendment as a smokescreen to protect their opposition to any reasonable gun safety regulation,” he said.

In a recent survey of all 50 Republicans in the Senate by The New York Times, most Republicans who had responded either declined to take a position or signaled they would oppose the measures, worrying about infringing on the rights of gun owners.

So far this year, the US has seen at least 233 mass shootings with more than 18,000 deaths due to gun violence, according to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive.

A mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people were injured or killed,

The US has more guns than any other nation in the world, and that number continues to grow each year.

There are an estimated 400 million guns in the US between police, the military and American civilians, and over 393 million of these guns are in civilian hands, the equivalent of 120 firearms per 100 citizens, according to a 2018 report on global firearms holdings by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.

Modi leaves for Lucknow to lay the foundation stone for 1,406 projects


New Delhi, June 3 Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Uttar Pradesh to participate in the ‘Ground Breaking Ceremony @ 3.0’ of the UP Investors Summit.

Modi will also visit the ancestral home of President Ram Nath Kovind.

In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Modi said, “Leaving for Lucknow, where I will take part in the Ground Breaking Ceremony @ 3.0 of the UP Investors Summit. The foundation stone for various investment projects will be laid which will transform the lives of people in UP.”

The Prime Minister noted that in the last five years, Uttar Pradesh has made efforts to draw more investments. “In the last five years, Uttar Pradesh has made numerous efforts to draw record investment in the state. These investments cover diverse sectors. The good business environment in the state augurs well for both investors and the local youth.

“After the programme in Lucknow, I will be in Kanpur to attend a series of programmes in the august presence of Rashtrapati Ji. The programmes include a visit to the Pathri Mata Mandir, Dr. BR Ambedkar Bhawan and Milan Kendra, Rashtrapati Ji’s ancestral house,” the Prime Minister added.

During the ‘Ground Breaking Ceremony @3.0’, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for 1,406 projects worth more than Rs 80,000 crore. The projects encompass diverse sectors like agriculture and allied, IT and electronics, MSME, manufacturing, renewable energy, pharma, tourism, defence and aerospace, handloom and textiles. The ceremony will be attended by top industry leaders of the country.

Puducherry electricity employees are on hunger strike from June 8 against privatization


Puducherry, June 2 Engineers and employees of the Puducherry electricity department will intensify their fight against the privatization of the power department with a hunger strike from June 8 onwards.

The protesting employees said that the strike will not affect the functioning of the department as it would be carried out on a rotation basis.

In a statement, P. Velmurugan of the employees association said that an uninterrupted power supply will be ensured in the Union Territory and that people will in no way be affected by the strike.

Notably, the employees had conducted a pen-down strike a week before demanding that the central and state governments refrain from privatization.

Velmurugan said that even after Chief Minister N. Rangasamy’s assurance that privatization will not take place without the employee’s and general public’s consent, the process is in on.

He said that they have met the Superintendent Engineer, who also heads the department, regarding it and informed him of the impending hunger strike.

The employees have informed the territorial government that their status as the government employees is retained and that their service conditions are not affected.

The opposition Secular Progressive Democratic Alliance (SDPA) has conducted protests against the privatization of the power department. The alliance led by Congress even held a human chain protest against the move in which former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader V. Narayanaswamy, leader of opposition and DMK leader R. Siva, CPI- M state secretary R. Rajangam, and CPI state secretary A.M. Saleem participated.

The leaders said that a chain of protests will be conducted in the union territory against the government’s move. They said that the privatization would lead to a five-fold increase in electricity bills, an increase in charges for new connections, and the scrapping of 100 units of free power to those below the poverty line and farmers.

PM talks about tourist arrivals in Ladakh, Digital India


Shimla, May 31Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday talked about the arrival of tourists in Ladakh, Central government schemes like Digital India, and did a pep talk while complimenting a beneficiary for her excellent way of communicating and jokingly saying she should contest elections as she will be very popular.

Participating virtually from the state capital Shimla in the Garib Kalyan Sammelan to mark the completion of eight years of his government, Modi told Santoshi, a beneficiary of Ayushman Bharat from Kalburgi in Karnataka, that noticing her excellent way of communicating she should contest elections as she will be very popular.

On being asked, she narrated her experience with the scheme. She said the Health and Wellness Centre and free checkups and medicines are bringing many changes in her life.

Interacting with Tashi Tundup from Ladakh, the Prime Minister asked him about the arrival of tourists in Ladakh and his experience with the government schemes.

The Prime Minister praised Tundup’s services as an army man. Tundup said he did not face any problem in availing the benefits of schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), constructing toilets, getting a gas connection, and farming-related benefits.

Lalita Devi from Bihar is a beneficiary of PMAY, Ujjwala, Swachh Bharat, and Jal Jeevan Mission.

She informed the Prime Minister that how schemes led to her ease of living and dignified life. Prime Minister Modi said with a house, many things like education and the marriage of the children will fall in place.

At the venue, farmer Sama Devi from Sirmaur district in Himachal Pradesh talked about PMAY, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Ayushman Yojana, and CM Grahni Suvidha Yojna.

From Mehsana in Gujarat, Arvind, a beneficiary of PM Mudra Yojna, talked about his expansion of business and promoting digital payment. The Prime Minister complimented him for educating his employees about the government scheme and also for being a job creator.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister released the 11th installment of financial benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.

This enabled the transfer of around Rs 21,000 crore to more than 10 crore beneficiary farmer families.


Yoga Day in Mysuru: PM Modi reviews preparations with K’taka CM


Bengaluru, May 30 Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to participate in the International Yoga Day celebrations to be held in Mysuru on June 21 as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, an official communication from the Karnataka Chief Minister’s office stated on Monday.

Modi held a video conference with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to discuss the preparations for the event.

“All the preparations have been completed. The stage is set to conduct the International Yoga Day in a big way at the Mysuru Palace premises in Karnataka and I am looking forward to your arrival,” Bommai told the Prime Minister.

State Chief Secretary P Ravikumar, Additional Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma, CM’s Principal Secretary N Manjunath Prasad, and other officials were present.

The Union Ministry of Ayush had earlier confirmed the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY) in Mysuru city on June 21.

The Ministry had written Karnataka Chief Secretary P. Ravikumar and asked him to issue directions to all the concerned to make arrangements for the successful organization of the main event of IDY-2022.

The letter said “the preparations for IDY-2022 are already underway. As the upcoming 8th IDY is falling in the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ year, this Ministry plans to observe IDY at 75 iconic sites across the country. This year, the IDY will be focused on Branding India on the global stage.”


Jaya Prada keen to shift to Telugu politics


Hyderabad, May 30 Actor-politician Jaya Prada on Monday said that she is keen to shift to the politics of Telugu states.

The former MP and BJP leader told reporters here that she wants to become active in the politics of Telangana or Andhra Pradesh.

“This time, I am very keen to come to the politics of Telugu states,” she said during an interaction with media persons after inaugurating a private skin and laser clinic in the city.

Recalling that she became active in national politics long ago, she said she now wants to serve people in Telugu states by making herself available 24×7.

Jaya Prada, who joined the BJP in 2019, said that since she is currently in the Uttar Pradesh cadre of the party, the decision about her joining the politics of Telangana or Andhra Pradesh has to be taken by the party elders.

The actress said she would request the concerned party panel to allow her to enter politics in Telugu states.

Jaya Prada, who hails from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, changed several parties, during the last 28 years of her political career.

She began her political career with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1994 by joining it at the invitation of party founder N.T. Rama Rao.

She backed Chandrababu Naidu when he led a revolt against his father-in-law N.T. Rama Rao and became the chief minister in 1995.

Naidu made Jaya Prada a member of Rajya Sabha in 1996 and leader of the party’s women’s wing. Differences cropped up between them when Naidu made another actress, Roja, chief of the women’s wing.

She later joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) at the invitation of Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh. She was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rampur in 2004 and re-elected in 2009.

Jaya Prada sided with Amar Singh after the latter revolted against Mulayam Singh. Expelled from the SP in 2010, she joined the Rashtriya Lok Manch floated by Amar Singh.

However, the party failed to make an impact in Uttar Pradesh and Amar Singh also went into political oblivion because of his illness.

In 2013, there were speculations that she may return to the TDP. She, however, ruled out this saying Chandrababu Naidu has lost credibility among the masses. By showering praise on former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had also dropped hints at joining the YSR Congress Party.

In 2014, Jaya Prada along with Amar Singh joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) led by Ajit Singh. She contested for the Lok Sabha from the Bijnor constituency as an RLD candidate but finished a poor fourth.

However, she joined the BJP in 2019 a couple of months before the Lok Sabha polls. There were speculations that the BJP may field her from the Rajahmundry Lok Sabha seat which the party won in 1998 and 1999. However, the party did not give her the ticket.

Jaya Prada’s latest remarks indicate that she may be keen to contest from Rajahmundry in the 2024 elections.

It was at Rajahmundry that she had started her film career at an early age. Once described by Satyajit Ray as one the prettiest women in the world, Jaya Prada began acting in Telugu films in the 1970s and went on to become one of the leading ladies of the southern film industry. She entered Hindi films in the 1980s and worked with several leading actors, including Amitabh Bachchan and Jitendra.

During her three-decade film career, Jayaprada acted in 300 films in eight languages including Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, and Bengali.

Telangana minister’s convoy attacked during a meeting of the Reddy community


Hyderabad, May 30 Telangana Labour Minister M. Malla Reddy escaped unhurt when his convoy was attacked by participants at a public meeting at Ghatkesar near here, sources said on Monday.

Some participants at the meeting organized on Sunday night by Reddy Jagruthi, an apolitical community platform, hurled footwear, stones, and chairs at the convoy of the minister, who had to leave the meeting abruptly.

Police personnel had a tough time escorting the minister to safety and stopping those who were chasing his vehicle.

The minister had to face the ire of some participants at ‘Reddy Simha Garjana’ when he praised Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for various development and welfare programs taken up in the state.

They raised an objection to the minister’s praise for the government and shouted slogans. Some of them rushed toward the dais asking him to stop his speech. A Congress leader asked him to stop praising the government and speak about what the government intends to do for the betterment of the community.

Amid the ruckus, Malla Reddy stopped his speech and after the order was restored following an appeal by the organizers, the minister resumed his speech. However, as he continued to praise the government, the participants interrupted him and raised slogans against him. This time, they were angry and refused to heed the appeals for calm.

Sensing trouble, the minister’s security personnel, and police surrounded him and escorted him off the dais. As his convoy was leaving the venue, several people started throwing footwear, stones, and even hurled chairs. Some of them even chased the convoy.

Leaders and workers of various political parties attended the meeting. The Joint Action Committee of Reddys demanded that the chief minister fulfill his poll promise to constitute the Reddy commission with Rs 5,000 crore.

Malla Reddy later blamed state Congress chief Revanth Reddy for the attack. The minister said since he had been questioning Revanth Reddy’s misdeeds, he carried out the attack through his supporters. The minister said he was not afraid of such attacks.

The minister said he was interrupted even as he was clarifying that TRS remains committed to fulfilling its promise to constitute the Reddy Commission and that justice will be done to Reddys.

PM Modi plays Gujarati card in Rajkot


Rajkot, May 28 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, keeping the election year in mind, smartly played Mahatma Gandhi’s Swadeshi card, reminding him how the Sardar Sarovar project was completed against all odds. He was in Rajkot on Saturday to inaugurate a hospital.

Modi said that before 2001, Gujarat had not seen development and growth, but it was due to his initiative, that the state has now developed in education, industries, and infrastructure.

Playing the regional card, Modi said his government abides by Mahatma Gandhi’s Swadeshi ideology and so is implementing Swadeshi Arth-niti. Gandhi and Patel were always concerned about the upliftment of the poor, and this is the cause upheld by the Modi government. Reaching out to locals, he addressed Gujarati.

The Prime Minister inaugurated the 200-bed K.D. Parvadia hospital at Atkot in Rajkot district of Saurashtra region. The super-specialty hospital is developed with an investment of Rs 40 crore. The facility was established by the Leuva Patidar leader, BJP’s Bharat Boghra, and his family. Boghra is vice president of BJP’s Gujarat unit.

Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister said that before 2001, there were just nine Medical colleges with 1100 seats, but in 21 years, the state has 30 medical colleges with 8000 seats. The government targets one medical college in every district so that no poor family’s child dreaming to be a doctor is disappointed due to the unavailability of seats.

Without naming the Congress rule, he criticized that in past, industrial development was limited between Vapi and Vadodara and the pharma sector remained in just one or two districts. He added that the previous governments never focused on expanding trade, businesses, and industries, which his government did.

He even alleged that when he was Chief Minister, Gujarat’s projects were not cleared by the (Congress-led) Centre and that Congress was anti-Gujarat.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, three crore poor families were allotted pakka ghar, 10 crores got toilets, nine crore women were given gas cylinders, and 2.50 crore houses got electrification.

It was further enumerated that during the Pandemic, the Modi government gave free rations to the socially and economically backward groups, giving them a dignified life – something no other government had ever done.

Communal tension in coastal K’taka region rise amid hijab, Malali mosque rows


Bengaluru, May 28 Communal tension in the coastal Karnataka region comprising Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, and Udupi is on a rise with the resurfacing of hijab controversy and the Malali temple-mosque row.

The coastal region of the state is considered to be communally sensitive and a bastion of the BJP. The region is prone to communal tensions and clashes. The hijab crisis which snowballed into an international issue started from here.

When things seemed to have settled down, the communal strife raised its ugly head again in the region with the Hindu students launching a protest against the wearing of hijab in classrooms as classes in schools and colleges resumed after the summer holidays.

The ruling BJP government has stressed that only uniforms are allowed on campus. Following the protest at the University College of Mangaluru, BJP MLA Vedavyasa Kamat is holding a meeting with College Development and Management Committee members and students. Mangaluru University Vice-Chancellor and Registrar are also participating in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has stated that they will not let Hindu activists carry one handful of soil from Malali Masjid stirring a controversy. “Don’t dream about taking over masjid,” stated Abdul Mazeed Mysuru, the state president of SDPI on Saturday.

Addressing a rally at Mangaluru, Mazeed challenged Hindu activists and Sangh Parivar members to take the traditional way of “Tambula Prashne” to ascertain on the destruction of 200 years old Suggalamma temple in Ballary by mining baron and BJP leader Janardhana Reddy.

RSS games make JD (S) and Congress parties fearful. “Sangh activists who give boycott calls of businessmen, aren’t you ashamed when Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had inked MoU with Yousuf Ali for Rs 2,000 crore?” questioned Abdul Mazeed.

M.A. Yusuf Ali is a UAE-based Indian businessman and billionaire. He is the chairman and managing director of LuLu Group International which owns the Lulu Hypermarket chain worldwide.

The ruling BJP in the country is not “pro-people”. It is pro-industrialists Ambani and Adani. The BJP is destroying the country academically, socially, and economically instead of empowering it, he charged.

However, the authorities are maintaining the status quo on the Malali Masjid premises. The temple structure surfaced at the time of renovation recently. Following the development, the court issued the status quo order. Hindu activists are claiming that they will take the legal way to reclaim this temple.

With the state already entering the election year, the issues are threatening to snowball into a major crisis situation in the entire region, say sources.


Hijab row: Only uniforms are allowed, says K’taka Minister


Koppal, (Karnataka) May 28 While commenting on the resurfacing of the hijab issue in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka Education Minister B.C. Nagesh on Saturday categorically stated that only uniforms are allowed on school and college campuses across the state.

He further said that the order of the Karnataka High Court must be followed regarding the issue.

The Minister’s remark comes after hundreds of students from Mangaluru’s University College staged a protest on Thursday against wearing hijab in classrooms.

The students expressed anger at the authorities for allowing this despite the court and government orders.

In his statement on Saturday, the Education Minister also said that textbooks were already being printed, adding that “there is history and nationalism in the syllabus”.

He blamed the opposition Congress for creating confusion among students and also in the state regarding the textbook revision row.

Top Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and RMallikarjun Kharge have launched fierce attacks on the state’s ruling BJP in connection with the row.

Kharge slammed the state government for the inclusion of RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar’s speech in the syllabus.

K’taka woman’s suicide: Family, Hindu outfits allege ‘love jihad’


Udupi (Karnataka), May 27 The suicide case of a young woman has taken a serious turn after some Hindu organizations and her family alleged that she was a victim of ‘love jihad’ in Karnataka’s Udupi district.

Shilpa Devadiga, 25, a resident of the Uppinakudru village near Kundapur city, died on May 25 after consuming rat poison. Hindu activists and her family have alleged that it was a case of love jihad and demanded action against the accused person.

The police have recovered a letter from the residence of Shilpa. Police sources said that the letter was in the form of a poem that talks about her exploitation.

The family of Shilpa has lodged a complaint with the Kundapur police station alleging the role of Azeez, a resident of Koteshwar behind her suicide. They have also named his wife, Salma Azeez. They charged that the accused forced her to convert to Islam and blackmailed her with obscene videos.

According to police, Shilpa was working in a garment shop for three years. She got in touch with the accused Azeez when she went to tutorials before joining the work. Though married the accused allegedly promised her marriage and abused her physically.

He often called her to his house. However, later he refused to marry her. Recently, Azeez came near her workplace and abused her. Not able to bear the insult, Shilpa consumed poison on May 23.

The brother of Shilpa informed police that though being married, the accused had trapped his sister Shilpa into a relationship. It is also alleged that he had sent her sweet messages promising her marriage and had sent obscene photos to her.

Hindu activists have alleged that the accused had recorded videos of sexual acts. When she asked him to marry her, the accused asked her to convert to Islam. On her objection, he threatened her with releasing her videos on social media.

Yogi govt empowering women through its schemes


Lucknow, May 27 The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is engaged in empowering urban and rural women through its schemes.

According to the government spokesman, under the National Rural Livelihood Mission in Uttar Pradesh, women of self-help groups (SHG) are being given free sewing training and under the Mission Shakti Abhiyan, women’s special protection teams are working to sensitize women and daughters.

Awareness campaigns are being conducted by police stations in different districts of the state. Under this, women and girls are being made aware of women’s self-reliance and empowerment.

The spokesman said that the women of self-help groups were given free training by Usha Sewing School. They are also marketing the stitched clothes. Women are being given training in different phases by the department. Till now 300 women have been given free training.


Reform, perform, transform define today’s governance: PM Modi


Hyderabad, May 26 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the reform, perform, and transform mantra defines today’s governance in the country.

He said during the last eight years, the government with political willpower brought reforms and they yielded results on the ground due to people’s participation.

He said this while addressing the 20th-anniversary celebrations and graduation ceremony of the Post Graduate Programme of the Class of 2022 at the Indian School of Business (ISB) here.

Addressing students of both Hyderabad and Mohali campuses of the ISB, he said that while the need for reform was always felt in the country, there was always a lack of political willpower.

“Due to the continuous political instability in the last three decades, the country has seen a lack of political willpower for a long time. Because of this, the country stayed away from reforms and from taking big decisions. Since 2014, our country is seeing political will and also, and reforms are being done continuously. We have shown public support and popular support is assured when reforms are undertaken with determination and political will,” he said.

He cited the example of the adoption of digital payments among people. He said in a country where banking was considered a privilege, fintech has changed the life of the common man. He pointed out that today 40 percent of the world’s digital transactions are happening in India.

The Prime Minister noted that today, India is the fastest-growing economy in the group of G20 countries. In the case of smartphone data consumers, India is at number one. India is second in the world in terms of the number of Internet users. India is also second in the world on the Global Retail Index. The world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem is in India. The world’s third-largest consumer market is India.

He claimed that even amid the Covid pandemic, India proved its resilience. The century’s biggest health crisis disrupted the global supply chain and the war added to the problem.

“Despite all this India is emerging as a major center of growth today. Last year, the highest ever recorded FDI came into India. Today the world is realizing that India means business.”

Modi said it was not the success of the government alone but business schools like ISB, professionals who passed out from such institutes, and youth played a big role.

“Be it start-ups or traditional business, manufacturing or service sector, Indian youth proving they can lead the world. Today, the world is looking at India’s youth with confidence and respect,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Indian solutions are being implemented globally. “Today on this important day, I would like to ask you to link your personal goals with the goals of the country,” he told the business graduates.

Modi said that the resilience and strength of the health sector were proved during the pandemic. He recalled that there were no PPE manufacturers but the country produced 1,100 manufacturers and the Covid infrastructure in no time. There were only a couple of labs for testing but the number went up to 2,500.

“Regarding the Covid vaccines, concerns were being raised here whether foreign vaccines would be available or not. But India developed its own vaccines. In India, more than 190 crore doses have been administered. India has also sent vaccines to more than 100 countries of the world,” he said.

Referring to the expansion of medical education in the last eight years, he said the number of medical colleges increased from 380 to over 600 while the number of graduate and post-graduate medical seats went up from 90,000 to over 1.50 lakh.

The Prime Minister stated that bureaucracy has also made firm contributions to the reform process.

“System is the same but results are encouraging. People are coming forward to increase the pace of reforms. When people cooperate, quick and better results are assured. In the system now, the government brings reforms, bureaucracy performs and people’s participation leads to transformation,” he said and advised the ISB students to study this mechanism of reform, perform and transform as a case study and show it to the world.

He also cited the sports ecosystem transformation. He said after 2014 there has been phenomenal performance in every sport due to the confidence of athletes.

“Confidence comes when the right talent is discovered when there is handholding of talent when there is a transparent selection and a better infrastructure is available for training, competition. We can see transformation in sports due to reforms like Khelo India and Olympic Podium Scheme.”

He also cited the Aspirational District Programme as a great example of transformation. He said districts that were once branded as backward were performing better than the districts which were once considered progressive.

The Prime Minister said that the definition of business is changing and its landscape is widening. Formal, informal, small, and large businesses are expanding their horizons and giving employment to lakhs and crores of people.

He stressed the need to give more opportunities for growth to small businesses. He said students passing out of business schools can help them in connecting with the new local and global markets and with technology.

Earlier, Modi paid tributes to those who have contributed to taking the institute to its current glory. He recalled that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee dedicated this institution to the country in 2001.

Since then, about 50,000 executives have passed out from ISB. Today, ISB is among the top business schools in Asia.

Professionals passed out from ISB are helming top companies and giving momentum to the county’s business. Students from here have created many start-ups and played a role in creating several unicorns.

“This is an achievement of ISB and a cause of pride for the entire country,” he said.

PM Modi arrives in Chennai


Chennai, May 26 Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Thursday evening. He was received at the Chennai airport by Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi, Leader of Opposition K. Palaniswami, and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L. Murugan.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin will receive the Prime Minister at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.

The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for 11 projects worth Rs 31,500 crore at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here.

It is to be noted that this is the first visit of the Prime Minister to Tamil Nadu after the DMK assumed office in the state in May 2021.

At least 22,000 police personnel have been deployed in the state capital to look after the security.

Greater Chennai Commissioner of Police, Shankar Jiwal is leading the police security with eight Joint Commissioners, Deputy Inspector Generals, 29 Deputy Commissioners, and Superintendents of police also pressed into service for the visit of the Prime Minister.

DMK and BJP cadres were present in large numbers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium to listen to the speech of Prime Minister

VCK to protest against PM Modi during his Chennai visit on May 26


Chennai, May 24 The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) has announced that it would hold protest marches against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Chennai visit on May 26.

The protest, according to the VCK, is against “the policies of the Central government that caused economic hardship and social disturbances to the people of the country”.

Left parties will also join in the protest march with the VCK against the Prime Minister.

VCK leader and Member of Parliament Thol Thirumavalavan in a statement on Monday said that the VCK would be part of the nationwide protest being carried out by the Left parties against the Central government’s “anti-people” policies.

Thirumavalavan said that the Left parties, CPI-M, CPI, VCK, and CPI-ML will jointly conduct protest marches and would distribute pamphlets against the “anti-people” policies of the Central government.

The VCK leader said that while the Union Government has increased fuel prices by 18 times, it reduced the price only twice, and that strong resistance was required against the policies of the Modi government.


Andhra kept the Covid mortality rate at its lowest despite handicaps: Jagan


Amaravati, May 23 Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said on Monday that the state effectively handled the Covid-19 pandemic with the lowest mortality rate in the country despite the handicap of lacking strong tertiary care.

Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘future-proofing health system’ during World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting at Davos, he said the state focused on tracing, testing, and treating.

He said the state conducted 42 rounds of the house to house surveys over the last two years which helped the state to keep the mortality rate at 0.63 percent against the national average of more than one percent

“Within the limits we had, we did all we could do. We were more focused on tracing, testing, and treating. We were short on tertiary care. We were a newly formed state. We did not have tier-I cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, or Bangalore where private investment is huge in super-specialty hospitals,” he said.

“As we had that handicap, we wanted to get into it at an early stage. We conducted 44 rounds of house-to-house surveys. We had a robust system in place with a village secretariat and a volunteer system for every 50 houses. We have 42,000 ASHA workers dealing with health issues. This was the primary reason why we could cut the mortality rate,” said Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Stating that this was an unprecedented situation, the chief minister said it was an eye-opener for all. “The entire healthcare system has to be formidable if something like this to recur,” he said

Jagan Mohan Reddy said the governments should be focusing on preventive and curative care to improve healthcare availability, accessibility, and affordability.

The chief minister told the panel that his government is working towards this end by focusing on primary healthcare taking every village as a unit with a village clinic. Doctors at primary health centers will visit every village and become family doctors.

Jagan Reddy said despite the fund constraints, his government planned to spend Rs 16,000 crore over the next three years to strengthen the healthcare sector. He said steps were being taken to improve the healthcare delivery at district, area, and teaching hospitals.

He pointed out that the state has 11 medical colleges and his government was working to open 16 new medical colleges. All these colleges will have teaching hospitals attached to them and thus we want to strengthen the tertiary care.

Jagan Reddy also mentioned the YSR Aarogyasri Scheme. During the last three years 25 lakh people were treated free of cost in the state.

He pointed out that unlike the Central government’s scheme Ayushman Bharat, which provides insurance coverage for 1,000 procedures, YSR Aarogyasri Scheme covers 2,446 procedures. “We have distributed YSR Aarogyasri cards to 1.44 crore households out of a total 1.53 crore households in the state,” he added.

Modi participates in an event to launch Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity


New Delhi, May 23 Visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday participated in an event in Tokyo to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

The event was also attended by US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as well as the virtual leaders of Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic partnership amongst participating countries with the objective of enhancing resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

On the occasion, a joint statement was issued that highlights the key elements envisaged within the IPEF.

In his comments during the launch ceremony, Modi said that the IPEF is a declaration of a collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth.

“India has historically been at the center of trade flows in the Indo-Pacific region, having the world’s oldest commercial port at Lohtal in Gujarat,” the Prime Minister said.

He further called for finding common and creative solutions to tackle the economic challenges of the Indo-Pacific region.

Expressing India’s commitment to working with all Indo-Pacific countries for an IPEF which is both inclusive and flexible, he further said that the foundation of resilient supply chains must be 3T’s: Trust, Transparency, and Timeliness.

Noting that India is committed to a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region and believes that deepening economic engagement among partners is crucial for continued growth, peace, and prosperity, Modi also said that India is keen to collaborate with partner countries under the IPEF and work towards advancing regional economic connectivity, integration and boosting trade and investment within the region.

With Monday’s launch, partner countries will begin discussions focusing on strengthening economic cooperation and achieving shared goals, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Modi arrived in Tokyo on Monday morning on a two-day visit at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart.

He will participate in the third Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo on Tuesday along with President Biden, Kishida, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Modi and Kishida will also hold a bilateral meeting on Tuesday.