Latest Political Updates

PM in Rajasthan, will offer prayers at Malaseri Dungri

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Malaseri Dungri in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara on Saturday. He will come to Udaipur, from where he will take a helicopter to Malaseri Dungri and will have a darshan of Lord Devnarayan on temple premises.

“Here he will give purnahuti in havan and will plant a neem sapling which will be followed by a public meeting,” said Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Meghwal said that before PM Modi, no Prime Minister ever visited Malaseri Dungri.

Meghwal said that this visit of PM Modi is absolutely religious. The PM has a visionary approach to preserving the religious heritage of major places in the country.

Modi, as per the schedule, will reach Dabok airport at 10.30 a.m., and at 10.35 a.m., he will depart for Malaseri via helicopter. At 11.25 a.m. he will reach Malaseri and he will be here from 11.30 a.m. to 12.55 p.m. He will offer prayers and will address a huge gathering during this phase before leaving for Delhi.

PM Modi exhorts NCC cadets, NSS volunteers to build India for future

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the youth is the beneficiary of a developed India and it has to build the nation further for the future.

Interacting with NCC cadets and National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers on the eve of Republic Day, the Prime Minister said that India’s youth have to tap the unseen possibilities and explore unimagined solutions.

“NCC and NSS connect the young generation with national goals and national concerns,” PM Modi further said, adding the “scope of your success widens when your goals are linked with the goals of the country. The world will see your success as India’s success”.

The Prime Minister also noted the contributions of the NCC and NSS volunteers during the Covid pandemic phase and highlighted the efforts of the government in encouraging such organizations.

Throwing light on the preparations of the government to make the youth ready for the challenges faced by the border and coastal regions of the country, the Prime Minister said that special programs are being run in dozens of districts across the country where special training is imparted with the help of the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

He noted that this exercise will not only make the youth future-ready but also have the capability to act as first responders during the time of need.

Boycott China and stop trade with it: Kejriwal

It is the duty of every Indian to boycott China and all trade with the country should be stopped, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said here on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister was addressing the Republic Day celebrations of the Delhi government.

“Today, when we are celebrating the 74th Republic Day, two things are very important. China has been eyeing our borders for quite some time. Our soldiers are fighting bravely on the border. While the government is duty-bound to support them, it is our duty to boycott China and stop trade with it”, he said.

“But unfortunately, we are continuously increasing our trade and making China richer. With that money, the country is preparing dangerous weapons. We buy commodities like shoes, slippers, spectacles, and mattresses from China. Do we really need to buy these from the country? All these are being manufactured in our country as well. If we increase our production, employment will also increase. Crores of youth will get employment and China will learn a lesson”, Chief Minister Kejriwal stated.

On the ongoing tussle between the AAP government and L-G V.K. Saxena, Kejriwal said that the public is supreme in democracy and the government will do what the public wants. “There is a state where the people’s government has passed laws but one man is stopping them. Should anyone have the right to stop the law of the people, or stop the work of any government? he asked.

“There is a state where the Chief Minister writes to the Governor that the House of the Legislative Assembly has to be called, but the Governor raises questions on this too. Looking at the situation, it seems that a dark shadow is falling over our democracy”, said Kejriwal, adding that democracy is not being followed in some states.

Citing a report, Delhi CM said that the inflation rate is the lowest in Delhi because commodities are the cheapest here. “Electricity water is free. Excellent government school and education in the school is being provided free of cost. Treatment in the hospital is free. Travel for women on pilgrimage and buses are free. That’s why the inflation rate is lowest in Delhi”, he said.

He added that in the last year, GST was imposed on some food items making them expensive. “I hope that the Centre removes the GST on these and give relief to the people groaning under it. GST has been made so complicated that it has left traders worried, Kejriwal said.

Disagree with Digvijaya Singh’s remark on surgical strikes: Rahul

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday categorically rejected party veteran Digvijaya Singh’s remark on the 2019 surgical strikes.

While addressing a press conference here, the Gandhi scion — spearheading the Bharat Jodo Yatra — said that the party completely trusts the Army and there is no need for any proof of it.

“Do not agree with Digvijaya Singh’s statement, we have full trust in our Army if it does something there is no need to give proof. I personally disagree with him and this is also the official position of the party”, he said.

Congress, on Monday, had distanced itself from Singh’s comments on Pulwama, including on the surgical strikes, terming his statement “personal”.

“The views expressed by senior leader Digvijaya Singh are his own and do not reflect the position of Congress. Surgical strikes were carried out before 2014 by the UPA government. Congress has supported & will continue to support all military actions that are in the national interest,” Congres General Secretary, in charge of communication, Jairam Ramesh said.

Digvijaya Singh, during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, targeted the Union government, alleging that it gave no proof of surgical strikes though it claimed to have killed many terrorists.

‘Delusions of British imperial Resurrection’, retired judges, bureaucrats on BBC documentary on PM

A group of retired judges, bureaucrats and armed forces veterans on Saturday released a statement rebutting the BBC documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘delusions of British Imperial resurrection’.

“Not this time. Not with our leader. Not with India. Never on our watch!” read the letter.

“Yet again, the staple, dyed-in-the-wool negativity and unrelenting prejudice of the BBC toward India have resurfaced as a documentary, ‘India: The Modi Question’. This production, the BBC claims, has been ‘rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards’, and ‘examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores the politics of India’s PM Narendra Modi in relation to those tensions’ and a series of controversial policies implemented by him’,” it said.

“So now we have the archetype of British past imperialism in India setting itself up as both judge and jury, to resurrect Hindu-Muslim tensions that were overwhelmingly the creation of the British Raj policy of divide and rule. Not only is the BBC series, judging from what we have seen of it so far, based on delusional and evidently lopsided reporting, it presumes to question the very basis of the 75-year-old edifice of India’s existence as an independent, democratic nation, a nation which functions according to the will of the people of India. Glaring factual errors apart, the series – which uses the words ‘allegedly’ and ‘reportedly’ repeatedly, (not ‘factually’) – reeks of motivated distortion that is as mind-numbingly unsubstantiated as it is nefarious,” it added.

A total of 302 eminent citizens signed the letter, including 13 retired judges, 133 retired bureaucrats and 156 retired armed forces personnel.

The signatories include names like former Foreign Secretary Shashank, former Home Secretary L.C. Goyal, ex-RAW chief Sanjeev Tripathi, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, O.P. Singh, among others.

They also said that the Supreme Court had upheld the closure report filed by the top court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) after years of painstaking investigation into the Gujarat riots.

“So now we have a British media organization, the media, which naturally thrives on sensationalism regardless of how false its basis, setting itself up to second guess and dismiss the verdict of the apex of the Indian judiciary, the Supreme Court. This alone exposes the BBC’s malafides, and leads one to question the motivations behind this series,” said the letter.

“Instead of making a documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’, the BBC should begin by questioning its own bias against Prime Minister Modi (yes, their own too) and make a documentary called ‘BBC: The Ethical Question’,” the letter said.

The letter also urged people to sign the petition.

“Join us by signing this petition in the fight against BBC’s series. We start it here and we end it here by demonstrating, through our overwhelming ‘Satyagraha’, our true might: our patriotism,” the letter concluded.

Ruling BJP all set to emulate Gujarat model of bucking anti-incumbency

With the Assembly elections in Karnataka drawing nearer, the ruling BJP is leaving no stone unturned in its preparations.

The party, aiming to retain power at any cost, has launched campaigning meticulously on the ground as well as virtual platforms on lines of Gujarat.

The Gujarat model of reaching out to the common voter physically as well as on digital platforms yielded good results in the state and is now being implemented in Karnataka.

Political analysts explained that the ruling BJP has already started aggressive campaigning in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the state twice, and former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has stated that Prime Minister Modi will arrive in Shivamogga to inaugurate the airport in February.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has visited Mandya, considered the bastion of JD-S, and sounded poll bugle. The party insiders say that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will also start campaigning in the state soon.

BJP MP Saadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur had paid a visit to slain Bajrang Dal activist Harsha’s house and addressing a public rally, she issued a controversial statement while talking about the protection of Hindu girls and women.

Apart from roping in national mass leaders, the party is making meticulous planning toward reaching out to every voter. Kota Srinivas Poojari, the minister for Social Welfare has said that the BJP has formed 51,872 booth committees, while 13,21,792 ‘Page Pramukhs’ are being appointed.

“We have created 50,260 WhatsApp groups and the party flags have been hoisted on 32.83 lakh houses in the state. The drive was conducted with the 15,93,848 party workers,” Poojari elaborated.

BJP State General Secretary Mahesh Tenginakayi has said that Home Minister Amit Shah has laid out plans at the booth level to ensure the party’s victory. “We have a mission to win 150 seats. We will achieve it. Along with establishing contacts by reaching to the doorsteps, plans are being made to touch the hearts of people,” he asserted.

N.R. Ramesh, BJP Bengaluru South President, explained that the party is different from other national and regional parties. “Our organization is different,” he said.

“There are 58,000 booths in Karnataka and 8,600 booths in Bengaluru. The party has a 12-member team for every booth. These members will have a WhatsApp group of voters. The policies and programs of Prime Minister Modi, achievements of former Chief Minister Yediyurappa, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai would be communicated to them,” he said.

All booths in Bengaluru, including 550 booths where Muslims are in majority, are being covered. In the entire state, in 58,000 booths, the booth committees are made for 54,000 booths, Ramesh added.

Apart from this, ‘Page Pramukhs’ are appointed on the basis of the voters’ lists. BJP voters will be identified and page pramukhs are asked to contact eight to 12 houses about 40 to 50 times. They will communicate to voters about the government’s programs and help them to get benefits of Union and state governments’ programs, he said.

The ‘Page Pramukh’ drive was conducted from January 2 to January 12.

When asked about the anti-incumbency factor, Ramesh Said that people very well know about “how false and fake cases are lodged on BJP workers, how internal security was challenged, how cases were withdrawn on terror suspects and how Tipu Jayanthi was trusted on Muslim community”.

Under Kisan Samman Yojna, which was launched in 2016, only 17 beneficiaries were added when the Congress and JD-S coalition government was in power. After Yediyurappa took over, the number of beneficiaries rose to 10,000. Now, the 44 lakh farmers in the state are beneficiaries under the scheme, he claimed.

“People have observed the statements by Congress leaders regarding the cooker bomb blast case in Mangaluru and Rahul Gandhi’s statements about demonetization. There is no question of anti-incumbency,” Ramesh asserted.

BJP all set for 9-day Vijaya Sankalp Abhiyan in K’taka; Nadda to inaugurate

Ahead of the assembly polls, the ruling BJP is gearing up for the nine-day Vijaya Sankalp Abhiyan in Karnataka which will be inaugurated by BJP President J.P. Nadda on Saturday in Sidhagi of Vijayapura in the state.

Sindhagi is decked up for the mega event and BJP wants to kick-start campaigning in the north Karnataka region, considered as a strong BJP hold. More than one lakh people are expected to attend the programme.

The Vijay Sankalp Abhiyan will be carried out from January 21 to January 29. The state leaders will also inaugurate the abhiyan at various locations across the state.

Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will take part in the inauguration program at Sindhagi. Karnataka BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel will kick off the campaign in Bengaluru, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Tumakuru, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mine and Coal Pralhad Joshi in Davanagere, BJP Karnataka In-Change Arun Singh in Chikkaballapur.

The ministers and MPs of Karnataka will inaugurate the campaign in their respective districts. The BJP workers would reach out to the voters with achievements, policies, and programs of the BJP.

The party plans to establish contact with more than 1 crore beneficiaries of various programs of the ruling BJP government.

Three crore stickers will be distributed to be pasted on vehicles. The stickers will have info-graphics of BJP’s signature programs such as ‘Kisan Samman’, and ‘Mudra’. The party has also planned a missed call campaign and registered more than 1 crore members.

Centre pumps budgetary allocation for northeastern states

The Indian government has made the development of the northeast a major priority. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the northeast Region more than 50 times in the last eight years, while various other ministers have also visited the region over 400 times.

The government has approved schemes of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) with an outlay of Rs 12,882.2 crore for the balance period of the 15th Finance Commission (2022-23 to 2025-26).

According to a press statement issued by the ministry, there has been a 74 percent reduction in insurgency incidents, a 60 percent reduction in incidents of attacks on security forces, and an 89 percent reduction in civilian deaths in the northeast. About 8,000 youth have surrendered and joined the mainstream, ushering in a better future for themselves and their families.

The actual expenditure in the last four years under MDoNER schemes was Rs 7,534.46 crore, whereas the funds available for expenditure in the next four years till 2025-26 is Rs 19,482.20 crore (2.60 times approx).

Massive efforts have been undertaken for infrastructure development in the region with improving connectivity being a prime focus.

For improving railway connectivity, Rs 51,019 crore has been spent since 2014. Nineteen new projects worth Rs 77,930 crore have also been sanctioned. For railways, in comparison to the average annual budget allocation of Rs 2,122 crore during 2009-14, in the past eight years, there has been a 370 percent increase in average annual budget allocation totaling Rs 9,970 crore.

For improving road connectivity, 375 projects worth Rs 1.05 lakh crore are underway. In the next three years, 9,476 km of roads will be laid under 209 projects. For this, the Central government is spending Rs 106,004 crore.

Air connectivity has also improved massively in the northeast. In 68 years, the northeast had only nine airports, which jumped to 17 in a short span of the past eight years.

Today, air traffic movement in the northeast has increased by 113 percent since 2014 (weekly basis). To further give a boost to air connectivity, Rs 2,000 crore will be invested in civil aviation in the northeast region.

For improving telecom connectivity, the Cabinet has also approved 4G connectivity in 4,525 villages in the northeast region. The Central government has set a target of 500 days to provide complete telecom connectivity in the region by the end of 2023.

Waterways are integral to the life and culture of the northeast. The Indian government is undertaking all efforts to develop this important sector in the northeast region. Before 2014, there was only one national waterway in the region. Now 20 waterways are declared as national waterways in the northeast. Recently, around Rs 600 crore was sanctioned for the development of national waterway 2 and national waterway 16.

Approximately Rs 190 crore has been spent towards enhancing skill development infrastructure in the region, along with the upgradation of existing government ITIs into model ITIs between 2014 and 2021.

A total of 193 new skill development institutes have been set up. Rs 81.83 crore has been spent as expenditure towards skilling. A total of 16,05,801 people have been killed under various schemes.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) have been promoted under various schemes to boost entrepreneurship development. Rs 645.07 crore has been spent to support/ set up 978 units.

Improving health infrastructure has remained a key focus over the last eight years. The government has spent Rs 31,793.86 crore since 2014-15 in the health sector.
Around 19 state cancer institutes and 20 tertiary care cancer centers have been approved under the strengthening of the tertiary care of cancer scheme.

Over the last eight years, efforts have also been carried out for improving the education infrastructure in the region. From 2014 till now, the government has spent Rs 14,009 crore to promote higher education in the northeast.

As many as 191 new institutes of higher education have been set up. There has been a 39 percent increase in the number of universities set up since 2014. As a result, there has been a 29 percent increase in total student enrolment in higher education.

Power infrastructure has been strengthened to fuel development in the region. Since 2014-15, the government has sanctioned Rs 37,092 crore, out of which Rs 10,003 crore has been spent so far.

The North East Gas Grid (NEGG) project worth Rs 9,265 crore is underway, which will improve the economy in the northeast region.

Reach out to people, hold gatherings at every district: PM Modi

On the concluding day of the two-day national executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the party workers and leaders to strengthen the BJP by reaching out to people and holding gatherings in every district.

With as many as nine states going to the polls this year, the Prime Minister gave valuable tips to the representatives of those states who were present at the national executive meeting.

Addressing a press conference, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, said, “The Prime Minister called upon the party workers to bring the marginalized and backward sections of the society into the mainstream.”

While delivering his speech, the Prime Minister said that India’s best time is approaching and the BJP workers should work hard to make the most of it, Fadnavis said.

Saying that there are only 400 days left for the general elections in 2024, the Prime Minister asked the party workers to tell people the difference between good governance and bad governance, to make the youth of the country aware, among others, Fadnavis informed.

The Prime Minister said that people should know how the BJP government ended the malpractices and corruption that were common during the tenures of previous governments.

The Prime Minister also said that he never considers the opposition as weak, but everyone should play their part.

Modi said that the BJP has now transformed into a social movement, and not just a political movement, as he asked the party leaders across the country to strengthen the BJP by reaching out to the people.

The Prime Minister also urged all BJP fronts to increase their activities in the border villages.

Nadda to continue as BJP President till June 2024

BJP President J.P. Nadda’s tenure, set to end this month, had been extended till June 2024 in view of the upcoming Assembly elections this year and the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Informing about the decision taken in the BJP National Executive meeting, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh proposed to extend the presidential term of Nadda till June 2024, which was approved.

Citing the BJP’s victory in elections and organizational expansion under the leadership of JP Nadda, Shah said that BJP is the biggest democratic party. He further said that due to the pandemic, the membership drive could not be held, and nor could the organizational elections, and due to this, it was decided to extend Nadda’s tenure.

Shah claimed that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chairmanship of Nadda, the 2024 Lok Sabha elections would see the BJP win even bigger than in 2019.

India has shown growth and resilience amid global headwinds: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that India has shown growth and resilience amid global headwinds, as he urged the public and private sectors to seize opportunities arising as a result of the emerging global environment and to think out of the box.

Modi said this during his interaction with economists prior to the forthcoming Union Budget to be presented on February 1.

Recognizing that the underlying global headwinds are likely to continue, strategic recommendations were also made by the economists for further strengthening India’s economic resilience, sources aware of the developments said.

Modi noted that while there are risks, the emerging global environment offers new and diverse opportunities in areas such as digitization, energy, healthcare, and agriculture, among others.

To seize these opportunities, public and private sectors need to leverage synergies and think out of the box, he emphasized during the meeting, official sources said.

Participants at the meeting offered practical measures on ways in which India could prudently sustain its development momentum.

Ideas and suggestions were shared with the Prime Minister on diverse topics, ranging from agriculture to manufacturing.

Sources said that Modi applauded the success of the India Digital story and the rapid adoption of fintech across the country as well as the potential for inclusive growth and development it promises.

The Prime Minister underscored Nari Shakti as a key driver of India’s growth and urged her to continue making efforts to further enable and boost women’s participation in the workforce.

In the ongoing International Year of Millets, Modi highlighted the need to promote millets in view of their potential to transform the rural and agricultural sectors, with their attributes such as being carbon neutral, conducive to natural farming, and an affordable source of nutrition.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery, Principal Secretary to PM P.K. Mishra, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Chief Economic Advisor V. Anantha Nageswaran were present at the meeting, along with Niti Aayog members and CEO Parameswaran Iyer.

Himachal CM allocates portfolios to cabinet ministers

Three days after the Cabinet expansion, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu distributed departments among his Ministers.

While Sukhu has kept Finance, Home, General Administration, Planning, Personnel and other departments, the departments of Industries and Public Works have been allocated to six-time MLA Harshwardhan Chauhan and two-time MLA Vikramaditya Singh, respectively.

Jal Shakti, Transport and Language, Art and Culture are already with Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri.

The most elderly legislator Dhani Ram Shandil was allocated Health and Family Welfare, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Labour and Employment, while Chander Kumar was given Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Jagat Singh Negi was allocated Revenue, Horticulture, and Tribal Development, Rohit Thakur was given Higher Education, Elementary Education, and Technical Education and Anirudh Singh got Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

Andhra releases Rs 395 crore towards interest-free loans for traders

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday released Rs 395 crore under Jagananna Thodu for interest-free loans.

Under this scheme, Rs 10,000 each would be given to 3.95 lakh small-time traders and artisans to make them self-sufficient.

The Chief Minister also released Rs 15.17 crore towards reimbursement of interest to benefit 13.28 lakh beneficiaries who have repaid loans promptly in the last six months.

In his remarks at the release program at his official residence, he said: “Beneficiaries of the scheme, besides becoming part and parcel of the self-employed community are also helping the society indirectly in a great way.”

Jagan Mohan Reddy stated that it is a matter of pride for the state that it has sanctioned Rs 2,406 crore in interest-free loans to 15,31,347 beneficiaries. As many as 8,74,745 traders and artisans have promptly repaid their loans and have become an inseparable part of the scheme.

“This indicates a good change in the society,” he observed.

The CM reiterated that eligible people who could not avail of the scheme for various reasons in the past could still apply through village and ward secretariats and such people would be included in the scheme at the end of the social audit every six months.

Stating the reason behind the government’s push, he said that he had seen the hardships of several artisans and traders during his Praja Sankalpa Yatra and had decided back then that he would end their woes by introducing the Jagananna Thodu and assisting them in every possible manner.

“With today’s disbursal that benefits 28,000 new traders and artisans, the government has so far reimbursed Rs.63.65 crore as interest alone while the total loan amount sanctioned has benefitted 15.31 lakh people of which 80 percent belong to SC, ST, BC, and minority communities,” he said.

Vendors who sell fruits, vegetables, and foodstuffs on push carts, people running roadside tiffin centers, and others selling products in baskets and vending products on motorcycles and auto rickshaws besides Bobbili veena makers, artisans involved in brass work, Kondapalli and Etikoppaka toy makers, puppet, Kalankari and lace makers are among the beneficiaries.

Sasikala urges DMK govt to buy sugarcane of all sizes for Pongal hampers

AIADMK former interim general secretary and close aide of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, V.K. Sasikala has urged the Tamil Nadu government to buy Sugarcane of all sizes for the Pongal gift hampers.

She said that the state government had put the size of sugarcane to be bought in for Pongal gift hampers at 6 feet which were not feasible.

Sasikala said that the size of the sugarcane is based on the soil from where it was grown and that it was not in the hands of the farmers. The former AIADMK general secretary said that the government must not stick to fixing the size of sugarcane and buy sugarcane of all sizes from the farmers. It is to be noted that the state government was buying sugarcane from farmers at a rate of Rs 33 per piece.

In a statement on Tuesday, the former interim general secretary of the AIADMK said that the DMK government was stalling all the pro-people projects initiated by the previous AIADMK governments of MGR and J. Jayalalithaa.

She also charged that the DMK men were indulging in rowdyism and that this was not acceptable. The former aide of Jayalalithaa said that during the regime of Jayalalithaa, the government had taken stern action even if AIADMK men were involved in any malpractices.

Sasikala alleged that “if people don’t pay ‘hafta’ or protection money to the DMK men, no activities, including construction is not allowed”.

She called upon the state government to be more people-friendly and said that the government must take stringent action against anyone who was indulging in violence.

The day NTR became CM was historic for Telugus: Chandrababu

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president Nara Chandrababu Naidu said on Monday the day party founder N.T. Rama Rao formed the first TDP government in united Andhra Pradesh was a historic one for the Telugus across the globe.

On the occasion of the TDP completing 40 years of forming the government, the former chief minister and TDP national president stated that revolutionary changes came in the lives of the Telugu people both economically and politically only after Rama Rao formed the TDP government.

He noted that the journey of the lives of the Telugu people is now being viewed as before and after the TDP formation.

He recalled that Rama Rao, who personally witnessed the ruthless political situation in the state and the untold hardships that the people were facing, floated the TDP only to ensure a poverty-free society.

It was on January 9, 1983, that NTR, as the legendary actor was popularly known, took oath as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He created a record by coming to power within nine months after floating the TDP on the slogan of Telugu self-respect. This brought to an end the single-party rule of Congress in the state.

“Exactly, this was the day 40 years ago the late NTR took oath as the chief minister to bring in radical changes in the lives of the poor,” Naidu said.

The entire credit goes only to TDP for introducing revolutionary changes in society by bringing in welfare schemes like the Rs 2-a-kg rice scheme, single Window system, doing away with the Patel, patwari system, rights for women in property, pucca houses for the poor and old age pensions besides distribution of janatha clothes, Chandrababu recalled.

It is the TDP that established separate educational institutions for women like Padmavathi University and created reservations for women in education and employment, the TDP supremo observed.

The Backward Classes (BCs), who form 50 percent of the population, could progress in politics only with the encouragement given by the TDP, Chandrababu Naidu said, adding that even a separate quota was extended to BCs in the administration and local bodies only by the TDP.

The quota for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) was increased and a separate welfare corporation for minorities was created by the TDP to ensure that they progress well both economically and socially, the TDP supremo maintained.

Better education facilities were created for the downtrodden sections of society by setting up more engineering colleges, schools, and other educational institutions and it is the TDP that brought radical changes in the lifestyle of the BCs, SCs, STs, and other sections, he stated.

“While NTR tried to uphold the dignity and self-respect among the Telugus, I tried my best to increase the self-confidence among them,” said Naidu, the son-in-law of NTR.

Observing that he introduced several reforms after he took charge as the chief minister of the state, Chandrababu said that the administration was brought closer to the people.

Since the credit of introducing reforms in information technology (IT), pharma sectors completely go to the TDP following which Telugu are now holding top positions in the world in both sectors.

Naidu became chief minister in 1995 after leading a revolt against NTR a few months after the latter led TDP back to power with a record majority. NTR’s children also supported Naidu as they were unhappy with the alleged attempts by his second wife Lakshmi Parvathi to take control of the party and the administration.

The TDP founder died of cardiac arrest on January 18, 1996, at the age of 72.

Naidu, who led TDP to power again in 1999, remained the chief minister till 2004. After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, he formed the first TDP government in the residuary state.

Bharat Jodo Yatra resumes from Delhi, to enter UP today

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra resumed in Delhi on Tuesday after a nine-day break for Christmas and New Year.

The Yatra resumed from Yamuna Bazaar and will enter Uttar Pradesh at Loni Border in the afternoon.

Rahul Gandhi along with senior leader Ambika Soni reached the venue of the march where scores of Congress workers and leaders were assembled.

From Uttar Pradesh, where the Yatra is for three days, it will re-enter Haryana on January 6. The Yatra will be in Punjab from January 11 to 20 and spend a day in Himachal Pradesh on January 19. The Yatra will then enter Jammu and Kashmir on the evening of January 20.

“The message of Bharat Jodo is not limited only to the 12 states and two Union Territories through which the Yatra passes. Several state-level Yatras have already been announced, and the upcoming ‘Haath se Haath Jodo Abhiyan’ will take the message of Bharat Jodo to the doorstep of every Indian,” Jairam Ramesh, a party spokesperson said.

K’taka BJP slams Siddaramaiah over comment against Amit Shah

Karnataka’s BJP unit on Saturday slammed opposition leader Siddaramaiah’s comment that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a “political businessman who has put up the Chief Minister’s post for sale for Rs 2,000 crore”, saying that no post is for sale in the saffron party.

Taking to social media a day after his remark, the party’s state unit said that “if lies are told a hundred times, it will not become the truth. You have put tickets (for elections) for sale for candidates. It is natural for you to imagine”.

“The CAG report maintains that for Rs 35,000 crore money that has been spent during the tenure of your government there are no accounts. Siddaramaiah has not bothered to answer this to date.

“Your (Siddaramaiah) courage must be appreciated. You disappeared when the PMO asked for evidence for your charges. You ducked the directions from the court to submit evidence.

“You have swallowed Rs 68.8 crores in the name of modernization of police forces. You are disturbed by the visit of Amit Shah and again playing the same tune and making commission allegations. Mr. Siddaramaiah you can’t fool people,” the party noted.

The BJP went on to say that “your government released Rs 1,43,341 crore for filling up lakes with water in the state. No work was taken up till the end of the tenure of the Congress government”.

“In the name of this project, your colleagues’ pockets were filled with money. Finally, the lakes were filled by the rain… Your government was overthrown by the people for rampant corruption. 7,785 hectares of forests were given away for mining to his own people,” it added

PM to attend Bengal programmes via video conferencing

In the wake of the demise of his mother Heeraben Modi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Friday’s scheduled programs in West Bengal via video conferencing. This was announced through his official Twitter handle.

The Prime Minister rushed to Ahmedabad early in the morning after his mother passed away at the U.N. Mehta Hospital where she had been admitted since Wednesday.

He was scheduled to visit West Bengal on Friday for a day-long visit.

The programs include the launch of key connectivity-related projects and the meeting of the National Ganga Council.

“It is always special to be among the people of West Bengal. Tomorrow, 30th December is an important day for the growth trajectory of the state. Development works over Rs 7,800 crore would either be inaugurated or their foundation stones would be laid.” Modi tweeted on Thursday.

Stampede in Chandrababu Naidu’s Andhra roadshow, police register case

Police in Andhra Pradesh’s Kundukur town registered a case in connection with the death of eight persons in a stampede during Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s roadshow on Wednesday night.

Eight persons, including two women, died and five others were injured when they fell into a drain due to a stampede during the former chief minister’s roadshow in the town of Nellore district.

Kundukur police registered a case under section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and took up an investigation.

Meanwhile, the authorities handed over the bodies of the deceased to their relatives after an autopsy at the Kandukur Area Hospital on Thursday morning. Arrangements were being made to send bodies to their respective villages.

The opposition TDP has announced that it will make arrangements for the funeral of the deceased. Chandrababu Naidu asked his party leaders and cadres to participate in the last rites.

The TDP has blamed inadequate security by police for the incident. Local TDP leaders said they had informed police that a large number of people were expected for the roadshow but they failed to make proper arrangements.

One of the leaders said unauthorized construction over the drain also caused the mishap. With no parking place, some people had parked their two-wheelers near the drain. When the TDP leader arrived, people surged forward to catch his glimpse and fell on each other and some people fell into the drain.

The deceased were identified as E. Rajeswari (48), Chinna Kondaia (55), Kakumani Raja (50), K. Yanadi (55), Devineni Ravindra (73), G. Madhubabu (44), Y. Vijay (45) and Purshottam (70).

Chandrababu Naidu, on Wednesday, announced Rs 10 lakh each as ex gratia to the kin of those who died in the stampede.

Expressing deep regret at the loss of lives, Chandrababu Naidu said that those who died are the family members of the TDP and it is a great loss to the party. “It is really a great agony that the family members of the TDP who fought for the interest of the state, who attended the party public meeting here have lost their valuable lives,” Naidu said.

Promising that he will stand by the family members of those who died in the incident, Chandrababu said that he will not only pay the ex gratia to the family members but also will help with the education of their children. He also ordered the party activists to stay back in Kandukur till the last rites of the dead are complete.

The president of the state unit of the TDP, Atchen Naidu, also said that the death of seven persons at the public meeting of Chandrababu is a great tragedy and the party will stand by the family members of the deceased.

PM announces relief for victims of Andhra stampede

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from the PM Relief Fund (PMNRF) to the kin of the seven people who died after falling in a drainage canal in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district during former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s roadshow.

“Pained by the mishap at a public meeting in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased and the injured would be given Rs 50,000,” Modi tweeted on Thursday.

During the incident on Wednesday in Kandukur town which took place soon after the TDP chief arrived to address the roadshow, eight people were also injured.

After the tragedy, Naidu immediately canceled the meeting and announced Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased.