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Jogi’s party allotted election symbol by ECI


By Sahar Khan

Raipur. Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi gets an election symbol for his regional outfit ‘Janta Congress Chhattisgarh  (J)’, allotted by the Election Commission of India on Monday.

The ECI has allotted symbol “Farmer ploughing within square” as the party symbol for the candidates of Ajit Jogi’s party who will contest the forthcoming Assembly elections due later this year.

The symbol was allotted under the provision of para 10B of the Election Symbols (reservation and Allotment) Order 1968. The returning officers have been directed to allot the given symbol to the candidates declared by the Jogi’s party, which has been cited un-recognised political party category subject to the fulfilment of the provision of para 13 of the Election Symbols (Reservations and Allotment) order 1968.  .

Mumbai, Thane woke up to heavy rainfall, normal life disrupted

By Sahar Khan 
Monday was yet another day of heavy downpour with most places witnessing water logging and streets flooded. Not just the road traffic was hit owing to poor visibility, the train services too were affected with most moving at slow pace.
The trains were reportedly running late owing to submerged rail track in various areas. Across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that covers around 296 sq km area, an interesting social media message below has gone viral:
Badal Garaj, Uber Surge, Lonaval Urge, Mumbai Submerge, Water Splurge, Gutter Purge, But BHAILOG — lets work…..it’s our far wanna Kaun Bharega Karz!!!
In Thane the water poured on the stairs of foot over bridge like a stream of river (SEE VIDEO). The schools and colleges across the MMR were closed today. Thankfully despite initial warning of high tide there is some respite expected in Mumbai, which has seen the highest rainfall of the season so far in previous 24 hours, according to the India Meteorological Department, Mumbai.

“Women not safe in Congress”: BJP Mahila Morcha


By Sahar Khan

RAIPUR: Taking a cue from the sexual harassment allegation agains the Congress student wing NSUI national president, the BJP Mahila Morcha in a hard hitting remark stated that the women are not safe in Congress Party.

“In Congress there is culture where women were being burnt and such incidents like sexual exploitation happen. Congress president Rahul Gandhi should at least say something on this”, the Mahila Morcha chief Vijaya Rahatkar said while taking to the media person on her three-day visit to Chhattisgarh on Wednesday.

She found the vicious troll against the union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj as “unacceptable” but appeared hesitant to criticise the bitter and ungraceful troll on the union minister. “No one should be trolled badly. Our senior leader Sushma ji has been doing great work and she remains widely respected”, Rahatkar said.

She refuse to admit that the nation is witnessing inflation and increase in price. Though she eulogised the BJP’s welfare measures for the women, she also was very much on guard to suggest if the BJP is going to give one-third representation to the women in the party’s ticket distribution in the poll-bound Chhattisgrh. “We will try whatever best to get the women their share.”

Four Jashpur students among top ten, thanks to ‘Sankalp’ project funded by DMF




Raipur: While girls once again outshining the boys in the board exams of Class X and Class XII, the results of which were declared today, the captivating outcome actually came from backward tribal heartland of Jashpur, about 320 km north east of Raipur, where four students figured among top ten.

They all were the product of ‘Sankalp’ – a coaching institute being run and supported by the District Mineral Fund.

The results of the exams conducted by the Chhattisgarh Board of Secondary Education (CGBSE) was declared by the school education minister Kedar Kashyap who also complimented the board officials for swiftly bringing out the results of both on the same day.

The pass percentage of Class 10 is 68.04 % and that of Class 12 remained 77 %.

68.40% girls passed out against the 66 % boys in Class 10 and for Class 12, 79.40 % girls and 74.45 % of boys were through this year. Over 6 lakh 71 thousand students appeared in both the Board exams.

Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh impressed with the performance of the topper from Jashpur, Yagyesh Singh Chouhan who scored 98.33 %, congratulated him over phone and wished him a successful career in life.

“It’s indeed a proud moment for us”, the Jashpur district collector Priyanka Shukla said.

The four students from Jashpur who are among the top ten included Yagyesh Chouhan (First), Maheswari Sai (Fourth), Prakash Kashyp (Seventh) and Adarsh Kr Mahto (Eight). The topper in Class XII is Shiv Kumar Pandey who secured 98.40 % from Baloda bazar district.

The results can be accessed on the official website www.cgbse.nic.in or www.cgbse.net.

Media fraternity “shocked” over hooliganism at Navbharat press



RAIPUR: The media fraternity in Chhattisgarh capital stood united against the alleged troublemakers, reportedly associated with an organisation, who claimed they had gone to the Hindi daily Navbharat press to give a press release on Saturday.

In a show of solidarity the Raipur press club too expressed strong resentment against the incident and demanded security for the press and the journalists from the state government.

“We are deeply concerned over the attacks on the media and the journalists in Chhattisgarh. The media fraternity is upset and shocked to see the manhandling, mischievous-villainous acts committed in the office premises of one newspaper”, the statement issued by the press club stated.

Viswadini Pandey, who was expelled from the BJP previous year, had raised objectionable comments and charges against a senior editor on the social media, which drew strong reactions from the journalists in the capital. Pandey, who according to the sources is a lawyer, has posted a ragged press release of Hindu Swabhiman Sangathan on the social media in an attempt to garner support against the media house.

Construction worker turned ganja trader’s Rs.40 lakh income claim does him in


Bengaluru. In 2015-16, Ranga Rachappa filed his income tax and showed an annual income of Rs.40 lakh.

 While scrutinising his income, the income tax officials found that he had not declared the source of his income and asked the police to keep a track of him.

Two years later, on Monday Bangaluru police arrested Rachappa after seizing 30 kg ganja and Rs.5 lakh cash from him following a raid on his house in the city. Police said that Rachappa, a former construction labourer, sold over 30 kg ganja in a month at the rate of Rs.35,000 per kg. His clients mainly comprised college students and professionals working in private companies. The police, which also arrested an accomplice of Racchapa, are probing if the racket involves more people.

According to police, Rachappa, who has studied up to class 10, came to Bangaluru from Pushpapura village in Chamrajnagar district of Karnataka in 2011 to work in building construction sites. However, when someone offered him a business deal of getting ganja from his native village and supply it to customers in Bengaluru, he jumped at it.

In a matter of months, his “business” became exceptionally profitable, he told the police. In 2013, he chucked up his job at a construction site to fully concentrate on his ganja racket. He employed few youngsters to expand the supply network.   

With the new found wealth, he rented a villa in the city at the rate of Rs.40,000 per month and purchased a car. He also purchased properties in Pushpapura. On the advice of his lawyer, Rachappa registered himself as a class I contractor with some government departments to camouflage his drug business.

IT officials got suspicious of his Rs.40 lakh annual income showed in his IT return as he had not mentioned about any income from any sources including contract works.  

Oxfam survey: 1% richest Indians hold 73% of the nation’s wealth


New Delhi. The richest 1% of India cornered a whopping 73% of the total wealth generated in 2017 in the country, a survey by international rights group Oxfam said. This is much higher than the rights group’s survey last year that had revealed that 1% of India’s richest had 58% of its total wealth.

Globally the situation seems to be grimmer with 1% richest holding 82% of the wealth generated across the world, the survey said.

According to the Oxfam survey, last year the richest 1% Indians’ wealth increased by Rs.20.9 lakh crore – equivalent to the total budget of the Indian government in 2017-18.

On the other end of the spectrum, the wealth of the poorest Indians numbering 67 crore rose just by 1%, the survey said, indicating the deepening economical inequality in the country.

The report said that India added 17 new rich persons to the list of billionaires in 2017. The list now has 101 billionaires. This year, the Indian billionaires’ wealth rose by Rs.4.89 lakh crore – enough to fund 85% of the health and education budgets of all states in the country.

Economic experts say that the growth in number of billionaire is not a good sign of the economy as a whole. On the other hand, it is a sign of an economy failing the common people.

Oxfam’s report titled “Reward Work, Not Wealth” reveals the worldwide trend of concentration of wealth and natural resources in fewer hands while billions of poor people struggle to make ends meet. “(The year) 2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days.

Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13% a year since 2010 – six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2%,” said the report, a result of surveys of 120,000 people in 10 countries globally.

The annual survey about economic inequality in the world by Oxfam is hotly debated at the World Economic Forum’s meet at Davos every year.

Padmaavat still faces opposition despite SC order for its release



Patna. While the Supreme Court on Thursday imposed a stay order on the ban on the release of controversial movie Padmaavat by four BJP ruled states, members of Shree Rajput Karni Sena vandalised a cinema hall in Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

Protesting against the film’s release, the Karni Sena members destroyed properties at the cinema hall by throwing stones and tearing down posters.

“Yeh sirf trailer hai, pura picture baki hai (this is only a trailer, the full picture remains to be seen),” a group of around 40 Karni Sena members shouted after vandalising the theatre.

Padmaavat, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukene, is scheduled to be released on January 25 across the country. Despite the order of the Supreme Court order, which has also restrained other states from banning the film, cinema hall owners have become apprehensive about the security of their properties and movie goers due to the upper caste fringe group’s protest for the past few months.

Padmaavat – earlier named Padmavati – ran into obstacles since it was announced by Bhansali a couple of years back. Karni Sena alleged that his film showed the imaginary Rajput queen, Padmavati, in bad light. A group of the feudal outfit members also ransacked his set and assaulted him when he was shooting in Rajasthan.

Protests did not die down even after the film was ready for release. Supported by the BJP and other RSS affiliates, Karni Sena held demonstrations against the film across the country amidst assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Buckling under pressure, the producers of the film first postponed the release from December last year to January 25. They also changed the name of the film from ‘Padmavati’ to ‘Padmaavat’. However, it did not satisfy Karni Sena and Hindutva fringe groups.

Though the film got clearance from the censor board, four BJP ruled states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat banned its release in their respective states.

The producers moved to the Supreme Court against the ban and succeeded in getting a court order for the release of the film across the country. However, threats against the film continue from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Some Rajput women from Rajasthan have threatened to commit mass self-immolation while some Hindutva fringe elements have threatened to burn down cinema halls across states.

Attacking Modi, actor Prakash Raj says the PM is not a Hindu 


Hyderabad. Actor Prakash Raj on Thursday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged silence over recent attacks on minorities, Dalits, artistes and critics in the name of religion and nationalism.

“They (BJP leaders) call me anti-Hindu. I am not anti-Hindu, I am anti-Modi, anti-Shah (Amit Shah), anti-Hegde (Union minister from Karnataka Anantkumar Hegde).
They are not Hindus. A person who supports killings is not Hindus,”

Raj said while speaking at the India Today South Conclave in Hyderabad.
Raj, a national award winner, was on a panel discussion on censorship along with Tamil actor Vishal, director Sashidharan, whose Malayalam film Sexy Durga faced the ire of Hindutva groups, and writer Kancha Illaiah.

The national award winner, who has acted in numerous Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi films, said that some people celebrated the murder of Bangalore based journalist Gauri Lankesh and the same people were followed by Modi in social media.

“He (Modi) is my Prime Minister, whether I have voted for him or not. Why my Prime Minister is not saying do not celebrate. His silence…he may think it is silence, but it speaks… A true Hindu will not support such activities,” Raj said.

Raj said that the Prime Minister should speak against these people (celebrating Lankesh’s murder) and must reprimand his minister (Hegde) for saying that they would change the Constitution and a religion should be wiped out from the earth.

“This is not Hinduism. If my Prime Minister does not ask his minister to shut up, then I am asking my Prime Minister: you are also not a Hindu. The person who supports killing cannot be a Hindu,” the actor said.

Hegde had created a stir recently by saying that the BJP had come to power to change the Constitution and a religion should be wiped out.

Referring to the controversy relating to the release of Padmavaat, Raj said that the four BJP ruled states that imposed ban on the film on law and order grounds had no right to stay in the government. If they did not quit, people should vote them out of power, he said.

He also backed Sasidharan on the controversy relating to naming his film Sexy Durga. “This film is not about Hinduism or Hindutva. But still they (fringe elements) insist it is about Hinduism,” he said.

As India stares at a farm crisis, will Modi government tide over it?


New Delhi. On Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with over a hundred economists to discuss about the present crisis in farm sector and unemployment, days ahead of his finance minister presenting the last budget of the National Democratic Alliance government headed by him.

Modi has reasons to be worried. His government’s own data shows a depressing picture of agriculture and farm economy, as agriculture is projected to grow at just 2.1% in 2017-18 compared to 4.9% in 2016-17. And this is despite a more or less normal monsoon across the country, which in fact followed two successive rough monsoons.

The NDA government’s Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income, headed by Ashok Dalwai, points out that the country’s farm sector is in a deep crisis at the moment.

The Dalwai committee’s first report, which has been prepared by inputs from over 100 experts says that the agricultural sector grew at an annual rate of around 4% between 2004-05 and 2014-15 as compared to 2.6% per during the preceding decade between 1995-96 and 2004-05). So the projected growth of 2.1% in 2017-18 is a cause of concern.

The data is embarrassing for Modi, who is gearing up for the next general elections to be held in 2019. First, as the data shows, the best growth rate in agriculture coincides with the Congress led United Progressive Alliance’s two successive terms between 2004 and 2014.

The Dalwai committee report acknowledges the better agriculture growth between 2004-5 and 2014-15 to better intervention by the then governments. “The most important factor for improved performance of agriculture, post 2004-05 period, has been the price received by the farmers caused by a number of underlying factors: hike given to MSP (minimum support price), increase in food grain procurement, increase in global agricultural prices and strong domestic demand for food,” the report noted.

On the other hand, since the Modi government came to power, just about 10% of the farmers could get MSP for their produces. Besides, though farmers across the country got bumper harvest they sold their produces at 30-50% less than the MSP in the last three years. In 2013-14, the year before Modi came to power, agriculture contributed 18.3% to India’s GDP. In 2014-15, however, it declined to 17%.

All these have adversely affected the farm sector at the grassroots and several parts of the country have witnessed intense farmers’ protests. Around 22% farmers are below poverty line, while the income of many farmers has declined.

There are speculations about finance minister Arun Jaitley’s last budget being focused on providing relief to farm sector. Will it help the farmers to get over the farm crisis and the Modi government to come back to power after 2019?

After all, the electoral loss of the first NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had been attributed to farm crisis.