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Demonetization broke the myth that powerful can’t be harmed: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the demonetization decision as “historic,” Madhya Pradesh CM, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Prime Minister, Narendra Modi with his “courageous” call broke the myth that powerful people can’t be harmed in the country.”India witnessed a historic decision on November 8, 2016. This day has given a meaningful reply to the queries raised by the people at large on the style of functioning of governments. “Often allegations are levelled against the governments that they can not take tough decisions under pressure. They fear to take decisions that could harm powerful people,” Chouhan said in his blog on the issue on Thursday evening.”Our PM has broken the myth with his courageous decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes,” he said. “The decision of demonetization is historic in a way that it surprised everyone and this is the distinct feature of it. India has seen decision of demonetization twice in the history of 100 years but those decisions gave ample time to the people having black money in the form of currency to change it.”Thus the main objective of the decision was partially met. This time, however the decision did not give any time to people with black money,” the Chief Minister said. Those criticising the decision say that it could have been taken with better planning and people should have been given ample time. It is beyond my comprehension as to whom these critics are referring to when they talk of giving time to people, he wrote in the blog.”Who are those about whom critics say time should have been given to them. It is obvious that they are favouring those who had black money in the form of currency,” Chouhan said. The decision of the Prime Minister to encourage cashless transaction is to transform the country from a developing nation to a developed one. All the aspects should be examined before criticising such a move, said Chouhan.

PM Modi travels to MP, pays last respect to veteran BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday paid floral tributes to veteran BJP leader and two-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Sunderlal Patwa who passed away in the morning following a heart attack.After paying tributes to the departed leader at the state BJP office in Bhopal, the Prime Minister consoled his family members. His nephew Surendra Patwa, who is the Minister for Culture and Tourism in the BJP-led state government, was also present.Modi spent nearly five minutes with the family members and later left for the airport. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.92-year-old Patwa, a former union minister, suffered a heart attack in the morning and was rushed to hospital where he breathed his last, Executive Director of the hospital Skand Trivedi said.Patwa’s wife had died a few years back and they had no children.Earlier, in a tweet, Modi said, “Saddened on the passing away of Sunderlal Patwa. He was a hardworking & dedicated leader whose good work as MP CM will be remembered.” He said Patwa strengthened BJP and was always admired by workers.Large number of BJP workers gathered at the party office to pay respects to the former CM. Patwa’s last rites would be held at Kukdeshwar town, the native place of the departed leader, in Neemuch district of the state on Thursday.

Congress adopting ‘spit and run’ tactic to divert attention from real issues in Parliament: Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming the opposition for disruptions in Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday that the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactic to divert attention from the real issues. “Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, every countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allowing Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.He was asked to comment on BJP veteran LK Advani’s comment in the Lok Sabha, “I feel like resigning”, after a virtual washout of the winter session of Parliament over the demonetization issue. “Being a senior party man, Advaniji is also feeling like that,” Naidu said.On the AgustaWestland chopper scam, the Union minister said, “It is a serious issue and should be discussed in the House. Many MPs have given notices in both Houses for discussion on the issue because it is related to the nation’s security. But Congress is not ready. They are bringing new issues to divert the attention from this.” On Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s claim about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged corrupt practices, Naidu said, “If your allegations have substance, then discuss it in the House. It is a spit and run tactics. One day PM’s name, next day Kiren Rijiju.”The opposition targeted Union Minister of State for Home Affairs for his alleged involvement in a Rs 450 crore scam in a power project in Arunachal Pradesh. Accusing the opposition of indulging in “dirty political tactics”, he said, “Before this, they have made allegations against Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Now Prime Minister. These are all dirty political tactics. There is no substances in it.””From day one, we are saying let’s have debate. We also said PM will be present and intervene in the discussion and FM will offer solutions. Debate started in the Rajya Sabha. Three Congress MPs spoke, Left also participated. JD(U) also participated,” he said.”Now they are saying discuss farmers’ plight. Who stopped you from discussing on the farmers issue all these days? I wanted to ask BSP and Sharad Yadav (of JD-U) that since the last 20 days why you did not raise farmers issue. Since elections are round the corner, you remember farmers now. All countrymen are watching it and people are not taking them seriously because of their strategy is to spit and run,” he said.

Vyapam scam: ‘Truth has finally prevailed,’ says CM Chouhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after the Supreme Court ruled that it would no longer monitor the alleged Vyapam scam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Thursday that truth has finally prevailed as all allegations against him turned out to be false. “All allegations turned out to be false and the truth has finally prevailed. It has been ruled there was no tampering,” he said.”Truth always wins. False allegations were levelled against me to tarnish my image and my family was also dragged into it. I had a firm belief that all allegations against me will prove wrong,” he added.The apex court earlier in the day said that further monitoring is not required in the alleged Vyapam scam as the special courts have begun trial in cases related to the same. The bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana said they do not intend to further monitor the issue and grant four months to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to finish the pending investigation. However, the court has given liberty to the parties as they can come to the court when the need arises.The CBI has filed a status report of the investigation as per earlier orders of the apex court. The court was informed by the Solicitor General, on behalf of CBI, that there was no tempering in the hard disk. The Vyapam scam is an admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh.Earlier in September, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to take over all the 72 Vyapam scam cases pending trial at various courts in Madhya Pradesh. As now, over 40 people linked to the scam have died under mysterious circumstances since 2013, the year when the scandal was first reported.

MP govt to cover wedding expenses of daughters of cops killed in the line of duty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madhya Pradesh government will bear marriage expenses of all the police officials who die in the line of duty, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced in Bhopal on Saturday.Chouhan, who attended the marriage ceremony of slain jail head constable Ramashankar Yadav’s daughter Sonia last night, donned the role of the girl’s father as he welcomed guests at the entry gate. “If any police personnel dies in the line of duty, then the state government will bear all the expenses of their daughter’s marriage and these girls will be treated as the state’s daughter,” an official release from the state government said.The state government claimed that it had left no stone unturned to make this (Sonia’s) marriage a grand event. Yadav was allegedly killed by eight SIMI activists on the intervening nights of October 30-31 before they escaped from the high security jail by scaling its walls with the help of bedsheets. The activists were later gunned down by Bhopal Police in an alleged encounter.Chouhan had then promised that the government will not only offer job to any family member but will also make all arrangements for the marriage of Sonia. The chief minister also handed over an appointment letter for the post of Assistant Grade-III to Sonia as her marriage gift on the occasion.Chouhan stayed at the wedding till all rituals were done and said that Sonia is a daughter of Madhya Pradesh. He conveyed greetings to both the families on the occasion. Madhya Pradesh Minister of State for Cooperatives (independent charge) Vishwas Sarang was among others present at the function.

Bhopal Jailbreak: Slain SIMI operatives lawyer demands HC-monitored probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A lawyer, who represented eight SIMI operatives killed in an encounter on October 31, on Sunday demanded a high court-monitored inquiry and termed as “mockery” the Madhya Pradesh government’s order of judicial probe into the incident.”It is baffling that the culprit of the encounter, which is the state government, has chosen its own investigator to probe its serious crime,” said Parvez Alam, who represented the slain SIMI operatives facing terror cases.”This is a sheer mockery of democratic and judicial system. The state government, instead of requesting the MP High Court to order a judicial inquiry into the cold-blooded murder, has itself appointed an investigator, which is against the natural justice,” Alam said.He said that the state government should have moved the MP High Court and waited for it to name a sitting or retired judge to investigate the fake encounter.”We are going to petition the High Court for a judicial probe. We want the probe to be monitored by the High Court and it (probe panel) should have lawyers of both sides–the government and the deceased,” he added.Meanwhile, when asked if he had received any written communication from the government asking him to start judicial inquiry, the retired MP High Court judge S K Pandey said, “I don’t have any information (yet).”The MP Government announced judicial probe by Justice Pandey three days ago after the alleged encounter came under severe criticism. Home Minister Bhupendra Singh had till then maintained that no judicial probe into the encounter was necessary.Earlier, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced a NIA probe into the jail-break during which the fleeing SIMI activists allegedly murdered a head warden.

India police under fire over prisoner killings

Indian police are being asked difficult questions, after killing eight men who broke out of a jail.

SIMI encounter: CM Chouhan must be held accountable for inefficient policing in MP

Following the encounter of eight suspected SIMI terrorists, who had escaped from Bhopal Central Jail on Monday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should really pause for a moment and introspect.

He must seriously ponder over why, under his administration, the biggest Indian state has seen a sharp decline in all aspects of policing – be it law and order, intelligence gathering or jail administration.

While the police force does have some brave and committed men, like Head Constable Ramashankar Yadav, who laid down his life in the line of duty while trying to stop the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists from fleeing, the incident does pose some serious questions.

What kind of police force did Yadav serve, where no backup was available to him? Why did no one come to his rescue? And why were no alarms raised to thwart the jailbreak attempt? It seems that men like Yadav are just exceptions in an otherwise inefficient MP police force.

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. PTIPolice investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. PTI

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. PTI

In his capacity as chief minister, Shivraj has done well on his moral and official duty to visit the martyred head constable’s home, pay his condolences, attend the last rites, offer ex-gratia and additionally sanction money for his daughter’s upcoming wedding.

He is also well within his right to blast his political rivals for politicising the ‘encounter’. He said that the political rivals raising questions over the encounter, couldn’t see the head constable’s supreme sacrifice.

“They could have spared two words for this martyr and shed a few tears over his martyrdom, which could have proved their compassion” Shivraj was reported as saying.

While dismissing the opposition’s charges against his government, he said: “The hardcore criminals have been eliminated. Who knows what kind of violence they could have unlashed if they managed to escape.”

On the other hand, Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh had given an entirely different twist to the jailbreak episode. He questioned that how was it possible that only Muslim SIMI operatives managed to escape from the jail and not the Hindu ones. Again, it was alright for Shivraj to respond to that charge, as Digvijay’s commentary seemed to be angled for obvious political motives.

But the big question that remains is that why did Shivraj not weigh the situation and collect all the facts before going to the public with his tall claims about the ‘encounter’. Why did he compliment an incompetent police force for killing the eight SIMI terror operatives on a hill top, where they were surrounded from all sides with negligible chances of escape?

Though you cannot second guess the bravery and commitment of constable Yadav – whose two sons serve in the army and daughter was to be married in five weeks – the problem arose when Shivraj mixed the two narratives. Yadav’s death and the contradictory arguments made by senior police officers about the encounter, in a bid to cover up the cold-blooded killing of the SIMI operatives, are two very distinct equations.

Instead of trying to mislead the public by mixing the two narratives, here is something that should’ve concerned Shivraj more:

The Bhopal Central Jail was the first in India to get an ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 9001-2000 certificate in 2004 for its better amenities for inmates, about a year before Shivraj assumed office. But apart from the amenities, jails are as much about security. The ease with which the SIMI operatives fled reflects on the poor safety measures employed by the administration.

Security loopholes like the fact that all terror operatives were lodged in one jail; the CCTV cameras were not working; dining utensils issued were easily converted into knives; a long drawn jailbreak plan went unchecked; keys were made inside or smuggled from outside; the high walls were easily scalable; guards were sleeping on duty; the administration did not take any lessons from the Khandwa jail break by members of the same group; officers were busy lighting lamps and fire crackers while the criminals escaped, are all indicative of corrupt and inefficient jail management by the civil and police officials. In that regard, it is truly ironic that the jail’s website is full of ISO certifications and boasts of its safety records.

The manner in which hundreds of policemen conducted the hunt for the escaped activists, and how the supposed ‘encounter’ took place, reveals a saga of incompetence, inefficiency and even foolishness.

It clearly indicates that the MP police has never really engaged in a real encounter situation, at least lately. The chief minister and his government will have a difficult time in explaining the conduct of the state police force. From the videos of the encounter that have surfaced since then, it looks like the operation was conducted not by uniformed and trained police officers, but by a lynch mob out to kill a hated target.

The scenes emanating from the video, of policemen shooting with crude 303 rifles; fellow colleagues recording videos on their phones; conversing over unsecured wireless sets; some policemen firing from long distance; some shooting at dead bodies, all point towards the fact that the encounter was in all likelihood fake and foolish.

From the audio heard in these videos, it was clear that there was no chain of command. Everyone was shouting over each other and perhaps some villagers had also joined in as cheer leaders for the armed policemen.

How is this effective policing? Shivraj will have to introspect and come up with an answer.

MP govt slammed over distribution of bags quoting SC-ST scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madhya Pradesh Government came under fire from the SC/ST students after a government college in Mandsaur district distributed college bags with ‘SC/ ST scheme’ written on it.The SC/ST students of the Rajiv Gandhi Government PG College said though it was a good initiative but there was no need to write the name of the scheme over them as this leads to profiling and humiliation.”The students not belonging to the SC/ST community look down on us and we face discrimination,” one of the students told ANI.”We demand those in power not to do such acts if they really want to bring us to the mainstream,” he said, adding that many students either apply stickers or ink on the written words or do not carry the bags to college to escape the humiliation.When asked about the same, BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya said, “There is no such scheme of the higher education department in which bags printed with SC/ST scheme are to be distributed in universities.””As soon as the matter came to my knowledge, I ordered the Principal Secretary to investigate as to under which scheme these bags have been distributed and why unnecessarily the name of the scheme has been printed on these bags,” he added.Assuring stringent action against those responsible, he said, ‘Even if it is someone’s mistake, we will make sure such things don’t happen again.”Congress leader Pankaj Chaturvedi took on the BJP-led government in the state, saying the motive behind this initiative is to humiliate the SC/ST students.”We condemn such an act and our leaders have taken notice of this. We will take this matter to Delhi and ensure justice is meted out to the students,” he added.The initiative also drew the ire of the Congress students wing NSUI as its members were seen raising slogans against the state government while accusing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of being anti-Dalit.

Surgical strikes reflect will of PM Modi, valour of forces: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Surgical strikes reflect will of PM Modi, valour of forces: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

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New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday said surgical strikes across the LoC reflect firm will power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and valour of armed forces.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTIShivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

“The surgical strikes were a result of firm will power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and valour of our forces,” the Chief Minister said in an interview to PTI.

On some political parties demanding proof of the Army’s action, Chouhan said defence and security issues should be above politics.

“Demanding a proof of it is not correct principally as well as practically. Such proofs are never given. Those who are demanding proof are not aware of the consequences of disclosing the details of this military operation,” he said.

Surgical strikes were carried out on seven terror launch pads across the LoC on the intervening night of 28 and 29 September, with the Army saying it had inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK, days after Modi warned Uri attack would not go unpunished.

India should only be called Bharat, head of Jain Digambar sect tells PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jain Digambar sect’s head Acharya Vidyasagarji Maharaj on Friday suggested Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the country should be called only ‘Bharat’, during their brief meeting in Bhopal.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sought blessing of the religious leader.Among other things, the Jain sect leader suggested Modi that the country should be called only ‘Bharat’ instead of having the alternative official name of India. “Vidyasagar and Modi spent around 10 minutes together. He was accompanied by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Madhya Pradesh Governor O P Kohli and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Jain Digambar community’s local spokesman Ravindra Jain told PTI.”He suggested that the country should be referred to as Bharat instead of India. No country has two names and so should be in the case of our nation, he told the Prime Minister,” Jain said.Besides, Vidyasagar also suggested that orders of the courts should be delivered in regional languages, Jain said. The spiritual leader also expressed concern about students who take loans for education but do not get jobs later, Jain said.Two years ago, there was a series of talks between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Vidyasagar at Ramtek near Nagpur. Two months ago, BJP president Amit Shah had met Vidyasagar in Damoh district.

Silver crockery, food and gifts: This dinner hosted by MP govt for 240 VVIPs cost Rs 6.94 lakh!

As many as 240 VVIPs including Chief Justice of India T S Thakur and other judges of the apex court along with their spouses were served dinner in silver crockery and presented gifts worth several lakhs of rupees by Madhya Pradesh government during a programme here in April this year.All the invitees were given the status of “State Guest” during the period of their stay to attend the programme, which was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee, according to information received in response to an RTI query filed by social activist Ajay Dubey.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A payment of Rs 6.94 lakh was made by the state government for the dinner hosted on April 14 during the ‘Judges’ Retreat’ programme. About Rs 3.57 lakh was paid for silver crockery and Rs 3.37 lakh for food, according to the file notings provided by the government.Traditionally, arrangements for dinner hosted by the government on occasions like these are made by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Board. However, as per instructions from Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, quotations were invited and it was decided to engage a reputed caterer from Indore, the file notings said.Silver crockery was arranged to suit stature of the programme’s attendees, it said.A bill of Rs 3,17,270 was also approved for the retreat to meet expenditure incurred on high tea and gifts etc, the file notings said.”All the judges and their spouses were given dinner in silver crockery and gifts at the cost of tax payers’ money. We are not against dinner but unnecessary expenses on silver crockery and gifts,” said Dubey.In reply to another RTI query filed by Dubey, the National Judicial Academy (NJA) has asked him to define ‘hospitality’ as a prerequisite for disclosure of details of expenses incurred on the programme.The President had on April 16 formally inaugurated the 4-day ‘Fourth Retreat of the Judges of the Supreme Court’ at the academy, which is a Union government-funded training institute for Judicial Officers.

Blessings of seers behind BJP’s victory in 2014: Amit Shah

BJP came to power in 2014 due to blessings of seers and the party progressed under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in last two years, party president Amit Shah said in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. “In the last general elections, blessings of the ‘sants’ brought the (popular) mandate to BJP in the country,” he said while addressing a gathering of monks at Kundalpur, a popular Jain pilgrimage place near here. “Under the blessings of ‘sants’ and ‘acharyas’, BJP has realised God in poor (people). According to the directions of Acharya Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj, (head of Digambar Jain sect) we are working to take the society and country to the peak,” the BJP chief said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said Modi wanted to march ahead by taking everybody along in the country which is the biggest democracy in the world with diverse cultures. “The country is marching ahead and all round development is taking place under the leadership of Modi,” Shah said, adding that the saffron party was committed to provide justice and opportunity to the poorest of poor.Observing that while the world was going through unrest and tribulations, Shah said, “Indian culture is the key to happiness”. In his address, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “The society receives the message of character building in the company of seers.” He announced that a subject of Moral Science will be introduced in the school syllabus in Madhya Pradesh for character building (of students). Touching the Bhagvad Gita, the CM said, “The holy book fosters the spirit to work selflessly.”

Madhya Pradesh: Accident on NH-7; two killed, 27 injured

Two persons were killed on Wednesday and 27 others injured, including 12 of them seriously, when the bus in which they were travelling hit a truck and overturned on National Highway-7 near Seoni.A bus carrying passengers from Jharia village to Lakhnadaun in the district hit a truck and overturned, leaving Sanjay Yadav (22) and Sonu Kahar (40) – both local residents – dead on the spot and injuring 27 others at NH-7, some 65 kms from district headquarters, Lakhnadaun police station inspector Shivraj Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the seriously injured have been rushed to the divisional headquarters, Jabalpur, for treatment adding that 15 others were being treated at a local hospital. Singh said initial investigations suggest that the bus driver, in a bid to save a motorcyclist, lost control over his vehicle and hit a truck and overturned.He said the driver of the rashly driven truck along with the conductor fled the spot. Police have registered a case and an investigation is on, the inspector added.

Arun Jaitley to visit China next month to attend AIIB board meeting

Beijing: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will undertake his maiden visit to China later this month during which he will attend the first annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and address Chinese investors to scout for investments.

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTIA file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

Jaitley will attend the first meeting of the Board of Governors of the China-sponsored AIIB to be held here on 25-26 June, official sources told PTI.

This will be Jaitley’s first visit to China after he took over as Finance Minister.

Indian officials said his programme is still being finalised. India is among the 57 founding member countries which have joined the Beijing-headquartered bank.

The bank has started its operations from early this year.India, which is the second largest shareholder after China, has been elected to the 12-member board of governors.

With authorised capital of USD 100 billion and subscribed capital of USD 50 billion, AIIB plans to invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare.

The World Bank said in a statement recently that that the AIIB expects to approve about USD 1.2 billion in financing this year.

Projects jointly financed by the World Bank accounts for a sizeable share. The projects may be announced during the first governors meeting. China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 per cent voting shares.

India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia 5.93 per cent and Germany with 4.5 per cent. India’s total capital subscription amounts to USD 8.37 billion.

Besides attending the AIIB meeting, Jaitley will address a meeting of Chinese investors to apprise them about investment opportunities in India.

Officials say Chinese investments roughly amounted to USD two billion so far and expected to pick up pace this year.

During his visit to India in 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised USD 20 billion investments from China in the next five years.

India is also pressing China to step up investments to address the mounting trade deficit which amounted to USD 48 billion last year in about USD 70 billion bilateral trade.

Ahead of Jaitley’s visit, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will make his second visit to China to mobilise investments.

He will be addressing investors meetings in Beijing and Guangzhou, officials said.

Congress mulls airlifting two ailing MLAs to vote in RS polls

Congress is mulling to airlift two of its seriously ill MLAs to Madhya Pradesh to cast their votes in the June 11 Rajya Sabha polls. “We have plans to bring our leader in the House Satyadev Katare, undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mumbai, and MLA Govardhan Upadhyay, who is at a hospital in Indore, by air ambulances to the state Assembly to vote,” MP Congress chief spokesman K K Mishra said. “We have learnt that BJP is trying hard to defeat our candidate and might even indulge in horse-trading,” he alleged. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress has 57 MLAs in the House. Each candidate needs 58 votes to sail through in the poll. Congress MLA, Ramesh Patel, is in jail and the party has moved the High Court to enable him to vote. BSP supremo Mayawati has already asked her four MLAs to support Congress candidate Vivek Tankha. Earlier, amid speculations that some Congress MLAs might cross floor, the party convened a meeting of its legislators two days back in Bhopal, in which five did not turn up, citing different reasons. Congress has deputed its senior leader and former Union minister Kamal Nath, who is going to camp here from tomorrow and stay put, to see that Tankha wins the election. The state BJP is backing its leader Vinod Gotia, who is fighting as Independent candidate and is short by nine ballots to sail through, apart from its two official candidates – senior journalist M J Akbar, and Anil Dave. The BJP has convened a meeting of its 166 members at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s official residence tomorrow evening. Rajendra Meshram, one of BJP’s law makers, has been forbidden to exercise his franchise following a Supreme Court order, a state Assembly official told PTI today. Of the total 230 MLAs in MP Assembly, Meshram can’t cast his vote, he added.

Visited 21 states to know about developments, says US ambassador Richard Verma

Bhopal: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday said he travels extensively to learn about developments in states with an investment point of view and to have a better interaction with people.

“We travel as much as we can to learn about what’s happening in states from investment point of view, clean energy point of view, people-to-people exchange and things we can do to deepen our relationship, to meet government officials, and that makes a big difference in how you can carry out your work in New Delhi,” Verma told PTI after visiting the Taj-ul-Masajid in the old city area.

The US Ambassador arrived here on a day-long visit for the first time.

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIBUS Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

“You have a better appreciation of what’s happening in important state like this and talk to the people and hear their mind. That’s why we come here,” said Verma, who has been travelling all over the country.

“We have been travelling all over the country. In fact, I have been to 21 states, 55 cities and we travel as much as we can to learn about what’s happening in states,” he said when asked about the purpose of his visit before he headed to meet Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

He described the historic Taj-ul-Masajid as an “amazing place.”

“It’s an amazingly beautiful place. It was an honour to meet the leaders of the mosque, their place of learning, place of history and place of culture,” he said.

“It is a great place of history and we wanted to be here and pay respect and to know about this amazing structure,” he said.

The envoy wrote in the visitor’s book, “Thank you for showing me this amazing place of worship, inspiration and learning. It was a great honour to be here.”

Upon arrival at the grand mosque, Verma was welcomed by Darul Uloom Taj-ul-Masajid committee head and other members.

The committee’s communication head Mohammd Aamir Ansari and other members showed him various parts of the mosque.

Sadhvi Pragya to break her fast-unto-death after holy dip at Simhastha Kumbh

2008 Malegaon blast case accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who was on a fast-unto-death for not being allowed to take a holy dip during the ongoing Simhastha Kumbh at Ujjain, is expected to break her fast on Wednesday after a ‘snan’ in the Kshipra river.Pragya, who is undergoing treatment at Bhopal’s Pandit Khushilal Sharma Government Ayurveda College and Institute began her fast on Monday for not being allowed to attend Kumbh mela in Ujjain despite a court order.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sadhvi Pragya, who was given a clean chit by the NIA in the Malegaon blast case, had earlier threatened to begin a fast unto death if not allowed to take a holy dip in the river Kshipra.Her lawyer had earlier written a letter to the Jail Superintendent and copied the same to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Justice of High Court, the Human Rights Commission and Women Commission.He had pointed out in the letter that when the trial court had accepted her application seeking permission to take a dip in the river, then why was she not being allowed by the state government.Sadhvi Pragya has in the letter said she is suffering from cancer, adding it is her last wish to visit the Kumbh as she may not be able to do so in the future.Her close aide Bhagwan Jha carried the letter to the Jail Superintendent, who assured him to raise this issue with senior officials.She had issued an ultimatum to the government till May 21.

On hunger strike, Sadhvi Pragya Singh’s health deteriorates

Bhopal: Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who got a clean chit from the NIA in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, has shown deteriorating health condition since she started a hunger strike to demand that she be allowed to go to Ujjain for the ongoing Simhasth Kumbh.

Sadhvi Pragya began an indefinite hunger strike last Monday to press her demand that she be allowed to take a dip in the Shipra river at Ujjain during the ongoing Simhasth Kumbh. The authorities were not allowing her to travel to Ujjain on security grounds, she alleged.

File photo of Sadhvi Pragya Singh. PTIFile photo of Sadhvi Pragya Singh. PTI

File photo of Sadhvi Pragya Singh. PTI

Pragya, who was in Bhopal Central Jail, has now been shifted to the Pandit Khushilal Sharma Ayurveda Hospital in Bhopal for treatment.

According to Sadhvi Pragya’s aides, her condition has gone from bad to worse.

She is weak and her blood pressure has dipped below normal, her aides said and have taken up the matter with Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur.

In a letter to the President and the Prime Minister, the Sadhvi has threatened to fast unto death if her demands are not met by 21 May.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a statement said that Sadhvi Pragya can attend the Kumbh mela only if her security concerns are met.

The Simhasth Kumbh Mela in Ujjain commenced on 22 April and will end on 21 May.

Policies adopted in name of green revolution be reviewed: RSS

Policies adopted in the name of “green revolution” led farmers to depend more on multinational companies and large industries, RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said today and advocated their “strong review”.”The policies that we have accepted in the name of green revolution had resulted in farmers depending more on large companies for seeds and fertilisers than the self-sustainable model that was in vogue prior to it,” Joshi said. He was addressing a session on agriculture during the ‘International Vichar Mahakumbh’ being organised as part of the ongoing month-long Simhastha fair. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Government, society, scientists and farmers should strongly review it and should seriously ponder over what we have achieved in the last 60 years by adopting modern agriculture at the cost of traditional one,” Joshi said.He said, “We cannot support mechanisation totally as this type of agriculture is pushing farmers towards the path of dependability. They have to depend on large industries for agri-equipments.” Demanding formulation of “Comprehensive Agriculture Policy”, Joshi said the government should take into account climatic conditions of different regions of the country while framing it. “It’s the duty of country’s scientists and policy-makers to frame schemes by striking a balance between traditional and modern agriculture by keeping in mind the current scenario,” Joshi said. In his address, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev said the time has come to “expose” false claims made while pushing people towards chemical-based agriculture and that they should be motivated to go for organic and nature-based agriculture. Slamming multi-national companies for “profiteering”, Ramdev said the purchase of branded products is “ideological pollution”. Ramdev said he will aggressively promote swadeshi products. He also announced wearing only hand-woven cotton cloths henceforth. Addressing the session, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said though chemical-based agriculture is not good but it cannot be replaced overnight. Therefore, the state government will develop “model agriculture farms” based on traditional methods to present alternative ways of farming to the people, he said, adding mixed agriculture with different crops will also be encouraged. Chouhan said agri-MNCs whose sole aim is profiteering should be bundled out of the country. Speaking on the occasion, environmental activist Vandana Shiva claimed that Rs 70 billion go waste every year due to chemical-based agriculture and its related ill-effects. She opposed the royalty being realised by MNCs and demanded that country’s seed diversity, organic diversity and food security be protected from foreign companies.

Ujjain: Seven dead, 90 injured as thunderstorm hits Kumbh mela site

Seven people were killed and around 90 others injured when heavy rains accompanied by lightning and squall flattened and uprooted makeshifts tents of pilgrims in and around the site of ongoing Simhatha Kumbh Mela on Thursday evening. “Seven people have been killed and 90 other injured in and around the Mela area,” Ujjain Divisional Commissioner Ravindra Pastaur told PTI.The second ‘Shahi Snan’ (royal bath) is slated for May 9.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prima facie, the casualties resulted due to collapse of tents and some gates erected at the Kumbh area. Among the deceased is a woman pilgrim who was killed in Undasa area when lightning struck her.According to police official B S Chauhan, nearly a third of the tents put up by the pilgrims were blown away in the squall. It will take at least a week to erect them again, he said. Authorities fear that the death toll may rise as the rescuers are clearing the collapsed tents and pulling out the people trapped under them.PTITerming the incident as painful, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased persons and Rs 50,000 to seriously injured and Rs 25,000 to the minor injured, an official spokesman said.Chouhan would visit Ujjain on Friday to take stock of the situation. He tweeted that rescue teams, officials and public representatives have reached the spot and that they will take care of the pilgrims.The rain made large parts of the Mela ground slushy, making the rescue operation difficult. Authorities have cut off the electricity supply to the area as a precautionary measure. The deceased have been identified as Rumal Kaur, Amba Bai, Prahlad, Bhagirath, Rishi Prasad and Bhuti Bai, District Hospital Police Post Head Constable Babulal said.PTIHowever, the identity of the woman pilgrim who was killed in Undasa area is not established yet.According to eye witnesses, a big drainage suffered a breach on Ramghat on the banks of Kshipra river as a result of which filthy water is gushing into the river. The state government has spent more than Rs 3,600 crore for developing infrastructure and facilities for the month-long congregation.

SC,ST promotions: Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government to move Supreme Court

Hours after the Madhya Pradesh High Court set aside the provision of reservations in promotion in the state government services, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday said his government will move to the Supreme Court challenging the order.”My government is in favour of reservation in promotions and we will be appealing in the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling,” Chouhan told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, the ruling of the division bench of Chief Justice Ajay Khanwilkar and Justice Sanjay Yadav had set aside the provision of reservations in promotion in the state government services.The decision came while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by R B Rai, Santosh Kumar, S C Pandey and others, who challenged 2002 rules on the ground that they were not in conformity with the guidelines given by the Supreme Court in the M Nagraj vs. Union in 2006.The state high court in observation noted that the existing provision relating to reservation, backlog vacancies, carry forward of backlog vacancies…contained in the Rules of 2002 runs contrary to the constitutional provisions contained in clause (4A) and (4B) of Article 16 and Article 335 and law predicated in M Nagraj.The court further added that consequently, various promotions of SCs/STs category made on the basis of these Rules of 2002 are held to be non-est in the eyes of law and the persons be placed in the position as if the said Rules never existed and all actions taken in furtherance thereof must be reverted to status quo ante (the situation existing earlier).

Chopper with MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on board ‘disappears’ for few minutes

A helicopter carrying Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan “disappeared” for around fifteen minutes on Friday, sending officials in a tizzy before it landed safely in Katni, an official said.”The chopper carrying Chouhan, BJP state chief Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan and state Minister Gyan Singh, which was supposed to land at a school in Katni around 9.45 am, went ahead of the helipad and suddenly disappeared,” Katni District Collector Prakash Jangre told PTI over phone. The concerned officials on ground sprung into action.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The helicopter returned after some time and landed safely at 10 am, he said.The Chief Minister had gone to pay last respects to former Madhya Pradesh Minister Satyendra Pathak, who passed away yesterday after a prolonged illness.

Total prohibition not possible in Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday ruled out as impracticable the demand raised by opposition parties and social groups for imposition of a blanket ban on the sale of liquor in the state along the lines of Gujarat and Bihar, drawing the ire of Aam Aadmi Party.”It is not possible to clamp a ban on liquor all of a sudden. Even if it (the ban) is imposed then those habitual to drinking will not be able to quit it and they will arrange it (liquor) from here and there. It will also lead to problems,” Chouhan said, addressing a gathering at Bundelkhand’s Ranipura village under the ‘Gramodaya Se Bharat Uday’ programme.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The demand for banning sale on liquor in the state was raised by Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.”Those who consume liquor remain in a state of confusion that they are consuming liquor, but in fact it’s liquor which is consuming the drunkards… drunkenness is a cause for disaster,” he said.The Chief Minister said spreading awareness about ill-effects of drinking liquor is a better option than total prohibition.”The better option is to run an awareness campaign on the issue and let people take a vow that they will not drink. This will gradually reduce the number of liquor shops in the state and time will come when people would say that there is no one in the state who is a habitual drinker,” Chouhan said.However, AAP has criticised the CM’s statement.”The state government’s intention on the issue is not honest. If it (prohibition) is possible in Gujarat and Bihar then why not in Madhya Pradesh?” asked state AAP convener, Akshay Hunka.

Month-long Kumbh Mela begins in Ujjain

The month-long Simhastha (Kumbh) mela, largest congregation of Hindus began in Ujjain early on Friday with the arrival of ‘Juna Akhara’ for the royal bath on the banks of Kshipra river for the holy dip.Large number of people from different corners of the country have converged in the holy city for the Simhastha mela, which is being held here after a gap of every 12 years at Ujjain, which is also the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar, one of the 12 Jyotirlings in the country.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the 13 ‘akharas’ of saints and seers will take dip one after another for which elaborate arrangements were made along the banks of Kshipra river. Ujjain is fully geared up to host the month long Kumbh Mela, during which over five crore people including seers are expected to visit the holy city, with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan saying it will be a “Green Simhastha”. Shivraj Singh Chouhan Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Over five crore pilgrims are expected to visit Ujjain and other holy places during the fair, for which huge security and logistical arrangements have been made, including shifting of police forces from various districts to Ujjain, one of the 12 ‘jyotirlingas’ and the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar.”Congress General Secretary, Digvijay Singh also took bath at ‘Gaughat’ on the opening day of the Simhastha.This time eunuchs have also set up their ‘akhara’ in the mela area and have successfully taken out their procession in the city which was accorded grand welcome by the people.”Around five crore devotees are expected to take part in the Kumbh mela on the banks of pious Shipra river for which security has been ramped up in every nook and cranny of the district,” said Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ujjain Range, Madhu Kumar. “At present, 22,000 security personnel, including the state policemen, personnel from central forces and other departments have been deployed,” he said. “At the time of ‘Shahi Snan’ (royal dip) in Shipra river, 25,000 security personnel will keep a watch at the Mela venue,” Kumar added.

Inspired by Bhutan, Madhya Pradesh to create ‘department of happiness’ to keep its citizens stress-free

Bhopal: Taking inspiration from Bhutan, which focused on a “Happiness Index” to keep its citizens happy, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced the creation of a “Department of Happiness” along similar lines in the state to infuse positivity in the lives of people.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Happiness will not come into the lives of people merely with materialistic possessions or development, but by infusing positivity into their lives so that they don’t take extreme steps in distress like suicides,” Chouhan said at the state BJP’s executive meeting on Thursday.

“Madhya Pradesh will be the first state in the country to create a Department of Happiness and I got this inspiration from Bhutan, which gave the world the concept of a Happiness Index way back in the 1970s,” the chief minister said.

The purpose behind setting up this department is to ensure happiness in the lives of people and to stop them from taking extreme steps when they are in distress, he said. It will organise yoga, meditation, cultural programmes, etc to keep people happy, he added.

He said that the proposal to constitute the department will be passed in the next Cabinet meeting. Chouhan said that the proposed department will take all possible measures to ensure that people remain happy in their lives as worldly possessions and development based on “statistical figures is not the only measure of happiness”.

Kisan Kalyan Mela: PM Narendra Modi urges them to join crops insurance scheme

Asserting that his government’s first aim was to win the trust of the farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government wants to integrate technology in the agriculture sector for the farmers’ welfare.Prime Minister Modi, who was addressing a Kisan Kalyan Mela at Sehore, said the Madhya Pradesh Government under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, did a lot of work for the farmers. “The government and farmers worked together to script history,” Prime Minister Modi said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is not a small thing to win an award in agriculture for four years,” he added while highlighting the agriculture success under Chouhan’s leadership.Placing the guidelines of the crop insurance scheme in the presence of the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, Prime Minister Modi said this scheme has the solution to problems which the farmers face. “When Atalji was Prime Minister, first time such a scheme was thought about and an effort was made to change the lives of the farmers. But when the government of Atal ji changed, the scheme was modified and the farmer started running away from crop insurance scheme. Our first aim was to win the trust of the farmers,” said Prime Minister Modi.”This scheme has the solution to problems the farmers face. Farmers were not joining the crop insurance scheme. Even estimates about this scheme were made through a few villages only. We have decided to integrate technology in this scheme, do proper surveys and ensure 25 percent of amount is paid immediately…I urge you to trust this scheme and join the scheme, as the compensation to farmers has increased three fold,” he added.Prime Minister Modi said, “The age old wisdom and technology must meet. When we talk about technology and a digital India, we see the welfare of the farmers at the core. Our start up India movement is not restricted to IT. There is scope for this in agriculture sector also.””Per drop, more crop is what we are giving importance to. We initiated several measures for sugarcane farmers. Our dream is to increase the reach of the soil health card scheme,” he added.Prime Minister Modi said this scheme will come into effect from the upcoming Kharif season. “It envisages a uniform premium of two percent to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5 percent for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be five percent,” Prime Minister Modi said.”There is no upper limit on the government’s subsidy for this scheme. The provision of capping the premium rate, which existed in earlier schemes, and resulted in low claims being paid to farmers, has been done away with. Farmers will get claims against the full sum insured, without any reduction,” he added.The Prime Minister also distributed soil health cards, and crop insurance settlement claims to select beneficiaries on the occasion.

DDCA row: ‘God is with us’, Kejriwal tells Modi

In an indirect attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Friday that he had information from sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that the next raids would be conducted on the offices of his colleagues Manish Sisodia (Deputy Chief Minister) and Satyendra Jain (Health Minister).The CBI had earlier conducted a raid at the office of his principal secretary Rajendra Kumar. Kejriwal had termed the day as a ‘black day’ and dared Modi to act against Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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