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Anil Baijal takes oath as Delhi Lieutenant Governor

Sat, 31 Dec 2016-11:32am , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former union home secretary Anil Baijal on Saturday took oath as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi at Raj Niwas. The oath was administered by Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice G Rohini.President Pranab Mukherjee earlier on December 28 accepted Najeeb Jung’s resignation and approved Baijal’s name as the next Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory. Baijal, a 1969 batch India Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Union Territories cadre, was removed as union home secretary when the UPA government assumed power in May 2004.The former bureaucrat has also been the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and had headed key public sector companies like Prasar Bharti and Indian Airlines.Jung had submitted his resignation on December 22, ending a nearly three-and-half-year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government.

Daman and Diu: Bombay HC orders UT to pay compensation to scribe who was handcuffed, paraded

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the Union Territory of Daman and Diu to pay a compensation of Rs four lakh to a journalist who was handcuffed by the police and paraded on the streets after he was arrested on the charge of extortion in 2009.

“The Administration of the Union Territory has violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution by illegally handcuffing and parading him on 2 July, 2009,” said the High Court in its ruling on 22 December.

Bombay High Court. News18Bombay High Court. News18

Bombay High Court. News18

A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and AA Sayed directed the Union Territory to pay the compensation to Satish Sharma within two months. Sharma had moved the HC questioning police’s action of handcuffing and parading him. It was illegal and violated the right to personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, he said.

Maintaining that he was an honest journalist and the whole episode had tarnished his reputation, Sharma demanded a compensation of Rs five crore.

The HC said that while it was ordering the administration to pay Sharma Rs four lakh, he was free to file another suit to demand additional compensation. The Administrator of the Union Territory can take steps for recovery of the compensation amount from the erring officers through a due process of law, the judges said.

The court also ordered the Union Territory to pay an additional Rs 25,000 to Sharma towards litigation cost. Further, the Administrator of the UT shall initiate inquiry for fixing the responsibility for the illegal action of police, the court said.

Sharma, editor of the daily Savera India Times, was arrested by the police in Daman after a case of extortion and criminal intimidation was filed against him.

He alleged it was a vindictive action as his newspaper had exposed misdeeds of the then Administrator of the Union Territory, other officials and the police. The Administrator had filed a police complaint against him.

Sharma was arrested in Diu, brought to Daman by police in a bus, and forced to walk while handcuffed to the police station through a crowded market, according to the petition.

The Press Council of India had ordered an inquiry by a sessions judge into Sharma’s allegations. The judge confirmed that he was indeed handcuffed and paraded by the police.

Advocate MK Kocharekar, petitioner’s lawyer, cited several Supreme Court decisions to argue that handcuffing was illegal and amounted to a gross violation of fundamental rights.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 20:49 IST

Home Secretary met Najeeb Jung two days ago, was unaware of his resignation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sudden resignation of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung seems to have caught the Home Ministry unaware with Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi saying Jung had given no indication two days ago when he had a meeting with him. “The LG met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the LG is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday)… I have come to know about his resignation only from the media,” Mehrishi told reporters as soon as the news flashed in TV channels.Delhi being a Union Territory, the LG looks after the Delhi Police and he reports to the Union Home Ministry. Jung regularly meets senior Home Ministry officials for various official works and in his recent interactions he had given no clue about his impending resignation from the post. Official sources said whenever the political leadership of the Central government wants to remove a Governor or LG, the onus of conveying the message, asking the incumbents to put in their papers, usually rests with the Union Home Secretary.In the case of Jung, Mehrishi had not conveyed any such message, sources said. It came as a surprise for the Home Ministry officials that Jung has decided to put in his papers without giving any hint in advance. In fact, sources said the LG had intimated the Home Secretary that from December 25 to January 1 he will be visiting Goa on a private tour.
ALSO READ Despite bitter-sweet experiences, we did a good job in Delhi with Najeeb Jung: Manish Sisodia Sources said there is no fixed tenure for a LG of any of the Union Territories even though a Governor is normally appointed for a period of five year or till further order “whichever is earlier”. The LG is appointed without specifying any tenure, sources said.

Supreme Court directs ban on sale of liquor on all National Highways

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Thursday directed to ban liquor on all National Highways. The apex court in its order said all the licenses of liquor shops in and around the National Highways in all the states would be closed.

A week ago, concerned about the over 1.5 lakh fatalities every year in road mishaps, the Supreme Court said it may direct closure of liquor shops on national and state highways across the country, besides removal of signages indicating their location.

The apex court, while reserving verdict on a batch of pleas seeking a direction to amend excise laws to ensure that no liquor is sold alongside highways, came down heavily on the Punjab government for seeking relaxation and permitting liquor shops near highways if they are “elevated” ones and the vend are under or near it.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Look at the number of licences you (Punjab) have given. Because the liquor lobby is so powerful, everyone is happy. The excise department is happy, the excise minister is happy and the state government is also happy that they are making money. If a person dies due to this, you give Rs one or 1.5 lakh. That is it. You should take a stand which is helpful for the society,” the bench headed by Thakur had said earlier.

Reminding the state government of its constitutional obligation to prohibit liquor sale, the bench, had said, “You are speaking the langauge of liquor vendors. Is this your endeavour to seek prohibition? Nearly 1.5 lakh people die every year. We are asking you to do something for the general public.”

The bench also expressed its unhappiness over alleged inaction by various states in removing liquor shops alongside roads which give rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities. It said that revenue generation cannot be a “valid reason” for a state or a Union Territory to give licence for liquor shops on highways and the authorities should adopt a positive attitude to remove the menace.

The court also rapped the Centre for not doing anything concrete leading it to “step in”. “The Government of India is now saying that the liquor shops (on the national and state highways) should be removed. For the last 10 years, nothing has happened and that is why we have stepped in,” the bench said.

Earlier, the court had sought the response from the Centre, states and Union Territories on the pleas seeking a direction to amend excise laws to ensure that no liquor is sold alongside highways.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 11:19 IST

Cyclone Nada weakens into depression, mild to moderate rainfall experienced in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: Cyclonic storm Nada on Friday further weakened into a depression as per expectations, with making its land fall between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu, the MeT Department said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“A large chunk of the depression has crossed coast early morning. However, over 25 percent of the system is yet to make the land fall which will happen soon,” a MeT official in Chennai said.

He said mild to moderate rain coupled with squally winds were being witnessed in parts of Tamil Nadu.

Cyclone Nada which weakened into a deep depression on Thursday moved Westnorth-West wards and became a depression about 40 km East south East of Karaikkal (Puducherry Union Territory), the official said.

Meanwhile, top government authorities said the situation is being monitored continuously.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 12:18 IST

SC postpones hearing on Delhi Govt’s plea on clarification of powers

Mon, 28 Nov 2016-12:29pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing on the Delhi Government’s plea seeking a clarification on its powers vis-a-viz the Centre till December 5.The Delhi government on August 5 informed the apex court that it would file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the Delhi High Court verdict that erased all doubts over Delhi’s status as a Union Territory.Putting a break to the ongoing turf war between Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the reins of the capital, the Delhi High Court had earlier declared that the LG is the administrative head of the National Capital Territory and that the latter is not required to act on the advice of the Delhi Cabinet.Soon after the decision, Delhi government senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra said it would appeal against the Delhi HC ruling in the Supreme Court.

Digital India: Free Wi-Fi facility begins in Daman-Diu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tourists visiting Daman and Diu will get free Wi-Fi facility from today with the administration making the service available as part of the Centre”s Digital India programme.Other parts of the Union Territory will also be given access to free Wi-Fi in coming days, Daman and Diu administrator Praful Patel said.”Free Wi-fi internet service has been made available at many tourist and public places as a step towards Digital India programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Patel said.The service has been launched by the Information Technology department of Daman and Diu along with BSNL, Patel said, adding that with this, a user can use data upto 300 MB on mobile handset at a speed of 2 to 4 Mbps.To start with, the service has been made available in Daman in areas frequented by tourists such as Fort area, Pargola Garden, Bom Church, Moti Daman and Nani Daman Jetty, Devka Beach, Marwad Hospital, Somnath Temple and Jampore Beach.
ALSO READ DMRC launches free Wi-Fi facilities on Airport Express LineIn Diu, the facility will be available at Nagoa Beach, Khukri, Bandar Chowk, and Jalandhar Guest House.

Hamid Karzai hails India’s surgical strikes; says there is need for such military operations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hailing India’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in response to the terrorist attack at Uri sector as justified, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai has said that Kabul has been a victim of terrorism and there is a need for such kinds of military operations in the country.Karzai conveyed this to India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra recently.Karzai reminded Vohra that Afghanistan too has been a victim of terrorism and fundamentalism and felt the need for such military operations more than anyone else.He added that Kabul has repeatedly asked the United States over the past 13 years to conduct cross-border attacks against the terrorist sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan, but with no success.Indian Army on Wednesday conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in response to the terrorist attack at Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir in which 19 soldiers were killed.Two Pakistani soldiers and over 30 terrorists were reportedly killed in the attack.Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that the motive of the operation was to hit out at the terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into the Indian Territory.Lt General Singh informed that significant casualty was caused to terrorists during the operation.The DGMO said, it is a matter of serious concern that there have been many infiltration bids by terrorists at the LoC and it was reflected in the terror attacks in Poonch and Uri on 11th and 18th of this month.

PM Modi staged surgical strike ‘drama’ amid domestic pressure: Hafiz Saeed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hafiz Saeed, chief of to Jamaat-Ud-Dawah (JUD), an Islamic charity linked to outlawed militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) has said that New Delhi staged “surgical strike” drama following domestic pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retaliate after 19 soldiers were killed in an attack on an army base in Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir.”They (some people in India) started asking that ‘you had said that you would attack Pakistan, you would do a surgical strike’. Everyone who was in grip of this fever started asking Modi and the Indian government. For this Ajit Doval staged a drama. He made up a surgical strike drama while sitting indoors,” Saeed said.Saeed was of the opinion that no raid was actually carried out by the Indian troops.”The whole film was made in which this surgical drama was shown in which they said their 150 expert paratroopers, after crossing the control line and entering Pakistan, carried out a raid. Actually, no raid was carried out, neither in Bhimber nor in Lipa, Chamb and dudhnial,” he added.Indian Army on Wednesday said that it conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in response to the terrorist attack at Uri sector.Two Pakistani soldiers and over 30 terrorists were reportedly killed in the attack.Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that the motive of the operation was to hit out at the terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into the Indian Territory.Lt General Singh informed that significant casualty was caused to terrorists during the operation.The DGMO said, it is a matter of serious concern that there have been many infiltration bids by terrorists at the LoC and it was reflected in the terror attacks in Poonch and Uri on 11th and 18th of this month.Meanwhile, anti- India protests were held in Lahore, Multan, Karachi, and some cities of Balochistan in wake of rising tensions between the arch-rivals.

VP Hamid Ansari inaugurates High Commission Chancery complex at Abuja

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President Hamid Ansari has lauded the 35,000-strong Indian community in Nigeria for its commendable service to the country as he inaugurated the Indian High Commission’s Chancery complex in Abuja, capital city of Nigeria.Ansari, who arrived in Abuja last night on the first leg of his two-nation visit, interacted with the Indian community members and posed for photographs with them.The Vice President lauded the efforts in the 35,000- strong Indian community in Nigeria at a function on Monday night for their commendable service to the African country, be it in the field of teaching, IT or business.He also said this Nigerian capital is a true model of a Smart City, a concept which India is trying to develop.The foundation stone of the High Commission building, located at Cadastral Zone in the Federal Capital Territory, was laid by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit to Abuja in 2003.On the occasion, a photography exhibition titled “India-Nigeria Relations: Evolution to Strategic Partnership” was inaugurated and an e-book on bilateral ties launched.Ansari and his wife also planted a sapling in the premises of the high commission building.

AAP wants a ban on ‘hazardous’ Chinese firecrackers this Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With Diwali round the corner, Delhi Environment Minister (interim charge) Kapil Mishra on Friday instructed the Secretary of Environment, the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, to ensure a complete ban on Chinese crackers across Delhi. ‘I am made to understand that ‘Chinese crackers’ are a great health and safety hazard. The use of Chinese crackers increases manifold in the festive season particularly during Diwali in NCT of Delhi. It is a major source of air and noise pollution also. The Department of Environment is advised to take immediate necessary steps for its ban in public interest,’ Mishra writes to Environment Secretary. The instructions came soon after Mishra took interim charge of the environment department as Minister Imran Hussain is on Haj pilgrimage.

Weather update: Heavy rains lash parts of Punjab, Haryana

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Strong winds accompanied by heavy rains lashed some parts of Punjab and Haryana, including Chandigarh.Chandigarh was pounded by heavy rains (46.6 mm) Wednesday night, a MeT Department official said.Strong winds also lashed the Union Territory, resulting in temporary power outages at some places.In Punjab, Mohali witnessed 40 mm of rain, Amritsar 25.4 mm, Gurdaspur received 15.2 mm, Anandpur Sahib 7 mm while Ropar got 15 mm of rain.In Haryana, Panchkula received 14 mm of rainfall, Yamunanagar 15 mm, Ambala 12.3 mm and Naraingarh witnessed 8 mm.The mercury dropped by a few notches after the showers.

Post Brexit, why Britain should become a Union Territory of the Republic of India

While a lot of Brits are fretting about the future of their great nation after the decision to ‘leave’ the European Union, an immigrant of British origin living in India thinks the solution is to become a Union Territory of the Republic of India. In a Facebook post, Nick Booker-Soni, who lives in New Delhi points out many, many benefits of being part of a country that the Brits had colonised for two centuries. He points out that the Indian economy is growing at four times the EU, and by 2030 it will be larger than EU. He also claims that India has better holiday destinations, a classier looking passport (than EU’s garish red one), diversity is a way of life, and Indians are more comfortable in English than Britain’s neighbouring EU countries.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dear Britain,Should you have voted to leave the EU by the time I wake up – don’t worry – I have a solution that should relieve both remainers and leavers equally. A moment comes, which comes but rarely, when we step from the old to the new….I’ve cracked the ‪#‎Brexit conundrum!Cameron needs to immediately apply for Britain to become a Union Territory of the Republic of India.Whilst historically speaking it seems only right and proper to give India a chance to rule Britain for a few hundred years – it actually makes a lot of sense for the British too!Worried about jobs? India’s economy is growing 4x faster than Europe’s and will overtake the entire EU’s sometime in the 2030s – becoming twice the size of the EU economy by 2050.In economic terms alone every young Brit should wish to replace their garish red EU passport with a classy blue Indian one ASAP.Worried about the future of the NHS? India already provides nearly as many Doctors to the NHS as the EU does – and that doesn’t even include those of Indian origin, born or educated, in Britain. 25,055 Indian v 30,082 EU.Worried about diversity? With over 100 different languages spoken everyday and adherents of every religion – even Britain’s favourite materialist consumption – there truly is something for everyone here!Worried about being understood? English is one of India’s two official languages – which will be a huge relief for all those have struggled to communicate with their continental neighbours for all these years.Worried about not being part of something bigger? India has more than twice the population of the EU. Half of which are under 35, so the bonus is no more worries about an ageing population!Worried about where to go on holiday? The Himalayas are nearly three times the height of the Alps and thousands of miles longer – there are more sandy beaches along India’s coastline than all the Costas you can dream of – and India has tropical rainforests and even a desert too! Plenty of visa free inter-railing adventures as well on the world’s largest railway network.Worried about not being ruled by an unlected bureaucracy in a far away land? We’ve got that covered as well! Nowhere on the planet has perfected the shuffling of paper and writing of rules better than New Delhi – what’s more India’s civil servants salaries are more than 10x lower than Brussels. Talk about getting more for less!British MPs, the whole of Whitehall and even the Royal Family (subject to the return of the Kohinor) can all be pensioned off at the fast expanding and internationally renowned Best Exotic Marigold Hotel chain in Jaipur.Which would free up the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and much of Central London to become a permanent Bollywood film set. With more viewers than Hollywood this is sure to help keep London’s tourist economy going – which within a decade or two will be mostly Indians in any case.Embrace the 21st Century. Swap Brussels for Delhi. Say Goodbye to Little Europe and Namaste to Incredible India!Yours in waiting,An Immigrant of British Origin,New Delhi, IndiaCheck out his awesome Facebook post below:

Massive frenzy around second Yoga Day, PM Modi to take part in main event at Chandigarh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday night arrived in Chandigarh to participate in the second International Yoga Day celebrations that begin on Tuesday.He was received at the airport by Punjab and Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who is also UT Chandigarh’s Administrator, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar, official sources said. The Prime Minister will stay at Punjab Raj Bhawan, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi will join 30,000 people for the second International Yoga Day celebrations in Chandiagrh on Tuesday to be held amid tight security. He will lead the celebrations at Capitol Complex, designed by French architect Le Corbusier.Over 30,000 people – 10,000 each from the Union Territory Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana – will take part in the event at Capitol Complex and 10,000 at over 100 other locations across the city.Sculptures made from waste, depicting yoga asanas, have been installed at Capitol Complex. The sculptures have been made from waste material like ceramic tiles, broken crockery which have been the highlight of Rock Garden.The Union Territory Administration has decided to felicitate best Yoga performers with cash prizes.Yoga enthusiasts can upload their videos while performing ‘asanas’ and send them to facebook.com/iydchd2016 or tweet with #IYDCHD2016.The first, second and third prize winners will get Rs 10,000, Rs 8,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively, officials said.A selfie zone has also been set up at the venue.Tight security arrangements have been put in place. More than 5,000 police and paramilitary personnel will keep a hawk-eye vigil to secure the venue.For the first time, 150 Divyangs, a nomenclature coined by Modi for differently-abled people, would be assisted in performing yogic asanas at the Capitol Complex(With PTI inputs)

Ban alcohol in Delhi: BJP tells CM Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay has written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urging him to impose a ban on alcohol and other intoxicating drinks in the national capital. “I request you to take appropriate action to ban liquor and other intoxicating drinks and drugs completely in National Capital Territory of Delhi in spirit of Article 47 of the Constitution of India and make a liquor-free Delhi,” Upadhyay has said in his letter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prohibition is connected with public health and to enforce the ban effectively, a wider definition would have to be given to the word ‘liquor’ in order to include all alcoholic liquids which may be used as substitutes for intoxicating drinks, he said. He contended that it is the duty of the state to do so as per the Constitution.According to various studies, liquor consumption results in many physical and mental disorders like blackouts, memory loss, anxiety and permanent brain damage, he said.”Alcoholism affects behavior and ability to learn and remember. Drinking alcohol is the second biggest risk factor for mouth, throat and liver cancer. Alcohol causes hypertension, which increases the risk of heart attack,” he said.

Puducherry: AIADMK seeks Lt Governor Kiran Bedi’s intervention on MCI norms

The opposition AIADMK has urged the Lt Governor Kiran Bedi to intervene immediately and ensure that the privately run medical colleges in Union Territory of Puducherry stuck to the norms of Medical Council of India and earmarked 50 percent of the total seats in first MBBS course and also in PG courses under government quota.A delegation of party legislators led by A.Anbalagan on Thursday called on Bedi at Raj Nivas and handed a memorandum to her bringing to her notice the “irregularities seen in admission of students in the undergraduate and postgraduate streams” in the private medical colleges.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The notification of the MCI should be enforced in letter and spirit and fifty percent quota of seats for government should be ensured without loss of time, it said.Meanwhile, the AINRC questioned the procedures adopted by the centrally sponsored JIPMER in admission of students to the first MBBS course during the 2016-2017 academic year through online entrance test held on June 5.AINRC legislator Ashok Anandh said it was really “shocking that JIPMER had held the computer based entrance test for aspirants of medical course in two separate sessions” across the country on June 5. He alleged that there was no transparency in the whole system of admission procedure.

Once Puducherry’s ‘people’s CM’, N Rangasamy has earned a poor reputation for misgovernance

If anyone wants to meet N Rangasamy, one just needs to visit the tea stall owned by Bhaskar, in Thattanchavady. One can get a glimpse of the Chief Minister of Puducherry on the tennis ground, where he plays a game every morning and evening. You can also see the 65-year-old politician zipping around on his Yamaha around his locality. But what has been upsetting the people of the Union Territory of late is how unapproachable their leader is for official purposes.

The people from Puducherry are used to there being no restrictions on meeting NR, and he almost never says no to any request. He even takes time out from official duties to attend weddings and other private functions. “Whether it is an autorickshaw driver, or a fisherman, he will never say no to an invitation and he will make it a point to attend,” G Vinayagam, an autorickshaw driver, said.

Puducherry CM N Rangasamy (centre).

Puducherry CM N Rangasamy (centre).

His display of camaraderie though, does not extend beyond private functions and casual banter. From directors of various government departments to bureaucrats, getting an official appointment with Rangasamy has always been a challenge. Every day, they line up on the tennis ground, armed with papers that he needs to approve, only to be sent away. “Many schemes that have been introduced in the Union Territory have been delayed indefinitely because the CM is so unapproachable,” a secretary to government said.

What has gotten Rangasamy elected repeatedly, however, are his populist schemes and freebies, which are focussed on helping the weaker economic sections. He introduced the CENTAC (Centralised Admissions Committee) through which he reimbursed tuition fees for Puducherry students to study engineering and medicine. He also introduced the Rajiv Gandhi breakfast scheme, where government school students were given milk and biscuits for breakfast in addition to the mid-day meal. Rangasamy also increased the amount of old age pension. Freebies ranged from free LPG connections, free rice, laptops, cycles shoes, raincoats for students, mixies and wet grinders.

These schemes, and his simplicity have earned him several sobriquets, including ‘Makkal Mudhalvar’ (People’s Chief Minister) and ‘Puduvai Kamarajar’ (the Kamaraj of Puducherry – Kamaraj is a popular former Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu).

Humble origins

Born in 1950, N Rangasamy was the tenth child of Nadesan Krishnasamy and Panchali, in Muthuraiyarpalayam in Puducherry. At a function after Rangasamy assumed office, his mother recalled how his father had wanted to get rid of baby NR, since a tenth child was considered inauspicious. “My husband asked me to drown the baby since a tenth born baby will bring ruin to the people, but I fought for my child’s right to live, and now he is the Chief Minister,” Panchali had proudly announced.

Rangasamy’s family owned a small patch of land in the area that was being cultivated by his parents. An average student, he studied at the Muthuraiyarpalayam Government School, as better education was not affordable for the family. “Even in school he was an enigma. He spoke very little, and none of us knew what he was thinking or what he was planning to do,” a childhood friend remembers.

Once he finished school, Rangasamy studied BCom at Tagore Arts College, and went on to study law at Pondicherry Law College. “Until he was approached by school mate VM Pethaperumal, Rangasamy had no plans to enter politics. He was an avid follower of Kamaraj, and believed in his healthcare and education plans, which was what drove him to enter the Congress,” the friend adds.

For his first election campaign, Rangasamy is believed to have sold his family’s agricultural land. “All the people knew him well. He was a common face in the Thattanchavady area, and had several friends, from tea stall owners to vegetable sellers. When he managed to win the seat in 1991, beating his former political mentor Pethaperumal, it was surprising, but not unexpected,” former Chief Minister and political analyst, D Ramachandran, says.

Since 1991, Rangasamy has been winning with huge margins. “There is a perception that he has given employment and other benefits to the people in his constituency, and he has helped improve the quality of life for the residents of the area.So a number of people have taken a decision to move to Kadirkamam and Thattanchavady over the past 20 years,” a member of the Congress, who wished to remain anonymous, remarks.

Political career

Rangasamy entered politics through the Janata Dal, which was led by Pethaperumal. Following a disagreement over allotment of seats, he quit the party and joined the Congress in 1991, where he defeated Pethaperumal and became the Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation. In 1996, he became the Minister for Education, and in 2001 the Chief Minister for the first time.

He continued as CM after the next elections in 2006, but a nine-month tussle with his cabinet ministers in the DMK-Congress alliance government led to him being replaced by V Vaithilingam, who was in charge for three years.

About four months ahead of the 2011 Assembly polls, Rangasamy started his own party, the All India NR Congress. The newly-formed party allied with Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). When NR Congress won 15 of the 17 seats, NR took a decision to form a government with independent candidate VMC Sivakumar, dissolving the alliance with AIADMK. Expectedly, his move earned him the disfavour of the AIADMK, then the ruling party in Tamil Nadu.

Waning popularity

Despite his schemes, the Pondicherry CM has managed to make quite a few enemies, with many of his friends and close allies deserting him. His current government has been blamed for the closing down of industries, a deteriorating law and order situation, tussles with several senior IAS officers and Lieutenant Governors, and mismanagement of funds leading to many government staff not receiving salaries for months together.

While people still continue to have a soft corner for NR, a growing discontent is evident. “He is a good man, and is always looking out for the people. Even if an auto driver calls him for a family function, he will attend. But he is surrounded by dishonest people, and as a result his schemes have not been implemented,” R Govindan, a resident of Bahour, said.

Over the years, none of these schemes have been properly implemented, and the UT’s funds have been mismanaged, he adds.

“This government has failed to deliver to the people,” V Narayanasamy, former Union Minister for State, and Congress party member said. The Congress and other parties have alleged that Rangasamy, along with other MLAs, have provided backdoor entry to government jobs, with several thousand such jobs being allocated in various government-run corporations and departments in the past couple of months. There has been no infrastructure development, with many projects remaining on paper for years. There has been an increase in law and order troubles for the seaside Union Territory as well.

The government also seems to be mired in debt, with the amount crossing Rs 6000 crore, with an annual interest of over Rs 500 crores. Since 2011, the borrowings have increased, but most freebies announced still remain on paper.

Through it all Rangasamy maintains his cool. While other politicians are busy this time brokering alliances, he has been visiting temples and performing poojas. And while the people express discontent with the current government, he is still confident of winning. “His aim is to remain Chief Minister for as long as he is alive, and is willing to sacrifice anything to ensure he remains in power,” an ally said. For now, any question to Rangasamy by the media is answered by an evasive “Paarpom” (We will see).

To quote one of the party’s MLAs – “It is tough to understand what Rangasamay is planning. Sometimes we wonder if he is able to understand himself”.

Puducherry Elections 2016: EC issues notification

The Election Commission on Friday issued notification for the May 16 Puducherry assembly polls.The publication of the notification paves the way for the candidates to file their nominations from Friday for the 30 member assembly. Last date for filing nominations is April 29 and the scrutiny would be held the next day, Chief Electoral officer of Puducherry V Candavelou said. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is May 2.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union Territory has a total of 9,48,717 voters and 4,97,790 of them are women.
ALSO READ Poll dates for Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry announced; counting of votes on May 19Candavelou said 930 polling booths would be set up and the polling would held from 7 AM to 6 PM. May 19 is the counting date.

Assembly Polls: Puducherry, TN police to work in close coordination till D-day

Karaikal: To curb the movement of anti-social elements ahead of assembly polls, police officers of Karaikal in the Union Territory of Puducheery along with a few neigbouring districts of Tamil Nadu have decided to work in close coordination and step up checking operations.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

Senior Superintendent of Police, Karaikal District, A K Gawas, had convened a meeting of police officers of Karaikal, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts here on Wednesday evening to discuss the security measures in border areas in connection with the May 16 assembly polls in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Nagapattinam SP D Kannan and top officials from the three districts attended the meeting.

Gawas said officers of the three districts have decided to jointly conduct checking operations in border areas.

“It has been decided to have a strict check over the movement of cash, illegal arms, ammunition, explosives, weaponry and illegal trade of alcohol. Moreover, such checking at the borders will prevent movement of cash, freebies and liquor which could be used to induce the voters during the elections,” he said.

Wine shops located in the border areas and anti-social elements residing near the borders would be identified and monitored, he told reporters after the meeting.

The officers also discussed ways for better co-ordination and co-operation between the officers of the two
states and modes for quick dissemination and sharing of information and intelligence, he added.

PTI

West Bengal: TMC calls Congress a watermelon for ‘shameless alliance’ with CPIM

Drawing parallels between a watermelon and the Congress’ condition in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday alleged that the grand old party has formed a ‘shameless alliance’ with the CPI (M) in the state which goes to polls next month.”The Congress Party in Bengal is like watermelon, they are green from outside and red inside. They have got this alliance with CPI (M), it is a shameless alliance, we all know they have always been together like the watermelons,” TMC leader Dereck O Brien told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further attacked the grand old party for not having an alliance in Kerala. “In Kerala, they should not have any elections, the Congress and the CPI (M) should have a meeting in Delhi and decide who will fight how many seats each one will win, nevertheless the people of Bengal would expose this,” he said.With the Congress and CPI (M) yet to formally announce a tie-up for the West Bengal Assembly polls, the final outcome of the discussions for an alliance is likely to be clear by next week. The assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam and Union Territory of Puducherry will be held between April 4 and May 16 spread over 43 days. Counting of votes in the four states and Puducherry will be held on May 19. There has been considerable difference of opinion in the Left Front regarding alliance with Congress.Only on Sunday, CPI said that they wouldn’t formally enter into an alliance with Congress. Earlier RSP said that Congress is communal which was promptly rebuffed by CPI(M) who said Congress can’t be called as communal. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had called alliance between Congress and Left as opportunistic which is not going to have any impact. Exit polls have predicted an edge for ruling TMC so far.

Statehood for Cooch Behar: Rail Roko movement enters second day

Train services remained disrupted as members of Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association (GCPA) squatted on railway tracks in New Cooch Behar station on Sunday as the rail blockade demanding C category statehood or Union Territory status for Cooch Behar continued.The GCPA agitators, who were sitting on the tracks and holding placards since 6.00 am yesterday, were demanding that representatives of the Home Ministry should come here to talk to them. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>GCPA leader Bangshi Badan Barman said Cooch Behar was included in India following an agreement between the then Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Government of India. Cooch Behar enjoyed status of C category state for about three months but the then Chief Minister of West Bengal Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy included it into the state as a district.The GCPA leader said they will not withdraw the movement their demand of making Cooch Behar a C category state or Union Territory is accepted. The GCPA supporters, led by Barman, are still agitating at New Cooch Behar railway station, a railway official said, adding, many of the agitators were squatting on the rail tracks, he said.Barman said though the stranded rail passengers were suffering, the people of Cooch Behar had been suffering for past 66 years. While several long distance trains were held up at various stations, some were being diverted, the NFR official said.

Rail Roko for Cooch Behar: 3000 demand separate state, disrupts train movement

An indefinite ‘rail roko’ called by the Greater Cooch Behar Peoples Association (GCPA) demanding C category statehood or Union Territory status for Cooch Behar began this morning, disrupting movement of trains. Due to the stir, several long distance trains were held up at various stations, a Northeast Frontier Railway official said in Guwahati.As part of the agitation which began at about 6.00 am today, GCPA supporters squatted on the railway tracks in New Cooch Behar station.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They are demanding that representatives of the Home Ministry should come here to hold talks with them. As a result of the rail roko, Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express was stranded at Salekati in Assam, New Delhi-Dibrugarh Mail at New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal), Howrah-Dibrugarh Kamrup Express at Dhupguri (West Bengal), Up Rajdhani Express and North-East Express at New Jalpaiguri, the Railway official said.While Dn Rajdhani Express (via Kanpur) was stranded at Bongaigaon, Dn Kamrup Express was stranded at Barpeta Road station in Assam. New Jalpaiguri Rangiya passenger train has been cancelled in view of the agitation, the official said. GCPA leader Bangshi Badan Barman said Cooch Behar was included in India following an agreement between the then Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Government of India. Cooch Behar enjoyed status of C category state for about three months but the then West Bengal Chief Minister Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy included Cooch Behar into the state as a district.The GCPA leader said they will not withdraw the movement till their demand to make Cooch Behar a C category state or Union Territory status is accepted.

Alok Kumar Verma to be the next Delhi Police Commissioner

Senior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma will be the next Commissioner of Delhi Police, succeeding incumbent BS Bassi, who will hang his boots on February 29.A 1979-batch Union Territory cadre officer, 58-year-old Verma is currently serving as DG of Tihar prison and will serve as the top police officer of the national capital for 17 months. Sources said the government has cleared the name of Verma as the next Commissioner of Delhi Police and a formal order is expected soon.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Verma will take charge at a time when the Delhi Police is facing severe criticism for handling the JNU row, arising out of the arrest of the university’s students union president Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event commemorating death of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.Bassi has also received flak for allegedly going slow in taking action against those who indulged in violence in Patiala House court today and on Monday. Verma will head the 80,000 strong Delhi Police which is responsible for maintaining law and order in the capital that has a population of more than 1.7 crore. The new Police Commissioner will also have to deal with the Arvind Kejriwal government with which there has been an uneasy relationship ever since AAP came to power a year ago.

Social justice ministry reviews implementation of amended SC/ST Act

Against the backdrop of the suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, the Centre on Wednesday reviewed the implementation of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot chaired a meeting to deliberate on the ways to ensure proper implementation of the Act.The Ministry was in the process of framing rules for the implementation of the Act which came into force from January 26, Gehlot said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Despite the deterrent provisions made in the PoA Act, continuing atrocities against the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had been a cause of concern. Also there is a rise in such cases. There were several crimes which did not fit into the provisions of the earlier Act following which we amended the Act to deliver greater justice to the people belonging to such sections,” said Gehlot.”We are in the process of framing rules for the implementation of the Act. The objective of the meeting is to take suggestions from the states regarding the same and seek details of action taken against cases of crime against the SC and ST members. The aim is to ensure the Act was being implemented in true letter and spirit,” he added.The amended Act has cast a greater responsibility on the concerned state governments and Union Territory administrations to augment the infrastructure and human resources for its implementation.As such the Committee is likely to deliberate on steps to be taken by the concerned states and UTs to effectively implement provisions in the amended law.The new law provides for stringent action against those compelling any member of SC or ST communities to carry human or animal carcasses or do manual scavenging.As per the law, acts like tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of members of SCs and STs, garlanding with chappals, denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights, forcing them to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves, manual scavenging, dedicating SC or ST women as devadasi, abusing their caste name will be treated as offences of atrocities.Other new offences include imposing social or economic boycott, hurting a SC or ST woman by removing her garments, forcing a member of SC/ST to leave house, village or residence, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against members of SCs and STs etc.

L-G has statutory power to disagree with govt: Centre tells Delhi High Court

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the L-G has the statutory power to disagree with the city government and when a decision is taken in his name, files have to be shown to him.

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. ReutersDelhi L-G Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Reuters

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Reuters

Continuing his argument before the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain said the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) is different from Governor because the former can disagree with the council of ministers.

“There cannot be a situation that a decision is taken in the name of LG, but you (GNCTD) will not show him the files. For normal smooth governance, LG agrees with the council of ministers and even if he has to disagree, the concerned paper and file has to be on his table.

“LG is different from Governor because he can disagree with council of ministers. And the extent of disagreement can be on any matter or on all matters. These are the statutory powers given to L-G,” Jain said.

The submissions were made by the ASG during the final hearing on the issue of interpretation of Article 239AA regarding the powers of the L-G on the governance of Delhi.

A total of eleven cases arising out of the spat between the L-G and the Delhi government, are being heard together by the bench headed by the Chief Justice.

He further said that “though we may say NCT or GNCTD, but still Delhi is not a full-fledged state as it is a different kind of state or rather a Union Territory (UT).”

“There are several UTs but all UTs are not alike. Laws on the consitutional position can be different in various UTs. Article 239AA of the constitution envisages a legislature for a UT but not all UTs. Like Andaman and Nicobar which does not have a legislature,” he said.

The ASG said that it cannot be claimed by any legislature, legislative body or any government that the
Centre has a grudge against it or has taken its power.

“The basic character of Delhi remains unaltered as Union Territory even today. As far as powers of Parliament for
making laws for UTs are concerned, it is not a prisoner to any list whether it is State list, Union list or Concurrent list,” he said.

He said the UT of Delhi was “a class in itself” but certainly it is not a state and even today Delhi is called a
NCT but actually it is a UT, as per Article 246 of the Constitution.

The ASG’s arguments remained inconclusive and would continue on 8 February.

On 27 January, the Centre had told the court that Delhi remained in its control as it was not a full-fledged state.

The Delhi government on 28 May last year, had approached the high court challenging the Centre’s notification of 21 May last year, giving the LG absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats in the city.

Along with this notification, Delhi government had also challenged the 23 July 2014 notification of the Centre which limited the Anti Corruption Branch’s jurisdiction to Delhi government officials only.

PTI

Jakarta-like blasts prompt Rajnath Singh to hold IS-specific meet

For the first time, Union home minister Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting on Saturday to specifically address the countermeasures to IS threats. The ministry had held one such meet earlier.It was the steady penetration and growing acts of terrorism by the IS in countries other than their main areas of influence, like the latest suicide attacks in Jakarta, that made the Indian security establishment to put in their own arrangements in place to thwart any such possible strikes.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union home minister Rajnath Singh took a day-long meeting with intelligence and investigative agencies and top police officials of 13 states and the Union Territory of Delhi to discuss the IS threat and possible countermeasures.Among the states that attended the meeting were Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.A growing number of youths from these states have been found hooked to online social media forums that brainwash and radicalise and eventually facilitate their recruitment as IS cadres.The Centre has created a dedicated cyber cell to monitor the movement of such youths online. Besides, a number of central intelligence agencies and state police departments are also keeping a tab on such youths.Timely intervention has saved many youths from falling into the vicious trap of the IS. In a recent case, four radicalised youths were caught in Hyderabad in the nick of time when they were about to board a flight.During the day-long interaction, Rajnath Singh sought and discussed the best possible law-enforcement response, appropriate welfare schemes for minorities, social media strategies, and capacity-building of state police organisations, especially in the area of Information Technology, A K Dhatwalia, Union home ministry spokesperson, said.Central agencies and a number of states gave their presentations on the action taken so far and what could be the future response to tackle the menace of IS.A Union home ministry official said that Singh was hopeful that India’s traditional and family values will triumph over this evil. The traction that IS has got in India is extremely limited and almost insignificant relative to other countries, but there is a need to keep vigil on all fronts, he said.The home minister also lauded the efforts of a large number of Muslim organisations in coming out against both the IS and other forms of terrorism.India held a meeting on Saturday to specifically address the countermeasures to IS threats.It was the steady penetration and growing acts of terrorism by the IS in countries other than their main areas of influence, like the latest suicide attacks in Jakarta, that made the Indian security establishment to put in their own arrangements in place to thwart any such possible strikes.Union home minister Rajnath Singh took a day-long meeting with intelligence and investigative agencies and top police officials of 13 states and the Union Territory of Delhi to discuss the IS threat and possible countermeasures.Among the states that attended the meeting were Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.A growing number of youths from these states have been found hooked to online social media forums that brainwash and radicalise and eventually facilitate their recruitment as IS cadres.The Centre has created a dedicated cyber cell to monitor the movement of such youths online. Besides, a number of central intelligence agencies and state police departments are also keeping a tab on such youths.Timely intervention has saved many youths from falling into the vicious trap of the IS. In a recent case, four radicalised youths were caught in Hyderabad in the nick of time when they were about to board a flight.During the day-long interaction, Rajnath Singh sought and discussed the best possible law-enforcement response, appropriate welfare schemes for minorities, social media strategies, and capacity-building of state police organisations, especially in the area of Information Technology, A K Dhatwalia, Union home ministry spokesperson, said.Central agencies and a number of states gave their presentations on the action taken so far and what could be the future response to tackle the menace of IS.A Union home ministry official said that Singh was hopeful that India’s traditional and family values will triumph over this evil. The traction that IS has got in India is extremely limited and almost insignificant relative to other countries, but there is a need to keep vigil on all fronts, he said.The home minister also lauded the efforts of a large number of Muslim organisations in coming out against both the IS and other forms of terrorism.

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