Goa BJP News

Water war: Amit Shah never consulted Goa on Mhadei diversion, say BJP mantris
Times of India | 6 hours ago | |
Times of India
6 hours ago | |

PANAJI: Two days after Union home minister Amit Shah said water-sharing issue between Karnataka and Goa was “resolved” by his party to allow diversion of water to Karnataka in consultation with the Goa government, two BJP ministers of the Pramod Sawant-led government came down heavily on Shah and said it was “condemnable and unacceptable” and no discussion had taken place on water diversion.“I condemn the Union home minister’s statement tooth and nail. We are not against in-basin use of Mhadei’s water. But we are against the water being taken outside its basin by Karnataka for use. It may be anybody, if they speak of out-of-basin use of water of the Mhadei, I will condemn it,” state environment minister Nilesh Cabral said on Monday.State water resources minister Subhash Shirodkar also said Shah’s statement was “unacceptable” and no discussion had taken place on diverting the Mhadei water to Karnataka when the Goa delegation had met the home minister.The ministers’ remarks come close on the heels of widespread anti-BJP sentiment on the Mhadei issue with gram sabhas across the state accusing the government of saying one thing and doing another. Cabral, who is also the law minister, said if the Centre did not support Goa, the state has plenty of legal options still available. He said that the House panel formed in Goa will be meeting Shah in Delhi shortly and will ask him when such a consultation was made with Goa.Goa has filed a petition before the Supreme Court to stop Karnataka from carrying out construction activities based on the detailed project report (DPR) approved by the Centre to divert water from the Mhadei. The petition is likely to come up for hearing on February 13.“The Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal has only given permission to Karnataka to use water for drinking. Now, the statement made (by Shah) is that the water will be used for irrigation. We don’t know what this is,” said Cabral.“I have come here today (Saturday) to tell you that BJP, by finding a solution to the long-pending fight between the two states (Goa and Karnataka), provided the Mhadei water to Karnataka, which will be beneficial to farmers across many districts of Karnataka,” Shah had said at a public rally at Kittur in Belagavi district.Cabral reiterated that chief minister Pramod Sawant had not held any discussion whatsoever with Shah over diverting the Mhadei water in Karnataka’s favour.“I am backing the CM 100% on this. He has not made any such statement (before Shah) and he will not make it. I don’t know how Amit Shah is making this statement,” said Cabral.He said the Goa delegation had earlier gone to meet the home minister in keeping with the legal provision wherein the home minister holds negotiations to resolve any dispute existing between two states.“We don’t have any elections here, so I am condemning his (Shah’s) statement. We have two options. We can resolve it with the support from the central leadership. And if we don’t get support, we have the legal route. We will go to the courts. Ultimately, the judiciary will take all angles into consideration and decide,” said Cabral.“I do not accept the home minister’s statement. When we met him, no such discussion took place. He told us that there are BJP governments in Goa and in Karnataka and that our interests will be taken care of,” said WRD minister Subhash Shirodkar.

Water war: Amit Shah never consulted Goa on Mhadei diversion, say BJP mantris
Goa has a strong legal case on Mhadei: CM Pramod Sawant
Times of India | 7 hours ago | |
Times of India
7 hours ago | |

PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday that Goa has a strong legal case on the Mhadei issue, and that the state would work towards protecting the river.“Once again I am repeating that we are legally strong in the Mhadei fight, and soon you will see the results,” said Sawant. The Supreme Court is likely to hear the interlocutory application filed by Goa on February 13. The petition seeks to stop Karnataka from construction activities based on the detailed project report approved by the Centre to divert water from the Mhadei. tnn Sawant’s statement, after paying floral tributes at the martyrs’ memorial at Azad Maidan, comes in the wake of Union home minister Amit Shah’s declaration that the over three-decade-old Mhadei water sharing issue between Karnataka and Goa was “resolved” by his party to allow diversion of water to Karnataka with the help of the Goa government.Shah’s comments came even as the state is trying to stop the illegal diversion of the Mhadei by Karnataka. At the four-day winter session, after a seven-hour discussion, the Goa assembly unanimously approved a resolution urging the Centre to withdraw the approval granted to Karnataka for the Mhadei diversion.In view of Shah’s statement, village panchayats across the state condemned Shah’s statement. The opposition, too, has demanded that the House committee on Mhadei discusses the issue before it’s too late.The Union home minister on Saturday congratulated the Karnataka CM and the state leaders for having “done a great job by taking along the BJP government in Goa and quenching the thirst of Karnataka by providing Mhadei water”.“I have come here today (Saturday) to tell you that BJP, by finding a solution to the long-pending fight between the two states (Goa and Karnataka), provided the Mhadei water to Karnataka, which will be beneficial to farmers across many districts of Karnataka,” Shah said, addressing a public rally at Kittur in Belagavi district.Earlier, Sawant had led a delegation to Delhi to meet Shah and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to press the state’s demand to withdraw the approval granted to the DPR. The state also demanded the formation of the Mhadei Water Management Authority to stop illegal diversion of water from the Mhadei basin by Karnataka.

Goa has a strong legal case on Mhadei: CM Pramod Sawant
Goa BJP Leader's 'Mahabharata' Comparison Over Karnataka River Dispute
Ndtv | 4 days ago | |
Ndtv
4 days ago | |

Dayanand Mandrekar was a minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led cabinet. (File)Panaji: Former Goa minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dayanand Mandrekar on Friday equated Karnataka's attitude on the Mahadayi river dispute with that of Duryodhana from the epic "Mahabharata", who refused to give any territory to the Pandavas and "bullied everyone".The former water resources minister was addressing a gathering of former legislators on the Mahadayi water diversion issue, where Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was present."Goa and Karnataka are neighbours. In our village, we maintain good relationship with our neighbours as we rely on them in good and bad times," said Mr Mandrekar, who was a minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led cabinet between 2012 and 2017.Goa and Karnataka have been embroiled in a dispute for several years now over the distribution of the Mahadayi river water. Goa has taken objection to Karnataka's proposal to construct dams on Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of the Mahadayi river."But looking at the attitude of Karnataka, I recall Satyayug…Duryodhan had said that he will not part with even a needle point of territory for Pandavas. He was bullying everyone," the BJP leader said, adding that the neighbouring state should understand that people are living in a democracy.The Central Water Commission recently approved a detailed project report (DPR) submitted by Karnataka for the construction of the two dams, to which the Goa government has objected.The Goa government has contended that Karnataka cannot divert water from the river, as it passes through the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located downstream in North Goa.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEarlier this week, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that the state government is making efforts on legal, technical and political fronts and leaving no stone unturned to win the battle for Mahadayi river water.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayWatch: Haryana Chief Minister Showcases His Bike Riding Skills

Goa BJP Leader's 'Mahabharata' Comparison Over Karnataka River Dispute
How 'shaktishaali' Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has ducked mud so far
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

In the wrestling arena or out of it, fighting as a candidate of the BJP or the Samajwadi Party, in the contest as candidate or with his wife as proxy, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has rarely lost a bout. But that streak might end now, with the growing allegations of sexual harassment against him by women wrestlers, who are demanding Singh’s resignation as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).A wrestler who tumbled into politics via the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and who continues to face a case in the Babri Masjid demolition, Singh, 66, has kept his feet planted on the ground courtesy the image of a “dabangg” leader – or a “shaktishaali (powerful)” one, as he likes calling himself — who doesn’t need the BJP as much as the BJP needs him in at least half-a-dozen districts around his native Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.Singh is six-term MP (once from the SP), who has represented Gonda, Balrampur and now moved onto Kaiserganj, while his son Prateek Bhushan is into his second term as MLA from Gonda Sadar.This formidable record also explains why despite several scraps with the party, including the government of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, there has been no attempt to touch his 10-year tenure as the WFI president and as vice-president of the United World Wrestling-Asia.Local leaders talk about the grand celebrations he holds every year on his birthday on January 8, where students shortlisted via a talent search examination are rewarded with motorcycles, Scooty and cash. This year, the event in Gonda and adjoining districts such as Lucknow, Ayodhya, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Balrampur and Barabanki saw the participation of Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary.BJP leaders also mention the goodwill Brij Bhushan Singh has earned due to his active association with more than 50 educational institutions, including engineering, pharmacy, education and law, that that he helped set up in Bahraich, Gonda, Balrampur, Ayodhya and Shrawasti districts.“He has developed an empire in these districts through his clout. He gives a fee waiver to those students who are unable to pay. So, if he wins elections, it is both because of his clout and goodwill,” says a BJP leader from Gonda.At the same time, BJP leaders say, the party has kept its distance by not giving him any position within the organisation and Union government despite his repeated poll wins. His own team of workers look after his constituency including day-to-day issues that might come up.“Singh only takes the symbol of the party. He wins elections on his own,” says another party leader.The confidence means Singh has got away with incidents such as his criticism of the Adityanath government during the floods in the state in October last year. He accused the administration of being ill-prepared, not doing enough for relief, and said people had been left “bhagwan bharose (to the mercy of god)”. Singh also said that the existing government did not tolerate criticism and took it personally.While the Opposition raised the remarks to attack the Adityanath government, Singh did not earn any rebuke from the BJP.He has praised SP leader Azam Khan, one of the BJP’s biggest bugbears in the state, as “a mass leader”, and threatened Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray against visiting Ayodhya till he had apologised publicly for “humiliating” north Indians in Mumbai. The BJP had been courting the MNS leader as an ally at the time of topsy-turvy politics in Maharashtra.In private, the BJP had dismissed Singh’s remarks as publicity stunts.It was due to his association with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and his influence in the areas around Ayodhya that Singh initially came to the notice of the BJP. The party first fielded him from the Gonda Lok Sabha seat in 1991. He won, and never looked back. In 1996, when he did not contest, the party gave a ticket to his wife Ketaki Devi Singh, and she too won.A constant presence at wrestling tournaments, be it national or international, senior or junior, Singh can be spotted with a microphone in hand, overseeing bouts, often shouting out instructions to referees, stopping and starting bouts and, at times, even throwing the rule book at judges. When he can’t be there, he is known to “monitor the proceedings virtually”.Whatever comes of the serious allegations Singh is now facing, that is almost certain to change.

How 'shaktishaali' Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has ducked mud so far
The Numbers Game | BJP, Congress: As go the votes, so go the notes
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

As per the annual reports of political parties released by the Election Commission (EC) Tuesday, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shown total receipts of Rs 1,917.12 crore and expenditure of Rs 854.46 crore in Financial Year 2021-’22. It received contributions through electoral bonds to the tune of Rs 1,033.7 crore.The Congress in its annual audit report for Financial Year 2021-22 has shown its expenditure at Rs 400.41 crore and receipts of Rs 541.27 crore. It has shown grants, donations and contributions to the tune of Rs 347.99 crore.The 2019 to 2020 financial year, which saw the previous Lok Sabha polls, saw the highest income and spending by parties over the last five years. In this period, the BJP’s income touched Rs 3,623.28 crore, as per the Election Commission reports. That year, it declared its expenditure as Rs 1,651.02 crore. The Congress also saw its income go up to Rs 682.2 crore, while its expenditure was Rs 998.15 crore.Analysis of data over the last five years shows that there has been a fluctuation in the incomes and expenditures of the two parties. Besides the poll year, the BJP’s income in the year 2017-’18 was relatively high at Rs 1027.3 crore. The following financial year, 2018-’2019, it was the lowest at Rs 241 crore.A look at how the two parties income and expenditure fared in the previous years:BJP Income over the yearsCongress income over the years

The Numbers Game | BJP, Congress: As go the votes, so go the notes
In PM Modi’s message to BJP, the subtext: To find another gear, create soft power and goodwillPremium Story
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

BJP leaders have said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the concluding session of the party’s national executive meeting had a clear message — focus on creating a “soft power” and “goodwill” to expand the party and increase its tally in the 2024 general elections to take the BJP’s journey of electoral victories to the next level.In the address, which emphasised on reaching out to more of the marginalised, minorities and small communities, Modi urged the BJP cadre to embrace the fact that the BJP is the ruling party at the Centre and many key states, and “think beyond conventional politics and electoral politics”.“To me, Prime Minister Modi was saying that the BJP should adopt a new style of politics to create soft power and goodwill among all sections of the people. He wants the BJP to create a positive atmosphere. The goodwill and soft power should help increase the BJP’s tally in the next Lok Sabha elections,” said a senior BJP leader.Modi’s reference to the age group of 18-25 in his speech also indicated that the party would also focus on that age group — youths in that age group are keen on development and a corruption-free government, according to Modi — to turn it into a strong loyal BJP support base.Party sources said the prime minister’s speech had given a clear signal that both the government and the party would take several initiatives in the coming days to see that the BJP gets more seats in the Lok Sabha elections. “Every step in the coming days, including the Budget, would keep that in mind,” said a party MP.In his speech to the national executive, Modi asked party members to reach out to every section of society, including the marginalised and minority communities, “without electoral considerations”. He wants BJP workers to reach out to Pasmandas, Bohras, Muslim professionals, and educated Muslims as a confidence-building measure and without expecting votes in return.Modi, who had a notebook with points scribbled on it while speaking, reiterated his message of reaching out to marginalised groups among the minorities at the Hyderbad National Executive meeting too. He also spoke about the Sikh community that, according to him, has a positive feeling about the BJP. He pointed out that the Sikh community is present in many districts outside Punjab too and the BJP cadre “should not ignore them” thinking they are too small to make any electoral difference.Recalling what the PM spoke about, a BJP leader said, “He said don’t always think about votes only. He also mentioned the small groups of backward communities and said they always stood by the BJP since the Jana Sangh days. He said there are small communities like Bohras, among whom there are several educated Muslims. They do not vote for the BJP but cooperate with the party in many activities. The Prime Minister specifically said Muslims would not vote for the BJP, but that should not stop us from reaching out to them.”A party leader said, “The target is to increase the BJP’s tally from 303 and return to power with more glory. Because the positive atmosphere will create a favourable situation for us — to talk about development work and to expand our base.”Another significant point the Prime Minister harped on was India’s global positioning. According to Modi, the global situation post Covid has a “lot of prospects and chances” and India should let them pass by. Even the national executive statement on the G-20 presidency mentioned the changed world order in the last nine years. According to BJP vice president Baijayant Panda who briefed the media on the statement, the G-20 and, in general, the world is “full of admiration” as India not only dealt with the Covid crisis but also reached out with help to other countries.Panda said BJP workers, in their individual capacity, would work to connect society as the country hosts over 200 G20-related events in more than 50 places. He added it was an opportunity to connect the society and showcase India’s progress and its rich heritage as delegates from not only the elite bloc of 20 leading economies but also many multilateral bodies such as the International Monetary Fund would visit India.

In PM Modi’s message to BJP, the subtext: To find another gear, create soft power and goodwillPremium Story
All eyes on BJP as party is yet to decide on candidate for Kasba bypoll
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

With more than a month to go for the Kasba Assembly bypoll in Maharashtra, all eyes are on the BJP, which is yet to announce its candidate. The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of sitting BJP legislator Mukta Tilak. While a few local BJP leaders have demanded that the party field a member of the Tilak family to enable an unopposed election as a tribute to Mukta Tilak, a former Pune mayor, other aspirants are waiting in the wings.After Tilak succumbed to cancer last month, BJP leader Ujjwal Keskar publicly made a statement urging the party to consider her husband Shailesh or son Kunal as their candidate for the bypoll scheduled on February 27.“The Kasba bypoll should be unopposed as a tribute to Mukta Tilak and the party should support a member of the Tilak family. Thus, a request has been made to BJP leaders to provide a ticket to a Tilak family member,” said Keskar.According to BJP sources, while the party is yet to take a decision, the Tilak family is not averse to contesting the election if a family member gets a party ticket.However, as the Tilak family members lack political experience, this has raised hopes among other aspirants, including Ganesh Bidkar, Hemant Rasane and Dheeraj Ghate. The name of Medha Kulkarni, former BJP legislator from Kothrud Assembly seat, is also making the rounds. She was asked to refrain from contesting elections to make way for then state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil to contest from the Kothrud seat, which was considered to safe seat for BJP. Kulkarni had registered her protest but was later pacified and made vice-president of the national unit of the BJP women’s wing.From the Opposition, Congress leader Arvind Shinde, the city unit chief who lost to Mukta Tilak in 2019, said he has already conveyed to the party that the local unit was ready to contest the seat. The Congress also has another aspirant, Ravindra Dhangekar, who contested the seat as a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate in 2014 and lost to Girish Bapat.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Rupali Patil Thombare, who recently switched sides from MNS, has also expressed her wish to contest the Kasba bypoll if her party permits. Thombare had pointed out that the BJP has been fielding candidates in bypolls for seats that were vacated due to the demise of other politicians. However, she was pulled up for going public with her wish to contest.Local Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have also conveyed their readiness to contest the Kasba bypoll.The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance is likely to come up with a strategy for the bypoll elections. They are presently contesting state Legislative Council seats as an alliance.

All eyes on BJP as party is yet to decide on candidate for Kasba bypoll
Vijai Sardesai: Build all 59 dams to tap Mhadei water
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PROVORIM: If permission to Karnataka’s detailed project report (DPR) for the Mhadei water diversion is not withdrawn by the Centre, then chief minister Pramod Sawant should never use the term ‘doubleengine sarkar’ again, Fatorda GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai said in the House on Thursday. This will be a failure of the double-engine government, and it will prove that having a BJP government at the Centre and in the state has no meaning, he said. Sardesai moved an amendment to the house resolution on the Mhadei and demanded that a resolution be passed by the House stating that within the next six months the Goa government will take up work on all 59 projects to tap the Mhadei’s water, as recommended by the 1999 masterplan. This will make the state’s case against Karnataka stronger, he said. “During the last assembly session, the CM said that the coal handling capacity at Mormugao port will not be increased at any cost. But, yesterday, approval was received to increase coal handling,” said Sardesai, adding the same may happen in the case of the Mhadei diversion issue, despite chief minister Pramod Sawant’s assurances. He said that it is not the opposition that is playing politics over the Mhadei issue. That the approval to Karnataka’s diversion project came ahead of elections there shows that BJP at the Centre is using it as a political issue, he said. “Our advocate general says that no water has been diverted from the main Mhadei, but water from the Kalasa and the Bhandura nullahs have been diverted. This is like saying that one hand and one leg of a patient have been amputated, but he is doing fine.” He said that while the government did not even find the issue worth mentioning in the governor’s address, it was good to see the issue now being discussed as critical by BJP MLAs. “The ruling MLAs are saying the BJP government will give justice on the Mhadei issue, and we are supposed to silently accept it and go along with it. You cannot expect us to be cheerleaders,” said Sardesai. Sardesai said that an amendment brought by Union minister Prakash Jawadekar allows states like Karnataka to go ahead with drinking water projects without any forest clearances, which will make it simpler for Karnataka to bulldoze its water diversion works.

Vijai Sardesai: Build all 59 dams to tap Mhadei water
  • Build dams, Goa can export water, Naik reiterates
  • Times of India

    Porvorim: Amidst a serious debate on Karnataka’s plans to divert water from the Mhadei river basin, agriculture minister Ravi Naik once again reiterated his plan to build several dams across Goa to store rainwater for consumption and export. Naik said that Goa can use the dam water to earn foreign exchange through export of water. “The central government should give us Rs 20,000 crore and we can build as many dams that we want, and we can store as much water as we want,” said Naik. Naik was speaking on a government resolution to demand that the Centre withdraw the approvals granted to Karnataka’s detailed project report for water diversion from the Mhadei. Naik said that Goa gets a significant amount of rain, which is not efficiently utilised. He said that Goa can even explore the possibility of exporting water to countries in exchange for fuel. “The approvals for DPR should be withdrawn by the Centre. There can be wars over water in the future and for this we need to be alert,” said Naik.

  • To utilise Mhadei, Goa planned 61 dams in ’99, only 2 are ready
  • Times of India

    On the Goa-Karnataka border, at the foothills of the Western Ghats, a tiny village is in the eye of a storm. It is in this village of Kankumbi, where Karnataka has started its work of diverting water from the Mhadei.Four short concrete pillars in the Kankumbi forest range, across the Kalasa, stand testimony to Karnataka’s intention to divert water from Goa’s lifeline into the Malaprabha basin.Further north of the Kalasa, there are large canals carrying water into the Malaprabha basin. This work began without any forest clearances. But even as Karnataka has embarked on the Mhadei diversion project—officially and unofficially—the tiny state of Goa continues to keep going back to the drawing board, deliberating and discussing ways and most often than not failing to come up with solutions to utilise the Mhadei water.Over three decades after a masterplan was drawn in 1999 to utilise the Mhadei’s water by envisaging 61 projects across the river, Goa has only the Anjunem and the Amthane reservoirs to show.Goa had even submitted before the Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal that it intends to meet the demand for its ‘major uses’ through these projects and 61 dams are required to meet Goa’s water requirement up to 2051. But except for the two reservoirs, the rest 59 projects continue to remain on paper, with the state initiating the process for 10 minor dams just two years ago. Karnataka has long argued that the Mhadei’s waters flow into the sea and therefore, it should be allowed to divert only to meet its “drinking water requirements” in Hubballi and Dharwad.Manoj Borkar, who has been researching Goa’s faunal taxa for three decades, said that Karnataka’s argument that Goa is allowing its water to flow into the sea is foolish at best.“That is the natural cycle of the river. If the flow is stopped it would not be a river. The Mhadei is a river upstream, which as it meanders down turns into an estuary before it meets the sea. The delicate balance in salinity in its coastal plains is maintained by a cycle of precipitation and evaporation, which will be destroyed if the water flow is stopped at Kankumbi,” he said.But it is only in 2020, more than two decades later, that the Goa water resources department initiated the process to set up 10 minor dams in the Mandovi basin and soil investigation was carried out with assistance from the forest department.Of the 10 minor reservoirs for which survey and investigation work was taken up, work on two located at Dharbandora in Kajumol and in Tatodi was expected to be taken up first. But with the matter now pending before the Supreme Court, Goa will require several clearances before the work can begin.“The projects still need to go through many stages, environment impact assessment and get forest and wildlife clearances. The projects also need approval of the central water commission of the Union ministry of water resources — irrespective of the fact that they are minor projects — since they are in a contested basin,” said a senior government official.A report by a private entity, on behalf of the Goa Energy Development Agency and the water resources department, has clearly stated that there is a potential for hydro power projects at nine locations across the state, including on the Mhadei’s waters at Harvalem waterfall, Anjunem dam and Amthane minor irrigation tank.Initial reviews of site conditions indicate that 100kW, 70kW and 20kW micro hydro machines can be installed at site locations.“Hydroelectricity projects were first conceptualised on the Mhadei in the 1960s and even the foundation stone was laid. Though it was found unfeasible at the time, new technology now makes it feasible. The draft State Water Policy, 2021, had also suggested that the process of setting up hydro power plants in Goa’s river basins needs to be expedited,” said an expert.A study by SR Shetye (former director of National Institute of Oceanography), D Shankar, Neetu S and K Suprit shows that the run-off from the Mandovi is much higher than the present dam storage capacity created by the Goa government to date.“The only functional dam on the Mandovi is the Anjunem Dam. The storage capacity of the dam is 45Mcum, less than 1% of the runoff estimated in Panaji. On the Zuari, there exists a much bigger dam, the Selaulim dam. With a storage capacity of about 227Mcum (about 10% of the Zuari’s virgin flow at its mouth near Cortalim),” said the study. Experts like Sachin Tendulkar, a 2007 Fulbright scholar who has studied hydrological problems in Australia, reckon that Goa must get serious about managing its water resources better and should start by drawing catchment management plans.“Water basins are unique. We need to arrive at this golden mean as to what extent we can stretch our catchment areas. The Mhadei issue is a wake-up call,” he said.

Be assertive, pro-active in fight against K’taka over Mhadei: Vijai
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Provorim: If permission to Karnataka’s detailed project report (DPR) for the Mhadei water diversion is not withdrawn by the Centre, then chief minister Pramod Sawant should never use the term ‘double-engine sarkar’ again, Fatorda GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai said in the House on Thursday.This will be a failure of the double-engine government, and it will prove that having a BJP government at the Centre and in the state has no meaning, he said.Sardesai moved an amendment to the house resolution on the Mhadei and demanded that a resolution be passed by the House stating that within the next six months the Goa government will take up work on all 59 projects to tap the Mhadei’s water, as recommended by the 1999 masterplan.This will make the state’s case against Karnataka stronger, he said, stressing that the state government needs to be pro-active and assertive in its fight against Karnataka over the Mhadei diversion.“During the last assembly session, the CM said that the coal handling capacity at Mormugao port will not be increased at any cost. But, yesterday, approval was received to increase coal handling,” said Sardesai, adding the same may happen in the case of the Mhadei diversion issue, despite chief minister Pramod Sawant’s assurances.He said that it is not the opposition that is playing politics over the Mhadei issue. That the approval to Karnataka’s diversion project came ahead of elections there shows that BJP at the Centre is using it as a political issue, he said.“Our advocate general says that no water has been diverted from the main Mhadei, but water from the Kalasa and the Bhandura nullahs have been diverted. This is like saying that one hand and one leg of a patient have been amputated, but he is doing fine.” He said that while the government did not even find the issue worth mentioning in the governor’s address, it was good to see the issue now being discussed as critical by BJP MLAs.“The ruling MLAs are saying the BJP government will give justice on the Mhadei issue, and we are supposed to silently accept it and go along with it. You cannot expect us to be cheerleaders,” said Sardesai.Sardesai said that an amendment brought by Union minister Prakash Jawadekar allows states like Karnataka to go ahead with drinking water projects without any forest clearances, which will make it simpler for Karnataka to bulldoze its water diversion works.

Be assertive, pro-active in fight against K’taka over Mhadei: Vijai
Cutting across party lines, MLAs refer to TOI reports on Mhadei issue
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: Waving a copy of The Times of India in the state assembly on Thursday during a seven-hour discussion on attempts to divert water from Goa’s largest river, the Mhadei, chief minister Pramod Sawant asked each of the MLAs to read the series of reports published in TOI over the past four days explaining how Maharashtra and Karnataka are attempting to dam Goa’s rivers from all sides.“The Times of India reports over the past few days have explained very well how water is being tapped from different locations (by Karnataka and Maharashtra). Each one must read it to fully understand how it is being done,” Sawant said during a special discussion in the House on Karnataka’s project getting approval from the Centre to divert water from the Mhadei.Besides Sawant, legislators cutting across party lines waved TOI editions in the House, taking cognisance of the reports.“Our fight for water has only begun with the Mhadei. Maharashtra and Karnataka have already started diverting water from different rivers of Goa, as shown by the series of reports by The Times of India,” said Fatorda MLA and Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai.TOI had carried a series of reports on how Goa’s second largest river, the Zuari, will also be affected by the water diversion by Karnataka, how Maharashtra has also started damming Goa’s rivers without authorisation and how the Goa government’s failure to notify tiger reserve has weakened its case.“As per the 1999 masterplan, 61 bandharas or minor dams had been planned by the government to be constructed to tap the Mhadei’s waters. But, like The Times of India report has pointed out, work on only two—Anjunem and Amthane—have been completed. Work on 59 others was never taken up,” said Sardesai.Referring to another TOI report that pointed out how Karnataka has reduced the forest area needed for the Mhadei water diversion project to be able to bypass the law and make it easier for it to get forest clearance, BJP’s Taleigao MLA Jennifer Monserrate said: “Karnataka is employing such tactics to divert the Mhadei waters.”Scientific approach is needed on the issue, as pointed by the TOI reports, said AAP MLA from Benaulim Venzy Viegas, while BJP MLA from Mormugao Sankalp Amonkar, too, said, “The Times of India has explained in detail how water is diverted and the explanation needs to be read by each of us.”As forest minister Vishwajit Rane, who has stated in the past that he does not favour a tiger reserve in Goa, said that he has stopped reading newspapers due to the various reports over the past few days, Congress MLA from Quepem Altone D’Costa said Rane does not read the newspapers because they ‘have shown the bitter truth’.

Cutting across party lines, MLAs refer to TOI reports on Mhadei issue
Goa CM promises to expedite disbursal of social security benefits
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PORVORIM: The Goa government will attempt to expedite disbursal of all social welfare schemes to ensure that beneficiaries get the funds in a time bound manner, said chief minister Pramod Sawant. Sawant said that he was aware of the delays in disbursals.The opposition and even legislators from the ruling side had expressed dismay over the inordinate delay in disbursal of scheme benefits, particularly Griha Aadhaar, Laadli Laxmi, Dayanand Social Security Scheme and other tribal benefit schemes.“I have told the social welfare department, whether it is Atal Asra Yojana, DSSS… all the schemes will be expedited,” said Sawant.While claiming that all the budget promises have been fulfilled, Sawant also said that the scheme to provide three domestic gas cylinders free of cost to Below Poverty Line families, is expected to be rolled out soon. “Giving gas cylinders to BPL families will be done as soon as we can. It is in the file process,” said Sawant.During the discussion on the motion of thanks to the governor’s speech, legislators cutting across party lines had complained about the delayed disbursal of funds to beneficiaries, particularly the elderly, persons with disabilities and widows.“I would stress that this money should always go in time because the beneficiaries wait for this money. This financial provision should be made on every 30th of the month so that they can use this money for different purposes,” said BJP legislator Michael Lobo.Lobo pointed out that the subsistence provided by the state helps the elderly and marginalized section buy medicines, groceries and pay bills. The government disburses around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 to various sections of society under the DSSS scheme and Griha Aadhaar scheme. Under the Laadli Laxmi scheme, women are provided with a lump sum amount to meet marriage expenses.“I am requesting that our government release all the funds to our women in a regular and timely basis because this will help the women,” said BJP legislator Deviya Rane.Opposition leader Yuri Alemao blamed the government’s financial mismanagement for the delay in benefit disbursals. “The social welfare schemes are pending for so many years. The minister needs to be given funds because this goes to the people who really require it. These people wait for months for this Rs 2,500 or Rs 3,000. The government needs to give some attention to this issue. So many girls have not got their Laadli Laxmi funds. These dues must be cleared,” said Alemao.

Goa CM promises to expedite disbursal of social security benefits
Decision 2023: After massive gains last time, task cut out for BJP in coming Northeast polls
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The coming elections in the Northeastern states of Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya will see the BJP fighting to keep hold of the gains it made in the region in 2018. While the BJP is in power in Tripura, it is a part of the ruling coalitions with the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in Nagaland and with the National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya.The term of the three assemblies, which have 60 members each, is set to end in March. Tripura will vote on February 16 and Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27. Votes will be counted on March 2.A look at how the previous elections panned out and what is at stake now:The Nationalist Democratic People’s Party (NDPP) and the BJP contested the elections together. While the BJP won an unprecedented 12 seats, the NDPP’s Neiphiu Rio became the Chief Minister.This year, the state will again see an election in the shadow of the long-awaited final settlement to the Naga political question. It was in hope of this that all parties here joined hands in 2021 to form the UDA.The Naga People’s Front (NPF), which once ruled the state, has announced that it will be contesting the election alone and against the NDPP-BJP coalition. Like in 2018, both parties have announced a pre-poll alliance, with the BJP set to contest 20 seats and the NDPP the remaining 40.NPF – 26 (38.78%)NDPP – 17 (25.30%)BJP – 12 (15.31%)Independents – 1 (4.28%)JD(U) –1 (4.49%)There are fissures between the BJP and the National People’s Party (NPP) led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. In the 2018 election, Sangma’s party was backed by the BJP and the regional parties but contested 53 of the 60 seats on its own. The impression that the BJP is anti-Christian has been hard to shrug off, with misgivings of the community further strengthened after the surfacing of a letter by the Assam Police Special Branch seeking information from local police stations in BJP-ruled Assam on religious conversions and the number of churches in the state.The most vocal Opposition party against the BJP in the state is the Trinamool Congress (TMC), a new entrant in Meghalaya. In November 2021, 12 of 17 sitting Congress MLAs, led by former Chief Minister and six-time MLA Mukul Sangma, switched over to it. Mukul Sangma, a popular leader, can help the party, especially in his home turf of Garo Hills, which sends as many as 24 MLAs to the 60-member Assembly.BJP – 2 (9.63%)Congress – 21 (28.50%)Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) – 2 (5.35%)NPP – 19 (20.6%)United Democratic Party – 6 (11.61%)Khun Hyniewtrap National Awakening Movement – 1 (0.9%)The BJP came to power in the state for the first time in 2018, ending a 25-year reign of the Left Front. On May 14, 2022, in an abrupt change, the BJP dropped Biplab Deb and brought in the relatively low-key Manik Saha as CM. The Congress and CPI(M) are trying to put up a fight together, and there is increasing talk of an alliance between the two, while the tribal TIPRA Motha party, formed in 2021, may take away tribal votes of BJP’s ally IPFT. TIPRA Motha may end up being a decisive factor in the elections.BJP – 35 (43.59%)CPI(M) – 16 (42.22%)IPFT – 8 (7.38%)

Decision 2023: After massive gains last time, task cut out for BJP in coming Northeast polls
KCR sets sights on 2024 Lok Sabha polls with mega Oppn rally in Khammam
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Setting stage for an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) held its first public meeting in Telangana’s Khammam on Wednesday.The meeting, which saw a massive turnout, assumes political significance as it is the first public meeting after the TRS decided to go national by renaming itself as BRS. It also saw the participation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and CPI’s D Raja.Watch Live: BRS Party’s mammoth public meeting at Khammam, Telangana. #BRSforIndia #AbkiBaarKisanSarkar https://t.co/GjiibdkQct— BRS Party (@BRSparty) January 18, 2023Telangana, where the BJP is trying to establish itself as an alternative to the BRS, will go to polls later this year.Addressing the rally first, Kerala CM Vijayan said the public meeting is being held at a time when the “democracy is under attack by those at the Centre”. He also lauded KCR to have taken the initiative to bring like-minded CMs together and start a people’s movement. CM Vijayan further extended his state’s support to the pro-policies being taken by the Telangana government.Vijayan claimed that elected governments are being toppled and that efforts are on to portray Hindi as the national language while sidelining the mother tongues. “Imposing Hindi by doing away mother tongues threatens the unity of the country,” he added.Highlighting the recent controversy over Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s remarks on the issue of the powers of the judiciary vis-a-vis the legislature, Vijayan said that even the judiciary was under attack.Before arriving in Khammam, KCR and the top Opposition leaders visited the Yadagirigutta in two helicopters to offer prayers at a temple. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM Vijayan, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI national general secretary D. Raja, state ministers Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Talasani Srinivas Yadav, MP Joginapally Santosh Kumar, and MLC K Kavitha were also present.Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on October 5 last year changed its name to ‘BRS’, heralding the party’s foray into national politics.– With PTI inputs

KCR sets sights on 2024 Lok Sabha polls with mega Oppn rally in Khammam
PM’s words important for us: MP Home Minister on Modi’s suggestion to party workers to refrain from ‘unnecessary remarks’
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that BJP workers should refrain from making unnecessary remarks on irrelevant issues such as movies, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said his words are important for the party members.Mishra had last month objected to actor Deepika Padukone’s attire in ‘Besharam Rang’ song in Hindi film “Pathaan”. The minister had earlier also raised objections over certain content in some other movies and web series while defending Indian culture and traditions.In his address to the BJP national executive on Tuesday, PM Modi suggested party workers to refrain from making unnecessary remarks on irrelevant issues such as movies, saying that they put the party’s development agenda on the back-burner, party sources said. When asked about Modi’s remarks and whether his name was mentioned by the PM, Mishra, who is also the spokesperson of the Madhya Pradesh government, told reporters, “Nobody was named, but his (PM Modi’s) every word, sentence is important for us and that is why all the workers have drawn inspiration from there.Our conduct and behavior’s are always filled with his guidance and energy and will continue to be in future.” Mishra, a powerful minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet, often hits headlines for his controversial comments – whether they are related to films or leaders of other political parties.Last month, while objecting to Deepika Padukone’s saffron costume in the song from “Pathaan”, Mishra had warned if certain scenes were not “corrected”, the government would consider what to do about its screening.Mishra had also said that Padukone had been a supporter of the “Tukde Tukde gang” as seen in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) case. In January 2020, Padukone had visited the JNU to extend her support to the students protesting against violence at the campus.Before finding “faults” in the song ‘Besharm Rang’ and calling for their rectification, Mishra had in October last year warned the makers of another Bollywood film, “Adipurush”, based on the epic Ramayana, of legal action if scenes showing Hindu religious figures in a “wrong” way were not removed.In July, he had directed authorities to file an FIR (First Information Report) over a controversial poster of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary ‘Kaali’ after an outrage.

PM’s words important for us: MP Home Minister on Modi’s suggestion to party workers to refrain from ‘unnecessary remarks’
Bhupinder Hooda urges Haryana govt to hike support price of sugarcane, holds talks with farmers
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Former Haryana Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda Wednesday demanded an increase in the support price of sugarcane in the state without further delay. The demand of the farmers agitating for a hike in the State Advised Price (SAP) of sugarcane is completely justified, Hooda said after a meeting with a delegation of farmers, who have been on a warpath for quite some time.During the meeting, Hooda told the farmers that the Congress party stands with them. “The demand of the sugarcane farmers was also raised by the party in the Assembly. The sugarcane season is coming to an end, but till now the government has not raised the rate by a single penny,” he said.Citing statistics, Hooda said the increase in the rate of sugarcane during the eight-and-a-quarter years of BJP, and BJP-JJP government is insufficient, more so when seen in the context of increasing input prices. “The Congress government in the state had increased the SAP of sugarcane from Rs 117 to Rs 310 per quintal. During the nine-and-a-half years of Congress tenure, there was a 165% increase in the rate of sugarcane, but the BJP increased only 17% in eight-and-a-half years. The Congress used to give an increase every year, which this government did in eight years,” he said. “The surprising part is that this year the government did not increase the rate by a single penny. Because of these excesses of the government, the farmers have to agitate on the streets again and again,” he stated.Hooda has also supported the ‘sarpanches’ (village heads) agitating against e-tendering. “The government is destroying the democratic system by taking away the right of the elected sarpanches to get the development work done in the village. E-tendering system is a means of depriving the village of development and centralization of corruption,” he alleged.“No one accepts the government’s statement that e-tendering will reduce corruption. Corruption is at its peak in municipal corporations, municipalities, B&R, mining etc and all government departments. The BJP and JJP government should advise sarpanches only after it reforms itself as the government is itself immersed in corruption from head to toe,” he added.

Bhupinder Hooda urges Haryana govt to hike support price of sugarcane, holds talks with farmers
Election Commission announces bypolls to Kasba Peth, Chinchwad Assembly seats in Maharashtra
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The Election Commission of India (ECI) Wednesday announced the dates for the by-polls to Kasba Peth and Chinchwad Assembly constituencies in Maharashtra. The seats had fallen vacant after the deaths of the sitting MLAs. Both the seats had BJP MLAs –Mukta Tilak in Kasba Peth and Laxman Jagtap in Chinchwad.As per the schedule announced by the ECI, the polling for the seats will take place on February 27. The results will be announced on March 2.Along with the bye-election in Kasba Peth and Chinchwad, the ECI announced by-polls for one parliamentary constituency in Lakshadweep and one Assembly constituency each in Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. The last date for filing of nomination is February 7 and for the withdrawal of nomination is February 10. BJP Kasba Peth MLA Tilak, who was a former Pune mayor, succumbed to cancer on December 22.Jagtap died after a protracted illness at a private hospital in Baner on January 3. He was 59. Speculations are rife on ticket allotment by the BJP. Opposition parties are reportedly keen on seeing if the BJP fields family members of the deceased leaders or allots tickets to others. In the case of Kasba Peth constituency, MVA allies Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP, and the Congress are said to be keen on fighting the bypolls if the BJP fields a candidate from outside the Tilak family.

Election Commission announces bypolls to Kasba Peth, Chinchwad Assembly seats in Maharashtra
‘Clear message to BJP’: Oppn bigwigs in tow, KCR gears up for Khammam
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is all set to address a massive public meeting at Khammam on Wednesday evening. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 5 pm, will also be attended by national Opposition heavyweights, sending out a message to the BJP.All roads leading to Khammam are choked with traffic as thousands of vehicles with supporters of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) proceed to the venue. This is the first mega public rally of the CM, popularly known as KCR, since his party changed its name from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.Before arriving in Khammam, KCR and the top Opposition leaders visited the Yadagirigutta in two helicopters to offer prayers at a temple. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI national general secretary D. Raja, state ministers Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Talasani Srinivas Yadav, MP Joginapally Santosh Kumar, and MLC K Kavitha were also present. KCR and the Opposition leaders will fly to Khammam from Yadadri in two choppers.On Chief Minister Sri K Chandrashekhar Rao’s invitation, all of them came to Pragathi Bhavan at 9.45 am on Wednesday morning.On this occasion, CM KCR hosted breakfast for the national leaders.#BRSforIndia #AbkiBaarKisanSarkar pic.twitter.com/hbe2soaoHk— BRS Party (@BRSparty) January 18, 2023The public meeting has been billed as a massive show of strength and a precursor to the formation of an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Telangana, where the BJP is trying to establish itself as an alternative to the BRS, will go to polls later this year.State minister T Harish Rao said BRS and the other party leaders would send a “loud and clear message to the BJP” that they were ready to face it and throw a challenge. “The entire BRS leadership including state and district level leaders will attend the meeting. At least five lakh people are expected to attend. It will surpass the meeting held at Karimnagar in 2001 when the TRS was launched,” said the minister.For the meeting, BRS leaders have mobilised cadre from the 10 Assembly constituencies of the former Khammam district and four other nearby districts.At the rally, KCR will outline his national vision for his party and announce farmer-friendly policies. Several leaders of farmer unions and associations will attend the meeting.BRS leaders said the transformation of the TRS to the BRS was drawing attention and response from all corners of the country as an alternative political force under the leadership of KCR.

‘Clear message to BJP’: Oppn bigwigs in tow, KCR gears up for Khammam
Oppn leaders hit out at Tejasvi for 'compromising passengers' safety'
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Opposition party leaders came down heavily on the BJP after the incident of its Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya allegedly trying to open the emergency exit door of the Indigo Flight was reported. Tejasvi Surya, national president of the BJP Yuva Morcha and the party’s MP from Bengaluru South, allegedly opened the emergency exit door of an IndiGo aircraft before takeoff, at the Chennai airport on December 10 last year.Calling out the BJP VIP ‘Brats’, Congress MP Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “The BJP VIP Brats ! How dare the airline complain? Is it the norm for the BJP power elite? Did it compromise passenger safety? Ohhh! U can’t ask questions about BJP’s entitled VIP’s !”The BJP VIP Brats !How dare the airline complain?Is it the norm for the BJP power elite?Did it compromise passenger safety?Ohhh!U can’t ask questions about BJP’s entitled VIP’s !https://t.co/BbyJ0oEcN6— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) January 17, 2023Sharing a picture of Surya and Indigo jet, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, without naming the BJP MP, tweeted, “Seems someone is too eager to achieve big in political life. It doesn’t happen this way. Success in politics is a factor of humility and perseverance, not volatility and arrogance.”Seems someone is too eager to achieve big in political life. It doesn't happen this way. Success in politics is a factor of humility and perseverance, not volatility and arrogance.#Indigohttps://t.co/hj5wVS57Ro— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 18, 2023Asking for strict action, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted. “Has ? Indigo reported this incident to DGCA? Shouldn’t one? take suo moto cognisance of this incident? What if this happened once the aircraft had taken off rather than when it was taxiing on the runway, should an apology suffice?”Has ⁦@IndiGo6E⁩ reported this incident to ⁦@DGCAIndia⁩ ? Shouldn’t one⁩ take suo moto cognisance of this incident?What if this happened once the aircraft had taken off rather than when it was taxiing on the runway,should an apology suffice? https://t.co/vWQ91e94mm— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) January 17, 2023Supriya Shrinate, the chairperson social media and digital platforms, demanded a lesson be taught to the BJP MP. She tweeted: A mischievous man opens the emergency exit door on a flight, causing the flight to be delayed by 3 hours, the name of the person who put people at risk and inconvenience was not revealed for a month Drunk on power – that MP spreads hatred everyday This spoiled Tejasvi Surya needs to be taught a lesson.एक बददिमाग़ आदमी फ़्लाइट में इमर्जेन्सी exit door खोल देता है जिससे फ़्लाइट 3 घंटे देर से उड़ी, लोगों को असुविधा और जोखिम में लाने वाले का नाम 1 महीने तक सामने नहीं आयासत्ता के नशे में चूर – वो सांसद रोज़ नफ़रत फैलाता हैThis spoilt Tejasvi Surya needs to be taught a lesson.— Supriya Shrinate (@SupriyaShrinate) January 17, 2023Tamil Nadu DMK MLA T R B Rajaa criticised Tejasvi Surya and said: “A passenger who witnessed what happened onboard told TNM that the passengers panicked when the door was opened. “Thankfully it happened when the flight was on the ground.” It would have been really bad if something like this had happened mid-air!”"A passenger who witnessed what happened onboard told TNM that the passengers panicked when the door was opened. “Thankfully it happened when the flight was on the ground." It would have been really bad if something like this had happened mid-air !https://t.co/WNjhgmgZ1N— Dr. T R B Rajaa (@TRBRajaa) January 17, 2023The airline released a statement on Tuesday, over a month after the incident, following some media reports on it. While the reports named Surya, IndiGo, however, did not name anyone in its statement.“A passenger travelling on Flight 6E 7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli on Dec 10, 2022, accidentally opened the emergency exit during the boarding process. The passenger immediately apologised for the action. As per SOPs, the incident was logged and the aircraft underwent mandatory engineering checks, which led to a delay in the flight’s departure,” the airline said.But sources at the airline confirmed that it was Surya, who was traveling with the BJP’s Tamil Nadu president K Annamalai.

Oppn leaders hit out at Tejasvi for 'compromising passengers' safety'
Telangana BJP president's son booked for assaulting batchmate
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

A criminal case was registered against Telangana BJP president Bandi Sanjay’s son Bandi Sai Bhageerath Tuesday on charges of assaulting another student. The incident came to light Tuesday following which the university authorities lodged a police complaint.Dundigal police of Cyberabad booked Sai Bhageerath under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation).Sai Bhageerath is a first-year BTech student at a private university on the city outskirts. In a video that has been widely shared on social media, Bhageerath, along with another person, can be seen hurling abuse and physically assaulting a batchmate. Ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) social media convenor M Krishank tweeted two videos of Bhageerath attacking the student.Bandi Sanjay’s son is very Violent !This is Unlawful pic.twitter.com/Nv9Bcn3X6H— krishanKTRS (@krishanKTRS) January 17, 2023“We have received a complaint and registered an FIR. We are verifying the details. The incident took place in the university hostel and as holidays are going on, none of the students is available in the hostel,” said P Ramana Reddy, Dundigal police inspector. According to him, the police were yet to know how old the video was. “We will question the students and staff once they are back from break.”Meanwhile, another video released by the BJP showed Sai Bhageerath’s batchmate Sri Ram, who was allegedly assaulted by the party president’s son, stating it was an old issue that had been already sorted. “I called Bhageerath’s friend’s sister at 4 am and also texted her asking her to love me. When Bhageerath got to know about this, he approached me. I spoke to him indifferently and he assaulted me. Anyway, it is all past now. We arrived at a compromise and there are no issues between us now. We have let it go. We are friends and batchmates,” said Sai Ram in the video.Looks like BJP State President Bandi Sanjay garu’s son is on a action spree ! pic.twitter.com/XJR30sniCT— krishanKTRS (@krishanKTRS) January 17, 2023Bandi Sanjay, the Karimnagar MP, responded to the FIR against his son and called it a “political vendetta” to silence him. He blamed the TRS government and urged Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao to not mess with their children’s lives to settle political scores.“Don’t try to bring children and family members if you want to fight me politically. My son will surrender before the police,” he said.“It is political vendetta if you have booked a case against my son for a minor disagreement between children that happened a long time ago,” he said.Sanjay said that the alleged victim also put out a video accepting his mistake and that there was no need to make an issue of the assault. He said the university was under pressure from the government to complain against his son.M Krishank said the BJP state president was misusing his political stature to shield his son. “This 19-year-old boy is seen in two different videos bashing up his fellow students and it is unfortunate that instead of setting an example, the elected representative and the BJP state president supports his son by attacking political rivals. He has not yet condemned the act of violence,” Krishank said, adding that the clarification video from the victim needed examination to know under what circumstances he had done so.

Telangana BJP president's son booked for assaulting batchmate
Karnataka Congress leader Laxmi Hebbalkar: ‘Rs 2,000 promise will gain confidence of women, their family… One woman is not a single vote, but equivalent to five’
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

As part of its “second guarantee” ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress unveiled the ‘Gruha Lakshmi Scheme’ Monday, promising Rs 2,000 per month to each woman head of a family. As the Congress hails it as a game changer to get women into the party fold, MLA and former chief of the Karnataka Congress’s women’s wing, Laxmi Hebbalkar, explains the party’s reasoning and why it expects the scheme to work:What is the Congress’s objective behind the promise of Rs 2,000 per woman head of a household?HEBBALKAR: This assurance is part of our election manifesto. Our promise is in response to growing inflation, which is driving an increase in prices of all essential goods. With this scheme, we want to especially strengthen rural women. At a time when prices of gas cylinders, oil and other goods are rising, we want to provide women some relief. If we give them a subsidy for LPG, they will get only that. Giving them money is better as some large families require two gas cylinders per month and some can make do with just one.Just giving subsidies is a sort of injustice to large families. But with the money, they can decide whether they want to buy gas or other essential items. This is the intention… Every woman head of a family, irrespective of its economic situation, is eligible. For instance, if my mother wants Rs 2,000, she can claim it. We have also promised 200 units of free electricity for everyone.Are you expecting electoral dividends, with more women voting for the Congress?HEBBALKAR: This is election time. If I deny and say that this was not done with elections in mind, it would not be fair. Of course, we have announced this popular programme aimed at women keeping the coming Assembly elections in mind. This is like Anna Bhagya (a scheme offering grains at a very low price to all families, launched by then Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah in 2013).Yes, this money can be used for women’s benefit. She can purchase her medicines or whatever she requires with the amount.Do you think such measures can help overcome caste-based politics and force parties to keep gender issues in mind?HEBBALKAR: I can only say that this will help the party. We will gain the confidence of women, we will get the support of her family. We think that one woman is not a single vote, but is equivalent to five votes. She can influence her husband, son, in-laws.You talk of empowering women, is the Congress also thinking in terms of increasing their representation in the Legislature?HEBBALKAR: For many years, the party has strived for upliftment of women. Even today (January 16), Siddaramaiah spoke about the women’s reservation Bill (at a rally attended by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi). During UPA-II, (Congress leader) Sonia Gandhi tabled the Bill to ensure reservation for women in the Lok Sabha. This was not passed due to opposition by some parties. But now, we are seriously considering providing more and more opportunities to women.However, we all know that winning is a criteria (in elections). And me, Roopakala M (Kolar Gold Fields MLA), Anjali Nimbalkar (Khanapur) and Sowmya Reddy (Jayanagar) won from four constituencies where the Congress had rarely won. We have proved that women can win in constituencies where the party had lost hope. We are giving our own example to the party high command and trying to convince them to give tickets to women in such constituencies. We have assured the party that we will fight and come back with a victory. This time we hope that due to the influence of Priyanka Gandhi, Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar, more tickets will be given to women.You represent a constituency in the Kittur Karnataka region (formerly Mumbai Karnataka). The Congress faced challenges here in the 2018 elections and performed below par. What are your plans for this election?HEBBALKAR: Whichever party, be it the Congress or BJP, wins more seats in the Kittur Karnataka region, forms the government. This time, unlike 2018, the scenario is very different (for the Congress). People of this region are fed up with price rise, corruption and other issues. They see Siddaramaiah, other Congress leaders and the party as capable of offering better governance, as was the case in the 2013 Congress government.Also, there is no internal strife among Congress leaders in the region. Compared to 2018, there are no more internal fights. This will benefit us.Since you represent the Panchamasali community, how will their reservation demand have a bearing on the coming elections?HEBBALKAR: I have to be very direct about this. The current government has to announce 2A reservation for Panchamasalis. Not only that, they have to reveal the procedure by which they will implement it. Only then can the BJP hope to make any gains from it.(The Panchamasali Lingayats have been agitating for nearly two years for 15% quota under OBC 2A category. Partly to meet this demand, the state government recently announced 2D category for the Lingayat community, along with 2C for Vokkaligas, with the promise of 6% of the 10% EWS quota. The Panchamasalis have rejected the same.)

Karnataka Congress leader Laxmi Hebbalkar: ‘Rs 2,000 promise will gain confidence of women, their family… One woman is not a single vote, but equivalent to five’
  • K'taka Cong leader Laxmi Hebbalkar: 'Rs 2K promise will gain confidence of women'
  • The Indian Express

    As part of its “second guarantee” ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress unveiled the ‘Gruha Lakshmi Scheme’ Monday, promising Rs 2,000 per month to each woman head of a family. As the Congress hails it as a game changer to get women into the party fold, MLA and former chief of the Karnataka Congress’s women’s wing, Laxmi Hebbalkar, explains the party’s reasoning and why it expects the scheme to work:What is the Congress’s objective behind the promise of Rs 2,000 per woman head of a household?HEBBALKAR: This assurance is part of our election manifesto. Our promise is in response to growing inflation, which is driving an increase in prices of all essential goods. With this scheme, we want to especially strengthen rural women. At a time when prices of gas cylinders, oil and other goods are rising, we want to provide women some relief. If we give them a subsidy for LPG, they will get only that. Giving them money is better as some large families require two gas cylinders per month and some can make do with just one.Just giving subsidies is a sort of injustice to large families. But with the money, they can decide whether they want to buy gas or other essential items. This is the intention… Every woman head of a family, irrespective of its economic situation, is eligible. For instance, if my mother wants Rs 2,000, she can claim it. We have also promised 200 units of free electricity for everyone.Are you expecting electoral dividends, with more women voting for the Congress?HEBBALKAR: This is election time. If I deny and say that this was not done with elections in mind, it would not be fair. Of course, we have announced this popular programme aimed at women keeping the coming Assembly elections in mind. This is like Anna Bhagya (a scheme offering grains at a very low price to all families, launched by then Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah in 2013).Yes, this money can be used for women’s benefit. She can purchase her medicines or whatever she requires with the amount.Do you think such measures can help overcome caste-based politics and force parties to keep gender issues in mind?HEBBALKAR: I can only say that this will help the party. We will gain the confidence of women, we will get the support of her family. We think that one woman is not a single vote, but is equivalent to five votes. She can influence her husband, son, in-laws.You talk of empowering women, is the Congress also thinking in terms of increasing their representation in the Legislature?HEBBALKAR: For many years, the party has strived for upliftment of women. Even today (January 16), Siddaramaiah spoke about the women’s reservation Bill (at a rally attended by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi). During UPA-II, (Congress leader) Sonia Gandhi tabled the Bill to ensure reservation for women in the Lok Sabha. This was not passed due to opposition by some parties. But now, we are seriously considering providing more and more opportunities to women.However, we all know that winning is a criteria (in elections). And me, Roopakala M (Kolar Gold Fields MLA), Anjali Nimbalkar (Khanapur) and Sowmya Reddy (Jayanagar) won from four constituencies where the Congress had rarely won. We have proved that women can win in constituencies where the party had lost hope. We are giving our own example to the party high command and trying to convince them to give tickets to women in such constituencies. We have assured the party that we will fight and come back with a victory. This time we hope that due to the influence of Priyanka Gandhi, Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar, more tickets will be given to women.You represent a constituency in the Kittur Karnataka region (formerly Mumbai Karnataka). The Congress faced challenges here in the 2018 elections and performed below par. What are your plans for this election?HEBBALKAR: Whichever party, be it the Congress or BJP, wins more seats in the Kittur Karnataka region, forms the government. This time, unlike 2018, the scenario is very different (for the Congress). People of this region are fed up with price rise, corruption and other issues. They see Siddaramaiah, other Congress leaders and the party as capable of offering better governance, as was the case in the 2013 Congress government.Also, there is no internal strife among Congress leaders in the region. Compared to 2018, there are no more internal fights. This will benefit us.Since you represent the Panchamasali community, how will their reservation demand have a bearing on the coming elections?HEBBALKAR: I have to be very direct about this. The current government has to announce 2A reservation for Panchamasalis. Not only that, they have to reveal the procedure by which they will implement it. Only then can the BJP hope to make any gains from it.(The Panchamasali Lingayats have been agitating for nearly two years for 15% quota under OBC 2A category. Partly to meet this demand, the state government recently announced 2D category for the Lingayat community, along with 2C for Vokkaligas, with the promise of 6% of the 10% EWS quota. The Panchamasalis have rejected the same.)

2 injured in Aligarh clash, no arrests yet
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

At least two persons were injured as people of two communities clashed in the Sarai Sultani area of Aligarh on Monday night. Police said that cross FIRs have been filed but no one has been arrested so far. The situation is under control, they added.According to police, the clash broke out following a scuffle over parking a motorbike outside a meat shop in the area.“Trouble started after Himanshu (32), a local trader, had gone to the meat shop to buy food and got engaged in an altercation with another youth over parking a motorbike. Himanshu called his elder brother Akash (34) who reached the spot with his friends and they too were beaten by the residents of the area. Cross FIRs have been lodged from both sides, but no arrests have been made. Adequate police and PAC personnel have been deployed in the area to ensure peace,” Devendra Kumar, the in-charge of Sasni Gate police station said .Sources said that the clash continued for nearly five hours and police used batons to chase away the people. Sources also said that four persons were injured in the stone-pelting, but police have put the number of injured people to two.“The situation is now under control. Patrolling by police personnel is being done in the area. Two persons sustained injuries in the violence. They have been admitted to a hospital and their condition is stable now,” Inspector General (Aligarh Range) Deepak Kumar told The Indian Express over the phone.“FIRs have been lodged and the police will take action after their investigation is completed. Strict action will be taken against those responsible for the violence. We have also directed the police to take action against those trying to spread canard about the incident on social media,” said District Magistrate Indra Vikram Singh.Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani, who rushed to the spot along with other top district officials, told reporters early Tuesday that a strict vigil is being maintained.He said a report is being filed, and strong action will be taken against the perpetrators. Security arrangements in the area have been tightened, the officer said. Meanwhile, local BJP leaders demanded that meat shops in the area be shifted to other places. “We have been demanding that the meat shops be shifted as these have become places where fighting takes place almost daily on trivial issues,” said BJP’s Aligarh unit chief Vivek Saraswat.

2 injured in Aligarh clash, no arrests yet
In countdown to PM visit, BJP and Sena factions ramp up civic poll pitch
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Preparations are underway on a war footing in the BJP and the Shiv Sena (UBT) for the upcoming BMC polls in Mumbai, with programmes for voter outreach and mobilisation of party workers.Eyeing all 227 BMC seats, and aiming at winning a minimum of 150 seats, BJP has also sought to tackle its principal opposition in BMC – the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena which has been controlling the civic body for almost three decades. In 2017, BJP had won 82 seats in BMC, just two short of the Thackeray–led Shiv Sena which had won 84.Last November, BJP started its public rallies ‘Jaagar Mumbaicha’ (awakening Mumbai) and announced that rallies would be held in all 36 assembly constituencies in the city in the first phase, after which they would be organised ward wise.Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar had announced that the rallies were planned to create awareness about Muslim appeasement politics of the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in Mumbai, after Saamana, the party mouthpiece, spoke about Marathi Muslims supporting Thackeray.So far, 30 rallies have concluded, while six will be held after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai, scheduled for January 19.The PM’s visit for Bhoomi Poojan of several civic projects is also being viewed as a pre–poll strategy to counter the Opposition’s narrative that BJP is anti-Maharashtra.After Maharashtra lost multiple infrastructure projects to Gujarat in 2022, and following the row over Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has accused BJP of being anti-Maharashtra.Earlier this month, Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis chaired a meeting with all MLAs to discuss the strategy for BMC elections. Both BJP and Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) will contest the civic polls together. It is likely that the parties will come to an understanding on seat-sharing formula based on the presence of the respective party in municipal electoral wards.As corporators completed their term, their scope for interacting with their constituents reduced, making it necessary for parties to intensify their outreach programmes. A senior BJP leader said, “Among other things, we also have the CM’s Mumbai beautification programme that has given BJP and BSS leaders a chance to keep in touch with local municipal works, that the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena does not have.” Senior leaders have held multiple review meetings with civic officials for the beautification works.While preparations are underway in Shiv Sena (UBT), the party is also relying on its traditional shakha system for campaigning.A senior Shiv Sena leader said, “We are running our shakhas as usual every day, and interacting with people daily. We are not in BMC, but that does not mean we have lost touch with people. Shiv Sena does not need to do fantastical outreach programmes. We do not even need to separately prepare for elections, as our work at the ground level has been going on all year round, for many years now. Our voters know this well.”

In countdown to PM visit, BJP and Sena factions ramp up civic poll pitch