: If Modi wants 10 % per year growth in GDP for next 5 years he should hand me the MoF. If he wants more spin and statistics manipulation only to be caught out later near the 2024 election then I suggest another name— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 22, 2019 Swamy’s tweet comes amid speculations of who will be part the next Modi government. There are reports that leaders like Pyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar are likely to find a place in this government as well. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s ill health however has cast a shadow of doubt on whether he would retain the minister. There are speculations that Piyush Goyal, the minister of state for finance in the last government who filled in for Jaitley for the months that he remained unwell, might be made the finance minister this term.
Swamy’s tweet assumes significance in the light of the controversies that surround GDP figures in Modi’s previous regime. Modi’s government has been accused of tweaking GDP figures to project better growth in the NDA’s term compared to the previous UPA regime.
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 25
Narendra Modi was on Saturday elected the leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parliamentary party at a function in Parliament’s Central Hall.
“I am happy to announce that the BJP parliamentary party has unanimously elected Narendra Modi as its leader,” BJP president Amit Shah announced.
Veteran Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal moved a resolution to elect Modi as the leader of the NDA parliamentary party which was supported by Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan and other leaders of the NDA.
Leaders of all the alliance parties, including Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Udhav Thackeray and Parkash Singh Badal, present.
Thanking the alliance partners for the support, BJP president Amit Shah said, "Modi is the symbol of hope and so people chose to elect him once again."
"Poor in the country got a sense of hope as they have seen delivery of government schemes at grassroots level."
Shah said this election is a perfect case of electing a leader... people chose a leader.
Lauding Modi, the BJP chief said the leader took decisions only keeping in mind the welfare of the country and not for vote bank politics.
In his speech, Modi thanked both MPs of BJP as well as alliance parties.
"We will begin a new journey with new vigour," Modi said.
Modi said all of you led this change in Indian politics.
He thanked Election Commission and all those involved in conducting the mammoth exercise of voting.
Before speaking, Modi bowed before a copy of the Constitution.
"People have accepted us because of our deep sense of service to people."
The 2019 election was a symbol of unity, Modi said, adding it has united people.
In this election, people have become partner in democracy as they travelled with the government between 2014 and 2019, Modi said.
Modi said national ambition and regional aspirations are two pillars of NDA's march towards country's progress.
He coined a new 'NARA' by abbreviating National Ambition and Regional Aspirations.
Modi said from 2014 and 2019 we ran the government in favour of the poor and in 2019, the same poor formed the government.
Shimla, May 25
A trekker died, another sustained injuries while four went missing in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, an official said on Saturday.
The deceased trekker had been identified as Roopak from Kolkata, Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Gopal Chand said. He died reportedly due to breathing issues at a high altitude.
Efforts are under way to locate the missing trekkers.
The help of an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter and a team of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were being taken to trace them, the DC added.
Two teams of trekkers—seven from Rohru in Shimla and four from Uttarakhand—had gone towards Kinnaur-Kalpa, SDM Surendra Thakur said.
The four-member team from Uttarakhand is missing. They were feared to be stuck at Ropin Pass, the SDM added.
All trekkers were from West Bengal.
Roopak was part of the seven-member team, which was going towards Barua Pass through the Janglik area.
Another trekker from the team sustained injuries during the expedition. He was airlifted to a Sangla hospital, where he was given first aid. Later, he was shifted to Chandigarh.
As per information, four members of the Rohru team experienced breathing issues and decided to return, whereas three of them reached the Barua Kande camp in Shagode area.
Later, one of them (Roopak) died and the other sustained injuries. The third trekker is reported to be safe.
Those who returned due to breathing issues informed the Rohru administration about the entire incident.
The Rohru administration informed the Sangla Tehsildar about it.
Subsequently, an IAF helicopter and a rescue team of the ITBP were sent to the Barua hills, where they located the three trekkers.
The body of the deceased trekker is being brought back by Sangla Police. PTI
Tribune Web Desk
Chandigarh, May 25
Veteran actor Dharmendra congratulated his son, Sunny Deol, after he won from Punjab's Gurdaspur contesting on a BJP ticket.
Dharmendra shared a picture of his son with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and wrote: “Faqeer Badshah Modi JI, Dharti puttra sunny Deol, Congratulations. Achhe Din Yaqeenan Ayen Ge”.
Faqeer Badshah Modi JI , Dharti puttra sunny Deol, Congratulations. Achhe Din Yaqeenan Ayen Ge 🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌳. pic.twitter.com/wisnZ6XIpa— Dharmendra Deol (@aapkadharam) 23 May 2019
Sunny polled 5,47,781 votes. His rival Sunil Jakhar received 4,70,000 votes.
Dharmendra also congratulated wife, veteran actress and BJP MP, Hema Malini.
He wrote: "Hema, Congratulations. We love Mother India. We have proved in Bikaner and Mathura. We will keep our flag flying. Always."
Hema , Congratulations. We love Mother India 🇮🇳 we have proved in Bekaner and Mathura. We will keep our 🇮🇳 flying.........always 🙏 pic.twitter.com/utQnUZ5QUj
— Dharmendra Deol (@aapkadharam) 23 May 2019
Earlier, Dharmendra had said that he had reservations about Sunny contesting against an experienced campaigner like Sunil Jakhar.
United Nations, May 25
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a decorated Indian Army officer as the new Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar, 57, will succeed Lieutenant General Frank Kamanzi of Rwanda who completes his assignment on May 26.
The announcement was made by the UN chief on Friday.
The decorated Indian Army officer “has had a long and distinguished career with the Indian Armed Forces spanning over 34 years,” a statement by the UN Spokesperson said.
Tinaikar graduated from the Indian Military Academy in 1983 and is currently serving as the Commandant of the Infantry School since July 2018.
He previously served as the Additional Director General of Military Operations at the Army Headquarters from 2017 to 2018. From 2012 to 2017, he commanded a division, a recruit training centre and a brigade.
Tinaikar was awarded the Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service.
From 1996 to 1997, he served in the United Nations Angola Verification Mission III, and from 2008 to 2009, in the United Nations Mission in Sudan.
He holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Defence and Strategic Studies from The University of Madras.
India, the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions, currently contributes more than 6,400 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, the Middle East, South Sudan and the Western Sahara.
The UN mission in South Sudan, a country born in July 2011, has 19,400 personnel deployed with it as of March 2019.
India is the second highest troop contributing country to UNMISS with 2,337 Indian peacekeepers, second only to Rwanda with 2,750. In addition, India currently contributes 22 police personnel to UNMISS. PTI
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 25
The Election Commission of India said on Saturday there was no mismatch between Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), an official said on Saturday.
A senior official of the Election Commission of India said that all 20,625 EVMs at 4,129 assembly constituencies had been successfully matched with their corresponding Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips—a process that led to counting spilling over into the next day. He said the only mismatch found was in one polling station in Andhra Pradesh, which he put down to “human error”.
“The most common human error leading to VVPAT mismatch is when a poll officer forgets to clear the mock poll date before the final voting begins. The Commission will ascertain the exact reason for the error in Andhra Pradesh soon,” the official said.
This is the first Lok Sabha election covered completely with VVPAT units, necessitated by a Supreme Court order on April 8 directing the commission to compulsorily verify VVPAT slips with EVM count in at least five polling stations of every assembly segment.
Some 22.3 lakh ballot units, 16.3 lakh control units and 17.3 lakh VVPATs were used in the elections. Of these, the commission counted verification slips from 20,625 VVPATs, the official said.
Opposition parties had submitted a memorandum to the commission a day before elections, asking for a 100 per cent VVPAT verification in case of a mismatch between EVM and VVPAT tallies. The commission however rejected the demand saying that this would delay the counting process.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is the most awaited critical result of #Elections2019 :
EACH and EVERY paper ballot on 20625 VVPAT machines in all 4000 plus assembly segments across all 542 LS seats has been counted, tallied and confirmed.
Not a single mismatch.#ThankYouEVM
The Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sunil Arora, accompanied by Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra, called on President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan pic.twitter.com/gfSCslkQxx— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) 25 May 2019
Seoni, May 25
Suspected cow vigilantes allegedly thrashed two persons in Madhya Pradesh's Seoni with sticks, accusing them of carrying beef, following which five accused have been arrested, police said Saturday.
The group of five 'gau rakshaks' also allegedly forced one of the victims to beat up a woman accompanying them with chappals, a police officer said.
Police also said that the three people who were beaten up have been arrested as possession and sale of beef is illegal in Madhya Pradesh.
In a purported video clip of the incident, which has been widely circulated on social media, the five accused can be seen beating up the two men. Later, they also forced one of the men to beat up the woman accompanying them.
The attackers also forced the three persons to raise slogans of 'Jai Shree Ram', as seen in the video.
According to police, the incident occurred on May 22 on Mandla Road in Kanhiwada area under Dunda Seoni police station limits.
Seoni SSP Lalit Shakyawar said an FIR has been registered against the five persons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Dunda Seoni police station, and all of them have been arrested.
Dunda Seoni police station incharge GS Uike said the three persons who were beaten up have been arrested for allegedly carrying beef as its possession and sale is banned in the state.
Uike said none of the victims sustained any serious injuries in the attack.
"The accused persons shot videos of thrashing. Police reached the spot after the incident and brought the trio along with the meat they were carrying to the police station," he said.
One of the accused uploaded the video on social media on May 23, but later withdrew it following a sharp reaction from various quarters, he said.
However, police took cognisance of the clip and traced the accused persons.
Meanwhile, the SP said police seized 140 kg red meat, suspected to be beef, from the trio. Police also seized a three-wheeler and a scooter from them. PTI
Tribune Web Desk
Chandigarh, May 25
In a horrific incident, at least 20 people were killed and several others injured when a massive fire broke out in a commercial complex in Surat on Friday.
With many falling to their deaths and some, who suffocated; several shocking scenes were aired on TV channels. Students were seen jumping off the top floors of the four-storey building to escape the smoke.
This boy is Ketan Jorawadia .He is the same boy who saved atleast 2 girls from falling in Surat coaching fire. He could have easily saved his life.The fire & smoke was scary instead this boy stayed at the 3rd floor & saved 2 girls from fallinf.
Salute Ketan .U redefined bravery ! pic.twitter.com/A9WdFRUQsg
However, a video clip of the incident showed a fearless man trying to help students get out of the building safely.
The video was circulated widely on all social media platforms.
The young man first managed to climb out of the building and then onto the ledge of the third floor.
With smoke everywhere, the man at first tried to save a girl trying to climb down, but was unable to catch her as she slipped and fell down.24 May 2019
After that, he helped another girl to get down from the fourth-floor window and onto the ledge. The two then helped a third person escape the blaze by getting him down safely on the ledge of the building.25 May 2019
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the government had ordered a detailed inquiry and anyone found responsible for the incident "would not be spared."
Taking to Twitter, PM Narendra Modi expressed “anguish”. He wrote: "My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat Government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.”
Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat Government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 24 May 2019
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also expressed his condolences to the families and prayed for the speedy recovery of those who were injured.
In a tweet in Hindi, he wrote: “I am pained on hearing the news about the tragedy in Surat in Gujarat. I express my deep condolences to the families of the affected persons. I also wish for the speedy recovery of the injured.”
सुरत, गुजरात में हुये इस हादसे की ख़बर से बहुत दुःख पहुंचा है।
पीड़ित परिवारों के प्रति, मैं गहरी शोक और संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूँ।
घायलों के जल्द से जल्द स्वस्थ होने की कामना करता हूँ। https://t.co/RWnH8dJTdP
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 25
Congress Working Committee “unanimously” refused to accept Congress president Rahul Gandhi's resignation over the party's loss in the general elections, a party spokesperson said on Saturday.
The meeting deliberated on the reasons behind the Congress's defeat in the elections for four long hours with various leaders urging Rahul Gandhi to continue to provide leadership to the party.
"Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his address to the CWC offered his resignation as the party president. The CWC unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress President for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times," said the resolution passed by CWC.
The CWC called upon the Rahul Gandhi to lead the party in its ideological battle and to champion the cause of India's youth, the farmers, the SC, ST, OBCs, the minorities, the poor and the deprived sections, it said.
The party ended up with 52 seats in the general elections—only eight more that it won in 2014.
The Congress Working Committee met here for four hours to introspect over the Lok Sabha 2019 poll loss and passed a unanimous resolution authorising Congress president Rahul Gandhi to restructure the party at all levels to revive it to fulfil the aspirations of people.
The Congress denied the offer of resignation by Gandhi, with top CWC sources indicating to The Tribune that the committee passed a resolution tasking Gandhi to restructure the party even before he began addressing the meeting.
This resolution was moved by former leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and unanimously passed by the CWC. In a sense, therefore, the CWC preempted any move by Gandhi to make an offer of resignation.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his remarks suggested constitution of a committee to go into causes of loss and suggest corrective measures quite on the lines of the AK Antony Committee set up after the 2014 loss of the Congress.
Rahul Gandhi in his address said the battle was no longer of ideologies but of ideas, which the BJP invented speedily.
Gandhi admitted the Congress narrative was not accepted by the people and said the party would have to look at the ‘New India’ and acknowledge that the aspirational India needed new narratives.
Gandhi said the BJP changed its election time ideas fast to gain poll advantage, something the Congress would need to see.
It’s learnt that several leaders raised concerns at the meeting of EVM tampering with both Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad speaking about the issue.
Azad is learnt to have said in the meeting, “We lost to EVMs and not to the BJP.”
Many leaders, however, sought to deflect the EVM issue, with Jyotiraditya Scindia saying the Congress must accept its defeat and introspect.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh also spoke of EVMs and said why can’t the machines be replaced with paper ballots when most advanced countries have done so.
A committee to go into causes of losses may soon be formed.
In 2014, then president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi had offered their resignations which the CWC rejected. Even in 2014, the CWC resolution had authorised Sonia Gandhi to restructure the party at all levels.
Today’s CWC said almost the same thing. With PTI inputs
Srinagar, May 25
Curfew continued in parts of Kashmir for a second day on Saturday following killing of Zakir Musa, the so-called chief of an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group, in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district on Friday.
Officials said the curbs on the movement of people were in force in parts of Srinagar, and Kulgam and Pulwama towns.
Schools and colleges remained shut while the mobile internet continued to be suspended across the valley. Trains on the Baramulla-Banihal line remained off the tracks, the officials said.
“Curfew continued to remain imposed in parts of the Kashmir Valley on Saturday as a precautionary measure,” they said.
In Srinagar, the officials said “strict restrictions” were in place in Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal and MR Gunj police station areas, while “partial restrictions” were in force in Maisuma and Kralkhud areas.
The officials said security forces had been deployed in strength in other parts of the Valley to avoid any untoward incident.
Musa, the so-called head of the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, was killed in the encounter at Dadsara village of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday after security forces launched a search operation on Thursday evening following specific information about the presence of militants there.
The officials said efforts were made to make Musa surrender, but the request fell on deaf ears and he lobbed grenades on the forces using a launcher, triggering a gunfight in which Musa was killed in the early hours of Friday.
His killing led to spontaneous shutdown and protests in the Valley.
Meanwhile, most of the shops, petrol pumps and other business establishments remained shut in the Valley due to a strike called by hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the killing of Musa and civilian Zahoor Ahmad, a resident of Naira Pulwama–who was killed by unidentified gunmen on Thursday, the officials said.
They said public transport was off the roads, but a few private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying. PTI
Salem, May 25
A judge on Friday ordered an Oregon man to learn about the Sikh religion and submit a report to the court as part of his sentence for an attack on a Sikh shopkeeper in Salem, a civil rights group said.
Andrew Ramsey pleaded guilty to misdemeanour counts of intimidation and assault in the January 14 incident targeting Harwinder Singh Dodd, the Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organisation in the US, said in a release.
The Intimidation count is considered a hate crime, it said.
Witnesses said Ramsey pulled on Dodd’s beard after he refused to sell him cigarettes without an ID, punched him and pulled him to the ground. Bystanders restrained Ramsey until police arrived.
Dodd, who came to the US from India and owns the convenience store, noted in a written statement to the court that hate crimes are on the rise in America. The FBI says hate crimes increased by 40 per cent in Oregon from 2016 to 2017.
“He didn’t see me as a person,” Dodd said of Ramsey. “He attacked me because of how I look. Because of my turban and beard—my religious articles of faith.”
Police said Ramsey also threw his shoe at Dodd and snatched his turban.
Marion County Judge Lindsay Partridge ordered Ramsey to attend the annual Sikh parade in June in Salem and report to the court what he learned about the Sikh community and culture, the Statesman Journal newspaper of Salem reported.
“Bigotry is the result of ignorance,” Partridge said. “All of us are able to learn and benefit from cultures in our community.”
He also sentenced Ramsey to three years of probation and 180 days in jail, with credit for time served, the newspaper said.
Partridge said mandatory drug, alcohol and mental health treatment was the best option for Ramsey, who had convictions for methamphetamine possession, domestic violence assault and theft.
Ramsey said he had had mental health problems his whole life and was ready to accept help, the newspaper said.
In 2018, members of Salem’s Sikh community joined with other volunteers to aid 124 immigrants—many of them Sikhs—who were sent to a federal prison in nearby Sheridan by the Trump administration.
The Sikh temple in Salem offered the asylum-seekers religious and other services and a place to recover after they were released from months of incarceration. AP