Ailing real estate market may get GST intervention ahead of election



The Central government has handed out a big pre-election bonanza to property developers and buyers, by reducing GST on under-construction houses, from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. GST on affordable housing, meanwhile, will only be 3 per cent.

Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with CREDAI, the umbrella body of developers, whereby he had promised that in the upcoming GST council meeting, tax on under-construction houses and affordable housing would be reduced significantly. Even in his Budget speech, Goyal had said his government will reduce GST on under-construction houses. He also said that a committee would study the impact of GST, and possible solutions.

Rajesh Prajapati, chairman of media and PR for CREDAI, who was part of Friday’s meeting, confirmed the development. Prajapati said that people are staying away from investing in property due to heavy taxes. “At 12 per cent GST, if the cost of a house is Rs 1 crore, buyers have to pay Rs 12 lakh as tax plus 6 per cent stamp duty and registration, which means s/he ends up paying Rs 1.20 crore. This is a huge amount, and it meant under-construction real estate market was facing troubled times. We demanded a reduction in GST, and we hope the government takes this positive step that will revive the stagnant under-construction market,” Prajapati said.

CREDAI has also called a developers’ national meeting in Delhi on February 13 and 14, which may be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sources said that the Centre may make the announcement of slashing GST rates before this meeting.

“BJP wants to take credit for this and work it to its benefit electorally. So everything has been done as per the election’s schedule. But we don’t have anything to do with the politics. We are just concerned about getting our relief,” said another developer, requesting anonymity.

Prajapati, who is also the president of CREDAI MCHI, Raigad region, said Goyal had admitted there is a huge gap between levelling GST on a finished product and an under-construction project. “We are really hoping for some positive developments ahead of the elections,” he said.

Another developer who attended the meeting, however, said that if tax on under-construction houses is reduced, the government may level GST on ready possession flats as well. “The finance minister didn’t clearly spell out how the GST will be implemented on ready possession flats. Also, we currently get rebate as an input credit cost, which may not be the case once the tax is reduced to 5 per cent. The move of reducing GST may also drill a hole in our already tattered pockets,” a senior developer from South Mumbai said.

Pankaj Kapoor, MD at Laises Foras, a Mumbai-based real estate research firm, said that there are 14 lakh unsold under-construction houses across the India, of which 2.60 lakh are in the Mumbai metropolitan region. Reducing GST will not only motivate buyers to buy under-construction houses, it would also encourage developers to dispose off their pending inventory. “The 12 per cent GST was a big hurdle why people stayed away from buying properties, particularly in Mumbai and its peripheral areas. An average 2 BHK house in Mumbai costs Rs 2 crore. And nobody wants to shell out Rs 24 lakh on taxes and registration,” Kapoor said.

Nisha Shiwani has worked in many companies in various capacities and in her free time loves to express herself through her articles. She is based out of the pink city Jaipur.


Plot on to eliminate me, says J&K’s highly decorated police officer



A highly decorated senior police officer has created a flutter after he went public claiming that an atmosphere is being built on the social media to get him eliminated, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Imtiyaz Hussain, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), who was recently transferred from the Baramulla, district to the security wing of Jammu and Kashmir police, did not name anyone but blamed the “well-known people who are hyperactive on the social media” for the ‘slanderous’ campaign.

In a series of tweets, Imtiyaz red-flagged the issue saying that he was one among very few police officers active on the social media and being forthright besides calling a spade a spade.

“There are some well-known people hyperactive on Facebook and Twitter who are building an environment to get me killed. These people claiming to be journalists aren’t apparently working with any media house,” Imtiyaz said.

Seemingly undeterred by the threats, the police officer noted it would be honour to sacrifice his life in the line of duty. “Having been never afraid of death and it would be honour to get sacrificed in the line of duty but the perception being created against me is slanderous. I am one among very few police officers active on social media and being forthright and calling a spade a spade,” he said.

Without naming anyone, he said it was becoming intolerable for them, and their bosses across have employed them to target him. “They want to silence me on social media. They are the same people who have built a case for Shujaat Bukhari’s killing,” he said.

Terrorists had assassinated senior journalist and Editor-in-chief of The Rising Kashmir Syed Shujaat Bukhari along with his guards outside his office at Press Enclave in Partap Park here on July 14 last year.

“Shujaat had confided with me how some media guys had been spreading canards against him and creating a conducive atmosphere for his murder. We being a liberal democracy, such elements take full advantage of our liberal laws, knowing it very well that law can’t touch them,” he said.

Minutes later former director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid, under whom Imtiyaz worked in different capacities took to Twitter assuring the officer of support from the J&K police family.

“Imtiyaz, you are a fine and bold officer who has been putting across the views of the department fearlessly on social media and an officer with high integrity. Have faith in Allah, no harm will come to you. The entire police force has always been behind you,” Vaid said.

Imtiyaz promptly expressed gratitude saying he was not afraid but worried about the smear, maligning & slander campaign against Jammu and Kashmir police and its officers who are bravely fighting proxy war/terrorism for last 30 years with an impeccable record and huge sacrifices. “We aren’t here for any other project except to establish peace,” he said.

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Mumbai: Faster, waterproof locals with Train 18 technology soon



The Indian Railways have created the first prototype of EMU (local train) rake having electrics, transformers, and motors in the underslung. It has already reached Central Railway (CR) and its trials shall be carried out soon. These trains are similar to ‘Train 18’ as far as its electrics and mechanical systems are concerned.

Having motors and transformers in the underslung would mean the creation of additional capacity by 10-15 percent. Currently, a 12-car local train carries 6000-6500 commuters as against its actual capacity of 2250 commuters. When the bulky transformers and electrics go in the space between wheels and coaches, it will increase its carrying capacity by at least 600-900 people, depending on the time of day. Currently, 78 lakh people travel on both CR and WR every day, with an average annual growth of 1-2 per cent.

At present, every third coach of a 12-car train has transformers and other equipment, which connects to the pantograph on the roof. “The first non-AC EMU train having transformers in the underslung has already reached Mumbai. Its trials will be carried out once the Commissioner of Railway Safety gives clearance,” said a senior Railway official on condition of anonymity.

The trials will be carried out on the Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara section. Another railway official said that despite the machines and electric systems being underneath, they will not be affected during heavy rains, especially when tracks are flooded. “These machines are waterproof. These advanced electric systems can chug through 400 mm of water depth, but at a slow speed,” he added.

Also, it will help increase the speed of train up to 130kmph.

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Which way the political wind flow in Uttarakhand ?



The political situation in the himalayan state of Uttarakhand as on date is quite confusing though the ruling saffron party still seems to have a slight edge due to the sentiments n passion of nationalism infused in them after the Pulwama tragedy n subsequent air strikes on the terror camps of JEM in Balakot compounded with the safe return of wing commander Abhinandan in just two days of captivity in Pakistan. Uttarakhand is primarily a state from where in an average every one member of the fourth family serves in Indian army.

This fact of the feeling of ultra nationalism n pro hindu stance can be substantiated from the fact that prior to 1992 when Babri Masjid was not demolished, the Bhartiya Janata Party or earlier Jansangh had no roots in Uttarakhand known as the land of abode of Gods, where the political party of freedom movement, Congress literally ruled the hearts and minds of Garhwal n Kumaon hills then under the jurisdiction of Congress.

Every person of the Uttrakhand hills then, though under undivided Uttar Pradesh used to feel proud to be addressed as a Congressman. Congress was in the blood of the old generation. There was only Congress in the hills of Garhwal n Kumaon with Bahuguna factor coming up lateron after the election of 1983/ 84 when the then stalwart H. N. Bahuguna fought the mighty Indira Gandhi’s candidate Chandra Mohan Singh Negi of Congress from Pauri Garhwal parliamentary constituency.

After the demolition of Babri Masjid n enhancement of Ram Lahar post 1992 the hindu wave erupted in the Uttarakhand hills of Garhwal n Kumaon and majority of the people got influenced by the saffron party in the name of lord Rama n thus the BJP made its decisive stronghold in the valleys of Uttarakhand hills followed by granting of separate statehood during the BJP led government at the centre under the prime minister Ship of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Since then about 19 years have elapsed and Uttarakhand has witnessed 9 chief ministers n governments of BJP n Congress on alternative basis. No third party regional or national can make its ground in Uttarakhand as a formidable political force.

But the political trend after every assembly or parliamentary elections have been of change, irrespective of the fact as to which party’s government has done good or bad.

People of this Himalayan state have always voted for change unambiguously giving an impression that they were never satisfied with performance of either Congress or BJP.

But the last general election n the assembly elections in the state of Uttarakhand in 2014 n 2017 respectively have witnessed the saffron party gaining historic majority in the state by winning 57 seats out of 70 and also giving all the five seats to BJP in parliament.

It was indeed the charisma of the Narendra Modi wave and polarisation of the Hindu vote bank.

Even the Congress chief minister Harish Rawat lost from both the assembly seats from Haridwar n Kumaon giving an impression of Congress having been completely routed out of Uttarakhand.

Congress has never ever suffered such a crude setback or debacle in the 18 year old history of Uttarakhand after its coming into a separate existence.

Now the tickets of all the candidates from BJP as well as the Congress have been finalised.

Leaders of both the political parties have tightened their belts to ensure their victories.

Since the Bhartiya Janata Party is in power at the centre as well as in the state, there is no dearth of resources n money power for them n their candidates whereas the Congress party did have crunch of funds n resources but they have a little bit edge in the sense that the electorates of Uttarakhand usually go for change after every election which do accords the Congress party an added advantage.

The Congress n the BJP are both ridden with factionalism and intercine squabbles and the sidelining of two veteran leaders of BJP who were the sitting MPs viz Major General BC Khanduri and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari from Pauri n Nainital seats will definitely put adverse impact on the winning chances of Tirath Singh Rawat n Ajay Bhatt, the current BJP nominees from both the above seats. Now, a popular exservicemen n hero of the post Kedarnath tragedy Colonel Kothiyal has also joined the fray.

Moreover, while Major general Khanduri has himself expressed his inability to contest due to his over age and fatigued health, his unceremonious ouster from the chairmanship of the Defence Committee of Parliament n not giving him the due respect in the all weather road project etc has annoyed n disenchanted his son n supporters who’d recently joined Congress n has been given the ticket from Pauri against the BJP nominee Tirath Singh Rawat.

Similarly badly annoying n angering the veteran party leader, ex CM n Nainital MP Bhagat Singh Koshiyari n his good number of supporters by cutting his ticket n giving it to Ajay Bhatt is bound to have an adverse impact on the Nainital seat as well, compounded with the anti incumbency factor.

On the Tehri Garhwal seat the local electorates are not at all happy n impressed with the performance of the Tehri Maharani Raj Lakshmi who the electorates say, was conspicuous by her absence during the last five year, having no or negligible connect with the local populace.

Moreover, completely sidelining of the former Uttarakhand CM n ex MP from Tehri Vijay Bahuguna n his son Saket, the BJP has also earned the wrath of this family and their hundreds of workers who are bound to work against Maharani Lakshmi Shah by strengthening the hands of the Congress candidate, resulting in her possible defeat.

In Haridwar seat the former CM Harish Rawat seems to be on a better pedestal having been extremely active during the last two years after losing the state elections.

His elevation at the central level as the all India general secretary of Congress party has also elevated his image as a politician on the rise. On the contrary Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank carries behind him certain charges of alleged corruption, though not proved, but may be used by his Congress rival in the election.

Dr. Nishank had however been associated with the development works of his constituency but a sitting MP always has the disadvantage of anti incumbency which a seasoned leader like Harish Rawat is quite capable of exploiting. Moreover, being the ex MP from here n national general secretary of the Congress there is no dearth of local and outside workers who would be working for him dedicatedly ensuring his sure sort win.

The situation in the Almora reserve seat is also quite difficult for the sitting MP n union state minister for textiles Ajay Tamta from the anti incumbency point of view say political analysts.

But he had been quite active in his constituency during his last five year tenure contributing in introducing air n train services for the convenience of the people of Almora apart fro being with them in their thick n thin.

He brought number of developmental projects to his area and had been connecting himself with the local populace since long.

Ajay Tamta had also been very active in the social media sites viz facebook, twitter, instagram n whatapp accquainting his fans, followers n educated electorates about the various developmental works of his constituency but in the context of spending his MP lad fund he lacks behind say sources.

On the contrary his arch Congress rival Pradeep Tamta is a Rajya Sabha member who has hardly been active in Almora these days but being a leader of various socio political movements his popularity still exists amongst the masses.

The role of the present chief minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra singh Rawat however also comes into consideration in these elections. His contribution, negativity and positivity will also play an important role in deciding the future of the BJP candidates.

He is being dubbed as a not very functional CM of the state who had been extremely complacent n non responsive to the demands of Gairsain as the capital of Uttarakhand and was immensely instrumental in encouraging the sale of liquor to the interiors of Uttarakhand against which lots of movements took place n people of the state highly antagonised.

The Uttarakhand’s economy too is in doldrums with the state’s deficit crossing the collosal 48000 crore mark. Hundreds of thousands of youths are still jobless n the health n education sectors are in total jeopardy.

While the Congress party has tried to expose the BJP government of its ill doings n enhanced corruption in bureaucracy through its widespread Parivartan rally, Aakrosh Yatras n Mera Mait programmes led by state president Pritam Singh, Indira Hridyesh n Harish Rawat, the internal bickerings in the Congress’s state unit may prove to be a disaster for the party in the coming months.

However, the fight between the Congress n BJP will be of neck to neck nature in all the seats of Uttarakhand but the state having the dominance of exservicemen n the present army troopers it looks as if the post Pulwama narrative, if goes well may benefit the saffron party diluting every other issue of employment, agrarian crisis, women issues n of the issue of mass exodus to cities n towns.

But the Congress is not behind and has the advantage of exposing the BJP on Modi’s failures on employment guarantee, black money issue, enhanced migration to cities from hills, closure of schools, non availability of health facilities, increasing corruption, liquor policy of the state government spoiling families so on n so forth.

But being the best orator n banking on post Pulwama situation Prime minister Narendra Modi’s few public meetings may turn the tables in favour of the saffron party in Uttarakhand say political analysts.

The Congress party has only one concrete solution to this impasse n that is, Priyanka Gandhi’s minimum eight public meetings.

If it happens, no power on earth can stop Congress stage victory on all the five parliamentary seats of Uttarakhand. What’s your take friends?

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Col Kothiyal’s entry in the Pauri Garhwal election fray poses direct challenge to both BJP n Congress?



Colonel Ajay Kothiyal during his Padyatras and social programmes in various villages of Pauri Garhwal

The election of No: 2, Pauri Garhwal parliamentary constituency in Uttarakhand Himalayas, considered to be a hot seat is going to be quite interesting, unique and collossal this time.

The reason being that one of the most popular hero of Kedarnath reconstruction n rehabilitation, the founding chairman of NIM Col Ajay Kothiyal has finally made up his mind on the unanimous pressure of the youths, students, ex servicemen n the general public to contest from here as an independent candidate after being deprived opportunity from both the political parties viz BJP and Congress.

The social media is full of unstinting suport for Colonel Ajay Kothiyal from almost all sections of the society be it women, ex servicemen, youths, students or intellectuals.

The Pauri Garhwal constituency was once popular internationally when in 1983/ 84 it literally became the Indira versus Bahuguna political battle ground with Bahugna finally winning as an independent, establishing a record of sorts.

It was then, that the entire central govt led by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi n chief ministers of more than five Congress ruled states camped here and did their best to ensure that the epitome of Democracy H. N Bahuguna is defated at all costs, but all in vain.

This election wss rigged by the hired goondas of other states and was postponed after Bahuguna filed a strong complaint against the massive malpractices to the then election commissioner Shyam Lal Shakdhar.

It was due to this controvertial election that Garhwal was internationally popularised which was till then an unknown district in the country’s map.

Today, after the speculation of Colonel Ajay Kothiyal’s possible entry into the fray it looks that the same history of 1983 is going to be repeated. If Colonel Ajay Kothiyal really wins as being given to understand by the rumours taking the round then ofcourse it will be the historic repetition of the Garhwal byelection of 1984.

But it’s still unclear as it’s only stored in the destiny to follow. As per the present political scenerio of this constituency, the Bhartiya Janata Party has announced the candidature of Its national secretary Tirath Singh Rawat, who’s the former MLA n minister in Uttarakhand govt hailing from Pauri, Garhwal district.

On the other hand the Congress party has fielded Mr. Manish Khanduri, a journalist turned politician ( novice) who just a few days ago joined the Congress party in Rahul Gandhi’s presence n son of the sitting BJP MP n former Uttarakhand CM Major general retired B. C. Khanduri.

Mr. Khanduri has expressed his inability to contest but was also unceremoniously ousted from the Parliament Defence Committee by Modi government against which Khanduri’s son has joined the Congress.

Now the third entrant is Colonel Ajay Kothiyal as being given to understand. If it really happens, which s almost 100% sure as being given to understand then the contest in Pauri Garhwal constituency ranging from Badrinath Kedarnath China border to Kotdwar is going to be of tremendous interest, posing direct challenge to the Congress as well as the BJP candidates.

It’s being said that highly popular amongst all sections of the society Kothiyal is above caste and ideological affiliations.

He is rated as the true Himalaya Putr of Uttarakhand as was late H. N. Bahuguna decorated by the people of Garhwal n Uttarakhand for his outstanding abilities n courage to take on the then PM Indira Gandhi opposing her draconion emergency of 1975 to the dynastic rule and thereafter joining the total revolution of Jai Prakash Narayan in 1977 fighting against all odds.

Colonel Kothiyal is famous for organising good number of army recruitment camps in various districts of Uttarakhand in Garhwal as well as in Kumaon divisions and imparting special training to recruits ensuring addmission to 8000 young recruits in Indian Army n giving free treatment to thousands of wounded n ill soldiers n ex servicemen apart from engaging hundreds of youths of YOUTH FOUNDATION to carry out the rehabilitation of the Kedarnath victims and reconstruction of Kedarnath against the minus degree temperatures for months together.

It was him n his NIM team of courageous youths whose great efforts led to the successful landing of MI-26 in Kedarnath after the massive ecological disaster. It was the very first time when any cargo helicopter from Air-Force landed on the divine land.

And it was because of the successful landing of the MI-26 plane that heavy machines could be carried like (trucks, dumpers, JCBs) to the high altitude Kedarnath to help in restoration work.

Even the prime minister Narendra Modi and the national security advisor publicly lauded the outstanding and exemplary contribution of Colonel Ajay Kothiyal and his dedicated team of hundreds of youth volunteers of Youth Foundation for having carried out the entire restoration n reconstruction work in devastated Kedarnath under extreme unforeseable condition under minus degree temperatures for months together.

It may be recalled that Colonel Kothiyal who is still a bachelor a fully dedicated to public service with a clear n constructive vision for a new n modern Uttarakhand had already made up his mind to contest from Pauri Garhwal parliamentary constituency.

He had already toured almost all the blocks and maximum villages n district headquarters of Pauri n Chamoli Garhwal holding umpteen corner and public meetings attended by hundreds and thousands of people. The support he’d acknowleged had been tremendous.

He is considered to be a true messiah of the unemployed youth who carries behind him a clear cut vision on the problems of the hills pertaining to easing employment, providing health facilities, stopping increasing exodus to cities n improving the agricultural health of Uttarakhand.

Today, hundreds n thousands of youths have volunteered to campaign for him extensively to ensure his victory at the hustings.

He has send feelers to both the BJP and Congress parties through different sourcs but it’s really distressing to note that intelligent, committed and dedicated aspirants are never welcomed in political parties as the leaders find themselves insecure in the company n leadership of politicians with constructive vision and impeccable integrity.

Hence Colonel Ajay Kothiyal has to be constrained to take the risk of contesting on his own, solely depending on the peoples’ power. It remains to be seen whether honesty n dedication triumphs or money bags, liquor or muscle power in Indian democracy ? What’s your take friends?

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Congress forges alliance with National Conference in J n K, Mayawati not to contest lok Sabha poll



As the final notification for the polls have been issued by the election commission, the Congress party which was lacking behind in forming alliances in various states especially after being sidelined in the largest state of the country Uttar Pradesh by the BSP, SP n RLD trio, a conglomeration of the parties carrying behind them the concrete vote bank of minorities, backward classes and the dalits, has also expedited its efforts for state wise alliance in order to solidify the grand alliance experiment at the national level.

Without wasting further time the Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has issued directives to all its central and state leaders to forge a pre electoral alliance with the like minded anti BJP parties in order to gain the peoples’ confidence and trust n strongly n decisively defeat the saffron party led by the charismatic PM Narendra Modi whose juggernaut is speedily moving ahead cashing on the post Pulwama sentiments n Hindu polarisation strategy in the country.

Just today the Congress party’s senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad reached Srinagar and forged a pre electoral alliance with the National Conference led by Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.

As per the arrangement, while the National conference would contest on the three seats in the Kashmir valley including on the Srinagar seat, the BJP will contest on Jammu n Udhampur seat. There are total 6 Lok Sabha parliamentary constituencies in Jammu n Kashmir.

While addressing the media after the formation of the Congress NC alliance Farooq Abdullah said that while he welcomes the Congress Party’s gesture to forge an alliance with his party to strongly protect the secular n democratic credentials in the state and the country, he would request the Congress party to form a similar credible secular n democratic alliance at the national level in order to defeat the communal forces formidably, who are creating divisivenes n hatred in the society to meet their vested political interests.

The veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the nation is today confronting a twin challenge from the enemy country Pakistan as well as from the terrorists and divisive forces in Kashmir n other parts of the country.

Forging of credible secular n democratic alliances would save the nation and Kashmir form these impending dangers.

Currently, there are four main parties in Jammu n Kashmir viz Congress, National Conference, PDP, BJP with smaller political outfits like the Pathers Party led by Bhim Singh n other smallers groups , having their limited say.

Now, after the formation of the NC Congress alliance there would be a three corned contest in Jammu n Kashmir between the NC, Congress alliance, PDP n the BJP.

The BJP n PDP formed the government in the state earlier but were separated after a year or so as both were diametrically opposite parties ideologically.

The Congress party has also formed an alliance with the RJD n left parties in Bihar. The RJD president Tejasvi Yadav, Lalu’s son, was quite confident n jubilant after the alliance with Congress and said that all is well. He said that the actual party wise seat sharing/ allocation would be revealed after holi.

Tejasvi Yadav said the grand allaince would be taking a concrete shape nationally as well n would give a strong fight to the BJP led NDA in Buhar as well as at the national level.

The pact related talks are also in progress in Delhi with AAP after the intervention of the NCP leader Sharad Pawar. Though newspaper reports are giving negative view of the pact between AAP n Congress saying that both the parties could not arrive at any understanding but the talks are still on as the Delhi Congress incharge PC Chacko is still hopeful of the pact with AAP.

Political analysts say that the pact between AAP n Congress is inevitable if both of them really want to dislodge BJP in Delhi as the saffron party’s vote bank is intact n has rather enhanced after the Pulwama developments.

In Maharashtra too the Congress and NCP have already established the pre poll alliance and are trying to rope in other Ambedkarite parties as well to entice the votes of Dalits and the backwards.

The SP BSP alliance in Maharashtra will lead to a three cornered contest between the ruling Shiva Sena combine, Congress NCP duo and the BSP SP combine.

It however remains to be seen as to which side will the party of the Ambedkarite voters go.

In Bengal however, the Congress has failed to form an alliance between TMC n Left parties, especially the CPM as both the parties want a major share leaving Congress party to a negligible position to which Congress has not agreed .

As a result the Congress party has decided to field candidates on 41 seats in West Bengal.

This unambiguously states that in Bengal too the contest would be four cornered between the TMC ( ruling party) BJP, Communists( Left Front) and the Congress.

In Karnataka, the Congress JDU alliance against the BJP is already existing where both the parties are running the government.

In Tamilnadu the Congress has formed electoral understanding with the DMK of late Karunanidhi wherebas the BJP has alligned with the AIADMK of late J. Jaylalitha.

In Jharkhand too the Congress party has alligned with a regional party and talks with pre poll arrangements with Andhra CM Chandra Babu Naidu are in progress.

However in Oddissa the Congress party will go alone giving way for a three cornered contest between Biju Janata Dal, BJP n the Congress.

Meanwhile the BSP supremo Mayawati has announced that she would not contest from any seat in UP as winning maximum seats and defeating BJP is her main objective.

Analysts say that Mayawati do not want to confine herself to one seat as she would be the star campaingner of the BSP SP RLD combine and may go elsewhere also to campaign for her parties candidates contesting in various states.

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61 people died of swine flu across Maharashtra this year



As per the state’s public health department, 61 patients have died in Maharashtra of swine flu this year till Monday. Due to a change in climate, more citizens are suffering from H1N1 since January, officials said.

According to a Right to Information (RTI) reply received from civic-run Kasturba Hospital, the number of cases from outside Mumbai are rising this year.

This year, two cases each from around Mumbai, Vasai, Virar and Bhayandar were admitted in Kasturba Hospital, followed by one case each from cities like Nashik, Dhule, Badlapur and Navi Mumbai to name a few, the RTI data reveals.

Of the 30 cases at the facility, 18 were from outside Mumbai. No cases were admitted from outside the state.

The state public health department stated after a meeting that the number of deaths reported till March 18 in the state is 61. The highest number has been reported in Nashik district (15) followed by Nagpur (14) and Pune (six).

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IMC Ladies’ Wing honours ‘women impacting women’



The Ladies’ Wing of the IMC Chamber of Commerce gave away its IMPACT 2019 awards to ‘Women Impacting Women’, that is women who have made a difference to many lives.
Dr Anagha Amte, medical officer, Lok Biradari Prakalp, which works with adivasi women in remote areas, said she was surprised at first. “Most awards rightfully go the way of my in-laws, Prakash and Mandakini Amte. My work is comparatively smaller. I work largely in the area of maternal and child healthcare and try to bring these services to the marginalised communities.”
Well-known athlete Anju Bobby George thanked the IMC for recognising her work with youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds. “Recognition like this is a pat on the back for me. Many of these children are already competing and doing well. In a few years, many of them will go on to bring honour to the country at the world stage.”

Thanking the gathering for the award, artiste Brinda Miller, director, Studio Millernium Pvt Ltd said: “I have been lucky to have supportive men in my life who have always looked out for me. We need to sensitise more and more men so that they also similarly support the women in their lives.”
Author and co-founder of Kali for Women Ritu Menon also felt that the IMC had done what many other awards don’t: “As publishers my work is largely in the background and hence remains unnoticed. I am glad that IMC is changing that.”
Mohana Nair, president, IMC Ladies Wing, said it was a privilege and honour for the IMC to award the women achievers. “Each of them is an inspiration.”

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Disappointed with BEST, staffers turn to citizens with grievances



What if you do not get salary even after working for an entire month? This is the question that the employees of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) will put forward to Mumbaikars. Starting Friday, the BEST employees will stage a protest meet outside every important railway station near bus depots every day. This Friday, they will organise a protest at CSMT.

The decision was taken on Tuesday in a joint meeting between the employees and the Shashank Rao led BEST unions at Wadala depot.

“We will be holding a dharna outside railway stations and tell people about our plight, without inconveniencing the public. The BEST Undertaking is part of the civic body, yet its 42,000 employees are not getting salaries on time for past several months,” said Shashank Rao, general secretary of BEST Workers Union.

According to sources, every month around Rs 184 crore needs to be allocated to pay salaries and remunerations to BEST employees. For this, the undertaking takes a loan of Rs 225-250 crore each month, which also includes maintenance of its bus fleet among other works.

At present, the number of commuters ferrying daily has dropped from 42 lakh to 27 lakh. In January, the BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS), went on a 9-day long strike to keep forward their demands in front of the government. The assurance to end the strike came after BEST and the BMC agreed to appoint a retired High Court judge who will look into the nitty-gritty of their demands.

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Two sitting BJP MPs out of the race in Uttarakhand. Three sitting MPs to repeat. Names of Rawat n Bhatt finalised ?



Prospective candidates of BJP from 5 Lok Sabha seats

Though the BJP’s candidate selection committee’s meeting is in progress in Delhi and the party has not yet released the names of the prospective official candidates but the inside reliable sources reveal that two sitting member of parliaments’ tickets are being changed.

Both of them has crossed 75 years of age obviously non other but retired major general BC Khanduri from Pauri Garhwal and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari from Nainital.

Though both of them are sitting MPs they are the former state chief ministers as well. While retired Major general BC Khanduri who’d crossed eighty years of age had already expressed his inability to contest due to poor health, Bhagat Singh Koshiayari was not in a mood to retire. However, this news has not been officially confirmed.

Sources reveal that while the BJP has okayed the candidature of BJP’s national secretary Tirath Singh Rawat from Pauri Garhwal constituency against the candidature of sitting MP Khanduri, the state party chief Ajay Bhatt’s name has been cleared from Nainital seat in lieu of the sitting veteran ( MP) Bhagat Singh Koshiayari.

According to sources, from rest of the three Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttarakhand viz Almora, Haridwar n Tehri Garhwal, the three sitting MPs’ name(s) have been finalised maintaining the status quo. They are union state minister for Textiles Ajay Tamta, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Maharani Lakshmi Shah.

It was being said that the BJP high command had cleared the earlier bottleneck forbidding the over 75 year old MPs or MLAs from contesting polls but denying opportunity for recontest to Koshiyari from Nainital is like stabbing him from the back as the latter carries behind him a good n transparent reputation as a true son of the soil, hailing from a protracted RSS background having dedicated his entire life to the RSS n BJP.

It is believed that both Tirath Singh Rawat and state BJP chief Ajay Bhatt have been rewarded not only for their unstinted loyalty for the party but also for exhibiting immense patience despite both of them not given MLA ticket last time during the assembly elections of 2017.

Both had stood with the party in its thick n thin and worked hard to strengthen the BJP in the state as well as during the previous assembly election when the saffron party sought 57 seats reducing the Congress party to negligible minority in the state.

It is believed that the list of the candidates would be out either midnight or tomorrow afternoon.

Sources reveal that Bhagat Singh Koshiyari is using his best possible efforts to ensure his repetition n hopes that he will definitely be honoured with the second chance.

There are also rumours that his name can be considered for governor of any state in case the BJP returns to power at the centre in case he is left out of the race this time.

Meanwhile the Congress has not officially opened its cards as its waiting for the BJP to declare the list first.

However, speculations are rife that names of Harish Rawat, (.Nainital) Pradeep Tamta, ( Almora) Manish Khanduri, ( Pauri) Kishore Upadhyay, ( Tehri) n Pritam Singh ( Haridwar) have been cleared.

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BJP government is the weakest which could not provide jobs n resolve farmers issues : Priyanka Gandhi



The Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi today visited the Vidhyachal Temple and Salim Chisti Dargah at Sitamadhi on her second lap of the three day Boat Journey from Allahabad to the constituency of Prime minister Narendra Modi, Varanasi.

This 140 kilometre boat journey would end tomorrow evening on the third day at Varanasi where Priyanka may address a massive public meeting.

In the first day of her enthusiastic boat Yatra which started from Prayagraj, Allahabad yesterday after offering of prayers of Ganga Mayya at the Sangam ghat, Priyanka was accompanied by ten jubilant girl students of Allahabad university in the boat whom she pronounced as young, dynamic and talented students.

Priyanka Gandhi was in a Red Saree while she paid obiesance to Goddess Sita at the Vindhyachal Mandir. She was closetted with the devotees n temple priests for quite some time seeking the blessings of the Goddess.

While her supporters raised slogans hailing her, a group of BJP women supporters vociferously raised anti Priyanka and pro Modi slogans.

She thereafter visited the Salim Chisti Dargah and carried the ” Tokri of Chadhava” on her head to the Dargah paying her respectful obiesance to Baba Salim Chisti seeking blessings for her, her family and the party’s triumph in the ensuing elections.

She also offered CHAADAR on the Samadhi. Her grandmother Indira Gandhi, mother Sonia Gandhi n brother Rahul Gandhi had also visited here earlier and sough blessings.

After visiting the Vidhyavasini temple having the darshan of Sita Mata and offering prayers Priyanka met enthusiastic people n peasents at Bhatauli and Singhauli Ghat and interacted with them.

At Sitamarhi while addressing the media Priyanka said that the BJP has been repeating the tape of 70 year rule of Congress. I ask them what have they done in the last five years. The 70 year old rule by Congress accusation has now expired. If the prime minister Narendra Modi is really powerful, strong with a 56 inch chest as claimed by him, then why had he not given employment to youngsters during the last five years?

Why are the people of the country suffering, the poor becoming more poorer ? She questioned what has this government done for the people of the country? This is a dishonest n weak government.

Condemning the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi said that the students, farmers, women and the people living at the lowest ebb have been betrayed. Nothing has been done for their welfare by the Yogi government. The report card is all fake to fool n betray people. I have met people from all sections of the society in UP. They are in total disarray. The government’s commitments are all fake to make people foolish.

Priyanka’s three day Ganga boat journey is drawing huge crowds with enthusiatic supporters n fans following her wherever she goes. She is more like a Bollywood star whom people like to feel, touch n enthusiastically see deeply.

The media is also following her and giving adequate coverage to her visits at the banks of Ganges where she’s meeting people, interacting with them and jubilantly waving them.

According to one of her tweets’ with a picture of her grandmother’s room in Allahabad’s Swaraj Bhawan where Indira Gandhi was born, Priyanka tweeted in hindi :

While sitting in the compound of Swaraj Bhawan, I am able to see that room where my grand mother was born. My grand mother used to tell me ( narrate) the stroy of John of Arch. Even today her words reverberate in my ears. She used to say : Be fearless, everything will be alright.

In another tweet she wrote with a photograph of girl students of Allahabad university who accompanied her in the boat on the first day of her journey: Loved sharing my journey with these intelligent, dynamic young women from Allahabad university this morning. I met so many talented students today – they deserve a future in which their hopes and dreams can be realised.

After finishing her darshan at the Vidhyavasini temple n Dargah Priyanka visited the Bunkar vicinity ( weavers) in Mirjapur constituency. The Ana Dal president Annu Priya Patel is contesting from here in alliance with the Congress party.

Local people being interviewed by the media predict that Priyanka Gandhi’s tours have accorded added advantage to Congress party though there is still no dearth of Modi supporters here too. Where ever she goes enthusiastic supporters show extreme eagerness to take selfie with her n pose for photographs. Priyanka Gandhi is full of energy n enthusiansm n looks as if she has finally made up her mind to bring out the sinking Congress boat out of quandry in Uttar Pradesh.

However, it remains to be seen as to how successful would she be in country her political enemies BJP n BSP, SP n RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh in the ensuing election.

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