New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi was once again elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) at a meeting of party MPs at the Central Hall of Parliament on Saturday and said several “decisive measures” were being mulled to strengthen the party. In her speech after being elected the CPP leader, she called upon party MPs not to let their guard down and urged them to play the role of an effective opposition and ensure better coordination and cooperation with like-minded parties in Rajya Sabha. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist She told the members that the issues they raise in Parliament must resonate in the minds of the party workers and with the public. She also said that the party will play a constructive role in supporting the government in reform measures but will oppose it for it “divisive and regressive actions”. Gandhi, after thanking the 12.3 crore voters who voted for the Congress in Lok Sabha elections, also lauded the role of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president for his “valiant and relentless campaign” in this poll. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France The meeting was attended by the party’s 52 newly elected Lok Sabha MPs and Rajya Sabha members, besides members of the Congress Working Committee and other senior leaders. Gandhi, who represents Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli in Lok Sabha, is the chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Sources said the Congress Parliamentary Party authorised Gandhi to pick the party’s leader in Lok Sabha. She has convened a meeting of senior leaders in the afternoon to decide on the matter. “In this time of crisis, we must acknowledge the numerous challenges confronting the Congress party. The Congress Working Committee met a few days ago to deliberate the next steps and the way forward for us. Several decisive measures to strengthen the party are being discussed,” she told the MPs and leaders, while hinting at changes in the party that are in the offing. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is pushing for his resignation even though the party’s highest decision making body has rejected it and urged him to undertake changes in the party. The sources say that the party is discussing several proposals, including installing a non-Gandhi as the party chief and a body of senior leaders that acts as a guiding force to the new president. She said even though the party had 44 MPs in last Lok Sabha and about 55 in Rajya Sabha, under Rahulji’s leadership the Congress party has fought bravely to expose the government’s misdeeds and congratulated the MPs for their hard work. “We were in the forefront of ensuring that some of the UPA’s historic Acts were not diluted. At the same time, we cooperated with the government on a series of reforms, with constructive suggestions. This time too, we will support progressive and inclusive policies but oppose the government strongly whenever they undertake divisive and regressive actions,” she said. While thanking the 12.3 crore voters, Sonia Gandhi said, “Your vote to the Congress party is a vote for safeguarding our Constitution, a vote for economic and social progress, a vote for liberty, and for social justice.” Lauding Rahul Gandhi’s role as party chief, she said, “I also take this opportunity to whole-heartedly thank Rahul Ji for his valiant and relentless campaign. As Congress President, he has given his all and toiled night and day for the Congress party.” She said Rahul demonstrated his “fearless leadership” by taking the Modi government head on and highlighted the “injustices” carried out against farmers, workers, traders and small businesses, against the youth, women and the marginalised sections of society. She said Rahul has rejuvenated the Congress organisation in many states, and most recently led the party to victory in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “As Congress President, he earned the respect and love of every worker and crores of voters across the length and breadth of our country. Even as I speak, emotional messages are coming from all corners, vindicating his leadership. We all express our gratitude to him for his sincerity of purpose, his relentless effort, his hard work and leadership,” she said. On the reducing strength of the party in Rajya Sabha, the new CPP leader said as numbers will be challenged, it is even more important to ensure better coordination and cooperation with like-minded parties. Gandhi’s name was proposed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and seconded by Jharkhand MP Jothimani S and Kerala MP K Sudhakaran. “Congratulations to Smt Sonia Gandhi on being elected Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party. Under her leadership, the Congress will prove to be a strong & effective opposition party, that will fight to defend the Constitution of India,” the Congress president tweeted. This was the first official meeting that Congress president Rahul Gandhi attended after the May 25 meeting of the party’s working committee, where he had offered to quit as Congress chief. The CWC has already rejected his offer to resign and unanimously passed a resolution authorising him to bring structural changes in the party at all levels in a bid to revamp it.
New Delhi: The Indian Navy has issued an Expression of Interest for shortlisting potential strategic partners for the construction of six P-75 (I) submarines, a major initiative under the ‘Make In India’ costing nearly Rs 45,000 crore, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.This is the second project being undertaken under the latest Strategic Partnership (SP) Model, with the first being the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH). This would provide a major boost to the indigenous design and construction capability of submarines in India, in addition to bringing in the latest submarine design and technologies as part of the project, the Navy said. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana”As a major initiative towards ‘Make in India’, the government immediately on taking over has issued the Expression of Interest(s) for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners (SPs) for “Construction of six Conventional Submarines” for P-75(I) Project of the Indian Navy on June 20,” it said. The case was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council on January 31. The Expression of Interest (EoI) for shortlisting of Indian Strategic Partners has been uploaded on Ministry of Defence and Indian Navy websites. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahThe EoI for shortlisting of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will be issued in two weeks, the Navy said. The SPs in collaboration with OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India with an aim to make India the global hub for submarine design and production. “All six submarines under this project will be built in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner in collaboration with the selected OEM. In addition, the Indian Navy would have the option to manufacture six more submarines under the project,” the Defence Ministry said. The project would not only aid in boosting the core submarine and the ship building industry but would also greatly enhance manufacturing, industrial sector, especially the medium, small and micro enterprises, by development of an industrial eco-system for manufacture of associated spares, systems, equipment related to submarines. The potential SPs are expected to respond to the EoI within two months. “The Indian companies would be shortlisted based on their capability for integration of system of systems, expertise in shipbuilding domain and the financial strength. The OEMs would be shortlisted primarily based on their submarine design meeting the Indian Navy’s Qualitative Requirements and qualifying the Transfer of Technology and Indigenous Content (IC) criteria,” the Defence Ministry said. “This will be an important step towards meeting broader national objectives, encouraging self reliance and aligning the defence sector with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government,” it added.
Khartoum: Crowds of jubilant Sudanese took to the streets of Khartoum on Friday, chanting “civilian rule” after protest leaders struck a deal with the ruling generals on a new governing body. Chants of “the martyrs’ blood has not been shed in vain” reverberated around the same streets where more than six months of protests culminated in the landmark roadmap for a new political future after the toppling of veteran president Omar al-Bashir in a palace coup in April. Also Read – Turkey preparations for Syria offensive ‘completed’The deal, reached in the early hours of Friday after two days of hard-won talks brokered by Ethiopian and African Union mediators, provides for the interim governing body to have a rotating presidency, as a compromise between the positions of the generals and the protesters. The blueprint proposes that a general hold the presidency for the first 18 months of a three-year transition, with a civilian taking over for the rest. The issue had led to weeks of deadlock, which was marred by a brutal raid on a longstanding protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum that killed dozens of demonstrators and wounded hundreds on June 3. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping”Today we can say that our revolution has embarked on the right path in achieving our goals,” said north Khartoum resident Somaiya Hassan. “I think we will be able to change the horrible situation of our people,” she said, as fellow residents flashed victory signs and waved national flags. As the crowds celebrated, there was no visible security force presence on the streets. The feared paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces, who have been widely blamed for last month’s violence, appeared to be confined to base. The convoys of pickups mounted with heavy machine guns, that had become a routine sight in the capital, were nowhere to be seen. Crowds beat tin cans and plastic water bottles as they marched along the capital’s main avenues chanting revolutionary slogans. Men, women and children stood in their vehicles as they joined convoys of vehicles honking horns and chanting: “Civilian rule, civilian rule.” “Now we can congratulate each other,” said Mohamed Hussein, who had taken his children out in his car to watch.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the government to frame family laws for LGBT relationships and form a committee to look into these issues. A division bench presided by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Harishankar turned down the plea filed by Tajinder Singh after noting centre’s response in the matter stating that drafting of law was the prerogative of the Legislature. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic items “Can a writ court direct legislature to constitute a Committee?” the bench remarked, adding that drafting of law was the prerogative of the Legislature. The court further said that if the government “chooses to constitute” a LGBT Committee, they were permitted to do so. The Centre in its response had stated that it is taking all the necessary measures for upliftment of transgenders and also to bring them into mainstream. The petitioner pressed for bringing in appropriate changes to the Hindu Marriage Act and other personal laws to recognize the rights pertaining to marriage, adoption etc as well as constitution of a commission for LGBT. “The Constitution treats everyone equally without any discrimination. It is the duty of the State to ensure that no one should be discriminated,” the plea said, adding that members of the LGBT community are in minority and they too have equal fundamental rights.
G B Nagar: The Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration has prepared a list of 1, 000 ponds and water bodies in the district and have chalked out plans to rejuvenate them.The administration said that the move is aimed to overcome the depleting ground water levels. As per officials, the administration will be following various measures under Pradhan Mantri Jal Shakti Abhiyan and is carrying out a jurisdiction wise survey of nearly a thousand ponds and water bodies in the district to restore and maintain them collectively. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The move is aimed to overcome the menace of decreasing levels of ground water in the district. The rejuvenation of these ponds and water bodies will be carried out jurisdiction wise as well as through a MoU and CSR drives. We have urged the concerned authorities and industries to come and support the drive by adopting a water body for its restoration and maintenance,” a senior administrative officer said. The officer further informed that apart from these thousand ponds, around 20 new ponds will be dug up by HCL Tech under CSR drive. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”10 ponds will be dug up in Dadri area while 5 each will be in Jewar and Sadar tehsil areas,” the officer added. Meanwhile the administration also signed an MoU with Rotary Club and Delhi Ashok to carry out a plantation drive where 50,000 plants were planted in Dadha area of Sadar tehsil. A free consultation in Japanese style Miyawaki method at afforestation was also initiated. The administration has also appealed to the people to put in efforts for water conservation.
Kolkata: A blast took place inside a BJP worker’s house at Khejuri in East Midnapore on Sunday night.Local residents ran to the house and found a man lying inside the house with severe injuries. According to sources, residents of Katkadebichak at Janaka village in Khejuri heard a sound of an explosion on Sunday night. When they came out of their houses, they saw smoke coming out of Lalmohan Maity’s house. Khejuri police station was immediately informed. Police reached the spot and started investigating the matter. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaTill Monday afternoon, four persons were detained and interrogated. Local Trinamool Congress leaders alleged that Maity, who is a BJP worker, used to store explosives and crude bombs and supplied them to other people. It is also alleged that after Lok Sabha Elections result was out, the BJP was trying to unleash terror in and around Khejuri by creating violence. Police said a case has been lodged in this regard. Officers are trying to find out the people who are connected to Maity. Police are trying to identify the source of explosives and crude bombs which were stored inside the house. Police team is patrolling the area to counter any untoward incidents. “Probe is on. A few persons have been detained in this connection. They are being interrogated to identify other culprits,” said V Solomon Nesakumar, Superintendent of Police (SP) of East Midnapore.
Mumbai: Jagan Shakti is making his debut as a director with Akshay Kumar-Vidya Balan starrer “Mission Mangal” and he says having big stars on board is always an advantage. The film is based on real-life scientists, who contributed to India’s first interplanetary expedition, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), launched by Indian Research Space Organisation (ISRO) in 2013. Akshay plays Rakesh Dhawan, a scientist, who is in charge of the mission and the five female colleagues, played by Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Sonakshi Sinha and Nithya Menen, help him in spearheading the mission. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “When I started writing it I never had a plan of having big stars. I just wanted to make this film, share this story with everyone. But when stars come on board it is an advantage. With stars, a film reaches more people. But having said that, a good film will also work well with lesser-known actors,” Shakti told PTI. The first poster of “Mission Mangal” courted controversy for giving Akshay a bigger display than the female co-stars. The director, however, said the all the characters contribute equally to the film. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna “You are going to have that because when you have seven to eight stars you are bound to have such a poster. But it is everybody’s story and everybody brings in the crowd. In the writing every role is strong,” he said. Shakti was an associate director on “Padman” (2018) and “Holiday” (2014) and it was during the former when he had shared the idea of “Mission Mangal” with Akshay. Talking about the casting of the film, Shakti said, “I am blessed, I have no complaints. I narrated him and he loved it. It was a blessing for me to have Akshay in my first film itself. I approached Vidya ji, I knew her when I was working on ‘Paa’ (as an AD), I have also worked with Sonakshi on two films – ‘Akira’ and ‘Holiday’. “I approached them because I knew them well. Maybe the script was strong that everybody agreed to be part of the film.” Shakti said his elder sister is a scientist working for ISRO and through her he got to meet a lot of people who were part of the Mars Mission. The film also features Sharman Joshi and Dalip Tahil playing pivotal roles. “Mission Mangal” is scheduled to be released on August 15.