Sri Lanka terror attack: ISIS claim responsibility, two wealthy Muslim brothers were among the ISIS suicide bombers

Image Source: Foreign policy

Details of the horrific terrorist attack on Easter eve in Sri Lanka are unfolding gradually. According to the information available, Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the dastardly attack, which claimed the lives of over 321 people and rendered more than 500 injured. The series of blasts was carried out across 8 locations in three different cities including Colombo.

According to the latest reports, two Muslim brothers carried out two of the suicide bombings in two hotels rocking the island country on Sunday. Investigators have not revealed the names of ‘both bothers,’ however, divulged that they were sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader. The two hotels targeted by the two brothers were Cinnamon Grand hotel and Shangri-La hotel. Earlier, it was reported that the bomber of Shangri-La was identified as Zahran Hashim. Another suicide bomber was named as Abu Mohammad who targeted the Batticaloa church. They were among other suicide bombers to hit three churches and three luxury hotels. The attack on the fourth hotel failed, leading the police to the now-banned Islamist group.

While Sri Lanka was grieving these attacks, left-liberals in India were busy creating absurd theories justifying economic deprivation and lack of education as pull factors for Muslims to join terrorist organizations. With each detail, their theory began to fall flat as the accused turned out to be rich sons of a trade merchant and not economically or educationally backward as claimed earlier.

Both brothers who were in their late twenties, operated their own “family cell”. Reports suggest that both were key members of the Islamist National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) group that was immediately banned by the government after the attacks.

The Sri Lankan government has confirmed ‘National Thowheed Jama’ath’ (NTJ) as the local organisation responsible for these deadly terrorist attacks. However, it has also expressed possibilities about the involvement of an international group to execute colossal attacks of this magnitude.

According to New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi, who quotes Amaq News Agency, the people who carried out the attack against the foreign nationals and Christians in Sri Lanka on Easter were Islamic State fighters.

Rukmini Callimachi further adds that IS considers both directed attacks and inspired attacks as a part of its war arsenal. The attacks were sophisticated, well-coordinated, and they were carried out at 6 different locations in three cities by 7 suicide bombers. This makes the Sri Lankan intelligence agencies suspect this attack to be a handiwork of an international jihadist organization. She further adds the magnitude of Sri Lankan terrorist attacks was far more deadly as compared to the attack on Paris in 2015 by Syrian ISIS fighters.

She further argues that a plot to carry such an attack required at least 7 suicide bombers and other support staff. Besides, huge intelligence network and meticulous planning were required to execute the attack at multiple locations directing to the support of international terrorist networks.

On Sunday, the terrorist group targeted Easter worshipers and high-end hotels hosting international guests with coordinated explosions. St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa were targeted during Easter mass.

Further, three more explosions hit Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury, all five-star hotels. Scores of foreigners and locals injured in these blasts were admitted to Colombo General Hospital.

As per a report by news agency AFP, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Defence Minister has revealed that these serial blasts were carried out in ‘retaliation’ to the Christchurch attack in New Zealand.

Congress Sevadal makes sexist comment against Smriti Irani with a fake image

The official Twitter handle of Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Sevadal launched a sexist attack against union minister Smriti Irani by posting a fake screenshot of a TV news report. The verified Twitter account posted an image which looks like a screengrab from a Hindi News Channel, and it reports that Smriti Irani has said she will commit suicide if prime minister Narendra Modi loses. Later the tweet was deleted.

With the image, the Uttarakhand Congress Sevadal added ‘इतनी मोहब्बत, इस मोहब्बत का क्या नाम दूं’ (so much love, how should I name this love). On just casual inspection of the screenshot it becomes clear that it was digitally morphed, and the text was added to a screenshot from an ABP news clip to create the image. Moreover, there is not any report about Smriti Irani making such a comment in any new media. There is also a spelling error in the fake image, as the word लूंगी has been spelt as लुंगी.

Therefore, it is clear that no TV news channel telecast any such news, and this fake image created to attack the union minister with a sexist comment, who is giving a tough fight to Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. It seems a screengrab taken from ABP News when they had covered a press conference addressed by Smriti Irani following OpIndia expose on Rahul Gandhi’s dubious land deals. Although no news channel logo is visible on the image, from the graphics it is clear that it is based on a screenshot from ABP News clip.

This is not the first time Smriti Irani has been subjected to such sexist attack, she has faced such attacks regularly over the last few years. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has been at the forefront at it, who has repeated the offence several times. Several leaders of Congress or their allies have made crass and sexist comments to attack Irani in the past.

Congress spokesperson Dr Ajoy Kumar shares old article to spread EVM hack theory

Dr Ajoy Kumar, National spokesperson of Indian National Congress (INC) and president of Jharkhand Congress was caught spreading panic on Twitter by sharing an old Times of India article about EVM malfunction. The article dated April 3, 2014 was intentionally shared to maliciously suggest that BJP has tampered the EVMs in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

His tweet is aimed at misleading the voters into believing the falsehood of “every vote being polled goes to BJP” theory. Congress and opposition parties have been constantly accusing the BJP with manipulating the EVMs to their favour.

Kumar, who was confronted by a user named Harshal for his malignant tweet has, however, preferred to maintain his stand. In response to the user, he has, in fact, justified his erroneous claim.

Not too long ago, prominent Congress leader Kapil Sibal was spotted at a hackathon event in London. The event witnessed a series of outlandish claims by an alleged self-proclaimed ‘EVM expert,’ Syed Suja. The alleged hacker had stunned the nation by claiming that 2014 elections along with UP and Gujarat state elections were rigged. He went on to claim that favourable results were achieved by hacking the EVMs. All these elections were won by BJP. However, he had given a clean chit to MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan elections because BJP had failed to earn the numbers in these states and Congress had managed a comeback.

However, the Election Commission (EC) had rubbished the hacking claims. EC has maintained that the EVMs are hack-proof.

Non-bailable warrant issued against Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Yogendra Yadav in a defamation case

A Delhi court has issued non-bailable warrants against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy CM Manish Sisodia and former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, as they failed to appear in a defamation case. Rouse Avenue court in Delhi has issued the non-bailable warrant against the three in a defamation suit filed by lawyer Surender Sharma.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal issued the warrants against Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, after noting that nobody was present from their side during the hearing on the complaint filed by advocate Surender Kumar Sharma. The case was posted for Wednesday by the court.

The case was filed by Surender Sharma in 2013, alleging that the AAP leaders had approved his name as a party candidate but later defamed him and also denied him the ticket for election. He had claimed that articles published in leading newspapers carried “defamatory, unlawful and derogatory words used by the accused persons”, which have lowered his reputation in the Bar and the society. The case was stayed along with several other defamation cases filed at that time as the Supreme Court was hearing a plea and others questioning the constitutional validity of criminal defamation suits. The plea against the validity of criminal defamation filed by Arvind Kejriwal, Subramanian Swamy and Rahul Gandhi was dismissed by the Supreme Court in May 2016, after which the proceedings in stayed defamation cases were re-started.

The AAP leaders had filed a petition in the Delhi High court to stay the case, but the High Court had refused to do so in March 2017, saying let the proceedings in trial court go on. After that, the case filed by Sharma was put on trial in August 2017 by the lower court.

‘We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you on board again soon’: Vistara posts picture with Maj Gen GD Bakshi again

'We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you on board again soon': Vistara posts picture with Gen GD Bakshi again after liberal bullying got them to delete their first tweet
Major General GD Bakshi with two senior officials from Air Vistara

It was on April 21st 2019 that Air Vistara posted a picture on Twitter welcoming decorated war veteran Major General GD Bakshi on board. What followed was shameless bullying and calls for a boycott from the self-proclaimed liberals who talk tall about tolerance. Vistara faced significant backlash after they deleted the picture with a shabby explanation. Now, as an appropriate response to “liberals” and deserved respect to the veteran, Air Vistara has posted a new picture from their Twitter profile with Major General GD Bakshi.

Air Vistara tweeted, “it was an honour meeting you at your home yesterday. Thank you for your gracious understanding, warmth, and hospitality. We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you on board again soon!”

After self-proclaimed ‘liberals’ had forced Air Vistara to delete their previous post where they welcome GD Bakshi on board, the airline faced massive backlash on Social Media. Several people asserted that they would never fly with an airline that cowed down to pressure tactics of few entitled Lutyens’ elites and dishonoured a war veteran in this manner.

Following the backlash, Air Vistara posted a shabby explanation where they asserted that once they posted the picture with Major General GD Bakshi on board, they received several abuses and they had deleted the post to ensure that the dignity of all parties would remain intact.

The shoddy explanation did not make things easier for Air Vistara as people alleged that the airline owned by TATAs was trying to appease all parties concerned and hence, was failing at doing the right and ethical thing.

Vistara had then sent two senior executives to Major General GD Bakshi‘s residence to apologise for deleting the tweet which welcomed him on board.

Major General Bakshi wrote a Facebook post with the picture of the senior officials meeting him. He wrote that Air Vistara should have stuck to their guns, but they were frightened enough to delete the tweet. He added that the story ends here with the gesture of the airline of visiting him personally and tendering an apology. But he added that he is not sure about those virulent haters of the Indian Armed forces, who try to masquerade as the Voice of the nation. He commented that such liberals are out of touch with public opinion and pulse in the country. They need to look within and reflect, he concluded.

With Air Vistara now posting a new photograph where two senior officials of the airline visited Gen Bakshi, they might have redeemed themselves and lived up to the advice given by Major General Bakshi. They should have stuck to their guns with their post itself, one can only hope they stick to their guns this time around.

Man behind the theft of three diamond studded gold crowns from Govindaraja Swami temple in Tirupati arrested, 1.3 kg melted gold seized

Govindaraja Temple, Tirupati

Tirupati police on Monday arrested the man allegedly behind the theft of the three diamond-studded gold crowns that were reported to have been stolen from Govindaraja Swami temple in Tirupati on February 3.

Police also retrieved 1.3 kg of melted gold from the man arrested. The accused had subsequently melted the crowns of sub-temple gods, Malayappa, Sridevi and Bhoodevi weighing 1,351 gram in total. The crown of Malayappa weighed 528 gram, Goddess Sridevi’s crown weighed 408 gram and the crown of Bhoodevi weighed 415 grams.

According to the police complaint filed by the temple superintendent Sri Gyana Prakash at the time of the theft in the month of February, the missing crowns which date back to the 12th century were suspected to have been stolen at the time of evening prasad offerings.

The Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams (TTD) Assistant Executive Officer, Kola Bhaskar had confirmed then that the main doors of the temple were closed after the evening ritual of ‘Naivedyam’ was offered to the deities. The crowns were found missing after the doors were opened half an hour later.

Tirupati is one of India’s holiest pilgrimage sites in the state’s Chittoor district because of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. It is known to be the richest temple in the country. Although located in Tirupati, the Govindaraja Swamy Temple is controlled and maintained by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams trust board.

Last year, AV Ramana Deekshitulu, who was removed from the post of Chief Priest of Tirumala Temple, alleged that the state government and the temple administration are mishandling the temple affairs and that the highly-priced ornaments and precious diamonds donated by devotees to Lord Venkateshwara have disappeared in the past two decades and sought a CBI inquiry into the same.

He had also directly accused Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and the officials appointed by him for the disappearance of jewels donated by devotees, following which, Naidu had to face severe denunciation by the opposition leaders.

Two AAP MLAs lunged towards Kejriwal and one punched him such that his glasses fell off, claims Kapil Mishra

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Kapil Mishra has claimed that a few days back, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was allegedly beaten up by other AAP MLAs.

He claimed that Kejriwal was holding a meeting with AAP legislatures and following a heated discussion, a few AAP legislatures beat up Kejriwal. Kejriwal was allegedly bruised and injured and hence he has reportedly not stepped out of the house. He has also conspicuously remained absent from the nomination filing of his own party candidates as well. Amusingly, Kejriwal has not even tweeted his congratulations or best wishes to the AAP candidates who have filed their nominations for the Delhi constituencies in the last few days.

Mishra took to Twitter to share a link which detailed how and why Kejriwal was allegedly beaten up by his own colleagues. As per the report, the incident took place on Saturday where the AAP leaders were holding discussions over AAP and Congress alliance in the ongoing general elections. Apparently, Kejriwal lost his cool over ticket distribution and started abusing them. After a while, they also retaliated and hit him back.

As per the report, two MLAs lunged towards Kejriwal and one of them punched him such that he became a little unsteady and his glasses fell off. It is reported that Kejriwal had injured his knee and could not even walk properly. However, by then other MLAs rushed to resolve the fight and calmed them down. Since the meeting was happening behind closed doors, Kejriwal’s security guards were also not in the room. Owing to his injured knee, Kejriwal is recovering and has not left home in past three days. It is believed that Kejriwal is torn because neither could he initiate disciplinary action against his MLAs nor could he report the same to the police. Hence, as of now there are no verifiable reports of Kejriwal being beaten up.

As per the report shared by Mishra, except for a few AAP leaders, most of them are fed up of Kejriwal’s abusive behaviour towards them. AAP MLA from Chandni Chowk Alka Lamba had also recently mentioned how there are certain behavioural issues with Kejriwal where he gets angry and abusive very easily. Kejriwal allegedly treats the MLAs like his servants.

Kejriwal is also accused of favouritism and he does not abuse the MLAs he likes. It is alleged that he had these favourite MLAs of his allegedly beat up Delhi’s Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash. Some AAP MLAs are reportedly dissatisfied with Kejriwal and accuse him of ‘selling’ two Rajya Sabha and three Lok Sabha seats for money. They even allege that the ‘trading’ for 2020 Delhi Assembly elections has already started.

Along with Kapil Mishra, another rebel AAP leader Kumar Vishwas also took to Twitter to give hints of physical assault over Kejriwal by AAP MLAs.

Vishwas, in his usual style, said that MLAs represent people and they are given the responsibility of taking the messages and wishes of people who elected them to the chief minister. However, such wishes should be carried out either in writing or orally, not by giving physical blows.

When curious minds questioned him if the rumours of Kejriwal being beaten up are true, Vishwas gave a cryptic reply, ‘lagbhag’.

While OpIndia could not verify whether Kejriwal was indeed beaten up, we wish him a speedy recovery.

How NDTV lied to paint Narendra Modi as ‘Hitler’ in 2004 and whitewashed violence and rigging by Left, Lalu

Logo of NDTV

The truth is that NDTV is not just an anti-BJP, anti-VHP, anti-Sangh Parivar channel like ‘Aaj Tak’ or ‘Star News’ or newspapers like ‘The Hindustan Times’ or ‘The Times of India’ or ‘The Statesman’. NDTV owners are blood relatives of CPM leaders.

NDTV’s Chairman is Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy is also NDTV’s co-chairperson. CPM’s Brinda Karat, who is a Politburo member and a former MP of the CPM, is the wife of Prakash Karat, who was General Secretary of the CPM from 2005 to 2015, the most powerful post of the party-akin to that of the sarsanghachalak in the RSS or the President in the Congress or the BJP. And Brinda Karat and Radhika Roy are real sisters, Radhika being the younger one. Both the bosses of NDTV-Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy- are staunch Communists, just like Brinda and Prakash Karat.

NDTV has reported horribly against Narendra Modi right since 2002. But among all stark lies spread by NDTV, one which needs to be immediately exposed is this.

In its opinion poll on the Lok Sabha 2004’s outcome along with ‘The Indian Express’ carried in the last week of March 2004 which gave 287-307 seats to the BJP-led NDA, BJP was given 24 out of the 26 seats in Gujarat. But while reporting on it, Prannoy Roy, who was discussing the findings of the poll along with Yogendra Yadav, Rajdeep Sardesai and Dorab Sopariwala said:

“But here there is a fear factor. People who oppose Narendra Modi cannot have the courage to say so publicly. But let that remain 24 out of 26 for the time being…”

In its next opinion poll on the Lok Sabha elections’ outcome, carried in April 2004, NDTV-Indian Express gave the BJP-led NDA 260-280 seats. It gave 22 out of 26 seats in Gujarat, to the BJP. And here, NDTV Chairman Prannoy Roy said:

“Last time, we did not ask this question despite the fear factor. But this time we did. The question was asked, “Will you be afraid to speak against Narendra Modi?”And 59% said, “Yes” and 41 % said “No.” This was said by those people who still had the courage to speak against Modi. So the real number may be even higher. There may be many who said ‘No’ because they are afraid to say, ‘Yes’.”

What shamelessness!

Mr Prannoy Roy, I have devoted a complete chapter to expose you and your channel, why fear?

Who does not know that the entire thing was rubbish and completely concocted? In Gujarat, the Opposition Congress lived and conducted rallies and public meetings. Nobody can ever believe that the people were afraid to oppose Narendra Modi there in 2004. The BJP’s own state unit and a section of the BJP Legislative wing had a faction opposing Narendra Modi and wanted Keshubhai Patel as the Chief Minister in 2004.

Now, look at the percentage. The survey predicted 22 out of the 26 seats in Gujarat for the BJP. As a result, the people surveyed must have been mostly BJP supporters. If 60 out of 100 are BJP supporters, will they ever say that they are afraid to oppose Narendra Modi if they will not oppose him at all? As for the remaining who will oppose Narendra Modi, if we assume 60% will be afraid to do so, then 60% of 40% will be 24%. And of the 24%, 40% will be courageous enough to say so, which will come down to 10% of the total sample.

In any case, all this is utter rubbish. Nobody in the right frame of mind can ever say that there was any such factor in Gujarat in 2004, or now. Not even Gujarat Congress or its cunning leader S. S. Vaghela had made any such claims at that time. All the above were forcible attempts of NDTV to malign Narendra Modi and call him a “Hitler”. And Rajdeep Sardesai who is not a Communist and had left NDTV in April 2005 was equally guilty of lying through his teeth here. This does not seem to have awakened the BJP even today and such malicious lies continue to be spread by media outlets of this ideology, such as The Caravan (concocting ridiculous and false charges on Amit Shah for the death of Judge Loya), The Wire (fake charges on Jay Shah, implying that he made crores of rupees profit while he, in reality, made a loss of almost 1.5 crores) and of course NDTV and company.

In 2004, before the Lok Sabha polls, there were many TV channels and many magazines doing surveys and opinion polls, like Zee News, Star News, Aaj Tak etc. No other anti-BJP channel ever mentioned the existence of any such ‘fear factor’ in Gujarat, except NDTV, in 2004. Overconfidence of ‘imminent victory’ in 2004 and basic inability to counter media lies, passiveness and lack of aggressiveness on part of the BJP led to the party ignoring all such malicious acts by NDTV.

For the ‘fear factor’, massive electoral malpractices, frightening opponents, were all rampant in West Bengal in 2004, ruled by the Marxists at that time and in Bihar then ruled by Lalu Yadav. To see criminals and elements like Taslimuddin, Shahabuddin fighting Lok Sabha elections (and winning from Kishanganj and Siwan respectively) one can know immediately who frightens the opponents.

Belgium-based world-famous scholar Dr Koenraad Elst has written in his book “BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence” (Voice of India, 1997):  “The Islamic bomb attacks on Sangh centres in Chennai [in August 1993] and elsewhere, the murders of BJP politicians in UP, Mumbai and elsewhere [in the mid-1990s], they all have not provoked any counter-attacks. Anti-Hindu governments in Bihar (of Laloo Yadav from 1990-2005) and West Bengal (of Left Front from 1977-2011) have achieved some success in preventing the growth of sizable RSS chapters by means of ruthless intimidation and violence, all without having to fear any RSS retaliation…When in ca. 1990, and again in 1996, Communist militants started killing RSS men in Kerala, the RSS was very slow to react in kind.”

Lalu Yadav’s rule was similar in Bihar (1990-2005). Ruthless intimidation and violence prevented the growth of a sizeable RSS unit there in Bihar, just like in West Bengal. But all this did not bother our ‘secular’ TV channels, especially NDTV, they were GLAD it was so since RSS and therefore, BJP was suffering.

The cases of CPI(M) killing RSS and BJP men in Kerala are so many that an entire encyclopedia can be written on that. Just a few cases are being given. Actually, more than 100 RSS/BJP men were killed. As just an example 2 RSS men were killed in Kerala on 28 May 2010.

As for Kerala, the district of Kannur which is a Red bastion is horribly gripped by this. RSS men, BJP men and also Congressmen were brutally murdered by the CPM cadres in those days, and the Congress had to organize a huge rally in this place addressed by its state unit chief in October 2005 in which he said that the true face of the CPM lies in Kannur. BJP too alleged the same. In 1996 BJP’s Kannur district secretary Panniyan Chandran was killed by alleged CPM cadres in front of his wife. BJP suffered a major setback after the murder of Panniyan Chandran. In 2012, CPM district secretary and now Minister in the Kerala Government M M Mani openly boasted as to how CPM had killed enemies of the CPM in the past.

On 1 Dec 1999, the very popular BJYM Kerala state Vice-President was murdered. KT Jayakrishnan, a school teacher, was hacked to death on 1 December 1999 in his classroom in front of his tiny tot students by a group of 7 CPM workers, who did not even hide their faces in the attack. The tiny tots suffered a severe shock and had to be counselled later. The Additional Sessions Judge K K Chandra Das gave the verdict on the case in Aug 2003, which had created a storm in the state political circles. 5 CPM cadres were given the death penalty. The CPI(M) workers staged a demonstration outside the court complex to protest against the sentence!

This was also confirmed by the High Court. The court confirmed the sentences and observed that the murder was committed inside a classroom in front of the students. The accused had not made any attempt to conceal their identities. The Kerala High Court judge said, “the accused trespassed into the classroom and translated their evil design into action by committing the murder of K.T. Jayakrishnan in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting and dastardly manner”.

CPM activists demonstrated in front of the Sessions Court and High Court after the verdict. They shouted slogans against the judges and even threatened to kill them. This CPM, which gives long lectures to BJP and RSS on honouring court verdicts openly burnt the effigies of the judge throughout the state (Kerala) in 2005. After this NDTV and its functionaries related to the Communists were unmoved.

There used to be rigging and booth capturing too along with the murdering of opponents by the CPM even in Kannur, which was not found worth mentioning by any of the TV channels, especially NDTV. NDTV covered up CPM’s ‘scientific rigging’ and violence in West Bengal in 2004 but reported an imaginary ‘fear factor’ in Gujarat!

As for West Bengal, the 2006 state Assembly polls may have been fair and relatively freer (I will still not say ‘free and fair’). But prior to that, the Marxists rigged many elections in the state since 1987. The Communists had murderous cadres. The noses and ears of BJP cadres were cut in West Bengal in 2002 which was for a change given some publicity. The 2001 Assembly polls in West Bengal were also badly rigged by the Communists. The results in some booths in some constituencies are as follows, reported by Bengali daily ‘Bartaman’ dated 19 May 2001. Here there was an alliance between Trinamool Congress and Congress for this election.

Raniganj Assembly constituency. (CPM candidate and minister won the election by a huge margin here). The booth no and votes are given below:

Booth No               CPI(M)                   Congress

64                            678                            2

143                           662                            6

144                           700                            8

148                           502                            8

166                           358                            3

200                           962                           24

63                             476                           12

128                           556                           17

229                           534                           17

127                           776                           18

138                           409                           11

197                           659                           12

195                           673                           15

139                           740                           16

140                           767                           15

196                           533                           15

114                           580                           15

143                           301                           29

107                           407                           17

198-A                       581                           27

Obviously, the CPM cadres after capturing the booths pressed the button a few times for the Congress nominee, so that the result would not appear to be that blatant. But in some booths, even this ‘minimum courtesy’ was not shown. Results in some booths in Jamuria constituency, adjacent to Raniganj. (Courtesy: Weekly ‘Organiser’ dated 4 June 2001)

Booth No                  CPI(M)                Trinamool

(TC)

207                             830                           0

129                             678                           0

112                             351                           1

12                               623                           3

178                             534                           3

14                               509                           4

46                               754                           6

142                             462                           6

45                               673                           7

28                               428                           9

264                             691                         10

157                           1004                         11

54                               888                         12

97                               983                         13

181                             436                         15

73                               199                         15

70                               360                         17

As for Bihar the less said the better. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Lalu rigged polls in his VIP seat of Chhapra, where he was pitted against BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy. The BJP submitted videotapes of poll rigging, both to the Election Commission and also to the media. And the TV channels did not find it worth criticizing the rigging of the RJD. Finally, Chhapra became the first Lok Sabha seat for which repoll was ordered in the entire constituency, not just in a few booths. If in a high-profile seat like Chhapra involving contests between VIPs complete repoll was needed to have been ordered, what must the RJD have done in other seats in Bihar, which were not high profile? Did NDTV and company not feel the need to investigate that? Or ask that same question, which they bluffed about asking in Gujarat, in West Bengal where BJP, Congress and Trinamool Congress voters were not allowed to vote due to fear of violence by the CPM goons?

In 2004, before the Lok Sabha polls, CPM leader Comrade Biman Basu was caught on camera asking CPM cadres to attack Election Commission people in protest against a decision which CPM did not like. Left Front West Bengal chairman Biman Basu called upon the party cadres to ‘attack’ the Central observers and ‘teach’ them a lesson for ‘siding with the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in the campaigning against the CPI(M)’. Basu, who was also a member of the CPI(M) politburo, in a public statement on 8 May 2004 incited the party workers and supporters against some Central observers. Some Central observers alleged to the CEC that their lives were in danger following a threat by some CPI(M) workers who were opposing them to act impartially for ensuring a free and fair poll in West Bengal. They wanted adequate protection during their stay in the state so that they could work freely and independently. These observers also registered a formal complaint with the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Mr Basudev Bandopadhyya, in this connection.

Reacting to Mr Basu’s threat to the Central observers, the TMC leader, Ms Mamata Banerjee, demanded that Mr Basu would be arrested forthwith for intimidating the Central election observers. The BJP president, Mr Tathagata Roy, alleged that Mr Basu had gone out of the way in inciting the party cadres against the observers since they were now finding it difficult to rig the poll in their traditional methods. Mr Roy demanded police action against Mr Basu. The Congress also criticised the front chairman’s public statement against the Central observers.

This was not given due publicity by the TV channels and of course ignored by NDTV. NDTV was only interested in imaginary fear created by the BJP in Gujarat. Now let us see the Election Commission’s report on the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal. Needless to say, even this report was completely ignored by the media-NDTV and also others and only found a mention in ‘The Pioneer.

Weekly ‘Organiser’ dated 31 July 2005 mentions this report:

Last year’s Parliamentary election (2004) in West Bengal was a farce and Election Commission should reject the poll process. The top leaders of the CPM and key persons of state administration had acted themselves as a barricade to have free and fair polling. If Election Commission can appoint a chief election officer from outside West Bengal who knows the Bengali language only then a free and fair election will be possible in West Bengal.”

This was from the report of special observer Afjal Amanulla appointed by the Election Commission, submitted to the Chief Election Commissioner of India, T.S.Krishnamoorthy. Incidentally, this report was by a Muslim officer.

And NDTV has continued the same ever since, condemned and maligned Narendra Modi unfairly and falsely, and gone scot-free. Now, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is trying to paint Modi and Amit Shah as ‘Hitlers’, and what not, and ignoring totally the massive intimidation of voters in West Bengal by the Trinamool Congress, blatant booth capturing and rigging, prevention of voters to vote and various malpractices. The people want Central Forces to be present at all booths and do not trust the local police. Of course, the Trinamool Congress learnt all these things of poll rigging and attacks on opponents from the Left. The bigger fault is of the media, particularly NDTV and other channels in not exposing the deeds of Mamata in West Bengal in 2019 now. Only TimesNow did a good report on it. NDTV is mysteriously silent on all these deeds.

As ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka serial bombings, footage of bomber surfaces

Sri Lanka bombings

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the dastardly Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka that saw over 321 people dead and more than 500 injured across 8 locations in and around Colombo.

As per reports, the ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sri Lanka. However, the group has not given any evidence or links over the claim. The group’s AMAQ news agency has stated the claim.

The AMAQ news agency is a news outlet linked with the ISIS and is a part of their propaganda machinery. It is often used to claim responsibilities for attacks and issue warnings from the terror group.

The AMAQ message reportedly states that the Easter Sunday attacks were carried out by soldiers of IS in Sri Lanka against the citizens of coalition partners against the IS and Christians.

The Sri Lankan government had yesterday stated that a domestic terror outfit the National Thowheed Jama’ath is responsible for the attacks. The radical Islamist outfit was accused of carrying out the attacks on the Sri Lankan capital in unprecedented coordination.

The Sri Lankan government had also admitted to a ‘colossal intelligence failure’, stating that the government had indeed received warnings about the attacks but failed to stop them. Reports have stated that India had alerted Sri Lanka over possible terror attacks on April 4.

Sri Lankan minister Renjitha Senaratne had stated yesterday, “We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country. There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

In the meanwhile, a CCTV footage has surfaced in the media where the suspected suicide bomber is seen walking into the St Sebastian Church.

Today, their deputy defence minister has stated that the attacks in Sri Lanka is in retaliation to the Christchurch attacks last month.

Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi makes a self goal as he tries to play the ‘caste’ card on Hans Raj Hans’ nomination for Lok Sabha

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi today made a massive self-goal as he tried to play the divisive caste card to side with BJP’s Udit Raj who was denied a Lok Sabha ticket in favour of singer Hans Raj Hans. In a tweet, Singhvi said that by denying a ticket to Dr Udit Raj, who is currently sitting MP from North West Delhi, the BJP has shown its anti-Dalit side to the people.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s now deleted tweet

Except, in his haste to score political brownie points over caste, Singhvi forgot that North West Delhi is a reserved seat which means that this seat is reserved for candidates who belong to the scheduled castes. That means, Hans Raj Hans, the candidate who is being fielded from North West Delhi constituency also belongs to the scheduled caste.

Singhvi was called out for his faux pas on Twitter.

On being called out for his caste politics and his mistake that his new allegation holds no water, he deleted his tweet.

West Bengal: Presiding officer, polling agent cast vote on behalf of voters, bombs thrown at polling stations

Image Source: News 18

A polling agent belonging to Congress party went inside the polling vote to allegedly cast a vote on behalf of a woman voter in Malda, West Bengal, reports Times Now.

According to the reports, the incident occurred when one of the women voters went inside the polling booth to cast her vote with the presence of a Congress polling agent. The Congress agent entered inside the premises to vote on behalf of the woman despite the presence of polling officials and central police forces.

In another incident in Malda, the Presiding Officer was allegedly caught influencing the voters, reported Republic TV. According to the reports and visuals, the presiding officer himself cast the votes on the behalf of the voters.

In addition to this, the elections in West Bengal has been consumed by political violence especially in the districts of Murshidabad and Malda. Tensions have erupted in North Malda constituency after some miscreants threw bombs at polling stations. The third phase of elections in West Bengal has continued the trends of severe political violence that was seen during the first and second phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A BJP camp office has also been ransacked allegedly by TMC party cadres in the Motigunj area of Uttar Malda constituency. Many BJP supporters are reportedly injured in clashes. Another incident of violence was reported from Malda Uttar when a BJP member from the block, Sagar Roy, was allegedly beaten up by TMC members when he tried to record the attack on his phone. The attackers were allegedly trying to capture booth no 173 at Chachol.

The TMC workers also tried to hijack the booth and attempted to vote for the ruling party in South Dinajpur’s Kushmundi. The BJP supporters and villagers were beaten up for showing support towards the BJP. Several people alleged that TMC workers from the area tried to capture the booth while threatening villagers to vote for the TMC.

The Print publishes a bogus and statistically inaccurate ‘research’ to claim retweeting PM Modi increases chances to get LS ticket

PM Modi and Shekhar Gupta

I recently stumbled upon an article published on Shekhar Gupta’s portal, The Print. Titled “Retweeting Modi increases BJP MPs’ chances of getting a Lok Sabha ticket: Study,” the article was written by Barbara De Alfaro, a student of political science at UC Berkeley. Needless to say, the unlettered folks (in the sciences, at least) that occupy bastions of our media space went about bandying it as statistical evidence against Modi, touting Berkeley’s reputation to lend it credibility.

As a student of the mathematical sciences currently working in the field of statistics & machine learning, I can assert, without a speck of doubt, that this article is ridden with the most fundamental of statistical fallacies. I’ve taught classes (as student instructor) in the Department of Statistics at one of the most prestigious universities in the world (name withheld, lest the left cabal lets the dogs out to hound me). Now that my pedigree has been established (lest someone call me unqualified), let me commence with a point-by-point post-mortem of this spurious argument:

1. “I analyse the rate at which a BJP MP retweeted the leadership in February 2018. The retweet rates of February 2018 are a good benchmark for two reasons. First, it is more than a year before the general elections. We are, therefore, not observing retweets being conveniently used to make a good impression right before the elections”, the article says.

There are about 60 months between two general elections. Choosing one month out of them comes down to a tiny sample size of about 1.67%. And, why the arbitrary choice of February 2018? Why not March 2016 or November 2017 or Moronember 2015? They could have taken a uniform random sample (or use any other random sampling strategy) from months from May 2014 to February 2018 (to avoid the year before elections, if that is what they wished). That obviously didn’t happen — February 2018 was chosen for no good reason. Besides, has the dataset even been made public for others to analyze it, as is the norm in academia?

2. “How much a BJP MP retweeted key members of the BJP is calculated as a percentage of their total number of tweets during the period for which data was collected. For example, if an MP tweeted 2000 times and retweeted party leadership 1000 times, the retweet rate for that MP is 50 per cent.” — this is a dastardly assault on my technical sensibilities. This study is rotten in its core itself, with a metric that is flawed by design. Let me explain: consider the situation mentioned above where the “key members” of the BJP tweeted a total of 1000 times. Assume BJP MP X tweeted 1,800 times including every single of the 1000 tweets sent out by the “key members” — her retweet rate would be about 55.57%. Now, assume MP Y tweeted 1,500 times, including again every single of the 1000 tweets sent out by the “key members” — her “retweet rate” would be 66.67%. Now, assume a third MP Z tweeted exactly 10 times, out of which 8 tweets were from the “key members” — her retweet rate would be 80%. By the metric suggested by the study, Z would be considered most “loyal” because she has the highest retweet rate, despite having retweeted just 1%of the tweets from the “key members!” This is an even more ridiculous proposition because X & Y both retweeted every single tweet from the “key members,” clearly contributing more to advancing the image of the party & these members. X & Y are, in fact, being penalized by the “study” for being more active on Twitter, because the retweet rate decreases with an increase in the total number of tweets! Why is the “retweet rate” even dependent on the total number of tweets made by the MP — what does “loyalty” have to do with the other things a MP tweets about? Furthermore, assuming X & Y are not working against their own party, a large portion of the total 1800 & 1500 tweets would likely be working towards advancing the interests of the party: hence one could say they’re likelier to be more loyal to Modi/BJP than Z is, given that they’re sharing more pro-BJP/pro-Modi content with their followers. Choosing a deeply flawed metric — this is what amateur statistical analysis looks like, for the uninitiated.

3. “The key members of the BJP identified for this analysis were: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the official BJP Twitter account, BJP president Amit Shah, and cabinet members Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, and Uma Bharti.” — Again, arbitrary choices. A lot of leaders could happen to tweet content from other handles, the most prominent being that of PMO India. Why was that given a skip? Why were the accounts of BJP bigwigs like Yogi Adityanath, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman etc. given a skip? This is the most obvious limitation of the dataset used for this drivel that passes for “research.” There is no sound strategy used to identify who the “key members” are — they could, at the very least, have chosen the top-N percentile of most popular BJP-affiliated accounts (by Twitter follower count) as the “key members”. But who cares about generating datasets correctly when you can instead cherry-pick data i.e. the match-fixing equivalent of statistics?

4. “Of the top 20 per cent of MPs who retweeted Modi, 69 per cent were renominated to contest for the Lok Sabha. In contrast, of the bottom 20 per cent of people who retweeted Modi the least, only 46 per cent were renominated. This gives us a difference in renomination rates of 23 points.” — yet another arbitrary choice. Why 20%? Was that also cherry-picked to arrive at the desired conclusion? In that case, the author of the “study” might want to learn what confirmation bias is. Besides, for each cohort, the author takes into account only 40% of the data, discarding 60% of it. Again, novice mistakes in the study of statistics.

5. “But if there is such a high correlation between Twitter behaviour and political outcomes, it is worth investigating more closely the relationship between social media presence and BJP mobility” — The article talks about “high correlation” but does not even compute a correlation coefficient to quantify correlation! In what world can a “study” quantify correlation without a single metric for the same?

6. And now, onto the cardinal sin of this “study”: implying causation i.e. implying that retweeting Modi leads to an increase in an MP’s chance of getting a ticket. This is in direct contradiction with the token, blanket statement of denial that “[…] the argument presented here is not causal.” Firstly, the study itself fails to prove correlation, as shown above. Even if they did prove causation, correlation does not imply causation! This is a core tenet in the field of statistics, that every student would learn in an introductory stats class. Here are the causal statements in this sham of a piece, starting with the outlandish headline itself: “Retweeting Modi increases BJP MPs’ chances of getting a Lok Sabha ticket.” These casual statements of causal nature continue through the piece: “Being in the top retweeters of the cabinet members all combined boosted renomination rates by 30 points. […] Members of Parliament may no longer need to be well connected to make sure they can get a ticket for the next election cycle. They may no longer need to be able to attract large crowds or even have overwhelming support in their respective constituencies. Perhaps, they just need to retweet Modi.” This is what happens when politics meets science. You get neither sound science nor proper political analysis — just a shoddy concoction of the two.

Another fact that the ‘study’ fails to account for is that the BJP has stitched multiple alliances since February 2018, the time frame of the alleged ‘study’. The BJP has stitched an alliance with the Shiv Sena which means that the party will have to concede at least some seats to its alliance partner which it had won the last time around. Similarly, the BJP has an alliance with the JD(U) in Bihar, another alliance that did not exist in 2014 and carries similar implications. The ‘study’ fails to take into account these factors.

More importantly, social settings are multivariate and therefore, a particular situation is affected by a multitude of factors and not just one. In this particular ‘study’, the person has basically attempted to plot a simple graph between the number of retweets and renomination without accounting for various other important factors which affect the situation.

The author says further, “This analysis is limited by the fact that data was only available for 131 of 266 sitting BJP MPs. It is also based on renominations as they have been announced so far, but new lists of candidates are still being released.” Therefore, not only has the author ignored the effects of other variables but the far-reaching conclusions he has drawn are based on incomplete data.

While most postulates of my argument indicate a lack of statistical rigour in the “study,” I am almost willing to attribute them to pure malice, in defiance of Hanlon’s Razor. I could further probe this excuse of a study and find holes gaping enough for me to walk through, but that would be an exercise in futility — because cooking data & making outlandish conjectures masquerading as “research”, is the name of the game for Lutyens’ media. Not very surprising though, given that Mr Gupta has a splendid track record behind him.

I’m not sure if this short piece would even reach the hallowed corridors of The Print’s office. Perhaps, all I need to do instead is pen down some “research” that says “Creating bogus studies increases chances of getting published by The Print.” However, one thing the ‘study’ and the applause it has received from liberal circles surely proves is that liberals are basically illiterate when it comes to statistics.

Bijnor: Asif, Rafiq and Rihan shoot three Dalit men over argument, police on high alert fearing communal clashes

Representational Image

Another incident of violence has transpired hours before Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district went into polls today. A group of Muslim men reportedly shot at three Dalit men over an argument between the two groups. One Bulaki Singh succumbed to his injuries while the other two are said to be critical. The incident occurred on Sunday night.

Superintendent of Police, SP Tyagi said that the CCTV footage recovered from the spot where the incident transpired, revealed the identity of three accused, namely Rihan, Asif and Rafiq. They are residents of Raza Colony in the area, confirmed SP Tyagi. The three have been arrested and during interrogation admitted being a part of the crime. The police are in the lookout for rest of the accused.

The incident took place when Bulaki Singh(55), Mahavir Singh(40), and Firozi Singh(25), residents of the Mukapurpur village which falls under Badhapur police station, went to Badhapur to shop for household items late on Sunday. While returning to their village they ran across the group of Asif, Rihan, and Rafiq who were in their car which was parked near Badhapur-Kunjeta Road.

The group allegedly got into an argument with the three Dalit men after the former asked the latter the way to Rampur. During the tiff, one of the men in the car allegedly slapped Firozi Singh. On resenting the argument escalated. One of the men from the group shot at the three Dalit men who were on their bikes. While Bulaki died on the spot, Mahavir and Firozi, are said to be critical.

Bulaki Singh’s son, Somapal has registered a complaint against the accused. The police have been investigating the matter closely. Meanwhile, the car used in the murder has been recovered from Delhi.

As per the reports, the security in the area has been tightened keeping today’s elections in mind as there are fears of communal tensions flaring. Local politicians have also visited the families of the victims. Police officials have stated that though the incident was not political, fearing communal clashes, police forces have been deployed in the area.

Recently, there have been many incidents of violence on Dalits with Muslims as perpetrators.

An incident of violence between Dalits and Muslims had come to light in Durveshpur village of Sardhana, Uttar Pradesh on February 10, 2019. According to a report by Amar Ujala, a minor conflict between some people belonging to the Dalit and the Muslim communities escalated into communal violence. People from both the communities came face to face and heavy stone pelting and firing took place.

A similar incident of violence between Dalits and the Muslims was reported recently in Agra.

Meanwhile, Meerut experienced similar clashes at the beginning of the year after some people of the Muslim community had beaten up a Dalit boy when he demanded his wages.

Sri Lanka terror attacks on Easter were ‘retaliation’ to Christchurch attacks: Sri Lanka Deputy Defence Minister

Sri Lanka bombings

As per a report by the news agency AFP, an initial probe in the serial bomb attacks which killed over 300 people in Sri Lanka has revealed that it was ‘retaliation’ for the Christchurch attack in New Zealand, says Sri Lanka’s deputy Defence Minister. “The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” AFP quoted state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene of having told the parliament.

As per reports, an intelligence memo was given to the government weeks before the attack where one member of the terrorist group identified as having perpetrated the bombings had started updating his social media accounts “with extremist content” following the New Zealand shootings.

On March 15, in a dastardly shooting attack, nearly 50 people were killed and several others were injured in two New Zealand mosques after a terrorist had opened fire. Following the mass shootings, women across New Zealand wore hijabs and scarves and men wore scarves across their shoulders to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

Even New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden wore a black ‘Hijab‘ when meeting members of the Muslim community after the shootings. Following that, Radio and TV stations across New Zealand has decided to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer. Journalists and TV anchors also wore ‘Hijab’ or scarfs to express their solidarity with Muslims in the country.

The face of our ‘liberals’: They wept for Christchurch and rightly so, but where is the outrage on Sri Lanka?

The bomb blasts in Sri Lanka which have killed over 200 people are markedly different from Christchurch shooting of only a month ago.

The mass-shooting in two different mosques in Christchurch which left 50 dead, justifiably drew the world’s horror and an outpouring of sympathy.  New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern became a global phenomenon for wearing a chadar while sympathizing with the bereaved families. Every leader of the world worth his salt shed tears. Donations poured in amounting to millions. Rock concerts were organized to help. In many ways, sympathy and support dumbed the outrage.

The Sri Lanka tragedy was already ebbing in a matter of hours. There are no editorials underlining the threat of Islamic extremism to the free world. Even though a Jihadi Islamist group, with links to Islamic State (IS), is suspected, the description in our newspapers is about a “local network…without any criminal background.” Islam as a violent ideology is not in debate. Instead, it is circumcised and localized.

Why the Western world is afraid of “Islamophobia” (fear against Islam’s ideology)?

Two things are at work here. One, such is the flux of petrodollars since discovery of oil in the Middle East in the 1970s that money and donations have poured in from the Wahhabi countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE etc which have subsidized governments, Liberal networks and Western newspapers and led to bursts of madrasas and mosques on their lands. There is exponential growth in monumental Islamic charities around the world.

Two is the prevalent attitude of Liberals around the world which treat Islam as a “minority” and hence a just case for protection against “Islamophobia.” They are unwilling to look at Islamic history, the resolve of its ideologues and the violence spilling blood on their streets and metros as a daily occurrence.  Inconvenient voices, such as those of Christopher Hitchens and Tommy Robinson,  are never given a proper hearing.

No heed is paid when one of the most influential living Islamic scholars of Sunni Islam (Yusuf al-Qaradawi assures his followers: “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through the sword, but through dawa (outreach).” (As it is in India where the mention of Ghazwa-e-Hind— conquering of India–by its proponents is routinely glossed over).

How many have paid attention to WikiLeaks cables which points out how Saudi Arabia manipulates the foreign media outlets? That in Finland, citizens have to make a distinction between “Islam” and “Radical Islam” or else they stand prosecuted and fined (A Finnish politician, Terhi Kiemunki, was fined 450 euros for writing of a “culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion)? It’s true of most liberal Europe.

Liberals call everyone and anyone as “xenophobic” or “Islamophobic” for criticizing Islam. They don’t realize it’s their way of life which is under threat. Every time an Australian senator speaks out against Islam, he is publicly manhandled, and his words are brushed under the carpet. Tolerating the intolerance inherent in a creed is actually stopping it from curing itself of its dead weeds.

So watch the reaction of the world as it desists clamping down on radical Islam on Sri Lanka tragedy. You can read Indian Express which names only the name of the suspect organization without mentioning its Islamic Jihadi roots on Sri Lanka horror.

So be aware, be vocal against the powers which cotton-wool the truth and put our world in danger and blunt the process of reformation of a violent ideology.

‘For five seconds, I was shocked. I was very angry,’ Sumitra Mahajan on Rahul Gandhi’s infamous wink

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

On the 20th of July, 2018, an incident transpired in the Lok Sabha which cemented Rahul Gandhi’s reputation as a callous, non-serious politician. The Congress President walked across the aisle towards the Prime Minister’s chair, hugged him without his consent and then returned to his seat. A short while later, he was caught winking at his comrades, apparently gloating over what he had just done.

The one person under whose watch the entire series of events unfolded was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan. She had even then admonished the Congress President for his juvenile conduct and asserted that his actions were improper and betrayed the decorum of the House.

In an interview with India Today, Sumitra Mahajan has revealed how she felt at the time about Rahul’s conduct. “For five seconds I was shocked. I didn’t know what was happening. What do I say to this? How should I control the House? Really, I was unable to understand,” she said.

“But when he returned to his seat, started speaking again and winked, I was very angry. I said this is not proper. Actually, the hugging was not proper either. But this was a step too much,” Mahajan further stated.

Rahul Gandhi’s antics had given many people plenty of cause for laughter. Social Media had erupted with jokes and memes following the ‘hug & wink’. Prime Minister Modi, too, had chimed in on Rahul’s antics.

PM Modi had said, “Pehli baar is sadan mein aane par hi mujhe pata chala ki gale milna aur gale padna mein kya antar hota hai.” [First time after coming to the Parliament, I got to know the difference between ‘gale lagna‘ (hugging) and ‘gale padna‘ (throw oneself on).] He further added, “Is sadan mein pehli baar aankhon ki gustakhiyan wala khel bhi hua (For the first time, this Parliament saw the ‘aankhon ki gustakhiyan’ scenes being played live too).”

Despite the mockery and ridicule, winking had become a regular feature of Rahul Gandhi’s public appearances for quite some time after the event.

Convicted felon and Congress leader Hardik Patel makes a racist remark, says ‘if I want to look for Chowkidar, I will go to Nepal’

Congress leader Hardik Patel

Hardik Patel, the Patidar leader who cannot fight the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections because the court has refused to vacate his conviction in a case of rioting made a shameful and racist comment when giving a soundbyte to the Media after casting his vote today.

Hardik Patel said that if he wants to look for a ‘Chowkidaar’, he will go to Nepal and instead, he wants a Prime Minister who can strengthen the economy of the country, education and work for the youth and armed forces.

He reiterated at the end of his statement that he doesn’t want a ‘chowkidaar’ but a Prime Minister for the nation. Hardik Patel made this racist statement against Gorkhas and Nepalis after casting his vote in Viramgam in Gujarat.

It is not the first time that the ‘Chowkidar’ remark has been used as a racist slur by Indian politicians just because they are opposed to PM Modi. Earlier, AAP MLA Alka Lamba had used the word as a slur against citizens of Nepal. Congress leader and Pakistan supporter Navjot Sidhu has also used the ‘Chowkidar’ word to racially stereotype the people of Nepal.

Hardik Patel cannot contest in the 2019 elections because he has been convicted and sentenced to 2 years in prison by the High Court in a case of rioting and arson in Visnagar town in 2015. The high court in August 2018 suspended the sentence of 2 years in prison but not the conviction.

Recently, the convicted felon had joined the Congress party whose President, Rahul Gandhi, is himself out-on-bail. Gujarat Congress official website had welcomed Hardik to the party by displaying an image from Hardik’s infamous sex tape.

Hardik Patel was earlier welcomed with eggs and sandals in Madhya Pradesh and recently, a man had walked up to the stage during his Gujarat rally and planted a slap on him while he was delivering a speech at a public rally.

I-T department seizes Rs. 8 crores from North East Region, highest ever seizure from NE during elections

Representational image courtesy: India TV

Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections the Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation), North East Region (NER) has made a record-breaking seizure of Rs 8 crore, which is the highest seizure made during general elections in the North East.

According to the Income Tax department, cash to the tune of Rs 1.21 crore was seized during Election Expenditure Monitoring for 2014 elections.

“Directorate of Income Tax Investigation, NER has exceeded all previous records of cash seizures made during general elections in the North East. For the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the last polling date in north-east is April 23. The Directorate has made cash seizure exceeding Rs 8 crores till April 22, which is nearly 7 times the previous haul. This amount compares favourably even with many other jurisdictions, which have much higher tax revenue base than North East”.

This confiscation was possible because while preparing for the elections the expenditure sensitive locations were timely pinpointed in consultation with state authorities and police, said Principal Director of Income Tax Investigation for NER, Sanjay Bahadur.

The department further informed that “The limited manpower of about 150 officials was strategically deployed to set up an extensive network of surveillance units to cover 112 districts and in 12 Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) for interception of unexplained cash.”

It said further that the Special Task Force which was constituted on April 22 and jointly headed by Subhrajyoti Bhattacharjee, Additional Director and Nodal Officer and Mrinal Das, Joint Director heading AIUs, was given the responsibility of investigating suspicious high-value cash deposits and withdrawals in 68 banks operating in North East.

The Special Task Force will submit the results of its preliminary investigations within one month. After that strict consequential action, as per tax laws, will be initiated wherever unexplained cash deposits are found.

Usually, such illegal transactions and relocation of cash become rampant in every election season. Recently, a huge cache of cash was gutted in fire after a truck carrying the notes caught fire in South Kashmir. Since this cash was discovered during the poll season, the main focal point of the investigation would be whether the cash was meant to be used during the poll campaigning and which party or candidate did it belong to.

Similarly, the IT department in Karnataka had, recently, recovered Rs 2.3 crore in cash from the spare tyre of a vehicle.

Throwing light on the shocking details about the extent of illicit money being circulated during the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India had released data, according to which the IT sleuths had seized cash and contraband amounting to over Rs 2,600 crores until April 17 of this year. This comes as a shocker, considering only two phases of 2019 Lok Sabha elections have concluded so far and the amount seized until now is already almost double of that seized during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

SC issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi: ‘He says he wrongly attributed chowkidar comment to court, but he himself stands by it’

The Supreme Court of India has issued a contempt of court notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi over a contempt of court case filed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi. The case will be listed on Tuesday next week, along with the review petition against the Rafale deal.

Meenakshi Lekhi had filed the case after Rahul Gandhi had said in Amethi that Supreme Court has agreed that ‘chowkidar chor hai’, after the top court accepted the leaked documents in the Rafale review petition, rejecting government’s objection. Rahul Gandhi has said that by rejecting the government’s objections and accepting the leaked documents, Supreme Court has said that there was a scam in the Rafale deal and confirmed that chowkidar chor hai. The Supreme Court has already said that charges against the Rafale deal are baseless in its December 2018 order, and although it has accepted the review petitions, it has not stayed its earlier judgement. Therefore, Rahul Gandhi lied when he attributed the comment to the Supreme Court.

Yesterday Rahul Gandhi filed an affidavit responding to the contempt, where he denied all the allegations made against him. Although he regretted attributing the chowkidar chor hai comment to the court, he claimed that he did so in heat of the moment as he made the comment without knowing the SC order in detail.

Presenting case before the 3-judge bench, Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of Lekhi said that Rahul Gandhi’s reply is only a lip-service and he has not offered any apology, and the regret was also expressed in brackets. Hearing the case, chief justice Ranjan Gogoi asked, “who is chowkidar?”. To this Rohatgi replied that Rahul Gandhi is saying everywhere that Supreme Court has said chowkidar chor hai and PM Narendra Modi is the chowkidar.

To this, the CJI said, “will we use the word ‘Chowkidar’ in our order? How can that be a submission”. The court then asked the Rohatgi to file an affidavit putting everything in detail. The CJI said that the matter should be heard with the main review petitions of the Rafale deal.

Appearing on behalf of Rahul Gandhi, lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi intervened that no notice was issued in an important matter like this. To this, the CJI rebutted that the defect can be corrected right way by using the notice of contempt against Singhvi. He also reiterated that Rahul Gandhi wrongly attributed the comment to SC, but he himself stands by the allegation that chowkidar chor hai.

After the conclusion of arguments, the court refused to close the matter. A formal notice was issued to Rahul Gandhi in the contempt of court case, which will be listed along with review petition for the Rafale case on April 30.

Bollywood Superstar Sunny Deol joins BJP, expected to contest from Gurdaspur in Punjab

Actor Sunny Deol has today joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is likely to contest from Gurdaspur, as per reports. The popular actor, renowned for his roles in superhit movies such a Gadar and Ghatak, follows in the footsteps of his step-mother Hema Malini who has been a long time member of the BJP.

The widely popular Bollywood star joined the BJP in presence of Union Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal. Only two days earlier, Deol had met BJP President Amit Shah at the Pune Airport.

“I’m indeed very happy to receive a firebrand, popular, very committed to his art and great artist from Bollywood Sri Sunny Deol,” Sitharaman said. She added, “The moment we got to know that he is coming into the party, I could only relate to the movie ‘Border’ he had made post which the impact on the Indian audience of such a theme was really proven that the feeling of Indian Nationalism, Patriotism, when evoked through a film, can really touch the chord of every Indian citizen.”

Currently, Deol’s father, Dharmendra is busy campaigning for his wife Hema Malini who will be contesting on a BJP ticket from Mathura. He is expected to campaign for Sunny Deol as well.

The BJP will be hoping to benefit from Sunny Deol’s popularity in the state where it’s facing the possibility of an imminent loss in seats. Congress under Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has succeeded in securing its poll prospects in Punjab where it is expected to make significant gains.

Trinamool Councillor’s husband thrashed by goons, party blames Congress and Communists

Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee, Courtesy: indianexpress.com

Sporadic instances of violence have been reported from West Bengal where poll-related violence has been the norm. Given the extent of polling malpractice in the first two of phases of the election, the deployment of central forces was increased to cover over 90% of the booths.

Despite that, there have been certain instances of violence reported. In Murshidabad, a TMC Councillor’s husband has allegedly suffered injuries in clashes. Trinamool blamed the Congress party and the Communists for it.

There have also been reports of booth capturing in certain areas. Party agents are allegedly voting on behalf of people in certain booths.

Compared to the first two phases of the elections, things appear to be going much better in the third phase. In the first two phases, violence and malpractice were rampant. Allegations were leveled against the Election Commission as well for gross incompetence. Similarly, violence was also reported during the second phase. Recently, an officer of the Election Commission had gone missing as well.

Pandit Nehru will be pleased that Narendra Modi could achieve what Panditji dreamed of: Arif Mohd Khan on Triple Talaq Bill

Pandit Nehru will be pleased that Narendra Modi could achieve what Panditji dreamed of: Arif Mohd Khan on Triple Talaq Bill
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Former PM Jawahar Lal Nehru

In 2017, when BJP passed the historic Triple Talaq Bill, Meenakshi Lekhi dedicated it to Arif Mohd Khan, the former Congress leader and advocate for Muslim Women’s Rights. Remembering the contribution made by the former cabinet minister, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi hailed the decision of Khan when he resigned from the Congress after it moved the law to stop the maintenance of divorced Muslim Women in 1986. Now, in an interview, Arif Mohammad Khan has said that he is pleased that PM Narendra Modi could achieve what Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru dreamt of, with respect to the Triple Talaq Bill.

In an interview to DailyO, Khan has hailed the step to criminalise Triple Talaq by Prime Minister Modi. When asked if this decision vindicates his personal stand since even previously, the Supreme Court had delivered a similar verdict in the Shah Bano case which was later overturned by the Rajiv Gandhi led Parliament, Khan responded that personal vindication is not important for him.

He added:

“But I can tell you that when in the late 1950s, Taya Zinkin, the chief correspondent of the Guardian, asked Pandit Nehru as to what he considers his greatest achievement, he replied: I was able to secure rights for my Hindu sisters which were denied to them for centuries.

She further asked about his greatest disappointment and Panditji said: I was not able to do the same for my Muslim sisters.

I am sure Panditji, wherever he may be, would be immensely pleased with Narendra Modi for having accomplished what Panditji had dreamed for”. 

When Khan was asked whether the opposition was indulging in Muslim appeasement as alleged by the BJP, Arif Mohammad Khan said that he wouldn’t like to comment on these issues, but one thing is for sure that the opposition parties opposed the Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha under the influence of All India Muslim Personal Law Board. He added that this was a stark reminder of how the Shah Bano verdict was treated and overturned in the Parliament where a woman was awarded a small sum of Rs. 300.

Interestingly, when asked about the ‘state of secularism’ in India today, Khan said “Secularism as an idea with anti-religion overtones is a western concept — in India, our founding fathers repeatedly made it clear that our secularism is rooted in the ancient Indian way of life that is ‘Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti’: the truth is one and it is perceived variously”.

He said even repeated invasions haven’t been able to change our ethos and our culture has the resilience to prevail. Khan also said that violence is the symptom of the disease of the divide in the society which needs to be cured with education and administrative policies.

Khan went on about the evil of Triple Talaq and the duplicity of Muslim parties. He said that after the Supreme Court judgement, the Muslim Law Board openly rejected the judgement and asserted that the practice would still go on. In fact, there were 100s of cases of Triple Talaq reported even after the judgement, however, after the Modi government promulgated an ordinance deeming Triple Talaq a criminal offence, there have been no such cases. He urged that not every issue should be politicised.

About how BJP is using Triple Talaq Bill as a poll plank to woo a section of the minorities, Khan said that he sees nothing wrong with appealing to voters with something humanitarian and good that the government had done. He also added Muslim women would only thank PM Narendra Modi for ending this evil practice.

Arif Mohammad Khan also exposed the duplicity of so-called Muslim and ‘secular’ parties. He said that he refused to believe that BJP is ‘communal’ and Owaisi and Muslim League are ‘secular’. He said that the Jamaat-e-Islami’s constitution itself says that they want to establish a religion based government in India and the founder, Maulana Maudoodi, is on record having reportedly said that he does not care if Indian Muslims are reduced to the status of shudras.

Khan told DailyO, “For the Jamaat, secularism in Pakistan is Kufr (disbelief or heresy) and in India, they pose as promoters of secularism. But we are living in the age of the internet and this hypocrisy will not work anymore”.

Indian Express journalist caught spreading fake news claiming ‘All votes going to Lotus’

In the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections, a total of 117 constituencies across 13 states and 2 Union Territories are voting today. All 20 seats of Kerala and all 26 seats of Gujarat are undergoing polls today in a single phase.

Among the news reports of elections and voting percentages coming in, there was much discussion over social media by certain users about a polling booth in Kerala registering votes only for ‘Lotus’, the BJP election symbol.

Even Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor complained that there is ‘rigging’ in EVMs and the EC should look into the issue.

In Kovalam, the UDF alleged that the EVMs in booth number 151 at Madhava Vilasam School, near Chowara, Kovalam is malfunctioning and they have stopped the polling after 76 votes were cast because all votes were allegedly going to ‘Lotus’.

Even Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and leader of opposition Ramesh Chinnithala have also complained about EVM glitches. However, the claim about votes being cast ‘only to Lotus’ seem to have been fanned more by media.

The Election Commission denied the allegations and stated that no such thing is happening.

Surprisingly, even a journalist at the Indian Express, Liz Matthew, shared in a Tweet that EVMs at the booth 151 in Kovalam is registering votes only for ‘Lotus’.

Via Twitter

Despite clarification by India Today’s Paulomi Saha that the CEO, Kerala has stated that they had checked the booth in question and no such thing is happening, Matthews insisted that a voter has claimed so.

However, the district collector of Kovalam, K Vasuki, after conducting an inspection of the polling booth, had shared in a Facebook video that the allegations are baseless. The Election Commission also stated that rumours are being spread about EVMs registering votes only for Lotus.

Vasuki clarified that after 76 votes, the machine at that particular polling booth had jammed and was not taking new votes. So, after an inspection, the particular machine was replaced as per EC norms. After the EVM was replaced by the election officials, polling has continued in the booth normally.

Several Muslim majority seats vote today, including Rahul Gandhi’s ‘safe seat’ Wayanad and Badruddin Ajmal’s Dhubri

Image Source: Zee News

As the third phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held on Tuesday, nearly 30 of the 115 Lok Sabha seats going to polls in the third phase of elections have substantial Muslim population across the states of Assam, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.

The high profile seats like Assam’s Dhubri, where 67.4 per cent of the population is Muslims are going to polls on Tuesday along with Kerala’s Malappuram, which has nearly 68 per cent Muslim population. Controversial Muslim leader and All India United Democratic Front (AIDUF) chief Badruddin Ajmal is contesting from Dhubri, which is also the fortress of his party because of the large Muslim population. Ajmal had abused a journalist recently and threatened to smash his head.

Assam’s Barpeta with 52%, Gauhati has 25% and Kokrajhar with 21% of Muslim population will also see polling on Tuesday.

In Kerala, at least 11 constituencies of out of the total 20, have more than the one-third Muslim population. All the 20 Lok Sabha seats of Kerala will be voting in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 23.

Interestingly, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s fortunes will also be tested on Tuesday as Muslim majority Wayanad Lok Sabha is also going to polls in the third phase along with the neighbouring Mallapuram Lok Sabha constituency of Kerala, which has nearly 68% Muslim population.

In the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, the actual demography of the Constituency has Muslims as the majority making up 56% of the electorate while Hindus are only 34%. The Christian community is 9% of the electorate. The constituency comprises of 7 Assembly constituencies drawn from three districts: Thiruvambady from Kozhikode, Mananthavadi, Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta from Wayanad, Eranad, Nilambur and Wandoor from Malappuram.

Rahul Gandhi, sensing a defeat at the hands of Union Minister Smriti Irani from a Hindu majority constituency had chosen a Muslim majority constituency as the Congress party had decided that securing a victory in Muslim dominated constituency would be much easier than in a Hindu majority constituency.

Ponnani, another minority dominated constituency in Kerala with 64% Muslim population will vote on April 23 in the third phase of Lok Sabha election. Congress ally, the Indian Union Muslim League has fielded ET Mohammed Basheer, who is seeking a third term from  Ponnani. Addition to this, Vadakkara Lok Sabha constituency (34% Muslim population), Kasaragod (32.54 % Muslims) and Kozhikode (37.47 % Muslims) is also going to polls on Tuesday.

Chalakudy has 38% Muslim population, Ernakulam has 39%, Idukki has 42% Muslim population, while Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alapuzzha have 45%, 39% and 21% Muslim population respectively.

In West Bengal, four out of five Lok Sabha constituencies that are scheduled for third phase Lok Sabha elections have a majority Muslim population. Malda Uttar has 49.73% Muslim population while Malda Dakshin has 53.46% Muslims. Muslims comprises 63.67% and 58.31% of the total population in Jangipur and Murshidabad constituency respectively.

Abhijit Mukherjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee is contesting from the prestigious Jangipur constituency where Muslims form two-thirds of the voters.

Ten Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh are also scheduled to go to elections in the third phase. Four constituencies- Moradabad (44.78%), Rampur (49.14%), Sambhal (45.54%),  Bareilly (33.89%) have considerable Muslim population. Even Lok Sabha constituencies of Badaun, Aonia, and Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency have more than 20% Muslim population.

Rampur Lok Sabha is considered to be a high profile as it has been hugely controversial as Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan is taking on actor-turned-politician BJP candidate Jaya Prada. In Bareilly, one of the strongholds of the BJP, Union Minister Santosh Gangwar is contesting against the Mahagathbandhan of SP-BSP-RLD to secure his eighth term from the constituency.

In Bihar, two out of five seats going to polls have Muslim population, Araria with 41% Muslim votes and Supaul with 18% will go to polls on April 23.

Karnataka’s Bidar – 20% and Dharwad – 19% also have a visible Muslim population while Jalna and Aurangabad in Maharashtra have Muslim voters more than 20% of the population.

Similarly, two seats of Gujarat – Kachh and Bharuch also have a Muslim population of 21%. In Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag, where the elections are being held in three phases, has 98 per cent of Muslim voters.

Deoria: Mob attacks Dalit villagers, damage Ambedkar statue after they opposed molestation of Dalit girl by Rehmat Ali

Representative Image

In a shocking incident, a Mulsim mob allegedly attacked a group of Dalits in a village under the Gauribazar station area in Deoria because they had opposed to a Muslim man Rehmat Ali attempting to molest a girl from their community.

As per reports, on the night of 18 April, a Muslim man named Rehmat Ali had allegedly broken into the house of a Dalit girl in the Karjahan village and attempted to molest her. When the girl fought him off and screamed for help, Rehmat Ali reportedly ran off when the girl’s family members woke up and tried to catch him.

On the next night, Rehmat Ali allegedly entered the girl’s house again to molest her. This time the girl’s family confronted him but he managed to run away again. After a while, Rahmat Ali reportedly returned with a mob of over a dozen men armed with sticks and sharp weapons. The mob allegedly beat up the girls family and relatives, including women and children. Reports say that even the minor girl herself and her mother were attacked and beaten up by the goons. Several people have been injured in the mob attack.

The Ambedkar statue in the Dalit locality was also allegedly damaged by the mob. The mob allegedly kept beating up the people for nearly an hour, only when the rest of the villagers gathered up to face them and stop, the mob reportedly withdrew.

Several people including Sheela Devi, Ramayan, Jayaprakash, Dharamveer, Tetri Devi, Ashok and in total over a dozen people have been reportedly injured in the mob attack.

The Dalit victims have alleged that they had informed the police after the first incident of the break-in and molestation attempt by Rehmat Ali. But the local police did not pursue the issue. The victims have alleged that if the police had acted on their complaint on the first day itself, the mob violence could have been avoided.

Talking to OpIndia, the SO of Gauribazar police station stated that the main accused Rehmat Ali has already been arrested by the police. They added that they have registered a case and investigations are already on to nab other culprits. The statue of Ambedkar has been repaired and currently, the law and order situation in the area is normal.

The local Dalits, however, have reportedly demanded a stricter action from the police stating that they should arrest all the accused immediately to assuage the fears of women and children in the village who had been attacked by them.

Earlier, in a similar incident in Mantola, Agra, a Muslim mob had attacked the small community of Dalits over petty fights. Later, a ground report by Swarajya journalist Swati Sharma had revealed that there was an illegal slaughterhouse run by Muslims in the area and the Hindus of the area have been living in fear. UP Police had sealed the slaughterhouse.

There have been several incidents of mob violence by Muslims targeted against Dalit Hindus. Unfortunately, such incidents do not get much attention in the mainstream English media.

AAP and their lowly caste games: Atishi, who had earlier changed her surname to ‘Singh’ is back to being ‘Marlena’

Atishi Marlena, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia

Aam Admi Party, a spent force that has been begging Congress, a party with zero MLAs in Delhi for an alliance has been exposed for another dirty trick that plays on the caste and religious sentiments of the voters. Atishi, who had earlier changed her name to ‘Singh’ is back to being ‘Atishi Marlena’ in her 2019 election affidavit.

In August 2018, AAP leader Atishi Marlena had dropped her last name ‘Marlena’ from her name. It was alleged that the name was dropped because it was ‘Christian sounding’, which may not be suitable in her campaign during Lok Sabha elections. The party had denied the allegations, saying that her real surname was Singh and the Marlena surname was given by her parents, which is a combination of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

Subsequent to this change, the party poster carried only her first name Atishi, and she had changed her Twitter handle from @Atishimarlena to @AtishiAAP. The name was also changed in all party records and campaigning materials and on the AAP website.

At that time, Atishi had said, “My actual surname is Singh and I come from a Punjabi Rajput family. Had I wanted to appease voters then I would have gladly used my real surname.”

Interestingly, posters had also come up which identified Atishi as ‘Atishi Singh’.

In fact, as late as 8th November 2018, Atishi was giving interviews as ‘Atishi Singh’.

However, in an interesting turn of events, Atishi seems to have decided to go back to being ‘Atishi Marlena’ from her temporary name ‘Atishi Singh’.

In the election affidavit filed by Atishi, she has listed herself as ‘Atishi Marlena’ and not ‘Atishi Singh’.

Atishi Marlena Affidavit

Atishi Marlena, who was ‘Atishi Singh’ up until she filed her election affidavit, is fighting from East Delhi constituency on an AAP ticket.

Interestingly, the official website of Aam Aadmi Party lists Atishi Marlena as only ‘Atishi’ without mentioning her second name at all thereby leaving Atishi to decide when she wishes to be known as Atishi Singh and when she wishes to be known as Atishi Marlena.

Atishi Marlena’s profile on AAP official website

Aam Aadmi Party has often been seen playing the caste card. Earlier, Arvind Kejriwal had spoken of the ‘Agarwal community’ and how they were upset with PM Modi’s GST. During the Punjab elections, one recalls how Satyendra Jain had suddenly become ‘Satinder’ just to appeal to Punjabi voters.

Justice Gogoi, the ‘plot’ and the things you might not know

courtesy: Free press journal

I will try to attempt what you know and what you don’t know.

Perhaps you know that an allegation/affidavit of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was filed by a former woman staffer. That Justice Gogoi was part of the three-member bench (Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna being the other) which heard the matter on Saturday (April 20, 2019). That Justice Gogoi saw it as an attack against the institution of the judiciary and an attempt to influence other important hearings which are coming up this week. Justice Gogoi asked the media to show restraint in its coverage on the matter. That four online websites, but for one all Leftist– The Wire, Scroll, Caravan and Leaflet– in almost synchronized manner took up the woman’s allegation on Friday.

You wouldn’t know, if you are a reader of Indian Express, the woman-staffer wrote her allegation to 22 Supreme Court judges on April 19, 2019 – yes, the very day when these publications took up the matter!!! Scroll says that it sent its questionnaire to Justice Ranjan Gogoi at 10 a.m in the morning. So just a few hours into a day, not only the written allegation had reached all 22 SC judges but also accessed by Leftist web news portals which also had time not only to prepare its questionnaire but also send it to the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. All this in between catching up on sleep and attending nature’s call etc. What was the tearing hurry?

You wouldn’t know, and even I can only connect dots, as to why this matter was rushed through on April 19, 2019. What was the urgency to drag the CJI through the mud at such breakneck speed? Clearly, the motive was to take advantage of a weekend break in the court’s functioning. CJI can’t respond on April 20 and 21 (Saturday and Sunday) and by then it could be shown that the impeccability of CJI office is compromised.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi clearly saw through this game and hurriedly called for a three-member bench to hear the case—at a few hours’ notice. He didn’t make a judgment–nor has the bench passed a verdict–and only made a few observations: the most important being that “There has to be a bigger force behind this…They (the people behind this conspiracy want to deactivate the office of the CJI.” Justice Gogoi didn’t stop at this: He said he hinted a political plot since he was hearing sensitive cases next week.

You wouldn’t know, as a reader of Indian Express and The Hindu, what are the sensitive cases CJI Ranjan Gogoi is hearing this week. They have made no mention of these cases. Luckily, OpIndia has listed them all: (a) The contempt plea against Rahul Gandhi (for lying in public that even SC has said Chowkidar ne chori karwai (PM Modi has caused the theft in Rafale); (a) a decision on the release of Narendra Modi biopic; (c) a decision on Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu in view of the enormous bribe paid to voters.

It takes little intelligence to guess which one is the most important case listed for hearing this week. It’s a contempt case against Rahul Gandhi. Already on bail in National Herald case, the Congress president has to file his reply to Supreme Court by Monday. Viewed in this light, the rush of events on April 19 (Friday) all begins to make sense. It was punctured through by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who called for a rare Saturday bench hearing to bell the cats and call out the nefarious political plots.

You wouldn’t know, if you are a reader of Indian Express and The Hindu, what it meant by “Two offices—one of PM, CJI” in their story. If you look at the headline of the print edition of Indian Express, it appears an insinuation against the PM office for the plot against the CJI. It’s easy to see that the remarks of the CJI have been clumsily edited. So you look at other newspapers to get the full quote of CJI: “There are two offices absolutely independent—one of the Prime Minister and one of CJI.”

Indian Express also does a quick job on Attorney General K.K. Venugopal. It says the AG wanted the day’s proceedings to receive “widest publicity” even as CJI wanted the “media to show restraint.” Clearly, the government and judiciary thus could be mischievously shown to be on a collision course. The fact is Venugopal has, in fact, pulled up the four web portals: “Even under the law on sexual harassment, the name of the accused or victim cannot be published…but the report (published in news portals) had totally and brazenly published names.”

As things stand, it appears the plotters have actually harmed the interest of those they were seeking to protect. This week, the nation could end up thanking the CJI for acting with such speed that has left plotters nowhere to run. Before they could besmirch his name and muddle the hearing of important cases this week, the CJI has lobbed the hand-grenade back in their own front lawns. We could hear the explosion any moment from now.

All you need to know about the third phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019

The third phase of the elections is set to be conducted on the 23rd of April, 2019. It is perhaps the most crucial phase of the elections for the BJP and could prove crucial as to whether it crosses the magic mark of 272 on its own or falls short.

All the 20 seats in Kerala and 26 in Gujarat will go to polls today. 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, 5 each in Bihar and West Bengal, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 7 in Chhattisgarh, 6 in Odisha, 4 in Assam, 2 in Goa, 1 each in Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu will be voting. Apart from these, the one seat in Tripura for which voting was postponed will also go to polls. Voting will be held in a total of 117 constituencies across 13 states and 2 Union Territories.

Heavyweights like Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jaya Prada, Varun Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor will have their electoral fates decided today.

The BJP is expected to win at least 2 seats in Kerala this time around, Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram. The former is the constituency of Sabarimala, the issue that is proving to be the dominating factor in the state. K Surendran is the BJP’s candidate from the constituency and he is considered a hero in the Battle for Sabarimala. He is immensely popular among the electorate and has earned the goodwill and respect of the electorate through his contribution towards the entire movement which includes going to jail to protect the sanctity of the deity. Apart from the two, the BJP is also in contention in Palakkad and Thrissur although victory appears unlikely at this point.

The Congress, too, is expected to make massive gains in Kerala in light of the atrocities committed by the Left government against the devotees of Swami Ayyappa. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is expected to win from his constituency, Wayanad, as the demography appears to be overwhelmingly in his favour. The Congress is expected to be the primary benefactor of the pervasive anti-Left sentiments in Kerala.

The BJP must perform well in the 28 seats in Karnataka and Maharashtra if it is to cross the magic mark of 272. Things are looking good for the party in both these states and it is expected to win a lion’s share of the seats. The Sena-BJP juggernaut appears to be dominating the fray while the Congress-NCP alliance looks in disarray. In Karnataka as well, things are not going smoothly for the Congress-JD(S) alliance. Therefore, the BJP has expected a benefit from internal squabbles as well.

In Orissa, which is one of the states where the BJP is looking to make significant gains to compensate for whatever losses it might suffer in Uttar Pradesh due to the Mahagathbandhan or elsewhere, it is again expected to be a critical battle between the party and the BJP. Sambit Patra, the amicable multi-talented spokesperson, is the BJP’s candidate from Puri and is certainly a seat to watch out for. Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, too, go to polls on Tuesday as well.

In the 10 seats of Uttar Pradesh, it is again difficult to predict the results and where things stand as of now. The highlight would be the contest between Jaya Prada and Azam Khan at Rampur which in context of the latter’s despicable comments on the former SP leader assumes new significance. From the two phases completed in the state thus far, the momentum appears to be on BJP’s favour if pollsters are to be believed. However, every polling day is a new day and voters will again decide the fate of the parties involved.

While looking at other states, one looks at caste equations and demography and momentum and other factors. But when it comes to West Bengal, the primary cause for concern is polling malpractice and violence. The concerns were the same for the first two phases and it’s unlikely to change for the third phase as well. The Election Commission has sanctioned the use of Central Forces for over 90% of the booths. It’s expected to ensure a better state of affairs but in Didi’s Bengal, even Election Officers go missing. So it remains to be seen how things turn out on Tuesday.

In the rest of the states, the BJP will look to repeat its performance from 2014. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP is expected to lose a few seats given the results of the Assembly Elections last year. However, nothing is written on stones as yet and things may go in BJP’s favour. In Gujarat, the BJP has made a clean sweep the last time around. While that appears unlikely, it is Narendra Modi’s home state, however, and at his home, anything is possible.

Live Updates: One person who was standing in a queue to vote in Bengal killed after clashes break out between TMC and Congress worker

Rahul Gandhi, PM Narendra Modi

The 3rd Phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections takes place today, on the 23rd of April 2019. 13 states vote today. The states which go to polls today are Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territories Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

It is perhaps the most crucial phase of the elections for the BJP and could prove crucial as to whether it crosses the magic mark of 272 on its own or falls short.

All the 20 seats in Kerala and 26 in Gujarat go to polls today. 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, 5 each in Bihar and West Bengal, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 7 in Chhattisgarh, 6 in Odisha, 4 in Assam, 2 in Goa, 1 each in Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu will be voting. Apart from these, the one seat in Tripura for which voting was postponed will also go to poll today. Voting will be held in a total of 117 constituencies across 13 states and 2 Union Territories.

We will be updating this article with all the latest information during the first phase of polling today.

3:30 PM: A man standing in queue to vote is killed after clashes break out between TMC and Congress workers in Bengal.

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh casts his vote from Dispur, Assam.

PDP leader and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also casts her vote in Anantnag district, Kashmir. Overall estimated voting in third phase has been 37.89% till 1:30 pm.

1:30 PM: Congress leader Hardik Patel makes a racist comment. Says we want a Prime Minister. If we want a chowkidar, we will go to Nepal.

12:15 PM: Gujaratis dance on their way to cast votes to celebrate the festival of democracy.

Congress leader Hardik Patel casts vote in Surendranagar constituency.

11:30 AM: Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav and other Samajwadi Party leaders rake up the EVM issue, Azam Khan’s son claims 300 EVMs not working while administration clarifies that only 25 EVMs had some glitches which were replaced soon. However, not letting facts get in the way of setting up an excuse Samajwadi Party chief insisted that EVMs are not functioning.

BJP workers reportedly beat up polling officer in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh alleging he was asking the voters to vote for ‘cycle’ (Samajwadi Party).

11:00 AM: Prime Minister’s mother casts her vote in Gandhinagar constituency. Activist Anna Hazare casts his vote in Ralegaon Siddhi in Maharashtra. Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani also cast his vote in Jamnagar.

Voter turnout in #Phase3 till 10 AM:
Kerala – 12.51%
Bihar- 14%
Gujarat – 18%
Karnataka- 10.62%
West Bengal – 16.85%
Chhattisgarh – 12.58%
Maharashtra – 6.97%
Dadra and Nagar Haveli – 11.40%
Daman & Diu – 9.93%
Odisha – 7.15%
Tripura – 5.83%
UP – 10.36%
Goa – 11.70%
J&K – 1.59%

10:00 AM: BJP President Amit Shah urges voters to participate and vote in huge numbers. Thanks the voters for voting. Wayanad records polling percentage of 11.87 till 9 am. In 2014, Wayanad had recorded a total voter turnout of 73.26%. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has chosen Wayanad as his second seat for contesting elections which is considered a ‘safe seat’ as compared to Amethi

Voting underway in Wayanad

BJP candidate for Rampur Jaya Prada does a Puja before casting her vote. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also arrives to cast his vote.

9:30 AM: BJP President Amit Shah, who is also contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Gandhinagar constituency casts his vote. Earlier senior BJP leader L K Advani held the seat which the BJP has been winning for almost two decades. After casting his vote, he moved on to another booth and meet and interact with voters and booth workers. Voting has also begun in Wayanad, Kerala where Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from his second seat which is believed to be relatively ‘safer’ for his victory.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his wife too cast their votes in Rajkot.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan casts his vote in a polling booth in Talcher, Odisha.

Voter turnout till 9 am:

West Bengal: 10.97%
Bihar: 9.35%

9:00 AM: Violence reported in Bengal. As per reports, Trinamool Congress Councillor’s husband allegedly beaten up by TMC and Congress workers. Bombs hurled and huge forces have been mobilised. Reports of ‘supervised voting’ inside booths also pouring in.

Election commission orders removal of the presiding officer in Ratua in Malda district of West Bengal after unknown persons were seen assisting voters at the polling booth.

8:29 AM: Prime Minister Modi casts his vote.

8:21 AM: Prime Minister Modi arrives at the polling booth to cast his vote in Nishan Higher Secondary School in Ranip, Ahmedabad; BJP President Amit Shah also present.

8:00 AM: Prime Minister Modi takes his mother’s blessings at her residence.

7:45 AM: BJP President and party’s candidate from Gandhinagar Parliamentary constituency Amit Shah, near the polling booth at Nishan Higher Secondary School in Ranip, Ahmedabad. PM Narendra Modi will cast his vote at the polling booth, shortly.

7:30 AM: Tojammel Ansari, the husband of Majeda Bibi, Trinamool Congress councillor of ward 7 of Domkal municipality was hit with sticks on the head in before polling began. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition. One of his associates was hit in the arm. TMC workers alleged that supporters of the Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) attacked him with sticks.

7:30 AM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at his mother’s residence in Gandhinagar. He will cast his vote in Ahmedabad, shortly.

Grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal barber and famous hairstylist Jawed Habib joins BJP, praises PM Modi

Jawed Habib joining BJP, Courtesy: ANI

Famous hairstylist and entrepreneur Jawed Habib joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) today in New Delhi. Joining the party, Habib said that he too has become of chowkidar of the country now. “Aaj tak mai baalon ka chowkidar tha, aaj mai desh ka chowkidar ban gya hoon” (Till now I was a chowkidar of hair, now I have become a chowkidar of this country), said Habib.

Jawed said that he was happy with the changes brought by Prime Minister Modi over the last five years. “I am happy to join the BJP as I have seen the changes brought in the country by Prime Minister Modi in the last five years”, he said.

Habib said that no one should be ashamed of their background. Taking inspiration from PM Modi, he said that no one should be he was not ashamed to call himself a nai (barber) as Prime Minister Modi also proudly says that he was a chaiwalla (tea seller). “I think nobody should be ashamed of their background, when the prime minister is proud to state that he was a ‘chaiwala’ then why should I be ashamed of calling myself a ‘nai’ (barber),” said Habib.

Although Habib’s family is in the hairdressing profession for generations, they have been close with top leaders of the country. Habib’s grandfather Nazir Ahmed was the personal barber for India’s last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, and first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Jawed Habib was born in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, as his family used to live there. His father Habib Ahmed is also a renowned hairstylist, who counted Jawaharlal Nehru and other famous persons as his clients.

Jawed Habib became an entrepreneur by expanding his family profession, and now Jawed Habib Hair and Beauty Ltd has over 800 salons in 24 states in the country. He also organises workshops and seminars on hairdressing, and has written several books on the subject.

Recently, cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, who took to Twitter to extend his support for BJP, had joined the BJP a month after his wife joined the party.

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