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India

Narendra Modi harps on ‘Mai Bhi Chowkidar, flays Rahul 

In a veiled attack on opposition parties for raising questions over the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) targeted strike against terrorists in Balakot, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday the attack took place in Pakistan but the trouble was felt in India by the “tukde-tukde gang.

Interacting with around 25 lakh security guards via audio bridge technology, as part of his campaign “Mai Bhi Chowkidar” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Modi hit out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his “Chowkidar Chor Hai” (watchman is the thief) jibe, saying some people in the last few months have run a disinformation campaign against “chowkidars” for their “vested interests”.

“The country is taken aback by the opposition parties’s attitude. Those who support the ‘tukde-tukde gang’ are not able to digest that our forces dropped bombs in Pakistan. Bomb was dropped in Pakistan, Pakistanis got hurt but they are shouting here in Hindustan,” the Prime Minister said.

“Vaar Pakistan par hua aur bimar koi Hindustan me hua (the attack took place in Pakistan, but pain was felt in India by some). We need to identify such people,” he said.

Modi said the entire nation was proud of the armed forces and their strong decisive action against the perpetrators of the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers on February 14.

“The nation will never forgive the opposition parties for their misinformation campaign,” he said, adding the words of opposition members here are being heard in radio and published in newspapers there (Pakistan), even in their Parliament.

The Prime Minister slammed the opposition, specially the Congress, for defaming the watchmen with their “Chowkidar Chor Hai” slogan and raised apprehensions that the opposition parties would continue with their misinformation campaign to target him.

“I want to apologise as some people in the last few months have been abusing watchmen by saying ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ for their vested interests. By doing this, they have questioned the dedication and honesty of ‘chowkidars’,” Modi said.

“If he (Rahul) abused me by taking my name, it could not have caused damage to you. But he doesn’t have the courage to do so. It’s unfortunate that such abuses by the opposition are hurting you. They are not going to stop here. They will try to find new ways to defame the chowkidar,” he said.

The Prime Minister said this was not for the first time that he was abused. “This has been in the nature of ‘naamdars’. It is the habbit of ‘naamdars’ to spread hatred against ‘kamdars’ as they can’t accept them,” he said, adding the country was proud of chowkidars.

Modi said he was not deterred by the abuses of the opposition, which he converted into appreciations. “I turn every abuse into ornament,” he said urging the security guards to not be afraid of anyone.

Wishing them a happy and colourful Holi, the Prime Minister said chowkidars played an important role in making the colours look beautiful. Saluting the exceptional work done by them, Modi said he was proud to celebrate Holi with them. Every Indian was now saying “I am also a chowkidar,” he added.

Modi said watchmen were inspiring everyone to fight all kinds of evils in the country, and urged everyone to keep a chowkidar alive inside them.

During the interaction, the Prime Minister also mentioned the various reforms initiated by the government for the welfare of the poor such as the Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana and Jan Dhan Yojana.

IANS

 

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India

Will be there after 2019, don’t worry; Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party, under his leadership, would return to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“Don’t worry… I am coming back in 2019 so if you need anything from the Central government, you can tell me,” he told a massive gathering of the Patidar community at Jaspur near here.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Rs 1,000 crore Umiya Mata Temple complex of the community on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Wishing all success to the trustees of Umiya Mata Foundation for this project, Modi said, amid huge applause, “If you need anything in this, my home in New Delhi is all yours, and don’t worry I am there even after 2019 (elections)”.

IANS

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India

‘Abhinandan’ has assumed new meaning; Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hailed Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman and said the word “abhinandan” has assumed a new meaning as the IAF Wing Commander showed remarkable poise and calm during his captivity in Pakistan.

“The strength of our country is that it changes the meaning of words in dictionary. Abhinandan in English until now meant ‘congratulations’, but it will be different from now on,” Modi said at an event here, speaking partly in English and partly in Hindi.

His remarks came during a two-day seminar, a day after the Wing Commander was released by Islamabad after over 60 hours in captivity.

Varthaman was captured after a dogfight in the sky when his plane was hit and it crashed in Pakistani territory on February 27.

The 35-year-old IAF officer showed calm during his questioning in Pakistan, a video released by his captors showed.

Addressing private firms linked to the housing construction sector, Modi sought help to take India to the top in the field so as to ensure homes for the “poorest of poor”.

Giving example of construction technology used in tents in Kumbh in Prayagraj, Modi said: “If makeshift arrangements can be made so good, permanent arrangement will be expectedly extremely much better.”

IANS

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India

Narendra Modi to unveil rail-road projects in Kanyakumari

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil various rail-road development projects in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, on Friday later, said officials.

Security has been heightened ahead of the visit with the deployment of police in large numbers.

According to officials, the new projects will increase road and rail connectivity within the state.

Modi will flag off the Tejas Express between Madurai-Chennai through video conference facility. This will provide faster connectivity between the two cities.

The first Tejas Express was introduced between Mumbai-Karmali.

Modi will also lay the foundation stone for restoring rail connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, where the railway station was submerged in a 1964 cyclone. With the town submerged as well, the place was almost abandoned since. Except for the tourists, who visited Dhanushkodi to see the remnants of the abandoned township.

Modi will also lay the foundation stone for the restoration of Pamban Bridge providing rail link between the main land and the island of Rameswaram.

The new bridge will be built parallel to the present bridge that is 104 years old. Once the new bridge is completed, it will replace the old one.

Modi will also launch various road projects and will dedicate to the nation 2/4 laning of Madurai-Ramanathapuram section of NH-87; 4 laning from Panagudi to Kanyakumari section and two flyovers.

Modi will also lay the foundation stone for four laning of Madurai – Chettikulam Section of NH-785 and four laning of Chettikulam-Natham Section of NH-785.

He will also launch road safety park and transport museum in Kanyakumari.

IANS

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India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs CCS, IAF on high alert

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was underway on Tuesday in the wake of reports claimed by Islamabad that Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and returned after dropping a payload in Pakistan.

All the IAF bases were on high alert anticipating a reaction from Pakistan to the strikes carried out by the Indian fighter jets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Balakot early on Tuesday.

Sources said that the IAF bases along the borders and inside are fully geared to deal with any eventuality. Air defence systems were activated to deal with any intruders along the International Border and the LoC.

The airborne radars were keeping a close vigil on the activities inside Pakistan, the sources added.

The CCS meeting was also attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and other government officials.

Though the Centre was yet to make an official statement, Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat tweeted that the IAF carried out aerial strikes across the LoC and destroyed terrorist camps.

Shekhawat is the first functionary of the government to confirm from the Indian side that the strikes have taken place.

Some of the prominent veterans, who retired recently, have already hailed the move.

“Air strikes by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft at terror camps in Balakot this morning. 1,000 kg precision bombs used. Pakistan accepts. See images below,” tweeted retired Lt Gen Satish Dua, who served as chief of the integrated staff to the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee till November 2018.

Former Director General of Military Operations retired Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia said that India demonstrated political and military will by “apparently” employing the air strikes.

He added that there was a need to raise cost for Pakistan and the Pakistan Army to ensure they do not carry out terror attacks against India.

“Picture abhi baaki hai,” he said.

The CCS meeting comes after the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asif Ghafoor confirmed in a tweet early Tuesday that the IAF planes dropped the payload near Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before leaving in haste as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) scrambled its war planes.

The alleged incident took place in the Muzaffarabad sector, claimed Radio Pakistan.

Tuesday’s development follows a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, on February 14 that killed 40 troopers.

The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and prompted a spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Modi chairs CCS, IAF on high alert (Lead)

IANS

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India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Corbett National Park

Taking time off from his busy schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday visited the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand to see the wildlife that included tigers and elephants.

Amid a drizzle, Modi took a motorboat from Kalagarh area to visit the Dhikala Range of the National Park in the Kumaon region, top police officers said. After reaching the Dhikala Range, Modi took a round of the jungle.

The police officers said the Prime Minister’s visit to the Corbett Park was not scheduled. “He was supposed to address a rally at Rudrapur, but took time off to visit the Corbett Park,” an officer said.

IANS

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Entertainment

Manoj Joshi to play Amit Shah in ‘PM Narendra Modi’

Manoj Joshi will be playing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national President Amit Shah in upcoming biopic “PM Narendra Modi”. The veteran actor is elated at the great opportunity coming his way.

“I think this is great opportunity for me to play the role of Amit Shah. When Sandip Ssingh called me for the role I immediately said yes. This is one of the most important roles in the film and I will give my best,” Manoj said in a statement.

The film’s producer Sandip Ssingh said: “This was one of the important roles in the film and nobody better than Manoj Joshi could have done it. He is one of the most talented and hardworking actors. It is a great experience working with him.”

The film also stars Zarina Wahab, Prashant Narayanan, Boman Irani, Barkha Bisht Sengupta, Darshan Kumar, Akshat R. Saluja, Anjan Shrivastav, Rajendra Gupta and Yatin Karyekar.

Actor Vivek Anand Oberoi will be playing the title role of Modi.

“PM Narendra Modi” the biopic will discover the journey of Narendra Damodardas Modi from his humble beginning to his years as Gujarat Chief Minister onto his landmark win at the 2014 general election, finally becoming the 14th Prime Minister of India.

The biopic, directed by National Award-winner Omung Kumar, will be shot extensively in Gujarat and across locations within the country.

–IANS

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India

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoles Delhi hotel fire victims

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday condoled the deaths of 17 people who died after a fire broke out in a hotel here.

“Deeply saddened by the loss of lives due to a fire at Karol Bagh in Delhi. I convey my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. May the injured recover soon,” the Prime Minster said in a tweet.

Seventeen people, including a child, were killed and three were injured in the major fire that engulfed the six-storey Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh earlier on Tuesday.

Fire officials have rescued 35 people so far.

IANS

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India

Global energy arena changing; PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said globally the perception of energy consumption and supply is changing and nations are coming together to tackle climate change.

“Winds of change are evident in the global energy arena. There is a shift in energy consumption from West to East,” Modi said addressing the Petrotech Expo Mart being organised here.

“Energy supply, energy sources and energy consumption patterns are changing. Perhaps, this could be a historic transition,” he added.

The Prime Minister also said that signs of convergence between cheaper renewable energy, technologies and digital applications was also becoming evident.

“This may expedite the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Nations are coming together to tackle climate change,” he stated.

Talking about energy justice in India which has been given top priority by the government, Modi stated that many policies have been developed and implemented.

“We need to move to responsible pricing, which balances the interests of both the producer and consumer. We also need to move towards transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas,” he noted.

IANS

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India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no credibility left; Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the Prime Minister over the issue of Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh saying Narendra Modi has “no credibility” left.

“I stand with the people of Andhra Pradesh. What kind of a Prime Minister is he?” Gandhi said addressing the people at a 12-hour-long fast here by Andhra Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. 

Naidu sat on the fast earlier in the day demanding the Centre to accord the SCS and fulfil other commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Stepping up attack on the Prime Minister, the Congress leader said: “He (Modi) did not fulfil the commitment made to the people of Andhra. Modi tells a lie wherever he goes.

“He goes to the northeast tells lies; goes to Maharastra and lies — He has absolutely no credibility left.”

Gandhi asserted that the Prime Minister has only months left in office as the opposition were going to show him the sentiment of the people.

“Remember one thing he has few months left, one or two months, the opposition parties are going to show Modi exactly what the nation’s sentiment is,” he added.

IANS

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India

Protests await PM Narendra Modi in Andhra Pradesh

A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Andhra Pradesh, protests were held at various places in the state on Saturday with protesters raising ‘Modi go back’ slogans.

Protests were staged in 13 districts of the state by leaders and workers of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Congress, Left parties, student groups and mass organisations fighting for the special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Carrying black flags, they took out rallies and staged sit-ins at different places. Some could also be seen shirtless.

Leaders of the Left parties held protests by smashing empty pots in Vijayawada. They also threatened to disrupt Modi’s rally in Guntur on Sunday.

Addressing a meeting in the Nellore district on Saturday, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said Modi had no right to visit the state as he betrayed Andhra Pradesh by not fulfilling the promise to accord special status and other commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.

He called upon the people to register their protests against Modi’s visit. Claiming that people boycotted BJP President Amit Shah’s visit to the Srikakulam district last week, Naidu said a similar situation awaited Modi in Guntur.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state Secretary K. Ramakrishna said Modi had no moral right to visit the state as he did not honour the commitments made in Parliament.

CPI-M leader P. Madhu said party workers would hold protests with empty pots in Guntur to foil Modi’s rally. He recalled how Modi had come to the stone laying ceremony of Amaravati, the new state capital, carrying a pot of soil and water and promised all help to the state. “He has gone back on every promise he made,” said Madhu.

State Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy said his party would organise protests with black flags across the state on Sunday. He appealed to all political parties to join the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Guntur ahead of Modi’s rally. The Special Protection Group (SPG) was busy giving final touches to the security arrangements in coordination with the state police.

State BJP chief Kanna Laxminarayana alleged that the TDP and other parties were planning to disrupt the rally. He said Modi would expose the TDP government’s corruption and counter its false propaganda by highlighting the steps taken by the Centre to help the state during the last four-and-a-half years.

This will be Modi’s first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the TDP pulled out of the BJP-led NDA last year.

IANS

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India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to flag off Train 18 on Feb 15

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the indigenously built Train 18, called the Vande Bharat Express, on February 15 from here, a Railway Ministry official said.

Train 18, the country’s first engine-less train manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, will be flagged off at 10 a.m. from the New Delhi railway station.

“He will also address people while flagging off the train,” the official said on Wednesday.

The passengers travelling from New Delhi to Varanasi in the executive class will be charged Rs 399 for morning tea, breakfast and lunch, while travellers in the chair car will need to pay Rs 344 for the same.

While the passengers travelling from New Delhi to Kanpur and Prayagraj will have to pay Rs 155 and Rs 122 for executive class and chair car, respectively.

From Varanasi to New Delhi, the passengers will be charged Rs 349 and Rs 288 in the executive class and chair, respectively. They will be served evening tea with snacks and dinner.

The Railway Ministry had earlier indicated that the fare of Train 18 would be 40-50 per cent higher than that of the Shatabdi Express.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said that the indigenously built train would complete the distance of 795 km in eight hours, 35 per cent faster than other fastest trains on route.

Train 18recently became India’s fastest train by hitting a speed of over 180 kmph during a trial run.

It would soon start replacing the Shatabdi Express trains and run between Delhi and Varanasi.

The gleaming blue-nosed train comes fitted with the world class amenities like high-speed on-board WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that adjusts the temperature accordingly.

The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments which will have 52 seats each and trailer coaches will have 78 seats each.

The executive class will have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.

IANS

 

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India

Narendra Modi urges Trinamool to support Citizenship Bill

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress to support the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament to give the refugees living in India the right to citizenship.

Addressing a rally in West Bengal’s Thakurnagar, home to the Dalit Matua community, Modi said India is the only place that can provide shelter to thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and refugees of other communities, who came from neighbouring countries to save themselves from communal violence.

“After the country was divided during independence, thousands of people including the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis had to take shelter in India due to communal violence.

“These refugees should get the right to citizenship. India is the only place that can provide them shelter,” Modi said addressing a packed ground here in North 24 Parganas district.

“That’s why our government has come up with Citizenship Amendment Bill. I urge the Trinamool Congress leaders to support the Bill and help the refugee brothers and sisters to get their rights,” he said.

The Lok Sabha has already cleared the Bill, which is now pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Taking a swipe at Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, Modi said the massive gathering at his rally shows why Banerjee and her party were resorting to violence to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party here.

“After seeing the crowds and the enthusiastic scenes, I understand why didi (elder sister — as Banerjee is affectionately called) is resorting to violence.

“This is your love, which has scared those who are doing drama of saving democracy and are bent on killing innocent people,” he said.

IANS

 

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India

Security in J&K heightened ahead of PM Narendra Modi visit

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s daylong visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, security across the state was beefed up on Saturday.

Modi will be visiting all the three regions — Jammu, Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley. He is scheduled to lay foundation stones of projects worth Rs 35,000 crore and inaugurate projects worth Rs 9,000 crore.

A multi-tier security arrangement has been put in place for the Prime Minister’s visit.

A team of Prime Minister’s Special Protection Group (SPG) has taken over all the venues Modi is scheduled to visit.

Security forces carried out three-day-long searches in Samba district to ensure security for the public rally Modi is addressing in Vijaypur on Sunday.

In addition, close vigil is being maintained all along the International Border (IB) from Pathankot to Jammu.

Border Security Force (BSF) troops guarding the IB have been put on high alert.

Frisking of commuters, setting up of static and mobile checking points have been witnessed in Jammu city over the last three days.

In Srinagar, security forces carried out search drills in city centre Lal Chowk on Friday.

Drones fitted with cameras were used to provide aerial surveillance during these searches.

Frequent frisking of commuters and thorough searches of vehicles entering Srinagar city has been started. The main venue is Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the banks of the Dal Lake.

Authorities on Saturday placed senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest ahead of the visit.

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a separatist conglomerate headed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, has called for a valley-wide shutdown on Sunday.

During his visit, Modi will lay the foundation stone of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), IIM, IIT, Jammu-Akhnoor road, Shahpur-Kandi road, Sunderbani College, and IIMC in Jammu during his visit.

He will also inaugurate an engineering college in Kathua district of Jammu division.

Modi is scheduled to address a public rally in Vijaypur in Samba district from where he will kickstart the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Lok Sabha election campaign in the state.

Modi has visited Jammu and Kashmir 10 times since he took over as the country’s Prime Minister.

His last visit was on May 19 when he laid the foundation of the Zojilla Tunnel that once completed will connect the Ladakh region with the valley making the present Srinagar-Leh Highway an all-weather road.

At present, the surface link to Ladakh region remains cut off during the winter months.

Modi will also inaugurate the first ever business process outsourcing (BPO) unit in Bandipora district.

IANS