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PM Modi cancels road show, page committee sammelan in wake of Morbi tragedy

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a three-day tour to Gujarat and Rajasthan, has decided to cancel his roadshow to be held in Ahmedabad on Monday in the wake of the Morbi cable bridge collapse incident in which over 60 people lost their lives on Sunday evening.
Late on Sunday evening, the BJP Gujarat media cell informed that “The Page Committee Sneh Milan program to be held in the virtual presence of Prime Minister Modi has been postponed.”

Speaking to ANI, BJP Gujarat media convenor, Dr Yagnesh Dave confirmed the news that there shall be no programs of celebration to be held tomorrow in the wake of the Morbi tragedy where many are feared dead, including women, children, and the elderly.

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However, the official programmes to dedicate Railway projects worth Rs 2,900 crore will be as per schedule.
BJP MP from Rajkot, Mohanbhai Kalyanji Kundariya said that the NDRF is conducting the rescue operation.

“More than 60 bodies were recovered, of which more are of children, women and elderly. Rest have been rescued; the NDRF rescue op is underway. We’re taking this matter very seriously, it’s very saddening,” he said.

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“Machinery present at the spot to pump out the water so that we can figure out the bodies underneath, as there’s a lot of silt. I believe the bridge got overloaded and that led to the incident. Many teams engaged in rescue, CM to arrive shortly, ” he added.

The eyewitnesses Amit Patel and Sukram present on the spot said that the incident might have taken place because of the huge crowd at the bridge.

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Soon after the incident, State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi informed that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been instructed to reach the spot.

Earlier, the Prime Minister’s Office said that PM Modi has asked for close monitoring of the situation and delivery of all possible help to the affected persons.

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“PM @narendramodi spoke to Gujarat CM @Bhupendrapbjp and other officials regarding the mishap in Morbi. He has sought urgent mobilization of teams for rescue ops. He has asked that the situation be closely and continuously monitored, and extend all possible help to those affected,” the PMO tweeted.

Chief Minister Bhupender Patel said instructions have been given to the officials to arrange immediate treatment for the injured.

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“I am deeply saddened by the tragedy of the suspension bridge collapse in Morbi. Relief and rescue operations are ongoing by the system. The system has been instructed to arrange immediate treatment for the injured. I am in constant contact with the district administration in this regard,” the Chief Minister said.



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As Rahul Gandhi decides to move out, Mallikarjun Kharge offers his residence

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi formally informed the authorities on Tuesday that he will comply with the directive to vacate his official bungalow on 12, Tughlaq lane following his disqualification as a member of the Lok Sabha after his court conviction. Party president Mallikarjun Kharge suggested Gandhi could stay at his mother Sonia Gandhi‘s 10 Janpath official residence or else move to Kharge’s Rajaji Marg official residence.

Within a day after he received the official directive, Gandhi wrote back to the concerned official of the Lok Sabha secretariat. “As an elected member of the Lok Sabha over the last 4 terms, it is the mandate of the people to which I owe the happy memories of my time spent here. Without prejudice to my rights, I will, of course , abide by the details contained in your letter.” Gandhi has one month to vacate the house and his letter meant he was not seeking an extended stay there.

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Kharge lashed out at the government for asking Gandhi even as he made his own suggestion and offer. “He can go and live with his mother or he can come to me, I will vacate one (his official residence) for him,” he said.



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Savarkar row: Congress to tone down attack after Sharad Pawar’s intervention

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New Delhi: Amid strains in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi alliance over Rahul Gandhi’s strident criticism of V D Savarkar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has stepped in to play the peacemaker by conveying Shiv Sena’s concerns on the issue to the Congress leadership. Opposition leaders said Congress has agreed to tone down its criticism of Savarkar, which has led to an unease in the NCP and the Shiv Sena (UBT), its alliance partners in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said he had raised the Savarkar issue in his talks with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi and MVA partners are on the same page on this matter.

“MVA alliance is intact. If anyone thinks the MVA will break apart, they are wrong,” Raut told reporters here.

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Gandhi is learnt to have assured Raut he would avoid any critical reference to Savarkar. Pawar raised the issue during a meeting of opposition leaders convened by Kharge on Monday and made it clear that targeting Savarkar, a revered figure in Maharashtra, would not help MVA, two leaders who attended the meeting told PTI.

Former Congress presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were present at the meeting.

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“Almost all opposition leaders were of the view that there was no need to rake up the Savarkar issue. We have to decide whether we have to fight Modi or Savarkar and not create confusion,” Raut said after a meeting of parliamentarians owing allegiance to the Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena. Pawar also told Rahul Gandhi that Savarkar was never a member of the RSS and underscored that the real fight of the opposition parties was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.

Opposition leaders said Rahul told the meeting that the Savarkar issue was an ideological position.

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Leaders of Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi also reached out to the Thackeray faction Shiv Sena.

As the BJP stepped up attack on Rahul Gandhi and sought his apology for “maligning” India on his recent visit to the UK, the former Lok Sabha member from Wayanad said at a press conference on Saturday that he was not Savarkar and would not apologise.

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Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray slammed Rahul Gandhi for his attack on Savarkar and said his outfit will not tolerate any insult of the freedom fighter.

The Thackeray faction had skipped the meeting convened by Kharge as a mark of protest against Gandhi’s remarks targeting Savarkar.

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Atiq Ahmad to be taken back to Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat

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Gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad, who was sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment in the 2006 Umesh Pal kidnapping case by a court in Prayagraj on Tuesday, will be taken back to Sabarmati Central Jail in Gujarat, a senior prison official said. Ahmad was brought from Sabarmati Jail by road for the hearing in an MP-MLA court here. He was kept at the Naini Central Jail in Prayagraj before the hearing. “As per the orders of the honourable court, Atiq Ahmad will be taken back to Sabarmati Central Jail,” Naini Jail Senior Superintendent Shashikant told PTI.

A former Samajwadi Party MP from Phulpur, Ahmad was shifted to Sabarmati Central Jail in Gujarat in June 2019 following a Supreme Court order after he was accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and assault of real estate businessman Mohit Jaiswal from a prison in Uttar Pradesh.

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When asked about Ahmad’s brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf, who was acquitted in the case, Shashikant said he has “left for Bareilly“. Ashraf, lodged in the Bareilly District Jail since July 2020, was brought to the Naini Central Jail on Monday evening amid tight security arrangements.

Tuesday’s conviction of Ahmad was his first in over 100 cases registered against him over the years.

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The special MP-MLA court judge Dinesh Chandra Shukla held Ahmad, Saulat Hanif, a lawyer, and Dinesh Pasi guilty under IPC Section 364-A (kidnapping or abduction in order to murder). “The court has awarded the three rigorous life imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine to each,” Government counsel Gulab Chandra Agrahari said.

The amount will be given to the family of Umesh Pal, a witness in the 2006 BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case who was gunned down last month. Ahmad and his brother Ashraf are also accused in the murder case.

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