SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 SEPTEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 | `5.00 |LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR THE ALGHOZA, A CENTURIES-OLD DOUBLE FLUTE-SHAPED INSTRUMENT, IS FINDING NO TAKERS AMONG THE YOUTH IN PAKISTAN THERE’S A MELLIFLUOUS SYNERGY BETWEEN SUPERLATIVE WORLD WINES, DIVERSE GLOBAL MUSICAL RENDITIONS AND SENSUOUS RHYTHMS WEATHER One or two spells of rain likely in some areas. Temperature will be in the range of 34/27 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 4.5 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.92% TEMPERATURE Shah predicts larger haul for BJP in 2019 Modi govt working to make India, Cong seeking to break India: BJP chief Min. 64% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max: 33.5°C (+1) Min: 26.7°C (+1) SUN SETS SUN RISES 17:47 hrs 05:22 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 04:38 hrs 17:42 hrs New moon on 9 September THUMBNAILS Lokesh Rahul plays a shot during play on the second day of the fifth Test match against England at The Oval in London on Saturday. India, at stumps, were 174/6 in reply to Eng(P12) land’s first innings score of 332. AFP Bridge restrictions: In the wake of the Majherhat bridge collapse, the state government on Saturday restricted all kinds of goods vehicles from plying on four bridges in the city, specifically, the Bijan Setu, Tollygunge Circular Setu, Arabinda Setu and Belgachi bridge, all of which serve as major connectors in their respective areas, in addition to issuing a notification banning movement of 20 wheelers throughout the state. Kolkata Police issued a separate letter in this regard to Kolkata Port Trust saying that heavy vehicles would not be allowed to enter or exit from the port area. Kolkata police also said that repair work P3 on the four bridges would start soon. Hardik fast: Patidar leader Hardik Patel's indefinite fast demanding reservations for his community and farm loan waiver entered the 15th day Saturday as he continued his agitation from a hospital bed. Patel, who began his hunger strike from 25 August, was admitted to a hospital Friday after his health deteriorated. Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and former Union minister A Raja visited Patel at the hospital and extended support to him. Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti spokesperson Manoj Panara said that Hardik's fast would continue until all their demands are met. Pakistan EAC resignation: London-based economist Imran Rasul has become the second member of the new Pakistan government's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to resign in protest against the exclusion of US-based academic Atif R Mian who was told to step down from the body due to a backlash over his Ahmadi faith. Another EAC member, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, had earlier said he was resigning from the council following Mian's exclusion. The Pakistan government on Friday withdrew the nomination of Mian from the newly-constituted panel, apparently under pressure from hardliners. P10 NEW DELHI, 8 SEPTEMBER he Narendra Modi government is working for “making India” whereas the Congress is working for “breaking India”, BJP president Amit Shah said Saturday, asserting that his party will return to power in 2019 with a majority bigger than what it got in 2014. In a blistering attack on the Opposition in his inaugural address at the party's two-day national executive meeting, he said the proposed “maha-gathbandhan” (grand alliance) of the BJP's rivals is an illusion and myth, and will make no difference to its fortunes. Shah sought to build a narrative about his party around the theme of development, especially targeting the poor, and nationalism, while painting the Opposition as those sympathising with “urban Naxals” and working for “breaking India” in its frustration over electoral losses. Briefing reporters on Shah's speech in the closeddoor meeting, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said he termed the Opposition as “disruptionists” and that it no longer seems to be representing the voice of the people, in apparent reference to the no-confidence motion brought by opposition parties in Lok Sabha in the Monsoon session. With many political watchers suggesting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may find it hard to repeat its 2014 feat, Shah said it will handily win in 19 states where it is in power and also emerge victorious in states T BJP leader LK Advani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and finance minister Arun Jaitley during the BJP national executive meeting. SUBRATA DUTTA Shah to lead party in LS polls NEW DELHI, 8 SEPTEMBER BJP president Amit Shah, whose three-year term ends in January next year, will lead the party in the Lok Sabha election in 2019 and its organisational polls are likely to be suspended till then as it focuses on the electoral challenge ahead, party sources said. A party leader said organisational polls in an election year have often been deferred in the past as well to allow the incumbent president, his team of office-bearers and workers to focus fully on polls. The party sources said on the sidelines of the BJP national executive meeting that Shah will lead the organisation into the Lok Sabha polls, scheduled for April-May next year. The issue was discussed in the meeting of office-bearers, they said. Shah had replaced Rajnath Singh as the party president soon after it came to power in May 2014 as Singh quit his post following his inclusion in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet. He was then elected as the president in January 2016. PTI such asWest Bengal, Odisha and Telangana due to “antiincumbency” factor against the regional parties in power there. “We will return to power strongly and with a good majority. We will win with a bigger majority than what we got in 2014,” Sitharaman quoted him as saying. The BJP had won 282 seats out of 543 in the 2014 parliamentary election. Top party leaders, including Prime Minister Naren- Yogendra Yadav detained in TN PRESS TRUST OF INDIA TIRUVANNAMALAI, 8 SEPTEMBER Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav was detained in Chengam, in Tiruvannamalai district on Saturday when he was on his way to express solidarity with farmers protesting against the proposed Salem-Chennai Expressway project, police said. Yadav tweeted that he was “manhandled” and pushed into a police van. “We came on the invitation of Movement Against 8Lane Way. We were prevented from going to meet farmers, phones snatched, manhandled and pushed into police van. Firsthand experience of police state in TN,” he said. Yadav said he had come here for conducting a fact finding about acquisition when he was stopped from proceeding. In another tweet, he said he had been lodged with some others in a marriage hall. The Rs 10,000 crore eight-lane expressway connecting Salem and Chennai is being opposed by a section of farmers and landown- ers who do not want to part with their land. DMK leader M K Stalin has condemned the “arbitrary detention. “The DMK strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of @_SwarajIndia chief @_YogendraYadav who supported farmers affected by #ChennaiSalemExpressway project,” he tweeted. The “intolerant” AIADMK government will pay the price for denying people the democratic right to dissent and protest, Stalin added. The project, a Central initiative being implemented by the state government, aims to bring down the travel time between Salem and Chennai. Chaos rules local train network STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 8 SEPTEMBER A ‘wrong announcement’ made through the public address system at Sodepur station amidst hardships faced due to the cancellation of 150 local trains on the Sealdah-Ranaghat section provoked mob fury that paralysed train services for around three hours this morning. An erroneous announcement about the arrival of a Sealdah-bound train sparked an agitation among local passengers at Sodepur station this morning. The irate mob damaged display boards at station and tried to set fire to the railway tracks. Thereafter the agitated passengers squatted on the tracks for more than two hours, disrupting local train services on both Up and Down lines between Sealdah and Sodepur. A number of local trains had to be halted at Bengharia, Dum Dum, Agarpara and Barrackpore stations. An announcement was made at around 9 a.m. that a Sealdah bound train, Ranaghat local will soon arrive at platform number 2. But after a long wait there was no train for Sealdah and there was no announcement when the train would arrive, passengers alleged. The furious passengers started damaging display boards and tried to set fire to the railway tracks, leading to major chaos at the station. Railway police said the protesters ransacked the station master's cabin and control room and also indulged in stone-pelting. Thousands of passengers were stranded at various stations following the incident. Many passengers opted for buses to reach their workplaces. But there was traffic congestion on B T Road causing more harassment for commuters. A large contingent of Railway Protection Force and General Railway Police along with local police were deployed to bring the situation under control. What made matters worse was the fact that as many as 140 local trains had been cancelled on Sealdah section for signal repairing for the past two days, causing massive overcrowding in the trains that were still plying. Around 350 trains are operated on the Sealdah-Ranaghat section. The railways had earlier announced scheduled modernisation of interlocking system from 7 to 10 September. “The protest is unexpected. We had publicised it through various channels including advertisements,” Eastern Railways spokesperson Ravi Mahapatra said. dra Modi and chief ministers of party-ruled states, were in attendance as Shah asserted that it will return to power on the basis of the government's performance, Modi's charismatic leadership and its organisational strength. Shah also touched on the issues of National Register of Citizens (NRC) and triple talaqbill while making a passing reference to his rivals’ attack on the party over Dalit issues but avoided the topics of oil price rise and reported upper castes’ anger over the BJP's support for pro-Dalit laws. Speaking for the first time on the raging controversy over the arrest of several activists on the charge that they helped Naxals, he praised Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was present, for the police action. Opposition parties such as the Congress are playing vote-bank politics over the issue, he said. Centre running electoral dictatorship, charges DMK CHENNAI, 8 SEPTEMBER The DMK launched a frontal attack on the BJP-led Central government Saturday, accusing it of running an “electoral dictatorship” and vowed to “defeat” the party's “saffronisation dreams”. A meeting of the party's district secretaries, MPs and MLAs held under its president MK Stalin said the party was ready to “pay any price” to uphold Constitutional values. The meeting, the first to be headed by Stalin following his 28 August elevation as party chief, faulted the Centre on issues ranging from demonetisation, Rafale deal, NEET and the prevailing economic situation. “The BJP government is ignoring the interests of Tamil Nadu, affecting plurality and promoting communalism, even as human rights activists and those opposed to the BJP are being painted as anti-nationals,” a resolution adopted in the meeting said. The resolution charged that media critical of the BJP government is being “intimidated” while Dalits and minorities were being targeted. “The BJP has installed an electoral dictatorship and has been running an anti-people government for the last four years,” it charged. Such an“electoral dictatorship” was challenging Parliamentary democracy, it said. The DMK also charged the BJP with controlling institutions like the Election Commission, IT department and CBI, adding “there is a crisis” even in the judiciary, referring to the outburst by four senior Supreme Court judges earlier PTI this year. Fuel prices continue upward spiral; petrol crosses `80/l in Delhi PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 8 SEPTEMBER Petrol price in the national capital Saturday crossed the Rs 80 mark for the first time ever as rupee depreciation made imports costlier. Petrol price was Saturday raised by 39 paise a litre and diesel by 44 paise per litre, according to price notification issued by state fuel retailers. The increase pushed the petrol price in Delhi to Rs 80.38 per litre. Diesel rate touched its highest level of Rs 72.51 a litre. In Mumbai, a litre of petrol costs Rs 87.77 and diesel comes for Rs 76.98, the notification said. Fuel prices in Delhi are the cheapest among all metros and most state capitals due to lower taxes. Mumbai has the highest tax rates among the metros. Opposition parties have called a nation-wide 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday to protest against the spiralling fuel prices. The spike in prices has renewed calls for cut in excise duty but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has remained non-committal, saying international oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement. Since mid-August, petrol price has risen by Rs 3.24 a litre and diesel by Rs 3.74 per litre as rupee hit record low against the US dollar, making imports costlier. This is the biggest increase in rates in any fortnight since the daily price revision was introduced in mid-June last year. Central and state taxes account for nearly half the retail prices of these fuels. On Tuesday, former Finance Minister P Chi- dambaram had tweeted: “Relentless rise in prices of petrol and diesel is not inevitable. Because the price is built up by excessive taxes on petrol and diesel. If taxes are cut, prices will decline significantly.” The Centre currently levies a total excise duty of Rs 19.48 per litre of petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel. On top of this, states levy Value Added Tax (VAT) ~ the lowest being in Andaman and Nicobar Islands where 6 per cent sales tax is charged on both the fuels. Mumbai has the highest VAT of 39.12 per cent on petrol, while Telangana levies the highest VAT of 26 per cent on diesel. Delhi charges a VAT of 27 per cent on petrol and 17.24 per cent on diesel. The Central government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in nine installments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre. This led to its excise collections from petro goods more than doubling in the last four years ~ from Rs 99,184 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,29,019 crore in 201718. States saw theirVAT revenue from petro goods rise from Rs 1,37,157 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 1,84,091 crore in 2017-18. Art 35A: NC threatens LS, Assembly polls boycott JAMMU, 8 SEPTEMBER Hardening his stand on the issue of Article 35A, National Conference (NC) chief and MP Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that the party will not contest the next year’s parliament and assembly elections if attacks on the special rights and position of Jammu and Kashmir continued unabated. Farooq had onWednesday said that the NC would not contest the coming panchayats and urban local body elections unless the Centre takes effective steps for protection of Article 35A of the Constitution which is facing legal challenge in the Supreme Court. He told media persons during the observations of the 36th death anniversary of his father Sheikh Abdullah in Srinagar that the NC would also not contest the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Farooq said his party was not running away from polls, but wanted the Centre to do justice with the people of J&K first and take effective steps for the protection of the state's special position. Farooq alleged that the intentions of the Centre were not right. “They never were”. The NSA has said that a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir is an aberration. I want to tell him from this stage that if the constitution is an aberration, then this accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India is also an aberration," he said. "If the government of India doesn't stand up to protect our special rights and separate constitution then we would boycott assembly and parliament elections as SNS well," he said. Details on Page 5
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