WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 13 MARCH 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P7 SENSEX 37,535.66 +481.56 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with possibility of very light rain/thundershowers towards evening/night. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 25 and 14 degrees Celsius respectively. WAS RAHUL AGAINST AAP DEAL? ODISHA SHOWS THE WAY MANEKA OPTS OUT FOR SON VARUN P8 NIFTY 11,301.20 +133.15 P9 ` vs $ 69.71 +18 PAISE GOLD 30,930.00 -80.00 Rahul and sister slam PM Modi on his home turf In Gujarat rally, Priyanka asks people to be vigilant, treat their vote as a weapon Max.96% Min. 34% Max: 27.4° (-2) SUN RISES 06:32 hrs MOON RISES 11:31 hrs Min: 12.8°C (-3) SUN SETS 18:28 hrs MOON SETS 00:36 hrs STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE ADALAJ (GANDHINAGAR), 12 MARCH THUMBNAILS The Indian cricket team wanted to show “solidarity” with the country's Army in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, bowling coach P16 Bharat Arun (photo) said. Maharashtra Opposition leader’s son joins BJP: Sujay Vikhe Patil, the son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, joined the BJP in Mumbai on Tuesday, ahead of next month's Lok Sabha polls. The move follows the Sharad Pawar-led NCP's refusal to leave aside the Ahmedanagar Lok Sabha seat for the neuro suregon son of the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly. Sujay joined the BJP in the presP6 ence of the CM. Hardik Patel joins Congress: Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday joined the Congress in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Justifying his decision to enter active politics ahead of LS polls, Patel said he could now work for the six crore people of Gujarat in a better way. After joining the Congress at a rally in Gandhinagar district, Hardik asked P6 the gathering if it was the right decision. Inflation up, IIP down: Retail inflation jumped to a four-month high of 2.57 per cent in February due to costlier food articles, according to official data. The retail inflation number for February 2019 is the highest since October 2018 when it stood at 3.38 per cent. Subdued performance of manufacturing sector, especially capital and consumer goods, pulled down the IIP to 1.7 per cent in January from P11 7.5 per cent a year ago. CID to probe TN sexual assault case: Tightening the screws on a gang that allegedly sexually harassed and blackmailed a 19-year-old woman, police Tuesday transferred the case for probe by Crime Branch-CID and slapped Goondas Act on four of the accused. The harassment case saw the ruling AIADMK pushed onto the backfoot as one of its local functionaries allegedly attacked the victim's brother triggering an outrage with opposition parties latching on to it ahead of the Lok P10 Sabha polls. C ongress president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka GandhiVadra today sounded the election bugle with a joint attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state. Addressing a rally at the sprawling Tri-mandir grounds here this afternoon, the Gandhi siblings together took on Modi and BJP on a wide range of issues like unemployment, Rafale deal, demonetisation and GST. Delivering her first speech in Gujarat, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that people have the unique weapon in awareness and vote which do not harm anyone. She elaborated that people should now use their awareness and votes with discretion in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Taking a dig at Modi for his 2014 election promise, Priyanka asked the enthusiastic audience “Where are the two crore jobs? Where are the Rs 15 lakh in your bank account?” Ask these questions, Priyanka urged the people amidst slogans in praise of late Indira Gandhi whom she resembles in public perception. Priyanka’s brief speech at the rally was followed by party president Rahul Gandhi tearing into Modi with his by now familiar tune Rafale deal, demonetisation, jobs and GST. Even Supreme Court judges feel insecure in the Modi regime, said Rahul while speaking about atmosphere of fear gripping the nation. “Modi can waive off Rs 3.50 lakh crore loans of his friends but he has no funds to waive loans of farmers”, said Rahul Gandhi while talking about agrarian distress. He also iterated the charges about the Rafale deal by saying that the UPA government had negotiated one aircraft for Rs 564 crore but Modi had raised this price to Rs 1,600 crore. Referring to the Modi government’s handling of India grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft PTI NEW DELHI, 12 MARCH India Tuesday grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft used by the country's airline companies in light of the Ethopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. SpiceJet has around 12 '737 Max 8' planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five. “DGCA has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.“ always, pasAs senger safety remains our top priority.We continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety,” it added. On Sunday, a 737 MAX 8aircraftoperatedbyEthiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa killing 157 people, including four Indians. This was second such crash involving the 737 MAX 8 aircraft in less than five months. In October last year, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia. Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said,“Directed Secy to hold an emergency meeting with all Airlines to prepare a contingency plan to avoid inconvenience to passengers. While passenger safety is a zero tolerance issue, efforts are already on to minimise the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important (sic).” European Union and many countries across the world have already banned the use of 737 Max 8 aircraft in their respective airspace. the terror issue, Rahul said that the mastermind Mashood Azhar was put in jail by the previous Congress regime but was released by the BJP government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee. The Congress president also promised that a government led by it would implement a guaranteed minimum income scheme for the poor, if vote to power this time. He cited the example of Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan implementing their promise of farm loan waiver within few days of assuming power. PTI adds: The Congress on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “cynically exploiting” the issue of national security to divert attention from his “colossal failures” and “persistent falsehoods” and asserted it won't allow him UK Parliament rejects Brexit deal again LONDON, 12 MARCH to befool the people again. Seeking to send out a strong message to the people from Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat, the Congress said it will appeal with humility a mandate for change in the Lok Sabha elections for providing better governance and repair the damage caused to the economy and the country by the BJP government. The strong attack on the prime minister came in the resolution adopted by the CongressWorking Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, which was chaired by party president Rahul Gandhi and attended by all senior leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad besides Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Congress also urged all democratic and progressive forces to unite and pool their energies to relentlessly fight and expose the BJP government, and not to allow the nation's political narrative be vitiated and focus deflected from the real issues that concern the people. Rahul Gandhi earlier said no sacrifice was “too great” to defeat the RSS and BJP ideology of“fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness”. WASHINGTON, 12 MARCH Pakistan has assured the US that it will deal “firmly” with all terrorists operating from the country and take steps to deescalate tensions with India, according to National Security Adviser John Bolton. The assurance was given by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a phone call on Monday, Bolton said on a day when Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale called on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here and discussed the need to bringing those responsible for the Pulwama attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil. “Spoke with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan,” Bolton said in a tweet. “The FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue steps to de-escalate tensions with India,” he said. Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistanbased Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14. In Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the purpose of Qureshi’s call was to provide Bolton Pakistan’s perspective on the “recent regional developments.” Qureshi said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to hand over the Indian Air Force pilot as a gesture of goodwill towards India. Pakistan wished peace and stability in the region, he was quoted as telling the US National Security Adviser. The foreign minister also informed Bolton that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India has returned to Delhi after consultations. During talks between Gokhale and Pompeo, the United States continued to maintain pressure on Pakistan, according to a readout of the meeting issued by the State Department. “Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Gokhale discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the (Pulwama) attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action ‘Met Asthana in Dubai, he threatened to make my life hell’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Cong culture anti-thesis of Gandhian thought: PM NEW DELHI, 12 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday used the anniversary of the Dandi March to target the Congress and said the “anti-thesis” of Gandhian thought is the opposition party's culture. In a blog post to mark the 89th anniversary of the Dandi March, Prime Minister Modi said, Mahatma Gandhi” taught us to think of the plight of the poorest person” and” we have seen and thought about how our work impacts that person.” “I am proud to say that in all aspects of our government's work, the guiding consideration is to see how it will alleviate poverty and bring prosperity. Sadly, the anti-thesis of Gandhian thought is the Congress culture,” PTI Modi said. SEE P 5 Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland chopper scam case, claimed in a Delhi court Tuesday that former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana met him in Dubai and threatened to make his life hell inside jail if he did not toe the line of the agency in its investigation in the scandal. “Sometime back Rakesh Asthana met me in Dubai and threatened that my life would be made hell and that’s what is going on. My next door inmate is (gangster) Chotta Rajan... I don’t understand what crime I have committed to be put along with those who have killed several people,” he said. Michel, who was present in the courtroom, also told the court that he was put in the prison with 16-17 Kashmiri separatist leaders. The statements were made by Michel before Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate him inside Tihar Jail in Delhi. The court said the agency will quiz him tomorrow and the day after. A jail official will remain present and Michel’s lawyer is also allowed a limited access during interrogation, for half an hour in the morning and in evening, it said. The court took note of Michel’s submission alleging mental torture inside the jail and directed Tihar jail authorities to produce the CCTV footage and reports by Thursday based on which he was shifted to a high-security ward.On Monday, the court asked the jail authorities to submit their reply on the agency’s plea and issued a production warrant for Tuesday for Michel after his lawyer alleged mental torture inside the jail. Michel was arrested by ED on December 22 last year after his extradition from Dubai. The court previously lashed out at the jail authorities for failing to justify the shifting of Michel to a high-security cell in isolation, saying it will start an inquiry if it does not get a proper response. Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the chopper scam by ED and Central Bureau of Investigation. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. No tie-up, says Maya; Cong hits back SNS & PTI LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI, 12 MARCH British Parliament on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal for a second time, plunging the UK into a state of uncertainty just two weeks ahead of the country's divorce from the European Union. The House of Commons voted against the deal by 391 votes to 242. Seventy-five Conservative MPs rebelled against their party's position by rejecting May's deal. Three Labour parliamentarians rebelled against their leader by voting in favour of the agreement. There will now be a debate Wednesday on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal. In her address to Parliament after the defeat, May said she“profoundly regrets” PTI MPs' decision. against terrorist groups operating on its soil,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said. Pompeo affirmed that the United States stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism, he said. “They noted the strength of our partnership and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation, including on counter-terrorism,” Palladino said. Secretary Gokhale conveyed India’s appreciation to the US Government and to Sec- BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 67.16 +0.58 NEW DELHI, 12 MARCH In a blow to the prospects of an opposition grand alliance to take on the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, BSP chief MayawatiTuesday said her party will not have an election tie-up with the Congress in any state. Mayawati's statement drew a sharp retort from the Congress, with its Uttar Pradesh unit spokesperson saying, “We don't need her.” In a statement, Mayawati said, “It is being made clear again that the Bahujan Samaj Party will not have any electoral alliance with the Congress in any state.” Referring to her party's pre-poll alliance with AkhileshYadav's Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati said it is based on “mutual respect” and“honest intentions”. “The SP-BSP alliance is perfect enough to defeat the BJP especially in Uttar , Pradesh,” she said. The SP and the BSP have stitched together an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, keeping the Congress out, though the two parties decided not to field any candidates in Rae Bareli and Amethi, the traditional strongholds of the grand old party. Of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the SP will contest 37 and the BSP 38, leaving three for the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and two for Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli) and Pak assures US to deal ‘firmly’ with all terrorists PRESS TRUST OF INDIA P15 SILVER 38,600.00 +100.00 RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE WHY ZIDANE CHOSE TO COME BACK retary Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on the meeting. Secretar y Pompeo expressed his understanding of India’s concerns regarding cross-border terrorism, it said. “They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable,” the statement said. Amid mounting outrage in India over the Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force carried out a counterterror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured Indian pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1. The escalation of tensions between the two nucleararmed neighbours prompted the major powers to intervene and urged both Pakistan and India to de-escate. Secretary of State Pompeo was directly in touch with the leadership of both India and Pakistan to de-escalate tensions. The international community also mounted pressure on Islamabad to act against the terror groups operating from the country and stop providing safe havens to them. Meanwhile, two terrorists and three accomplices were arrested by the security forces on Tuesday during an intelligence based operation in Pakistan's northwest region, an official statement said. Rahul Gandhi (Amethi). Mayawati's remarks came on a day when the highest policy-making body of the Congress -- the Congress Working Committee (CWC) -- met in Ahmedabad, led by party president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. UP Congress spokesperson Rajiv Bakshi said it was not up to Mayawati to decide whether the Congress wanted to enter an alliance with her party. She doesn't have even a singleseatinParliament.How can she decide if the Congress has to come on board or not?” “We are fighting the election alone and do not want an alliance. We don't need her, he told PTI. Instead of speaking about the Congress, she needs to first work on her coalition with the SP which is break, ing up.Wait for 15 to 20 days and see how things unfold,” he said. He added there was no discussion on a coalition with the BSP at any level in the Congress. “They are desperate,” he said, referring to Mayawati's party. Asked about Mayawati's remarks, Congress party's west UP incharge Jyotiraditya Scindia told a TV news channel, “We respect the views of every party. This view also we respect.” Earlier, he said the Congress will fight the general election in Uttar Pradesh on its own strength. Vehicles bigger polluters than firecrackers: SC STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 MARCH The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked why people were "running after" the firecracker industry when it is automobiles that are the "bigger" source of pollution. Responding to petitions requesting for a complete ban on firecrackers across the country, a bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer told Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, “why target crackers’ industry when it seems vehicles are a 'bigger' source of pollution”. The bench observed that people involved in manufacturing of firecrackers have lost jobs and said the court does not "wish to generate unemployment". The top court has asked the Centre if there is any comparative study on the "proportion of pollution" caused by firecrackers and automobiles. "Is there any comparative study on what proportion of pollution is caused by firecrackers and what proportion is caused by automobile? "It seems you are running after firecrackers but bigger pollution contributor is perhaps vehicles," said the bench while hearing a plea which has sought a ban on the use of firecrackers on the ground that it gives rise to pollution.
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