CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 MARCH 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature to be around 34-25 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.93% TEMPERATURE Max: 32.8°C (-2) SUN RISES 05:31 hrs MOON RISES 0144 hrs DEVELOPMENT THE BANGLADESH WAY ‘5 PER CENT VVPATS SHOULD BE CHECKED’ UNLAMENTED EXIT P7 P7 Pak still counting Balakot bodies: PM Modi plays airstrike, space card; Priyanka slams PM for neglecting Varanasi Min. 47% Min: 24.9°C (+1) SUN SETS 17:51 hrs MOON SETS 12:52 hrs Next moon quarter on 1 April THUMBNAILS Congress has fielded Urmila Matondkar (photo) from Mumbai North and ex-Speaker Meira Kumar from Sasaram LS seats, respectively. Nirav Modi denied bail: Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was denied bail a second time Friday as a UK court ruled that there were “substantial grounds” to believe that he would fail to surrender and also noted that “very unusually in a fraud case” the accused had made death threats to witnesses. Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA jailed for MCC violation: Sitting MLA of the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh, Dilip Singh Parihar was on Friday sent to jail till April 6 along with four other BJP leaders for violating the model code of conduct in Neemuch district of the state. Journalist arrested: Philippine journalist Maria Ressa was arrested on Friday on a fraud charge, her second detention in what press freedom advocates have said is retaliation for her news site's criticism of President Duterte. Ressa was named a Time Magazine Person of P9 the Year in 2018 for her work. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JEYPORE (ODISHA), 29 MARCH rime Minister Narendra Modi today called upon people to vote against all those who insult the Army and scientists by seeking proof of casualties in the Balakot strike. Two days ago the world stood up and watched “India’s chowkidari in space” when it displayed its prowess in anti-satellite missile. Pakistan is still counting bodies of terrorists killed in Balakot. Yet the Opposition seeks proof and insults scientists as well on a daily basis, said the Prime Minister. Clearly seeking electoral mandate on these two achievements, the PM in his rhetorically style asked the gathering to respond – do you have faith in the Army, in scientists…evoking a loud “ yes”, and with a pause said “ but the Opposition parties do not”. Shouldn’t we punish (vote against) those who insult the armed forces and scientists was the next poser, again evoking a positive response from the gathering. The choice in 2019 elections is between a bold and strong, decisive government which can enter homes of terrorists and destroy them and those who had run sacred hiding their tails behind their back, he remarked. In his first election campaign meeting in Odisha where simulta- P EC clean chit for Modi’s address NEW DELHI. 29 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on the successful test-firing of an anti-satellite missile did not violate the model code of conduct, the Election Commission said on Friday night. The EC took the decision based on the report of a committee of officers which found that the Prime Minister did not violate the provision of 'party in power' in the poll code. “The committee has, therefore, reached the conclusion that the MCC provision regarding misuse of official mass media...is not attracted in the instant case,” the commission said, citing the report of the committee constituted to look into the PTI case. neous polls are being held for Parliament and the state Assembly, the PM came down heavily both on the Congress and the BJD. A BJP government at the Centre and in the state (double engine) is a sure prescription for development, he said. The Congress has betrayed the poor, the tribals and farmers just as the BJD has done here in Odisha. Both ruled the state and failed the people, give BJP a chance, he said while promising rapid progress. Targeting the BJD, the PM said those who robbed the poor by way of the chit fund scam and who allowed mining mafia to loot the state cannot be trusted to alleviate poverty. Women are unsafe in Odisha, tribals are deprived of benefits, he charged while imploring people to “give a chance to the chowkidar”. He lambasted the BJD government for rejecting the Ayushman Bharat scheme and depriving the poor of health care. The BJD government here did not provide the required list of farmers for the PM KISAN scheme. Crores of farmers across the country are benefiting from the scheme but sadly there is not a single farmer on the list, he said. DMG funds of over Rs 5000 crore which ought to have been spent to benefit the tribals remain unspent in the state, he said. The Naveen Patnaik government is a failure, it is insensitive and it needs to be shown the door, said the PM. Significantly, Bijay Mohapatra who had resigned from the BJP in December last year (his resignation has not been accepted), was seen on the dais for the first time in almost one year today. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Odisha in charge Arun Singh, former CMGiridhar Gomang, Baijayant Panda and others were also present. PTI adds from Ayodhya: A day after hinting that she is not averse to contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked him for ignoring his own Varanasi constituency. On Thursday night, reacting to a suggestion from a party worker that she should fight the elections from her mother Sonia Gandhi's Rae Bareli constituency, Priyanka Gandhi had quipped, Shouldn't I fight from Varanasi? She fuelled more speculation on this possibility on Friday by targeting Modi over the state of the constituency. Criminal histories: SC notice to Centre, EC on contempt plea HC blow for Patel in poll PRESS TRUST OF INDIA AHMEDABAD, 29 MARCH NEW DELHI, 29 MARCH The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and the EC on a plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for alleged violation of the apex court's judgment directing all candidates to declare their criminal antecedents to the poll panel before contesting elections. A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran also sought response from the three deputy election commissioners, law secretary and the cabinet secretary for not complying with its judgment dated September 25, 2018. The court was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. In September last year, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the EC before contesting polls and had called for wider publicity, through print and electronic media about the antecedents of candidates. On October 10 last year, the EC had issued notification regarding the amended Form26, and directions to parties and candidates for publication of criminal antecedents.However, the plea alleged the EC neither amended the Election Symbol Order, 1968 nor the model code. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE In a big pre-election jolt to the Opposition Congress, Gujarat High Court on Friday rejected a petition by the Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel seeking suspension of an earlier conviction so that he can contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Hardik Patel, now 25, was in the reckoning as the Congress candidate from Jamnagar Lok Sabha seat. The Patel quota agitation leader had approached the High Court seeking a stay on his 2018 conviction by a court in Visnagar to enable him to contest next month’s Lok Sabha poll. Today’s High Court ver- dict virtually brings the curtain down on Hardik’s hopes to contest the Lok Sabha polls unless he can get the decision reversed by a petition in the Supreme Court before 4 April, the last date of filing nominations. The nominations for the Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat began yesterday. The High Court bench of Justice A G Uraizi pronounced the verdict today after hearing the Gujarat Government’s submission that as many as 17 FIRs are registered against Hardik all over Gujarat in rioting and arson cases related to the 2015 agitation demanding reservations for Patels in jobs and educational institutions. Hardik was convicted by the Visnagar court in a 2015 rioting case and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment which the High Court refused to suspend.Patel said he welcomed the judgement. “I welcome Court's decision. Elections come and go. But the BJP is working against Constitutional principles. Why a 25-year-old Congress leader is being stopped from contesting polls?’’ Present VVPAT method okay, SC told SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 29 MARCH The Election Commission on Friday asserted in the Supreme Court that 21Opposition leaders have been unable to raise any ground for altering the existing system of random counting of the VVPAT slips from one polling booth per Assembly segment which was “found to be most suitable” after due studies and tests. EC sought dismissal of their petition seeking that VVPAT slips of at least 50 per cent of voting machines in each Assembly constituency be checked randomly in the Lok Sabha elections next month. “Any further increase in the sample size of verification will lead to very negligible gain in the confidence level, which currently is way above 99.9936 per cent,” the poll panel said. It said issues raised by India puts Kartarpur talks on hold over ‘Khalistanis’ them have already been considered, studied and determined and the decision has been taken to conduct the present elections by adopting the prevalent system of counting of VVPAT slips. EC, asked on March 25 by the apex court to give its view on increasing the number of random sample surveys from one booth per assembly segment, said that in the future elections it may consider suggestions for further improving the holding of polls in free and fair manner. “It is submitted that with the imminent elections issues raised in the instant petitions are matters that have already been considered, studied and determined by the Election Commission of India and have since culminated in adopting the course of conduct of the imminent election in the present manner,” the EC said in its affidavit. It said the writ petition filed by 21 opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, “does not raise any ground or base for altering the existing system at this juncture and it is accordingly prayed that the present system as decided to be adopted for the imminent elections be continued with and the petition dismissed. ” The poll panel maintained that it is always open to bringing about any improvements that would further the cause of free and fair elections,. “In so far as the grievances and reliefs prayed for in the instant writ petitions are concerned, these are all matters to which the Election Commission of India has applied itself, and after due studies and tests has arrived at the conclusion that the method as presently adopted has been found to be most suitable,” the affidavit said. The poll panel said If at all with regard to future elections, any other suggestions that have not been considered are brought up, it would immediately look into the same in order to consider their efficacy and utility to the ultimate objective of conducting free and fair polls. The poll panel currently adopts a system of counting of VVPAT slips in one polling booth per assembly constituency in the Vidhan Sabha polls and in one polling booth in each assembly segment for the Lok Sabha polls. The affidavit said that the 21 opposition leaders have not disclose “even one specific instance for this Court to come to a conclusion that the existing system would in any manner adversely influence the free and fair elections.” Further, the poll panel said the petition by them does not raise any new or different apprehension or grievance as was raised in the earlier cases, nor brings out any grave or serious reason requiring a revamping of the system that has been adopted for the purpose of the conduct of the 2019 elections. “It is further submitted that when the polls are imminent and polling is to commence from April 11, 2019, to now seek to alter the system adopted by the ECI at this stage might not be feasible,” the affidavit said. CMYK KOHLI FLIPS HIS LID AFTER LAST-BALL UMPIRING ERROR P12 UK lawmakers reject May’s Brexit deal in Parliament PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LONDON, 29 MARCH NEW DELHI, 29 MARCH India today put on hold the 2 April talks with Pakistan on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, seeking clarification from Islamabad on reports that several "Khalistan" supporters have been appointed by the neighbouring country to a ten-member committee to be associated with the Corridor. India summoned Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to the Foreign Office and conveyed concern over the presence of "controversial elements" in the committee. The committee, it is learnt, includes elements like Gopal Singh Chawla, a key associate of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, and Maninder Singh, Tara Singh, Besant Singh and Kuljeet Singh, who have all been "propagating violence and hatred". New Delhi also wanted to know from the Pakistani official his country's stand on key proposals put forward by New Delhi at the last meeting held in Attari to discuss the modalities of the Corridor, sources said. A statement by the External Affairs Ministry later said it has been conveyed to the Pakistani side that the next meeting on the modalities of the Corridor could be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Islamabad’s response. The second round of talks on the Corridor was scheduled to SNS be held next week. British lawmakers on Friday rejected the Brexit deal proposed by embattled Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament for the third time, throwing the UK's divorce plans with the EU into further disarray. MPs voted in the House of Commons against the terms of Britain's so-called divorce from the European Union (EU) by 344 to 286. An approval would have given the British parliament time until May 22 to get all the accompanying legislation passed. The key vote took place on the day Britain was earlier scheduled to exit the bloc, until the EU leaders granted more time. According to the EU, the UK must present an alternative proposal to leave the bloc by April 12. As the MPs rejected her deal again, the prime minister, who had offered to resign if her Brexit plan was passed, must set out a new plan by April 12. Commenting on the outcome, May told MPs: “The implications of the house's decision are grave. I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this house. This government will continue to press for the orderly Brexit that the result of the referendum demands”. She said that MPs would debate alternatives next week. Meanwhile responding to the vote outcome, European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: “In view of the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I have decided to call a European Council on 10 April.” In the past, the House of Commons rejected May's withdrawal plan twice, both times by overwhelming margins. May on Wednesday bowed to mounting pressure from within her own Conservative Party and offered to resign as the UK Prime Minister if her MPs agreed to back her twice-defeated Brexit divorce bill to get it over the line in a third parliamentary vote. Hours before the vote, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on lawmakers to reject May's Brexit plan with the EU and negotiate a new one with better terms. The UK triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty following a referendum in favour of Brexit by nearly 52 per cent to 48 per cent in June 2016. Earlier, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on Britain's parliament Friday to reject Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal with the European Union and negotiate a new one with better terms. Khan told AFP ahead of parliament's third vote on May's twice-rejected Withdrawal Agreement with the other 27 EU nations that uncertainty associated with a Brexit extension was better than May's way forward. “My message to MPs from all parties is to vote against this deal,” Khan said after meeting a group of EU nationals at a university in east London.
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