CMYK www.thestatesman.com MONDAY 01 APRIL 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P3 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Rain/ thundershower very likely in some areas. Temperature will be in the range of 34-26 degrees Celsius RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 93% TEMPERATURE Max: 33.9°C (-1) SUN RISES 05:29 hrs MOON RISES 03.09 hrs FACEBOOK CHIEF FOR GOVT ROLE IN REGULATING ’NET UNDER PRESSURE TO FORGE SOFTER BREXIT DEAL CONG NATIONAL PARTY IN TRUE SENSE: SINHA P9 P10 Modi’s return as PM will spell doom: Opp Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu share Vizag stage Min. 61% Min: 26.2°C (+2) SUN SETS 17:26 hrs MOON SETS 14:34 hrs Next moon quarter on 1 April THUMBNAILS Runners take part in a "Voter Awareness Marathon" ahead of India's forthcoming general election in Amritsar on Sunday. AFP Bank merger: In a first three-way amalgamation, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will merge with Bank of Baroda (BoB) from 1 April to create the third-largest lender of the country. As a result, branches of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will function as BoB outlets from Monday onwards. According to the Scheme of Amalgamation, shareholders of Vijaya Bank will get 402 equity shares of BoB for every 1,000 shares held. In the case of Dena Bank, its shareholders will get 110 shares of BoB for every 1,000 shares. MiG-27 crashes: A MiG 27 aircraft of the Indi2 an Air Force crashed on Sunday near Jodhpur in Rajasthan but the pilot ejected safely, official sources said. The MiG 27 UPG jet that took off from Utarlai airforce base experienced engine problems leading to the crash at around 11:45 a.m. in Sirohi district about 120 km south of Jodhpur. The pilot ejected safely. A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident. Arab summit: Leaders meeting in Tunisia for the annual Arab League summit on Sunday were united in their condemnation of Trump administration policies seen as unfairly biased toward Israel but divided on a host of other issues, including whether to readmit founding member Syria. This year's summit comes against a backdrop of ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, rival authorities in Libya and a lingering boycott of Qatar by four League members. DIPANKAR CHAKRABORTY Mamata appeals to Sangh bodies VISAKHAPATNAM, 31 MARCH icking off their joint campaign from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, TDP's Chandrababu Naidu, Trinamul Party leader Mamata Banerjee and Aam Admi Party head Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday made a fervent appeal to people to vote against the Narendra Modiled BJP-NDA in the ensuing polls, even as they slammed Modi for alleged misgovernance and claimed that his days were numbered. Amid beating of drums and waving of TDP flags at the Visakhapatnam Municipal Stadium here, the three leaders called upon people to cast their ballots wisely as they warned that the return of Modi after the coming polls would spell doom for the country and its institutions. Both Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee also pitched strongly for the return of TDP leader and Andhra chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the assembly polls in the state which would be held simultaneously alongside the Lok Sabha elections. "Make Chandrababu K HYDERABAD, 31 MARCH Naidu your chief minister again," Mr Kejriwal urged the gathering of people comprising mainly of local and state TDP leaders. He also urged West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Chandrababu Naidu to support his party's demand for full statehood for Delhi. Mamata drew applause from the assembled crowd when she began by greeting people in Telugu. Describing the coming election as a special poll, she sought to counter the BJP leaders’ jibes on too many claimants to the post of Prime Minister. She said whether it was she, Kejriwal or Chandrababu they were all capable of administering from anywhere, states or Centre. Miss Banerjee accused Mr Modi of intimidating the states and opposition parties and telling lies. She KEAN STEPS UP IN RONALDO’S ABSENCE claimed the BJP-led NDA was unlikely to cross the 125 seats mark in the coming elections. On the leadership issue within the anti-Bjp coalition parties, Mamata said they would choose their leaders after the elections. She did not elaborate on how and where from the numbers would come for the Mahagathbandhan. Chandrababu Naidu slammed Modi for allegedly making a U-turn on promises he had made including granting of special status for the reconstituted state of Andhra Pradesh after a new state of Telangana was curved out of it. Naidu alleged that Modi was jealous of the progress of Andhra Pradesh. He alleged that the Prime Minister had no moral values. He urged people not to vote for Modi in the coming Lok Sabha elections. In a fiery speech attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee today appealed to the organisations close to BJP to not support the duo if they love the country. It is not clear if she was referring to RSS. Addressing the TDP rally in Visakhapatnam, she urged the people to vote wisely and appealed to them to vote for TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu since Mr Modi has become the “chowkidar of lies and loot” and terrorism, farmers suicide and unemployment have reached highest proportions under his watch. “To those sister organisation of BJP if you love the country even a little do not help them...This is a special election. There are not many people to fight for the country, please vote for Chandrababu Naidu. Modi and Shah bully everySNS one,” she added. P11 Modi invokes Balakot at Main Bhi Chowkidar meet PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he took the decision to go ahead with the air strikes in Balakot in Pakistan as he thought that “the game” should be played from where terrorism is being controlled. Addressing a 'Main bhi Chowkidar' event, he said Pakistan is in a fix because if it acknowledges the air strikes, it will have to accept that there was a terror camp there. “They have been saying that there are no terror camps. Now they have to hide it. They are not allowing anybody to go there since the last one and a half months. We've been told by some people that the Balakot area is being reconstructed by Pakistan to show that a school is being run there, so that people can be taken there and be shown that no terror camp existed there,” he said. Those abusing Modi on the air strikes are helping Pakistan with their statements, he said. The prime minister was speaking at the event that was beamed across the country at 500 places where gatherings of BJP workers, professionals, chowkidars (watchmen), traders, farmers among others will listen to Modi and interact with him through video-conferencing. “I could take the decision on Balakot because I have faith in my armed forces. I gave them a free hand because I have confidence in their discipline that they can do no wrong,” Modi said. “What was the thinking behind the decision?We have been suffering due to terrorism for the last 40 years.Who commits this sin, where is the remote control, everybody knows it. Where are the masters of the terrorists sitting is known. They come and kill and go,” he said. Citing an example of the Mumbai and Uri terror attacks, he said terrorists come, kill and leave. “...then I decided that from where this is controlled, the game will be played there. The playing field will be theirs,” he said. Modi said Pakistan has started opening its airspace after the air strikes, believing that he is busy with elections. “For me, the election is not priority, but the country is priority for me,” the prime minister said. “The attack was on such a place where it is known that terror camps were being run by Pakistan. Pakistan does not have a problem with how many were killed but with the stamp that they were running these terror camps,” Modi said. Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian Air Force fighter jets bombed terror group JeM's training camp near Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day. However, the IAF thwarted the attempt. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed. Jet Airways pilots defer decision Vindicated by PM’s statement: Mallya not to fly, set 15 April deadline PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LONDON, 31 MARCH PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MUMBAI, 31 MARCH A major crisis in struggling carrier Jet Airways was averted Sunday after its pilots' body, National Aviator's Guild (NAG), deferred till April 15 its call for halting operations. The decision was taken at an open house meeting of NAG members which took place in both Mumbai and Delhi on Sunday afternoon, NAG president Karan Chopra told reporters after the meeting which lasted for about four hours. The NAG, which claims to represent around 1,100 of the 1,600 Jet Airways pilots, had announced earlier that its members will not fly from 1 April, unless their salary dues were cleared and clarity was provided on future payments by today (31 March). “The management has shown us a positive intent by transferring our(December) salary and we thought we should give them at least a couple of weeks to settle down and form the interim board and solve our issues which they have already spoken about earlier. “Therefore, the collective call taken by the pilots in both Mumbai and Delhi of no flying, which was supposed to start from April 1, has now been deferred to April 15 in a hope that something positive pans out in two weeks,” Chopra said. On 21 March the NAG had requested the government to intervene for the survival of Jet Airways, after which State Bank of India (SBI) stated that the lenders will infuse interim funding of Rs 1,500 crore to sustain its operations for the next two months. Last Monday, Jet Airways' board approved a resolution plan formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders. Under the plan, lenders decided to take control of the airline and make a fund infusion of Rs 1,500 crore. The consortium of lenders is considering roping in former SBI chief A K Purwar as chairman of the interim management committee, a senior official said. Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya claimed on Sunday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement in a recent interview confirming the recovery of Rs 14,000 crores worth of his assets has fully vindicated him in his assertion of being a “poster boy” for the BJP-led government. Issuing a statement through social media, the 62-year-old asserted that by Modi's own assertion the recovery of assets was higher than the alleged Rs 9,000 crores he faces extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges. “I humbly submit that my assertion that I am a poster boy is fully vindicated by the PM's own statement about me (by name) that his Govt has recovered more than what I alleged- ly owe the banks,” Mallya said in his latest Twitter outburst. “Fact that I have been a UK resident since 1992 ignored. Suits the BJP to say I ran away,” he notes. Mallya's latest social media intervention follows a recent interview in which Prime Minister Modi said that recovering an amount more than what Mallya defrauded was a big win for India. “You must've seen in the case of Vijay Mallya. He owed banks Rs 9,000 crores but the government has confiscated his properties worth Rs 14,000 crore from across the world. Now, he is in trouble because we are taking double the amount,” Modi had said. In reference to the comments, Mallya noted: “Saw PM Modi's interview in which he takes my name and says that even though I owe Rs 9,000 crores to Banks, his Govt has attached my assets worth Rs 14,000 crores. So the highest authority has confirmed full recovery. Why do BJP spokesmen continue their rhetoric?” The former Kingfisher Airlines boss, accused of defrauding Indian banks, has filed an application seeking permission to appeal against his extradition order signed off by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid last month. A UK judiciary spokesperson confirmed last week that all the papers have been received and are now awaiting allocation to a single High Court judge who will decide, on the basis of those papers, if permission is given to go to a full hearing. If the application is accepted, the case will proceed to a “substantive hearing” in the next few months' time. In the event that Mallya's application is rejected at this stage, he will have the option to submit for a “renewal”. The renewal process will lead to a 30-minute oral hearing during which Mallya's legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian government will renew their respective claims for and against an appeal for a judge to determine if it can proceed to a full hearing. Rahul to contest from Wayanad as well as Amethi Major Gogoi may face PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 MARCH In a bid to improve the Congress' position in south India, party president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Veteran Congress leader from Kerala and former defence minister A K Antony made this announcement at a press conference here Sunday, saying Gandhi had agreed to fight from Wayanad following requests from the party's state unit. The decision is seen as an attempt by the Congress to consolidate its electoral base in south India, especially Kerala which has 20 Lok Sabha seats. Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha seats and Karnataka has 28. “This is a message to the southern states that they are deeply valued and respected. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said he will represent Amethi but will also represent southern states as they are an important part of India's way of life,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. He said Gandhi has said Amethi is his 'karmabhoomi' and he will never leave it. The announcement evoked sharp reactions from both the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Reacting to the develop- ment, CPI(M) Politbureau member Prakash Karat said that the decision of the Congress to field Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad shows that the party wants to take on the Left in Kerala. “Their priority now is to fight against the Left in Kerala. It goes against Congress' national commitment to fight the BJP, as in Kerala it is the LDF which is the main force fighting the BJP there,” he told reporters. The CPI(M) ex-general secretary said his party will work to ensure Gandhi's defeat in Wayanad. BJP chief Amit Shah also took a sharp dig at Gandhi contesting from two seats at a rally in Uttar Pradesh. “Congress' votebank politics has worked on playing with the security of the country. It is the result of this that Rahul Gandhi has left Amethi and run away to Kerala, because he knows that voters will seek account from him in Amethi this time,” Shah said. Earlier, Surjewala said the state units of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had requested him to contest from south India at a time when there is an attack on language and culture from the Modi government, he said. “This is a fight to espouse the aspirations of south India. This is a fight to give a befitting reply to those forces that attack cultures, languages, way of life and also the deep connect between north and south India between which BJP has created a division,” he said. On the BJP's criticism that Gandhi's is “not very strong” in Amethi, Surjewala said, “Why doesn't the BJP answer why Modi ji left Gujarat and went to Varanasi. Does that mean his condition was bad in Gujarat? Instead of discussing these type of immature things, they should discuss key political issues. Why is the BJP so scared?” In a swipe at Union minister Smriti Irani who is contesting against Gandhi in Amethi, he said, “Pehle Delhi mein Chandni Chowk ne haraya, phir Amethi ne bhagaya. Jis mantri mahoyadaya ki charcha kar rahe hain, jinko ticket di hai, ab haar ki hattrick ka mahaul bana hai (First lost from Chandni Chowk, then Amethi. And now, for the minister in question there is an atmosphere of a hat-trick of defeats)”. Surjewala said the people of Amethi trust the fact that they are protected with Gand- CMYK hi being there. “The BJP has the task of conspiracy while we have the task of construction,” he said. He said Wayanad has a unique geographical feature as it links Tamil Nadu's Nilgiri and Karnataka's Mysore and has the geographical and cultural representation of the three states. “That is why party decided that Gandhi will, in a way, represent the three states and strengthen the unity between north and south India. Senior Congress leader Antony said Wayanad is situated in Kerala, but also surrounded by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “In a way it'll satisfy the requests of three southern states,” he said. There were many requests from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the former defence minister said, adding that one of the major reasons for consideration was that it is a trijunction of the three southern states. reduction of seniority PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR, 31 MARCH The court martial proceedings against Major Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of the 2017 'human shield' controversy, have been completed and he may face reduction in seniority as a punishment for “fraternising” with a local woman in Srinagar last year, officials said. The court martial process against his driver, Sameer Malla, who was facing charges of unauthorised absence from the unit, was also completed recently in the Kashmir valley and he is likely to be given a “severe reprimand”. After completion of Summary of Evidence against Major Gogoi and his driver in early February followed by the initiation of court martial proceedings, the two men have been held guilty on two counts ~ “fraternising” with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and“being away from the place of duty while in operational area”, the officials said. Statements of the accused as well as other witnesses were recorded and the punishment, which will be vetted by the Army headquarters, has been given, they added. The Army Court of Inquiry (CoI) had recommended disciplinary action against Major Gogoi after it indicted him as well as his driver for the Srinagar hotel incident on May 23 last year. Major Gogoi was detained by police following an altercation with the hotel staff when he was allegedly trying to enter inside with an 18-yearold woman. The woman was unwilling to depose during the court martial proceedings and informed the Army authorities that she had given a statement before a magistrate and the same should be treated as her final stand.
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