Sushma transformed MEA, oriented it to peoples call: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that Sushma Swaraj as external affairs minister transformed her ministry from being bound to protocol to one oriented to peoples call and recalled she had urged him to deliver his first UN speech from a prepared text and not speak impromptu.
Joined by leaders from all major parties, Mr. Modi paid tributes to the BJP stalwart, who died last week, at a condolence meeting here.
The Prime Minister said he learnt a lot from her and then spoke about his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, months after he had assumed the office for the first time.
After she received him, he suggested that they sit together as he had to deliver his speech the next day, Mr. Modi said.
Sushma Swaraj enquired where his speech was and he said he never writes his speeches as he finds it difficult.
She said, aisa nahi hota hai bhai (It does work like this brother). You have to speak about India to the world. You cannot speak as you wish I was prime minister and she was my colleague minister taking care of the external affairs ministry... Mr. Modi said.
The Prime Minister said he had undertaken a long travel and was also on fast due to navratra but she insisted he share his thoughts.
The ministry prepared a draft speech for him, he said.
It was her request... One may be a fine orator but there are some forums which have their own traditions. This was the first lesson Sushma ji had taught me, he said, adding she had the courage to speak what she believed to be right.
Referring to Sushma Swarajs prompt response to Indians facing problems abroad or related to the ministry, he said she transformed the ministry.
It used to be bound to protocol but she transformed it and made it oriented to peoples call, he said.
BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and partys working president J P Nadda, besides Anand Sharma of the Congress, Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress, Pinaki Misra of the BJD, LJPs Ram Vilas Paswan, Shiv Senas Arvind Sawant and opposition leader Sharad Yadav were among others who spoke at the condolence meeting
More Durga pujas being held in WB under TMC rule, says Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said more Durga pujas are being held in the state under the TMC rule than under previous governments.
Referring to BJPs allegations that Durga Puja is being curtailed in the state by the TMC government, she said the saffron party should first look into the work it has done since it came to power at the Centre.
Inaugurating the Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Museum in Kolkata, Ms. Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, said she does not need to prove her Hindu identity to others.
I know more Sanskrit scriptures than those who criticize me and question my religious identity, she said.
Manmohan Singh files RS nomination papers from Rajasthan
The former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose tenure as�Rajya Sabha MP ended in June, filed his nomination as Congress candidate for the by-election to the Upper House of Parliament from Rajasthan here on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and AICC general secretary Avinash Pande accompanied Dr. Singh when he submitted his papers in the chamber of State Assembly Secretary Pramil Kumar Mathur.
Earlier, Mr. Gehlot and senior Congress leaders received Dr. Singh at Sanganer airport here on Tuesday morning.
Union Cabinet condoles Sushma Swarajs demise
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday condoled the demise of former union minister Sushma Swaraj, describing her as an affable person with a humane touch who won the hearts of all by helping Indians in distress abroad.
Swaraj (67) passed away on August 6 at AIIMS following a cardiac arrest.
The Cabinet, which met this morning, adopted a resolution which said that Swaraj will always be remembered for her exceptional oratorial skills and a compassionate approach.
She was an able administrator and an affable person with humane touch who won the hearts of all by helping Indians in distress abroad. For these qualities, she was declared as Indias best loved politician by the US daily Wall Street Journal in 2017, it read.
The Cabinet placed on record its appreciation of Swarajs services to the nation in different capacities.
In her passing away, the country has lost a distinguished leader and an outstanding parliamentarian, the resolution read.
Rahul says will visit J&K, dont need Governor's aircraft
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accepted Governor Satya Pal Maliks invitation to visit Jammu and Kashmir but said he did not need an aircraft.
Mr. Gandhi said in a tweet, Dear Governor Malik, A delegation of opposition leaders & I will take you up on your gracious invitation to visit J&K and Ladakh. We wont need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel & meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there.
On Monday, Governor Malik invited Mr. Gandhi to visit Jammu and Kashmir, saying he would send an aircraft for him, after the Congress leader said, People were dying in the state and the situation was not normal as claimed by the government.
Different voices from Congress on J&K reflects directionless politics: Javadekar
The Congress is speaking in different voices on the special status of Jammu and Kashmir because of its frustration, despair and directionless politics, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.
Mr. Chidambaram on Monday alleged that the BJP scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as the region is dominated by Muslims, a remark condemned by the ruling party as provocative and irresponsible.
The former union finance minister also alleged that the BJP-led NDA government would not have taken the bold decision had Jammu and Kashmir been a Hindu-dominated state.
This is Congress frustration, despair and directionless politics. Karan Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, R P N Singh and other leaders are talking one thing and Chidambaram, Mani Shankar Aiyar saying another thing. The party is in perennial confusion. They never had a clear stand, Mr. Javadekar told reporters in the capital on Tuesday.
Mr. Javadekar also said the people of Jammu and Kashmir celebrated Eid happily.
Let me say that after Article 370 people of Kashmir will progress and will get the rights that have been denied to them in the last 70 years. That is why they are happy. People tried and even expected disturbances in Jammu and Kashmir.
The way that the people celebrated and how they came out shows that they are happy. Kashmir will get normal very soon. But if some people see Palestine in Kashmir then it is their negative thought. Chidambaram is only trying to communalise the issue and it is dirty politics, said Mr. Javadekar.
TMC begins dharna over I-T notices to Durga Puja committees
The Trinamool Congress on Tuesday began an eight-hour long dharna in central Kolkata in protest against the central governments decision to serve income tax notices to Durga Puja committees.
Criticising the Centre for issuing the notices to several Durga Puja committees here, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had on Sunday announced that Banga Janani Brigade - the womens wing of the party - would sit on a dharna at Subodh Mullick Square on Tuesday.
Noting that festivals should be exempt from levies, she had urged organisers, participants and all people who love Bangla to join the protest.
The BJP had on Monday criticised the TMCs decision to stage the demonstration, accusing a section of ruling TMC leaders of laundering money allegedly looted in chit fund scams through the puja committees.
The TMC had termed the allegations as baseless.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leaves for Sonbhadra after meeting Congress workers at Varanasi airport
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday met the party workers at Varansi airport here before leaving for Sonbhadra to meet the family members of 10 Gond tribals who were gunned down last month over a land dispute.
Priyanka Gandhi will also talk to the affected families about the development works in the Umbha village and try to get first-hand account of the steps taken by the government for their security after the incident, party sources said.
The party leaders and workers gave a warm welcome to Gandhi on her arrival at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport here around 10 am.
Later, she left for Sonbhadra by road.
Trump has made it clear mediation offer on Kashmir not on table anymore: Shringla
U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that his offer of mediation on Kashmir is not on the table anymore, a top Indian diplomat said on Monday.
Indias Ambassador to the U.S., Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said that Americas decades-old policy on Kashmir has been no mediation but to encourage India and Pakistan to resolve their differences bilaterally.
President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer of mediation, he has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore, Shringla told Fox News, the favourite news channel of the U.S. president.
On July 22, during his joint media appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, President Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought his mediation/arbitration on the Kashmir issue.
India asserted that no such request was made by Prime Minister Modi to the US president and all issues will have to be resolved with Islamabad bilaterally.
Chidambarams remarks very provocative, says BJP
The BJP on Monday termed as very irresponsible and provocative Congress leader P. Chidambarams comment that the Union government had revoked Jammu and Kashmirs special status because it was a Muslim-dominated State and it would not have done so if Hindus were in a majority there.
While Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the former Home Minister of making a very irresponsible and provocative statement, BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, also a Union Minister, and Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Congress was giving the issue a communal angle.
At a public event in Chennai on Sunday, Mr. Chidambaram slammed the BJP-led NDA governments decision.
If J&K is a Hindu-dominated State, the BJP would not have done this. They did it only because the region is dominated by Muslims, he alleged.
BJP to screen West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Monday said the party had put up a screening mechanism in place through which representatives of other parties willing to join it would have to go through.
Ever since the partys upbeat performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the party has been grappling with the issue of induction of leaders from other parties in its fold.
The party will be there and people from different sections will continue to join it. There has been a controversy recently over a few people. The manner in which a large number of people are joining the party requires the presence of a screening mechanism, Mr. Ghosh said. Since the issue involved the image of the party, discussions were held on this in the recently concluded Chintan Baithak and in Delhi.defectors in Bengal.