Monday October 23, 2017
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Bihar poll diary: Campaigning in the time of call drops

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At least one thing is sure. Call drops don’t just affect the common man. Even ministers are victims of the sudden disconnect or silence at other end of the mobile connection.

During campaigning in Bihar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communication and IT, was to be contacted by the ‘war room’ set up by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state capital, to inform him that he had to address a press conference that afternoon. Anant Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, who headed the election war room at the office in Beer Chand Patel Path in Patna, asked one of the party workers to connect the call to Prasad.

But as is evident in many places, except for monosyllabic conversation, nothing could be heard from the other side, despite repeated attempts to connect. Eventually, the worker had to fall back on the tried and tested land line at the minister’s residence in Patna to convey the message.

The frustration in the office is high as the workers are called upon to connect to various leaders throughout the day. Often the call-drop menace strikes at the most inopportune moment.

Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, too appeared extremely harassed soon after a press conference in Patna, when he received calls but could not converse for any length of time. He too eventually sought to reach his caller through the land line.

At least the telecos can’t be blamed for being elitist — equally bad service is doled out to the high and mighty.

Keeping Maharashtra leaders away-

One group of people were conspicuous by their absence from campaigning in Bihar. Worried that the migrant problem in Maharashtra may become a poll issue in Bihar, the BJP appears to have asked it leaders from the Western state to keep away. Except for Nitin Gadkari, none of the union ministers or leaders from Maharashtra were seen hitting the election trail.

Apart from Gadkari, there are four ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, including Piyush Goel, Suresh Prabhu, Hansraj Ahir and Prakash Jawdekar. Because of the attack on people from Bihar, the BJP quietly kept the four of them away, not wanting to have rival politicians raise the issue.

In contrast, leaders from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were deputed in full force.

Sidelining Smriti Irani-

The BJP campaign strategists have categorised the 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar from A to D, depending on their winnability. Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani — otherwise deemed to be a star campaigner — has been relegated to nine constituencies designated in ‘D’ category. Despite demands from various local leaders in other constituencies, she has not been able to use her presence or lung power to impress voters in many places. This is similar to what happened in Maharashtra Assembly polls when she was given just six constituencies to address. Perhaps that’s the reason why she is seen reaching out to people during her morning walks or later when she takes a ride on her scooty. Who says glamour wins the day?

Several contenders emerge for CM chair

By not declaring its chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly polls, the BJP has triggered a rush among wannabe aspirants to stake their claim to the chair. While senior state party leaders Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishor Yadav were already seen as candidates, two more names have started doing the rounds in the local media.

One of them is Rajendra Singh who was general secretary (organisation) in Jharkhand before he jumped into the electoral fray from Central Bihar’s Dinara constituency. His claim to fame is that like Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, he is from Sangh background.

Another name doing the rounds is of Prem Kumar. An eight-term MLA from Gaya and a senior BJP leader, Kumar hails from an extremely backward class category.

Informally, it’s a four-legged race. But as the counting days near, more hats are likely to be thrown into the ring.

Birthday gift for Patriarch, but from whom?

November 8, the date of results of the Bihar election, has a significance for the BJP beyond the ordinary. It’s the birthday of Lal Krishna Advani, the sometimes rebel, sometimes sulking patriarch, who attains 88 years on that day. Despite making it to the party’s star campaigners list, Advani has not addressed a single rally so far. In an election, seen to be a direct battle between Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, it would seem churlish on the part of the party not to field a well-known orator.

The buzz doing the rounds in the party circles in Bihar is that the elections will be like a birthday gift for Advani, but there’s considerable uncertainty as to who will give that gift to him — Modi or Nitish. Guffaws are generally heard in gatherings where this is being said.

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS)

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Deepika Approaches Smriti Irani Against Attack on ‘Padmavati’ Rangoli

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Deepika
Deepika Approaches Smriti Irani Against Attack on 'Padmavati' rangoli. Wikimedia

Surat, October 20: Actress Deepika Padukone on Wednesday urged Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to take action against the attackers who ruined artist Karan Ks rangoli depicting a poster of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” here.

“Absolutely heartbreaking to see the recent attack on artist Karan and his artwork! Disgusting and appalling to say the least,” Deepika tweeted, along with photographs showcasing the before and after of the “attack”.

“Who are these people? Who is responsible for their actions? For how long are we going to let this go on? Allow them to take law into their own hands and attack our freedom and right to individual expression time and again,” questioned the actress, who essays the title role in the historical drama.

Deepika then tagged Irani and wrote: “This has to stop now and action must be taken! Smriti Irani.”

ALSO READDeepika Padukone Paid more than Ranveer for Padmavati

On October 15, Karan tagged Deepika on the micro-blogging site and wrote: “A crowd of 100 people cried Jai Shri Ram and rubbed out my 48 hours intense work!”

The artist also shared two photographs on social media. In one image, he can be seen making a rangoli inspired by the poster of the film, while the other shows the artwork completely vandalized by attackers.

“Padmavati” also features Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.

In the film, Deepika plays the role of Rajput queen Padmavati, while Shahid will be seen as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer will essay the role of Alauddin Khilji.

During its production, the film witnessed many ups and downs.

Earlier this year, activists of Shri Rajput Karni Sena assaulted Bhansali and vandalized the movie’s Jaipur set over alleged distortions in the film’s script.

They were forced to move to Maharashtra to continue shooting. Still, an outdoor set of the historic period drama in Kolhapur was burnt down after two dozen unidentified people torched it.

The Shri Rajput Karni Sena has maintained it will oppose screening of the film if the facts are “distorted”.

“Padmavati”, presented by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions, is set for a December 1 release. (IANS)

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Deepika Requests Smriti Irani To Take Action Following Padmavati Rangoli Vandalism

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Padmavati
Deepika tweeted with a photograph featuring the simple logo Source: Twitter

New Delhi, October 20: Deepika Padukone has requested the Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to take action against culprits who destroyed a rangoli featuring her as Rani Padmini of her upcoming film Padmavati.

One member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and four members of Rajput Karni Sena were arrested for vandalizing the rangoli prepared by a local artist at the Rahul Raj Mall on past Sunday. The artist took 48 hours to make the rangoli and posted a picture of it on Twitter. Police arrested the perpetrators on the basis of a video footage displaying men shouting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ as they destroyed the rangoli.

Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma requested mall owners to come forward and file a case against those who do such wrongdoings. “We have arrested five persons, four of them belonging to outfit Karni Sena and one from the VHP. More persons are likely to be arrested as the video footage recovered by us shows 8-10 persons involved in the activity,” Sharma said.

“I also want to make it clear that the police will deal with strictness against any such action. Freedom of expression is everyone’s right in a democracy, but vandalism will not be allowed,” he said.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati has been facing a lot of hostility since its inception. Bhansali was attacked last year by members of Karni Sena who claim that history is being distorted in Bhansali’s film. The same group burnt posters last month featuring Deepika, Shahid, and Ranveer. They have also warned to thwart the screening of the film if facts were twisted. The movie is scheduled to release on December 1, 2017.

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Rs 10,000 cr will be given to top 10 Universities to make them World-Class, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Patna, October 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said it was a “blot” that Indian universities do not figure among the top 500 of the world and noted that the government has decided to give autonomy and Rs 10,000 crore to top 10 public and private universities over the next five years to make them world-class

.Addressing the centenary Celebrations of Patna University here in presence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Modi said Indian universities such as Nalanda and Takshashila attracted students from all over the world.

“We are not among the top 500. We should remove this blot or not. The situation should change through our determination and hard work,” Modi said.

He said the government has come with a scheme to make 10 private and 10 public universities world-class by providing them autonomy from the constraints of government rules and freedom to grow.

“They will be given Rs 10,000 crore in the next five years,” Modi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the selection will not be on any recommendation. “The universities will be a selected on the basis of a challenge in which they will be required to prove their mettle. The selection will be based on factors such as history, performance and its roadmap reach global benchmarks. A third party professional agency will be involved in the selection process,” Modi said.

Referring to demands for making Patna University a central university, Modi said it should strive to be among the globally-ranked varsity based on the competition and “this was many times ahead of being a central university”.

“Patna University should not stay behind (in the challenge),” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said reforms in the country’s education sector have progressed at a slow speed and there have been differences among educationists which had hampered innovation with the governments too not measuring up to the task.

The Prime Minister said that for two years he heard arguments for and against granting more autonomy to Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and then a big decision was taken.

“It is for the first time that the IIMs are out of government control and have been professionally opened up. This is a big opportunity for them and they would make the best use,” he said.

Modi said that Patna University was known to produce IAS and IPS officers and in the same manner IIMs are known to produce Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of global companies.

He also urged universities to move from conventional teaching to innovative learning and involve alumni associations more actively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 65 per cent of the population of the country was below 35 years in age and the dreams of development can be fulfilled.

“We need to understand the changing trends across the world and the increased spirit of competitiveness. In that context India has to make its place in the world,” Modi said.

He appreciated the efforts Nitish Kumar towards development of the state and said the progress of eastern India is the Centre’s topmost priority.

“The commitment of Nitish Kumar towards the progress of Bihar is commendable. The Centre attaches topmost importance to the development of eastern India,” Modi said.

He said when the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of Independence day in 2022, he wants to see Bihar standing among the list of prosperous states.

Modi also said that many top level officials of civil services are students of Patna University.

“In every state, the top levels of the civil services has people who have studied in Patna University. In Delhi, I interact with so many officials, many of whom belong to Bihar… I consider it my honor to visit Patna University and be among the students. I bow to this land of Bihar. This university has nurtured students who have contributed greatly to the nation.”

He said that Bihar is blessed with both ‘Gyaan’ and ‘Ganga.’ “This land has a legacy that is unique,” he said.(IANS)

One response to “Rs 10,000 cr will be given to top 10 Universities to make them World-Class, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi”

  1. Grant of money alone does not make great institutions of learning, just as making large grand buildings, and setting up large sophisticated laboratories. It is the high ideals, learning & character in honest pursuit of knowledge and service that facilitates to create an atmosphere of pursuing higher & higher knowledge for the sake of welfare of humanity. An the open atmosphere of freely sharing the expertise & experience of seniors with development of young brains is equally important . This aspect has been pointed out by our Prime minister by the involvement of Alumni for the development of great institutions of learning.
    Another aspect that has not received due attention in the field of education in India so far is that we have not addressed properly the question of training and developing teachers of right caliber & character right from nursery and primary school levels of education to postgraduate levels in university in all fields of education i.e. humanities, engineering and medical schools by taking in to consideration present needs of society.
    Another point to note is that the famous All India Institution of Medical Sciences in Delhi was not set up to provide super speciality hospital services to the country, but to develop excellent faculty of teachers in collaboration with Harvard. This objective got lost on the way.

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