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Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party Leader Jayawantiben Mehta Passes Away at 78

The last rites are scheduled on Monday evening at Shivaji Park crematorium

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November 7, 2016: Jayawantiben Mehta, senior most Bharatiya Janata Party leader in Maharashtra and a former Union Minister, passed away early on Monday at her residence following a brief illness. She was 78.

Considered a pillar of the party’s ‘old guard’, she had served as a minister in the first NDA government headed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

 A housewife-turned-politician who also served as BJP National Vice President, Mehta breathed her last around 1.30 a.m. on Monday. The last rites are scheduled on Monday evening at Shivaji Park crematorium, said a party official.

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Around six years ago, she had penned and released her multi-lingual autobiography, ‘Marching With Time’, detailing her life’s journey from a middle-class home-maker to a lawmaker – her career spanning as a municipal corporator to legislator to parliamentarian and then a union minister.

Top leaders from across the political spectrum on Monday expressed grief over the demise of Mehta, who was a prominent leader of the Gujarati community in Mumbai.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences: “Saddened by the passing away of Jayawantiben Mehta. We remember her rich contribution to the nation. Condolences to her family.”

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Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao, who was her former colleague in the union cabinet, described Mehta as “a good orator and a committed social worker gifted with boundless energy”.

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“She maintained her contact with the people, helped various social organizations, made immense contribution to the development of the state, especially her constituency of Mumbai South,” Rao said in a tribute.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he was saddened to learn of the passing of the party’s “maternal figure” who was always sensitive to public issues and contributed immensely in different fields, and inspired lakhs of party activists.

BJP Vice-President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe called her “a stormy petrel of Jan Sangh and later the BJP, and a rare leader with affectionate motherly approach”.

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Recalling her services, state BJP President Raosaheb Danve said she handled effectively any responsibility assigned to her both in the party and government as the occasion demanded.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said he felt sad by Mehta’s demise and remembered her as a crusader and a fiery orator.

Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and party state spokesperson Nawab Malik mourned Mehta’s death and condoled her family. (IANS)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393