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Time has come to liberate Gujarat from divisive politics: PM 

VANSADA: Targeting the Narendra Modi government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said time has come to “liberate” Gujarat from divisive politics and regretted that minorities were feeling “insecure” in the BJP-ruled State. 

“Unlike the Opposition we do not play politics of dividing the people. Such type of politics is bad in itself and for a longer period of time cannot be beneficial for a political party,” Dr Singh said addressing his first poll rally in this tribal town of Navsari district in south Gujarat. 

“The time has come to liberate Gujarat from this type of politics and to not let those people come back to power, who have been trying to get votes by dividing our society and country,” Dr Singh said. 

“The Congress Party has always acted to unite the people of country. We know that if there are fissures in our people on the lines of religion, caste, creed and clan...then we cannot surge ahead as a nation,” he said. 

“We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and few other segments of society are feeling insecure in the state. Even a few state government officers have filed such complaints, which is very unfortunate for our country,” Dr Singh said. 

“It is a matter of great regret that such type of environment has been created in the land of Mahatma Gandhi.” 

The Prime Minister also sought to pick holes in the development claims of the Modi government, saying it has failed to take growth to the needy sections of society. 

“Development in Gujarat is only for a few people. A big portion of the population here has remained untouched by this economic development. Because of the policies of the State government, there is an imbalance in the society,” he said. 

"The foundation of Gujarat’s development was laid by the Congress governments in 70s. It is due to the hardworking people of this state that it is considered to be developing,” Dr Singh said. 

“When we talk about progress then the question also arises who is benefiting from it. Are the benefits of development reaching the villages and people who have been left behind in the race for progress? 

"Are the benefits reaching minorities, scheduled tribes, scheduled caste....brothers and sisters...women and children?” he asked. 

“These are some very important questions which I want to raise with regards to Gujarat...I have to say it with great sorrow that the State BJP government in this connection has been a total failure,” he said. 

“It is very unfortunate that in a developed State like Gujarat, 41 per cent of women are victims of malnourishment....if you look at women between 15—50 years age group then you will find that 55 per cent women are anaemic,” Dr Singh said.

“I want to draw your attention towards the fact that if we take a look at top 20 states in terms of human development, Gujarat ranks 18. You will have to think what is the reason behind this,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the public health sector was not in a good State in Gujarat and new employment opportunities for the youth were also not being generated. 

“Gujarat has not been able to spend a large amount of Centre’s fund sent for employment generation in rural areas of the state. No new employment opportunities are being generated here for unemployed youths,” he said 

Comparing the performance of the BJP government with the one led by the Congress, he said, the Congress is trying to work in those directions which great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi have set. 

“We have in our efforts always taken care of the need of every segment of the society,” Dr Singh said. 

Listing various schemes introduced by his government for welfare of marginalised sections of the society like tribal, poor, farmers and minority community, the Prime Minister said, “If you elect the Congress government in the state then the state government and Central government can jointly implement these schemes effectively in Gujarat.” 

He also raised the issue of incomplete work of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam canal and water problems being faced by people in the State. 

“I have been told that there is a shortage of drinking water in your area. I regret that the State government is not properly utilising the fund being made available by the Central government for drinking water,” he said. 

“In past more then 10 years, only 26 per cent of work of Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam project has been completed. If the Congress Party forms government in the state, then we will speed up the work and try our best to bring happiness in each and every village and provide all the benefits to the farmers which they are truly entitled for,” Dr Singh said. — PTI





Yeddyurappa formally launches KJP

HAVERI: Opening a new chapter in Karnataka politics, former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Sunday formally launched the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and took over as its president at a massive rally here in North Karnataka.

In a potential sign of trouble for the BJP government in the state, at least 10 ruling party MLAs attended the rally ignoring the party warnings to legislators and other leaders to keep away from it.

Prior to the launch, Yeddyurappa also hosted a breakfast meeting which was attended by at least 21 BJP MLAs, seven MLCs and four Lok Sabha MPs.

Ahead of the launch of KJP, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had on Saturday cracked the whip sacking Cooperative Minister B.J. Puttaswamy, a loyalist of Yeddyurappa, from the Cabinet with the BJP also suspending another staunch supporter and Tumkur MP G.S. Basavaraj from the party. Both were issued show cause notices.

Talking to reporters before the rally, Yeddyurappa dared the BJP leadership to dissolve the Assembly and go before the people.

Yeddyurappa said the BJP should understand that the Shettar government survived on the support of his loyalists.

“If they (BJP) want the continuance of this government, which is nothing but a KJP-BJP coalition, they should desist from taking any disciplinary action against my supporters,” he said.

The action against Yeddyurappa’s supporters came a day after 23 legislators and seven ministers attended the breakfast meet hosted by him in Belgaum, in an expression of solidarity with the Lingayat strongman who quit the BJP on November 30, snapping his 40-year association with the party. — PTI





Yuvraj, Zaheer, Harbhajan axed after Eden debacle 

KOLKATA: Stung by two successive defeats on home soil, the national selectors on Sunday cracked the whip by axing veteran pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and batsman Yuvraj Singh from the squad for the fourth and final Test against England starting on Thursday. 

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who did not play the last match, also found himself in casualty list as the selectors opted for a leg-spinner in Piyush Chawla and infused young blood by picking Delhi paceman Parvinder Awana and Saurashtra all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. 

Barring Yuvraj and Zaheer’s omissions, there were no major changes to the squad announced by BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale after a meeting of the Sandeep Patil—led selection panel. 

The selectors also announced the team for the two Twenty20 matches to be held in Pune (December 20) and Mumbai (December 22) in which Uttar Pradesh all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Awana were the two new faces. Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan were left out and the Board explained that they were unavailable for the series. 

“I don’t want to comment on selection issues. No one is happy when the team loses. We are looking into it, we are working on it,” said Jagdale. 

Jadeja, a hot property in the IPL, and Awana were rewarded with a berth in the team for their consistent performance in the domestic circuit. 

Under pressure to make changes after the debacles in Mumbai and Kolkata, the national selectors, however, refrained from making wholesale changes to the squad. 

As a result some of the other non—performing stars retained their places while the two spinners — R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha — despite being below-par have hung on to their places. 

Off-spinner Ashwin has flopped as a bowler in the series so far but his unbeaten knock of 91 may have just saved him from the axe. 

Jadeja’s inclusion provides the all-rounder’s option to the team, particularly after the middle-order batsmen failed to make much of an impression. Virat Kohli has had a dismal series, while Sachin Tendulkar has also been struggling for runs though he scored 76 in the first innings. 

Zaheer’s axing was on the cards as he took only one wicket in 31 overs that he bowled in the third Test and has a tally only four wickets in three Tests. 

While Steven Finn and James Anderson swung the ball in Kolkata, Zaheer failed to do so for India and was shoddy on the field. 

Zaheer’s absence will mean that either Ashok Dinda or Awana would play in the Nagpur Test. Ishant Sharma, who also did not make much of an impact, has been retained though his place in the playing XI remains uncertain. 

Jadeja hit two triple centuries against Gujarat and Railways in the Ranji Trophy and was recently in the news for being the first Indian to hit three triple centuries. 

Awana was among the top three wicket-takers last season and has already got two five-wicket in the two Ranji Trophy matches this season. 

Squad for Nagpur Test: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, M Vijay, Parvinder Awana. 

Squad for Twenty20 series: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Laxmipathy Balaji, Parvinder Awana. — PTI





Pakistan claim bronze at Champions Trophy

MELBOURNE: Pakistan claimed the bronze medal in the Champions Trophy field hockey tournament on Sunday, as Muhammad Ateeq’s drag flick with five minutes left sealed a 3-2 comeback win over India. 

India, which scored first, missed a chance to claim only its second Champions Trophy medal and the first since 1982. 

In the final later Sunday, host Australia, which has won the last four Champions Trophy tournaments, will play the Netherlands. 

In the playoff for fifth place, Belgium won a thrilling game against Olympic champion Germany, going from 3-0 up to 4-3 down before winning 5-4. 

New Zealand took seventh place in the eight-team tournament with a 3-2 extra-time win over England. — AP




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