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BJP open to support from all parties: Amit Shah 

VARANASI: With the Lok Sabha poll results just a week away, the BJP on Friday said it does not believe in “political untouchability” and is open to support from any party.

While exuding confidence that the BJP and its existing NDA partners would win more than 300 seats to form a government, Narendra Modi’s close aide and BJP’s UP in-charge Amit Shah said the party is still open to support from any party, “if they want to ally for the country’s development“.

Reacting to BSP leader Mayawati’s comments that there was no possibility of her party supporting the BJP, Shah told reporters in Varanasi that the “BJP does not believe in political untouchability“.

Mayawati’s comments came a day after BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi indicated in an interview that he expected more parties to join the NDA after the elections.

“All parties are welcome to join the NDA if they want to give their support for the development of this country,” Shah said.

He also reiterated the BJP’s demand for transfer of Varanasi District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav and asked the Election Commission to deploy Central paramilitary forces in all 18 constituencies in UP that would go to the polls on Monday along with Varanasi as all of them were “sensitive.“

“While we welcome dployment of forces for elections here, why Azamgarh is being left out from where Mulayam Singh Yadav is fighting and his son Akhilesh Yadav is the Chief Minister of this State,” Shah said.

There appeared to be some differences within the Election Commission on this matter. “I agree that the Election Commission should not fear anyone, but they must ensure free and fair polls,” he added.

“Chief Election Commission V.S. Sampath should not be afraid of us as all we want is free and fair polls,” Shah said when asked about Sampath’s remarks to this effect. He also said that there were no more election programmes of Modi planned for Varanasi now. — PTIBack



















Sensex crosses 23,000 level for the first time

MUMBAI: The benchmark Sensex today crossed record 23,000 level for the first time but closed a tad lower at 22,994.23, posting its biggest single-day gain of 650.19 points since September 2013, on strong FII buying in banking, auto and power stocks ahead of election results next week.

In the day trade, the 30-share BSE barometer scaled its all-time high of 23,048.49 points as ICICI Bank, Tata Motors and Reliance Industries spurted.

The broad-based Nifty of the National Stock Exchange too spurted by 198.95 points, or 2.99 per cent to settle at record closing of 6,858.80. It touched an all-time intra-day high of 6,871.35 points, breaching previous record of 6,869.85 reached on April 25.

Both the indices posted their biggest single-session gains since September 19, 2013.

Buying activity gathered momentum as funds and investors were seen creating positions before the outcome of ongoing general elections next week.

"As the election D-day is approaching closer, the markets are rallying on anticipation of a favorable outcome," Dinesh Thakkar, Chairman & Managing Director, Angel Broking, said.

ICICI Bank rose the most by 6.63 per cent among Sensex scrips, while Tata Motors spurted by 5.57 per cent.

Hindalco (5.35 per cent), HDFC Bank (5.31 per cent) and BHEL (5.21 per cent) were among top five gainers among index stocks. Besides, ONGC (4.13 per cent), HDFC (4.07 per cent), RIL (3.93 per cent), SBI (3.88 per cent) and L&T (3.29 per cent) supported the rally.

A firming trend at other Asian bourses were other factors behind today's rally, brokers said.

In Sensex components, 27 stocks gained, while 3 declined. The banking sector index gained the most by surging 5.34 per cent to 15,721.36 followed by realty index by 4.38 per cent to 1,420.52.

The power index rose by 4.12 per cent to 1,743.52 and PSUs index by 3.57 per cent to 6,767.66. — PTIBack













SC orders CBI probe into Saradha chit fund scam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed a CBI probe in multi-crore chit fund scams in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam in which various companies, including Saradha, are allegedly involved.

A Bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur said the scams have inter-state ramification and directed the investigation be handed over to the Central agency from the state authorities.

It also asked the Enforcement Directorate to conduct the probe expeditiously against the accused companies. It however, refused to constitute a committee for the time being to monitor the CBI probe in the scams.

The Bench directed the state authorities to cooperate with the CBI in the probe and provide all details to the agency.

The court passed the order on PILs seeking a stop to the entire chit funds business in the country and also a restraint on further collection of funds from investors as an immediate remedial step.

The petitioners had said they have no faith in the police authorities. They had alleged that the proceedings initiated by state governments appeared to be "biased and prejudiced" and sought a CBI probe into the multi-crore scams. 

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government today welcomed the Supreme Court verdict asking the CBI to probe the Saradha chit fund scam.

State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said, "We welcome the order, although it has come just two days before the last phase of the Lok Sabha poll." 

Initially reluctant to involve the CBI in the investigation on the ground that the Central agency had not been able to make any headway into the Nandigram and Netai killings, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee later changed her stance, saying that the government was not averse to it.

Mitra also demanded that the CBI probe all the chit fund companies which were operating in the country besides those in the state.

He said that although the CBI had not been able to make any breakthrough into the Netai and Nandigram cases, the government was hopeful that the central Cgency would be able to come out with results this time, and the cheated depositors would repaid their hard-earned money.

"It is heartening to note that the SC has praised the work so far by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government in connection with the Saradha scam, although the judgement is yet to be seen".

"The apex court also said SIT would continue with its investigation on all the chargesheets filed by it. This shows that the SC has reposed its faith on the state-formed body," he told reporters here.— PTIBack













'Honeymoon' remarks: SC stays proceedings against Ramdev

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today stayed all proceedings against yoga guru Ramdev in different parts of the country for his controversial "honeymoon" remarks targeting Rahul Gandhi over visiting homes of Dalits.

A Bench of Chief Justice R. M. Lodha also issued notice to the police in all states which have registered cases against Ramdev.

"It is clarified that we are not making any opinion on the merits of the case," the Bench said.

The court's order came on a petition filed by Ramdev seeking directions restraining any coercive action him and for clubbing all FIRs lodged in different parts of the country for his controversial "honeymoon" remark.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Keshav Mohan had earlier submitted that complaints and FIRs arising out of comments made on April 25 at Ramdev's press conference be clubbed and be dealt in Lucknow or any place of the choice of the apex court.

Ramdev has also sought that the courts and police should be restrained from taking any coercive action against him in pursuance of the FIRs lodged against him.

The first FIR was lodged against Ramdev at Mahanagar police station in Lucknow under section of 171(g) (false statement in connection with an election) of the IPC for his remarks against the Congress Vice President, which had sparked outrage with several parties and organisations terming them as "anti-Dalit".

The FIR was lodged by police after analysing the video footage of Ramdev's statement and later FIRs were lodged in some other states. PTIBack














Not initiating any inquiry into 'snoopgate': Centre to SC

NEW DELHI: The Central government today told the Supreme Court that there was no move to set up a commission to probe the alleged snooping of a woman by the Gujarat Police, which triggered a political storm.

Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told the apex court Bench of Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice N.V. Ramana that "Union Law Minister (Kapil Sibal) has already made a statement that there no proposal to appoint a commission to inquire into the snoopgate".

Solicitor General Parasaran made the statement after the court issued notice on the plea of the woman and her father that the central and Gujarat governments be restrained from setting up a commission to inquire into the alleged snooping incident. — IANSBack














Kejriwal takes dig at Modi's 'helicopter' visit

VARANASI: A day after Narendra Modi drove through this temple town, his opponent AAP's Arvind Kejriwal on Friday began his roadshow from rural parts of the constituency and took a jibe at the BJP's prime ministerial candidate's "helicopter" visit.

Kejriwal also said he was confident of his victory with a "huge majority" and accused BJP of trying every tactic, including communal and caste politics, as well as "violence and bribing media".

The Aam Aadmi Party leader, who is pitted against Modi from Varanasi parliamentary constituency, said, "People in Varanasi say how will a person who comes in a helicopter for only two hours to campaign, serve us".

"AAP is winning with a huge majority in Varanasi... Narendra Modi will suffer defeat as people of Varanasi know about the reality," said Kejriwal, whose city roadshow would begin later today from Banaras Hindu University gate — the same place from where Modi last evening began his drive-through.

The campaigning has suddenly heated up here despite scorching heat with temperatures soaring past 45 degrees. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will also hold a roadshow on Saturday to seek vote for the party candidate Ajay Rai.

Kejriwal, who was also expected to address a public meeting on Friday, has been campaigning extensively here for about one month, especially in rural and minority-dominated areas.

All the top leaders of AAP are also here, while Friday's roadshow was being attended among others by Bhagvant Mann, Vishal Dadlani and Gul Panag, who led a bike rally also on Thursday.

Kejriwal also performed a Ganga Aarti on Thursday evening, even as Modi's plans to perform the same could not fructify amid a major showdown between BJP and the election authorities. — PTIBack




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