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Nitish refuses to withdraw resignation, to choose next CM

PATNA: Bihar will have a new Chief Minister chosen by Nitish Kumar who today refused to take back his resignation despite repeated pleas by JD(U) legislators to continue in office.

Bihar JD(U) president Basistha Narayan Singh told newsmen after a crucial meeting of the JD(U) Legislature Party here that it was decided that Kumar would continue to lead the party and coordinate between the party and the state government.

Time has been sought from Governor D.Y. Patil this evening and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, Kumar and he would go to the Raj Bhavan, Singh said.

On the JD(U)LP meeting, the second on the issue since yesterday, he said the legislators accepted Kumar's decision to stick to his decision to resign with a heavy heart and authorised him to choose a new leader to head the JD(U) government.

He refused to provide any name as the next Chief Minister and said Kumar had been authorised to decide it.

"He (Kumar) will take a decision to select a new leader to become CM soon," Singh, who was flanked by state minister Shyam Rajak and two MLCs and state party spokespersons Sanjay Singh and Neeraj Kumar, said.

Singh said Sharad Yadav and JD(U) National general secretary K.C. Tyagi were present at the meeting today, where he proposed the resolution accepting Kumar's resignation and authorising him to choose a new leader.

Senior minister Narendra Singh, whose name was initially doing the rounds as a replacement, seconded the resolution which was passed unanimously by the JD(U) legislators.

The resolution, he said, welcomed Kumar's decision to resign taking moral responsibility for the party's rout in the just-concluded parliamentary polls in which it won only 2 of the 40 LS seats in the state.

It expressed full confidence in Kumar and authorised him to choose a new leader to head the government in Bihar.

Emerging from the meeting, Kumar told reporters that he has taken moral responsibility for the defeat. Kumar said this a matter of principle for him and the right thing to do.

The resolution said that JD(U) would go to the 2015 Assembly poll under Kumar's leadership and he would continue to guide the party by acting as a link between the party and the government.

The JD(U)LP meeting yesterday failed to choose a new leader after Kumar refused to relent on his decision to quit.

In view of the legislators' vociferous demands for his continuation as Chief Minister he had sought time till today to convey his decision.

Today's JD(U)LP meeting like yesterday was held at Kumar's official residence at One Anne Marg. — PTIBack













CWC members likely to resign en masse

NEW DELHI: Congress Working Committee members could offer their resignation at its meeting on Monday in the wake of the party's worst-ever performance in the Lok Sabha poll, amid indications that it could witness an attack on advisers of Rahul Gandhi while insulating him from criticism.

While there has been no official word about such a move, the talk about the CWC members offering to resign in the first meeting of the party's highest decision making body since the poll debacle began following remarks of Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, that "all, including myself, are responsible for the party's loss."

"How can you blame any individual for this result? It is the collective responsibility of both the party and the government. All, including myself, are responsible for the party's loss," Patel has said in the wake of resentment in the party at the way Rahul ran the election campaign.

While party sources have ruled out reports of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi offering to resign in the wake of debacle, the meeting could see some leaders raising uncomfortable questions about the party's campaign and alliance strategy.

The meeting is taking place amid a clamour within for a surgical action to revamp the party.

There are questions being raised about Rahul's style of working but doubts are being expressed whether anyone would be bold enough to raise them in the meeting, which will be presided by Sonia.

An exercise has already begun in the party to insulate him from any blame game. Sonia and Rahul appeared before the media on Friday and took personal responsibility for the drubbing that left the party with just 44 seats in a House of 543, a huge climbdown from 206 seats it had in the outgoing 15th Lok Sabha.

Meanwhile, party leader Manish Tewari said the resignation of the party leadership in the wake of the poll debacle is not the way forward. — PTIBack














Ahead of Cabinet formation, Modi meets Shah, Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Ahead of Cabinet formation, Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi today held discussions with his close aide and BJP general secretary Amit Shah and senior party leader Arun Jaitley even as newly-elected BJP MPs met senior RSS functionaries at the Sangh office here.

Modi held the meeting at the Gujarat Bhawan here in Chanakyapuri with Shah and Jaitley, who is likely to be inducted in the Cabinet despite losing in the Lok Sabha election.

Former UP Chief Minister and senior party leader Kalyan Singh also held discussions with Modi, who is likely to soon meet NDA allies' leaders, including Uddhav Thackeray and TDP representatives, BJP sources said.

A flurry of meetings took place at Rajnath Singh's Ashok Road residence with former Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, Gopinath Munde, Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi and several newly-elected MPs calling on the BJP president.

Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal, which is an alliance partner of BJP in Uttar Pradesh, also met Singh. NDA has won 73 out of the 80 seats in UP.

"Our alliance has swept Uttar Pradesh and nobody can ignore the importance of the state. The BJP chief has already said interests of the alliance partners would be safeguarded. So, there is no need for us to say anything else," she said.

Newly-elected BJP MPs, including former Home Secretary R.K. Singh, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Delhi MPs Udit Raj, Manoj Tiwari and senior UP leader Vinay Katiyar had meetings with RSS senior functionaries at Sangh's Delhi headquarters in Keshavpuram. — PTIBack













Army jawan killed, 2 injured in LoC ambush in Jammu

JAMMU: An Army jawan was killed and two of his colleagues were injured in an attack by suspected Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT) which set off a mine blast and open fired on a patrol party along LoC here.

"In an incident near Akhnoor, a patrol of the Army was targeted by mines and small arms fire by a group of unidentified armed personnel (possibly a BAT team of Pak) yesterday", Public Relation officer (PRO), Defence, Jammu said here today.

BAT, which is a mix of Pakistani special forces personnel and terrorists, carried out the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers in January last year, one of whom was beheaded, and killed five personnel along Line of Control in Poonch sector seven months later.

After yesterday's attack, own alert troops returned effective fire and the group fled back across the LoC towards Pakistan Army post, PRO said.

In the ensuing fire fight, two soldiers suffered splinter injuries (due to mine blast) and gun shot wound, while Sepoy Bhikale Uttam Balu was martyred, PRO said, adding the injured jawans are under treatment and out of danger.

The injured jawans were airlifted for treatment to Military Hospital at Udhampur Northern Command.

"Injury to this effect on the fleeing personnel was not immediately known", PRO said, adding "search of the area yielded Pakistan made mines, and other equipment which clearly suggests involvement of Pakistan and terrorists from across the Line of Control".

Soon after the attack, there was also firing from Pakistan side on forward belt in area triggering panic among villagers and it concluded late in the evening yesterday, police officials said.

General Officer Commanding, White Knight Corps expressed his deepest condolences to the family of Sepoy Bhikale who is survived by wife and a daughter.

Search operations are in progress till the last report came in.

"It was possibly an attack by a BAT of Pak. We are investigating into it," a senior Army officer said. — PTIBack

















UP minister dies in accident at unmanned railway crossing

Jaunpur: A state minister and two of his staff were killed on Monday after the car they were travelling in was hit by a train at an unmanned crossing in Linebazar area, police sources said.

SP leader Satai Ram Yadav (61), a Minister of State in the UP government, was in his car when it was hit by the Jaunpur-Aurihar passenger train at Khalsaha crossing this morning.

Yadav’s gunner Bhikhram Verma (27) and driver Rohit Dixit (35) were the other two victims. All three died on the spot, they said.

As soon as the news of minister’s death spread, his supporters from nearby villages gathered on the spot and started pelting stones on the train, which had stopped after the accident.

Government Railway Police (GRP) and local police somehow controlled the situation after which the train could move ahead.

The dead bodies of victims have reached district hospital, from where it would be handed over to their family members after postmortem.

Senior officers, political leaders have reached the hospital, where a large number of people have gathered. — PTI











SC grants interim bail to Tarun Tejpal

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today granted interim bail for three weeks to senior journalist Tarun Tejpal, who is in jail for over five months for allegedly raping his colleague, to enable him to attend the cremation of his mother and subsequent rituals.

A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and A.K. Sikri, granted relief to Tejpal after his advocate Sandeep Kapur informed the court that his mother died yesterday and his cremation is scheduled for this evening.

The matter was mentioned in the morning but the Bench said that it will pass the order only after going through the case file and said it will consider in chamber after finishing all cases listed for hearing.

The Bench then took up the case in chamber at 1.50 pm and passed the order.

Briefing about the order Kapur told reporters that Tejpal has been granted interim bail for three weeks.

Fifty-year-old Tejpal has been chargesheeted for allegedly raping, sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of a junior colleague during an event held at a hotel in Goa in November last year. Tejpal was arrested on November 30, 2013.

He has been accused of sexually assaulting the victim on November 7 and repeating the offence the next day.

He is currently in judicial custody and lodged at Sada sub-jail in Goa's Vasco town. — PTIBack




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