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PMO changes Twitter handle, BJP terms it unethical

New Delhi, May 20

The Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday changed the Twitter handle of the PMO — two days before BJP leader Narendra Modi takes oath as the next prime minister, provoking the BJP to term it an “ungraceful and unethical” move by the outgoing establishment.

The Twitter handle, @PMOIndia, begun during the tenure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was changed to @PMOIndiaArchive on Tuesday.

Arvind Gupta, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party IT Cell, posted his indignation: "By renaming @PMOIndia, it showed the world for a while India didn’t have a PM's office, that there was lack in continuity.” “The process of transition of the PMO Twitter account has been ungraceful and unethical on part of the current establishment,” he wrote.









JK govt lifts ban over SMS on pre-paid mobiles 

Srinagar, May 20 (PTI)
Jammu and Kashmir government today lifted the four-year-old ban on Short Messaging Services (SMS) on all pre-paid cell phone subscribers in the state. "On the instructions of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the restriction on SMS to the pre-paid cell phones in the State has been revoked," an official spokesman said.

He said the subscribers of pre-paid cell phones had made requests to the Chief Minister in this regard and he issued instructions to the agencies concerned to lift the said restriction.

In June 2010, the State government had imposed a ban on the SMS in the State following a widespread unrest in the valley. However, six months later the government lifted the ban on all post-paid mobile phone subscribers but refrained from withdrawing it on pre-paid cell phones. PTI







Modi elected leader of BJP Parliamentary Party

NEW DELHI: Elected leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party, Narendra Modi today declared that the Lok Sabha election results represents a new hope for the common man and dedicated his government for the uplift of the poor, oppressed and deprived.

"I accept the responsibility you have reposed in me. You will never get an opportunity to look down on what my government will do," he said in a 30-minute speech after he was unanimously elected the leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party by the newly-elected Lok Sabha members and those of Rajya Sabha.

The election took place at the Central Hall of Parliament after his name was proposed by senior leader L K Advani and seconded among others by Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.

"A new hope has arisen in the common man. This is the biggest significance of this election results. At the end of the day for whom is the government? It is for the poor.

"The new government will dedicate itself for the poor, crores and crores of youth and for the safety and security of the mothers and sisters, those in the rural areas, oppressed and the deprived," he said.

Referring to the nature of the verdict, he said if it had been a hung or a fractured verdict then one can say that people had vented their anger against the government and that it was anti-establishment.

"But by giving BJP an absolute majority they have voted for hope and trust. People have voted for hope and faith. and I will do everything to fulfil their aspirations," he said, adding that he is a man full of optimism.

There should be no room for pessimism and because with pessimism nothing can be achieved.

Recollecting an earlier speech of his, he said his government's motto will be with everyone and for everyone's development. "This is the time for new hope and strength." Modi said in 2019 he will meet the MPs again with a report card. My government is not for myself but for the country. The government is for the poor and we want to do something for them, he said.

"I will strive my best to fulfil the responsibility you have reposed in me. You will never have to look down on the work it will do." The PM-to be also took the opportunity to praise the work of the past governments, saying every government and its leaders have contributed to the welfare of the country and we will carry forward whatever good they have done. 

Invoking former PM and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi said it would have been an icing on the cake had the ailing leader been present among them today.

As BJP leaders clapped and cheered, he said an era of responsibility has begun as people had high expectations from them.

During his acceptance speech, 63-year-old Modi broke down when he referred to L K Advani's mention that he had done favour to the party by taking up the responsibility.

"Can serving the mother be a favour? A son is only dedicated to serve the mother....The favour has been done by the party," he said addressing the newly-elected MPs of the party in the historic Central Hall of Parliament.

Referring to his humble background, Modi said it was an ode to Indian democracy and its founding fathers that he was standing there, all set to be the new PM.

He asked party MPs to work with all purity not for designations but for the people of the country. "We are here in the temple of democracy. We will work with all purity...

not for the designation but the people of the country. Work and responsibility are the biggest things." Recalling his hectic campaign, he said every speck of his body and every moment of his time was dedicated to fulfil the responsibility BJP had given by making him its prime ministerial candidate on September 13 last year.

Modi said he reported to party president Rajnath Singh after the campaigning for the elections was over on May 10 and will similarly report to MPs, party and the country about the work of his government in 2019.

"I want to assure people that there is no need for pessimism and they should not go by the past bad experience.

The country has huge potential. If all countrymen take one step, the nation can move forward by 125 crore steps," he said.

It was for the first time he entered the Central Hall of Parliament and he recalled that he had seen the CM's office and a state Assembly for the first time after he was made Gujarat CM in 2001.  - PTI












Relationship with India strong and enduring: US

WASHINGTON: The relationship with India is strong and enduring, the US said today and expressed hope that it would continue to grow in the future, downplaying the Twitter rank order of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi while responding to congratulatory messages from around the world.

"I think our relationship between the United States and India is so strong and enduring we won't worry about the Twitter rank order," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.

"Obviously, we have a long, enduring partnership with India. That will continue, and hopefully only grow in the future," Psaki said while responding to a question on whether the US is bothered that President Barack Obama was so far down on the list of Modi's priorities.

While responding to congratulatory messages from world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and others, Modi had mentioned the name of Obama very late in his tweets.

"In our conversation, @BarackObama & I talked about further strengthening India-USA strategic partnership that will help both nations," Modi wrote on Twitter.

Modi also responded to the congratulatory message he received from Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Thank you Mr Kerry. We will strengthen relations between our 2 (two) vibrant democracies in the years to come," Modi said in his first public comment on India-US relationship after the election results were declared.

Psaki said Modi, who has been invited to Washington by Obama, is welcome to travel to the US and in his capacity as the head of a State would receive A1 visa.

"Heads of government and heads of state are eligible for an A-1 visa and must travel to the United States on an A-1 visa regardless of the purpose of the trip. As Prime Minister of India, obviously Modi would be a head of state.

"And you saw the announcement from the White House this weekend after the president's call that they've invited him and would welcome him to the United States," Psaki said.

The US, she said, has a "very important strategic relationship" with India and a range of US officials in New Delhi interact with the Indian government depending on the issue.

"I expect there'll be a range of officials who will be in touch with the new government and be working with them," she said.

Modi has had an uneasy relationship with the US which denied him a visa in 2005 over 2002 Gujarat riots. He has, however, in his public utterances stressed that foreign relations cannot be "influenced" by incidents related to individuals. - PTI








Cong extends support to new JD(U) govt in Bihar

PATNA: Congress in Bihar today decided to continue with "unconditional" support to JD(U) government in Bihar and handed over its letter of support to Governor D Y Patil.

As directed by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), a Congress delegation led by state president Ashok Choudhary met the Governor and submitted the letter.

"We have handed over letter of support to the JD(U) government," Choudhary told PTI.

With the support of the four-member Congress, the numbers for the new JD(U) government has increased to 124 in the Assembly whose effective strength at present is 239.

Asked about the chances of Congress joining the new ministry to be led by Jitan Ram Manjhi, he said there was no instruction from the Congress leadership.

State Congress Vice President and media in-charge Prem Chand Mishra said Congress support to a secular government in Bihar was "unconditional." Congress Legislature party leader Sadanand Singh said, "We are continuing our support to JD(U) after it severed ties with BJP." Congress has four members in the Assembly at present and three members including PCC chief Ashok Choudhary in the Legislature Council.

With Nitish Kumar turning down the plea to withdraw his resignation as Chief Minister and choosing Manjhi as his successor yesterday, a JD(U) delegation had handed over a letter of support of 117 JD(U) MLAs, 2 Independents and 1 CPI to the Governor while staking claim to form the government.

Congress had bailed out JD(U) ministry in Bihar after Nitish Kumar had broken up with BJP in June last year. -  PTI 












17 killed as bus falls into gorge on JK Highway

BANIHAL (Ramban): Seventeen people were killed and 34 others injured when a passenger bus rolled down into a 400-feet deep gorge on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district in the wee hours today.

The bus, which was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu, skidded off the road and rolled down into the gorge in Digdol area around 0230 hours due to alleged negligence of the driver, police said.

17 people, including six women and a child were killed, and 34 others injured, 17 of them seriously in the mishap, they said.

Soon after the accident, army, police, quick response teams, CRPF led by Deputy Superintendent of Police S Bali launched rescue and search operation and recovered the bodies from the gorge, he said.

The injured are being shifted to District Hospital Ramban, they said.

Authorities pressed into service chopper and airlifted 17 critically injured passengers to GMC Hospital in Jammu for specialised treatment, he said.

The bus was carrying some tourists, a group of students from Poonch going to the Kashmir Valley for taking part in a recruitment drive and some labourers including those from Gujarat and Punjab.

Some of the injured passengers told police that the driver was asked to break the journey and rest for some time but be decided to go ahead.

The accident took place due to the "negligence of the driver", a police officer said.

Most of the bodies recovered were badly mutilated, he said.

Newly-elected BJP MP of Udhampur Constituency Jitendra Singh expressed grief over the accident and loss of lives.He expressed sympathies with the family members of deceased.

Singh, who is Delhi to attend the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting, urged authorities to provide medicare facilities to the injured and compensation to families of the deceased. - PTI




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