A T E S T N E W S
Khattar to be first BJP CM in Haryana
CHANDIGARH: Manohar Lal Khattar, who is stated to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was today unanimously elected Leader of the BJP Legislature Party, paving the way for his becoming the first Chief Minister of the saffron party in Haryana.
60-year-old Khattar is also the first Punjabi to become the Chief Minister of the state.
He was elected Leader of BJP LP at a meeting of 47 newly elected MLAs at the Chandigarh UT Guest House, party Vice President Dinesh Sharma, who attended the meeting along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu as central observers, told reporters.
Khattar, a first-time MLA, has worked as a RSS Pracharak for 40 long years. Born in Rohtak district, he had contested the Assembly elections from Karnal. He won the Karnal seat with a margin of 63,736 votes. He is stated to be close to the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah
Sharma said that the date of swearing in ceremony of the party's first government will be announced soon.
Another aspirant for the post of Chief Minister Haryana BJP President Ram Bilas Sharma told reporters that he had proposed Khattar's name, which was seconded by several MLAs including another aspirant Abhimanyu and Prem Lata (wife of Birender Singh who joined the BJP from Congress recently).
Sharma said that they would meet Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki to stake claim for formation of the government.
BJP leader and Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher was also present at the meeting.
With Khattar's election, Haryana will get a non-Jat Chief Minister after 18 years.
Bhajan Lal was the last non-Jat Chief Minister who held office from 1991 to 1996. After his exit Bansi Lal, Om Parkash Chautala (twice) and Bhupinder Singh Hooda (twice) were the Chief Ministers.
The saffron party won 47 seats while the rest were shared by INLD 19, INC 15, HJC-BL two, one each of BSP and SAD and five Independents. -PTI
Manohar Lal Khattar - From RSS pracharak to Haryana CM
CHANDIGARH: Manohar Lal Khattar is a low profile RSS leader who is known for his quiet work on the field and in the BJP that has earned him the reputation of a tough task master with a no-nonsense approach.
60-year-old Khattar, who once wanted to become a doctor, is a man known for his organisational skills. He enjoys a clean image and is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he has worked in the past.
Khattar, who is a bachelor and a first-time MLA, has worked for almost 40 years as an Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
Known for his political acumen, he played the role of a master strategist and successfully led many electoral campaigns for his party, the latest being the 2014 Parliamentary elections in Haryana as Chairman of Election Campaign Committee.
It was in 1996, that Manohar Lal started working with Modi, who was then in charge of Haryana. In 2002, Manohar Lal was given the charge of Jammu and Kashmir as the State's Election in-charge.
Notably, Modi started his election campaign for the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls by addressing his first rally on October 4 at Karnal, the constituency from where Khattar recorded an emphatic win.
Coming from a humble agricultural background, his family arrived in Haryana from Pakistan post-partition.
They settled at Nindana, a village situated in Haryana's Rohtak district. To survive, his father and grandfather took up odd jobs as labourers, finally saving enough to start a small shop. It was in Nindana that Manohar Lal was born in 1954. - PTI
Organisers should choose Valley for events like Million March: Omar
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the organisers of "Million March" in London this weekend to highlight the Kashmir issue should have held the event in the Valley rather than the cozy capitals of the United States and United Kingdom.
"I have no problem in these people propounding an ideology, but it would be better doing it from here rather than cozy environs of London, Washington, Paris and places like that," Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Omar, however, maintained that the issue fell in the domain of Ministry of External Affairs while his government was focused on dealing with the aftermath of devastating floods in the state that took place last month.
"This is a matter for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). As far as we (state government) are concerned, we are focusing on the internal situation here. We are focused with relief and rehabilitation of the flood affected people," he said.
The chief minister said the organisers of such rallies should come to Kashmir, live here and then organise such rallies.
"It is a fact that the further away these people get from Kashmir, the more involved they get in Kashmir's politics.
(They should) come to Kashmir, live here and then do it," he said.
Omar said he had "far more respect" for the separatist leaders in the Valley who organise such rallies here and then face the consequences of the law.
"I have far more respect for those separatist leaders, who actually do it in Kashmir and then face the difficulties that are brought about on account of the law, than those people who sit in cozy capitals like London and Washington and then try and tell the people of Kashmir what they should be doing," he said.
On a question about the United States mobilising funds for the construction of a hydel power project in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Omar said the MEA needed to take a "long hard look" at it.
"I am not aware of this. But obviously this is something that the MEA needs to take a long hard look at it," he said.
The chief minister said it was strange that the agencies like the World Bank and the US refused to get engaged here and were looking to invest in
"I think it is extremely unfortunate if agencies like the World Bank refuse to get engaged in this part of Jammu and Kashmir because of the political sort of issue that has been made out of Jammu and Kashmir, it is strange that the US is looking to invest there. I haven't seen much investment on the part of the US on this side of the LoC," he said.
BJP's win in Har, Maha will affect J-K assembly polls: Omar
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said BJP's win in Haryana and Maharashtra would have some effect on the assembly elections in the state, but maintained that the influence would not be as much as previously expected.
"While obviously, the BJP will have some effect in Jammu and Kashmir, I don't think it will be as much as previously expected," Omar told reporters here.
The chief minister said though BJP did well in the elections in the two states, the results were not upto their expectations.
The Chief Minister said, "Yes, they (BJP) have done well, but not nearly as well as they had expected. If you compare BJP's Parliament results in Haryana and BJP-Shiv Sena results in Parliament (polls) till now, they haven't translated Parliament results into Assembly results in those states.
"In Haryana, they just about crossed the half-way mark. In Maharashtra, they need to go back and eat a bit of a humble -pie and look for an ally, where they were talking about making a government on their own," he said.
Omar, whose party the National Conference (NC) is in favour of delaying the elections in the state, said it was the decision for the Election Commission to take.
"I do not have to take a decision on the elections. It has to be decided by the EC. They came here, had discussions at official level and talked to various political parties and perhaps they will announce their decision in the coming few days.
"If they decide on conducting elections, then people have to be ready for that. I cannot say anything on it as the head of a government, but the party's stand on the issue has been made clear to the EC and to the people through the media," he said.
Earlier, the chief minister, in his address at the Police Commemoration Day Parade at Zevan here, said the police had to get ready for a new challenge as elections were approaching.
"Now, we have to get ready for a new challenge. There is a possibility that the elections would be announced in the coming days and if it is so, then you (Police) will have to do your work.
"You should give confidence to the people and provide a sense of security to them, so that they take their own decision. If they want to vote, they should do so in a polling booth. (You) should rise above political considerations and do your work only. The voter will himself decide on who wins and who losses," he said.
Omar said the people should not be forced to boycott the elections and stay away from their right to franchise.
"We cannot decide on who votes and who doesn't. We cannot pressurise the people to come out to vote and they should not even be forced to stay away from voting and you (Police) have an important role to play in that," the chief minister said.
Pistorius sentenced to five years jail for killing girlfriend
PRETORIA: South African Paralympian star sprinter Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison today for the killing of his girlfriend last year, as his sensational trial reached a climax.
Pistorius, who had vomited and wept at times during the trial, stood stock-still in the dock as he was sentenced, veins bulging in his forehead and his jaw muscles clenched.
"Count one, culpable homicide: the sentence imposed is five years," judge Thokozile Masipa said.
Pistorius, 27, was also given a three-year suspended sentence on a separate gun offence conviction.
Masipa said she wanted to find a balance between retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation, dismissing defence claims that the disabled athlete would face particular suffering in prison.
"It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged and another for the rich and famous," said Masipa. She also weighed his ability to cope with incarceration given his physical disability.
"Yes the accused is vulnerable, but he also has excellent coping skills," she said.
Discussing the gravity of Pistorius's crime, the judge said he had been responsible of "gross negligence".
"Using a lethal weapon, a loaded firearm, the accused fired not one, but four shots into the door," said Masipa.
"The toilet was a small cubicle and there was no room for escape for the person behind the door," she said.
The double amputee sprinter was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder over Reeva Steenkamp's death on Valentine's Day last year.
The prosecution has called for 10 years in jail. The defence pleaded for house arrest and community service.
Pistorius testified that he shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model, four times through a locked bathroom door at his upmarket Pretoria home after he mistakenly believed she was an intruder.
His lawyers, arguing that Pistorius would be more vulnerable than most in prison because of his disability, had argued against jail time, and called instead for the equivalent of house arrest and community service.
The trial has drawn international attention and media gathered outside the courthouse shortly after dawn to get into position for the star runner's entrance and the arrival of friends and families on both sides of the case who have attended the long trial.
The athlete made history by becoming the first Paralympian to compete against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics, inspiring millions with his story.
With the conviction and sentence, Pistorius has lost his glittering sports career, lucrative contracts and -- above all -- his hero status, tarnished forever. –Agencies
NCP's support offer to BJP is to shield corrupt leaders: Sena
MUMBAI: Hitting out at NCP's decision to extend outside support to the BJP in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday charged that the offer made by the Sharad Pawar-led outfit is to ensure that its "scam-tainted" leaders enjoy full protection.
"Until yesterday, BJP was a communal force and was mocked to be a party full of half pant wearing individuals by the NCP. They insulted Hindutva by mocking the Sangh's diktat of wearing half pants. Are they now really concerned about providing stability to Maharashtra? They only want to ensure that their corruption is not brought out in front of people," the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece
Terming NCP leader Praful Patel as an opportunist, Sena said his party doesn't even qualify to have an opposition leader.
"PM (Narendra) Modi had campaigned extensively against the NCP and called it a 'naturally corrupt' party that has looted Maharashtra. Vinod Tawde (BJP leader) had even threatened to unearth the scams of the Congress-NCP and send corrupt leaders to jail. And so, a party which does not even qualify to have an Opposition leader is resorting to such opportunism," the mouthpiece said.
Reminding the BJP of Sena's firm commitment towards a unified Maharashtra, it said that a massive mandate for the BJP in Vidarbha does not mean that people in that region have voted for a separate statehood.
"BJP has got a huge mandate in the Vidarbha region which has increased their tally substantially. But we cannot believe that this mandate is for a separate statehood for Vidarbha.
BJP may have MLAs there but the Sena has MPs from the region who are committed to having a unified Maharashtra. Their stand remains firm and will never change," the Sena said. -PTI
Maharashtra’s govt formation decision after Diwali
NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Mumbai after Diwali to meet the newly elected BJP MLAs and decide on the leadership issue and government formation in
"I am not going today. I think I will visit Mumbai after Deepawali," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Singh will visit Mumbai as BJP observer along with senior leader JP Nadda to help the MLAs chose the leader of the BJP legislature party.
Singh and Nadda were supposed to visit Mumbai yesterday as part of the decision of the BJP Parliamentary Party but they decided to defer the tour.
Asked whether there was any hurdle in the process of electing the BJP legislature party leader, Singh said, "There is no hurdle".
So far, BJP has not taken any decision on the chief minister of Maharashtra.
The name of BJP's Maharashtra chief Devendra Fadnavis has emerged as the possible choice for the Chief Minister's post overcoming challenge from other veterans, including Eknath Khadse and Vinod
Singh, who is said to be close to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, is expected to meet the erstwhile ally.
BJP, which got 123 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections, needs at least 22 MLAs to reach the halfway mark in the 288-member state Assembly.
Shiv Sena won 63 seats. The BJP and Shiv Sena alliance broke down on the eve of the polls on the issue of seat sharing. -PTI
India suspend future tours with West Indies after pullout
NEW DELHI: The Indian cricket board suspended all future tours with West Indies on Tuesday, and said it will take legal action against the Caribbean board for their team's abrupt pullout from their India tour last week.
"BCCI will initiate legal proceedings against West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) due to the abrupt cancellation of this tour," Indian cricket board secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.
"All bilateral tours between BCCI and WICB stand suspended," he added after the board's working committee meeting in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
The tourists abandoned the series after Friday's fourth one-dayer, with another one-dayer, a Twenty20 international and three test matches left to play, over a protracted payment dispute between the players and their board.
To fill the void, the BCCI swiftly arranged a five-match One Day International series with Sri Lanka next month.
"The members appreciated the gesture of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board for having accepted our request to play 5 ODIs starting from 2nd of November 2014, at such a short notice," Patel said. –Agencies