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Cong hopes for turnaround in Gujarat, SC questions govt on Aadhaar, India bowlers help level series with NZ: Top stories

Here are the top stories to bring you up to date.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2017 08:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Gujarat,Gujarat Election 2017
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi being garlanded by the supporters at the party's "Navsarjan Janadesh Mahasammelan" in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Monday. (PTI)

Buoyant Congress counts on getting caste calculus right in Gujarat

For the first time since 1995, the Congress is energetic and fancying its poll chances in the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. The optimism stems from the crowd response to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s public meetings over the past two months in which he has taken on the prime minister over demonetisation and troubles with the Goods and Services Tax (GST), in a bid to woo traders and the middle class — two key support bases of the ruling BJP. The addition of Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor and possible support from Patidar quota protest leader Hardik Patel and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani have also raised the hopes of a turnaround for the opposition party after 22 years. Read the story here.

Linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, mobiles: SC asks govt whether it plans to take coercive action

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the government whether it would take coercive action against people who did not link their bank accounts and mobile numbers to the Aadhar unique-identity scheme before the government’s stipulated deadline. A bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra sought the clarification after attorney general KK Venugopal said the government was willing to extend the deadline for the mandatory linking from December 31, 2016 to March 31 next year, but only for those who had not registered under Aadhaar yet and “are willing to enroll”. The top court is hearing a raft of petitions challenging the government’s move, which has raised privacy concerns, especially after recent massive leak of citizens details – including mobile numbers and bank details. Read the story here.

Won’t link phone to Aadhaar, let them disconnect: Mamata Banerjee

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Centre on Wednesday, saying she will not link Aadhaar to her phone number and dared authorities to “disconnect it if they wanted to”. Banerjee, the chief of Trinamool Congress, also urged an audience of about 3,000 party workers and leaders not to link the two. The Aadhaar, a 12-digit identity number given to people who enrol with their biometric details, has been a matter of controversy for political parties and privacy advocates who believe the programme gives government indiscriminate power. Read the story here.

Tipu Sultan died historic death fighting British, says President Kovind; BJP says Congress scripted speech

President Ramnath Kovind on Wednesday praised Tipu Sultan for sacrificing his life in the fight against British invaders, placing himself at the centre of an ongoing controversy over the 18th century ruler’s legacy. Speaking at a joint session of the legislature during the Vidhana Soudha’s diamond jubilee celebrations in Bengaluru, Kovind said: “Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by Europeans.” BJP leader R Ashoka blamed the ruling Congress government for Kovind referencing Tipu Sultan in his address. “The state government gave the speech to the President,” he said. Read the story here.

Govt to observe November 8 as ‘anti-black money day’, says Arun Jaitley

The BJP announced on Wednesday it will mark the first anniversary of demonetisation on November 8 as ‘anti-blackmoney day’, setting up a political tug of war with opposition parties which have planned to observe it as a “black day”. Leading the charge, senior party leader and finance minister Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress over its stand against demonetisation, alleging it did not take a single significant step against black money when in power, and listed out a number of measures taken by the Modi government against the menace. Union ministers and BJP office bearers across the country will build public opinion in favour of the government’s decision till November 8 when the party would hold programmes across the country to observe it as anti-blackmoney day, he said in the capital. Read the story here.

Pak needs to act against terror groups for US’ new South Asia policy to succeed, says India

The new US policy for South Asia, with India being asked to play a larger role in Afghanistan, can succeed only if Pakistan acts decisively against terror groups operating from its soil, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said after meeting her American counterpart Rex Tillerson in New Delhi on Wednesday. As Tillerson’s six-nation tour, which also took him to Afghanistan and Pakistan, culminated with meetings with the Indian leadership, the two sides decided to expand cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region to counter an aggressive China as part of efforts to cement bilateral ties. Read the story here.

Hafiz Saeed’s name not on list of terrorists handed over by US: Pakistan

Mumbai attack mastermind and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s name was not on a list of 75 militants the US had handed over to Pakistan, foreign minister Khawaja Asif said Wednesday. Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty on his head for his role in terror activities, has been under house arrest in Pakistan since January this year. Foreign Minister Asif told senators during a session of the parliament’s upper house that the US has handed over a list of 75 militants to Pakistan. “The Haqqani network is on the top of the list but none of the militants are Pakistanis,” Asif was quoted as saying. Read the story here.

Trump administration toughens work visa renewal rules

The Trump administration has changed the rules for the renewal or extension of non-immigrant visa categories such as H-1B and L-1, which are popular with Indian companies based in the US. “The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination,” the US customs and immigration services said on Monday. “The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.” Under the new guidance, the burden of proving the eligibility of the request for extension will rest with the applicant, “regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition”. Read the story here.

Xi Jinping unveils new line-up of Communist Party leaders, delays indicating a successor

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday unveiled the new members of the Communist party’s highest decision-making body who for the next five years will rule the world’s second-largest economy. Just before noon on Wednesday, President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang – the only two remaining members of the Communist party’s 2012 politburo standing committee (SC) – led the new five members to meet journalists at the packed and ornate Eastern Hall in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. On Tuesday, Xi himself got a renewed mandate to continue as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the world’s largest political party, for another five years. Read the story here.

India vs New Zealand: India bowlers help level series

Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik struck half-centuries after an all-round bowling display to guide India to a six-wicket win over New Zealand levelled the three-match series 1-1 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday. Earlier New Zealand got off to a horrid start as they lost their top three batsmen in the first seven overs. After the initial blitz provided by Bhuvneshwar Kumar – he dismissed both openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro -- and Jasprit Bumrah, the spin trio of Kedar Jadhav, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal further tightened the screws, quashing any hopes of a run fest. Read the story here.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 08:13 IST