Archive | February, 2015

NABARD assistance for drug rehab centres in Punjab

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NABARD assistance for drug rehab centres in Punjab

Posted on 28 February 2015 by GGS News

Chandigarh, 28 Feb : (PTI) National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) today sanctioned Rs 93.20 crore, the part of which will be used for setting up 18 drug rehabilitation centres in the state.

The funds will be released under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)XX.

“Rs 73.20 crore is for construction of 18 number of 50 bedded primary rural rehabilitation centres for rehabilitating drug detoxified persons in 17 districts of Punjab,” said Naresh Gupta, CGM Punjab in a release here.

He said these centres will cater to all the rural areas in the districts.

These centres will have residential facilities and will be functionally integrated with district hospital/ de-addiction centres for seamless share of facilities of district hospital/ de-addiction centres. It would benefit a large population in 17 districts of the state, he said.

Further, RIDF loan of Rs 20 crore has been sanctioned for construction of 459 Anganwadi Centres in 22 districts,he said.

Under it, 16-22 centres per district would be constructed thereby benefiting 459 villages in 123 blocks of 22 districts across Punjab.

It will benefit 6776 number of pregnant/lactating women and 26,057 children in the rural areas of Punjab.

With the present sanction of Rs 93.20 crore, the total sanctions to Punjab by NABARD during the current financial year stands at Rs 681 crore.

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Cricket World Cup: AB de Villiers blasts 162 as South Africa demolish West Indies in Sydney

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Cricket World Cup: AB de Villiers blasts 162 as South Africa demolish West Indies in Sydney

Posted on 27 February 2015 by GGS News

Sydney, 27 Feb : South Africa captain AB de Villiers hammered the second-fastest century in World Cup history as he led his side to a crushing 257-run victory over the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

De Villiers finished on an unbeaten 162 off just 66 balls as South Africa raced to the second-highest World Cup total of 408 for five, behind only the 413 for for five made by India against Bermuda, a non-Test nation, in Trinidad in 2007.

The Proteas’ skipper’s innings was also the fastest 150 in ODIs and de Villiers now has the fastest fifty, hundred and 150 in ODI cricket — all coming against the West Indies.South Africa’s second win of the tournament put them firmly back on track for the quarter-finals after their abject 130-run loss to India and revived their bid for a maiden World Cup title.

On a night for the statisticians, this result also equalled the biggest winning margin, in terms of runs, at a World Cup match set when India beat Bermuda by 257 runs in 2007.

De Villiers demolished the West Indians with eight sixes and 17 fours and was particularly savage on West Indies captain Jason Holder, clouting four sixes off the pace bowler’s final over.

The fastest-ever World Cup century was made by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien, off 50 balls, against England in Bangalore during the 2011 tournament.

– Gayle blown away –

It was a miserable effort in reply by the West Indies as they tumbled to 151 all out off 33.1 overs, with their big guns Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels succumbing early on to Kyle Abbott.

Gayle, who blasted a World Cup record 215 with 16 sixes in his last innings against Zimbabwe, exposed his stumps, swung his bat and was bowled middle stump by Abbott for three in the second over.

Samuels, who made an unbeaten 133 in the same match, got an outside edge and was caught behind for a duck.

The West Indies lost any remote chance they had with the pair’s exit.

Jonathan Carter (10), Dwayne Smith (31) and Lendl Simmons (nought) all fell in the space of seven balls to leave their side at 53 for five.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir triggered the collapse and finished with five for 45 from 10 overs.

De Villiers, who made his century off 52 balls, teed off late on, plundering 34 off Holder’s penultimate over — two sixes, three fours and a two– and then 30 off his last over. Holder finished with one for 104 off 10 overs.

Apart from the spectacular de Villiers show, there was a solid supporting cast from the South African top order with Hashim Amla contributing 65 off 88 balls, Faf du Plessis 62 off 70 and Rilee Rossouw slamming 61 off 39 balls.

Off-spinner Gayle struck in the 30th over with two wickets in three balls, removing du Plessis caught behind for 62 attempting a shot through extra cover and then trapping Amla leg before for 65.

But de Villiers and Rossouw began to dramatically up the tempo, raising their hundred stand off 60 balls.

The skipper brought up his 50 off 30 balls and Rossouw’s half-century came off 31 balls.

De Villiers unfurled some remarkable shots in the closing overs, easily clearing the ropes. In the last 10 overs the Proteas piled on 150 runs.

Rossouw was caught behind off Andre Russell, having struck six fours and a six.

Jerome Taylor claimed the catch of the day to dismiss David Miller for 20 with a splendid one-handed effort on the boundary that prevented what seemed a certain six.

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Suicide attack on Turkish embassy vehicle kills two in Kabul

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Suicide attack on Turkish embassy vehicle kills two in Kabul

Posted on 26 February 2015 by GGS News

Suicide attack on Turkish embassy vehicle kills two in Kabul.

Kabul, 26 Feb : (AFP) – A Taliban suicide attack targeting a Turkish diplomatic vehicle belonging to the NATO mission killed two people in Kabul Thursday, highlighting the fragile security situation as the Afghan government presses for talks with the militants.

The blast came shortly after 8:00 am (0330 GMT), not far from the Iranian embassy. Police said the dead included a Turkish national and an Afghan passer-by.

Police initially said the vehicle was from the Turkish embassy, but a spokesman for the NATO mission in Afghanistan later confirmed it was part of a coalition convoy.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai gave details of the attack and death toll, saying the bomber was driving a Toyota Corolla.

Abdul Rahman Rahimi, Kabul police chief, confirmed the death toll in the blast, which the Taliban claimed responsibility for.

“A suicide bomber blew himself up targeting a foreign convoy in central Kabul, a number of foreigners were killed in the attack,” the militants said in an SMS message.

The area was cordoned off after the blast, which left debris strewn in the road and nearby blast walls spattered with blood.

Eyewitness Mohammad Yousuf, 17, described the moment the blast happened.

“The suicide bomber was in a Toyota sedan, he detonated himself causing a big bang, soon after the explosion there was black smoke everywhere,” he told AFP.

– Reconciliation hopes –

It is the first major attack in Kabul’s heavily secured centre since early January, when a suicide bomber hit a European Union police vehicle, killing a passer-by.

More than 13 years after the Taliban were ousted from power after a US-led invasion, their insurgency remains resilient.

NATO ended its combat mission in late December, leaving a residual force to carry on a training and support mission to Afghanistan’s 350,000 security forces, who now lead the fight against the Taliban.

There have been growing hopes in recent weeks of talks between Kabul and the Taliban aimed at moving towards reconciliation after more than a decade of war.

Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah said on Monday that dialogue with the Taliban could begin soon and last week several militant commanders said preliminary meetings in Qatar were on the cards.

But the Taliban’s central leadership has denied such moves, indicating the fragile and embryonic state of the process.

There have been several attempts at starting dialogue in recent years between the Taliban, Kabul and the United States — the Afghan government’s chief supporter — but with little success.

The Taliban opened an office in Qatar in June 2013 as the first move towards a possible peace deal, but it shut a month later after enraging the then-Afghan president Hamid Karzai by styling it as the unofficial embassy for a government-in-exile.

The election last year of President Ashraf Ghani, who pledged to make peace talks a priority, as well as supportive signals from Pakistan which has long held significant influence with the Taliban, has boosted hopes for possible dialogue.

But the Taliban insist talks are impossible while foreign troops remain in the country and Thursday’s attack served as a stark reminder that the war is far from over.

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Women and children’s health pressing agenda for Govt: Nadda

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Women and children’s health pressing agenda for Govt: Nadda

Posted on 26 February 2015 by GGS News

New Delhi, 26 Feb : (PTI) Health concerns, especially those related to women, children and adolescents, are “prominent and pressing” agenda for the Narendra Modi-led government, Union Minister J P Nadda today said.

Noting that under-five and maternal mortality rates in the country have registered a decline over the years, the Health Minister said he was “hopeful” that the country will achieve UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 which aims at reducing child and maternal mortality rates.

MDGs 4 and 5 call for a two-third reduction of under five child deaths and a three-quarter reduction of maternal deaths respectively by the end of 2015.

“The health of women, children and adolescents is one of the most prominent and pressing agenda for the global community. … Health and public health concerns, especially those related to women and mothers, children and adolescents, are central to the governance agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and our country,” he said.

Nadda was speaking at the Global Stakeholders Consultation event here on the topic of updated global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health – “Every Woman, Every Child”.

Noting that global progress has been uneven and it differed across and within countries, Nadda said that there is a need to reach the poorest and the most vulnerable.

“We need to pay special attention to low-income countries, and fragile states and vulnerable groups such as adolescents and youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples,” he said.

Nadda said that the under-five mortality rate has come down by over 61 per cent between 1990 and 2013 while the neonatal mortality rate has registered a 47 per cent decline between 1990 and 2013.

“The maternal mortality indicators have come down substantially, making for a reduction of nearly 70 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

“At this point in time I am very hopeful that India may achieve its targets for both MDG 4 and 5,” he said.

Global Stakeholders Consultation seeks to draft a blueprint that will feed into UN efforts to chalk out key targets to improve health of women, child and adolescents in the years beyond 2015.

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US woman arrested at Amritsar airport with 25 live bullets

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US woman arrested at Amritsar airport with 25 live bullets

Posted on 26 February 2015 by GGS News

Amritsar, 26 Feb : (PTI)  Manjita Kaur Dhillon, an American woman, was allegedly carrying 25 live cartridges in her baggage when arrested at the airport here on Wednesday.

She was arrested at Guru Ram Das International Airport when she was preparing to board a Jet Airways Flight to Delhi, said police.

According to reports, the NRI woman had plans to go to Pune from Delhi.

The cartridges were discovered during frisking by the Immigration Authority at the Airport.

The accused woman has reportedly expressed ignorance about the presence of live cartridges in her luggage.

She has been handed over to Central Industrial Security Force looking after the airport security. The CISF later handed her over to Punjab police.

“Such cartridges were rarely available in India,” said Airport police station in charge Mohan Singh.

Singh also said that the woman passenger was repeatedly asked to produce any legal documents or weapon license but she insisted that the bullets did not belong to her and she had no knowledge as to how the bullets made way into her luggage.

The American Embassy has been informed about the developments.

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Polling to 122 Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats begins in Punjab

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Polling to 122 Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats begins in Punjab

Posted on 26 February 2015 by GGS News

Chandigarh, 26 FEB : In the ongoing Punjab civic polls, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) workers led by Samana MLA and Punjab water supply and sanitation minister Surjit Singh Rakhra tried to capture polling booth in ward number 7 here on Wednesday, which lead to protest by Congress workers who blocked the state highway till last report came in.

Booth capturing reported in Samana

43.41% voting recorded till 12

District                            Percentage
Amritsar                              46.2%
Bathinda                                64%
Barnala                                  46%
Ferozepur                            44.6%
Faridkot                             43.34%
Fazilka                                    46%
Fatehgarh Sahib                      41%
Gurdaspur                               38%
Hoshiarpur                            42.78%
Jalandhar                               42.67%
Kapurthala                                 44%
Ludhiana                                36.55%
Moga                                      62.64%
Mansa                                          51%
Patiala                                       34.5%
Pathankot                                     35%
Roopnagar                                   36%
Mukatsar                                   33.91%
SAS Nagar                                36.71%
Sangrur                                           41%
Nawashahr                                   46.3%
Tarn Taran                                       43%
Total                                            43.41%
36% polling in SAS Nagar till 12

Lalru (NP): 48%
Nayagaon (NP): 39.5%
Zirakpur (MC): 34%
Dera Bassi (MC): 39%

9% polling in SAS Nagar till 10 am

With 28.5 lakh voters all set to cast their vote to elect members of the 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats on Wednesday, it seems yet another SAD versus BJP show despite their “undying partnership” in Punjab.

The Congress, though virtually relegated to the margins — thanks to infighting and a divided leadership — is looking for its revival in the state through these elections.

The three parties, in direct clash with each other in several wards, also face stiff competition from independents, many of whom are party rebels and have strong influence on voters at the local level.

The People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) has fielded a limited number of candidates on some wards, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), despite its historic win in the Delhi elections, has decided not to participate in state municipal council elections. The two parties are keeping a close watch on the performance of independents in as a possible pointer towards rejection of the three major political parties in the state.

Campaigning for the civic body polls  remained high-pitched marked with violent clashes at several places. Akali leaders allegedly beat up BJP minister Anil Joshi’s brother in Tarn Taran while there was a clash between the Akalis and Congress workers in Ferozepur.

Fearing violence, the state election commission has appointed two senior police officers — DIG (crime) Nilabh Kishore and DIG (administration) as police observer for Tarn Taran and Ferozepur, respectively.

Bathinda has 226 wards, highest in the state, in 18 municipal councils and nagar panchayats.

Other than the 122 municipal councils, bypolls of one ward of the Bariwala nagar panchayat will also take place on Wednesday. The counting of votes will immediately begin after the polling ends. The authorities have made elaborate arrangement for free and fair elections.

State election commissioner Shivinder Singh Brar said district administrations had completed all arrangements for the smooth conduct of the elections. He said 16,715 employees (apart from the reserved force) had been deployed on election duty. The election staff has already reached their respective booths with the election material, he said.

“For security purposes, 15,689 police personnel have been deployed on election duty,” he said. A total of 163 polling booths have been declared hypersensitive and 940 sensitive.

District-wise candidates

District                              MCs/NPs*               In the fray**

Amritsar                                 5                                208
Barnala                                  4                                254
Bathinda                               18                               479
Faridkot                                 3                               260
Ferozepur                              6                                276
Fazilka                                   4                                340
Fatehgarh Sahib                     4                                289
Gurdaspur                             8                                 543
Hoshiarpur                            7                                 289
Jalandhar                               8                                323
Kapurthala                            4                                 139
Ludhiana                               6                                 431
Moga                                    3                                 130
Mansa                                   6                                 395
Muktsar                                3                                  291
Patiala                                   5                                  385
Pathankot                              1                                    53
Rupnagar                               6                                  328
SAS Nagar                            7                                  536
Sangrur                                  9                                  742
Nawanshahr                           3                                  154
Tarn Taran                             3                                  158
Total                                  122                                7,006

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ICC Cricket World Cup: Afghanistan defeat Scotland by 1 wicket in nail-biting finish

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ICC Cricket World Cup: Afghanistan defeat Scotland by 1 wicket in nail-biting finish

Posted on 26 February 2015 by GGS News

Afghanistan beat Scotland by one wicket with three balls to spare to claim their first World Cup win.
Chasing 211 in Dunedin, Afghanistan were reduced to 97-7 but Samiullah Shenwari’s 96 gave them hope.

New Delhi, 26 FEB : (Reuters)He was caught on the boundary with 19 still required, but last man Shapoor Zadran hit the third ball of the final over for four to seal victory.Scotland had earlier rallied from 144-8 to make 210, but their search for a first World Cup win goes on.
They have now lost all 11 matches they have played in three World Cups, surpassing the Netherlands’ previous record of 10 successive defeats from debut.It was the second thrilling match between two non-Test playing sides in as many days following Ireland’s two-wicket win over the UAE on Wednesday.
Scotland will reflect on a missed opportunity to record their first World Cup win but, in a match of regularly fluctuating fortunes, both teams surrendered positions of strength.
Ultimately, it was the efforts of Shenwari and the nerve of last-wicket pair Shapoor and Hamid Hassan that earned a historic win for Afghanistan, a nation that was still competing in the bottom tier of the International Cricket Council’s world league in 2008.
After the Afghans suffered a middle-order collapse of five wickets for 12 runs, Shenwari painstakingly rebuilt, before opening his shoulders to make an unlikely run-chase seem possible.How’s stat?!
No team winning a World Cup match batting second has had a collapse where they lost five wickets for 12 or fewer runs before Afghanistan here (85-2 to 97-7).
The worst previous five-wicket collapse by a team batting second and going on to win a World Cup game was 14 by Bangladesh v England at Chittagong in 2011. They lost 5-14 (155-3 to 169-8) before reaching 227 to win.
With 38 required from the final four overs, Shenwari three times heaved Majid Haq for six over the leg side, only to be caught on the boundary looking for the fourth that would have taken him to a century.
That left Afghanistan still 19 short, but Shapoor and Hassan inched nearer and, when Richie Berrington’s final ball of the 49th over was clipped for four, only five were needed from Iain Wardlaw’s six deliveries.
Shapoor could have been run out had Matt Machan’s throw hit the stumps but, from the next delivery, the left-hander clipped to the square-leg boundary to seal victory.
It was a cruel defeat for Scotland, who will rue missed chances, not least Haq’s drop of Shenwari at slip when the right-hander was on 20.
Haq, though, had already played his part in ensuring that Scotland were not on the end of a heavy defeat, sharing a Scottish record ninth-wicket stand of 62 with Alasdair Evans.
The Scotland top order had earlier been run through by the impressive Afghan pace trio of Shapoor, Hassan and Dawlat Zadran, who showed consistency of length to exploit the assistance offered in the pitch.
Scotland played a part in their own downfall, Machan’s horrible swipe at Mohammad Nabi beginning a regular fall of wickets that left them in a seemingly hopeless position.
However, that was to discount Haq and Evans, who rebuilt first through patient accumulation, then accelerated to take Scotland to their highest World Cup total.
It looked like being enough when Evans and Berrington got to work on the Afgan middle-order, but there was to be another bout of late resistance.
Shenwari found batting support from all three of Afghanistan’s pacers and, ultimately, it was Shapoor who had the final say.
The victory for Afghanistan, England’s final group opponents, keeps their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive, while Scotland, who next play Bangladesh on 4 March, are on the brink of elimination.

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UNSC members must shun veto power in situations of genocide: Amnesty

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UNSC members must shun veto power in situations of genocide: Amnesty

Posted on 25 February 2015 by GGS News

London, 25 Feb : (BBC) Amnesty International has urged the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to give up their power of veto in cases where atrocities are being committed.

In its annual report, the rights group said the global response to an array of catastrophes in 2014 had been shameful.

Richer countries were guilty of taking an “abhorrent” stance by not sheltering more refugees, Amnesty said.

The outlook for 2015 was bleak, the group added.

Saying that 2014 had been a catastrophic year for victims of conflict and violence, Amnesty said world leaders needed to act immediately to confront the changing nature of armed conflict.

‘Miserable failure’
Salil Shetty, the organisation’s secretary general, said in a statement that the United Nations Security Council had “miserably failed” to protect civilians.

Instead, the council’s five permanent members – the UK, China, France, Russia and the US – had used their veto to “promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians,” Mr Shetty said.

Part of the solution would be those countries surrendering their Security Council veto on issues related to mass killing and genocide, Amnesty added.

Last year, the veto was only used twice in the UN Security Council.

In March, Russia vetoed a resolution condemning as illegal a referendum on the status of Crimea and in May Russia and China blocked a resolution condemning Syria.

But many draft resolutions proposing tough action to deal with crises never reach the voting stage because they would almost certainly be vetoed, says the BBC World Affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge.

The Amnesty report argues that if the use of the veto in the Security Council had already been restrained in the way the report suggests, that could have made it impossible to block UN action over the violence in Syria.

This might have resulted in President Bashar al-Assad being referred to the International Criminal Court, greater access for badly needed humanitarian aid would have been possible and civilians helped more, writes Mike Wooldridge.

The initiative to suspend the veto right in particular circumstances was first raised 15 years ago and may be gathering momentum, but it is still unclear when it might have enough backing to be enforced, our correspondent adds.

Suspension mechanism
One key question is who would decide when a crisis situation warrants a suspension of the veto right.

Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research Anna Neistat told the BBC inquiries by the UN Commission for Human Right or the International Criminal Court could determine what constitutes a crime against humanity for example.

When asked if these mechanisms would be fast enough for action to be taken in time, she cited the international intervention in Libya in 2011 and the green light for cross-border humanitarian assistance to Syria in 2014 as examples where they did work.

The UK government has not yet made a specific commitment in favour of the voluntary renunciation of the veto.

But the Foreign Office said in response to the Amnesty report: “The United Kingdom wholeheartedly supports the principle that the Security Council must act to stop mass atrocities and crimes against humanity.

“We cannot envisage circumstances where we would use our veto to block such action.”Amnesty’s report said that 2014 had led to one of the worst refugee crises in history, with four million Syrians displaced by war and thousands of migrants dying in the Mediterranean.

The group criticised the response of European leaders to the crisis.

It said the efforts of wealthy countries to keep refugees out took “precedence over their efforts to keep people alive”.

Amnesty also used its report to urge governments to adhere to a worldwide agreement on arms.

A global treaty came into force last year and aims to regulate the arms industry by controlling the supply of weapons to criminal groups.

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HC notice to Health Minister over demand for CBI inquiry into alleged corruption at AIIMS

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HC notice to Health Minister over demand for CBI inquiry into alleged corruption at AIIMS

Posted on 25 February 2015 by GGS News

New Delhi, 25 FEB : (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Union Health Minister J P Nadda on a PIL seeking CBI inquiry into various cases of alleged irregularities and corruption in AIIMS raised by then Chief Vigilance Officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw also issued notice to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) and Chaturvedi, seeking their response within four weeks.

The court has fixed April 22 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The court notices were issued on a petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking a revival of all cases in which action were initiated by Chaturvedi before he was sacked by then Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in August last year from his post as Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS.

The plea contended that Chaturvedi started initiating action in corruption cases related to various malpractices including “supply of dubious medicines by a private chemist shop, having influential political nexus, role of middlemen in making fake out-patient department (OPD) cards”.

The PIL filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan, also a member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), asked Nadda to recuse himself from all cases and from acting as a disciplinary authority, alleging that he had “unfettered powers to influence the course of proceedings in all the corruption cases”.

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Congress leader says Rahul Gandhi holidaying in Uttarakhand; his office denies

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Congress leader says Rahul Gandhi holidaying in Uttarakhand; his office denies

Posted on 25 February 2015 by GGS News

New Delhi, 25 Feb : Like every other trip he’s undertaken, so far there’s absolutely no clarity or information from the Congress on where the party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi has gone while on his leave of absence. But one Uttarakhand party leader has tweeted that the Congress leader may just be camping in the hills of Uttarakhand, where he has holidayed in the past.
Here are the tweets that claim Gandhi has been holidaying in the hills:
The Congress expectedly has nothing to say on record.
“Visuals pe hum react nahin karne wale hain (we won’t react to visuals). If we say some one has gone for introspection then let him do it na,” Congress MP Rajiv Shukla told reporters.
Unnamed sources from his office were quoted as saying in reports that the Congress Vice President wasn’t in the country at all and the photos were from a trip he had made to Uttarakhand as far back as 2008.
The Congress Vice President’s absence during the Budget Session where the Land Acquisition Bill will be debated is being seen by some as Gandhi putting his foot down against the party’s old guard. Gandhi had only said he wanted leave to reflect on recent events and the Congress party’s future and as we’ve pointed out earlier, the manner in which he departed hints at something deeper than an objection to the party’s old guard.

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