Kochi, August 12 : Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday made an aerial survey of two rain-ravaged districts of Kerala and said the situation in the state was "very serious". He assured the state government of all help from the Centre to meet the challenges posed by the unprecedented floods. The minister was speaking to reporters at the airport here after conducting the aerial survey of Idukki and Ernakulam districts.
New Delhi, August 12 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) plans to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in a focused manner, restricting itself to fielding candidates in around 100 seats, primarily in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi among the states in north India. This is in contrast with the 2014 general elections, where the party had fielded over 400 candidates across the country, but managed to win just four seats in Punjab. "The party feels that there is no point fighting in all seats.
New Delhi, Aug 12 : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today announced that passports damaged in floods in Kerala will be replaced free of cost by the government.
Bengaluru, Aug 12 : India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 will now be launched in the January-March window in 2019 instead of later this year as the design was changed to enable it land on the lunar surface, a top ISRO official said here today. "We have planned to launch Chandrayaan mission in January 3. We are fixing with that (date) and targeting that. But that is an open window. We can go up to March also. As we are coming closer (the date), we may miss the target," he said.
New Delhi, Aug 12 : Terming the opposition grand alliance as a "failed idea", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the the BJP-led NDA will definitely get more seats in the next Lok Sabha polls than it got in 2014 and break all records. In an interview with the Times of India published on Sunday, Modi said people wanted a strong and decisive government and his campaign will focus on "development, fast development and development for all". "We will definitely get more seats than we got the last time and I am confident we will break all records of the seats won by NDA in the past and achieve greater glory," he said.
New Delhi, Aug 12 : Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid today cautioned opposition parties such as the SP and BSP against excluding the Congress from the alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 polls or making the party look like a "dwarf" in the state, saying such a move will be "myopic" and benefit the BJP. He also said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has given the message that "lets not get caught up" with the issue of opposition's prime ministerial candidate for now, as "collectively" winning the general election was the main focus. In an interview to, Khurshid said that this was "strategically" the best thing the Congress could have done to ensure that the BJP is not successful in creating gaps between the opposition parties as they work towards an alliance. Khurshid, who has been Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief twice, asserted that parties should not write off the Congress in the state and it was important that it is part of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to take on the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 polls. Asked about talk of Congress being given very few seats in Uttar Pradesh or excluded from the grand alliance, Khurshid said, "I would think it will be very myopic.
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 12 : After being pounded by rains for the past few days, there was a brief let-up in the downpour today but the government remained on high alert with more rains forecast, even as the toll in the monsoon fury since August 8 climbed to 37. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who undertook an aerial survey of rain ravaged areas of Idukki and Wayanad, said Kerala was in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc and the calamity has caused "immeasurable misery and devastation." He said Rs 10 lakh compensation would be given to people who lost their homes and land and Rs four lakh to those who lost a member of their family. Though there was a respite from rains across the state today, especially in catchment areas of Idukki dam, the Indian Meteorological Department issued a 'Red alert',asking people to be cautious as there was a possibility of heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places in Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Malappuram. Two fishermen drowned today when their boat capsized off Thiruvananthapuram coast, while in an another incident,the bodies of a mother and daughter were found in a waterlogged area behind their house at Kuttanad in Alappuzha district. Four more bodies were recovered from other parts of the state, taking the toll to 37, official sources said. With the let up in the rains, life is limping back to normal in affected areas, including Palakkad and Waynad, where flood waters have started receding. A total of 35,874 people have been put up in 341 relief camps across Kerala, officials at the state Disaster Management control room said. A total of 580 houses were partially damaged and 44 fully, they said, adding crops in 1301 hectares have been destroyed. According to Indian National Centre for Ocean information services, there was a possibility of flooding in low-lying coastal areas in Kerala, especially during high tide timings due to 'Perigean spring tides' from August 11-15. The government machinery, as well as the Army, Navy and Coast Guard continued to remain alert to deal with the threats of flooding in parts of Ernakulam district and banks of the Periyar river following release of water from Idukki dam. KSEB sources said the water release from the dam was being closely monitored. At present 7.50 lakh litres of water was being released by the dam per second. This discharge would continue till the water level in the giant reservoir reaches the 2400 feet level, sources said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake an aerial survey of some flood-hit areas and hold discussions with the Chief Minister at Kochi tomorrow. Earlier, due to inclement weather, the chief minister's helicopter could not land at Kattapana in Idukki, where he had called a meeting to review the situation in the backdrop of the opening of five shutters of the Idukki Dam, government sources said. The helicopter later left for Wayanad. Announcing the compensation after chairing a review meeting at Wayanad, Vijayan said all families housed in relief camps would be provided Rs 3,800 each. Vijayan was acompanied by Opposition leader in the assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan and senior officials during the aerial survey. The Chief Minister also held review meetings and met people at some relief camps to hear their woes. Later in a Facebook post, Vijayan said agricultural loss was to the tune of crores of rupees and several houses were damaged. Many bridges and roads were also destroyed, he said. It would take months for life to come back to normal and help and assistance from all quarters was needed, he said. For the first time in the state's history, sluice gates of 27 dams were opened, he said, adding never before had the state witnessed a calamity on this scale. The entire state machinery is working in unison to provide drinking water, food and clothes to people living in relief camps, he added.
New Delhi, Aug 12 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) plans to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in a focused manner, restricting itself to fielding candidates in around 100 seats, primarily in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi among the states in north India. This is in contrast with the 2014 general elections, where the party had fielded over 400 candidates across the country, but managed to win just four seats in Punjab. "The party feels that there is no point fighting in all seats.
New Delhi, Aug 12 : Raising the heat on the Modi government over the Rafale jet deal, the Congress today accused it of promoting crony capitalism and its own "self interests" and ignoring national interests. Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government is not answering why Rs 41,205 crore more out of the public money was paid for the Rafale fighters and accused the prime minister of violating the 'defence procurement procedure'.
Mumbai, August 11 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that IITs had built brand India globally and their success had helped India become one of the world’s largest pools of technical manpower. Innovation and enterprise, the Prime Minister stressed, are the foundation of making India a developed nation. Addressing the 56th annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-Bombay), Modi said innovation was the buzzword of the 21st century.