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President Kovind unveils Vajpayee’s portrait in Parliament’s Central Hall

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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday unveiled a life-size portrait of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Central Hall of Parliament House, noting the former prime minister led the nation under trying times.

The President also said that the BJP veteran displayed exemplary patience and grit under the most difficult circumstances. Describing Vajpayee as a “school of public life”, he said the former PM worked hard to speed up connectivity by pushing for highways, reforms in the IT and telecom sectors. The President also felicitated Krishna Kanhai, the artist who made the portrait of Vajpayee.

The portrait shows a smiling Vajpayee in his trademark ‘dhoti-kurta’ and sleeveless black jacket. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while people recall the oratory skills of Vajpayee, his silence had more power than his words. He recalled the famous pauses Vajpayee used to take in his speeches.

 

“His silence had a message,” Modi said in his address.

He said despite the ups and downs in his political life, the BJP veteran never compromised on his principles. The PM said for Vajpayee, there were no enemies in politics.

“There is opposition. There are no enemies in democracy. The new generation and we all have to learn,” he said.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Vajpayee had “virtually no enemies”.

He said Vajpayee’s principle that there could be rivalry but no enmity in politics needs to be followed today when the “political discourse is going down”.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad recalled Vajpayee’s words that if India is not secular, it is not India.

He said Vajpayee was unrelenting in his attack on the government but never downplayed its achievements too. Vajpayee, Azad said, never had bitter words for political rivals. National icons such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, BR Ambedkar, Dadabhai Naoroji, Indira Gandhi, and Shyama Prasad Mookerjee have been immortalised by their portraits in the central hall.

Besides holding a joint sitting of two Houses, the central hall is generally used for many prestigious events. Top world leaders including then US President Barack Obama have delivered speeches here.

On a daily basis, MPs gather here during breaks in sessions. The last addition to the galaxy of portraits at the central hall was in 2003, when Vinayak Damodar Savarkars portrait was added. Eminent painters such as S Roerich, NS Subhakrishna, Bikash Bhattacharjee and Chintamani Kar have made some of the portraits.

Vajpayee, who passed away in August 2018 after a prolonged illness, was thrice prime minister and the first to lead a coalition government for a full term.Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi are other former prime ministers whose portraits adorn the walls of the Central Hall.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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National

Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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National

Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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