Daily Bulletin: Rahul Gandhi's 'Masood Azhar ji' comment stirs fresh row; several parties to meet to decide poll plans; day's top stories
Today's top stories: Rahul Gandhi referred to the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief as 'Masood Azhar ji', setting off a fresh row between the BJP and Congress; several parties to meet to decide on their poll plans; and more.
The Supreme Court will be hearing Maharashtra's appeal against bail to civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case
Venezuela's opposition-dominated National Assembly declared a state of national alarm on Monday over the blackout
Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways has sought an urgent funding of Rs 750 crore from equity partner Etihad
Fresh row erupts over Rahul's 'Masood Azhar ji' comment
The BJP on Monday latched on to Rahul Gandhi's reference to terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad's head as "Masood Azhar ji" to throw a "Rahul loves terrorists" barb at the Congress chief. The Opposition party hit back, accusing its rival of deliberately twisting his comments made with sarcasm.
Addressing a meeting of Congress workers in New Delhi, Rahul attacked the BJP, saying, "These people with 56-inch chest, you would recall, in their previous government, the current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval went in an aircraft with Masood Azhar ji and handed over Masood Azhar there in Kandahar."
Targeting the Congress chief, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted, "Come on Rahul Gandhi ji! Earlier, it was the likes of Digvijay (Singh) ji who called Osama 'ji' and Hafiz Saeed 'sahab'. Now you are saying 'Masood Azhar ji'. What is happening to Congress?"
Parties enter election mode
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora will conduct a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the modalities for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party is set to meet the Election Commission to ask whether the polls in West Bengal can be held under the supervision of Central forces as they do not trust the police force of the state.
The Congress Working Committee will meet at Gandhinagar in Gujarat to finalise the party's strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. The meeting will be followed by a mega rally at Adalaj town in Gandhinagar, where Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is likely to address her first public rally since entering politics. The party has planned close to 180 rallies for Congress president Rahul Gandhi this election season.
Moreover, the Trinamool Congress leadership has convened a meeting of its election committee to decide on its list of candidates at party president and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's house in Kolkata.
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal is also expected to sound the poll bugle at a press conference on Tuesday.
Ayodhya mediators to begin meetings today
The three Supreme Court-appointed mediators in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case are set to hold their first meetings at Ayodhya on Tuesday, kicking off the mediation process.
In a verdict that aims to resolve the decades-old conflict, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had appointed former Supreme Court judge FM Khalifullah as the chairperson of the panel, which will also include spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and lawyer Sriram Panchu.
The timeline of the mediation process prescribed by the court directs that the panel begin mediation within a week from Friday — when it appointed the mediators — and complete the process within eight weeks.
NIA summons Hurriyat Conference chairman
Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the son of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani were both expected to appear on Tuesday for questioning at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in Delhi in a terror financing case.
However, Farooq has asked the NIA to question him in Srinagar instead of Delhi as he fears for his security in view of "conditions of hostility".
The NIA is investigating a case related to terror funding in Kashmir through hawala channels. The agency, in February, carried out a series of raids on separatists, including Mirwaiz, and summoned him for questioning in Delhi.
Supreme Court to hear Maharashtra's appeal in Bhima Koregaon case
The Supreme Court will be hearing Maharashtra's appeal against bail to civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Navlakaha had moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the case lodged against him by the Pune Police, claiming there was no evidence against him and that he was being falsely implicated.
The Pune Police had arrested Navlakha, prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao, activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves and trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj in August, 2018.
AgustaWestland case in Delhi court
Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar will hear Tihar Jail's response on a plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate to question AgustaWestland accused Christian Michel inside the jail.
Michel's counsel, meanwhile, moved a plea saying he had been jailed along with "27 Kashmiri terrorists". Tihar Jail authorities will file a reply on this.
On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate attached a property in Paris that belongs to Michel's former wife.
Venezuela Parliament declares state of 'alarm' over blackout
Venezuela's Opposition-dominated National Assembly declared a state of "national alarm" on Monday over the "general calamity" caused by a blackout that has now lasted four days.
Parliament approved a decree proposed by its leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido, who is seeking "international cooperation" to help resolve Venezuela's crisis.
Venezuela has also suspended school and business activities amid a continuing power blackout, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in a televised broadcast on Monday.
Champions League: Juventus aim to stage comeback win as City play host to Schalke
The Champions League returns on Tuesday and Wednesday for the final few round-of-16 fixtures. Italian giants Juventus enter their tie against Atletico Madrid with a two-goal deficit and could see their Champions League run prematurely cut short.
Manchester City find themselves in the pole position to qualify, having scored three away goals in Germany, but Schalke have been known to cause an upset or two.
Naresh Goyal seeks Rs 750-crore funding from Etihad
Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways, has sought an urgent funding of Rs 750 crore from equity partner Etihad, citing "the very precarious" position of the airline following the lingering cash flow issues that got amplified after it was forced to ground over 50 of its planes.
In a letter to the Gulf-based carrier's group chief executive Tony Douglas, Goyal also said Jet Airways has also secured the go-ahead from the aviation ministry to pledge its shares in JetPrivilege for securing the interim funding.
Realme 3 goes on sale for the first time
Oppo-spinoff Realme created quite a splash in the budget smartphone market in 2018, and its first smartphone of 2019, the Realme 3, goes on sale for the first time on Tuesday at 12 pm.
The phone will be available in two variants, a 3 GB RAM variant with 32 GB storage, priced at Rs 8,999, and a 4 GB RAM variant with 64 GB storage, priced at Rs 10,999.
Coldplay's Chris Martin tweets 'Shah Rukh Khan forever'
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin tweeted about Bollywood's baadshah Shah Rukh Khan, creating quite the buzz on social media.
"Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing ok. Better than ok actually. Here is some music I love at the moment," he started, and then went to share the songs on his mind — Tal uno by Barrie, Dwa Serduszka by Mazowsze, A new beginning by John Williams from the Minority Report and Batard by Stromae.
"Ok enough tweeting for one month. Shah Rukh Khan forever. Love," he added.
It's important to note that SRK was seen dancing to Coldplay's music at a recent high-profile celebrity wedding. In 2016, after Coldplay's performance at the Global Citizen Festival, Khan had hosted an after party at Mannat for the band.
Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final to complete the second leg of a potential quadruple.
Benzema's semi-final winning goal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium against Manchester City also moved him level with Robert Lewandowski's tally of 86 goals in the Champions League.
Semi-finalists Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain each got almost 110 million euros ($116 million), the only other clubs to earn a nine-figure sum from UEFA