No plans to form govt. with PDP in J&K: Congress

first_imgThe Congress on Monday sought to scotch speculation that the party was exploring the possibilities of forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir with Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).Emerging from a meeting of key Congress leaders on the Kashmir situation here, former Union Minister Ambika Soni said the party wanted fresh polls in the State that has been placed under Governor’s rule after the BJP withdrew support to the PDP.Announcing that the meeting was held to “discuss the situation arising out of the imposition of Governor’s rule in the State,” Ms. Soni said there was no possibility of an alliance with the PDP, which had failed to fulfil its promises to the people of the State.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad,and Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee president Ghulam Ahmad Mir were present in the meeting.‘Not foolish’A Congress delegation will also be visiting Leh, Ladakh and Kargil soon to assess the situation. On Tuesday, about 100 party members will meet in Srinagar for the same purpose.Later, speaking to journalists, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in reply to a question whether the party was looking to form a government in the State: “We are not as foolish as you [the BJP] think. Our demand is that elections should happen there immediately. First, you destroyed the administration of that State, made an unethical alliance, and today you want to rule there through Governor’s rule. Three years are left there; why don’t you announce elections? Order polls if you have the courage.”“Look at their policies in such a sensitive State and they also thump their chests on nationalism,” he added.Asked about the implications of Ms. Mufti reportedly meeting former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Singhvi said: “Meeting with somebody has not to be read in terms of all other kinds of conclusions you are drawing. I have made it clear. I don’t think we should jump to conclusions.”However, the Congress media cell denied knowledge of any such meeting.Mr. Singhvi also said that terrorist incidents, army deaths, cross-border attacks and ceasefire violations had increased in the State.last_img read more

Delhi has failed to curb air pollution: Amarinder

first_imgDays after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed Punjab for the rise in air pollution in the national capital, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday dismissed his claim that stubble burning in the State was solely responsible for the high levels of pollution in Delhi.Capt. Amarinder said Mr. Kejriwal’s remarks were another attempt by him to divert public attention for his own government’s “abysmal failure” on all counts.“Having failed to deliver on governance to the people of Delhi, Mr. Kejriwal is, as usual, trying to take refuge in falsehoods and fabrications,” he said.Capt. Amarinder said the people of Punjab would not take politely to the AAP leader’s attempts to pin the blame for his own failures on their State. “Mr. Kejriwal will see in the Lok Sabha elections what Punjab thinks of him and his AAP,” said the Chief Minister.Local sources of pollutionPointing out that the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi remains over 300 during December and January every year, when there is no stubble burning in the neighbouring States, Capt. Amarinder said this clearly indicates that Delhi’s environment is impacted by its own sources, which are predominantly vehicular emissions, construction and industrial activities, power plants, burning of solid waste and sweeping.Capt. Amarinder asserted that had stubble burning been the reason for ambient air quality deterioration, then it should have impacted the AQI of the cities of Punjab first. “However, it had been observed that the average AQI of Punjab during October, 2018, was 117, while the average AQI of Delhi hovered around 270. Most of the cities in Punjab have witness clear climate with long distance visibility, in sharp contrast to Delhi,” he said.“The data clearly indicated that Kejriwal’s government in Delhi had failed completely in addressing the problem of pollution in the national capital,” said Capt. Amarinder, adding that Mr. Kejriwal was hunting for scapegoats to put the blame for his own failures.last_img read more

Congress team to assess Naga pact situation leaves Imphal

first_imgA six-member Congress team that arrived on Sunday afternoon left Imphal on Monday morning. The team is visiting a few northeastern States to study the situation arising out of the Naga agreement and other related issues. The members will visit Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh where the people have the same apprehension. The team was formed under the instruction of AICC president Sonia Gandhi.Jairam Ramesh, MP and former Minister, who led the team, said that while welcoming peace talks, the Congress would not remain silent if the agreements hurt the interests of the northeastern States. “The solution should not be at the cost of other sections of the people”, Mr. Ramesh said.Also read: Why have the Naga peace talks stumbled?Former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi said, “If the appeasement policy is for one particular community only, the Congress party shall not remain silent”.  Meanwhile, the 11 leaders of COCOMI, an apex body of five social organisations, had a protracted meeting with Chief Minister N. Biren on Sunday night. Taking to reporters, Sunil Karam, a leader of the COCOMI, said: “We had demanded a special Assembly session to discuss the agreement between the Centre and the NSCN(IM)”.The activists said that it was yet to be seen whether the Biren government translated the assurance into action.Meanwhile, huge numbers of people took out torchlight processions on Sunday night demanding that the Naga agreement should not affect the integrity and unity in Manipur. A large number of security personnel have been brought to Manipur from Tripura and other States to cope with possible mass protests in the State. A background to the Naga accordVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0002:1702:17  center_img A background to the Naga accordlast_img read more

Royal or not couples contend with family drama in wedding planning expert

first_imgA wedding is supposed to celebrate two people being bound together as partners for life, but a couples counsellor says family tensions can threaten to tear loved ones apart on the big day — even if you’re marrying a prince.The question of who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle before she exchanges vows with Prince Harry remains up in the air just days before the wedding amid a report suggesting the bride’s father is wavering about whether he plans to be in attendance.Thomas Markle had been expected to give away his daughter at a chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday, but celebrity news site TMZ cast doubt on the wedding plans Monday when it reported that the retired television cinematographer would be stepping down from his role in the ceremony after suffering a heart attack. He later hinted that he had changed his mind.The elder Markle reportedly wanted to spare his daughter embarrassment after undergoing intense media criticism over his participation in staged paparazzi photos, according to TMZ, prompting Meghan Markle’s estranged half-sibling to insert herself in the family drama as it played out in the headlines.Even without the intense public scrutiny surrounding a royal union, Melissa Johari, who owns the Couple Wellness Expert counselling business in Toronto, said the pressures of a wedding can surface tensions both within a family and between soon-to-be in-laws.“I always say that funerals bring people together, and weddings tear families apart,” she said.Johari, who specializes in premarital counselling and used to officiate weddings, said she has coached many couples through the thorny family politics of hosting a wedding.Every couple is going to experience differences in family backgrounds, she said, but the challenge is for both sides to embrace these distinctions for the sake of their loved ones’ union.“If you don’t have that support and celebration of each other’s differences, then you really have to create some boundaries,” said Johari.Many couples agonize over how to deal with estranged family members, weighing the risk of someone making a scene during the ceremony against the fallout of snubbing a relative, she said.In some instances, said Johari, a relative will boycott a wedding to express their disapproval of the union, leaving a “sour taste” for the couple on their big day.Other family members may not be able to make it to the wedding due to illness or financial constraints, said Johari. She said the milestone can also be particularly hard for a newlywed who has lost a close family member.“The reason why someone is not attending is a big factor in how it would affect the couple for that day,” she said. “You can’t help but feel hurt if someone makes that decision not to attend.”Distance between relatives can be a salve for many family feuds, she said, but weddings can force rivals to reunite in an emotionally charged setting, causing “bad blood” to burble up during what is supposed to be a joyous occasion.Emily Ormerod, a 28-year-old bride-to-be in Calgary, said her divorced parents have not been in the same room for 12 years. As she began to plan her September wedding, she initially worried that her father would rekindle conflicts with her mother and siblings, from whom he is estranged.After he declined her invitation over issues with the couple’s no-kids policy, Ormerod said she felt a pang of disappointment that her father wouldn’t be there to partake in the traditional paternal wedding duties. But ultimately, his expected absence turned out to be a “mixed blessing.”“I’m feeling a little sad that it had to be like that, but mainly relief,” she said. “It does take out a huge element of potential awkwardness from the day.”Between invitations, speeches and seating arrangements, Johari said weddings can be a familial minefield for couples who are eager to please everyone on their guest list.She said she tells couples not to get bogged down in family politics, but rather focus on starting their new family off on the right foot.“It’s easy to get caught up in these different dynamics,” she said. “Sometimes, couples lose sight of what the day is all about, which is a day to celebrate them.”last_img read more