Narendra Modi to lead mega roadshow through Varanasi
All eyes will be on Varanasi on Thursday, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a mega roadshow, culminating in a puja.
Modi is first expected to address public meetings at Darbhanga in Bihar (10.15 am) and at Banda in Uttar Pradesh (1.35 pm). He will then travel to Varanasi, where he will file his nomination papers on Friday.
The show is scheduled to begin at 3 pm at the statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya at Benaras Hindu University. It will chart a route spanning Lanka, Assi, Sonarpura, Madanpura, Godauliya and ultimately end at Dashashwamedh Ghat, where the prime minister will perform a Ganga aarti around 7 pm. Modi is scheduled to interact with intellectuals at Varanasi Hotel after the roadshow.
The campaign is set to be a definite show of strength for the National Democratic Alliance, with leaders from across India converging for it. Expected in the list are Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Shiromani Akali Dal head Parkash Singh Badal and many more leaders.
Opposition parties amp up campaign pitch
Congress' star siblings Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will campaign across Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. Party president Rahul is scheduled to address rallies at Jalore, Ajmer and Kota in Rajasthan, while Congress general secretary Priyanka will hold a roadshow in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi, before addressing meetings at Ghursarai and Jalaun.
Congress has decided to fix responsibility for its performance in the polls on its incumbent ministers in Punjab. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said that if they do not succeed in ensuring victory for the party, specially from the constituencies they represent, they will be dropped from the cabinet.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party is scheduled to release its election manifesto on Thursday. The manifesto was prepared by a seven-member team headed by Manish Sisodia. Reports say it is likely to focus on full statehood for Delhi and the achievements of the AAP government, among other issues.
Moreover, the Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance will hold a joint rally at Kannauj.
Two militants killed in early morning encounter at Anantnag
An exchange of fire between militants and security forces in Bagender Mohalla of Bijbehara in South Kashmir's Anantnag district led to two militants being killed by a joint team of the Indian Army's 3 Rashtriya Rifles unit and a Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The gunfight began while security forces had been carrying out cordon and search operations after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area. An official said that the militants opened fire on the troopers when they were closing in on their hiding spot.
Jammu and Kashmir Police told ANI that incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, was recovered from the site of encounter. The police has registered a case.
RBI divests stake in National Housing Bank, Nabard
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has exited the National Housing Bank (NHB) and the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) by selling its entire stake to the government for Rs 1,450 crore and Rs 20 crore, respectively, making them fully government-owned. The Central bank sold its stake in NHB on 19 March, while it sold its shares in Nabard on 26 February, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.
"With this divestment, the government now holds 100 percent stake in both these financial institutions," RBI said.
The move is part of efforts to end the cross-holding in regulatory institutions and follows the recommendation of the second Narasimham Committee report of October 2001, as well as the RBI's own discussion paper on the same titled 'Harmonising the Role and Operations of Development Financial Institutions and Banks'.
The Narasimham panel had said that RBI could not own those entities it regulates.
KKR hope to snap losing streak in IPL 2019 home fixture against RR
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) face off in Match 43 of the Indian Premier League 2019 at Eden Gardens on Thursday. Both sides are fighting to keep their campaigns alive, and both enter this match on the back of losses, KKR having suffered defeats in their last five consecutive encounters.
RR are at the bottom of the points table, with RCB moving ahead of them after collecting their fourth win on Wednesday. KKR, on the other hand, will hope to move ahead of KXIP to the fifth spot.
Google Fit now available on iOS with Apple Health sync
Google's fitness app, named Google Fit is coming to iOS with full Apple Health integration. According to a report by 9to5Google, the smart activity goals by Google in the Fit app are in accordance with the American Heart Association.
Google Fit will adjust goals on the basis of users' current progress and will take information from Apple Health to calculate Move Minutes and Heart Points.
66th National Film Awards winners to be declared after Lok Sabha polls
The 66th National Film Awards will be announced after the 17th General Election ends, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said on Wednesday. The winners of the National Film Awards are usually announced in April every year. But on account of the Lok Sabha polls this year, it has been delayed.