CHENNAI SATURDAY NOVEMBER 09, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION Decades-long wait to settle Ayodhya dispute ends today Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeals to people to maintain peace and harmony; all institutions in Uttar Pradesh shut till Monday as a precautionary step EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi HOURS after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi got a sense of the preparations to maintain law and order in Uttar Pradesh in general and Ayodhya in particular, he sprang a surprise by announcing that the verdict on the decades-old Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case will be delivered on Saturday . Though Saturday is a nonworking day for courts, the judgment will be pronounced at 10.30 am as a special case. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people to maintain peace. “The Supreme Court verdict on Ayod- hya would not be a matter of victory or loss. My appeal to countrymen is that it should be our priority that the verdict should s t re n g t h e n I n d i a ’s g re at t r a d i t i o n o f peace, unity and amity ,” he said. As many as 60 companies of paramilitary personnel have already been deployed in Ayodhya to fortify it. While many states decided to shut schools on Saturday, in UP, all institutions will beclosed till Monday . A five-judge Constitution bench headed by the CJI that heard 14 appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment on the title suit, was widely expected to pronounce its verdict next week. But in the morning, all five members of the Constitution bench — CJI Gogoi, CJI designate S A Bobde and justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer — met the UP Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police in their chambers to re- Biggies bicker in public; Fadnavis named acting CM A B H I J I T M U LY E @ Mumbai GLOVES were off on Friday as the top leadership of both the BJP and the Shiv Sena publicly traded punches for the first time before the media after the Maharashtra elections, snuffing out chances of an early reconciliation. For the record, they said it was not the end of the alliance, but chances of pulling it back from the brink appeared remote. Also, neither party disclosed the options on the table. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was on Friday asked by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to continue as acting CM after he submitted his resignation, but that was a stop-gap arrangement. According to Con- stitutional expert Subhash Kashyap, though there’s no specified time frame for the acting chief minister to function, the Governor should expeditiously wrap up the exercise to explore the possibilities of forming the new government. The first blow in the big public fight came from Fadnavis, who accused the Sena of insulting the mandate. “The turning point was Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s statement immediately after the Assembly results were out, when he said all options were open to it,” said Fadnavis, adding it was not expected from an ally . He rubbished the 50:50 formula and Uddhav’s claim on rotational chief ministership, saying in any case they were never People gave us a good Thackerays don’t lie. That mandate... The next govt is not our culture. I can’t will be led by the BJP tolerate such an attempt Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister discussed in his presence. Shortly thereafter, Uddhav addressed the media, trying to set the record straight and took umbrage at being labelled a Home ministry withdraws SPG cover for Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE government has decided to remove SPG protection for Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka following a security review. The three, however, will continue to be protected by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and will now be placed under the Z+ category . The decision was taken by the home ministry after examining the inputs from the SPG and the Intelligence Bureau. According to sources, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka have not used the bullet-resistant vehicles allotted to them on hundreds of occasions over the years and have travelled abroad without SPG commandos. Citing ‘non-cooperation’ of EXPRESS READ Lots happening with India, will visit: Trump Washington: The US has a “very good” relationship with India, US President Donald Trump said Friday. Trump, who has accepted PM Narendra Modi’s invitation from to travel to India, said he would visit the country at some point. “We have a lot of things happening with India,”he said 60K BSNL, MTNL staff opt for VRS New Delhi: Over 57,000 employees of BSNL have opted for VRS in the last few days and the figures when combined with that of state-owned MTNL exceed 60,000, Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said on Friday GATHAM GATHAM Won’t fall in saffron trap, says Rajinikanth E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai “EFFORTS are being made to paint me as a ‘saffron’ and as a ‘BJP man’. I will not fall for these traps,” actor Rajinikanth said on Friday He also claimed there was a leader. s h i p va c u u m i n t h e S t at e. T h e re m a rk was attacked by Dravidian parties. Addressing the media twice in the day the actor , said it was the media that ‘blew up’ the controversy over BJP’s projection of poet-philosopher Thiruvalluvar in saffron. “Attempts are being made to paint me in BJP colours. Neither Thiruvalluvar nor I will fall for this NO INVITE WAS trap.” “The BJP may have ISSUED TO JOIN BJP posted a picture of ThiruRajinikanth also clarified that valluvar in saffron robes during his meeting with BJP on Twitter, but the party leader Pon Radhakrishnan, the has not urged anyone else latter did not invite him to join to wear saffron. You (methe party dia) have blown up the matter, when there are many other relevant issues to be discussed,” he said. Responding to a question, Rajinikanth said: “There is a vacuum for an influential personality in State politics.” Soon after, DMK treasurer Duraimurugan told media the media: “MK Stalin filled that vacuum a long time back.” Fisheries minister D Jayakumar said: “Everything is going smoothly in the state. There is no political vacuum.” the three Gandhi family members with the SPG, a security official said such attitude of protectees impedes the smooth functioning of the force. Referring to Rahul, the official said during 2005-2014, the Congress leader had travelled in non-BR vehicles on 18 visits to different parts of the country . From 2015 till May this year, Rahul travelled 1,892 times in a P9 non-BR vehicle in Delhi. Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief liar. He claimed the rotational chief ministership was agreed upon in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah. Uddhav also played video clips of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala’s expletives against the ModiShah duo in the run-up to the state elections when he was an opposition leader, poking the BJP over its record of having strange bedfellows from Kashmir to Bihar. The Sena, meanwhile, shifted its MLAs to a bigger resort in Malad. And, Congress leaders Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat met NCP chief Sharad Pawar to explore possibilities of government formation. They were joined by Sena’s Sanjay Raut. A new formula for a Congress-NCP government with outside support from the Sena was floated by Congress veteran Shivraj Patil but shot down by Pawar. RECORD POLLUTION LEAVES CITY GASPING K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai HOW long can government officials be in denial mode about rapidly deteriorating air quality? Chennai Air Quality Index (AQI) on Friday evening crossed 300, which happens to the worst till date and it’s fifth day on the trot where Chennaites are gasping for breath. Despite such unusual spike in air pollution, neither Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) nor the health department has issued any public advisory The Central gov. ernment’s Sameer application, which calculates AQI, has indicated that city poor air quality would have definite health impact causing respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. The continuous ambient air quality monitoring station at Manali has recorded maximum PM 2.5 concentration P3 level of 451 µg/m3. view preparations to maintain the law and order situation in the state. Having satisfied themselves, the bench decided to pronounce the judgment on Saturday . The Constitution bench held day-to-day hearings for as many as 40 days before reserving its judgment after parallel efforts at mediation failed. It was the second longest hearing in the SC’s history. The verdict had to be pronounced by next week as the CJI will retire on November 17. The Allahabad HC had ruled that the disputed 2.77 acres be equally cut into three for the claimants — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity, Ram Lalla. P10,11 Worried over slowdown bear hug, Moody’s cuts India outlook to negative Sensex dips 330 points After riding high for days, the BSE Sensex on Friday closed 330 points lower at 40,323.61 and NSE Nifty by 104 points at 11,908 DeMo behind downturn? The roots of the slowdown besetting India may have been sown by demonetisation three years ago, according to economists | P17 Biz optimism hits new low India Inc expects slower growth in the December quarter as optimism has hit an 18-yr low | P17 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi ON a day which marked the third anniversary of demonetisation, global rating agency Moody’s on Friday downgraded India’s sovereign rating outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ on weak economic indicators, policy ineffectiveness in addressing economic stress and the risk of lower growth. Moody’s had upgraded its rating on November 16, 2017 on expectation of strong economic reforms, raising India’s GDP . The rating agency has now not only changed its viewpoint but also flagged the risk of a longer slowdown. “Prolonged financial stress among rural households, weak job creation, and a credit crunch among non-bank financial institutions have increased the probability of a more entrenched slowdown,” Moody’s said. India’s economy grew only 5% year-onyear between April and June, with consumer demand remaining subdued. This prompted rate cuts by the RBI, while the government slashed corporate taxes. “A prolonged period of slower economic growth would dampen income growth and the pace of improvements in living standards, and potentially constrain the policy options to drive sustained high investment growth over medium-to long term,” it said. Meanwhile, the government claimed the economy is on a firm footing. “The fundamentals of the economy remain quite robust with inflation under check and bond yields low. India continues to offer strong prospects of growth in near and medium term,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement. CONTINUED ON: P17
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