SINCE 1928 PAES MAKES COMEBACK FOR DAVIS CUP TIE AGAINST CHINA Pg 17 Lessons from the farmers’ march REG. NO. MCS/048/2018-20; RNI NO. 1541/1957 M.P.C.S office Mumbai-400001 `2 EDIT UP, CLOSE AND CHATTY WITH AJAY DEVGN Pg 14 Pg 8 Thousands of protesters are set to knock on Fadnavis govt’s door Kisan Sabha bends to accommodate students FPJ POLITICAL BUREAU Mumbai Fast News Poor turnout in LS bypolls in UP, Bihar LuCKNow/PAtNA: Moderate to low polling was on Sunday recorded in the Lok Sabha byelections in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and Phulpur and Bihar’s Araria, being viewed as yet another test for the BJP ahead of the general elections next year. While 43 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise in Gorakhpur, where UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath cast his ballot, the turnout in Phulpur was lower at 37.39 per cent, the state election office said. Fifty-seven per cent polling was registered in Araria, Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Nayak said. In the Bhabua and Jehanabad Assembly constituencies in Bihar, where bypolls were also held, the voter turnout was 54.03 per cent and 50.06 per cent respectively, he said. Details on Page 5 Consortium to bid for Air India New DeLHi: A consortium of Jet Airways, Air France-KLM and Delta Airlines understood to have expressed interest in the disinvestment of national carrier Air India, according to sources. Moving ahead with the strategic disinvestment of loss-making Air India, the government is expected to soon invite Expression of Interest (EoI) from the bidders. Against this backdrop, sources said a consortium of three full services, including Jet Airways, are keen to put in their bid for the national carrier. Jet Airways along with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines are interested in participating in Air India disinvestment, sources told PTI. Details on Page 15 US: Peace march by Indian techie’s widow HouStoN: Sunayana Dumala, the widow of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was murdered in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City last year, led a peace walk with her husband’s hundreds of friends and coworkers. Sunayana led the memorial peace walk on Friday what would have been the 34th birthday of Kuchibhotla. Kuchibhotla was fatally shot in Olathe, Kansas, in February last year by a US navy veteran. His colleague Alok Madasani was also critically injured in the attack FPJ POLITICAL BUREAU Mumbai Bending backwards, Fadnavis, rushed his emissary, Girish Mahajan, minister for water resources, to meet the farmers and dissuade them from marching to the Vidhan Sabha. However, Navale, leader of Ajit the Communist Party and convenor of the Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, refused to be drawn into any discussions at this stage and decided to go ahead with the March. ha is a question of too little and too late. In the last six days, neither the agriculture minister nor the tribal minister took the trouble to meet the leader of the Kisan Sabha. Apprehensive of the traffic chaos that will ensue when more than 30,000 farmers and tribals march to the Assembly , ‘Varsha’ — the official residence of CM — has virtually become a war room, with authorities scratching their heads how to minimise the hardship to the citizens. These farmers want a com- plete waiver of loans and their electricity dues. They also want Minimum Support Prices to be fixed keeping Swaminathan Commission recommendations in mind as per which they should be paid one-and-a-half times the cost of production. Most important, they want an answer from the government on non-implementation of the promises that were made to them, said Navale, the state general secretary of the Kisan Sabha. Aiming to take political advantage, Eknath Shinde, guardian minister of Thane and Shiv Sena leader, walked along with the protestors from Thane to Ghatkopar on Sunday He had also visited . the farmers who had converged on Sunday night at Mulund check naka. Aditya Thackeray chief of , Yuva Sena, too, joined the march at Vikhroli and assured the protestors that the Sena is with the farmers, even though the agitation is being spearheaded by the CPM under the umbrella of the Kisan Sabha. MNS chief Raj Thackeray also met the protestors and CONTD. ON P6 Me, my sister have ‘completely forgiven’ father’s killers: Rahul AGENCIES Singapore Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi have “completely forgiven” his father Rajiv Gandhi’s killers as they find it “difficult to hate people”. During an interaction with IIM alumni in Singapore, Gandhi spoke about the assassination of his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv and said that it was a price that the family “We knew that my father was going to die. We knew that my grandmother was going to die. In politics, when you mess with the wrong forces, and if you stand for something, you will die” knew they had to pay for taking a stand. “We knew that my father was going to die. We knew that my grandmother was going to die. In politics, when 50% water stock in Maha dams, but worry looms over Vidarbha AGENCIES Mumbai Dams in Maharashtra have more than 50 per cent water stock of their capacity which , is 5 per cent higher compared to the corresponding sixmonth period last year, a water resources department official has said. “Dams in the state have 508.19 TMC water as on today (October 2017 to March 10, 2018), which is 50.18 per cent (of their capacity). There are 3,246 dams of various sizes in the state and they have a total water storage of 1,338 TMC you mess with the wrong forces, and if you stand for something, you will die,” he said in a video shared by Congress on Twitter on Saturday . CONTD. ON P6 TN: 40 trapped in forest fire, joint rescue ops on (thousand million cubic feet),” he said. The monsoon in Maharashtra generally gets over by September and according to the Maharashtra Economic Survey tabled in the legisla, ture on Wednesday the state , received only 84 per cent of its average rainfall last year. “On March 10 last year, the total water stock in dams was 44.56 per cent,” the official said. “There was a good spell of showers over Marathwada in September which helped the dams in the region to have a CONTD. ON P6 A multi-department rescue operation assisted by the Defence Ministry was launched on Sunday evening to rescue at least 40 people including girls and some minors, who were trapped in a massive forest fire in Kurangini in Theni in south Tamil Nadu. More than 15 girls were rescued - some with burn injuries - while the remaining girls were believed to be trapped in the raging fire as CONTD. ON P6 Pratinidhi Sabha meeting. Confident of a favourable judgment from the Supreme Court on the matter, Joshi said the construction of temple would begin after the court’s order and it would be built on the basis of its verdict on the ownership of land. Replying to a question on spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravis- hankar’s efforts at developing consensus between the different parties on the issue, Joshi said consensus building was not going to be easy . “We have always maintained that the temple should be constructed with mutual agreement, but our experience tells us that building a consensus on this issue is not easy Joshi said. Though the ,” Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader said he welcomed Ravi Shankar’s efforts at negotiations, he pointed out that there were different groups in society with varied outlooks and to build a consensus among them would be difficult. Joshi was also CONTD. ON P6 OUR CORRESPONDENT Chennai Ram temple will be built: RSS ‘DIFFICULTY OVER CONSENSUS’ JATIN TAKKAR Nagpur The RSS on Sunday said building a consensus on the Ayodhya dispute was not going to be easy but stressed that a Ram Temple – “and nothing else” – would be constructed in the Uttar Pradesh town. RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi also stressed that the matter was sub judice. “It is certain that the Ram Temple will be constructed at that place (Ayodhya) and nothing else can be built there, this is also decided,” Joshi told reporters here on the sidelines of the RSS’s allimportant Akhil Bharatiya Sunrise: 06:52 am Sunset: 06:43 pm THOUGHT FOR THE DAY The strength and life of a tree depends on the firmness of its roots. So the small plant has to be well watered, taking utmost care, in order that it will grow into a beautiful tree. Vol. 61 No. 325 | MONDAY | MARCH 12, 2018 | 18 Pages EDITIONs : MUMBAI*, PUNE, INDORE, BHOPAL freepressjournal.in twitter.com/fpjindia Varsha turns into war-room, farmers snub CM’s emissary With thousands of farmers threatening to converge outside the State Assembly on Monday the Devendra Fad, navis government, which had disregarded the protest march when it began in Nasik on March 6, has changed gears and reached out to the agitators. Bending backwards, Fadnavis, rushed his emissary , Girish Mahajan, minister for water resources, to meet the farmers and dissuade them from marching to the Vidhan Sabha. However, Ajit Navale, leader of the Communist Party and convenor of the Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, is a tough nut to crack. He has refused to be drawn into any discussions at this stage and is determined to go ahead with the March. He had embarrassed the government in a similar fashion by calling an 11-day state-wide farmers’ bandh last July . Navale was again responsible for bringing the government down on its knees and forcing it to announce a farm loan waiver of Rs 34,020 crores. Dispatching trouble-shooter Girish Mahajan just when the farmers are knocking at the doors of the Vidhan Sab- WEATHER 360C. 230C. The Kisan Sabha, an umbrella outfit of the CPM which is spearheading the farmers protest, has decided to reach Azad Maidan early morning, instead of halting overnight at Somaiya ground at Chunabhatti. The organisers took the decision keeping in mind the sensibilities of citizens, especially the inconvenience the protest march may cause to students of tenth standard as there is a board examination on Monday . In his meeting with the leaders of the Kisan Morcha, Girish Mahajan, the minister for water resources, had urged them to walk to Azad Maidan during the night, so that early morning office goers and students are not inconvenienced. The Kisan Sabha agreed to the request of the minister even as it refused to call off the march. CONTD. ON P6 Sri Ma China gets ‘Emperor’ Xi K J M VARMA Beijing China’s rubber-stamp parliament on Sunday allowed President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely perhaps for life, , as it ratified a contentious constitutional amendment to abolish the two-term presidential limit, making him the most powerful leader since Chairman Mao Zedong. The amendment to give 64year-old Xi an indefinite term effectively ended the collective leadership system followed by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) to avert a dictatorship from emerging in an otherwise one-party state akin to the era of Mao which witnessed the most brutal events like Cultural Revolution resulting in the killings of millions of people, reports PTI. Set for his second five-year term as president this month, Xi, the most powerful leader in recent decades heading the CPC and the mil- itary will now be the first , Chinese leader after founder chairman Mao to remain in power lifelong. The National People’s Congress (NPC) has kept its reputation as the rubber stamp parliament for its routine approval of CPC proposals by voting exactly to the official script. The amendment removing the term limits for the president and the vice president was approved by the NPC with 2,958 in favour, two against and three abstentions, official media reported. The two votes of dissent apparently had official sanction to show a semblance of diversity . CONTD. ON P6 As Sharif was heading towards rostrum for a speech, a student hurled a shoe at him that hit his shoulder and ear, reports PTI. The student also managed to reach in front of Sharif and chanted “Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah” slogan. The security personnel caught the student and his other accomplice who also chanted “Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah” slogans and gave them sound thrashing. Later, the two students were handed over to police. Police identified the shoe thrower as Abdul Ghafoor, a former student of the seminary and his accomplice as , Sajid. The situation became very tense after the incident. Sharif made a brief speech in which he did not mention about the man who threw shoe at him. CONTD. ON P6 Day after ink attack on Pak FM, shoe thrown at Nawaz Sharif M ZULQERNAIN Lahore A shoe was hurled at Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif by a religious extremist on Sunday during a function at an Islamic seminary in Lahore. The incident took place a day after religious extremist blackened the face of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif with ink when he was addressing his party’s worker’s convention in his hometown in Sialkot, some 100-km from Lahore. Sharif was a chief guest at Jamia Naemia seminary , Ghari Shahu Lahore.