Morning News :


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address BJP National Executive meeting in Bhubaneswar today;Party chief Amit Shah says, BJP golden era will arrive when it rules across the country from Panchayats to Parliament.
  • Enforcement Directorate files charge sheet against a close aide of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in a money laundering case.
  • Maharashtra government to give seeds, fertilizers and pesticides free of cost to small and marginal farmers.
  • Deep depression over Bay of Bengal likely to bring heavy rainfall over the Andaman Islands in the next 24 hours. 
  • In Syria, at least 100 people killed after a deadly explosion hits buses carrying civilians evacuated from two- besieged towns.
  • Easter being celebrated with religious fervor by Christians around the world.
  • IN BADMINTON: India's Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth to clash in the historic Men Singles final of Singapore Open Super series.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the BJP National Executive meeting in Bhubaneswar today. He held a road show in the city ahead of the two-day meeting which began in the capital city of Odisha yesterday. Supporters thronged the streets as Mr. Modi made his way to the venue of the party meet from the airport. Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah has cautioned party leaders against complacency saying the party is yet to reach its peak. In his inaugural address, Mr. Shah said the Party's golden era will arrive when it rules across the country from Panchayats to Parliament. Mr. Shah asked the party to resolve for victory in the next round of Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka. Briefing media persons, Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad said that Mr. Shah will spend 95 days touring the country to meet with party leaders and workers. Quoting party president Amit Shah, Mr Prasad said that Narendra Modi is the most popular public leader of the country.
"Because of his extraordinary connect with the people, the kind of trust the people have in Narendra Modi ji, the President Amit Shah said that after independence, Narendra Modi ji is the most popular political public leader of the country."
"Interacting with media, BJP president Amit Shah said Uttar Pradesh has proved political observers wrong and BJP can defeat regional parties. He said the party will be able to repeat the performance in Odisha in the wake of the anti-incumbency tide against the Biju Janata Dal government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been in power since last 17 years. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu had said BJP is growing in Odisha and the party is  trying to come to power  in the state in 2019. Referring to the challenge, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has said BJD is not at all worried over  BJP’s expansion agenda in the State. SN PATTNAIK, AIR NEWS, BHUBANESWAR."
Besides the Prime Minister, the party meet is being attended by 13 Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states several Union Ministers and senior party leaders.


Ahead of his address, Prime Minister Modi will offer special prayer at the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar this morning. Mr Modi is scheduled to reach the temple at 9 AM and to offer prayer at the 11th century Lord Shiva shrine. Mr Modi will also felicitate relatives of the martyrs of the Paika Rebellion at Raj Bhawan before leaving for the Lingraj temple.

Mr Modi will arrive in Surat this evening, on a two-day visit to Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. He will take part in various programmes during his visit. In a series of tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, visiting the vibrant city of Surat is a matter of great joy. Mr Modi said, he has been seeing on social media and in the news about a series of events being held across Surat and nearby areas in the run-up to his visit. He expressed gratitude to all those who are participating in the various programmes.


The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against  a close aide of the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, in a money laundering case. The agency had arrested Aamir Gazdar on February 16th. An ED official said that the 250-page charge sheet filed before a Mumbai court contains statements of five persons including Gazdar himself, Zakir Naik's sister and an accountant of Naik's NGO, Islamic Research Foundation or IRF. The matter is likely to come up for further hearing tomorrow  before the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases. Two days ago, the court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Zakir Naik who is believed to be in the UAE.


The Maharashtra government is planning to supply seeds, fertilisers and pesticides free of cost to small and marginal farmers to reduce their losses. Talking to reporters in Mumbai yesterday, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said, the idea is to keep production cost minimal so that farmers do not feel the heat when market rates are down. More details from our correspondent:
"Expressing concern over a large number of farmers currently under debt, the Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said that the state government would also include farm labourers into the fold of National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in the next couple of months. This will bring down almost all costs of farmers required for food grains and vegetable cultivation.  Mr. Patil added that the government is also coming with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for food grains, which will ensure that farmers will get certain minimum amount for their produce. LUBNA YUSUF MOOSA, AIR NEWS, MUMBAI."

The price of Petrol has been hiked by 1 rupee 39 paise per litre and the price of diesel by 1 rupee 4 paise a litre excluding state levies. The new rates came into effect from last midnight. The Actual increase in price will be more after taking into account local VAT. In Delhi, petrol will now cost 68 rupees 64 paise and diesel 57 rupees 15 paise.
The hike came on the back of reduction of 4 rupees 85 paise per litre in the rates of petrol and a 3 rupees 41 paise a litre cut in diesel from April 1st.
The Nation's largest fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation said in a statement that the current level of international fuel prices and the Rupee-US Dollar exchange rate warrant an increase in the selling prices of petrol and diesel.

The BJP's Delhi Unit has expelled 21 of its members, including five sitting councillors, from the party ahead of the MCD polls. They have been expelled for six years over their involvement in anti-party activities. The BJP, in this year's polls to the civic bodies, had decided not to give tickets to any of its sitting councillors.
Voting for 272 wards of the three municipal corporations will be held on April 23rd and counting of votes will take place on April 26th.


A deep depression over the Bay of Bengal is expected to bring heavy rainfall in the Andaman Islands over the next 24 hours. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the deep depression is most likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours. It said, squally winds with speed touching close to 70 km per hour will prevail over the  Andaman Islands and adjoining areas during the next 48 hours and sea conditions will be very rough. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Andaman Islands during this period. Fishermen in Tamil Nadu were also advised not to venture into the sea.

In International News, In Syria, at least 100 people were killed in a deadly explosion which targeted buses carrying civilians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns. The explosion hit at an evacuation point in the al-Rashideen area near Aleppo where dozens of buses were parked for over 30 hours as the population transfer deal got stalled.
The blast targeted residents who were evacuated from the rebel-besieged towns of Fouaa and Kefraya in Idlib province under a deal reached between the Syrian government and rebels. State TV al-Ikhbariya said the attack was the result of a car bomb carrying food aid to be delivered to the evacuees in the rebel-held area. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The stalled population transfer has been resumed after the explosion.

Easter is being celebrated today with religious fervor by Christians across the globe. It signifies the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. Easter is also being celebrated in different parts of India. In Tamil Nadu, special mass is being held in churches at Velankanni, Tiruchirapalli, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil and Thoothukudi on the occasion. A report:
"The Easter Sunday celebrated by Christians all over the Tamil Nadu. Easter signifies the resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. Special prayers and holy masses were held from midnight at the world famous Velankanni Our lady of Health Basilica. Thousands of pilgrims from Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Maharashtra apart from Tamil Nadu attended the special morning mass. Easter also signifies the culmination of 40 day lent period of fasting by Christians. K DEVI PADMANABHAN, AIR NEWS, TIRUCHIRAPALLI."
The President, Vice President and Prime Minister have greeted people on the occasion. In a message, President Pranab Mukherjee said the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ inspire people to lead a life filled with truth, forgiveness, love and selfless service. He asked people to remain united and to eradicate violence and hatred from society.
Vice President Hamid Ansari said, Easter reminds us that love is stronger than hatred.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, may the teachings of Jesus Christ further the spirit of harmony, compassion and togetherness in our society.


In Sports, for the first time in the history of badminton, two Indians will clash with each other in a Super Series final when Kidambi Srikanth will take on B Sai Praneeth in the Men's singles at the Singapore Open today.
Former World No. 3 Srikanth yesterday notched up a 21-13 21-14 win over Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to reach the third Super Series final of his career.
Praneeth was the first to make it to the summit clash after thrashing three-time Korea Masters Grand Prix Gold winner Lee 21-6 21-8 in a lop-sided semifinal match.   


In IPL Cricket, Delhi Daredevils beat Kings XI Punjab by 51  runs at the Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium last night. After opting to bat, Delhi Daredevils posted a respectable total of 188 runs for 6  thanks to a brilliant fifty from Sam Billings while Corey Anderson made a quickfire 39 off 22 balls. In reply, Kings XI were restricted to 137 for nine.            

  • The ongoing 2-day BJP National Executive Meet being held in Bhubaneshwar, is the lead story in today's Press and Party President Amit Shah's address to party workers is the matter of most top headlines. "BJP is yet to peak, can beat regional parties, says Shah", headlines Hindustan Times. The Statesman, quoting him, writes - BJP must become a Pan-India party, with a presence from Panchayats to Parliament. 
  • Pakistan claiming to have arrested 3 Indian Intelligence agents in PoK, is another prominent story. The Indian Express reports that police in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir claim to have arrested 3 suspected Research and Analysis Wing agents for their alleged involvement in anti- state activities.
  • Meanwhile DNA writes "Now, only Medical visas for Pakistanis". India is planning to escalate the diplomat offensive by restricting visas only on humanitarian health ground to Pakistani citizens, after the Kulbhusan Jadav imbroglio.
  • Setting a record, the Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar has recommended 51 names for Judges in 10 high courts, shortly after finalising the memorandum of procedure for appointment of Judge in constitutional courts - reports the Sunday Times.
  •  "IITs to add 20% seats to get in more women". The Sunday Express informs us that the Indian Institutes of Technology  have decided to introduce a supernumerary quota for women from 2018, to improve the gender composition of their classrooms.

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