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Amid Padmavati row, Deepika Padukone pulls out of Global Entrepreneurship Summit

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Deepika-Padukone

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Facing death threats, abuse for her portrayal of Padmavati, Padukone to skip the summit which will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on Nov 28 in Hyderabad

Under vitriolic attack from right-wing fringe groups and facing death threats for her portrayal of Rani Padmavati in Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming flick Padmavati, actor Deepika Padukone has reportedly decided to skip the Indo-US Global Entrepreneurship Summit that will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Hyderabad on November 28.

While Padukone has herself not commented yet on why she had decided to give the event, which will see US president Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka leading a powerful American delegation, a miss government sources have told some sections of the media that the actor will not be attending the summit.

Former Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni has also reportedly dropped out of the event, sources said.

While Padukone has most likely dropped out of the event due to the abuse and threats she has been facing for playing the titular role in Padmavati and the fact that a majority of these attacks have been directed at her by people and outfits patronized by Narendra Modi’s BJP, ‘she has so far refused to comment on the issue.

The summit – an event that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government will no doubt showcase as a major endorsement from global entrepreneurs of the supposedly investor-friendly policies of the Centre – will have ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’ as its theme. Ironical, given the broadside that Padukone has been facing in recent weeks, with leaders from the BJP and fringe group Karni Sena announcing bounties for killing her or chopping her nose off.

According to Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary, IT and Industry, Telangana government, who is part of the team of bureaucrats overseeing the preparations for the high-profile event to be held in the capital of the newly-formed state confirmed that Padukone, who had earlier agreed to participate in a panel discussion to be organised during the summit, has opted out.

“There is a panel discussion on ‘Hollywood to Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry) to Bollywood’. Earlier, Deepika Padukone was expected to be in that session, but she has now declined. We are trying (to see) who can replace her,” Ranjan told mediapersons in Hyderabad.

The senior Telganana government official added: “Others have also dropped. For example, MS Dhoni was supposed to be in one of the sessions. Now he has declined. People are declining for various reasons. Because Dhoni has declined, we have to now bring in Sania (Mirza), (Pullela) Gopichand,” Ranjan told reporters.

With days to go before Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, scheduled to be held between November 28 and 30, the event is already drawing some negative publicity.

Earlier this month, reports had emerged that the Telangana government, with the approval of the Centre, had engaged in large-scale ‘beautification’ drive of Hyderabad wherein state agencies were rounding up beggars and slum dwellers from across the capital and relocating them to shelters for the poor. The action was being taken in a bid to give foreign delegates, including Ivanka Trump, coming for the event, a false impression that Hyderabad is a beggar-free city.

On Tuesday, a section of the media reported that at least two women who had been rounded up as part of this cover-up drive and parceled out to an ashram, were actually English-speaking, educated women who had worked in foreign countries and had huge financial assets within Hyderabad and abroad. These two middle-aged women had been forced to take to begging as personal circumstances had made them mentally disturbed.

According to a report by news agency PTI, the Telangana Prisons Department, in coordination with the local police and civic administration, has caught and shifted as many as 235 male beggars and over 130 women beggars to Anand Ashrams since October 20 as part of the ‘cover-up’ drive.

“Two women, aged 50 and 44, both natives of Hyderabad, were among some 30 women caught begging near a dargah (shrine) in Langer Hauz. Police took them to Anand Ashram on November 11,” a senior Telangana government official was quoted as saying.

To their astonishment, the Ashram staff found that the two women spoke English well and the elder of the two even told the Ashram staff that she had an MBA degree, and once worked as an accountant in London before returning to Hyderabad. The 50-year-old woman’s son was reportedly contacted by the authorities and confirmed the story.

“The younger woman said she was a Green Card holder and had worked in the US”, said K Arjun Rao, superintendent of the Cherlapalli open-air jail and the Ashram in-charge.

Arjun Rao told mediapersons that: “The 50-year-old woman had lost her husband and was facing certain problems… she had approached a godman, and on his advise started begging near the dargah. Her son is an architect based in the US.”

Rao added that the younger woman had taken to begging after her relatives cheated her out of her share of the ancestral property.

The two women have been handed over to their relatives, Rao informed, adding that they were asked to give a written undertaking saying that they would not return to begging.

There is, however, no word from the Telangana government or the Centre on how they would ensure that the two women, and scores of other beggars detained as part of the drive, will refrain from returning to begging once the Global Entrepreneurship Summit concludes. There is also no roadmap on what the state and federal governments plan to do to provide for the destitute women and men who are forced into begging because of various personal circumstances. Clearly, the razzmatazz of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit or the imminent high-octane addresses expected from Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Ivanka Trump will not alleviate the condition of the beggars of Hyderabad.

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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah deletes post on reservation for Kannadigas in private sector after backlash from business community

the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday deleted his social media post on the reservation Bill, which reserves seats in groups C and D for Kannadigas only in the private sector, after backlash from the business community.

Announcing the Bill on X, Siddaramaiah said the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

The post further read, “It is our government’s wish that the Kannadigas should avoid being deprived of jobs in the land of Kannada and should be given an opportunity to build a comfortable life in the motherland.” He said that his government is a pro-Kannada government and their priority is to look after the welfare of Kannadigas.

Later after criticism from industry leaders, the Kartnataka CM deleted the post and then shared another post in Kannada that talks about giving reservation of 50% for administrative posts and 75% for non-administrative posts for Kannadigas in private industries and other organizations of the State.

Speaking to the media, Labour Minister Santosh Lad said the government is trying to introduce a law to give preference to locally available skills. He added that at the management level, it has been decided to provide reservations to 50% of the people.

At the non-management level, it has been decided to provide work to 70%, he said. If a particular skill is not available, people can be outsourced and they can be given work here. But the Government is trying to bring in a law to give preference to locally available skills, the minister further added.

In response to the government’s announcement about the passage of the Bill, industry leaders and unions voiced concerns that it would impede industry growth by pushing away skilled workers not protected by the quota. Nasscom, the apex body for the technology industry in India, stated that the Bill was “deeply disturbing”.

Mohandas Pai, a Padma Shri Awardee and former CFO and Board Member at Infosys, also said that the government must focus on increasing jobs, training, and educating Kannada youth instead of driving away investment. Karnataka is India’s best state, adding that he said we should not destroy this. Pai termed the Bill as ‘discriminatory, regressive, and against the Constitution’ even as he attacked the ruling Congress for the decision.

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Maharashtra sends controversial IAS trainee Puja Khedkar back to academy

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Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been the eye of the storm, has been asked by the Maharashtra Government to report back to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie.

A letter from Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Nitin Gadre stated LBSNAA has suspended district training of Khedkar and has called her back for further necessary action. The letter said she has been relieved from the district training programme of the state government of Maharashtra and has been asked to join the academy by July 23 under any circumstances.

Khedkar had made it to the headlines for her alleged demands of a separate office and official car, besides using a beacon on her private luxury car without official sanction.

Earlier this month, a report regarding Khedkar and her father’s objectionable behaviour was sent by Pune District Collector Suhas Diwase to the state government.

Reports said Khedkar completed her MBBS and then appeared for the UPSC exams several times. According to her, she joined the IRS in 2019. In a later interview she said she could not join the IRS since there were some technical problems in the OBC allocation of her seat.

Thereafter, in November 2021, she applied and got appointed as the assistant director in the Sports Authority of India. She then appeared for the Civil Services Examination in 2021 and cleared the preliminary exam, the main examination, and the interview, securing the 821st rank.

However, she failed to present herself for a medical test to confirm disability claims of blindness and mental illness due to which she was getting benefits under the category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities. Consequently, this persisted as a legal battle in Central Administrative Tribunal against UPSC.

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Supreme Court issues notice to CBI, ED on Manish Sisodia bail plea

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Manish Sisodia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the bail pleas moved by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Supreme Court’s decided to issue notice to the two agencies after arguments on Sisodia’s petitions for bail in two cases relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The court granted two weeks to the agencies to file their views.

“Views of agencies have to be heard before any decision is taken,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, pointing at the seriousness of the charges slapped on Sisodia. The former Delhi Deputy CM has been under judicial remand since February 2023 over corruption and money laundering charges.

According to Sisodia’s counsel, the charges against him are politically motivated and lack enough evidence. The counsel had sought bail on medical grounds, to which the CBI or ED objected, saying his release might hamper the ongoing investigation into the case by influencing the witnesses or tampering with evidence.

According to the CBI and ED, Sisodia’s involvement in the liquor policy scheme was responsible for substantial state revenue loss and worked in favor of private liquor vendors.

Manish Sisodia, known for his transformational work in the field of education under the Delhi government, is not the only Aam Aadmi Party leader in jail. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain are also behind bars. While Kejriwal is jailed in connection with the liquor policy case, Jain is in prison for corruption charges.

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