A campaign launched by the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress to strengthen its presence at the polling booths ahead of the State Assembly elections due in December this year has attracted the party workers in large numbers as well as the local populace in the remote areas. The Congress has refuted the charge that it is a “gimmick” to display power.The ‘Mera Booth, Mera Gaurav’ (my booth, my pride) campaign has been devised to prompt the Congress workers to take pride in the party’s most fundamental unit and reinforce the organisational value of unity in its rank and file. Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot has addressed a large number of booth-level programmes in several towns and villages across the State. Mr. Pilot led a massive rally of party workers here on Monday to protest against the alleged misuse of government machinery and money by the ruling BJP during a dialogue meet held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jaipur on July 7. Mr. Pilot said the BJP, which had wasted the hard-earned money of taxpayers to gather the crowds of so-called beneficiaries of government’s schemes, had betrayed the public mandate.The campaign at the booths, on the other hand, is claimed to be an innovative way to motivate the party workers and strengthen the party at its core. “This is an innovation like no other. With other parties painting the picture of workers mobilising to strengthen the party leaders, we in the Congress have mobilised our party leaders to strengthen the core workers,” Pradesh Congress vice-president Archana Sharma said here.Besides Mr. Pilot, AICC general secretary Avinash Pande, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and AICC secretaries Vivek Bansal, Devendra Yadav, Qazi Nizamuddin and Tarun Kumar have attended the booth-level outreach programmes during the last one and a half months.‘Not a gimmick’ Ms. Sharma refuted the BJP’s allegation that the Congress’ campaign was a gimmick to display power and said it was nurturing the very roots of the organisation. “As a united front, we believe that a healthy organisation gives a healthy regime,” she said, adding that the party had reached out to more than 7,00,000 people across the State.During the programmes, the Congress leaders have highlighted the BJP government’s alleged failures and the previous Congress regime’s achievements through one-to-one contacts, street plays and pamphlets.BJP accuses Cong. Newly-appointed State BJP president Madan Lal Saini has accused the Congress of imitating the ruling party’s ‘Mera Booth, Sabse Mazboot’ (my booth, the strongest) campaign running for four years. At some places, the Congress workers and leaders were reportedly involved in scuffles because of ‘local politics’.After the completion of the campaign, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to address a rally in the State next month to give a fillip to the party’s preparations for the Assembly polls.
A 10-day-old infant who was injured during cross-border firing in Poonch sector on Sunday has succumbed to the injuries at a hospital there.“The baby was undergoing treatment but unfortunately he succumbed [late on Sunday],” Deputy Commissioner Poonch Rahul Yadav said.The infant and his mother, Fatima Jan, were injured in cross-border firing in Shahpur area of Poonch district on Sunday night.The baby was yet to be named, according to the family.According to officials, the Pakistani army started firing and mortar shelling around 7.30 p.m. in Bandi Chechian, Karmara and Kerni areas of Poonch sector on the Line of Control. “A total of three persons were treated at the Poonch hospital,” the official said.
Day 1 of the India International Jewellery Week in Mumbai started on a high note on Monday with Bollywood beauties sashaying down the ramp in glitter and gold.In its fifth edition this year, the four-day event from July 14-17, organised by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), is a major destination for buyers and designers alike as the latest in traditional and modern wear with diamonds, gold, silver and precious stones are presented for the upcoming bridal and festive season.Dia Mirza, Kalki Koechlin, Sunny Leone and Lisa Ray walked the ramp.Gorgeous actresses added extra glitz to the show. Former Miss India Neha Dhupia cut a graceful figure as the ‘royal bride’ – with heavy polki and ruby earrings, necklace and maang teeka – for Geetanjali Jewels, while actress Chitrangada Singh looked traditional yet sexy in a red lehenga choli combination, accentuated by a kamarband with latkans, heavy diamond necklace and a nath. Her voluminous open hair, kohled eyes and confidence on the ramp gave the collection an electric makeover.Dia Mirza, whose wedding with fiance Sahil Sangha has been confirmed for October, looked stately and elegant in a beautiful orange lehenga sari as she walked the ramp for jewellery designer Shobhana. With her hair in a vintage updo with soft ringlets, the diva was seen in chunky jewellery set in diamonds, gold, pearls, emeralds and rubies.After traditional bridal looks, modern brides got their share of trinkets to feast on as well. Big Boss 7 winner Gauhar Khan walked for IIGJ Mumbai in a strapless, white pleated maxi gown with a diamond-studded crown, bracelet, rings and a statement necklace with big emeralds to do the talking. Likewise, the ladies in red – Dev D actress Kalki Koechlin and model/activist Lisa Ray – kept it simple in ruby hued dresses and jewellery for Jewels by Preeti and Farah Khan Ali, respectively.advertisementZayed with sister Suzanne Khan.Last but not least, Baby Doll Sunny Leone took to the ramp as showstopper for Apala by Sumit in a black one-shoulder dress and strong and tribal-like ornaments in gold and silver. With three layers of studded chains draping her hair, the Jism 2 actress sported an armour-like necklace, armlet, cuff and solid anklets with aplomb.Shantanu and Nikhil break the stereotype with new bridal wearThe grandeur of sartorial pleasures has begun in the Capital with the Fall 2014 haute couture collection presented by designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil in collaboration with Johnnie Walker Black Label at JW Marriott, New Delhi, on Monday.The collection was true to the designers’ aesthetic of fluid drapes, lace applique work and layered frills that enhanced the fitted gowns in a way that they accentuated the body curves. Adding fresh perspective this time around to their bridal wear, the duo made use of unconventional colours – such as grey, black, blue and beige – handcrafted accessories and varying layers of fabric. There were also a variety of options for cocktail wear. Titled ‘Rani Sultanat’, the mood of the collection reflected a palace in Istanbul during the Art Deco Revolution of 1930’s.The exotic ensembles included white flowey anarkali dresses, lehengas with floral lace and sari gowns, while men strutted down in smart velvet achkans with subtle embroidery and sharara pants. Accessories such as handcrafted cuffs and head crowns with feathers, chains and an adjustable bone structure, royal looking brooches and embellished formal loafers added extra punch to the show.Speaking to MAIL TODAY, designer Nikhil Mehra shared, “Couture for us is about refinement. It’s in the details of the craft that makes every ensemble a special creation.” Designer Shantanu Mehra added, “Many brides want a complete look from us for their wedding. As a result, the inclusion of accessories and elaborate head gear has been a natural progression in our design expression. These garments are not for the big day alone, but can be incorporated into a woman’s wardrobe afterwards as well.”