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Anything can happen until polls are announced: Nitish Kumar



Kumar; BJP; bihar

Patna | Deftly side-stepping queries on the face-off between the West Bengal government and the Centre, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Monday “anything” can happen in the country until the Lok Sabha elections are announced.

He, however, firmly ruled out the possibility of the Modi government making an attempt to dislodge Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee from power in view of the crisis.

Kumar pointed out that unlike in the past, “when Congress governments at the Centre used to clamp Presidents rule at will,” now there were clear guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, an all-out war broke out between the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government, with the West Bengal leader beginning a sit-in protest at a city landmark over the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams, insisting it stifled the spirit of “Constitution and federalism”.

“What is happening between the CBI and the West Bengal government is for them to explain. I am not in the habit of commenting on others. But this is all a matter of a month or so, until the Election Commission comes out with the poll schedule and model code of conduct comes into force,” Kumar said.

The chief minister was speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of his weekly public interaction programme ‘Lok Samvad’.

Asked whether he would have reacted in a manner similar to that of Mamata Banerjee had the police chief of his state been embroiled in a similar controversy, Kumar asked laughingly “do you think I will have a DGP with such a record?”

“An atmosphere of tension and bitterness prevails in the country. And we can witness anything, all types of things, in the next one month. These need to be watched and handled with patience,” he said.

Asked whether he thought such a confrontation between a state and the Centre was detrimental to the integrity of the country, he said that “nobody is concerned about the country. All are interested in votes. But our country is a great one. And it has weathered many odds.”

Kumar also disapproved of the refusal by the West Bengal administration to disallow Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from landing his helicopter in Balurghat and Raiganj, which forced him to address the rallies there over telephone.

“We have never heard such a thing. Elected representatives have a democratic right to interact with the people through rallies,” he said.

Asked about the allegations by opposition parties that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was thinking in terms of clamping Presidents rule in the Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal, the JD(U) chief said “this used to happen earlier when Congress governments imposed Presidents rule at will. We saw that in Bihar in 2005.”

Kumar was referring to the controversial decision by the then governor Buta Singh to dissolve the state assembly without giving an opportunity to any of the formations to face a floor test after the elections held in February, 2005 threw up a hung assembly.

Fresh elections were held in November which saw the JD(U)-BJP combine ousting the RJD and Congress from power in the state even as the apex court later ruled that the governor’s action was illegal.

Asked about the bandh called by the opposition parties in the state in protest against the lathi charge on RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha on Saturday, the chief minister said “it was another instance of tensions being created ahead of elections to garner votes.

“I have learnt that the police were provoked to use force and the demonstrators were the first to engage in physical aggression. I have seen many of this type since my student days,” Kumar said.


Pulwama attack: Shiv Sena MLC wants boycott of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir





Mumbai | Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, a Shiv Sena MLC wants people from other parts of India to boycott tourism in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

Sena legislator and spokesperson Manisha Kayande said boycotting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, “where youth, women and children pelt stones on security forces”, would hurt the economic resources of the northern state. “The need of the hour is to counter the mentality of keeping the state on tenterhooks by targeting Indian jawans,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful state that attracts visitors from across the globe, Kayande said, “Tourism benefits the local people. If these resources earned are used against the country and the security forces, Indians should boycott tourism in the state for next two years.”

“Whenever there is an encounter between militants and security agencies, locals pelt stones on jawans to help militants get away,” she claimed. The Sena leader also demanded boycott of all Chinese goods, saying that country was supportive of Pakistan, which has been fomenting trouble in India.

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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Rajinikanth and his party won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

News Desk



Chennai | Actor turned politician Rajinikanth has announced that he along with his party Rajni Makkal Mandram won’t be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

In an issued Press release Rajinikanth stated that his party Rajni Makkal Mandram (RMM) will not support any party and added that its focus will on next assembly elections. The Tamil actor also appealed to his supporters to that he wants them to vote for a party which will solve Tamil Nadu’s water issues.

Rajinikanth further mentioned that his photo or party symbol should strictly not be used for any propaganda. On 31 December 2017 Rajinikanth had announced his entry into politics with the intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

Out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election held on the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won 37 seats while PMK and BJP managed to win 1 seat each. DMK and Congress failed to win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

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Lok Sabha polls: Mumbai Congress promises jobs, unemployment allowance




Mumbai | The Mumbai Congress is set to roll out a campaign aimed at providing employment to youth in the megacity and a monthly allowance to unemployed people if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The campaign, titled ‘Chalo Ward Abhiyaan’, taken up in view of the “rising unemployment in the country”, will commence from Monday, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a statement. The city Congress unit has already started working on the plan and printed around six lakh forms, he said.

The Youth Congress workers will be visiting every house in all the Assembly segments in Mumbai to ensure that every youngster fills these forms, Nirupam said. “Those who fill the forms will be given allowance cards. If we are voted to power, the allowance card holders will be given preference in employment, or else they will provided unemployment allowance,” he said.

Nirupam said people between 18 and 40 years of age would be eligible for the unemployment allowance. The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already announced unemployment allowances of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per month respectively, he noted.

Nirupam also said that unlike the ruling BJP, the Congress will “actually walk the talk”, if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

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