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BJP’s defeat in bypolls signals ‘acche din’ for Congress: Shiv Sena

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Mumbai | Taking a dig at its ally BJP over the recent debacle in Karnataka bypolls, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said the poll outcome indicates that “acche din” (good days) will return for the Congress in 2019, when general elections are due.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party also said the BJP’s defeat in a string of Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls in the country would infuse a “fresh lease of life” in the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

In an editorial laced with sarcasm in the party mouthpiece “Saamana”, the Sena also said the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) probably lost in Karnataka for ignoring poll promises like the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and for “imposing some other agenda”.

Mocking the BJP, the edit said the party should think why its “losing streak” is continuing unabated even as some “revolutionary changes” are taking place in the country under the BJP-led government by its own admission.

In a major setback to the BJP, the JD(S)-Congress coalition candidates Tuesday won four of five constituencies–three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats–that went to polls last week.

The defeat was more stinging for the BJP as the party lost its bastion Ballari Lok Sabha seat to the Congress.

“The BJP would study and introspect its losses in the bypolls, starting from Uttar Pradesh, in its own way. But, when so much good is happening in the country and revolutionary changes are taking place according to the ruling party, then why its losing streak is not stopping?

“The defeat of the BJP (in various bypolls) would give a fresh lease of life to the Congress,” the Sena said.

The BJP had suffered a stunning electoral upset in the bypolls for Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh earlier this year, months after it lost bypolls for Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok sabha seats, also in UP.

While Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan won the Kairana seat, Naeemul Hasan of the Samajwadi Party bagged the Noorpur Assembly seat.

The Sena, which is a constituent of the BJP-led coalition governments in Centre and Maharashtra, also questioned why the “jod-tod (make-break) mathematics of the BJP is not working now”.

The allies of the ruling party must be wondering now about what happened to the ‘Modi-wave’ prevailing in 2014, it said.

The Sena said the BJP’s announcement for “Congress-mukt Bharat” seems to have fallen flat on face.

“The BJP had spoken about a Congress-free India in 2014 and promised to usher in ‘acche din’. However, in a span of just four years, the ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ slogan seems to be falling flat. At the same time, the results of Karnataka by-polls indicate that ‘Acche din’ are returning for the Congress,” it said.

From clinching 282 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has lost 10 seats in the subsequent bypolls, and that the recent poll outcome should ring alarm bells for the party, the edit said.

“This (poll) outcome may be the result of the BJP keeping its promises of Ram temple, abolishing article 370 and Uniform Civil Code at the side and imposing some other agenda,” the Sena said sarcastically in its edit.

The Karnataka BJP had said the Congress and the JD(S) won the elections by “misusing money and power”.

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Court takes cognisance of defamation plea against Shashi Tharoor for remark against PM Modi

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New Delhi | A Delhi court on Friday took cognisance of a criminal defamation complaint filed against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for his alleged “scorpion” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal fixed December 22 for recording the statement of the complainant, Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar. The complaint alleged that Tharoor, with “mala fide intention, made the statement which is not only abuse of the Hindu deity but also defamatory”.

In his complaint, Babbar said being a vice-president of the BJP’s Delhi unit, he was “identified as a worker/supporter of Narendra Modi and BJP” and that Tharoor’s statement hurt his religious sentiment.  The complaint termed the statement “intolerable abuse” and “absolute vilification” of the faith of the people.

Tharoor stoked a controversy last month while speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival, claiming that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”. The complaint has been filed under sections 499 and 500 of IPC relating to defamation. If convicted, Tharoor may face a maximum punishment of two years in jail.

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Uttar Pradesh: Thakur leader Raja Bhaiya launched new political party

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Lucknow | Six-time MLA and Thakur community Raghunath Pratap Singh on Friday announced the launch of his new political party called ‘Jan Satta Party’.

Addressing the media during the launch Singh said,”I have completed 25 years in politics, have been an Independent politician and MLA, so now have decided to form a political party.” He further added that he has approached Election Commision for registration.

Popularly known by the name Raja Bhaiya, Singh is currently an MLA from Kunda in Uttar Pradesh. He was a cabinet minister of Food and Civil Supplies Department during the Samajwadi Party government. He has also served as a minister in the cabinet of Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh’s government.

According to political pundits, the formation of a new political party by Raja Bhaiya is an attempt to influence the upper caste of voters in Uttar Pradesh which will indirectly help the BJP in the upcoming elections against the possible SP-BSP alliance. Earlier a close aide of the Samajwadi party, Raja Bhaiya in the last Rajya Sabha elections voted for the BJP candidate. He clearly stated that he won’t be voting in favour of the BSP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls due to his differences with BSP supremo Mayawati.

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Afridi’s comments on Kashmir endorsed by Pakistan citizens: Shiv Sena

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Mumbai | The Shiv Sena Friday latched on to former Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi’s remarks that his country “does not want Kashmir” and said all sane Pakistanis would endorse the view.

The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said Pakistan’s government and military chief gave more impetus on trying to harm India than governing the country as a result of which it has to seek external financial aid even 70 years after Independence.

In a video that has gone viral, Afridi is heard saying, “I believe that Pakistan does not want Kashmir, and India too should not be given the state. Kashmir should be an independent country.” He went on add that “humanity” or “insaniyat” should be prioritised.

In a swipe at the affairs of his own country battling financial woes and sectarian strife, the Pakistani all-rounder added, “Pakistan can’t handle its four provinces”. Afridi, while speaking on the matter later, however, has blamed the Indian media for quoting him out of context. Making a U-turn, Afridi has now said that “Kashmir belongs to Pakistan”.

The Sena’s editorial Friday stated, “Pakistan has become so poor in trying to support terrorism and corruption that it now is left with only the option of selling cattle and vehicles from the Prime Minister’s residence.”  It claimed that Pakistan was on the verge of a financial breakdown and it had been relegated to begging for a bailout from countries like China, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) turned down its aid request.

“If the country needs financial oxygen to keep its economy going, alive, how will it take care of Kashmir? Not just Afridi, every sane Pakistani will hold the same view. However, who asks the common man there?” the editorial questioned. “The government and the military chief there give more impetus on harming India than doing good for its people. Therefore, they have to beg for aid even 70 years after Independence,” it said.

The Sena further dubbed Afridi as “anti-Indian” and said he has, in the past, made derogatory statements against India. Citing examples, it said Afridi had shown a soft corner for 13 terrorists eliminated by Indian security forces, and has been repeatedly advocating Independence for Kashmir.

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