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Bungalow damage row: Akhilesh terms it as BJP conspiracy

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Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today slammed the BJP over reports of damage to the bungalow vacated by him in the state capital, terming it as a “conspiracy” by the saffron party.

“The BJP it is rattled after repeated defeats in a series of by-elections,” the SP leader said at a hurriedly convened press conference here.

“It is the BJP’s conspiracy,” he charged.

His outburst came a day after UP Governor Ram Naik asked the state government to take action over the reported damage to the bungalow vacated by the former chief minister, calling it a serious matter involving the taxpayer’s money.

In a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Governor said reports about the damage at 4, Vikramaditya Marg, were doing the rounds in the media and among the common people.

He said this was a “serious matter”.

“The residences allocated to the former chief ministers belong to the Estates department and their maintenance is done through the taxpayers’ money,” he wrote.

“The state government needs to take proper action as per rules on the damage caused to the state’s property,” Ram Naik said.

The bungalow was vacated by the Samajwadi Party leader in compliance with a Supreme Court order that former chief ministers were not entitled to any government accommodation in Lucknow.

Video clips and photos had shown damage to a cycle track, on walls after air-conditioners seemed to have been removed and to the floor of what appeared to be a badminton court at the vacated bungalow.

Yadav had then said it was an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party to defame him.

The Governor also called the Estates department officials and was told that videography had been done at the houses vacated by the former chief ministers.

After the video clips surfaced, estates department official Yogesh Kumar Shukla had said officials will check the inventory of fittings provided at the bungalow.

The department will serve a notice if there was any damage done “intentionally” or if there was anything missing, he had said.

The Samajwadi Party had termed the video clips as an attempt to tarnish Yadav’s image, saying his popularity was continuously growing after the defeat of the BJP in recent bypolls.

It asked why the bungalows vacated by other former chief ministers were not shown.

As the two parties sparred, the BJP had said the damage at the bungalow reflected Yadav’s “frustration”.

Following the Supreme Court order, the UP estates department had issued notices to six former chief ministers – Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh and Akhilesh Yadav.

Barring Congress veteran ND Tiwari, who is ailing in Delhi, all of them have now vacated their official bungalows.

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PDP-BJP breakup: a throwback to events that rocked the alliance boat

Arti Ghargi

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PDP-BJP

Three years after the PDP-BJP formed a coalition government on the promise of peace and development to the people of J&K, the BJP pulled out of the coalition.

 

Back in 2015, when the BJP and PDP formally announced the post-poll coalition, the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has said, “This alliance government is not for power-sharing but to win hearts and minds of the people of the state.” Three years after the coalition that formed the government on the promise of peace and development to the people of J&K, has fallen apart.

After months of strained relation, the BJP finally announced that it is pulling out of the alliance government with PDP. The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav who is in charge of Jammu and Kashmir said that under the government of ruling party the violence, terrorism and radicalisation has boomed and the fundamental rights of the people in the valley are being undermined. “Despite support from the Central government, PDP failed to control the situation. Shujaat Bhukhari’s killing is an example,” added Madhav.

The BJP’s decision has come after the failure of the Ramazan ceasefire in restoring peace and bringing normalcy.  On May 17, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced that during the month of Ramazan, the ceasefire will be observed. The move was welcomed by all the parties in Jammu and Kashmir. Reportedly, it was on the insistence of J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti that Centre took the decision despite the state BJP leadership opposing it. The ceasefire’s failure was highlighted by the brutal killings of Aurangzeb, an army jawan and Sujaat Bukhari- editor of Rising Kashmir.

The cracks started widening in the coalition when Centre decided to revoke it. However, the discontinued ceasefire wasn’t the only breaking point in the already tumbling ship of PDP-BJP coalition. Here’s a look back on the events that strained the BJP-PDP relations:

  • The Human Shield Row:

In April last year, a video of a Kashmiri man tied to Army jeep had gone viral. It was learnt that Major Gogoi of Indian Army had tied the Kashmiri Man to the army vehicle during the Lok Sabha by-poll in Srinagar to protect the vehicle from stone-pelters. The video invoked mixed reactions.

While BJP ministers backed Major Gogoi’s action, the J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti and PDP ministers unequivocally condemned the incident. Mufti not only expressed concern and anguish over the video but also said that the actions of the army major were unacceptable.

On the other hand, BJP National President Amit Shah lauded Major Gogoi for saving lives. “The work that Major Gogoi has done… saving the lives of the election party and the Jammu and Kashmir police personnel, I appreciate it and also support it,” Shah said.

PDP-BJP                                         Image Source: Web

 

  • Amarnath Yatra Attack:

The PDP-BJP government came under fire after the attack on Amarnath Yatris claiming eight lives. A private bus carrying around 56 passengers was returning from Amarnath Shrine when it came under the terrorist attack near Anantnag at 8.20 PM on Monday. The deadly attack claimed at least seven lives and left 19 pilgrims injured.

While LeT denied any responsibility in the attack, a senior official from the security forces had expressed the possibility that the attack on pilgrims could be an act of revenge as several terrorists of the outfit have been shot down by the forces in last few months.

The attack drew sharp criticism on the failure of the PDP-BJP coalition in reducing terror activities in the state.

Image Source: Web

  • Revocation of AFSPA:

The revocation of AFSPA from certain parts of J&K was one of the conditions put forward by the PDP during alliance. However, many in the BJP leadership were opposed to it.

BJP vice president and Incharge J&K, Avinash Khanna had said that BJP’s stand is very clear that AFSPA cannot be revoked unless and until peace and normalcy are restored in Jammu and Kashmir. His statement came two days after Mehbooba Mufti pitched in favour of revoking the AFSPA.

PDP-BJP

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  • The talks with Separatists:

Time and again the PDP-BJP allies were pitted against each other when it came to holding a dialogue with Separatist leaders of Kashmir. “Give me a roadmap on how to come out of the ongoing crises and I will make sure New Delhi starts a dialogue with all stakeholders. If they don’t, I won’t hesitate to leave the government,” Mehbooba told her party leaders, according to a senior PDP leader, the Firstpost reported.

However, both Amit Shah and Ram Madhav made it publicly clear that the party will not hold any dialogue with separatist leaders who are “not loyal to India”. This had left CM Mufti red-faced in front of her cadre. The PDP retorted saying that it was against the Agenda of alliance drafted by the two parties which stated that the state government will facilitate and help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all internal stakeholders.

PDP-BJP

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  • BJP ministers questioning Crime Branch report on Kathua Rape case:

The fresh strain was brought to the already tattering relation when two sitting J&K cabinet ministers of BJP participated in a rally supporting the accused in Kathua Rape case. The Kathua rape case drew widespread condemnation. However, the state BJP leadership questioning the Crime Branch investigation ordered by Mufti did not go down well with PDP. Reportedly, Mufti had even raised the issue of BJP leaders Lal Singh and CP Ganga “obstructing the process of justice” in the Kathua case with PM Narendra Modi. Both of them had to resign eventually.

  • Throwing out Haseeb Drabu:

Haseeb Drabu who was the finance minister in the cabinet of Mehbooba Mufti was one of the main architects of the PDP-BJP alliance. He was removed from the ministerial post after his controversial statement terming the Kashmir problem “not political”. Drabu was often a go-to man when it came to communication between the two parties. Pretty much it can be said that he was the one holding the alliance together. The BJP termed his removal as a “setback” for the coalition.

PDP-BJP

Image Source: Web

The alliance of two completely contrast ideologies was termed as “Unholy” even by the ally Shivsena of BJP. All the above incidents one by one helped in tearing the coalition apart. While it was evident during the last three years that the alliance will not sustain, it was to be seen who would pull the strings first.

Seems like, keeping in mind the larger picture of 2019 Lok Sabha election, BJP succeeded in making the first move.

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Politics

Kejriwal calls off nine day sit-in

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today called off his nine-day sit-in at the lieutenant governor’s office after bureaucrats started attending meetings with AAP ministers, said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Kejriwal

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Sisodia said several meetings, attended by IAS officers, were held during the day.

The bureaucrats have been at loggerheads with the AAP dispensation following the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in February.

“Arvind Kejriwal will come out of the L-G office. It was not a dharna. We were waiting to meet the lieutenant governor,” the deputy chief minister told reporters.

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Coming together of BJP, PDP just to grab power was opportunistic: Left parties

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The Left parties today said that the coming together of the BJP and the PDP after the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls in 2014 to form the government, was itself “opportunistic”.

Soon after the BJP decided to pull out of the ruling alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, the Left parties voiced their concern over the political and law-and-order situation in the state, and said the Centre should share its assessment of the present situation with all political parties.

“Such coalition should not have happened. These two parties have no similarities. They coming together was an opportunistic move to be in power,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

Demanding an all-party meeting, the CPI also criticised the Centre and alleged that the law-and-order situation in the state had been deteriorating since the coalition came to power.

“The situation in Jammu and Kashmir had been deteriorating ever seen the BJP-PDP coalition came to power. The present situation is worrisome. The home minister recently visited the state and met the chief minister and the state authorities.

“He was giving positive signals regarding peace in the Valley. What is the assessment of the Central government nobody knows. The government could have called an all-party meeting and shared its assessment,” CPI leader D Raja told PTI.

The left parties also said that they are keeping a close watch on the situation and would wait for the next move of the government.

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