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Contentious issues like Ram temple, triple talaq may harm NDA: Chirag Paswan

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Sheikhpura (Bihar) | The Lok Janshakti Party, a BJP ally in Bihar, on Saturday disapproved of contentious issues like the Ram temple and triple talaq being raised ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and expressed apprehension that deviating from the development plank could harm the NDA.

LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan expressed the view at a press conference in the district, which comprises a part of his Lok Sabha seat — Jamui.

“Development should be the poll plank for the NDA, which, I am confident, will help the coalition win more than 35 of the 40 seats in Bihar. I am hopeful that the election will be fought on the issue of development and contentious issues like the Ram temple and triple talaq will be kept at bay. These may harm the coalition’s prospects,” he said.

The young MP, who is the son of Union minister and the LJP’s founding president Ram Vilas Paswan, had expressed similar concerns last month after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost power in three of its strongholds — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Paswan’s statement came at a time when the issue of triple talaq has thrown Parliament into a turmoil and another BJP ally in the state, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), has refused to vote in favour of the bill in the Rajya Sabha after having abstained in the Lok Sabha.

Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention that an ordinance on the Ram temple will not be brought ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the issue and the delay in a decision on the title suit in the apex court are being resented by the hardliners within the BJP and the Sangh Parivar.

Replying to another query, Paswan said the LJP’s claim over the Munger Lok Sabha seat stood as of now.

“Neither of our allies (BJP and JDU) has approached us, expressing the desire to contest the seat. But if we are asked to give up our claim on the seat and offered some other constituency, it will be duly considered,” he added.

Notably, Munger is represented in the Lok Sabha by Veena Devi, wife of mafia don-turned-politician Suraj Bhan Singh who is a national vice-president of the LJP.

Singh has been fielding his wife in elections following his conviction in the murder case of former Bihar minister Brij Bihari Prasad in 2008.

Speculation has been rife that the Janata Dal (United) may insist on the seat for Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, who had won the seat for his party in 2009, but had lost it to Veena Devi five years later.

The JD(U), which had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls separately, returned to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2017.

The pitch has been queered for the NDA constituents in the constituency, represented in the past by luminaries like Madhu Limaye, with dreaded Mokama MLA Anant Singh throwing his hat in the ring.

Singh, who belongs to the Bhumihar caste like Veena Devi and Rajiv Ranjan Singh, has surprised all by expressing his desire to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Munger, even if it means taking on the Bihar minister whom he is said to hold in high esteem.

Once a loyalist of Kumar, Singh had quit the JD(U) ahead of the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls, voicing disapproval of the short-lived alliance with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and had retained Mokama for the third consecutive term as an Independent.

After having met state Congress election campaign committee chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh in Delhi last month, Singh had sung paeans to the RJD supremo and expressed his desire to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as a Grand Alliance candidate.

He was, however, rebuffed by Prasad’s sons Tejashwi and Tej Pratap Yadav.

Singh has, thereafter, declared that he will contest from Munger as an Independent and make all the other candidates lose their deposits.

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Govt brought 10 percent quota law to ‘win some votes’: Sitaram Yechury

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Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi | CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday hit out at the Centre over the new law to give 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections from general category and alleged the move was to “win some votes.”

“An ill-thought and poorly planned proposal which has been pushed by Modi govt only in desperate hope of winning some votes. Why are no funds being made available to central institutions for expansion? Why does Modi govt want to destroy these institutions?” he tweeted.

The bill was introduced by the government and passed amid criticism by the opposition in the recently concluded winter session of Parliament.

He alleged that the government was damaging farmers and no amount of rhetoric can make up for the loss.

“No amount of jumlas and tamashas can cover up the kind of wilful damage caused to farmers by Modi government, the worst and most callous in independent India’s history,” he said.

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Supreme Court asks search committee on Lokpal to recommend names by Feb end

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government

New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed a February end deadline for the search committee on Lokpal to recommend the panel of names for appointment of the first anti-graft ombudsman of the country.

The search committee is headed by former apex court judge Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai,

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the Centre to provide the search committee with the requisite infrastructure and manpower to enable it to complete its work.

The bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and S K Kaul, said it would hear the matter again on March 7.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench there were certain problems like lack of infrastructure and manpower due to which the search committee was not able to hold deliberations on the issue.

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BJP not involved in any operation to topple Cong-JDS government: Yeddyurappa

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Yeddyurappa

Bengaluru | BJP Karnataka chief B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday said no member of his party was involved in any operation to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

With the ongoing power tussle between the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and BJP in Karnataka intensifying, both sides have been trading charges of trying to poach each other’s MLAs.

“The BJP has nothing do with ruling coalition MLAs who are in Mumbai,” the former Chief Minister said and accused the Congress and JD(S) of trying to shift the blame on his party to cover up their ‘failures and inability’ to keep their flock together. “No one from the BJP has indulged in any kind of operation or luring Congress-JD(S) MLAs.

We had gathered all our MLAs atone place and were discussing about the preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls for the last two-three days. Todayall are coming back,” Yeddyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters here, he hit out at the Congress leaders, saying they talk about the Constitution, but everyone was aware of how they played with it since 1960. “Why do they have to fear if we gather our MLAs, I don’t understand. Internal fight within Congress and JD(S) is going out of control… to cover up their internal squabbles, they should not blame the BJP,” he added.

Yeddyurappa, who was in New Delhi and Gurugram along with 104 BJP MLAs for the last few days, returned to the city to visit the ailing 111-year-old prominent seer Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga mutt in Tumakuru district.

Reacting to Congress-JD(S) leaders’ claims that some BJP MLAs were in touch with them, Yeddyurappa said, “We are together. You (Congress-JD(S) have said four to five MLAs are in your contact. Call them. Let me see.

If your MLAs have gone to Mumbai or Delhi, what do we have to do with it? It is -Congress-JD(S)- your duty to keep your legislators intact. No one is in touch with us…I’mtelling you,”he added.

The Leader of Opposition in the assembly also questioned as to who the leaders of Congress-JD(S) combine were to question his party about camping in Gurugram. “Who are they to ask where we are going? You try tokeep your MLAs intact, why are you blaming us? Tomorrow they (Congress) have called their legislature party meeting. how many will come it will be known, their true colours will come out tomorrow.” “Without understanding that your MLAs are dissatisfied and disgruntled, don’t unnecessarily put blame on BJP,” Yeddyurppa said.

Pointing out that during S M Krishna’s chief ministership, Maharashtra MLAs were kept at a resort in Mysuru, and recently Gujarat MLAs were put up in a resort in Bengaluru, Yeddyurappa questioned as to “where did Congress’ democracy go then?”

Hitting out at Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Yeddyurappa said despite being taught a lesson by the people ofChamundeshwari constituency, he had notlearnt anything.

Siddaramaiah lost the Chamundeshwari assembly seat in the May polls, though he won from Badami. Lashing out at the BJP and calling it “shameless” for allegedly luring ruling coalition MLAs, Siddaramaiah on Wednesday had said that Yeddyurappa has grown old, but has no wisdom.

Yeddyurappa also targeted former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and called him “a political opportunist”. “…all his fights and principles are only limited to secure his and his family’s political interests.People of the state are well aware of Deve Gowda’s use and throw policy,” hesaid.

Targeting Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Yeddyurappa said 156 taluks were in the grip of drought, but the chief minister and his ministers are not working effectively. “What are you doing? Who is travelling- Chief Ministers and Ministers- What steps have you taken when farmers are in distress?” he questioned. “In such a grave situation, without doing your duty, you are trying to shift the blame on BJP. You will not gain anything from it,” he said.

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