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Shatrughan Sinha chooses RJD’s Iftaar party over JD(U)’s

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Shatrughan Sinha

Patna | Disgruntled BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha on Wednesday attended an Iftaar party hosted by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav here, triggering speculations about his future political move.

The Iftaar at Yadav’s 5, Circular Road residence coincided with a similar feast for “rozedars” held at the Haj Bhavan, which was organized by the ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar and where the actor-turned-politician remained conspicuous by his absence.

“It is an auspicious and happy occasion. Iftaar parties are a part of our composite culture. Lalu Prasad (RJD supremo) is my dear friend. I am delighted to be among my family friends,” Sinha told reporters.

Asked why he skipped the Iftaar hosted by the JD(U), the Patna Sahib MP claimed he did not have knowledge of the Haj House function.

Asked whether his presence at a function hosted by an opposition party leader while skipping the one hosted by an ally of his party could lead to bitterness, he asserted “iftaar only sweetens relationships”.

When pressed further by journalists, he responded with his trademark – Khamosh!

The actor-turned-politician spent close to half an hour at Yadav’s residence, where Lalu Prasad – sentenced for fodder scam cases and currently out on bail for medical treatment – was, however, not present.

Restrained by the Jharkhand High Court – which had granted him provisional bail – from interacting with the media and makig political statments, the former Bihar Chief Minister has avoided making appearances in the public.

Speaking on the occasion, Tejashwi Yadav – who is the RJD heir apparent – regretted his absence at the Iftaar hosted by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and said “our programme had been decided long ago so I could not be present there. But our Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha is representing our party and I hope that the Iftaar at Delhi sends out a strong message in favour of opposition unity”.

Tejashwi’s elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, MLA, and eldest sister Misa Bharti were also present at the Iftaar, seeking to put to rest recent speculations about sibling rivalry that was triggered by a tweet from Tej Pratap.

“Tej Pratap never said that he had a problem with his brother or sister. It was a creation of the media. Today all the mischief-mongers have got a reply seeing all of us together”, Misa Bharti told reporters.

At the JD(U) iftaar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and state JD(U) chief Bashistha Narayan Singh, JD(U) MLC Ashok Chowdhury – who made the prepartions – and state BJP president Nityanand Rai were among those who attended.

Dissident RJD MLA Maheshwar Yadav also turned up at the JD(U) iftaar and showered praises on the Chief Minister.

Politics

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

Image Source: Web

  • 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

Image Source: Web

  • 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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