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Shiv Sena has no role in temple movement: UP Dy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya

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Ayodhya | Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday disapproved of the Shiv Sena’s push for constructing a Ram temple here, saying the party had no role in the temple movement.

Maurya’s remarks came a day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked the BJP-led NDA government to declare a date for the construction of the Ram temple.

“There is no problem in Uddhav Thackeray catching a glimpse of Ram Lalla… But, had Balasaheb Thackeray been alive, he would have prevented Uddhav from doing whatever he is doing, Maurya told PTI on the phone.

The Shiv Sena had no role in the temple movement or even in the Dharam Sabha, though Balasaheb Thackeray would support the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, he said.

He said Uddhav Thackeray should take the VHP, “which is leading such a large-scale movement, along with his party. There is no point creating a divide”.

The deputy chief minister, who was part of the VHP during the Ram temple movement, said, The devotees of Lord Ram know who can actually make a sacrifice now and who had made a sacrifice earlier.

Maurya also denounced Akhilesh Yadav’s statement that the Army must be deployed for the Dharam Sabha, saying the remarks showed the Samajwadi Party chief’s frustration.

Referring to the firing on the Kar Sevaks in Ayodhya in 1990, he said, “If Akhilesh Yadav is thinking that a 1990-like situation will prevail, then this will not happen under the government headed by Yogi Adityanath. We will provide adequate security to all and take necessary action.”

“This is a Dharam Sabha, and there is no need to deploy the Army, and Akhilesh Yadav must understand this,” the UP deputy chief minister said.

Asked about a section of the Muslim community feeling apprehensive about the event, he said, “No one needs to fear (anything). There is peace in Uttar Pradesh. The government has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.”

Maurya said, A large section of the Muslim community wants a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi. However, some political parties that indulge in appeasement politics are trying their best to create hindrances.”

The BJP supports the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, and it has assumed the shape of a national movement. For the BJP, Ram temple has never been an election issue, but has been a matter of faith and devotion. There is no point in deriving any electoral mileage from this issue, he added.

The UP’s deputy chief minister also made it clear that no mosque, memorial or tomb (maqbara) in the name of Babar will be allowed to come up at Ram Janmabhoomi.

Asked about a date for the construction of Ram temple, Maurya said, Till the time the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, neither the BJP nor other organizations associated with the temple movement can tell the dates. This is the job of the VHP, the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and the seers. The BJP will lend its moral support to this movement.

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Fadnavis hiding corruption charges against 16 ministers: Dhananjay Munde

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Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai | Senior NCP leader Dhananjay Munde on Tuesday hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for “covering up” corruption charges against “16 of his ministers”.

He was speaking at a function “Rashtra Maharashtra” organised by the BBC Marathi News Service. “We have nailed 16 ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government on corruption charges with clinching evidence.

However, Fadnavis has tried to cover them up and has, therefore, committed a sin,” Munde, the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Council, claimed. Munde said there were no charges of corruption against Fadnavis, though he added that he would continue to probe to find out more.

Hitting out at the ruling BJP for “politicising” the martyrdom of soldiers, Munde said the party was taking credit for the brave deeds of the armed forces personnel. On Amit Shah’s claim, at some political rallies, that 250 terrorists perished in the February 26 IAF air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in Pakistan, Munde wanted to know where the BJP chief was getting such figures which even security agencies were not privy to.

Against the backdrop of NCP chief Sharad Pawar withdrawing from the April-May Lok Sabha contest, Munde refuted insinuations that all was not well in the Pawar household.

“Pawar saab had announced long back he would not contest Lok Sabha polls anymore. But we had requested him to fight the 2019 polls to send a strong message, which he had said he would consider,” Munde said, terming Pawar’s decision to withdraw from Lok Sabha polls as right.

On queries that the “mahagathbandhan” had no face (prime ministerial candidate) to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “Please don’t forget even the NDA has lost several alliances which raise question marks over Modi’s acceptability. This is Modi’s incompetence. Besides, several parties in different states have started uniting themselves.”

He also refuted talk that he was part of dynastic politics by claiming he had broken ties in 2012 with the family of BJP stalwart late Gopinath Munde, who is his uncle.

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Lok Sabha polls: CPI(M) announces 13 more candidates,to wait for Congress response on alliance

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Kolkata | The CPI(M)-led Left Front on Tuesday announced candidates for 13 more Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, taking the total number of its contestants to 38.

The grouping, however, kept its door for seat sharing talks with the Congress open till Wednesday evening by not declaring nominees in four seats, which the national party had won in the 2014 general elections.

Even the list of 38 candidates could be altered if the Left Front gets a positive response from the Congress by tomorrow evening on an alliance, the front’s chairman Biman Bose said. The development came a day after the Congress announced candidates for 11 seats including Raiganj and Murshidabad, which the CPI(M) had won in 2014.

“We announced a list of 38 candidates. We are not announcing the names of four seats which the Congress had won the last time. We will wait till Wednesday evening for a response from the Congress,” Bose told reporters here.

“If there is no response, we will go ahead with the remaining four seats. But if we get a positive response, things can change. The list that I announced today can also be changed,” he said.

“We hope good sense will prevail and the Congress will realise the need for maximum pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes in the state. We will wait for their response,” Bose said.

In response, the Congress said it cannot be browbeaten this way. “We won’t bow down before such threats or ultimatum. We have a party policy to follow and we can’t just rush into a decision. We have to discuss the matter. Let’s see what happens,” chairman of the Congress’s state coordination committee Pradip Bhattacharya told PTI.

The Left Front announced its first list of candidates for 25 seats in West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls last Friday leaving 17 constituencies for the Congress. But the Congress was not happy with the seats that were left for the party by the Front.

On the claims by the Congress that it was not given enough seats, Bose said the party should examine its percentage of votes in all the 42 seats in 2014 polls before making such comments. “There are several seats where the Congress’ vote share was between 1.5 and 2 per cent,” Bose said.

After weeks of parleys failed to resolve the impasse over distribution of seats, the West Bengal unit of the Congress on Sunday called off the talks, saying it did not want any alliance by compromising the party’s dignity.

Since the beginning of seat-sharing talks between them, several issues have cropped up time and again. The initial impasse over Raiganj and Murshidabad seats were resolved after the intervention of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and the left party had got the two constituencies.

In 2014, the CPI(M) won Raiganj and Murshidabad in a four-cornered contest, though they have been traditional Congress strongholds.

In the 42-member assembly, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has 34 MPs followed by the Congress with four. The BJP and the CPI(M) each has two members in the house. The state will go to polls in seven phases from April 11.

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National Conference fields retired HC judge Hasnain Masoodi from Anantnag

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Srinagar | The National Conference (NC) has fielded former Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi, known for his landmark judgement on Article 370, from the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.

The 65-year-old former judge, who retired from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in January 2016, is currently serving as the chairman of Selection-cum-Oversight Committee under the Juvenile Justice Act. “The party has decided to field Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi from the Anantnag-Pulwama parliamentary constituency,” NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters at party’s head office at Nawai-Subha here.

In Oct 2015, Justice Masoodi had ruled that Article 370, granting special status to the state, is permanent. “Article 370 though titled as ‘Temporary Provision’ and included in Para XXI titled ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’ has assumed place of permanence in the Constitution,” a division bench of justices Hasnain Masoodi and Janak Raj Kotwal had ruled.

“It is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation, in as much as Constituent Assembly of the State before its dissolution did not recommend its Amendment or repeal,” the bench had added.

Also, the NC parliamentary board had on Monday decided to field party president Farooq Abdullah from the Srinagar-Budgam constituency and senior leader and former Speaker of the state assembly Muhammad Akbar Lone from the Baramulla-Kupwara Lok Sabha constituency.

The NC has not yet announced the candidates for the remaining three seats — two in the Jammu region and one in the Ladakh region of the state. The party is in talks with the Congress for an alliance and has left the decision on it to its president. “The parliamentary board of the party has authorised Abdullah to take a final decision on the alliance,” the NC general secretary said.

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