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Protest against CBI ‘non-political’, but political support welcome: Mamata Banerjee

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Kolkata | Describing her sit-in over the CBI’s attempt to question Kolkata Police chief as a “non-political” protest, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday said support has poured in for her from different quarters of the country.

The chief minister, who has been sitting on a dharna since 8.30pm Sunday on a makeshift dais at Metro Channel here, said she will continue her “satyagraha” till the country and its Constitution are “saved”.

Banerjee also asked his party members to ensure that the protest was peaceful.

The unprecedented development came after the CBI’s attempt to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with multi-crore chit fund scams.

The CBI team, which went to Kumar’s residence in the city’s Loudon Street area Sunday, was denied permission, bundled into police jeeps and whisked to a police station.

Welcoming support for her dharna, Banerjee said, “It’s not a political programme. But all political parties can join us in our protest.”

Banerjee maintained that Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath, DMK president MK Stalin and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti were among those who called up to express solidarity to her protest.

The TMC chief Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of trying to organise a coup in the state.

She also alleged that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was directing the CBI to harass political opponents, as per orders of the prime minister.

Addressing her party workers, who raised slogans against Modi near her dais, Banerjee said, “We want a peaceful demonstration. Please do not burn any effigies here.”

The dias displayed a banner saying”Save the constitution, save the federal structure, save the police force, save the Indian Administrative Service and all ranks of civil service from disaster”.

The CM skipped meals and remained awake the entire night on the dais here along with some senior ministers and party members.

Criticising reports that questioned the presence of senior police officers at the demonstration, Banerjee said, “It’s a programme of the government and that’s why police officers are here.”

The TMC supremo had earlier said she would not attend the Assembly, where the state budget would be placed by Finance Minister Amit Mitra, on Monday.

Prior to that, a cabinet meeting would be held inside a makeshift room set up behind the stage.

Meanwhile, party workers hit the streets from morning in Hooghly, Howrah, Bankura, Burdwan East, Purulia, Birbhum and North 24 Parganas districts, officials said. Effigies of Modi and BJP national President Amit Shah were also burnt by them.

In Howrah and Hooghly districts, TMC activists obstructed train movement while they put up blockades on the national highway in Bankura district.

Shouting slogans against the CBI, the TMC cadres vowed to continue their fight till the Narendra Modi government is defeated in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Banerjee had also directed party leaders to organise protest marches across the state on Monday between 2 pm and 4 pm without inconveniencing the people.

In a tweet, the CM had earlier asserted that the Kolkata Police Commissioner “was among the best in the world and that his integrity, bravery and honesty are unquestioned”.

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Pulwama attack: Shiv Sena MLC wants boycott of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir

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Mumbai | Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, a Shiv Sena MLC wants people from other parts of India to boycott tourism in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

Sena legislator and spokesperson Manisha Kayande said boycotting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, “where youth, women and children pelt stones on security forces”, would hurt the economic resources of the northern state. “The need of the hour is to counter the mentality of keeping the state on tenterhooks by targeting Indian jawans,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful state that attracts visitors from across the globe, Kayande said, “Tourism benefits the local people. If these resources earned are used against the country and the security forces, Indians should boycott tourism in the state for next two years.”

“Whenever there is an encounter between militants and security agencies, locals pelt stones on jawans to help militants get away,” she claimed. The Sena leader also demanded boycott of all Chinese goods, saying that country was supportive of Pakistan, which has been fomenting trouble in India.

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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Rajinikanth and his party won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

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Chennai | Actor turned politician Rajinikanth has announced that he along with his party Rajni Makkal Mandram won’t be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

In an issued Press release Rajinikanth stated that his party Rajni Makkal Mandram (RMM) will not support any party and added that its focus will on next assembly elections. The Tamil actor also appealed to his supporters to that he wants them to vote for a party which will solve Tamil Nadu’s water issues.

Rajinikanth further mentioned that his photo or party symbol should strictly not be used for any propaganda. On 31 December 2017 Rajinikanth had announced his entry into politics with the intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

Out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election held on the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won 37 seats while PMK and BJP managed to win 1 seat each. DMK and Congress failed to win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

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Lok Sabha polls: Mumbai Congress promises jobs, unemployment allowance

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Mumbai | The Mumbai Congress is set to roll out a campaign aimed at providing employment to youth in the megacity and a monthly allowance to unemployed people if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The campaign, titled ‘Chalo Ward Abhiyaan’, taken up in view of the “rising unemployment in the country”, will commence from Monday, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a statement. The city Congress unit has already started working on the plan and printed around six lakh forms, he said.

The Youth Congress workers will be visiting every house in all the Assembly segments in Mumbai to ensure that every youngster fills these forms, Nirupam said. “Those who fill the forms will be given allowance cards. If we are voted to power, the allowance card holders will be given preference in employment, or else they will provided unemployment allowance,” he said.

Nirupam said people between 18 and 40 years of age would be eligible for the unemployment allowance. The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already announced unemployment allowances of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per month respectively, he noted.

Nirupam also said that unlike the ruling BJP, the Congress will “actually walk the talk”, if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

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