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Forward Bloc against Left Front-Congress alliance in Bengal

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The AIFB’s decision comes in the midst of reports that a large section of state Congress leaders are favourable to an alliance with the CPI(M)-led Left Front in order to oust the
ruling TMC from power

CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is keeping his options open so far

Amidst speculation of a CPI(M)-Congress alliance before next year’s Assembly election in West Bengal, the All India Forward Bloc, a constituent of the Left Front, today said it was not in favour of aligningwith the Congress to oust the ruling Trinamool Congress from power.The AIFB’s decision comes in the midst of reports that a large section of state Congress leaders are favourable to an alliance with the CPI(M)-led Left Front in order to oust theruling TMC from power. “We feel both BJP and Congress are capitalist forces. We should maintain a equi-distance from both these parties. Our party’s stand is clear. We are not in favour of aligningwith the Congress in order to take on the TMC in West Bengal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Left will alone take on the ruling party,” AIFB general secretary Debabrata Biswas told PTI. Biswas said that the CPI(M) in its party congress has decided to maintain equi-distance from the BJP and the Congress, wondering what prompted to backtrack from thatdecision.”The Left Front is not a regional force. If there is an alliance with the Congress in Bengal, what will happen in Kerala and Tripura where Congress is our main opposition?”Biswas wanted to know. Asked if the AIFB would walk out of the Left Front in the event of the CPI(M) going in for the alliance, Biswas said, “This is a hypothetical question. It can’t be answeredthis way.”CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury earlier this month had said, “The question will come in January. We will tell you. Right now we are involved in struggles and party’sorganisational activities and our upcoming Plenum session.”

PM Modi to address defence top brass on board INS Vikramaditya

Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in a public rally at Thrissur yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the BJP had suffered most in Kerala during the last 50 years, adding that scores of party workers were “murdered” in the state for political reasons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will address a combined commanders’ conference on board the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the Kochi coast in Kerala.The Combined Commanders Conference is an annual three services event which is being held for the first time outside the national capital.Three service chiefs and other senior officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force will brief the Prime Minister about military issues and also put up suggestions in the one-day event.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister will also unveil former chief minister R. Shankar’s statue at Kollam and pay floral tributes to Sree Narayana Guru Mahasamadhi at Sivagiri inVarkala before returning to Delhi.Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in a public rally at Thrissur yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the BJP had suffered most in Kerala during the last 50 years, adding that scores of party workers were “murdered” in the state for political reasons.He also decried social untouchability in Kerala and said that several saints and Rishis had dedicated their lives to end social unsociability in the state and also lashed out at the Congress-led UnitedDemocratic Front (UDF) coalition and Communist Party of India (Marxist)-Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala and accused them of looting the state in turns.Prime Minister Modi arrived at Kochi Naval Base yesterday on a two-day trip to Kerala and was received by Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Ruling Left Front wins landslide victory in Tripura civic polls

CPI(M) supporters celebrate their victory in civic polls in Dharmanagar, north Tripura on Saturday

PTI
The ruling Left Front in Tripura has won a landslide victory in the election to 20 civic bodies in the state, including the 49-member Agartala Municipal Corporation.The CPI-M-led LF bagged 45 out of the 49 wards of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) leaving only four to opposition Congress, member secretary to the state election commission, Tamal Mazumder said. In the civic polls held on December 9, the LF candidates secured absolute majority in 13 municipal councils and six nagar panchayats in the state, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Altogether, elections were held in 310 seats in 20 civic bodies in which Left Front candidates won 291 and the opposition Congress secured 13 seats and BJP just 4. The rest two were won by independent candidates.This was the first time that BJP won seats in civic bodies. Of the 291 seats won by LF candidates CPI-M won 279, CPI five, RSP 6 and Forward Bloc just one seat.Convener of Left Front Committee and CPI-M central committee member Khagen Das congratulated the people of the state for LF’s thumping majority. “It is people’s verdict for Left Front’s good governance and relentless endevour for peace, tranquility and development,” he said.Agartala Municipality was elevated to the status of Agartala Municipal Corporation two years back. The civic body was formed in princely Tripura state in 1871 during the reign of Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya.

Counting for civic polls in Tripura begins amid tight security

EVMs were used to conduct the elections that took place on last Wednesday and over five lakh- electors would decide the fate of a -record breaking candidates 886 of all major political parties in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and nineteen Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats.

Representational Image
File Photo

Amid tight security counting for the civic body elections began on Saturday. The counting started from 8 am at 22 centres across the state. EVMs were used to conduct the elections that took place on last Wednesday and over five lakh- electors would decide the fate of a -record breaking candidates 886 of all major political parties in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and nineteen Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats. A total of 886 candidates, including 429 women, are in fray for 290 wards, which is a record in the state’s electoral history. Meantime, as many as 20,027 voters would decide the fate of 48 candidates in the by-elections. The ruling Left Front has already won 10 seats uncontested after the opposition parties failed to put up candidates. Of the total polling stations, 378 polling booths have been identified as ‘A’, while 279 polling booths have been rated as ‘B’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The main fight in the poll will be between the ruling Left Front and the opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Till now results of two AMC seats have been declared, which the CPM has won, while the Congress is in the second position.

Senior TMC leader asks party workers to show ‘restrain’ ahead of Assembly elections

Chatterjee, the Education minister, said while during the Left Front regime 32 colleges had come up in the state in the over three-decade long period, 30 colleges were established during the four and half year period of TMC government.

Partha Chatterjee

File Photo
Trinamool Congress (TMC) Secretary-General Partha Chatterjee on Saturday asked party activists to be restrained and be prepared to face the big challenge in the crucial time, ahead of assembly elections.”In our effort to reach out to people, everyone should be united. We must take everyone along us. We should not put the party in embarrassing situation,” Chatterjee told party workers here in South 24 Parganas district.He asked TMC workers not to bring out ‘jatha’ (rally) the same day of the CPI(M) procession “in the respective locality and rather bring it out the next day and thus not give them the chance.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chatterjee, the Education minister, said while during the Left Front reg ime 32 colleges had come up in the state in the over three-decade long period, 30 colleges were established during the four and half year period of TMC government. Even these included one for women, he added.Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim said while CPI(M) and Congress were having alliances, TMC will never go for any track with those who were responsible for the Nandigram ‘killings’ and Singur attack.Abhisek Banerjee, the national President of All India Trinamool Youth Congress, said by the name of taking ‘jathas’ CPI(M) was aiming to capture villages.State President of TMC Subrata Bakshi said people knew the party whose leader went on a fast for 26 days on Singur issue, will always remain on their side. “We had held 109 administrative meetings in four years time,” Bakshi said. The leaders were addressing a party workers’ meeting in Canning.

Bar bribery scam: LDF holds protest in Kerala Assembly

Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

LDF protests in Kerala Assembly

ANI
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) staged a protest in the Kerala Assembly on Monday demanding the resignation of Excise Minister K. Babu for his alleged involvement in the bar bribery scam.There was a proposal to hike the bar license fee to Rs. 25 lakh but the fee was fixed at Rs. 23 lakh in a meeting chaired by Babu. Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

People and party will decide on whether to contest: CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan

Earlier, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had stated that Achuthanandan should lead the Left Front during the assembly polls and it will do good for the Front, which has not been taken kindly by the Marxist party.

VS Achuthanandan

Veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan on Sunday said it was for the people and party to decide whether he should contest in the assembly polls to be held next year.”Whether I should contest or not, it will be as per the wish of the people and parties (of the Left Front), a beaming Achuthanandan told reporters here. Asked who will lead the Left Front in the polls, 92-year-old Achuthanandan, leader of the opposition in the assembly, said “who will lead the Front? People and prasthanam (party) will decide”, he said giving enough hints that he would be very much in the fray.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Achuthanandan, who led the LDF campaign in the recently held local body polls in which the CPI(M) headed front had emerged victorious giving a drubbing to the ruling Congress led UDF, had once again proved that he was the leader of the masses. The veteran leader’s remarks comes close on the heels of CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury hailing Achuthanandan’s contribution to the party saying “it is something our generation should learn from him”. The party had not yet fixed a retirement age, he had said in Delhi recently.Earlier, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had stated that Achuthanandan should lead the Left Front during the assembly polls and it will do good for the Front, which has not been taken kindly by the Marxist party. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said in Kozikode today that coalition partners should give the party freedom to choose their candidates.CPI(M) state committee will decide who will contest the polls, he said. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, an Achuthanandan beta noire, who stepped down after completing three consecutive terms in the party, is widely speculated to lead the Front in the assembly elections.

Medicines from India destroyed in Madhesi violence in Nepal

Kathmandu: Indian-origin Madhesi protesters in Nepal on Friday torched an ambulance and a truck carrying medicines worth over Rs two million imported from India near the border as sporadic violence returned to the Himalayan nation amid a political logjam over the new Constititution.

The truck with medicines was torched by the cadres of the agitating Joint Democratic Madhesi Front (JDMF) close to the Indian border town of Raxaul, despite an assurance by the protesters that they would allow vehicles to move into Nepal.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Nepal is facing a huge shortage of medicines and other essential goods due to a two-month-long agitation by the Madhesis in the Terai region, the police said.

The agitators hurled a petrol bomb on the vehicle in the Birgunj Municipality area of Parsa district last night as the vehicle headed towards Janakpur, a southern Nepal town, the police said.

The fire that erupted in the truck destroyed the medicines imported from India worth more than Rs two million.

On Thursday, the JDMF had issued a statement that they would allow movement of medicine-laden vehicles and would let the schools in southern Nepal function normally.

Meanwhile, the cadres of the agitating Madhesi Front also set an ambulance on fire, in Morang in eastern Nepal.

The vehicle was ferrying a sick child to a local hospital in district headquarters Biratnagar.

The child sustained injuries but is now safe, police said.

Police have arrested eight members of the agitating Madhesi parties for their alleged involvement in the incident.

Nepal has been hit by a major political crisis over the new Constitution opposed by Indian-origin Madhesis who have led an agitation and blockaded at key border trade points of Nepal with India, leading to a shortage of essential goods including fuel and cooking gas.

Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting against division of their ancestral homeland into seven provices in the new Constitution.

More than 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation from India has been badly affected.

The agitation by Madhesi groups has paralysed normal life across Nepal while the dearth of medicines has put lives of patients at stake.

PTI

Why you want celebrities for Chhath Puja? HC asks Bihari Front

The Collector allowed the organisation to hold the puja and erect a platform on the beach for performance of rituals but did not allow it to put up a temporary fence to create a dry zone and invite celebrities.

The Collector allowed the organisation to hold the puja and erect a platform on the beach for performance of rituals but did not allow it to put up a temporary fence to create a dry zone and invite celebrities.

File Photo
The Bombay High Court on Monday asked city-based Bihari Front as to why it wants to invite celebrities for taking part in rituals during Chhath Puja. Justice VL Achliya was hearing a petition filed by ‘Bihari Front’, of which former MP Sanjay Nirupam is also a member, challenging an order passed by the Collector of Mumbai suburban on November 5 prohibiting it from inviting celebrities during the Chhath festival, scheduled to be held on November 17 and 18 at Juhu beach.The Collector allowed the organisation to hold the puja and erect a platform on the beach for performance of rituals but did not allow it to put up a temporary fence to create a dry zone and invite celebrities. “Why do you (Bihari Front) want to call celebrities for such festivals?” Justice Achliya asked. Advocate Anirudh Garge, appearing for the organisation, told the court that they are only inviting former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who wants to celebrate the festival, and that she is not a celebrity. “We have been celebrating the festival for the last 18 years at Juhu beach and till date there has not been any complaint of violation of the rules and conditions imposed on us,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The petition further claimed that it is the discretion of the organisation whether or not to invite celebrities and the authority concerned cannot dictate terms after granting permission. The court today posted the petition for hearing on November 16 before a regular bench of the high court. Last month, the HC had refused to grant permission to cultural organisation ‘Mann Ranglo’ to hold Chhath Puja after observing that an end needs to be put to celebration of festivals with songs and dances, instead of rituals.Mann Ranglo approached the HC after the Collector refused it permission on the ground that it had violated noise pollution rules and other conditions laid down when permission was granted previously.

UP Assembly Elections 2017: It is not time to talk on Third Front, says CM Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav said his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to make SP a national party.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said this is not the time to talk about the Third Front.”There are no elections now. Why talk about the Third Front?” Akhilesh said while replying to a question about the Third Front.Earlier, after meeting Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday, Akhilesh had said they did not talk on Third Front. He said his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to make SP a national party.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Odisha, the UP chief minister said, “Here I find more bi-cycles than motor-cycles on the streets. You know, bi-cycle is our election symbol.””We will field candidates in about 50 Assembly seats and four Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in the next elections,” a senior Samajwadi Party leader said after Akhilesh held a meeting with leaders in the state party unit.

Bihar Polls: NCP quits Third Front after Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ‘pro-BJP’ statement

Tariq Anwar, the face of the Sharad Pawar-led party in Bihar, had said that at the time they joined hands that the Third Front of six parties, including NCP, had come together to uphold secularism by fighting the Congress and BJP.
File Photo
PTI
The Third Front in Bihar was jolted in the midst of the Assembly polls as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday decided to walk out of the grouping citing “pro- BJP statements” by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. NCP General Secretary and MP Tariq Anwar announced the party’s decision to quit the six-party Third Front at a press conference in Patna.Anwar said the decision was in reaction to Mulayam’s purported comment that there was a wave in favour of BJP and that the saffron party would form the government in the coming days in Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The statement by Mulayam while campaigning for his party’s candidates in Rohtas and Aurangabad in the second phase of voting is sad and unfortunate,” charged the NCP Lok Sabha member from Katihar. The second phase of polling in Bihar is to be held on Friday.Anwar, the face of the Sharad Pawar-led party in Bihar, had said that at the time they joined hands that the Third Front of six parties, including NCP, had come together to uphold secularism by fighting the Congress and BJP.”But the SP chief’s statement to directly or indirectly help BJP betrays that understanding,” he told reporters.SP, NCP, Janadhikar Party of Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, Samajwadi Janata Party of former Union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav, National Peoples Party of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma and Samras Samaj Party of former Union minister Nagmani had come together as part of the Third Front.NCP, which had joined the Grand Secular Alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress initially and was allocated three seats, had quit that grouping charging it was being underestimated by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. The party later joined hands with SP, which had also quit the grand secular alliance complaining about Congress’s membership of it.

Trinamool Congress’ clean sweep in civic polls

The Trinamool Congress leadership rubbished allegations saying that the developmental activities were giving good results and that the opposition parties have no popular support as a result of which are crying foul.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Trinamool Congress on Saturday trounced the Left Front in three municipal poll results amid allegations of widespread rigging and terror.In the eastern fringes of Kolkata, the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation registered an emphatic win for the green brigade and dealt a severe blow to the Left Front’s bid to come back to political competitiveness with Mamata Banerjee and her party. The ruling party won 37 seats of the total 41 seats in Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation. Two seats each were won by the Left Front and the Congress.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the opposition parties smelt a rat and said that the Trinamool Congress’ victory was nothing but an abuse of power by the administrative machinery to muffle the recently revived Left Front morale.“This is not a reflection of the people mandate rather an evidence of the electoral malpractices indulged in by the ruling party,” said Asim Dasgupta, mayoral candidate of the Left Front, who lost among other Left candidates. The Trinamool Congress leadership rubbished allegations saying that the developmental activities were giving good results and that the opposition parties have no popular support as a result of which are crying foul.“The civil society and people at large have reposed their faith on Trinamool in the civic polls. People have democratically rejected the politics of disruption, violence and bandhs. They have voted for development. People have witnessed widespread development in the last four years. Support for Mamata Banerjee is surging,” said Partha Chatterjee, secretary general, Trinamool Congress.In Bally, it was a clean sweep by Trinamool Congress winning all the 16 seats. Bally was a Left fortress till few years back, but they could not bag any seats in the polls.The scene at Asansol was no different. Trinamool Congress came out with a winning streak after bagging 75 seats out of 106.

From Dadri murder to Cow Ministry: 8 incidents that prove that India has gone to the cows

From labs at ports to check for cow meat to being fined for carrying cow urine, things seem to have taken an ‘udderly’ bizarre turn!

Getty Images
In the last year, the mass hysteria related to cows has reached new heights. It has oscillated from the ridiculous (women charged Rs 17k for failing to declare cow urine in New Zealand) to macabre (Dadri murder). Here are seven incidents which indicate that the nation has, quite literally, gone to the cows:1) Kashmir MLA beaten up in Assembly for hosting beef partyAn independent MLA from J&K, Engineer Rashid, was beaten up by BJP MLAs inside the Assembly after he organised a beef party to oppose restrictions on cow slaughter. Before proceedings of the House began on Thursday, BJP MLAs caught hold of Rasheed and thrashed him, as footage of the incident was beamed on TV channels across India. While senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh did apologise, he said Rashid hosting a beef party was wrong. The incident was condemned by CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the National Conference<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“This is the first time I have seen such behaviour in the House. Speaker suspends opposition members in a blink, here he said he will look into the matter and investigate.” Omar Abdullah told ANI. “If they can’t control their emotions they should avoid the House. Meanwhile, CBFC member Ashoke Pandit who was terribly upset about the AIB roast justified the action saying people like Engineer Rashid only understand this kind of language. 2) Labs to check cow meat exportsIt’s nice to know that the government is really, really proactive when it comes to important things like porn or cow meat export. Union Minister of State for Agriculture and love jihad conspiracy theorist Sanjeev Kumar Balyan made the announcement that to check the illegal export of cow meat, it would be monitored by a software called ‘Meat Net’. Balyan also said that labs would be set up at ports to check that no illegal meat is being exported. Isn’t it nice to see that taxpayer’s money is being used so diligently? (Read more here)3) Man killed for allegedly eating beef Perhaps the most macabre tale in the list, a Muslim man was murdered on 28 September in Dadri, based on rumours of cow slaughter. After an announcement made by the priest, who was allegedly prodded by a BJP member’s son, a mob visited the house of Mohammed Akhlaq and brutally murdered him after discovering some meat in his fridge. Even more ironically, the forensic team took the meat to check if it was beef (it wasn’t), which led his daughter to ask: “Will they bring my father back if it isn’t beef?” An even bigger question is — why is everyone trying to justify the murder as something that was accidental? (Read: Is cow slaughter becoming the Hindutva equivalent of drawing the Prophet?)3) The demand for a Cow Ministry An organisation called the Bharatiya Gau Kranti Manch (Indian Cow Revolution Front) which is against cow slaughter, appealed to the Odisha state government to declare the cow as ‘The Mother of the Nation’ or ‘Rashta Mata’, according to an iamin.in report. BGKM or the Indian Cow Revolution Front also demanded a separate ministry called the Go-Mantralay (Cow Ministry) devoted to the conservation and development of cows! A basic memorandum with five demands has been submitted to the state government by Gopalmani Praharaj which constitutes of the following:Formation of the cow ministry
Total prohibition on cow slaughtering
Prohibition of using chemicals in agriculture
Usage of gobar gas in cooking
Prohibition of farming hybrid cows
4) Cow urine as disinfectants in hospitalsOne of the biggest government hospitals in northern India, Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh (SMS) is considering replacing phenyl with cow urine as a disinfectant. The hospital would use a product called Gau Clean. The order came from health minister Rajendra Rathore. SMS hospital superintendent Dr Man Prakash Sharma said, “We have constituted a committee of three doctors which will test the effectiveness of the ‘gau mutra’ disinfectant.” The committee set up to evaluate the effect of Gau Clean will analyse its effectiveness in areas like the ICU, hospital floor and on medical equipment.” Rajasthan’s minister of Gaupalan (cow-rearing) department Otaram Dewasi said, “Our primary aim is to find out how cows can become a source of income. If we want people to keep cows, then it should also earn some revenue. At Pathmeda gaushala, the researchers are trying to make products from cow urine so that it could become a source of income.” Read more here… 5) Woman charged Rs 17,000 for failing to declare cow urine at NZ airportWhile many of us have often faced fines for failing to declare goods at airports, an Indian woman in New Zealand was charged 400 NZ dollars ((Rs 17,000) for failing to declare two bottles of cow urine. “When the officers started to inspect the contents of the luggage, they found two bottles of cow urine for medicinal purposes,” said Antony Owen, Ministry for Primary Industries central region team manager for border clearance.Owen said the belief that animal products have healing properties can stop people from thinking they need to declare it. “We probably get things like this because they are related to culture, religion or traditional medicines. When they fall into that category that can cloud people’s judgement sometimes in what they’re declaring,” he was quoted as saying by New Zealand-based 3 News. Read more here… 6) Make the cow the national animalNot happy with the maternal status that the cow seems to have, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij demanded that the Centre declare the cow the ‘national animal’. He told reporters that he would send a request to PM Narendra Modi. Earlier he had tweeted: “Declare Cow as National Animal of India instead of Royal Bengal tiger”. Read more here… 7) Muslim man saves cow from well Even as people raged against the incident that took place at Dadri, a young Muslim man in Lucknow, UP saved a cow that had fallen in a well. To add more melodrama to the news, some reports said that the boy was apparently mid-Namaaz (prayer) when he volunteered to save the animal. Zaki was quoted saying: “I felt bad, what if the cow had broken a foot or hurt itself?” The 20-year-old was lowered into a well with a strap attached to a crane and rescued the cow. Zaki’s efforts were rewarded by CM Akhilesh Yadav who was handed a Rs 2 lakh award for his bravery.Frankly, to borrow a phrase from Joey in Friends, the cow’s opinion (or of the people who claim to be her saviour) is no longer a moo(t) point!

Left workers’ protest in Bengal turns violent, police resort to lathicharge

Kolkata: Several Left activists, including CPI-M central committee member Dipak Dasgupta, and some policemen were injured when Left workers clashed with police during a protest-march to the city police headquarters on Thursday.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The police resorted to latchicharge at Ganesh Chandra Avenue where the protesters broke barricades during the “march to Lalbazar” programme to protest against alleged police atrocity against people and their democratic rights.

A senior police officer said several police personnel were injured when Left workers resorted to brickbatting and stone-pelting.

CPI-M politburo member Mohammed Salim claimed, “Several of our leaders, including our central committee member Dipak dasgupta, were injured in the unprovoked police lathicharge.”

CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said, “We told them that a Left delegation will go and submit a memorandum. But they resorted to unprovoked lathicharge on our supporters. We condemn this. We want to tell Mamata Banerjee that the people of the state will give them a befitting reply.”

He alleged that the brutal lathicharge was a proof of the barbaric and undemocratic attitute of the state administrtation.

The police said that they were forced to resort to lathicharge when attacked by the demonstrators in which some police personnel received injuries.

“More than 50 police personal were injured in the attack by the protestors. We are awaiting further reports,” a senior police officer said.

Several of the injured, including women and the elderly, were admitted to nearby hospitals.

The Left’s march to Lalbazar was organised within a month after a march to the state secretariat at Howrah which had also witnessed violence and September 2 general strike. The Left Front organised the march from three points in the metropolis, one from Dorina Crossing led by opposition leader Surya Kanta Mishra while Left Front chairman Biman Bose led the march from Ganesh Chandra Avenue.

Md Salim, CPI-M politburo member, led the march from College Street.

The police, along with officials of the Rapid Action Force, lathicharged protesters at Ganesh Chandra Avenue when they broke two of the three barricades.

The protesters were seen throwing rotten eggs towards the police barricade.

A few mediapersons also received injuries during the clash.

“More than 200 of our supporters have been injured today during the lathicharge. We were protesting peacefully, we wanted to go to Lalbazaar, but we were stopped,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose told PTI.

The TMC leaderership rubbished the allegations and said that the Left was trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the state.

“They have lost all connect with the masses and that is why they are trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the state. The more they resort to hooliganism the more they will be detached from the masses,” a senior TMC leader said.

Meanwhile, Kolkata Police Special Additional and Joint Commissioner of Police (HQ) Rajeev Mishra claimed that it was Left supporters who started pelting stones and attacked police personnel with sticks holding flags.

“And it was after that the police chased them,” Mishra said, adding that around 15 policemen were badly injured in the clash with the Left supporters on Thursday.

PTI

Bihar Polls: Janadhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav releases poll manifesto

Yadav said parents of children not going to government schools would have to give clarification for it and they would be deprived of official facilities.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Janadhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav on Wednesday released the party manifesto for the Bihar elections and said it would formulate a law making it mandatory for wards of public representatives and government officials to study in government schools.Yadav said parents of children not going to government schools would have to give clarification for it and they would be deprived of official facilities.The manifesto proposed to make roads in Bihar toll-free for students and farmers and also proposed to provide 30 per cent subsidy and sales tax concession to students for purchase of Scooty. Janadhikar Party is an important constituent of the Third Front in Bihar elections, which has NCP and Samajwadi Party among others. Its contesting 64 seats in the Bihar elections.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yadav said parents of families having two girl children would be honoured and a sum of Rs 50,000 would be given for each girl child. He also promised implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations within three months. The manifesto talked about cancellation of licence of shops caught selling fake medicines along with a penalty of Rs 50 lakh.In the social field, it promised a Rs 10 lakh grant to those going for intercaste marriages and a government job to the wife. The party also promised to check expensive weddings and fixing of an upper limit of Rs 20 lakh, and if the expenditure exceeded the limit, luxury tax would be imposed on such weddings.

Tamil Nadu: Setback to Vaiko’s MDMK as two senior functionaries quit party

Vaiko categorically stated at a party meet in Tirupur that his party would not forge an electoral pact with either AIADMK or DMK.

File Photo
In a significant setback to MDMK, two senior functionaries on Friday quit the outfit alleging that party chief Vaiko had taken a unilateral stance in connection with forging an alliance for next year’s Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. Party treasurer and senior leader, R Masilamani resigned from his post and primary membership. Madurai Rural District Secretary, P Saravanan too tendered his resignation. The development assumes significance as only yesterday Salem District Secretary Thamaraikannan and party women’s wing secretary Kumari Vijayakumar quit the party to join DMK in the presence of party chief Karunanidhi. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last week, Kancheepuram district secretary Palavakkam Somu too had switched allegiance to DMK. Vaiko, however, put up a brave face, stating that party workers were with him and that only those who had expectations and had held posts had quit “I am happy if their expectations get fulfilled now,” he told reporters at nearby Mamallapuram. Saravanan did not, however, buy Vaiko’s argument, whom he accused of taking unilateral decisions. “He has been taking unilateral decisions without consulting district secretaries, functionaries and workers,” he said.”Only two months back he told us that the we could fight polls alongside the DMK and he changed his stance soon after,” he said. “He now says that the party will face polls by leading the five-party People’s Welfare Front. This won’t succeed and retaining deposits itself will not happen anywhere, leave alone winning,” he said. “We told him that the party should align with one of the two big parties (AIADMK and DMK) of the state,” he added.On September 15, Vaiko categorically stated at a party meet in Tirupur that his party would not forge an electoral pact with either AIADMK or DMK. He had said that the party would face polls alongside CPI, CPI(M), and VCK and also try to rope in the MMK which are part of the People’s Welfare Front. The five party combine PWF was a recent initiative of these parties to “fight for the people’s issues and anti-people central and state policies.”Masilamani, meanwhile, told reporters in Villupuram district that he was shocked by the announcement made by Vaiko in the Tirupur conference about the election alliance and confirmed he has resigned from the primary membership.Though the duo have not disclosed their future moves, it is expected that they may join DMK following other colleagues who had quit just ahead of them.

New Air India CMD wants staff to flaunt the Maharaja smile

In a letter, Ashwani Lohani said employees show warmth and eagerness like the airline’s mascot while interacting with the passengers

Sudhir Shetty
dna
Ashwani Lohani, the newly appointed CMD of Air India, has asked employees to bring attitude change in turning around the airline. In a letter to staff, he has repeatedly stressed on ‘smiling more’ so as to give better customer satisfaction.Air India hostesses and other front-desk executives have been infamous among the passengers for allegedly being rude and uncooperative, according to industry insiders. Passengers often post their grievances, complaining the unprofessional behaviour of the airline staff, on different social media platforms.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are in service industry and therefore all our employees should have a smile on their face and eagerness to serve the customers. Service actually has to be done from the heart and our mascot Maharaja symbolises the same” said Lohani in the letter.According to airline insiders, the top management is eager to change the image of the airline, which comes out as boring, arrogant and uncool. “The air hostesses and other front-line executives are the face of the airline with whom the passengers usually come into contact. If these people, who are in the front of passenger contact, can bring warmth and smile in their interaction, passengers would automatically get comfortable and turn into loyal customers. We are just making an effort to bring that change” said a senior airline executive.Lohani, who has in the past changed fortunes of ITDC, Madhya Pradesh Tourism is touted as the ‘turnaround man’ for the debt-ridden airline. “Air India is a brand symbolising the nation, specially among the India diaspora and Indian travellers overseas. Unfortunately, in recent years the brand has lost some of its sheen. We have been repeatedly questioned on our performance and our delivery has fallen short on national expectations. I am certain the brand would re-establish itself,” he said in his message to the employees.Further, in a sudden improvement in its on-time performance (OTP), the airline management claim that its flights are meeting schedule 99% of the time since the past four days. This is in contrast with the airline’s past record which brackets it for having among the worst OTP records in the industry.

OROP protest: Ex-servicemen to take out ‘Sainik Ekta’ rally today

The protesting ex-servicemen will go ahead with their proposed ‘Sainik Ekta’ rally on Saturday to press for “honest and truthful justice” as they rejected the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme announced by the government even as some groups disassociated itself from the event.

The protesting ex-servicemen will go ahead with their proposed ‘Sainik Ekta’ rally on Saturday to press for “honest and truthful justice” as they rejected the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme announced by the government even as some groups disassociated itself from the event.”The rally will take place at Jantar Mantar on Saturday morning. We have raised seven issues and if the government accepts it or gives us concrete assurance on paper, we are ready to pack up and leave,” Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also rejected charges of financial irregularity as “baseless” and said that every single penny is accounted for.”We have all record and receipts. A proper audit will be carried out. We reject such insinuation against us,” he said. Various ex-servicemen groups have come under the common banner of United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement (UFESM) and have been leading a series of protest across the country for the last nearly three months demanding implementation of OROP.However, cracks appeared in the front this week, with various factions leveling allegations against each other.While a section of the veterans are against holding of the rally on Saturday, others feel that they have been let down by the government which had announced OROP on Saturday last.On Wednesday, Lt Gen (Retd) Balbir Singh, a key member of the front that was formed to hold agitation demanding OROP, announced the exit of his group Indian Ex-Services League citing lack of cohesiveness and continuity of protests.Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh and others have rejected the government’s version of OROP and have now put forward seven points of dissent.”The government has created avoidable confusion by including VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) in their announcement as it does not exist in the defence forces.However, those who have taken pre-mature retirement must come under OROP,” Satbir said. The veterans have also objected to the government taking calender year 2013 instead of financial year 2013-14 for fixing the base.”The Defence Minister had earlier assured that the pensions would be taken from the top of the pay scales whereas now the government seems to have gone to an unknown concept,” he said.The ex-servicemen are also opposed to formation of one-man judicial commission and demanded that it should comprise three ex-servicemen, one serving officer and a bureaucrat. Also, the deadline for the commission to come out with a report on the implementation of the OROP should be one month instead of the six as proposed by the government.The protesting veterans have also demanded that the OROP should be independent of the Central Pay Commission and the concept should be in perpetuity.Rejecting government’s proposal for pension revision every five years, Satbir said, “We had agreed to even two years but now we seek our original demand of revision every year”.He also rejected that cracks have appeared in the veterans community saying “four people leaving UFESM does not mean anything”.

Army strikes inside Myanmar again, kills three militants

The operation was carried out by Assam Rifles on Saturday, when soldiers of 11th battalion waded inside Myanmar, northeast of Tamu in Manipur’s Chandel district, in broad daylight and engaged PLA soldiers in gunfight and brought two bodies back with them.

The killed militants: Kangjam Romi, Tongbram Samananda & Chongtham Nabanta

Nearly three months after launching surgical strikes to avenge the death of 18 of their fellow soldiers, Indian security forces once again carried out daring strikes, some three kilometres inside Myanmar, killing three cadres of Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army (PLA).The operation was carried out by Assam Rifles on Saturday, when soldiers of 11th battalion waded inside Myanmar, northeast of Tamu in Manipur’s Chandel district, in broad daylight and engaged PLA soldiers in gunfight and brought two bodies back with them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Army spokesperson in New Delhi said the operation took place along the border and Indian troops did not go beyond, it seemed the strikes have taken place with the knowledge of Myanmar’s Army.According to sources, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, during his strategic visit to Nay Pyi Taw in June, had struck a deal with the military junta to allow India to carry out short surgical strikes against Indian insurgent groups that were using Myanmar as a base to prepare and launch attacks on Indian soil.Affirming Assam Rifles’ claim, the Revolutionary People’s Front (political wing of the People’s Liberation Army) paid condolence to three cadres of the PLA, identified as 2nd lieutenant Amar alias Kangjam Romi, sergeant Shyam alias Tongbram Samananda and Corporal Andy alias Chongtham Nabanta.The gunfight lasted an hour, sources said, in which three militants, including a self-styled major, captain and a lieutenant were killed.One body was taken away by the PLA cadres who retreated after the encounter while the Assam Rifles brought back bodies of two slain militants and handed them over to Moreh police.The Meitei-dominated insurgent group, PLA was founded in 1978 and is fighting for an independent Manipur by operating from its camps based in Sagaing division of Myanmar.It was involved in the attack on Dogra regiment on June 4 in Chandel district of Manipur along with KYKL and NSCN (Khaplang) in which 18 soldiers were killed and is part of the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFWSEA), formed recently by ULFA’s commander in-chief Paresh Baruah, who is based close to China border in north Myanmar.

Ex-servicemen write to President Mukherjee, seek his intervention in OROP issue

The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014.

Karnal Singh, 73, sits with other Army veterans at a protest site in New Delhi on August 28, 2015.

AFP photo
Ex-servicemen on Saturday took their 76-day-old agitation a notch higher seeking the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to resolve the vexed issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’, stating that if any “damage or mishap happens” to those on hunger strike he and the government will be “solely responsible”.In a letter to the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFESM) said a soldier is supposed to kill enemy before laying down his life for country,<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”But under your rule, a soldier’s life is at stake and is being wasted as he is being deprived of his legitimate dues”.UFESM, an umbrella organisation of agitating veterans, noted that as many as four former soldiers, who are on fast- unto-death, have been hospitalised and that health of another ex-serviceman Havildar Major Singh, who was on an indefinite fast since August 16, was fast deteriorating.”Panel of Doctors has declared that his medical condition has deteriorated to dangerous level and he needs to be hospitalised immediately to save his life,” the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to PMO, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP President Amit Shah, said.Havildar Major has refused to be evacuated to the hospital and “he is steadfast” in his resolve that he will not take any medical treatment till OROP is implemented as per the approved definition, it said. However, Havildar Major has been sent to the hospital for detailed check-ups.”Your Excellency and the Government of India will be solely responsible if any damage/mishap happens to Havildar Major Singh or any other ex-servicemen because of hunger strike,” it said.The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014. The veterans said that there are some issues where financial cost cannot be the sole determinant factor and that the pensions of defence veterans is one of these.”OROP stands approved both by the UPA as well as the present NDA government. However, its implementation has not been carried out so far for the reason best known to your government,” the letter said.Meanwhile, another veteran Havildar Abhilash Singh, who was on a relay hunger strike, was admitted to hospital after his health deteriorated. It added that during the veterans’ meeting with DefenceMinister, they had been informed that the proposal for implementation of OROP costing Rs 8,298.48 crore had been approved by him and forwarded to the Ministry of Finance on March 17, 2015.”It is here, where OROP file seems to have been stuck,” the letter said.The OROP has been stuck for a while despite hectic back channel talks between the government and veterans. The government had initially wanted base year being 2011 but then relented to stick to the veterans’ demand of 2013-14 as per vote on account and finance bill 2014. But they wanted the pay out date be pushed forward from April 1, 2014 to April 1, 2015, a proposal rejected by the veterans.In subsequent talks, the government pushed the payout date from April 1, 2014 to September 1, 2014. However, there would be a provision of review of pensions once every five years against the veterans’ proposal of once a year or once at least every two years.”The UFESM retracted its offer of acceptance of payment from June 1, 2014 and rejected this proposal too. The underlying reason being the review of pension yearly or once in two years is the heart and soul of the OROP proposal. As of today all escalation points have come into immediate effect,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media Advisor to United Front of Ex-Servicemen, said.Yesterday the government had said “some more time” will be required to roll out OROP as “small gaps are being filled”.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “In principle, the Prime Minister on August 15 (Independence Day speech) has given an approval. Now, PMO is directly involved…then by saying that do it in these many days will not help. All efforts are being made to solve the issue.” Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.

OROP protest:Another army veteran hospitalised

A retired army havildar who was on a relay hunger strike as part of agitation by veterans for early implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ was on Saturday rushed to the Army hospital after his health deteriorated.

Havildar Abhilash Singh

A retired army havildar who was on a relay hunger strike as part of agitation by veterans for early implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ was on Saturday rushed to the Army hospital after his health deteriorated.”Havildar Abhilash Singh has been taken to hospital. He was on relay hunger strike,” an official from the United Front of Ex-Servicemen, the umbrella organisation of veterans carrying out the protest, said. Besides Singh, four others who were on fast-unto-death have been admitted to hospital after their health deteriorated.The deadlock over OROP continues even as the protest entered its 76th day today. Yesterday the government had sought “some more time” to roll out OROP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired.So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.

Separatist leader Yasin Malik to skip Pak NSA Sartaj Aziz’s reception

Malik will instead send a two-member delegation from his party.

Malik has not disclosed the reason for his decision to skip the meeting.

Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Yasin Malik will skip the Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz’s reception hosted by the Pakistan HIgh Commission, reports NDTV. Malik will instead send a two-member delegation from his party Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)He announced the decision after discussing the issue with his party members. Malik has not disclosed the reason for his decision to skip the meeting.Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will be attending the event though.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yasin Malik also said that Kashmiris need an end to the conflict and that can happen only through talks. “Issue Kashmiris voice is to take them out from this conflict and this can only happen when the Kashmir issue is solved,” he said

Modi congratulates new Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday spoke to United National Front (UNF) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and congratulated him on the “wonderful performance” of his alliance in the parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka.

According to a release from the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi hoped that the bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka will get stronger under Wickremesinghe’s leadership.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

“Spoke to Ranil Wickremesinghe and congratulated him on his alliance’s wonderful performance in the elections. I am confident that under Wickremesinghe’s leadership, bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka will get stronger,” the prime minister said.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful conduct of polls,” he added.

Sri Lanka’s ruling UNF on Tuesday secured 106 seats in the 225-member parliament, seven short of majority.

IANS

More peace, less militancy: What historic Modi govt-NSCN (IM) pact means for NE India

Troubled lands of the North East seem to have enthralled Indian prime ministers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special interest in the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Issac-Muivah faction named after Isak Swu and T Muivah, which culminated in the Centre-NSCN (IM) accord on 3 August must be giving a déjà vu feel to Northeast-watchers as Rajiv Gandhi too had kept North East very high on his priority list and signed a historic accord with rebels from another northeastern state – Mizoram.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Interestingly, both Modi and Rajiv signed historic northeast-specific accords in the second year of their prime ministership. This is Modi’s moment in the sun as Rajiv Gandhi had his in 1986 when he had signed the Mizo peace accord with the then Mizo rebel leader Laldenga who soon thereafter went on to become the chief minister of Mizoram.

The Centre-NSCN(IM) accord, which had been eluding for over six decades and now puts an end to India’s longest running insurgency, is PM Modi’s first major foray into the cobweb of militancy in the North East. It has been made possible as a result of sustained work done PM Modi himself taking personal interest. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, aided by RN Ravi, Centre’s interlocutor for talks with NSCN (IM) and former Joint Director in-charge of the North East in Intelligence Bureau, played a pivotal role in the signing of this accord.

The prime minister gave an indication of his special interest over the issue in his remarks after witnessing the signing of the accord at his official residence 7, Race Course Road. He said: “Since becoming prime minister last year, peace, security and economic transformation of North East has been amongst my highest priorities. It is also at the heart of my foreign policy, especially the ‘Act East’ Policy. I have been deeply concerned about resolving the Naga issue. Soon after entering office, I appointed an interlocutor for talks with the Naga leaders, who not only understood the Naga people as also their aspirations and expectations, but has great affection and respect for them. Given the importance of this initiative, I asked my office to supervise these talks and I personally kept in touch with the progress.”

The historic Centre-NSCN(IM) accord will have many strategic fallouts.

One, the development will have a huge impact on the law and order situation in many northeastern states, not just Nagaland, where NSCN(IM) wield lot of influence. It means that insurgency in many parts of northeast will now come down substantially.

Two, it will isolate the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, known as NSCN(K), and will put more pressure on NSCN(K) to come around and accept India as their country and bring peace to the state.

Three, it will be an effective counter to the north-eastern militant outfits’ move of trying to put up a united front and emerge as a bigger body. Just about three months ago, a new umbrella group called United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) was formed with Khaplang as its head. UNFLW is an alliance formed by NSCN(K), United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa-Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit (NDFB-S) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

The major terror attack in Manipur in June this year, which triggered Indian military operation in Myanmar soon thereafter, was the handiwork of UNLFW. It was the first major operation of the UNLFW and declared the intent of the new outfit.

However, the biggest benefit of the Centre-NSCN(IM) accord will be with respect to China.

There have been reports that China is back to covertly aiding and abetting insurgent outfits in the northeast. The new outfit, UNLFW, is also known to have blessings of China.

Monday’s development will send a signal to China as well. Accord with NSCN(IM) will inevitably lead to better and real time intelligence which will keep China wary. This is especially because NSCN(IM) was the first north-eastern insurgent outfit which had established contact with China, a fact acknowledged by Muivah also in one of his many on-record interviews.

Moreover, NSCN(IM) used to procure weapons from China and thus obviously would be a treasure trove of intelligence in this context.

(The writer is Firstpost Consulting Editor and a strategic analyst who tweets @Kishkindha.)

OROP issue: Ex-servicemen to show black flags to Manohar Parrikar tomorrow

Vexed over the delay in implementation of One Rank One Pension scheme, a group of ex-servicemen has decided to greet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with black flags when he arrives on a visit to Chandigarh on Saturday.

PTI photo
Vexed over the delay in implementation of One Rank One Pension scheme, a group of ex-servicemen has decided to greet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with black flags when he arrives on a visit to Chandigarh on Saturday.”We will go ahead with our plan to show black flags to the minister for his failure to have already approved the OROP scheme,” said Brigadier (Retd) Harwant Singh, representative of the United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM).”The Defence Minister has often mouthed platitudes for soon implementing OROP but has not given a firm date when that ‘soon’ would arrive,” he said. Parrikar is scheduled to visit Mohali tomorrow for the inauguration of ‘Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute’, set up by Punjab government to impart specialised training exclusively to female aspirants across the state to join the National Defence Academy (NDA) in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh said about 500-600 army men under the banner of United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) will assemble at Gurudwara ‘Singh Shaheedaan’, Sohana in Mohali and from there they would move towards the inauguration site.”Our anger is not against any person, but against the government’s policy of enormous delay in implementing OROP. We will remain peaceful and disciplined during the said demonstration,” he said. Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for the Defence Minister’s visit here.”Elaborate security arrangements have been made for tomorrow’s function,” DIG, Ropar range, RK Jaiswal said.”We are taking all possible measures for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the function in which the Defence Minister is participating,” he said adding that nobody will be allowed to create any obstruction during the visit.Another police official said as many as 1,200 security personnel will be deployed for the function in Mohali on Saturday.

CPI(M) condemns arrest of Left Front leaders in Telangana

“State-wide hartal was organised in Telangana yesterday to protest arrests of the leaders and in support of striking workers. In Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada, workers were baton-charged and many, including women, were injured. The politburo condemns the adamant attitude of the governments and arrest and baton-charge of leaders and workers. It demands the governments initiate discussion to amicably settle the just demands of workers,” CPI(M) said in a statement.

Condemning arrest of Left Front leaders supporting the strike called by municipal contract workers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, CPI(M) today said the state governments must settle the “just” demands amicably. Civic contract workers and employees in both the states are on a strike for the past 10 days demanding hike in wages. The governments are being “adamant” and not resolving the demands even as Left Front leaders, who were on fast supporting the workers, were arrested, the party said.”A state-wide hartal was organised in Telangana on Friday to protest arrests of the leaders and in support of striking workers. In Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada, workers were baton-charged and many, including women, were injured. The politburo condemns the adamant attitude of the governments and arrest and baton-charge of leaders and workers. It demands the governments initiate discussion to amicably settle the just demands of workers,” CPI(M) said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Telangana, the government announced a 47.05% hike in wages on July 16 and said it would apply only to those who joined duties till the same day heeding government’s appeal against the stir. Expressing dissatisfaction over government’s response, the Left leaders had decided to go ahead with the shut down yesterday.

One Rank One Pension: Ex-servicemen to hold rally in Bihar next month

The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) has given the government a seven-day notice before they intensify the ongoing agitation.
File Photo
PTI
Having failed to get their demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’ implemented despite 30 days of agitation, the ex-servicemen community today announced that they will “regretfully heighten” their agitation and hold a major rally in poll-bound Bihar next month.The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) has given the government a seven-day notice before they intensify the ongoing agitation.”Our agitation will be spread to 640 distriucts of the country. Our agiattion would be peaceful since we are protectors of the country and there would not be any nuisance for the public,” Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) told reporters here and stressed that the ongoing agiation is also a danger to the morale of serving soldiers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A statement release by the group, which claims support of 40 organisations, said that several missives, requests and appeals, some even signed in blood, to the Presdient who is the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, over the last seven years remain unanswered and unacknowledged to this day.”Since the returning of gallantry medals earned by these veterans was not enough to convince the government to take action, they now plan on celebrating Kargil Vijay Diwas in their own way,” it added.To convey the message of a “broken promise” to the electorate of states going to the polls, UFESM plans to hold a Maha Sangram Rally in Patna in August, the statement said. UFESM and all its constituents will boycott all government organised functions. This will be the next step towards assuaging the hurt of 26 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh widows who are the affected community of this “prevarication” the government. Protest marches in conformity with the agitation will commence in one city per zone, with one city being added every second day, the group said. It shall be orchestrated against government apathy, assuring no disruptions to the general public.Close to 26 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.

BJP fails to break Kerala jinx but manages to increase vote share

BJP had fielded former Union Minister and its most popular leader in the state O Rajagopal who came third.

File image

The BJP, which has so far failed to open an account in the Kerala Assembly, continued its losing spree in Aruvikkara assembly bypoll, but managed to increase its vote share with its candidate securing 34,145 votes.BJP had fielded former Union Minister and its most popular leader in the state O Rajagopal who came third. K S Sabarinadhan of Congress won the seat by securing 56,448 votes followed by LDF candidate M Vijayakumar (CPI-M), who secured second spot with 46,320 votes. The number of votes received by Rajagopal is significant when compared to the 7,694 votes received by the party candidate in the 2011 assembly elections and 14,890 in the segment during the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 86-year-old leader roughed it out in the campaign trail against his competitiors– 33-year-old K S Sabarinadhan of Congress-led UDF, a debutant and M Vijaykumar (CPI-M), former Speaker and state minister. None of the candidates of BJP have been elected to the Lok Sabha and to the 140-member assembly since its Jan Sangh days. But BJP’s appeal has slowly been on the rise in Kerala’s highly bipolar political scene which sharply swings between the Marxist-led Left Democratic Front and Congress-headed United Democratic Front.This was evident from the increase in vote share of BJP in the recent years. In 2009, BJP contested all but one of the 20 Lok Sabha segments in the state, and received 6.6 per cent votes. The party increased its vote share by nearly four per cent during the Lok Sabha polls held in 2014, up from 6.4 per cent in 2009 to 10.3 per cent.During the 2009 elections, the party contested from 19 constituencies and secured 10,11,563 votes.In 2014, the party fielded candidates in 20 constituencies and garnered 18,56,750 votes in Kerala. Reacting to the election result, BJP state President V Muralidharan said the vote received by the candidate was significant as the saffron party had contested the polls alone unlike the two fronts.

Centre, Kejriwal just making empty promises: Rahul Gandhi

“This is not a fight for Delhi’s cleanliness, a fight for the country’s cleanliness. This is a fight for your honour. I wanted to bring some of my strength amongst you…. Together we will show what your strength is,” he said, offering his unstinted support for the oppressed sections of society.

Rahul Gandhi joins protesting Safai Karamcharis at Sansad Marg.

Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying change cannot be brought by merely making promises and alleged that poor were being deprived of their rights in the name of development.Putting his weight behind sanitation workers from civic bodies agitating for payment of salary dues at Jantar Mantar here, the Congress Vice President sought to link their demands with the “honour” of the poor and said he would stand by them for any cause to put up a united fight.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is not a fight for Delhi’s cleanliness, a fight for the country’s cleanliness. This is a fight for your honour. I wanted to bring some of my strength amongst you…. Together we will show what your strength is,” he said, offering his unstinted support for the oppressed sections of society.Attacking the Prime Minister and Delhi CM, he said, “Modiji and Kejriwal think that after merely making promises they can bring about a change. No change can be brought by making promises. A change can be brought only after standing here and exerting pressure.”Addressing the safai karamcharis for the second time in six days, he said, “You may think I have come to speak for safai karamcharis. These speeches are for the poor farmers, labourers, safai karamcharis and all those weak and oppressed of the entire country.”Vowing to fight for the rights of weaker sections, which the party is keen to woo back, Rahul said, “I am standing with you, whereever you want. For one day, 10 days, 50 days or 100 days.”He said whereever they wanted, he was available for the smallest of issues – be it their salary, contract labour or their honour.Earlier talking about his Chhattisgarh tour, where he undertook a ‘padyatra’ for the rights of farmers and tribals, he said while the rich snatched away the land of the poor for earning big money in the name of development, they only paid a paltry amount to them.”When we ask how would this benefit the poor, they have no answers. We do not want such development,” he said.”I saw the coal mines in Chhattigarh for the first time in my life. I also interacted with the poor farmers and tribals of the area. I was told that an industrialist earns Rs one crore per day after leasing a mine for 30 years. They earn so much after snatching away the land of poor farmers and tribals for amounts as little as Rs 50,000 or Rs one lakh.”When poor people raise questions, they talk of doing so in the name of development,” he saidRahul also talked of land acquisition in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhatta Parsaul, where he undertook a ‘padyatra’ in favour of farmers’ rights.Land of the poor farmers was snatched for creating Formula One circuits in the name of development, he alleged.”Big people have taken away the land of poor farmers and developed Formula One tracks where cars zoom past at 400 km per hour and they say they have done so for development,” he said.The agitation was organised by Joint Front of MCD Unions of Safai Karamcharis, where Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and Congress leader Sajjan Kumar were also present.The protesters burnt effigies raised slogans.”We have not been getting our salaries for last three months. Kejriwal came to power by making several promises to us, but what is happening now you know very well. We are not even able to pay school fees of our children,” said Ravi Shankar, a sanitation worker who works with EDMC.Joint Front of MCD Unions of Safai Karamcharis has threatened to go on an indefinite strike if their demands are not met.”We have called a meeting of all sanitation workers’ associations on Friday to discuss future course of action. We want a permanent solution to our problems,” said an office bearer of the Joint Front of MCD Unions.Both North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) are cash-strapped, unable to pay salaries of many employees. A section of the striking sanitation workers have lately been protesting against the AAP dispensation after the corporations held Kejriwal government “responsible” for their financial woes.Kejriwal had announced that his government will release pending salaries of sanitation workers, doctors and teachers of two municipal corporations for April and May.Lt Governor Najeeb Jung recently announced that Rs 493 crore would be released to the civic bodies to cover the dues of sanitation workers, but most sanitation workers claimed they have not got their salaries so far.

Kashmiri Pandit settlement row: Yasin Malik’s JKLF supporters clash with police in Srinagar

A clash broke out between Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) supporters and the state police here on Friday.

JKLF protests in Srinagar (ANI)

Image Courtesy: Twitter
A clash broke out between Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) supporters and the state police here on Friday. The JKLF supporters were seen pelting the security forces with stones, forcing the latter to retaliate with tear-gas shells to disperse the mob.Further details are awaited.

Budget pleases only corporates, income tax payers: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Accusing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of pleasing just the corporates and the income-tax payers, his predecessor in the UPA regime P Chidambaram on Saturday said the Modi government’s first full Budget has failed the fiscal test, the test of equity, and the test of rising inequality.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram. AFPFormer finance minister P Chidambaram. AFP

Former finance minister P Chidambaram. AFP

“If one asks who is pleased by the Budget, I suspect it will be the corporates and the income-tax payers (3.5 crore). Where does that leave the vast majority of the people, especially the poor, who look up to the government for succour and relief?,” Chidambaram said in a statement.

“While the income-tax payers (3.5 crore) may have been got some relief, all others have been burdened with increases in Excise duty and Service Tax,” the former finance minister added.

He said that there was no justification at all to set back the target date of achieving a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent by one year.

“On the fiscal test, therefore the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has failed,” Chidambaram who was finance minister in the UPA government and United Front government said.

Jaitley on Saturday pegged fiscal deficit for 2015-16 at 3.9 per cent of GDP and proposed to lower it to 3 percent by 2017-18, a year later than planned earlier.

Chidambaram also questioned government’s claim that it has stretched the fiscal deficit from 3.6 per cent to 3.9 per cent in order to fund growth.

“This is a questionable claim. 0.3 percent means that the government will borrow an additional amount of Rs 37,500 crore. To what use has this money been put,” he said.

The Harvard educated lawyer further said in the test of equity and the test of rising inequality, the government has not even acknowledged these issues.

“The landless labourer, the agriculture worker, the casual and Badli worker in industry, the unemployed young person, the woman in a self-help group, the self employed person who is below the income-tax threshold, the disabled person, the scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes and the minorities will ask the question if the government is aware of their existence and their problems,” Chidambaram said.

“…Plan expenditure is the usual metric by which the quality of government’s expenditure is judged. On this account also, I am afraid the government has failed the people of India,” he said.

PTI

Zee JLF Day 2: Even literature isn’t immune to the weather gods

Here a quick update on the changes made to fit the circumstances.

Day 2 at the Zee Jaipur Literature festival has begun with the hope that the weather gods relent and do not play too much of a spoilsport. Delegates side-stepped puddles of water from the showers continuing from early this morning, on the way to Diggi Palace where four out of six programme locations are open air tents. Here a quick update on the changes made to fit the circumstances.- All pre-lunch sessions have been crunched into half-hour sessions.- 10am sessions that were to be held at Charbagh and the Rajnigandha Front Lawns have been shifted to the British Airways Baithak. These include:“The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher”: Kate Summerscale introduced by Anita Anand “A Passage to America”: Vijay Seshadri in conversation with Sadaf Saaz- 10 am sessions that were to be held at the Google Mughal Tent and the British Airways Baithak will now be held at the Mahindra Humanities Durbar Hall.These include:”Pirates of the Indian Ocean- Real and Imaginary”: Neil Rennie introduced by Samanth Subramanian“Of Beauty and Truth”: SR Faruqi and Bilal Tanweer in conversation. Introduced by Sukrita Paul Kumar- Session no. 36 with Daud Ali & BN Goswamy has been moved to Durbar Hall at lunch time.- Both Book Launches scheduled for lunchtime will now be held at Baithak one after the other.- Lauren Childs’ session at Ford Samvad has been cancelled.11 am Sessions Sessions nos. 38 (Charbagh) & 39 (Front Lawn) have been moved to Mughal Tent, for 30 minutes each.Session nos. 40 (Mughal Tent) & 41 (Baithak) are now both at Baithak, for 30 minutes each.Session nos. 42 (Durbar) & 43 (Samvad) are now both at Durbar, for 30 minutes each.

Somnath Chatterjee describes political situation in Bengal ‘suffocating’

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Friday described the political situation in West Bengal as “suffocating”.”In this state of West Bengal we have been thrown into a politics of violence. The way the state machinery is being run people are forced to keep off from politics,” Chatterjee said at a meeting by the Birbhum district Left Front.”We are now passing through a suffocating situation,” the former CPI(M) leader said alleging people have no democratic rights. Chatterjee further alleged, that through unprecedented “State-sponsored torture” and by applying administrative power, “The rule of party” has been thrust on the masses citing incidents in recent time, but did not elaborate

Nagaland: 11 legislators quit, Chief Minister assures of government stability

Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang

In fresh trouble for Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang, 11 of his Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislators – two ministers, four MLAs and five parliamentary secretaries resigned on Thursday demanding change of leadership. However, R Zeliang claimed his government was stable.The 11 NPF legislators in their resignation letters addressed to the Chief Minister said they are quitting from their respective portfolios with immediate effect, as majority of NPF and DAN legislators have elected Kaito Aye as the new leader of NPF Legislature Party.They also asserted that Zeliang no longer enjoyed the support and confidence of the members of the House. The Ministers who resigned include Noke Konyak and Dr Benjongliba, Parliamentary Secretaries are Torechu, Kropol Vitsu, Dr Longriniken, Deo Nukhu, while the MLAs holding charge of various government undertakings are Merentoshi R Jamir, Namri Nchang, Dr Neiphrezo Keditsu, EE Pangteang and Naiba Konyak.The Chief Minister was yet to accept the resignations.Earlier on Thursday, Zeliang asserted that his government was secure with the support of adequate number of legislators from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) partners. Zeliang had yesterday met Governor P B Acharya with NPF president Dr Shurhozelie and explained the status of the government.This was the second time within a span of seven months of his leadership that a situation had been created in the state by some disgruntled NPF elected members, Zeliang said after the meeting and termed it as a “total disregard of the people’s mandate”.The Chief Minister faced an open rebellion on January 5 with dissident NPF legislators claiming they had elected a new leader. Following the move, Zeliang had sacked two ministers and suspended them along with five other MLAs, from primary membership of NPF for “conspiring to overthrow” the NPF-led DAN government in Nagaland.More than 20 of 38 NPF dissident legislators, who are demanding change in state leadership, met at Dimapur on that day to elect Industries and Commerce Ministers G Kaito Aye as the new leader of the NPF Legislature Party and “empowered him to form a new government”.In a swift action, cracking the whip on dissidents, Zeliang then sacked Aye and Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu, the Roads and Bridges Minister. Aye, along with his colleagues, met the Governor last evening and staked claim to form a new “popular” government in Nagaland. He was accompanied by four other NPF MLAs and one BJP MLA who demanded immediate dismissal of the ‘minority’ government headed by Zeliang.

Two suspected militants killed in Manipur encounter

The police personnel shoot down two suspected militants in an encounter in Manipur’s Bishenpur district.Following a tip-off, police cordoned off a house in the area belonging to one Mohammad Mujibur Rahaman. The militants then started firing at the police.Police confirmed that two suspects were killed in the cross firing.”Suspected UGs (underground cadres) fired some rounds at the commandos and the commandos retaliated the firing. An encounter ensued at about 11.50 am at the campus of the house. After the encounter, the house and the adjoining areas were searched thoroughly in which two dead bodies were found to be lying, one inside a toilet and another inside the house,” said Superintendent of Police of Bishenpur, Ningthoujam Herojit Singh.The police also recovered two 9mm pistols, one grenade and some documents from the site.The two suspected militants were later identified as belonging to the separatist group United Revolutionary Front (URF). Singh also said the two were suspected of being involved in two blasts in Imphal that left one and three non-local migrant labourers dead in different incidents on December 15 and 21 respectively.

Left Front demands to declassify files realted to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

The Left Front in West Bengal has demanded to immediately declassify the secret files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and declare his birthday on January 23 as “Desh Prem diwas”.In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, Left Front chairman Biman Bose asked Modi to “take immediate necessary action to declassify all secret files relating to Netaji.” In his letter to the PM and in another letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bose also demanded the Centre and West Bengal government to declare January 23 as “Desh Prem Diwas”. Bose wrote to the PM that there has been a persistent demand among people and it was raised in Parliament too that secret files relating to Netaji and INA be declassified to unearth the mystery of his disappearance… “The previous UPA government has refused to do so.”Continuing, he said, “We are much concerned about some media reports that your PMO has repeated the old pleas of the previous government for not declassifying a few particular secret files. We on behalf of the Left Front urge you to reconsider the issue.” Bose also urged in his letter that the BJP government at the Centre should declare January 23 as “Desh Prem Diwas”.”We on behalf of all Left parties urge you personally and the government of India to declare January 23 as Desh Prem Diwas,” the letter said. Bose in his letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also urged the state government to declare January 23 as Desh Prem Diwas.

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