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Act East Policy:Ansari on 5-day visit to Brunei, Thailand

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Hamid Ansari

As a part of Act East policy,Vice President Hamid Ansari will leave on a five-day tour of Brunei and Thailand beginning from Monday  to carry forward India’s bilateral engagements with the two South East Asian countries.

Ansari’s first stop will be at  Brunei  at the invitation of crown prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah. This will be the first high- level visit from India since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Brunei in May, 1984.

Brunei was on the itinerary of Ansari’s two-nation trip in November, but he had to return home from Indonesia, which was hit by a volcano.

The Vice President will be accompanied by Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, four MPs and senior officials.

Ansari will hold talks with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Billah on issues of bilateral and multilateral significance, including civil aviation, space, trade and investment, hydrocarbons, information and communication.

Cooperation in ASEAN and East Asia Summit and other multilateral fora will also be on the agenda and a couple of MoUs on health and defence cooperation will be signed.

Disaster

Only supporting, not a key player in Maharashtra: Rahul

The Governor followed it up by a review meeting of the crisis in which Thackeray excused himself but sent his close confidante Milind Narvekar.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 26 : Amid allegations of mishandling the covid crisis in Maharashtra by opposition leaders who even demanded dismissal of the state government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that his party is not a key player in running Maharashtra government.

The Congress is part of “Maha Vikas Aghadi” and holds key ministries but Rahul Gandhi said, “We are only supporting the government and are not a ‘key player’ in the state”.

Rahul Gandhi, however, defended the state government and said that Mumbai is a well connected state. and that is the reason why Covid cases are rising there.

Rahul Gandhi asserted that the party is doing better where ever it is running its own government.

Rahul Gandhi’s statement could be a setback for MVA government in Maharashtra where hectic politics is going on. NCP chief Sharad Pawar met the governor on Monday, though all speculations were rejected by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Faut on Tuesday.

Tongues started wagging as Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar went to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, in what was described by both sides as a “courtesy call”.

Accompanied by NCP MP Praful Patel, this was Pawar’s first-ever meeting with the Governor who was appointed in September 2019, crowning a series of recent political developments in the state.

Later on Monday afternoon, it was the turn of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to meet the Governor and reportedly demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Among various things, Rane has claimed the government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had failed to handle the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in the state.

Rane’s demand came days after Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis called on Koshyari and complained that the Thackeray government had bungled in handling the coronavirus situation.

The Governor followed it up by a review meeting of the crisis in which Thackeray excused himself but sent his close confidante Milind Narvekar.

A couple of days later, Koshyari raised strong objections to a letter written by Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant to the UGC recommending cancellation of final year university examinations, which the Governor pointed out was against the guidelines.

This was followed by Sena MP Sanjay Raut calling on the Governor, and a day later, Thackeray announced that the lockdown implemented suddenly was not proper, and lifting it abruptly would be detrimental to the people.

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Transparency needed on India-China face-off at LAC: Rahul

He said, what happened with Nepal and why, what is happening in Ladakh should be made clear.

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Rahul Gandhi on Kashmir Situation

New Delhi, May 26 : Amid reports of a face-off between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army in eastern Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the Narendra Modi government must come clean on the situation arising and inform the citizen what is happening at the border.

Addressing a press conference through video conferencing, Rahul Gandhi said: “The details of what happened along the border, the government should share with the people.”

He said, what happened with Nepal and why, what is happening in Ladakh should be made clear.

“I cannot see transparency. The issue of Ladakh and China is a live issue. Transparency is required,” he said.

He was responding to a question on the face-off on LAC that was triggered the Chinese objected to road construction and development of infrastructure by India within the Indian territory.

Last week Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli asserted that Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to “reclaim” them from India through political and diplomatic efforts. His Cabinet also endorsed a new political map showing the three areas as Nepalese territory. Oli went a step further and told in the Npal parliament that the territories belong to Nepal but has been made a disputed area.

The former Congress chief also said that till the time there is no transparency, till that time it would not good for him to speak. “If I have more information then I will share more details on it,” he added.

This is Rahul Gandhi’s fourth interaction with the media in the last two months.

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Why you want to hold varsity exams: Raj Thackeray to Maharashtra Governor

The Governor made his displeasure clear in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as the embarrassed government attempted to combat the crisis – before Raj Thackeray’s unexpected booster dose on Tuesday.

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Raj Thackeray

Mumbai, May 26 : Given the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown for two months, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Tuesday raised questions on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s insistence on holding the final year university exam in the state.

“Why is there this unreasonable demand to hold the final year examinations? Why and for who?” Thackeray pointedly asked the Governor in a letter.

The MNS chief detailed how the coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented national upheaval followed by the lockdown, and given the present turbulent scenario, it was impossible to ascertain how long the shutdown will continue, especially in Mumbai and Pune.

“If, even the lockdown is eased, does that mean we are free from the coronavirus? Of course not! You too are aware of this,” Thackeray said, seeking the reasons why the Governor wanted to hold the varsity exams.

He wrote that considering the prevailing circumstances besides the fact that the coronavirus is dangerous and highly infectious, “is it reasonable to ask so many students to step out and set for these exams? Are they not putting their and their families’ lives at risk?”

“What is the logic behind this? Keeping the health of the students in mind, why shouldn’t the decision be taken to cancel the final year exams in totality?” Thackeray urged the Governor.

The surprise intervention by the MNS chief came as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government reeled under a missive by the Governor last week raising, strong objections to a letter by Minister of Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant to the UGC recommending cancellation of the final year varsity exams, which Koshyari – in his capacity as Chancellor of all universities in the state – pointed out, contravened the guidelines.

The Governor made his displeasure clear in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as the embarrassed government attempted to combat the crisis – before Raj Thackeray’s unexpected booster dose on Tuesday.

However, the MNS leader also said that his plea did not tantamount to indiscriminately declare all the students as ‘pass’, but suggested that their passing could be based on their performance in internal exams or the previous semester, or try to evaluate them by giving projects, or some such practical solutions.

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