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May retail inflation in India falls to 2.18% on lower food prices

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New Delhi, June 12: Retail, or consumer price indexed (CPI), inflation in India during May fell to 2.18 per cent, as compared to 5.76 per cent in the same month of last year, pulled down by sharp fall in food prices, official data showed here on Monday.

The May retail inflation rate fell, even as compared to April when it prevailed at a higher rate of 2.99 per cent.

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LG asks Kejriwal to meet officers at Secretariat

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New Delhi, June 19: Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Tuesday asked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat. 

“Delhi LG wrote to CM Arvind Kejriwal & requested CM to urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat so that apprehensions and concerns of both sides can be suitably addressed through dialogue in the best interest of the people of Delhi, ANI reported citing Raj Niwas press release.

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Muscular policy won’t work in Jammu and Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti

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Srinagar, June 19 : After submitting her resignation to Governor NN Vohra, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said that PDP joined hands with BJP in Jammu and Kashmir to work on the reconciliation process as muscular policy won’t succeed in the state.

Mehbooba said, “The basic aim of Agenda of Alliance was reconciliation,We can’t treat Jammu and Kashmir as enemy territory, ‘muscular policy’ won’t succeed here.”

Mufti said, “The basic tenets of the alliance were confidence-building measures…We have taken many measures to improve the situation in the state. Got Centre to announce unilateral ceasefire.”

Mufti asserted , “We did not form this alliance for power.I submitted my resignation (as J&K CM) to the Governor and told him that we are not looking to explore any other alliance.”

Listing out the efforts made by PDP to bring normalcy in the state, Mufti said, “We tried to keep Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh united. PDP activists had to face a lot of troubles but they firmly stood by us. This alliance had a bigger motive- unilateral ceasefire, PM’s visit to Pakistan, withdrawal of cases against 11,000 youth.”

After the BJP pulled out of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, a surprised Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday submitted her resignation to Governor N.N. Vohra.

Immediately after she learnt about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision, Mehbooba Mufti rushed to Raj Bhawan.

Later she called an emergency meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a surprise development, after summoning all its Ministers in the state government to New Delhi, the BJP announced that it had decided to exit from the PDP-BJP coalition.

More than three years after they formed an uneasy coalition, the BJP on Tuesday pulled out of the PDP-led Jammu and Kashmir government, citing growing terror activities and radicalization in the valley making its continuance “untenable”.

Announcing the party’s sudden decision at a hurriedly-called press conference, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Ram Madhav said that Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta and nine other ministers from the party have tendered their resignation to Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The state leaders were called to the national capital for urgent consultations.

The move came less than a year ahead of the 2019 general elections and a couple of months after the BJP had replaced its Deputy Chief Minister in the wake of outrage over Kathua rape incident.

It also came two days after the Centre decided not to continue with the ceasefire.

“After reviewing the work of the government in the last three years and after consultations with the Home Ministry and the agencies and after consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, we have come to the conclusion that it is difficult for the coalition to move forward in Jammu and Kashmir.

“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue the alliance in Jammu and Kashmir in the situation that has developed today. Terrorism and violence have increased in the valley and radicalization is fast spreading. Fundamental rights of citizens and right to free speech of people have come under threat in the valley as symbolized by the murder of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in broad daylight in Srinagar,” Madhav said.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP formed a coalition more than two months after the December 2014 elections returned a hung verdict, in which the PDP got 28 seats and the BJP 25, while the National Conference with 15 and Congress managed to win 12 in a House of 89. The government came to power on March 1, 2015.

The BJP leader said that the coalition was formed with an intention of restoring peace in Kashmir and encouraging fast development in all the three regions of the state including Jammu and Ladakh.

“The BJP did its best to give a good government. The Centre had also given a package of Rs 80,000 crore. The Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) had made several visit to the state and the central government had also appointed a interlocutor in a sincere attempt to resolve issues in Kashmir. On the border also, we took steps to contain violence by erecting 4,000 bunkers. Whatever the state government wanted we were ready to give,” he said.

But, Madhav said, they were sad that the government failed to discharge its responsibilities and the feeling of discrimination towards Jammu and Ladakh regions continued.

“After three years, today we have come to the conclusion that in the interest of the entire nation of which Jammu and Kashmir is inalienable part and in the interest of integrity and sovereignty of the country, keeping in mind the larger interest of the security, in order to bring situation under control, we have decided that is it time the reins of power be handed to the Governor for a spell of Governor’s rule. After the situation is restored, we will consider what to do in the future and take the political process forward,” he said.

He said the ceasefire was announced by the Centre with the intention of bringing peace to the state and to give relief to the people of Kashmir during the holy month of Ramadan. “It was our hope that we will get a good response from terrorists and separatist forces like Hurriyat. We were under no compulsion. It was a goodwill gesture and we did it from a position of strength,” he said.

In any case after the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari, there was no question of extension of ceasefire. If terrorists can enter into the city and kill Bukhari in broad daylight in a high security area, there was no question of continuance of ceasefire, the BJP leader said.

Madhav also said that over 600 terrorists have been neutralized in the last three years to stop radicalization. “Our campaign against terrorist will continue and there is no doubt about it. That is why we are going out.”

Replying to questions, he said apart from the reasons given, there were no other reasons for the decision to pull out of the government. “We are not concerned about losing ground in the state.”

He said the coalition was formed to respect the mandate of the elections and two parties came together and tried to give governance.

He said that state has faced such situation in the past when there was rising violence and periods of it being controlled. “All we are saying now is we have come to the conclusion that in present scenario and in the present juncture, we find our continuance untenable.”

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Omar Abdullah seeks fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar, June 19 :National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday sought fresh elections and said People must be given a chance to elect a new government and both BJP and PDP are responsible for the growing radicalisation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Abdullah said, ““We have asked for fresh elections and that is what we have asked the governor for. At the earliest, the people should be given the chance to choose a government for themselves. Decision is up to the Governor whether to seek early election or keep govt suspended.”

“Unfortunate that the BJP didn’t take the PDP into confidence about their decision,If they (BJP) are citing radicalisation as the reason, they are much responsible as PDP is. Both the parties have pushed the state to this precipice,” said the former chief minister.

“Only the BJP can tell you what compelled them to pull out of the alliance. I am not surprised that the alliance broke down, only the timing of it has surprised me. I was expecting it later in the year, not now,” Omar Abdullah said.

“We don’t have the mandate to form the government. No one has approached us and neither are we approaching anyone. I told the Governor we don’t have the mandate. He has no choice but to impose Governor rule, “Abdullah siad..

On the NC’s offer of support to PDP in 2014, Abdullah said, “It was a one-time offer, it expired the day BJP and PDP joined hands.”

Abdullah added, “We are not celebrating this break up. We are not mourning the demise of democracy in this state.”

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee says the PDP-BJP coalition was destined to break as it was an “unholy” alliance. “This was an unholy alliance and it was expected to break from day one. They had betrayed the people of the state and supporters of the respective parties. They sought votes on opposing agendas,” PCC president G A Mir said.

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