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Naidu’s hunger strike: Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi join protest over special status for Andhra

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Manmohan singh rahul gandhi Chandrababu Naidu
Photo Credit- ANI

New Delhi, Feb 11: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu began a 12-hour long fast here on Monday, demanding the Centre to accord special category status and fulfil other commitments made in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

“Today we came here all the way to protest against central government. Yesterday, PM visited Andhra Pradesh, Guntur, one day before the dharna. What is the need, I am asking,” the chief minister said while protesting at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan on Monday.

UPDATES:

** Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, DMK’s T Siva and TMC’s Derek O’ Brien join at Andhra Pradesh CM’s fast in Delhi.

Adressing the crowd, Kejriwal said, “Hum Pradhan Mantri Ji ko kehna chahate hain, woh BJP ke PM nahi hain, woh is desh ke logon ke PM hain. Jis tarah se PM vipakshi rajyon ke sarkaron ko treat karte hain, aise treat karte hain jaise pradhan mantri Hindustan ke nahi Pakistan ke hain”.

** Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders at ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ – his day long hunger strike against central govt over the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah Join Protest

** Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and NCP’s Majeed Memon joined Naidu’s protest against the central government at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan on Monday.

Addressing the crowd, Gandhi questioned PM Modi’s commitment to the people of the state.

Clad in black shirt to protest a raw deal meted out to the state, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief began ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan.

After paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, Naidu along with other TDP leaders reached AP Bhavan, where they garlanded the statue of Babasaheb B.R. Ambedkar before launching the protest.

Naidu’s cabinet colleagues, MPs, state legislators and leaders of student and employees groups and mass organisations were sitting with him on the fast.

A large number of protestors have also joined Naidu in the 12-hour long protest. They reached the national capital by two special trains hired by the state government.

Leaders of several non-BJP parties were expected to meet Naidu and express their solidarity.

Naidu, whose TDP pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance last year, so far staged similar protest in 11 out of 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh.

The TDP chief will submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday.

Naidu sat on the fast a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Andhra Pradesh. Addressing a rally in Guntur, he slammed Naidu and claimed that the Centre has extended all possible assistance to the state during the last five years.

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Politics

Chhattisgarh’s BJP website hacked by Pakistani hackers

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Raipur, Feb 21: The Bharatiya Janta Party has accused Pakistan of carrying out cyber attacks on Indian political parties and firms.

The head of Chhattisgarh’s BJP IT cell said that party’s official website was hacked by Pakistani hackers last night.

State BJP IT cell D Mashke told media on Thursday “More than 100 websites were hacked in a cyber-attack, our website was one of them”.

“We’ve registered a complaint. They can’t take us head on, that’s why they resort to such things”, he said.

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Digvijaya’s statement, Kamalnath’s tweet rock MP Assembly

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Bhopal, Feb 20 (IANS) Statements and counter-statements over twin issues of Mandsaur farmer deaths and alleged scam in plantation along Narmada banks rocked the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday.

Former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh’s statement and a tweet from incumbent Chief Minister Kamal Nath over the issues were cited by the state ministers repeatedly.

As the proceedings began, Opposition leader Gopal Bhargav launched an attack on the Congress-led state government, saying: “A constitutional crisis-like situation has arisen in the state as questions are being raised outside the House over ministers’ statements,” said Bhargav.

However, Speaker N.P. Prajapati made it clear that discussion cannot be held on the basis of reports appearing in the media.

At this stage, Kamal Nath got up to say: “I do have knowledge of Constitution, so no one should try to teach me. We should not hold any discussion based on news reports.”

Legislator Narottam Mishra also raised objections to the Chief Minister’s tweet.

It may be recalled that in response to a query from Congress MLA Harsh Vijay Gehlot, in a written reply state Home Minister Bala Bachchan had said: “The police had opened fire in Mandsaur’s Pipalia Mandi in self-defence, to disperse the uncontrolled mob, and to protect government and private properties.”

On the other hand, Forest Minister Umang Singhar has given clean-chit to previous government in the alleged plantation scam on Narmada banks and hinted that there no such scam took place.

Digvijaya had expressed dissatisfaction over the responses of two ministers in the Congress-led state government.

“Home Minister had dubbed the firing over farmers in Mandsaur as right, we can’t accept it. And, Forest Minister had said that no corruption took place in the plantation drive at Narmada banks. It means they gave clean-chit to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. The question is, what was the need to take a stand?” he said.

Kamal Nath had on Tuesday night tweeted in Hindi: “We won’t spare the culprits of Mandsaur firing, or those of plantation scam, or those committing financial irregularities during the Singhastha. It’s our resolve to get justice all – be it victim farmers or sentence to scamsters.”

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Election

Modi popular but will be tough for BJP to replicate 2014 in UP: Survey

And in what may come as good news for the Opposition, the CLSA report says the entry of Priyanka Gandhi — which has already energised the Congress cadres — may hurt the prospects of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party (SP-BSP) combine and give the BJP a tough fight.

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New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi still remains popular with the masses but it would be difficult for the BJP to replicate its 2014 success in Uttar Pradesh, says a survey on the evolving political scenario in the state ahead of the upcoming elections.

The survey also says that the tension after the Pulwama terror attack will have a significant bearing on the upcoming general elections.

Released on Wednesday, the survey report by market research and brokerage firm CLSA says that the BJP would find it difficult to replicate its 2014 success, though it could still win over half of the Lok Sabha seats in the country’s most populous state.

“Our discussions with various politicians, including those of the BJP, indicate that the BJP would likely win 40-45 seats (out of 80) in UP, on the higher side against 73 back in 2014,” the report adds.

A CLSA team travelled across Uttar Pradesh over the past two weeks to reach its conclusions.

During the course of its survey, it also found that Modi still remains popular on the ground across different castes, a factor that could translate into more votes in the caste-sensitive state.

And in what may come as good news for the Opposition, the CLSA report says the entry of Priyanka Gandhi — which has already energised the Congress cadres — may hurt the prospects of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party (SP-BSP) combine and give the BJP a tough fight.

The SP and the BSP have joined hands to corner the Muslim and Dalit votes.

“Though the alliance is a formidable opposition to the BJP, the entry of Priyanka Gandhi can still take away some of SP-BSP vote share. If not formal, at least, an informal alliance with the Congress will be required for the combine to work,” the CLSA report says.

The survey adds that a possible alliance of the SP-BSP with the Congress can turn the tables and limit the gains made by the BJP, preventing a clean sweep of sorts registered by the party in the last general elections.

“We understand that the SP-BSP might tie-up with the Congress, at least informally, which could possibly limit the gains for the BJP,” says the report.

There is also a possibility of disgruntled party workers from the SP and the BSP, after the two joined hands, shifting to the Congress, which might help the BJP.

But CLSA says that cow vigilantism in the state has badly hurt farmer sentiments turning a large section against the ruling party.

Vigilantism has prevented farmers from selling their cattle and the excess cattle are, in turn, destroying farm produce.

The confusion in the state and the emerging political scenario does not portent good for the markets.

The CLSA survey says that in the short term, domestic equity flows will likely reflect these political uncertainties over the next three months, driving the market lower.

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