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Congress-TDP forms alliance ahead of Lok Sabha 2019 elections

“We had a very good meeting, the gist was that we have to defend democracy and future of the country. So we are coming together to work, all opposition forces must unite”, said Gandhi after meeting Naidu in the national capital.

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New Delhi, Nov 1: The Congress and Telugu Desam Party on Thursday announced an alliance to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The decision was taken during a meeting between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu and Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the national capital.

“We had a very good meeting, the gist was that we have to defend democracy and future of the country. So we are coming together to work, all opposition forces must unite”, said Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the TDP Supremo stated  “We have to forget the past, now it is a democratic compulsion to unite. All opposition needs to be one”.

Earlier in a day, he met National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and NCP leader Sharad Pawar in a bid to bring all opposition parties together.

This was Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief’s first meeting with Congress president, though the two had shared dais at the swearing-in of Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy in May.

During his visit to Delhi last week, Naidu met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BSP leader Mayawati, Loktrantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha and CPI leaders D. Raja and S. Sudhakar Reddy.

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After getting ‘ticket’ to legislature, Urmila Matondkar joins Shiv Sena

Matondkar quit the Congress in a huff on September 10 last year, alleging party infighting, post-defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gopal Shetty in Mumbai North constituency.

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Urmila Matonkar

Mumbai, Dec 1 : In Indian politics, prominent personalities or leaders usually first join a party and then are rewarded with a ticket for legislatures or parliament.

In what is said to be an unprecedented change from the norms, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar got a ‘ticket’ first and then officially joined the Shiv Sena, in the presence of senior leaders, here on Tuesday.

Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray accorded Matondkar a warm welcome to the party fold while his wife Rashmi Uddhav Thackeray tied her a thread, ‘Shiv Bandhan’ symbolizing her ties with the new party.

Soon after that, she bowed with folded hands and paid her respects before a wall-portrait of the founder-patriarch of Shiv Sena, the late Balasaheb Thackeray and his wife Meenatai Thackeray, at the Thackeray residence, ‘Matoshri’ in Bandra east.

The development came after Matondkar remained in a ‘denial mode’ for 14 months since she quit the Congress in September 2019, and even after she got a ‘ticket’ from the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) to the Maharashtra Legislature’s upper house.

In anticipation of her joining, the MVA last month (Nov. 2020) recommended Matondkar’s name – along with 11 others of MVA – to Raj Bhavan for a coveted nomination to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from the quota of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Matondkar quit the Congress in a huff on September 10 last year, alleging party infighting, post-defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gopal Shetty in Mumbai North constituency.

Earlier, prior to the October 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls, there was intense speculation that she would join either the Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party or even Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, but she had scoffed it as rumours.

An outspoken person known for her bold stand on various issues, a couple of months ago, she and actress Kangana Ranaut were engaged in a verbal scuffle after the latter made certain remarks targeting Matondkar on the social media.

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India

Sangwan withdraws support to Haryana govt over farmers’ protest

He was among seven Independent legislators who won the assembly elections last year. They backed the government.

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farmers at Sindhu border

Chandigarh: A day after resigning as the Haryana Livestock Development Board Chairman, Independent legislator Sombir Sangwan on Tuesday withdrew his support to the BJP-JJP coalition government in the state owing to the farmers’ agitation against new farm laws.

In a statement, he said atrocities are being unleashed on the farmers who are on an agitation in support of their demands.

“I cannot remain associated with the government in the present circumstances and decided to part ways with the state government,” said Sangwan.

He was among seven Independent legislators who won the assembly elections last year. They backed the government.

One of the Independents, Ranjit Chautala, has been inducted into the Cabinet, four others have been appointed chairmen of boards and corporations.

The BJP had won 40 of the 90 Assembly seats in 2019 and formed the government with Jannayak Janta Party’s support, which had won 10 seats. The Congress had won 31 seats.

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India

Withdraw farm laws, says BJP ally in Rajasthan; threatens to quit alliance

BJP ally Hanuman Beniwal’s threat to exit the NDA comes a day after Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to scrap the three farm laws.

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Hanuman Beniwal

Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party that partnered with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 on Monday told Home Minister Amit Shah that his party would reconsider its partnership with the BJP if the Centre did not withdraw the three farm laws. Beniwal also demanded that the Centre implement the recommendations of the Swaminath Commission and hold dialogue with farmers in Delhi in the right spirit.

Hanuman Beniwal, who was once in the Bharatiya Janata Party, floated his party before the 2018 state elections and became part of the National Democratic Alliance right before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Beniwal won the Lok Sabha election from Nagaur in 2019. His party had won 3 seats in the state elections the previous year and had put up a tough fight in quite a few others.

The jat leader’s threat to consider exiting the NDA is seen to indicate the discomfort within the regional party over the protests that erupted against the three farm laws enacted by the BJP-led coalition at the Centre that change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a network of decades-old, government-controlled agricultural markets.

The laws allow businesses to freely trade farm produce outside the so-called government-controlled “mandi system”, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers have tried to dispel concerns around the three laws, telling that these had opened up new opportunities for cultivators.

But leaders of farmers who have been marching to national capital Delhi against the law aren’t convinced and have insisted that their agitation will continue. Thousands of farmers have been camping on the borders of Delhi and in the city’s Burari grounds since November 27, a day after their Delhi Chalo agitation was launched from Punjab. The protests have since then spread to pockets in other states as well.

In a string of tweets that he followed up with a letter to Amit Shah, Hanuman Beniwal said his party would be forced to reconsider its alliance if prompt action is not taken since farmers and the youth formed the core support base of his party.

In a video message earlier, Beniwal said the RLP had protested the three farm laws through social media and on the streets. “Today, I have written to Shah that if the laws aren’t withdrawn, then we will reconsider our alliance with NDA,” he said.

“We are with the farmers and if required will march to Delhi. The PM and Shah should hold dialogue with farmers, and provide space to hold dharna in the capital. If any kind of ill-treatment is done with the farmers, then the farmers of the entire country will be on streets to gherao Delhi,” he said.

Beniwal’s tweets came a day after chief minister Ashok Gehlot wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding withdrawal of the farm laws.

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