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Confident AAP not keen to project CM candidate in Punjab

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bhagwant mann

New Delhi, Aug 1 : The AAP is confident of sweeping the Punjab assembly polls but is in no hurry to decide who will be its Chief Minister, a party leader in charge of the state said.

Durgesh Pathak also said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was ready for any decision by a parliamentary panel on its MP, Bhagwant Mann, who is accused of breaching Parliament’s security, a charge Mann has denied.

Pathak, who has played a key role in building the party in Punjab, said he expected the AAP to win 95 to 105 of the 117 seats in the elections due early next year.

“Of course any party will say it is winning,” Pathak, 27, told in an interview. “But I invite you to visit any place in Punjab and ask any 10 people who they will vote for. I bet seven will say AAP.

“As of now, the Akalis and the Congress are far, far, far behind us,” he said, referring to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, the main opposition party. The BJP is a junior ally of the Akalis.

Pathak, who said he had visited every nook and corner of Punjab in the last one year, debunked arguments that the Akalis still held sway in rural areas.

“Of the 117 seats in Punjab, only 20 to 25 are urban seats in the real sense. So, if this argument is true, the AAP can’t win. But the reality is different. We have support in both rural and urban areas.”

According to Pathak, the AAP won a quarter of the votes polled in Punjab in the 2014 Lok Sabha election which fetched it four seats – the only parliamentary victory it got anywhere in the country.

“A winning party in an assembly battle will need about 35 per cent of votes. As of now in Punjab, we have acquired a support base of 53-54 per cent. No wonder, C Voter survey is giving us 102 seats as of today.”

The AAP’s entry has made the coming Punjab election a triangular affair for the first time. Both the Akalis and the Congress admit their main foe is the AAP.

Pathak said there were many reasons why the AAP had grown so rapidly in Punjab.

He said a decade of Akali rule had badly hurt Punjab’s economy, made corruption a way of life, led to nepotism as well as given birth to both ‘goondagardi’ and a drug culture that had mauled the young.

“The voter is angry. People are hungry for good governance. And in such a scenario, our achievements in Delhi are seen positively. So the voter is looking to bring the AAP to power, not the Congress.

“And we are seen as political activists who are honest and fearless,” he added.

Amid speculation that former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu could be the AAP’s Chief Ministerial candidate in Punjab, Pathak said the AAP was in no hurry to project a potential CM.

“We have not even thought about it. We have not even decided whether there needs to be a CM candidate ahead of the election. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.”

Does the AAP fear that Bhagwant Mann’s membership of the Lok Sabha will be cancelled by the parliamentary panel probing his video recording of a section of parliament?

Pathak, who is from Allahabad and who joined the India Against Corruption campaign of 2011 before embracing the AAP, said the Akalis, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party had ganged up against Mann.

“Mann has done no wrong. He only wanted to show how questions submitted for Zero Hour in Parliament are selected like in a lottery.

“But if this panel wants to throw him out of the Lok Sabha, so be it. None of us joined the AAP for any post. We are prepared for anything. All I can say is people are watching everything and they are the final judge.”

Cities

Kerala Police arrest 2 in tribal youth murder case

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A selfie of a man with mentally cahllenged tribal youth
A selfie of a man with mentally cahllenged tribal youth (Photo- Indian Express)

Palakkad ( Kerala) Feb 23: The Kerala Police on Friday arrested two of the seven suspects in the killing of a “mentally unfit” tribal youth a day ago, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The 27-year-old Adivasi youth, who was said to be “not of sound mind”, was beaten to death here by a lynch mob which had accused him of theft, according to the victim’s mother.

The turn of events on Thursday elicited strong response from across the state and country on Friday after a perpetrator of the beating posted a selfie taken just minutes before the crime.

Highlighting the police action, Vijayan in his Facebook post said: “I have instructed the state DGP to speed up the probe and take strict action in the case.”

“This heinous act is a blot on Kerala’s progressive society. But I want to assure you that strict action will be taken at the earliest against all the culprits to ensure that such crimes, especially against people from communities that were long marginalised, are not repeated.

“Kerala as a whole should stay extremely vigilant to ensure that we continue to remain and progress as a caring, cosmopolitan society,” added Vijayan.

The Chief Minister’s response was also prompted by a large number of twitter followers putting up messages like: “@CMOKerala… please take urgent action on this matter and bring the culprits in front of Justice.”

Speaking to the media here on Friday, Malli, mother of the slain youth Madhu, said: “It was yesterday (Thursday) evening that my son was beaten up by a group of people in the forest (near Attapadi-Agali) saying that he was a thief.

“Then he was handed over to the police and soon he developed complications. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. He is not a thief, instead he was not of sound mind,” said the grieving mother.

The entire episode was shot on a mobile and posted on social media.

Superstar Mammootty in his Facebook post said that none should address Madhu as a tribal.

“I will say that people killed my brother, as if one thinks as a human, Madhu is either a son or an younger or elder brother. None should call anyone a thief, if he does it to eat, as poverty is the creation of society,” said Mammootty.

State BJP spokesperson M.S. Kumar told the media that the state government should announce an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2.5 million as compensation.

“It’s very strange that the concerned minister (Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes A.K. Balan) who hails from the same district failed to turn up at the tribal village to pacify them,” said Kumar.

It was only after actor-director Joy Mathew had posted the visuals on social media that various political leaders, including Vijayan, condemned the incident, early on Friday.

“This is some sort of a fascist Malayali psyche which has developed recently and has to be tackled. If the police wish to arrest me for sharing this video on social media, let them do that,” said Mathew.

The local tribal community are up in arms and have demanded that if the people behind the incident were not arrested, they would launch a protest and commenced the first round by staging a march in the locality.

State Minister Balan told the media: “Those who did it claim that this youth was a thief, but that’s their allegation.

“The state government will act very strongly and none who have done this would be spared. A magisterial probe will also be launched,” said Balan.

State Police chief Loknath Behra said that he has handed over the case to Thrissur Inspector General of Police and “everyone who had done this would be brought to book, as people have no right to take law into their hands”.

Madhu’s body has been taken for an autopsy to the Thrissur Medical College hospital and would then be brought to the village.

IANS

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Dalit girl burnt alive in Uttar Pradesh village

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Fire Burnt Alive
Representational Image

Lucknow, Feb 23: A young Dalit girl was burnt alive in an Uttar Pradesh village in Unnao district late last night, police said.

Eighteen-year-old Moni was cycling to a vegetable market on Thursday when some unidentified persons confronted her. They surrounded her and poured petrol over her. Before she could react, they had set her ablaze.

The girl up in flames ran for some 100 metres to save herself but finally collapsed and died on the spot.

Senior police officers, including IG (Zone) Sujit Kumar Pandey rushed to the crime scene around midnight and spoke to the victims family.

The police is trying to find out whether it was a case of stalking or family enmity. The victim’s family has ruled out any case of enmity.

Officials told IANS that the police has recovered an empty petrol can, a match box and detected tyre marks of a four-wheeler near Tedha Bazaar where the crime took place.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Pushpanjali along with the Station House Officer (SHO) Uttam Singh Rathore have interrogated several persons in connection with the crime.

A case has been registered against unidentified persons.

IANS

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Mathura walls painted saffron ahead of Adityanath’s visit

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Mathura, Feb 23: The buildings and walls of Mathura are getting a coat of saffron colour ahead of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit to participate in the Lathmar Holi. 

“The preparation is in full swing. The Nagar Panchayat has made all the facility available. We are cleaning the entire city for the festival,” news agency ANI quoted an official as saying.

“Every year we used to celebrate a colourful Holi. This year it is saffronised. We are happy that the Chief Minister is coming to the city to celebrate the festival with us” said a local.

Adityanath will pay a visit to Barsana on February 24 to celebrate the colourful festival.

WeForNews 

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