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Congress-NCP pay homage to Bal Thackeray, BJP also joins

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Bal Thackeray-
Photo-ANI

Mumbai, Nov 17 : For the first time, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party paid homage to the founder of the Shiv Sena, the late Bal Thackeray on his seventh death anniversary and later the Bharatiya Janata Party also joined in, here on Sunday.

The day started with thousands of Shiv Sainiks coming from across Maharashtra and queuing up at ‘Shivtirth’ for their turn to offer tributes to the charismatic and firebrand leader who passed away on this day in 2012.

Later, NCP state president Jayant Patil, former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Jitendra Awhad, also reached Shivaji Park – where ‘Shivtirth’ is situated – and paid their respects.

An erstwhile close confidante of the late leader, Bhujbal was seen getting emotional and later recalled the relationship he enjoyed with the late Thackeray.

NCP President Sharad Pawar who is in Pune paid rich tributes to the leader, describing him as a person who kindled pride in the Marathi ‘manoos’, was known for his courageous personality through which he gave a direction to society and politics.

Congress leaders including Bhai Jagtap came and paid homage and recalled his services to the state and people of Maharashtra.

Subsequently, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi, other family members and top party leaders entered Shivaji Park and offered floral tributes, bowed before a statue of the late Thackeray and paid homage.

Sometime later, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his former ministerial colleagues Vinod Tawade and Pankaja Munde also paid floral tributes.

They did not enter inside the ‘Shivtirth’ statue where Sena leaders including Uddhav Thackeray were present but quickly left after paying their homage.

It may be recalled that the Congress-NCP and Sena are currently engaged in finalizing their alliance before forming the state government.

A stunned BJP is still hoping that the Sena will have a change of heart and come around, but is claiming that it will form the government despite having 105 MLAs, plus reportedly the support of 14 others including independents.

The Congress-NCP are currently providing final touches to the proposed alliance with Sena with a meeting between their top leaders – Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar – scheduled in New Delhi on Monday.

Signalling a formal split, the Sena is not attending a crucial NDA meet, while the party’s three MPs have been given a new seating arrangement in Rajya Sabha for the parliament session starting on Monday.

Business

Congress alleges PPP model in Railways is “jugglery of words”

It said that it plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains and the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.

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Abhishek Manu Singhvi

New Delhi, July 2 : The Congress has said that the government is pushing railways into private hands and the Public Private Partnership is just “jugglery of words” after the government invited private participation in passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes.

“Why did the government decide on privatisation in the midst of corona” asked Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

He said that “on March 17, 2020 the government said in Parliament that it is not going to privatise railways.”

The Congress apprehended that the government is moving towards retrenchment of employees. The Indian Railways employs up to 1.5 crore people.

“Is retrenchment next?” asked Singhvi.

The Congress said that Railways ferry 2.5 crore passengers daily and 7.5 billion annually.

“Rail is the only lifeline of the poor and the government is taking it away from them. Snatch whatever you want to. But remember – the people of the country will give a befitting reply,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

The Railways on Wednesday announced that it has invited request for qualifications for private participation in passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains.

It said that it plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains and the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.

According to the railway ministry, this is the first initiative for private investment for running passenger trains on the Indian Railways network. The move was initiated last year with the introduction of the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

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Politics

Delhi Congress chief calls on MPs, MLAs to rise against fuel price hike

He said that the diesel price rise has adversely affected the farmers, transporters, businessmen and the common people, and both the central and Delhi governments are not taking any steps to reduce the prices.

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Anil Kumar Chaudhary

New Delhi, July 2 : Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar has written to all MPs and MLAs from Delhi across parties, to rise above narrow political considerations to join hands with the Congress to prevail upon the Modi government at the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi to reduce the excise duty and VAT on petrol and diesel.

Kumar said that “petrol and diesel are selling at over Rs 80 per litre in Delhi, and for the first time in history, diesel has become costlier than petrol, as the central government has imposed an excise duty of almost Rs 32 and the Delhi government is charging almost Rs 18 per litre as VAT (Value Added Tax)”.

He said that the frequent hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel (23 times in June alone) has had a cascading effect on the prices of other essential commodities as the cost of transportation has steeply gone up and the common people have been hemmed in from all sides.

He said that the diesel price rise has adversely affected the farmers, transporters, businessmen and the common people, and both the central and Delhi governments are not taking any steps to reduce the prices.

Anil Kumar in his letter reminded the elected representatives of both the BJP and the AAP that they have a moral obligation to protect the interest of the voters who have elected them to power and wondered why they were keeping a studied silence on the price hike.

Kumar said that if other political parties join hands with the Congress to request the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to reduce the prices of petroleum products, then it would be of great benefit to the people of Delhi, as pressure from all quarters will force the Centre and Delhi government to reduce the prices.

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India

Tiger zinda hai, says Jyotiraditya Scindia

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Jyotiraditya Scindia and JP Nadda

Bhopal, July 2: Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose 11 supporters have been given place in the 33-member cabinet of Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, said that he wants to covey to his critics that “Tiger zinda hai”.

“It is our duty to fight against injustice. Even if it means war, then Jyotiraditya Scindia will be on the frontline. For the last two months, people have been trying to tarnish my character. I want to tell them – tiger abhi zinda hai,” he said, borrowing a Hindi film title from salman Khan movie.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has 34 ministers after today’s oath ceremony. Of these, 59 per cent won the 2018 state elections on a BJP ticket. The remaining 41 percent — 14 ministers — are former Congressmen.

“Every election is a challenge. But the people of Madhya Pradesh are an informed lot. The 15-month (Congress) government saw all sorts of corruption and reneging on promises. Now we have a BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has always believed in public service. We are confident of winning all 24 seats. My people will give a fitting reply to the corrupt government,” Scindia said.

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