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Did BJP make last-ditch attempt to lure back Thackeray?



uddhav thackeray Shiv Sena

Mumbai, Nov 22 : A dejected Bharatiya Janata Party is said to have made “a desperate last-minute” attempt to win over its former ally Shiv Sena back to its fold, authoritative party sources revealed on Friday.

This included a wake-up call to the Sena chief Udhav Thackeray’s house, ‘Matoshri’ around 3 a.m. on Friday, virtually dragging him out of the bed after he had returned home at 1 a.m. from a meeting at Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar’s home late Thursday night.

“Top BJP leaders from New Delhi conveyed that the party is ready to accept any conditions made by the Sena, including the post of CM for the full term, ministries of his choice and even numerical adjustments if required at the Centre and state,” said the source, requesting anonymity.

The erstwhile ally was also ready to forgive and forget, patch up the alliance again and even include the Sena back to the NDA from where it was ejected on November 17 without notice – the day when Sena was observing the seventh death anniversary of its founder, the late Bal Thackeray.

However, Thackeray reportedly gave the leaders – whose names are not revealed – a patient hearing, but politely informed that it is not possible to take a u-turn after going such a long distance with the upcoming alliance of the Sena with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

The frantic efforts came after at least two days of complete lull on the part of Maharashtra BJP whose leaders made open claims that “come what may, the BJP would form the government with the Sena” and later dropped hints that it was also negotiating a deal with the NCP and others.

Even the Nagpur-headquartered RSS is reportedly cheesed off by the developments in its home state Maharashtra and is now said to be pointing a finger at former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for spoiling the saffron broth after the elections.

Sections of the BJP have also not taken too kindly to Fadnavis’ adamance on the post of Chief Minister since the past one month, which he claimed repeatedly after the October 21 elections.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut gave a hint on the party’s mood when he was asked Friday whether the party would return to the BJP fold if it was given the post of CM.

“This is now a fight for the dignity and self-respect of Maharashtra. Now, even if we are offered the throne of (Lord) Indra, we are not interested… That time has elapsed,” Raut declared.

Significantly, after the unsuccessful efforts to wean the Sena back to the BJP, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari hit out saying this was “an opportunistic alliance coming up in Maharashtra and would not last for very long”.

After getting on firm grounds with the upcoming Maha Vikas Aghadi in the state, NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik took a swipe at the BJP.

He said that “finally, Sharad Pawar has outsmarted” the alleged aChanakya’ of Indian politics, as the three parties appeared set to stake claim to the Maharashtra government.

Though obviously referring to BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, without taking any names, Malik tweeted that “the throne of Delhi failed to make Maharashtra bend before ita Jai Maharashtra!”

As per current indicators, after the Sena-NCP-Congress and other parties have unanimously accepted him as the choice for CM, Thackeray is likely to consider the proposal positively and convey his decision to the other parties in the proposed Maha Vikas Aghadi in a day or so.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])


Rahul Gandhi returning to lead Congress again?




scindia rahul gandhi priyanka gandhi

New Delhi/Wayanad (Kerala), Dec 6 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi is all set to return to lead the party and is likely to take over after the Delhi assembly polls early next year. A hint to this effect was dropped by Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal who said that country wants his leadership more now.

Venugopal, who is accompanying Gandhi to his Kerala constituency Wayanad, told reporters: “The nation is going through a critical phase… The party needs his leadership and there is loud chorus from the workers to bring him again and we hope he will listen to them.”

A Congress session is scheduled in the next few months to ratify the appointment of interim President Sonia Gandhi. A source said that in the same meet, a chorus will grow to bring again Rahul Gandhi as planned by young leaders in the party.

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the party organisation was first demanded at the AICC’s Hyderabad session in 2006 where workers from UP raised slogans in his favour and he was made party General Secretary in 2007. After that, the demand to make him Vice President was raised at the brainstorming session in Jaipur in 2013.

He was elected President unopposed in 2017 after demand from different quarters of the party, but during the 2019 General Elections, the party was routed under his leadership and he resigned in May taking the responsibility of poll debacle and did not budge to the party’s repeated requests to reconsider. In August, Sonia Gandhi was appointed interim party chief.

Though he may not be the party chief, but Rahul Gandhi’s decisions are evident within the party’s decisions as evinced by appointment of Nitin Raut as minister in the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition government in Maharashtra and of Nana Patole as the Assembly Speaker.

The party is finalising a venue for the AICC session, which could be held in the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan in January and February, a source said.


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RBI holding repo rate bodes well for savings: Economists




Reserve Bank of India RBI

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Even as many see the RBI’s pause on repo rate as a setback for the growth, some economists argue that any further cut could have affected households savings which have already seen a decline in recent times.

“Reduction in interest rate will work negatively. The interest rate is like a double-edged sword. It will have an impact on savings and it will have an impact on investments. We know very clearly that it does not have much impact on investments. Now, what is it doing? It is basically hampering the savings,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

He also said that monetary policy is not just about interest rates.

“There are many things which monetary policy does. It can ensure that credit flow is better and the banking sector is in good shape. They can create money supply. So, it can do many things. They have to now see how savings could be improved,” the NIPFP professor said.

M. Govinda Rao, Chief Economic Advisor, Brickwork Ratings, said that transmission of the reduction in the policy (repo rate) requires the lending rates to fall. Further, that would also require the deposit rates to fall, which could result in reduced saving by households.

“When the inflation rate is perking up, if the banks also reduce the deposit rates, the rate of return on savings will decline which could not only reduce the incentive to save but also can hurt the elderly who maintain themselves from the interest income,” he said.

As per Economic Survey of FY19, gross savings fell nearly 60 basis points as a share of GDP in two years to 30.5 per cent in 2017-18. Household savings led the decline as its share contracted from as high as 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.

“The household sector savings declined from 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent in 2017-18 and its net financial savings and a ratio of GDP declined from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent during the same period. Thus, besides inflationary expectations, ensuring adequate real rate of return on the savings could be an objective of keeping the repo rate constant,” Govinda Rao said.

As against market expectations of a rate cut, the RBI on Thursday maintained the policy repo rate at 5.15 per cent. With this, the reverse repo rate also stands unchanged at 4.9 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was unanimous in its decision to maintain status quo on both rates and ‘accommodative’ stance.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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Immediately probe the encounter: Legal experts




Hyderabad Murder Encounter

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Legal experts say as per the law a probe should be immediately set up into the mysterious encounter of the four accused in the rape and murder of a Hyderabad-based veterinarian.

“The rule of law should prevail in the country, there should be an immediate inquiry into the encounter of the accused,” said senior advocate Vikas Singh, former President of Supreme Court Bar Association.

A week after the brutal gang rape and murder of the young veterinarian in Hyderabad, police shot dead all the four accused in an alleged ‘encounter’ near Shadnagar town.

The accused were killed in the early hours of Friday when they allegedly snatched weapons from the police and tried to escape from Chatanpally near Shadnagar, about 50 kms from Hyderabad.

Singh emphasised that there should be balance between justice delivery system and human rights of the citizens. “The authorities should immediately begin an inquiry into this encounter, and this probe should be completed as soon as possible. The authorities should ascertain whether it was a genuine encounter or it was stage managed by the police,” added Singh.

The four accused killed in the encounter were identified as lorry drivers Mohammed Arif (26) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), and lorry cleaners Jollu Shiva (20) and Jollu Naveen (20). All hailed from the Narayanpet district of Telangana.

Senior advocate Puneet Mittal said that there should immediately be a judicial probe into the matter to unearth the real picture behind this mysterious encounter. “The probe should be on the factors that were behind this encounter. The families of the accused could also move the court seeking inquiry into the matter,” added Mittal.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parekh said according to the law the encounter should be looked into as killings. “As per law, a case should be registered against the police officials involved in the alleged encounter followed by a probe,” said Parekh.

He also insisted that usually the action of the police officials claiming self defence comes into the picture at the stage of the trial, but at this stage of the case there should be a probe immediately to verify the encounter.

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