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GJM demands CBI probe into death of three activists

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Darjeeling GJM Protest

Kolkata, June 23 : Blaming the West Bengal government and senior officers for the killing of three GJM activists in police firing on June 17, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung on Friday demanded a CBI probe into the deaths.

“Our three activists were killed in police firing, for which police authorities must face consequences… There should be a CBI probe. I urge the Centre to order a CBI inquiry,” Gurung said.

“The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Darjeeling and the West Bengal government should take responsibility for the deaths,” said Gurang, who is in hiding for more than a week ever since police raided his house.

Police have confirmed one death and maintained no shots were fired by security forces. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also echoed the view.

On the other hand, the GJM chief claimed visual evidence for the three deaths in police firing.

“We have video footage of the police firing and also the cartridges that hit our activists,” Gurang said, denying that the protesters fired during the violence.

Gurung accused the police of raiding his residence without proper warrant and vowed to intensify the agitation in the Darjeeling hills and continue with the indefinite shutdown to fight for Gorkhaland.

Gurung, who headed the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, said he had resigned from the body along with other GJM members and said they will burn the law pertaining to GTA in public on June 27 as a symbolic protest.

The GJM chief said he will talk to the Centre only when the Gorkhaland demand was met.

In the picturesque hill town of Darjeeling, thousands of GJM activists clashed with security forces on June 17, following alleged police raid and vandalism at GJM leader Binay Tamang’s house.

Several vehicles were torched and 36 police personnel, including Indian Reserve Battalion officer Kiran Tamang, were injured in the violence.

The GJM took out rallies along with the bodies of its three activists the following day in Darjeeling.

Politics

Chhattisgarh’s BJP website hacked by Pakistani hackers

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BJP

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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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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