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India ,Pakistan dialogue to remain immune from saboteurs,says Sushma

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said both India  and Pakistan agreed to start a new beginning by holding a new bilateral comprehensive dialogue to address all outstanding issues through peaceful means while remaining immune to provocations from “saboteurs”.

To a question in Rajya Sabha on whether India has raised the issue of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in the international fora, Swaraj replied in affirmative and said government’s principled and consistent position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has been that the entire state is an integral part of India.

“A new beginning has been made in the form of the agreement of the two countries on a new bilateral comprehensive dialogue to address all outstanding issues between them through peaceful means,” she said.

During her visit to Islamabad earlier this month to attend a multilateral meet on Afghanistan, both India and Pakistan announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that includes Peace and Security, Confidence Building Measures, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counterterrorism, Narcotics Control and Humanitarian Issues, People to People exchanges and Religious Tourism.

Replying to a query, she said the Permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN has recently written three letters to the President of the UN Security Council which referred to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and asked the top decision making body to take note of situation along the Line of Control.

To a separate question, Swaraj, who is also Overseas Indian Affairs Minister, said it was aware of an Amnesty International report which said that 279 Indian migrant workers died in Qatar in 2014.

India

WB Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigns

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Amid a string of exits from the Trinamool Congress party, West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee has resigned from his office as Cabinet minister. His resignation has been accepted by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, ANI reported.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to serve the people of West Bengal. I heartily convey my gratitude for getting this opportunity,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

“I have considered each one of you as my extended family and your support has always motivated me to go the extra mile and be at your service in a better way possible, hence I am announcing my formal resignation on this platform and have informed the concerned authority as well. I hope that in the years to come I will be able to be at each of your service in the best way possible as that has been the sole reason I am into politics,”

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Gehlot-led AICC team to mull Cong prospects in Kerala polls

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Ashok Gehlot

A three-member committee set up by the AICC will hold discussions on Friday evening and Saturday with state leaders on the prospects of the Congress as well as the United Democratic Front in the 2021 Assembly elections.

Led by Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the team constituted by the All India Congress Committee comprises former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro and former Karnataka Deputy CM G Parameshwara.

While Falerio and Parameshwara have already arrived in the state capital, Gehlot will reach here on Friday evening, accompanied by AICC General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal. The meeting will be held thereafter.

Falerio and Parameshwara have already met with the ‘big three’ in the state Congress — KPCC President Mullappaly Ramachandran, former Chief minister Oomen Chandy, and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

KPCC General Secretary Manacadu Suresh told IANS: “Both Felerio and Parameshwara are here and meeting all senior state leaders. They will make a small presentation when Gehlot and Venugopal reach here by evening.”

While an informal meeting will be held after the arrival of the two senior leaders, a series of meeting are slated on Saturday to discuss the prospective party candidates in the Assembly elections likely to be held in May 2021 to elect 140 MLAs.

As Congress Working Committee member and former Kerala Chief Minister AK Antony has openly called for fielding “new faces”, the Congress will be forced to choose several youth leaders for party tickets. Gehlot and his team will have a close look at the strengths and limitations of the new faces proposed to be fielded by the state leadership.

KPCC chief Ramachandran told IANS: “There will be an open meeting between AICC observers and the state leaders’ team. We will discuss the election strategy, pros and cons of fielding new candidates, relations with coalition partners, and finances for the polls. All team members are senior politicians and we will make use of their vast experience and expertise in the run-up to the polls.”

The Congress contested 87 seats in 2016 elections but won only 22, while its United Democratic Front partner Indian Union Muslim League contested 25 seats and won 18.

In the 2021 polls, the Congress is likely to contest 95 Assembly seats and is hoping to lead in 27 of them. The UDF will give two seats to the Communist Marxist Party (CMP), which has been with the UDF since its formation. Forward Block will get one seat while Kerala Congress splinter group led by PJ Joseph will get 7 to 9 seats to contest.

Source: IANS

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PMC Bank case: ED searches 5 locations in Mumbai

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The ED officials, however, remained tight-lipped about sharing any further details.

An ED source said that the agency had got some links that amounts in crores of Rupees were transferred from the HDIL to the Viva group trust and companies, which is controlled by the family members of Thakur.

Earlier this month, the ED had questioned Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut in connection with the case.

Source: IANS

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