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NCP lays red carpet for ex-BJP leader Eknath Khadse, others

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Eknath Khadse

Mumbai, Oct 23 : Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Friday formally inducted senior politician Eknath Khadse and many other leaders, who quit the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, into the party fold.

Khadse, his daughter Rohini Khadse-Khevalkar and 72 other party workers at various levels from Jalgaon district were lustily cheered as they joined NCP, amid speculation that many others from the BJP may follow suit.

In his welcome speech, state NCP President and minister Jayant Patil said that it was “unfortunate” that such a senior leader was humiliated by the BJP on trumped up charges despite his contributions to building the party.

“Now, they will realise that ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ (Khadse) and ‘picture abhi baaki hai’. His entry will strengthen the NCP,” Patil said, in a loaded hint of more to come after Khadse.

Starting his political career in the 1970s, Khadse, 68, was elected the sarpanch of Kothali village in 1987. Later he was elected as a legislator for six times from 1989 till 2019 from his home town Muktainagar.

In the Shiv Sena-BJP government (1995-1999), he had served as a minister. Later he served as the Leader of Opposition before being bypassed for the post of Chief Minister when the BJP-Sena regime took office in 2014, shocking many in the political circles.

However, Khadse became the de facto No. 2 under the then CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Later, following certain allegations of corruption and other charges, he was forced to quit the cabinet in June 2016 and since then he was in political wilderness till he joined the NCP.

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Haryana Cong Seeks Special Assembly Session for No-trust Vote Against Khattar Govt

Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the ML Khattar government has lost the confidence of the people and the House, adding a Congress delegation will meet the governor soon to demand summoning of the House.

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Bhupinder s Hooda

The Congress in Haryana will seek the convening of a special session of the assembly to bring a no-confidence motion against the BJP-led state government, its legislature party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said Friday. Hooda said the ML Khattar government has lost the confidence of both the people and the House, and said a Congress delegation will meet Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya soon to demand summoning of the House.

When asked if some BJP MLAs were in touch with him, the Congress leader told reporters in Gurgaon, “I cannot disclose all things before you.” He said two Independent MLAs have already withdrawn support to the BJP-Jannayak Janta Party coalition and some JJP legislators have given statements against the government, while supporting the farmers’ protests.

“In the last session of the Vidhan Sabha, we had said the government should hold a discussion on farmers’ issues,” Hooda, who is Leader of the Opposition in the House, said. Now, the Congress Legislature Party has decided to meet the Governor and urge him to convene a special session of the Vidhan Sabha to discuss farmers’ problems, he said.

We will bring a no-confidence motion because the present government has not only lost the confidence of the people, but of the House. Independent MLAs Balraj Kundu and Sombir Sangwan had earlier withdrawn support to the BJP-JJP government, which completed a year in office over a month ago.

But Hooda claimed that some MLAs are playing a double role, making statements against the government but are continuing to support the government. This will make it clear who stands with the farmers, he said, referring to the planned no-trust motion. He said while farmers are on the streets, the JJP and some Independent MLAs continue to enjoy the fruits of power.

Hooda said when the assembly convenes, the Congress will also seek an amendment to guarantee the minimum support price (MSP) with punishment for those purchasing crops below it. At present, the Khattar government enjoys a comfortable majority in the 90-member State Assembly.

The BJP has 40 MLAs and its ally JJP 10. There are 31 Congress MLAs and one each from the Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party. Seven members are Independents, out of whom five, including Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala, support the ruling combine.

Hooda said Khattar has insulted farmers by saying that those from Haryana are not part of the protest at Delhi’s borders. Not only this, one of his ministers rubbed salt on the wounds of farmers by saying the current agitation is foreign-funded. He should immediately apologise for his remarks, he demanded.

The 73-year-old former chief minister said he has not seen a bigger farmers’ agitation in his entire life. Thousands of farmers mostly from Punjab but many from Haryana are now protesting at Delhi’s borders, demanding the repeal of three agri-marketing laws enacted at the Centre in September.

Farmer unions say the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system, which the government denies. The Central government should immediately accept their demands, otherwise more problems may arise, Hooda said.

At a separate press conference in Chandigarh, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said if the Centre does not repeal the farm laws, her party will do so when it comes to power. She said those in JJP and BJP who are with the farmers’ should stop supporting the government.

She said the Congress will fight the December 27 municipal bodies’ elections in the state on its party symbol.

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Tejashwi slams Centre for not inviting RJD to all- party meeting

The RJD currently has 5 Rajya Sabha MPs apart from 75 MLAs in the Bihar assembly and 6 MLCs.

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Tejashwi Yadav

Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has slammed the Centre for not inviting the RJD to the all-party meeting on the coronavirus vaccine.

Yadav said the Narendra Modi government has called an all-party meeting but has not invited the RJD despite it being the single largest party in Bihar.

“It indicates that the meeting is just a show and nothing else,” he said.

The all-party meeting is currently underway in Delhi chaired by PM Narendra Modi. Sources have said that only those parties were invited for the meeting who have at least 4 to 5 MPs in Parliament.

The RJD currently has 5 Rajya Sabha MPs apart from 75 MLAs in the Bihar assembly and 6 MLCs.

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Priyanka addresses Dalit panchayat in Uttar Pradesh

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Priyanka Gandhi

Lucknow: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Friday, expressed concern over the increasing atrocities on Dalits in Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a Dalit panchayat at the party’s state headquarters, through virtual medium, she said that the Yogi Adityanath government was putting Dalits in the dock, instead of addressing their problems, and lauded the efforts being made by the UP Congress in reaching out to the victims.

Referring to incidents in Hathras, Kanpur, Lalitpur, Azamgarh and other districts, she said that even the Chairman of the Congress SC/ST cell was falsely implicated in a criminal case and arrested.

“I have spoken to inmates of Ambedkar hostels and they are apprehensive that the government may close down their hostels. You all should stay united and the Congress will always support you,” she said.

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