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New political equations evolving in Maharashtra politics

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NCP chief Sharad Pawar interacts with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray

New Delhi, Nov 10 : After the official refusal by the BJP on government formation in Maharashtra, a new political situation is arising in state politics wherein a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government supported by the Congress may be a possibility.

The Congress meeting at Jaipur with MLAs has empowered party interim President Sonia Gandhi to take any decision. Sources here said that most of the MLAs are keen to support a Sena-headed government with riders. The party’s state in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge will apprise Sonia Gandhi about the political situation soon.

“A possible scenario could be a Sena-NCP government supported by the Congress with the latter getting the Speaker’s post in the assembly” said a party source close to a former Maharashtra Chief Minister.

The Congress strategy will depend on the counsel of Sharad Pawar who is scheduled to meet Sonia Gandhi after the NCP legislators meet on Tuesday.

Congress sources here say that the party will only consider a dialogue with the Shiv Sena after it announces its departure from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and its lone minister Arvind Sawant resigns from the Union Cabinet.

“Congress should explore all the options available in the state,” Congress leader Hussain Dalwai said.

In a reconciliatory move of sorts, therefore, and to pave the way for a dialogue, the Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, has said that the Congress is not an enemy of the state.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackrey on Sunday met his MLAs, who are also holed up in a hotel in Mumbai, to discuss the political situation.

In the meanwhile, all eyes,are on NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who is meeting his party MLAs on Tuesday. “We will take a call on the matter the same day,” said NCP leader Nawab Malik.

“If the BJP-Shiv Sena forms the government, we will sit in the Opposition. Otherwise we will explore options for an alternate government,” Malik said.

Senior Congress leader Milind Deora on Sunday tweeted: “Maharashtra’s Governor should invite NCP-Congress — the second largest alliance — to form the government now that the BJP-Shiv Sena have refused to do so.”

The newly elected Maharashtra Assembly is a hung house where the BJP has 105 MLAs, the Shiv Sena 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44.

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Congress, BJP intensity preparations for Madhya Pradesh bypolls

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Kamal Nath

Bhopal, July 6 : The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh are gearing up for the upcoming bypolls in the state even as the dates are yet to be announced. While the BJP is trying to send out the message of “writing a new chapter of development”, the Congress is going through a phase of discussions and brainstorming on the probable candidates.

Under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the BJP government was formed after the Kamal Nath-led Congress government collapsed. A total of 22 legislators resigned from the membership of the assembly as well as the Congress party. Besides, two seats fell vacant following the demise of two legislators. In all, by-elections are scheduled to be held in 24 assembly constituencies.

The bypolls are being seen as quite crucial from the political viewpoint as the ruling BJP does not currently have an absolute majority, and the party must win at least nine seats to attain the majority.

Madhya Pradesh has 230 assembly seats of which the BJP has 107 in its kitty. It is mandatory to have 116 MLAs for an absolute majority. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the BJP to win nine seats to enjoy an absolute majority in the assembly.

The BJP has started preparations for the by-elections on two fronts. On one hand, while the party is conducting virtual rallies to encourage its workers, on the other hand, it is trying to implement many development projects.

The work towards Chambal Expressway project in the Gwalior-Chambal area has been finalised, and with by-elections scheduled to take place in 16 assembly constituencies in the region, the BJP wants to convey the message that the project has the potential of opening the doors of development in the Chambal region.

Video conferencing has also been held between Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia regarding the project.

Apart from this, the BJP has also stepped up the exercise to establish Sainik School in either Morena or Bhind. CM Chouhan has also met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on this issue.

The Chief Minister says that Morena-Bhind is the district from where almost every household has sent a member in the army and they want officers to come out from here in the coming time and for this, a Sainik School is necessary.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh unit BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma held a virtual rally in Gwalior region on Sunday and mentioned the development work of the party, and also the work that was carried out during the BJP rule from 2003 to 2018. He also alleged that the area did not witness any significant progress under the previous Kamal Nath regime.

Sharma asked the workers to be prepared for the upcoming elections as the development of the region, as well as the state is possible only under the BJP government.

The Opposition Congress has also been holding hectic discussions on fielding the potential candidates.

A meeting of party leaders was also held on Sunday in the presence of state in-charge Mukul Wasnik. In the meeting, the names of candidates capable of winning the elections were discussed.

According to political observers, the upcoming by-elections are important for both parties. No party can claim that its victory is certain. They believe no party is willing to take any risk and that”s why, both parties have intensified efforts to communicate with the workers and encourage them.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Lalu seeks bail ahead of Bihar Assembly elections

Lalu Prasad has applied for bail in the Jharkhand High Court. Earlier, he had been granted bail in three fodder scam cases.

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Lalu Yadav

Ranchi, July 4 : Jailed former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad has applied for bail in the Chaibasa treasury fraudulent withdrawal case in the run-up to the Bihar Assembly polls.

On Saturday the RJD chief met political leaders at the paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) where he is undergoing treatment.

Lalu Prasad has applied for bail in the Jharkhand High Court. Earlier, he had been granted bail in three fodder scam cases.

According to Lalu”s lawyer, he has applied for bail on the ground that he has spent half of the prison term in jail. Lalu has been in custody since December 23, 2017, after his conviction in three different cases related to the fodder scam. He was granted provisional bail for treatment in May 2018 which was later cancelled by the Jharkhand High court. He has been undergoing treatment in RIMS since August 2018.

“The Bihar Assembly polls are crucial for the RJD”s survival. Lalu cannot bank on his two sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav for the elections. The RJD did not manage to secure a single seat in Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls which was humiliating for the party,” said a RJD leader to IANS.

In 2015 Nitish Kumar, currently Chief Minister of Bihar, and Lalu Prasad had joined hands for the Assembly polls and won more than 150 of the 240 seats. Nitish Kumar, however, parted ways from the RJD after one and a half years in 2017.

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‘Moon expects Trump to meet Kim Jong-un before Nov polls’

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south-korea moon

Seoul, July 1 : South Korean President Moon Jae-in believes that his US counterpart President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un need to meet again ahead of the American presidential election in November in order to reactivate the Korea peace process, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The South Korean presidential office has already conveyed Moon”s idea to the White House in their “close communication” especially following the North”s demolition of an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong last month, Yonhap News Agency quoted the official as saying.

“The US side understands (Moon”s position), and it”s making efforts (for that), as far as I know,” he told reporter.

In a virtual summit with EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, Moon reaffirmed his resolve to strive “with patience” to maintain the momentum of dialogue involving the US and the two Koreas, the official added.

Moon stressed that the two Koreas should not revert from hard-won “progress and accomplishments” in their relations.

It remains unclear whether Trump and Kim will be able to hold another round of summit talks within the coming months, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier this week, Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, Washington”s point man on Pyongyang, expressed doubt about the possibility.

“I think it”s probably unlikely between now and the US election,” Biegun told a forum, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic would make such an in-person summit more unlikely.

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