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Nitish Kumar likely to expand cabinet in December

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Patna, Dec 1 : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is likely to expand his cabinet in December as the winter session of the assembly concluded in November after the formation of the new state government.

During this time the opposition parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress hurled political barbs at the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

There is wide speculation across the political spectrum especially with the opposition RJD claiming that not a single Muslim would be given a cabinet berth in the Nitish government.

Not a single Muslim candidate from the ruling NDA has reached the Bihar assembly so it is certain that if the Bihar CM wants to have a Muslim face in the cabinet, he would likely be a Legislative Council member.

During the recent Bihar elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not field a single Muslim candidate while the JD-U fielded 11.

As per the constitutional provisions, overall 36 ministers can be appointed in the state cabinet which at present has 13 ministers, including the Chief Minister. There are only four JD-U ministers besides Nitish Kumar. Twenty two more ministers are yet to be appointed.

Mevalal Chaudhary was also included as cabinet minister in the Nitish Kumar-led government but later resigned for alleged involvement in corruption. At present, all cabinet ministers have been assigned five departments each. Due to this Nitish Kumar may soon expand his cabinet regarding which he held a meeting with senior JD-U leaders on November 29.

Sources say that Nitish’s cabinet is likely to be expanded soon. If sources are to be believed, a meeting of the NDA would soon be held where Nitish would discuss the prospective names of MLAs to be inducted as ministers into the cabinet.

In this cabinet expansion, at least 10 new faces from the BJP could get an opportunity which may include MLAs who are young and belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and the Dalit community.

The JD-U could also give an opportunity to new faces from the party in the cabinet expansion and may also include a Muslim minister.

After the Bihar election results, the JD-U is playing the role of the ‘younger brother’ in the NDA government since it had won less assembly seats than the BJP. The JD-U has already started planning its future political course of action.

A JD-U leader believes that as expected the party did not get the support of the Muslim voters in Bihar, whose brunt the party had to bear in the recent elections.

Nitish Kumar could try to send a message to the Muslim voters by giving a ministerial berth to a Muslim from the party.

Politics

“Tremendous Growth In ‘GDP”’: Rahul Gandhi’s Dig Over Fuel Price Hike

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the record hike in petrol and diesel prices, claiming that his government was busy collecting taxes while the public is plaqued with inflation.

“Modi ji has shown tremendous growth in ‘GDP’ i.e. gas-diesel-petrol prices! The public is plagued by inflation, Modi government is busy in tax collection,” Mr Gandhi wrote in a tweet in Hindi.

Petrol and diesel prices in the country on Saturday touched new all-time highs after rates were increased for the fourth time this week.

Petrol is currently being sold at ₹ 85.70 per litre in Delhi and ₹ 92.28 in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Diesel rate climbed to ₹ 75.88 a litre in the national capital and to ₹ 82.66 per litre in Mumbai, the price data showed.

This is the second consecutive day of rate increase and the fourth this week. In all prices have gone up by Re 1 per litre this week.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier this week blamed Saudi oil output cut for the surge in oil prices but remained non-committal on tax cuts.

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PM salutes ‘nation’s daughters’ on National Girl Child Day

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the ‘daughters of the nation’ on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day and praised all those working towards the empowerment of the girl child and ensure them a life of dignity and opportunity.

In a series of tweets, Modi said: “On the National Girl Child Day, we salute our #DeshKiBeti and their accomplishments in various fields. The central government has undertaken many initiatives that focus on empowering the girl child, including access to education, better healthcare and improving gender sensitivity.”

“Today is also the day to specially appreciate all those working towards empowering the girl child and ensuring she leads a life of dignity and opportunity.”

The National Girl Child Day was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008 to spread public awareness on inequalities girls faced in Indian society.

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Dates for Gujarat local body polls declared

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The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday announced the local body elections in the state, involving six municipal corporations, 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats. The terms of these seats had ended last year, but the elections were postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic. With Saturday’s announcement, the model code of conduct (MCC) becomes effective in these constituencies.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has declared the dates for the polling for the local bodies like Municipal Corporations, municipalities, the district and Tehsil Panchayats in Gujarat.

The notification for the Municipal Corporation elections will be February 1, the last date of filing nominations will be February 6, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 8, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 9 and polling on the February 21. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on February 22. The counting and the results are scheduled for February 23.

The notification for the Municipality, District Panchayat, Tehsil Panchayat elections will be February 8, the last date of filing nominations will be February 13, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 15, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 16 and polling on February 28. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on March 1. The counting and the results will be on March 2.

“After the latest electoral roll, we have 4.09 crore voters in the state. There will be 47,695 polling stations, out of which over 11 thousand are sensitive and over 6 thousand extremely sensitive, but these are not final figures and they are dynamic. The total areas for which the elections will be held will be 6,577 and total elected seats will be 9,049,” said Sanjay Prasad, the State Election Commissioner.

“For these elections, more than 91,700 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be utilised. The Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) won’t be used in these elections, as the standing Committee constituted technical Committee had recommended that as the EVM are tamper-proof, the VVPAT are not required. So none of the state election Commissions are using them,” added Prasad.

According to the programme, polling for Municipal Corporations will take place on Sunday, February 21 from 7 am to 6 pm while that for municipalities and panchayats, polling will take place on February 28th from 7 am to 6 pm. Counting for the Municipal Corporation polls will take place on February 23 while that for municipalities and panchayats will take place on March 2.

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