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Pawar, Thackeray, Raut in midnight rendezvous

After emerging from the meeting none spoke but Thackeray smiled and Raut gave the ‘thumbs up’ sign, indicating all was on the right track.

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Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai, Nov 22 : Inching towards forming the Maharashtra government, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar had a midnight rendezvous meeting with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, here.

Thackeray was accompanied by his son Aditya and party MP Sanjay Raut, at Pawar’s residence where his daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit Pawar were present.

After emerging from the meeting none spoke but Thackeray smiled and Raut gave the ‘thumbs up’ sign, indicating all was on the right track.

Though details are not available, it is learnt that Pawar briefed them on all the Political development in New Delhi in the past five days, the power-sharing formula, the post of CM, Dy. CM, ministries, etc, among the three prospective partners – Sena-NCP-Congress.

Later, on Friday a series of meetings have been lined up here of the Shiv Sena, Congress, later Congress-NCP and their allies and finally among the top leaders of Sena-NCP-Congress.

It’s expected that the three parties alliance – likely to be christened ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’, will be formally announced and they would soon stake the claim to form the government before Governor B. S. Koshyari.

Politics

Ashok Gehlot govt in minority, says Sachin Pilot

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, July 12 : Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader Sachin Pilot will not attend the legislative party meeting scheduled to be held on Monday, and has openly announced that the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state is in minority after over 30 Congress and some Independent MLAs pledged support to him.

In an official statement, Pilot said, “Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot government is in minority after over 30 Congress and some independent MLAs have pledged support to me.”

Deputy Chief Minister Pilot, who is camping in Delhi with around 15 MLAs, has sought time from the Congress high command.

Pilot also had an elaborate discussion with Jyotiraditya Scindia, his former party colleague and friend, who recently jumped ship to the BJP after being sidelined in Madhya Pradesh by former Chief Minister Kamal Nath.

Pilot went to Delhi to meet interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. However, he received no communication from the party high command. In fact, Congress veterans, including Randeep Surjewala, Avinash Pandey and Ajay Makan, were asked to rush to Jaipur and hold a meeting of the party MLAs on Monday.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Gehlot has called a dinner of the party MLAs on Sunday night, which is also termed as ‘dinner diplomacy’.

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Politics

With Rahul’s intervention Rajasthan Congress crisis may defuse

According to party sources, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who has been in Delhi-NCR along with over 25 MLAs, is set to arrive in the state capital.

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Rahul Gandhi on Kashmir Situation

New Delhi, July 12 : Amid the political crisis in Rajasthan, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had a conversation with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, claimed sources in the party.

“Pilot had a conversation with former party chief Rahul Gandhi over the political crisis in the state, source claimed.

According to party sources, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who has been in Delhi-NCR along with over 25 MLAs, is set to arrive in the state capital.

“Pilot will attend the meeting of the party leaders in Jaipur along with the senior party leaders,” the source claimed.

The source further said that a meeting has been called by Gehlot on Monday at 10.30 a.m. which will be attended by Pilot.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders — Ajay Maken, Randeep Singh Surjewala and state in-charge Avinash Pandey are set to reach Jaipur on Sunday night to contain the dissidence in the party.

The source said that former union minister Makan along with Pandey and Surjewala is set to leave for Jaipur in the night by a chartered plane.

Meanwhile, Surjewala took a swipe at the BJP and in a tweet in Hindi wrote, “Entire country is suffering from Covid-18 crisis and the fresh daily cases have crossed 29,000 mark. China has occupied our lands and the ruling party first bought our MLAs in Madhya Pradesh and now trying to lure legislators in Rajasthan. One needs to understand that crisis is not for any state but for the entire democracy.”

Earlier in the day, Pandey asserted that forces trying to destabilise the Ashok Gehlot government will not succeed and the party MLAs are intact.

In a series of tweets, Pandey said, “All the means to buy the Congress-led government in Rajasthan would not succeed. Whatever offer the BJP may make to Congress MLAs but our legislators including the independents are united.”

“And they all support the Congress-led Ashok Gehlot government in the state,” he said in another tweet.

His remarks came amid the political crisis in the state after Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot went incommunicado along with over a dozen of MLAs.

Pilot, who arrived in the national capital on Saturday has also sought a meeting with party interim chief Sonia Gandhi over the issue.

According to party sources, Pilot did speak with Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel late on Saturday night but the rift between Gehlot and his deputy is deep-rooted ever since former took over as Chief Minister.

The Congress is trying to pacify both the camps in the state to save the party from another embarrassment, sources said.

The fears are whether ”Operation Lotus” will be successful or not in Rajasthan and will the state see a rerun of the Madhya Pradesh story?

The Gehlot camp claims that his government has the numbers and the Chief Minister has support of 103 MLAs.

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India

India needs ‘a Manmohan Singh’: Sharad Pawar

He felt that instead of hitting back, the Centre should exert global pressure on China through diplomatic channels and negotiations and resolve pending issues like the Galwan valley clash.

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sharad pawar

Mumbai, July 12 : Given the current financial crisis, India needs an economic expert like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said here on Sunday.

Pawar recalled how he was a Union minister when Singh was the Finance Minister and the country was passing through a financial crisis in the early 1990s.

“However, it was Manmohan Singh who gave the country a new direction and pulled the country out of the economic problems. For this I give full credit to Manmohan Singh, and also (then Prime Minister) P.V. Narasimha Rao. Today, the country needs him (Singh). I feel Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saheb should take the initiative to seek help of economists. I am confident the country will support him,” said Pawar.

The NCP chief urged Modi to confabulate with knowledgeable people from different parties, take the help of whosoever possible or feasible, take everybody along, as in the Prime Minister’s current set-up, “there are some persons who have no such experience.”

Pawar’s comments came in the second instalment of his marathon interview with ”Saamana” and ”Dopahar Ka Saamna” Group Executive Editor and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

Asked whether he had discussed the current scenario with the current Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman), Pawar, 79, replied in the negative.

“No. I never met her even once, nor had any discussions with her. At times of financial crisis confronting such a big country with a huge population there are many challenges, and a dialogue with others (parties) is necessary, but that”s not happening now,” the NCP supremo said.

In this context he pointed out he had observed persons like Pranab Mukherji, P. Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh spending hours with experts and leaders of other political parties, seeking their suggestions as India is a huge country with diverse viewpoints.

“I don’t know if something similar is happening now. If its being done, there has to be some outcome of that, which is not visible,” Pawar said, implying that a political dialogue at the national level seems to be missing.

Dwelling on questions pertaining to security vis-a-vis India’s neighbours, Pawar said that “when we think of the enemy, the first name that crops up is Pakistan.”

“But we should not worry about Pakistan. In the long-term, it is China that is detrimental to India’s interests, it is 10 times more powerful than us militarily, it has systematically created all this after years of planning, vision and programmes besides economic strength to act against us. China is the real worry and poses a bigger threat to India,” Pawar asserted.

Recounting his meeting as Defence Minister with the Chinese Premier at a private sea resort in that country, Pawar said at the time (over 25 years ago), China was only concerned about giving a challenge to the USA and Japan.

“When I asked him what China’s policy vis-a-vis its neighbours, he said they were not thinking of them, maybe after around 25 years. Today, that danger has arisen, China is economically strong. Now, its target is India. Modi became friends with President Xi Jinping, hugged and shook hands, sat on a swing, gave gifts. An impression was conveyed that we have achieved something big with this camaraderie. But problems between two countries cannot be solved in such a manner, now we realise that,” Pawar pointed out.

On the tendency of the BJP government to blame Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi for all problems related to China and Pakistan, Pawar said we must also consider the situation whereby all our neighbours like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are now siding with China. “These sullied relations are the contribution of the present times”.

He felt that instead of hitting back, the Centre should exert global pressure on China through diplomatic channels and negotiations and resolve pending issues like the Galwan valley clash.

Pawar also touched upon various other issues pertaining to the lockdown and how Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government has fared well in the first half and is working hard.

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