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Rahul assures best legal help to counter night traffic ban

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Rahul Gandhi

Wayanad (Kerala): Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday visited his constituency Wayanad to show solidarity with the protesters opposing night traffic ban on the national highway passing through Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Kerala.

Wayanad has been witnessing protests for the past 10 days to allow night travel through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The state government too is in favour of removing the travel ban on National Highway 766 between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Rahul Gandhi arrived at the protest venue in Sulthan Bathery near hear and spend 45 minutes with the protestors. While addressing them, he assured them of engaging country’s top lawyers to fight the case in Supreme Court.

“The thoughts of all the people are here at the protest venue. All political parties are united in this protest and there is no political difference.

“This issue has to be resolved and it has to be done in an intelligent way. A solution is possible as this has been achieved in other parts of the country, so in all fairness Wayanad also should get that.

“Now this is in the Supreme Court. I have also spoken to our legal experts and have asked for help. I assure all of you that the best legal resources in the country would be employed,” said Rahul Gandhi.

On Thursday around 25,000 students held a rally against the night ban.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had discussed the matter with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Kerala House in Delhi on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister has taken up the issue with the Centre and a study team is expected to arrive here to prepare a feasibility report.

The night traffic ban was introduced following a directive from the Mysuru Deputy Commissioner in 2009 to provide wild animals a reprieve from the vehicular movement. It was challenged in the High Court of Karnataka, but the decision was upheld and the matter is now being heard in the Supreme Court.

The length of the NH-766 is 272 km, and 34.6 km of this passes through the Bandipur and Wayanad national parks. The road cuts through 19.7 km of the core zone of Bandipur and 4.5 km of its buffer zone.

In Wayanad, the division is 4.8 km of the core zone and 5.8 km of the buffer zone. In all, 24.2 km of the highway passes through protected areas in Karnataka, and 10.4 km through protected areas in Kerala.


Politics

PM Modi should take lead in resolving impasse with farmers: Ashok Gehlot

The meeting remained inconclusive and the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3, union leaders said.

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur, Dec 1 : Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take the lead in resolving the impasse with farmers.

He said the Centre”s invitation to farmer unions for talks is a step in the right direction, but taken too late.

“There is growing concern not only in the country but in other countries as well, where a sizable number of Persons of Indian Origin live, regarding protest of farmers in India. PM Modi ji must take the lead to resolve this impasse. Farmers” genuine demands must be met,” Gehlot tweeted.

The Centre on Tuesday offered to set up a committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against new farm laws, but it was rejected by representatives of 35 agitating organisations during their marathon meeting with three union ministers that ended without any resolution.

The meeting remained inconclusive and the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3, union leaders said.

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Punjab CM slams AAP govt for implementing farm laws

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, Dec 1: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over their shocking double standards on the farmers’ protests, saying the party had exposed itself by implementing the draconian farm laws in the midst of the crisis while pretending to be standing with the farmers.

Even as AAP was claiming to be supporting the agitating farmers, the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi had brazenly executed the black laws through a gazette notification on November 23, the Chief Minister pointed out, adding the party was clearly indulging in political games to further its electoral agenda.

Quite clearly, AAP had been working behind the farmers’ backs all these days, said the Chief Minister, expressing shock at the fact that even before the farmers had embarked on their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, the Kejriwal government had actually issued the notification which would spell the death-knell for the ‘annadattas’ in the national capital.

“Do they have no shame?” asked Amarinder Singh, slamming AAP for misleading the Kisan Unions by pretending to be supporting their cause while all this time, Kejriwal’s party was merely indulging in political theatrics.

“First they failed to pass any amendment laws in the Delhi Assembly to negate the central laws, as was done in Punjab. And now they have gone so far as to officially notify the agricultural legislations in Delhi, where AAP is in power. The party’s true intent and affiliation has been utterly exposed,” Amarinder Singh noted.

Responding to AAP’s criticism of his handling of the situation and for taking on Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister remarked that while he was busy fighting for the rights of his farmers, Kejriwal was preparing to pull the rug from under the feet of the farmers, who had been braving all kinds of atrocities by the Haryana government in their quest for justice.

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Nitish Kumar likely to expand cabinet in December

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Nitish Kumar Sad

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.

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