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Suspended AAP MLA Khaira resigns cites Kejriwal’s “dictatorial attitude”



New Delhi, Jan 6:Citing the “dictatorial attitude” of Aam Aadmi Paty Chief Arvind Kejriwal, suspended Punjab MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Sunday resigned from the party’s primary membership.

“I am constrained to forward my resignation from the primary membership of AAP, as the party has totally deviated from the ideology and principles on which it was formed post the Anna Hazare movement,” Khaira wrote in his letter to Kejriwal.

“I am saddened to state that your dictatorial attitude has shattered the dreams of Indians and the Punjabis for a clean alternative to the decayed and rotten system. As a result of which almost all prominent leaders of the party, beginning from Prashant Bhushan to H.S. Phoolka have either quit the party or you have thrown them out,” he said.

Khaira, who was suspended from the party in November, resigned from the party days after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader from Punjab H.S. Phoolka quit the party.

Phoolka, who is all set to float a non-political organisation of social workers based out of Punjab, had said that the decision of converting the parallel movement started by social worker Anna Hazare into a political party was “not right”.

In the letter, Khaira also said that Kejriwal had “blatantly gone back on the most important promise of Swaraj”, by centralising all powers with himself.

“You have also thrown to winds the constitution of the party merely to remain Convenor and continue your grip on the party. Your hobnobbing and flirting with the Congress is yet another example of sheer political opportunism that has left the people of India bewildered,” he said.

Khaira also said that “immense hope was generated by the formation of AAP” and like others, he was “highly impressed by the emergence of AAP on the political spectrum of India to cleanse the rampantly corrupt system”.

He also said that Punjabis worldwide motivated him to join AAP so that they could improve “the plight of our country and Punjab”.

“But unfortunately, after joining the party I realised that the hierarchy of AAP was no different from the traditional centralised political parties. The turn of events into the run-up of 2017 Punjab elections further confirmed my belief that there was no inner party democracy.”

Khaira accused Kejriwal of failing to understand the psyche of Punjabis due to his “overconfidence”.

“You only listened to the two “Subedars” you had appointed to run Punjab and never bothered about the sentiments of AAP volunteers on the ground.”

He also said that Kejriwal failed to project a Chief Ministerial face in Punjab, which “further confounded the oft-repeated allegations that an outsider will take over the reins in case of victory”, adding that “the Punjabis have never accepted the authority of outsiders”.

“The saddest part is that a party which vouched for transparency and accountability never bothered to hold any person or persons accountable for the shameful defeat. It is a matter of fact that one of the arrogant ‘Subedars’ is still running Punjab from behind the curtain despite a huge hue and cry against him.”

AAP’s social media strategist Ankit Lal said Khaira’s “resignation was expected” and demanded Khaira’s resignation from the post of MLA as well.

“Khaira was trying to weaken the party and was openly revolting against the party. He tried to break the party. Which organisation can tolerate such behaviour? His resignation was expected. He should now resign from the post of MLA also, which he won on the party ticket,” Lal tweeted.

“Kejriwal always says that those who have come for position or power should leave the party. Khaira was always clamouring for position and power,” Lal said, adding that “AAP will be strengthened in Punjab with his exit”.

He also said that Khaira was unhappy with the party appointing a Dalit Leader of Opposition (LoP) replacing him.

“AAP has been fighting for the Dalits and will continue doing so in future. If someone is having an issue with this, he is free to leave the party,” Lal said.

In July 2018, the AAP removed Khaira as the LoP and replaced him with Harpal Singh Cheema.

“Although you have already rewarded our good work by humiliatingly suspending me and Kanwar Sandhu from the party, but still I want to formalise the disconnection with you and AAP, by quitting its primary membership,” Khaira said.

“We in Punjab aspire to turn the dream of a clean political alternative into a reality, which is impossible as long as I am a part of your highly centralised high command culture,” he said.

In December 2018, Khaira, along with other rebel leaders of the AAP, launched a new political front in Punjab — Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA).

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Supreme Court allows Mumbai dance bars to reopen with restrictions



Mumbai dance bars
Representative Image

Mumbai, Jan 17: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed dance bars to reopen in Mumbai but imposed regulations such as barring CCTV surveillance.

It said there was no need for CCTV surveillance inside dance bars as it violates privacy.

The apex court said that the performers could be tipped, but showering of cash and coins will not be allowed inside the bars.

The court added that Maharashtra cannot ban dance bars by taking recourse to regulating them, noting that since 2005 no licence has been issued.

“Since 2005 till date, no licence has been issued. There may be regulation but that does not amount to total prohibition,” said a bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Sikri said that there could be no segregation of dance stage and that of drinking and eating space as it struck down the provision for “mandatory” installing of CCTV cameras in the dance bars holding that it violates privacy.

The court upheld the definition of obscenity given in the State law saying that it was not vague.

Holding that those visiting the dance bar could give tips, the court said no to the showering of money during dance performances.

The court held as “unreasonable” the provision that says that a dance bar should be one kilometre away from religious places, hospitals and educational institutions.

However, it left it to the state legislature to take a call on the issue.

Striking down the provision that said that the owner of the dance bar should have a “good character” and no “criminal antecedents”, the court said: “There is no precise definition of what amounts to good character and criminal antecedents.”


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Cold, foggy Thursday morning in Delhi



Delhi cold morning fog
File Photo

New Delhi, Jan 17: Delhiites on Thursday woke up to a cold, foggy morning with the minimum temperature recorded at 4.2 degrees Celsius. N

“Shallow to moderate fog enveloped the city in the morning, with the visibility at 8.30 a.m. recorded at 400 metres at Safdarjung,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official told news agency IANS.

The sky will remain clear with haze thereafter, he said, adding that the humidity was recorded at 100 per cent in the morning.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of the national capital was recorded in ‘very poor’ category with the air quality index being at 346.

On Wednesday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 21.3 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average.


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TRS leaders meet Jagan to discuss proposed Federal Front

The TRS chief has already held talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal (United) leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader M.K. Stalin.



KT Rama Rao Jagan Mohan Reddy

Hyderabad, Jan 16 : Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Working President K.T. Rama Rao met YSR Congress Party President Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy here on Wednesday to discuss the proposed Federal Front.

Rama Rao, who is the son of Telangana Chief Minister and TRS President K. Chandrashekhar Rao, also known as KCR, along with three other leaders of the party met Jaganmohan Reddy, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

The TRS leaders drove to Jaganmohan Reddy’s Lotus Pond residence around 1 p.m. The leaders of the two parties are expected to brief the media after the meeting.

Earlier, KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, tweeted that on the direction of KCR he would be meeting Jaganmohan Reddy to discuss modalities on working together to strengthen a federal alternative to the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance.

This is the first direct talks between the leaders of the two parties since KCR floated the idea of the Federal Front in 2018.

The TRS chief has already held talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal (United) leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader M.K. Stalin.

After taking over as the Chief Minister for a second term following the TRS’ victory in December’s elections, KCR intensified his efforts to cobble together the Federal Front.

The TRS leaders are also likely to discuss with Jaganmohan Reddy the possibility of their working together in Andhra Pradesh to defeat the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the ensuing elections in the neighbouring state.

KCR in December dropped hints to this effect with a remark that he will “return the gift” to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu. He was referring to Naidu campaigning extensively in the Telangana elections.

The Congress-led Grand Alliance comprising the TDP and two other parties suffered a crushing defeat in the Telangana polls.

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