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Manmohan Singh pays rich tribute to Sharad Pawar, calls him ‘equal partner’ in bringing economic reforms

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today praised NCP leader Sharad Pawar saying he was “equal partner” in ushering in economic reforms in the country.Singh, who is considered the architect of the economic liberalisation measures unleashed in 1991 under the P V Narasimha Rao government, also termed Pawar as the “most creative agriculture minister” he had ever seen. The senior Congress leader was speaking here at the release of Pawar’s biography ‘Padma Vibhushan Sharad Pawar: The Great Enigma’ written by Sheshrao Chauhan. “Sharad Pawar had always been striving for the welfare of the nation and he was equal partner with me in bringing in economic reforms in the country,” he said.”Pawar is a Maharashtrian, but he is known across the country for his handling of crises. During his tenure as the Maharashtra chief minister, he had skilfully handled the situation after the 1993 Mumbai blasts, post-Babri mosque demolition riots and the Latur earthquake. “Very few politicians care for industrial development, and Pawar is one of them. His policies have brought reforms in the economic field,” he said. Singh recalled that when he was the finance minister and Pawar was the defence minister, he had urged the latter to help him in the austerity measures. “Pawar cut down the defence budget by Rs 500 crore. This paved way for other cabinet colleagues and they too assisted in the noble cause,” he said.Also readSharad Pawar leads protest march on 77th birthday, asks farmers not to pay power bills, other dues to govt “Pawar is the most creative agriculture minister I have ever seen,” Singh said adding, “I take his guidance during times of crises and a larger part of the credit for the success of UPA I and II governments goes to him.” During his speech, Pawar lauded Manmohan Singh for his style of functioning as the PM. “There are very few leaders of Manmohan Singh’s calibre and his work is endorsed by the international community,” he said.

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Seize assets, use for nation: Abdul Karim Telgi’s wife

Abdul Karim Telgi’s wife, Shahida, wants the government to seize the deceased scamster’s assets and use them for the welfare of the nation. Telgi was the mastermind behind the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam; he passed away on 23 October 2017 due to multiple organ failure.On Saturday, Shahida submitted an application before the MCOCA court seeking directions to investigating agencies to seize all of Telgi’s properties. Telgi was arrested in 2001 and convicted of printing fake stamp papers in a government security press in Nashik. He was lodged in a Bengaluru jail when he died.Shahida also submitted a list of immovable properties which she claims have not yet been seized by investigating agencies. “Shahida is accused number 67 in the case,” her lawyer Milind Pawar said, “According to investigating agencies, Telgi used the money earned through the scam to purchase property, some of which was bought in Shahida’s name and in the name of other relatives.”He added, “Shahida wanted to bring them to the notice of the court, and therefore she submitted the application for their seizure.”Shahida mentioned in her application that it was Telgi’s dying wish that the properties he bought using money from the scam should be used for the benefit of the nation. “Shahida has submitted a list of immovable properties, out of which seven are in Belgaum and two are in Bijapur, Karnataka,” said Pawar.Shahida claims in her application that she is a god-fearing person and this motivated her to come clean about the properties so that justice is served. “Shahida, in her application, stated that she believes that every person has to repay his or her deeds and misdeeds on the earth itself and she wanted to stay away from any sin. Her faith in God and in the judicial system compelled her to inform to the court about Telgi’s unseized properties.”The next hearing of the case is scheduled on 3 February, 2018.

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Mumbai: Government, Opposition at loggerheads over Shiv Jayanti at state assembly

The state assembly witnessed uproars with members from both Opposition and the Treasury benches rushing to the Well of the House when a BJP MLA raised the issue of birth date of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was BJP MLA Suresh Halwankar who raised the issue soon after the question hour. Raising the issue through point of propriety, Halwankar said that despite the fact that Shivaji Maharaj is revered to every person of Maharashtra, his birth anniversary is celebrated on two different days. Halwankar said that state Government should decide it for once and all by appointing a committee of expert historians so that birth anniversary is celebrated on a single day through out the state. Soon Halwankar raised the issue, NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad and Veerendra Jagtap objected to it and rushed to the Well of the House. Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walase-Patil and leader of Opposition in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil also rose from their seats and Vikhe-Patil demanded removal of Halwankar’s remarks from the proceedings of the House.It was senior MLA Yogesh Sagar who was in the Chair but soon after pandemonium, Speaker Haribhau Bagade took charge and maintained that Halwankar’s remarks would not be removed from the proceedings. Avhad and Nitesh Rane said that the state would not tolerate any insult to Shivaji Maharaj and Halwankar was trying to create yet another controversy. Walse-Patil and Vikhe-Patil said that raising such issues would result in fomenting communal tension. MLAs from both the sides rushed to the Well of the House and started giving slogans. Members were in the Well of the House for almost 15 minutes and House could not transact any business during this time. It was Ajit Pawar who made a brief speech and said that Halwankar has expressed his views and Speaker has made it clear that every member has right to express his opinion, he has done it. Pawar said, `every year Chief Minister of the state pays his tribute to Shivaji Maharaj on February 19’th, the birth anniversary which was decided by an expert’s committee appointed by Government. If Halwankar has any issue, he can talk to Chief Minister since Halwankar is a BJP member. But I appeal everyone not to raise issues which would lead to controversy.’Speaking to media persons outside state assembly Halwankar alleged that committee was appointed during the tenure of Chief Minister Manohar Joshi but Congress-NCP Government which came to power started celebrating Shiv Jayanti on February 19’th. He said that there was no consensus among the historians on the issue of accurate birth date of Shivaji Maharaj and there are people who celebrate birth anniversary on April 8’th since they believe that birth date of Shivaji Maharaj falls on April 8’th, 1627. Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu made it clear that Shiv Sena would continue to celebrate Shiv Jayanti on his birth date as per Hindu calendar.

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Sharad Pawar leads protest march on 77th birthday, asks farmers not to pay power bills, other dues to govt

NCP President Sharad Pawar on Tuesday asked farmers to resort to non-cooperation against the Maharashtra government and not to pay outstanding loan or dues like electricity bills unless it deposits the loan waiver amount into their bank accounts. Addressing a public rally on his 77th birthday, the former Union Minister warned that farmers were capable of bringing down the government if their issues are ignored. “Unless the loan waiver amount is deposited into the bank accounts of farmers, I appeal to the farming community not to pay any dues or even electricity bills to the state government,” Pawar said.On his birthday, the former Union Minister for Agriculture led a united Opposition’s “Jan Aakrosh Halla Bol” march against the state government. Congress and NCP, along with all opposition parties including Peasants and Workers Party, Samajwadi Party and CPIM, took part in the march against the Devendra Fadnavis government. Congress and NCP took out two separate protest marches and after 2 kms of foot-march, a joint public rally was held at T Junction near Sitabuldi outside Vidhan Bhavan, where state assembly is holding winter session.Congress’ march, which started from Deeksha Bhoomi where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, was led by former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. NCP started its march from Dhanwate National College.Pawar who is celebrating his 77th birthday today criticised the state government for not implementing loan waiver and said, “Chief Minister is telling that money would be given but despite his repeated assurances for last six months, farmers are not receiving any money towards loan waiver. Now farmers who possess to dethrone the governments should resolve that they would not pay any government bill, be it power bill or society dues unless loan waiver amount is deposited in their bank accounts.” Blaming Fadnavis Government for destroying families of farmers, Pawar said that this government is “so insensitive that it is not acting even after suicides by farmers.” He recalled that he himself along with the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had visited Vidarbha region and had announced Rs 70,000 crore loan waiver package for farmers during the UP rule. Both Pawar and Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his allegations against former Manmohan Singh and involving Pakistan in electioneering of Gujarat. Pawar said that it was not in the interest of the country while Azad said that whenever Prime Minister realises difficult situations he is reminded of Pakistan.Hitting out at the BJP, Azad said the saffron party “is not a political party but has become an election winning machine.” “That is the reason Prime Minister is either abroad or on election campaign tour in some or the other state but never in his office,”he said. State unit presidents Ashok Chavan and Sunil Ttakare, leaders of both the Houses Radhakrishna vikhe-Patil and Dhananjay Munde, senior leaders from both the parties were present on the dais.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav’s friends celebrate after Pakistan grants visa to his mother and wife

Friends and relatives of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy commander jailed in Pakistan, are happy that visas will be issued to his mother and wife to visit him.”We all are very happy with the news that Pakistan will give visas to Kulbhushan’s mother and wife to meet him on December 25,” Tulshidas Pawar, a childhood friend of Jadhav said.He said the meeting would help them know the physical and mental condition of Jadhav.”After repeated attempts by the government over the past two years, Pakistan which recently agreed to grant visa to Kulbhushan’s wife only is now giving it to his mother as well,” he said.Earlier last month the Pakistan government had decided to arrange a meeting of Jadhav and his wife.”The Government of Pakistan has decided to arrange a meeting of Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav with his wife, in Pakistan, purely on humanitarian grounds,” the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said in a statement issued then.”Hope Pakistan releases him early and he returns to India safely,” said Pawar. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism.

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CM the only beneficiary of this govt, says Uddhav Thackeray

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on advertisement campaign of Mee Labhaarthi (I am the beneficiary) by Devendra Fadnavis led Government in the state, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday accused the CM and Chandrakant Patil of being the “only real beneficiaries” of this government.He was addressing a farmers’ rally at Karve in Vita of Sangli district. Thackeray had criticized Fadnavis Government on Saturday night during a rally at Miraj. He is on a Western Maharashtra tour.Criticising the government for the advertisement campaign, Thackeray said, “This entire campaign is based on false claims. This campaign is for misguiding the people of the state and Fadnavis along with Chandrakant Patil are real beneficiaries because people have given them mandate.’Minister of state for Water Resources Vijay Shivtare, MLC Anil Babar, Lok Sabha MP Gajanan Kirtikar, Zilla Parishad vice-president and Nitin Bangude-Patil were present on the dais.Stating that he was not interested in becoming Chief Minister of the state, Thackeray said that but he would ensure that Shiv Sena chief minister comes to power in the state. He cautioned the Government that if farmers’ issues are unresolved, he would take it to the streets.Recounting BJP’s slogan of ‘Kuthe Neun Thevlaay Maharashtra Majha’ during the assembly elections which was aimed at criticizing Congress and NCP in the state, Thackeray SAID, `We had supported BJP to bring Aache Din but when I am touring the state I have realized as to where have these people taken my Maharashtra now.’Thackeray said nothing has changed in the past three years and the government is still completing water schemes that were started in 1995 when a Shiv Sena chief minister at the helm. Pointing out that despite Chief Minister’s directions to reduce power rates, his orders are trashed by officers and if the government is ruining the farmers, farmers would not hesitate to pull down this government.Taking a dig at NCP president Sharad Pawar for his criticism of Sena for being in Government and criticizing Government, Thackeray said, `BJP and Sena are two different political parties but Pawar had back-stabbed his own leader late Vasantdada Patil to topple his Government. Pawar who criticized Sonia Gandhi for her foreign origin later became her sycophant. Pawar should not teach Shiv Sena since Pawar is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Guru.’SLAMS PAWARUddhav attacked NCP chief Sharad Pawar over his criticism of Sena for being in a part of the government He said BJP and Sena are two different parties, but Pawar had back-stabbed his own leader Vasantdada Patil

Man detained for abusive posts against SharadPawar, Supriya Sule

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 34-year-old man was detained for allegedly posting abusive comments against NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his MP daughter Supriya Sule, police said.Police yesterday detained Walchand Geete, a resident of Surendra Nagar in Dhantoli area of the city, for allegedly posting objectionable and abusive comments against Pawars by tagging their twitter accounts.”On the basis of the complaint received, Geete was called to the police station. He was questioned and then allowed to go,” Nandanvan Police Station senior inspector Manik Nalavade said.The complaint regarding the abusive tweets was received by Nandanvan Police in the city on November 16, the inspector said without elaborating.The tweets were posted on November 15 between 11.37 PM and 11.50 PM.A case was registered against Geete under various sections of the IPC and under Information Technology Act.

Gujarat Elections: Congress-NCP likely to cement ‘broken alliance’ to take on BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic turn, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party has likely to cement its earlier broken alliance for the Gujarat assembly elections scheduled on December 9 and 14.Congress had already sealed the deal with JD(U) led by tribal leader and MLA Chhotu Vasava by giving them three seats mostly in the tribal belt in Gujarat. Congress wants a grand alliance with all secular parties in Gujarat elections.Congress already declared it’s first list of the candidates that had also included the NCP sitting MLA constituency. So, NCP had also declared to go solo by contesting all 182 seats of Gujarat assembly.However, according to sources, Congress did not want to split the secular and anti-government votes that can favour the BJP in the fierce and prestigious contest under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.”As a course correction, senior NCP leader Praful Patel and Congress Gujarat president Bharatsinh met over seat sharing on Tuesday. In the meeting, Congress agreed to relent 8 to 9 seats to NCP against its earlier demand of 11 seats. Initially, Congress had only offered four seats,” said source who is privy to this backdoor development. NCP leader Praful Patel is already in Delhi while Bharatsinh Solanki would reach on Wednesday to take final approval from his party high command in Delhi.”We will address the joint press conference to declare the Congress-NCP and Sharad Yadav led (JD-U)grand alliance for Gujarat elections.Congress party has realised that in 2019 Lok Sabha elections not a single party would form the government. It is the collation era so all small and big secular parties have stuck to the grand alliance to fight against BJP. Congress has to take the lead and take all small parties together,” Senior NCP leader told DNA requested anonymity.Interestingly, after its formal break with Congress in 2014, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar first time addressing joint Congress -NCP workers rally on his birthday on December 12 in Nagpur.”Sharad Pawar is the senior most leader and astute politician. He understands in which way the political wind is blowing and accordingly, he takes the stand. Now, Pawar Saheb’s willingness to fight with Congress is a most welcoming stand for us. We want to capitalise the failure of BJP government. Besides, people have lost the trust in this incumbent government. Nagpur rally will be one of the biggest rally that will send the signal to a future grand alliance,” said Congress leader.

Maharashtra: Eight die after elevator falls in 200 feet deep tunnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a tragic incident, eight labourers working at an undercover tunnel for Bhima-Nira river linking project near Bhigwan in Pune district lost their lives after an elevator through which they were coming up, collapsed on Monday evening.According to Bhigwan police, construction of an underground tunnel was going on and labourers were working nearly 200 feet below the surface where the incident took place at around 6.30 pm on Monday.”After finishing the day’s work, these eight workers were coming up to the surface with the help of the elevator. However, the cable attached to the elevator tore mid-way and it collapsed in the tunnel and all eight labourers were killed on the spot,” said Police Sub Inspector B N Pawar of Bhigwan police station. According to police, most of the labourers working at the site are from other states. After the tragedy, the police are now trying to ascertain the identity of the deceased workers. The project is under the Krishna Bhima Stabilisation scheme,for construction of 24.8 Km long Nira-Bhima link -5 tunnel. The long-pending ambitious project aims to take water to water-scarce areas.

Maharashtra: NCP focuses on Vidarbha ahead of 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to win the trust of voters, the NCP has decided to focus primarily on Vidarbha, a region in Maharashtra that has 62 MLA seats in the total 282 strength of the Maharashtra state assembly.Currently, NCP has one MLA, while BJP has 44, Congress has 10 and the Shiv Sena has four.NCP chief Sharad Pawar will begin a four-day tour of the region starting November 15. During that period, he is expected to visit Gadchiroli, Wardha, Chandrapur, Yavatmal district in Vidarbha.“BJP came in power with the promise of implementing Dr Swaminathan’s report for fair prices to farmers produces. However, the reality is different. The highest number of farmer suicides in Maharashtra has been reported from Vidarbha despite CM Fadnavis hailing from here. Moreover, in Yavatmal, while spraying pesticides over crops, several farmers lost their lives because of faulty products were allowed in market. There is huge anger among farmers,” said Nawab Malilk, NCP spokesperson.Earlier, NCP’s senior leader Ajit Pawar and NCP state unit president Sunil Tatkare had also toured the region.“The state assembly and Lok Sabha Sabha elections are far away, but we want to connect with the people and find a solution to their problems,” said an NCP leader.The NCP leader added that farmers had faith in Sharad Pawar’s leadership. “He has done a lot of good work during his agriculture minister tenure. Moreover, farmers are still waiting for the farm loan waiver benefit. Government had promised farmers would get money on eve of Diwali. Now, it has been more than 20 days, people are still waiting for farm loan waiver,” said another NCP leader.

Have kept alliance formation issue open in Maharashtra: Ashok Chavan on Sena chief meeting Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar’s bombshell of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and its MP Sanjay Raut meeting him at his residence few days ago in Mumbai, Maharashtra Congress Pradesh Congress (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan on Thursday said that they have kept this proposed ‘alliance’ issue open, however, the final decision will be taken by the high command as a policy matter.Talking with DNA, Chavan said that after a long time, Sena president got the good political advisor. “We appreciate Uddhav Thackeray’s effort pulling out from this anti-farmers and anti-people BJP government. There must be something serious therefore Thackeray went to Pawar resident to discuss the current political situations and seek his advise,” MPCC president said.When asked Chavan, whether the Congress will tie up with the saffron party – Sena, he said that this is the matter of policy and the decision will be taken at the highest level. “However, Sena and NCP should first take the decision about their alliance, then we will think over it. We have kept this issue open. Sena has also realized that the Congress party can only give good and efficient leadership in India, therefore, they are praising Congress leadership nowadays. This is the good change and calculated move. Thanks to his political advisor otherwise it is difficult to understand Thackeray’s decision,” Chavan said.Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is out of the country while Sanjay Raut and other Sena leader refused to comment on this development.“We were not there when the meeting happened between Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray. So, we have no idea what exactly transpired in the meeting. When Uddhav Thackeray will come back from abroad, we will discuss the issue and take the call,” said Sena minister on the condition of anonymity.While NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that their party president had already asked the Shiv Sena to clear its stand first. “So, let’s wait and watch, how political situations unfold, then we will take the final call over it,” he said.

Unease in Sena ranks over plan of withdrawal from Maha govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite Shiv Sena’s attempts to rock BJP’s boat in Maharashtra, party insiders admit to unease in the ranks over the course of action. While a large number of Shiv Sainiks want the party to quit the government, a section of legislators wants to cling on to power.On Tuesday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had dropped a bombshell by claiming that Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had met him last week. Pawar had quipped that the Sena was “not satisfied” in the government though there were no clear indications that they would withdraw support.Shiv Sena claimed that they were likely to withdraw support to the Devendra Fadnavis-led government during the next year’s Dusshera rally. But, they added that much hinged on the results of the assembly elections in Gujarat, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.”If the BJP faces a setback in the Gujarat elections, not just the Shiv Sena or the opposition parties, but even the other NDA allies will assert themselves,” noted a senior Sena leader.He, however, admitted to differences within the party’s legislators on Shiv Sena pulling out of the government and the possibility of mid-term polls. “Some MLAs are wary of early elections since this will require substantial spending on their part with some probability that they may not be re-elected,” the Sena leader said. The BJP is also trying to poach Shiv Sena’s flock with at least one legislator, Pratap Patil-Chikhalikar from Loha in Nanded, openly switching sides.The immediate cause for Shiv Sena’s unease is said to be the proposed induction of its bete noir and former Sainik Narayan Rane in the state cabinet. Rane, who quit the Congress to float his own front, has lost much of his former clout but can give it back to his parent party when it comes to trading barbs.”Pawar exposed Shiv Sena’s plans by speaking about his meeting with Uddhav. While NCP knows which way the wind blows, the Sena is unable to grasp the political situation,” claimed a former Shiv Sena MLA. Pawar’s party is said to be moving closer to the BJP with Pawar himself sharing the dais with Modi on a number of occasions.Shiv Sena sources admitted that the strategy of standing on the contradictory stools of being in power and acting out the role of the opposition, attacking BJP and Modi on a range of issues would hurt the party in the long-term.Meanwhile, a day after Pawar’s revelation, an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ on Wednesday took pot-shots at the NCP over its ‘chintan shibir’ at Karjat and noted that the term seemed to have been borrowed from the Sangh Pariwar. It questioned if this was “a part of ideological moorings or political opportunism,” and pointed to how the attempts by the NCP to pitch Pawar as a Prime Ministerial candidate in 2019 may fall through.”Pawar has friends in all political parties but in a political race, these friends either ditch you or stab you in the back. The Shiv Sena is experiencing this,” the editorial said in a veiled reference to the BJP.POTSHOTS AT NCPMeanwhile, a day after Pawar’s revelation, an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ on Wednesday took pot-shots at the NCP over its ‘chintan shibir’ at Karjat.

Sharad Pawar-Uddhav Thackeray meet starts buzz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By meeting BJP’s bugbear and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and now NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray trying to form an armada of regional fronts to take on the BJP? Or is it another attempt to pressurize its senior ally?It was Pawar who dropped a bombshell by revealing that Uddhav and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, who is the executive editor of the party mouthpiece Saamna, had met him last week at his south Mumbai residence, Silver Oaks, in Mumbai.”I felt that they are not satisfied (with the partnership), but they did not directly say that they would withdraw support,” said Pawar after the party’s conclave at Karjat. Pawar clarified that the NCP was “not available” to help anyone in this process but was ready to hold discussions with “like-minded parties”.Though Shiv Sena leaders remain tight-lipped on the issue, sources admitted that the party would not go the whole hog with the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra. In contrast, senior BJP leaders claim that their government is safe.The Sena grapevine is abuzz with reports that the leadership may choose to pull out of the government.However, much hinges on the results of the Assembly elections in Gujarat, which is seen as the BJP’s laboratory of Hindutva. A senior Shiv Sena leader admitted they may take a call if the BJP was defeated or elected with a slimmer margin in Gujarat.”The Shiv Sena has the flexibility to partner with anyone in politics,” hinted a source, pointing to how the party has allied with Socialists, Republican Party of India and even the Congress in a complex trapeze act.Hence, this dalliance with Mamata and Pawar may be part of a larger attempt to forge an anti- BJP front of regional groups. Raut had also praised Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently. “Though we are in power, it has meant little for the elected representatives or cadre. We have been unable to make a mark on governance,” the source explained.While the Shiv Sena had the upper hand over BJP in the saffron alliance from 1989 to 2014, it has been unable to come to terms with its new role as a junior ally. That BJP leadership’s has moved to induct its bete noir and former Shiv Sainik Narayan Rane in the cabinet has also riled the party.The Sena is balancing on the contradictory stools of being in power and acting out the role of the Opposition, attacking the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of issues. However, its legislators are divided on the issue of party pulling out of the government. The BJP is trying to tap disgruntled elements within the Sena, which it views as a hindrance to its expansion in Maharashtra due to an overlapping ideological base.A former Sena MLA said while the public mood was gradually turning against the BJP, no party was in a position to call mid-term polls. He claimed that the Uddhav-Pawar meeting could be a strategy to pressurize the BJP.Incidentally, the NCP is seen as being eager to get into BJP’s good books.NCP leaders claim that Uddhav had discussed the possibility of the Sena withdrawing support to the BJP regime and forming another government with Congress and NCP support. “Pawar said he cannot commit anything at this moment and Sena would first make it’s stand clear,” said sources close to Pawar.”Initially, we had extended unconditional support to the BJP as we did not want snap polls. Now, things are clearer and this is an anti-farmer’s government. We are also ready for mid-term polls,” said a senior NCP leader.

Sharad Pawar shown blag flags in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was shown black flags by BJP supporters during an event in Baramati on Friday evening. The supporters claimed that the NCP had deliberately not mentioned the names of the Chief Minister and the guardian minister of Pune in the invitation card for the event.Baramati is Pawar’s hometown and is considered as an NCP’s bastion. In the same town, Pawar had hosted senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Arun Jaitley. However, now he had to face the black flags.Pawar was attending an inauguration ceremony of the newly constructed vegetable market and parking facility in Baramati on Friday evening. The BJP suppporters gathered there and started protesting.According to the local police, soon after Pawar began his speech, a group of BJP supporters got up and started showing black flags. “There were around 20 to 25 protesters who were immediately evicted from the venue. They were arrested under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and later, released on bail,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Sandeep Pakhale.

GRP’s drive aims to alert female travellers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Diwali, the Government Railway Police (GRP) will start an awareness campaign for female commuters advising them to take care of their belongings, especially jewellery, during the festive season.Lakhs of residents travel back home during the festive season and tend to carry gold and silver jewellery. The GRP will advise commuters to carry minimum jewellery and cash while travelling.”During vacation period, especially women, should be alert and should immediately contact the GRP helpline in case they sense something suspicious,” said a senior GRP officer.The GRP will also increase patrolling for the safety of commuters travelling in long-distance trains. It also plans to distribute awareness leaflets, conduct workshops and have an awareness kiosk at the GRP helpdesk on railway platforms. “We have conducted a meeting with senior police officers and have instructed them to be alert. The safety of children and women will be our priority,” said another officer.Samadhan Pawar, DCP, Central Zone said, “Most of the outstation trains are on the Central Railway line. We will ensure that the safety of female commuters is taken care of. They should be alert and inform the police if they come across something suspicious. Our quick action teams will ensure that the commuter receives help immediately.”KEEPING A CHECKLakhs of residents travel back home during the festive season and tend to carry gold and silver jewellery.
GRP will advise commuters to carry minimum jewellery and cash while travelling.
It will also increase patrolling in long-distance trains.

Car belonging to Shiv Sena leader mows down two girls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Enraged residents of Kare Wagaj village in Baramati tehsil on Thursday torched a sports utility vehicle (SUV) that ploughed into three school going girls, killing two of them on the spot. The mob also help up traffic in the area for a few hours. The incident took place at about 7:30 am on the Baramati-Morgaon road, about 115 km from Pune.The deceased girls have been identified as Divya Dnyaneshwar Pawar (12) and Samiksha Manoj Vikar(13). The third girl was seriously injured and is currently in hospital.The SUV which knocked down the girls is allegedly used by local Shiv Sena leader Pappu Mane, but is registered in the name of a relative. A police officer from Baramati taluka police station said, “The investigation is still on whether Mane was behind the wheel. According to preliminary information, three girls were walking towards their school when the car knocked them down.”Speaking to DNA, additional superintendent of police Sandeep Pakhale said, “We have summoned Mane for questioning. He has said that he was not present in the vehicle when it met with the accident. We are now interrogated him to get the details of the occupants who were present in the vehicle.”Local police officials said 3-4 persons were in the SUV when the accident happened. The villagers managed to nab one of the occupants and handed over him to the police.Baramati police have arrested three persons in connection with the accident.

University of Mumbai student to go on hunger strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The results mess at the University of Mumbai is far from over as at least 1,600 students, whose papers are ‘missing’, are still awaiting results nearly five months after exams. In several cases, the university itself has no clarity about when the results would be announced. While the university decided to allot average marks to students whose papers were logically or physically missing, it has still not released a list of all such students.One such student, Ameya Malshe — who is awaiting results for his second semester LLB exams – has written to the Vice Chancellor expressing the agony of thousands of students whose results are yet to be declared.”Five months after my exams, I am yet to get my result. The university has declared that it has misplaced some papers. But students are not being given any clarity about when they would get their results. Many of us are becoming suicidal after losing opportunities of higher education, jobs etc,” Malshe has written, adding, “If anything happens to any of these students, the university would be solely responsible.” Malshe has decided to fast at the University’s Kalina campus if results are not declared until Wednesday.Kunal Parmar, a final year student of Bachelor in Mass Media (BMM), said that he had to lose an entire year due to the university’s delay in declaring results. “I was planning to enrol into a masters programme. Despite several queries, the university is still not clarifying whether the paper is missing or there is some other issue,” says Parmar.Meanwhile, the University declared the revaluation results of some students on October 7; several students were shocked to see that they had scored a zero. “Several students, who had scored low in their exams, have now scored zero in the revaluation. This is shocking” said Sachin Pawar, president of the Student Law Council.

Demonetization ‘largest money-laundering scheme’ by govt: Arun Shourie

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha lashed out at Modi government over the economic slowdown, former Union Minister Arun Shourie has said that note ban was largest money-laundering scheme ever.Blaming the demonetization move for the economic slowdown, in an interview to NDTV, Arun Shourie said that it was the largest money-laundering scheme ever, conceived and implemented entirely by the government.Stating that it was an ‘idiotic jolt’ and everyone who had black converted it into white, he said, “The RBI has said that nearly 99% of the banned currency has been returned to banks, which suggests that black or untaxed money was not destroyed by the giant move.”Shourie also said that he agrees with Yashwant Sinha’s assessment that others in the BJP share their concern over the government’s economic policies but are either prevented from or scared to raise questions. ALSO READ Demonetization, GST have dealt heavy blow to economy: Sharad PawarEarlier, in a newspaper article headlined, ‘I need to speak up now’, Yashwant had criticised Jaitley over what he called the ‘mess the finance minister has made of the economy’ and flayed demonetization and the way the GST had been rolled out.Sinha, a member of the BJP s ‘margdarshak mandal’ that was set up in 2014 to guide the party, has also said a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2019 was ‘highly unlikely’ and a ‘hard landing’ appeared inevitable.”The demonetization has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market,” Sinha said.However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley struck back at Yashwant Sinha by calling him a job applicant at the age of 80 who has forgotten his own record while heading the critical ministry.He also charged Sinha with acting in tandem with a fellow former FM and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, saying the two seemed to have forgotten the barbs they have used for each other. ALSO READ Economy isn’t paralysed, but demonetization, GST were ill-timed: Yashwant Sinha

SGNP’s toy train to be back on track in a week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tourists visiting Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) will have to wait for at least a week more to take a ride on the toy train, which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the tourism area of the park. The toy train track was damaged after heavy rains and flooding on August 29.According to Range Forest Officer (RFO), Rajendra Pawar, in charge of Krishnagiri Upavan tourism area in SGNP, the joy rides were discontinued from August 30 itself due to the flooding. Around 200 metres of a portion of the tracks were washed away along with the collapse of a retaining wall. “In fact, this happened around 400 meters away from the Krishnagiri station from where the toy train starts, there was also a small bridge that gave way. We got in touch with the contractors who have been carrying out rectification work and it is likely to be completed by early next week,” he said.Pawar also explained that once the work is completed they plan to get railway engineers to carry out safety inspections. Once it’s approved, the toy train will be open for tourists.“The sale of tickets on a Sunday is around Rs 20,000. While on a weekday it is around Rs 3,000. Apart from the financial loss, several tourists were upset that they could not ride the famous Vanrani — the toy train,” said a senior SGNP official.

Shouldn’t have written on ‘private discussion’ with Sharad Pawar: Sanjay Raut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the NCP and the BJP rubbished his claim, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut today said he should not have made public his “private discussion” with Sharad Pawar in which the NCP supremo had purportedly told him that the prime minister had offered a cabinet berth to his daughter Supriya Sule.Raut said there could have been some “misunderstanding” and he should not have written about the “private discussion” he had with Pawar in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. “I published that discussion (between me and Pawar) in my article (in Saamana). Maybe I should not have published it. It was a private discussion,” Raut said. “In Indian politics, nobody is anyone’s enemy. We are ideological enemies. We can extend invitations. If such an invitation has been extended (by Modi to Sule), it does not mean that some political ‘khichdi’ is cooking,” he said.Raut said he feels that Pawar desired the “discussion” should not have been published as it had a reference to the prime minister. “After all, there is a reference of the prime minister in this (discussion),” Raut told a Marathi news channel. “Maybe he (Pawar) did not like the prime minister’s reference appearing in the article. After all, it may be a private discussion between them (Pawar and Modi). These are not public discussions,” the Sena MP, who is executive editor of ‘Saamana’, said.”Such discussions may be of a humorous or family nature. He (Pawar) may have spoken to me in that way. Maybe there was a ‘gaflat’ (misunderstanding) somewhere,” Raut said. In a signed article in ‘Saamana’ on Sunday, Raut recalled that during a meeting with Pawar, he had asked about media reports that Pawar would be joining the Modi Cabinet. “Pawar told me there is no truth to media reports. He described such reports as height of stupidity,” Raut wrote.Raut, however, claimed that Pawar once told him that prime minister wanted Supriya Sule in his cabinet and Sule who was present at that meeting turned down the offer saying she would be the last person to join the BJP.Pawar has not responded to Raut’s article but Sule, who is the Lok Sabha member from Baramati, denied meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with her father ahead of the recent Cabinet reshuffle at the Centre.

Maharashtra: Woman constable hangs self in Thane; two senior cops including ACP booked for abetment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 24-year-old woman constable has allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself at her house in Kalwa here, after which an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and another cop were booked on charges of abetting the suicide, police said today.Subhadra Pawar was attached to the Police Headquarters in Thane Commissionerate and had joined the force in 2014.Pawar was found hanging from the ceiling fan at her flat yesterday between 2.30 to 3.00 pm, a police official said.She had been living in the rented accommodation along with three other women constables.A constable, attached to Mumbai Police and an ACP, posted at the Thane Police Headquarters have been booked in connection with the incident, under IPC section 306 (abetment of suicide), rw 34 (common intention), police said.According to the official, the deceased was in a relationship with the accused constable and was about to get married to him.”The accused (constable) came to meet her at her house last afternoon. After spending some time, he stepped out of the flat to make a call. Upon returning after few minutes, he saw Pawar hanging from the ceiling fan in the room with a duppatta (piece of cloth),” he said.Shocked to see her, the constable reached out to neighbours for help and also informed police and her brother, who is also a constable in Navi Mumbai.She was taken to a nearby hospital but was declared dead before admission, the officer said.”No suicide note was recovered from the spot. We have registered offences against two police personnel, including an ACP of Thane Police Commissionerate, based on the complaint filed by the deceased’s brother,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-I), D S Swami said.The exact reason of the suicide is yet to be ascertained and statements of people concerned in connection with the matter, are being recorded, he said.Pawar’s brother, in his complaint, accused the cop duo of harassing and mentally torturing his sister.No arrests have been made so far in connection with the case, he said.

Report loss, claim compensation: Govt to people on Sirsa violence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sirsa district administration has issued a public notice, asking people to report and claim compensation against the loss and damage during the August 25 violence, which broke out after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The victims will have to report their losses within 15 days to the district administration. The assessment of the loss will be sent to the government for compensation, said a spokesman of the district administration.The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the administration to assess the damage during the violence.The district administration has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the additional deputy commissioner.This committee will accept all applications pertaining to the loss in a prescribed proforma, he said.Based on this, the report will be sent to the state government so that the victims can be compensated for their losses.In addition to individual, claim of loss can also be filed by any head of the departments, boards, corporations and other public institutions, the spokesman said. Necessary arrangements made to carry out sanitization of Dera All necessary arrangements have been made for carrying out “sanitisation” of the sprawling Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters at Sirsa, a top Haryana police officer said here, a day after the high court gave permission for the exercise.The Punjab and Haryana High Court had appointed retired District and Sessions Judge A K S Pawar as Court Commissioner to oversee the sanitisation process.Senior officials of the police and civil administration will be part of the exercise.”The Court Commissioner is expected to reach Sirsa soon,” DGP B S Sandhu said.The formalities enabling Pawar to oversee the mammoth sanitisation exercise were being completed, official sources said here.DGP Sandhu said “as far as our arrangements are concerned, we are prepared (for sanitisation process)”.He said that while the sanitisation process will be overseen by the Court Commissioner, Haryana police personnel, paramilitary forces, duty magistrates, executive magistrates and revenue officials will part of the exercise.”Anti-sabotage team, dog squad, bomb disposal squad will also be pressed into service to carry out the sanitisation of Dera Sacha Sauda at Sirsa, which is spread over a huge area.The process will be started soon,” Sandhu told reporters in Panchkula, near here.Notably, the Dera premises in Sirsa is spread over nearly 800 acres, and houses educational institutions, markets, hospital, stadium and houses.The police and the Dera management have maintained that licensed weapons have been deposited by most Dera followers at Sirsa with the police authorities.Asked if there were still some licence holders who have not deposited their weapons at Sirsa with the police, DGP said, “The number of such persons is very less.” To another related query, he said, “these persons are missing. We have registered cases against them and started the process to cancel licences of their weapons”.He voiced confidence that the sanitisation process will be carried out in a “smooth manner” and there was no cause for concern.Asked about reports that two names including of a Dera functionary from Panchkula had cropped up for their alleged role in inciting violence there on August 25 after Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in rape case, DGP said, “We are looking into this and the matter is under investigation.”Whatever action is made out as per law against them will be taken”.The DGP, meanwhile, said that peace prevails in the state and no untoward incident has occurred after August 25.The high court order by a full bench on sanitisation came yesterday after Haryana government filed a plea on Friday seeking permission to hold the exercise under “judicial supervision”.The sanitisation process will be videographed, Haryana’s Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan had said earlier.A report of the whole process will be submitted to the high court by the court commissioner, with a copy to be given to the state government.The high court had earlier taken up a PIL filed by Ravinder Dhull, a Panchkula resident, who had raised concerns over the law and order situation.Large-scale violence broke out in Panchkula after the Dera chief’s conviction in rape cases, leaving at least 35 people dead. Six others died in incidents of violence in Sirsa.Ram Rahim was later sentenced to 20 years in prison in the rape case.Over 100 Namcharcha Ghars, associated with the Dera, have been sanitised in the state.The sect management had earlier maintained that the state government could carry out a search of its premises any time and it will cooperate with the authorities

No question of successor to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh: Dera Sacha Sauda spokesperson

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dera Sacha Sauda spokesperson, Vipassana Insan, on Tuesday categorically stated that there is no question of a successor to the Dera chief.Speaking to reporters, Vipassana said, “More than seven thousand students, including girls, continue to study at Dera school and there are also international players here. If there was anything wrong, they would not have been studying and staying here even now. Also, no declaration from Dera about the successor has been decided.”After the High Court directed a search operation of Dera premises under judicial supervision, the Dera Sacha Sauda spokesperson stated that they will co-operate in all possible way.”The Dera will co-operate with the directions issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and by the Haryana government. Also, no connection with Honeypreet Insan since August 25,” she said.Vipassana further added that licensed weapons had been deposited by Dera followers at Sirsa with the police authorities.Earlier in the day, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered for a search operation in the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa under the supervision of a judicial officer.The Court has appointed retired judge KS Pawar to be the court commissioner for the search operation.This order came after the Haryana Police seized a cache of 33 licensed weapons of the Dera Sacha Sauda. These weapons include 14 revolvers, nine guns, four rifles and other modified weapons.The police later seized and sealed all the weapons.

Rain forecast turns accurate, Sharad Pawar sends sugar to IMD office as promised

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Few would have thought that former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar would take his own sarcastic comment so seriously. After making a sarcastic comment on the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) stating if their prediction about rain would come true, he would distribute sugar from Baramati to IMD officials. When the prediction came true, Pawar sent a sack full of sugar at IMD’s Pune office on Wednesday.Parts of western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and even parts of Marathwada which is a drought-prone area, have witnessed good amount of rain over the past few days. IMD had predicted about the rain in these parts, however, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo seemed to have very little trust on IMD’s prediction.On Wednesday afternoon, Pawar actually kept his word as NCP workers entered the IMD office in Pune with sack fully of sugar brought from Baramati. Ankush Kakade, NCP’s spokesperson said, “Pawar had said that if IMD prediction comes true, he would give sugar to IMD in happiness of getting good rain in Maharashtra. Therefore, we had brought sugar to IMD office and we distributed it among the IMD officials.”When DNA contacted AK Shrivastava, he also confirmed saying, “IMD is using state of art technique to forecast the weather. However, analytical forecast can not be hundred percent accurate anywhere in the world. Most of the time our forecast come true but sometimes it fails. Now it is up to people to comment on IM

Has Shah started new service of checking horoscope: Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Amit Shah’s statement that his party aims to stay in power for at least 50 years, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today asked whether the BJP president had started a “new service of checking horoscope”. Shah yesterday said in Bhopal that BJP has not come to power for mere five or 10 years, but for at least 50 years. “It seems Shah has started a new service of checking horoscope. Since when did he start this business? It’s always the people who decide the number of days a party will stay in power,” Pawar said in Kolhapur where he was on a personal visit. Referring to Ahmed Patel’s recent victory in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections, Pawar said that one out of two votes of the NCP ensured that the Congress stalwart won another term in Parliament. “NCP had two votes of which one MLA defected. However, the second (MLA) voted for the Congress and this vote paved the way for Patel to enter Rajya Sabha,” the former Union minister said. Commenting on senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil’s remarks that he would vacate his PWD portfolio for Congress leader Narayan Rane if the latter joins the BJP, Pawar said, “Generally, it’s the chief minister’s discretion to allocate portfolios. I would like to know whether Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has decentralised his decisions”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Thane cops book couple for creating nuisance at police station

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thane police have booked a couple who allegedly gate crashed into a police station, abused the staff there and manhandled at least two of them. The incident took place after police personnel of Bazarpeth police station under Kalyan division nabbed an alleged accused in a rape and extortion case and took him to the police station, police said. The couple followed them to the police station and created nuisance, they said. The police said one Milind Daund who was booked in the criminal case was detained for interrogation. A complaint against the couple was filed by police constable Sunita Dighe, who in her complaint described the entire incident which took place at the police station for well over an hour late last evening. In her complaint Dighe named the couple who had created the nuisance as Neelam Pawar (26) (sister of the nabbed accused) and Pratik Ravindra Thackery (23). While the police held Pratik, the woman escaped from the police station and the cops are now looking for her, police said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Govt to probe allegations of sexual abuse in jails

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government would probe the opposition’s allegation of sexual harassment of women prisoners in jails in the state, Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil told the state Assembly today. Former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, of the NCP, claimed in the House that he has proof that women prisoners in various jails in the state allegedly face some sort of sexual assault. “I can provide it if the state government asks for it,” Pawar said. Responding to Pawar’s allegation, Patil said, “Maharashtra government will conduct an inquiry into this matter. We will also seek help of leaders like Ajit Pawar in this matter.” Pawar also alleged that an SMS was being circulated among the police officials appealing them to contribute Rs 2,000 each for creating a corpus fund for defending the police personnel arrested for allegedly beating convict Manju Shette in the Byculla women’s prison. Shette (45) died at the J J Hospital on June 23 after being allegedly beaten up by the Byculla jail officials, police earlier said. Responding to it, Patil said that the SMS issue will be probed further. The minister also assured the House that the medical officer who allegedly submitted a false affidavit in Byculla prison inmate’s death will be suspended. Meanwhile, Ashish Shelar (BJP) alleged that Indrani Mukerjea, an accused in the Sheena Bora murder case and lodged in Byculla jail, was getting facilities like manicure, pedicure and massage. To this, Patil said, “We will investigate this angle as well.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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Millions of Indian women have never used their husband’s name – it’s a way of showing respect for him. But campaigners are now urging some of them to change their ways.

5 women arrested for stealing dress material worth Rs 25 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police today arrested five women for an alleged theft of dress material worth Rs 25.80 lakh from a godown in suburban Kandivali. The accused — their ages ranging from 23 to 50 — lived in the area near S V Road where the godown is located, police said. They entered the godown using a duplicate key and stole cartons of expensive Punjabi dress material over three or four nights last week, said senior police inspector Mukund Pawar. All five women were arrested today and produced before a court which sent them in police custody till July 24, he said. The police are yet to recover the stolen dress material from them.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Container driver charred to death in road mishap in Palghar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A container driver was charred to death after the vehicle he was driving rammed into another heavy vehicle on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway in Palghar district early today, police said. The accident took place at around 5.30 am, police said. The container rammed into the one ahead of it as a result of which the tyres got burst and caught fire, said police. The fire was extinguished after about four hours, they said. The deceased has been identified as Ganaji Pawar (40). The traffic was affected for more than four hours due to the accident, said police.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

VP poll: PM Modi calls up Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar, KCR and others for support

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after M Venkaiah Naidu was named the NDA’s vice president pick, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and senior leaders including Sharad Pawar seeking their support, a source in the government said.Modi sought the support of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, the source said. Several non-NDA parties had extended their support to its presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind.The source said the prime minister hoped that given Naidu’s experience, he would be acceptable to several political parties. Gopal Krishna Gandhi is the candidate of the opposition parties for the vice presidential poll on August 5.

NCP denies supporting Kovind, says party has voted for Meira

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid reports of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) voting for National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, party leader Praful Patel on Monday clarified that all their MPs and MLAs have voted for Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. Patel said NCP chief Sharad Pawar had declared his support for Meira in the beginning itself. ?This is all baseless. NCP chief Sharad Pawar himself declared the party?s support for Meira Kumar. All the MPs and MLAs have voted for her,? Patel told ANI. Patel, however, also opined that the one, who can maintain the dignity of the President?s post, should win. ?This is the supreme post of the country. It is the President?s responsibility to safeguard the Constitution. We wish that the person who can maintain the dignity of the post and protect the Constitution wins,? he said. Earlier, as per reports, it was said that the NCP has extended its support to Kovind, leading to a huge gain for the NDA and loss for the Opposition. The polling for the Presidential election is underway. The verdict will be out once the counting takes place on July 20.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amarnath terror attack: Bullet removed from the body of survivor in Mumbai’s JJ Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Doctors at the J J Hospital here have removed a bullet from the body of a woman who survived the terrorist attack on the Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this week.In the attack, in which eight pilgrims were killed, Chhaya Meher had sustained injuries and was hit by a bullet.”The operation to remove the bullet from her right forearm was successful. She also had a bone fracture in the forearm which was also fixed. She will remain in the hospital till the time the bullet wound gets healed. She will have to be in the hospital for around 2-3 weeks more,” said Eknath Pawar, head of the orthopaedic department, JJ Hospital.With Meher showing signs of recovery, doctors have permitted her kin and other visitors to meet her.Maharashtra minister for medical education Girish Mahajan today met Meher.”She was earlier under a shock and we were worried because of her condition,” said her son, Nilesh.Nilesh had lost his mother-in-law in the same attack.Meher was airlifted and taken to Surat. She was taken to Dahanu and on Wednesday she was brought here to carry out the operation, a senior state government official said.Earlier, on July 10, militants attacked a bus carrying pilgrims in which eight persons lost their lives.More than two lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas so far this year, officials said.On the 18th day of the annual pilgrimage today, 7,214 yatris paid obeisance at the cave shrine, said an official spokesman.He added that a total of 2,02,705 pilgrims so far had the ‘darshan’ of the ice-lingam of Lord Shiva at the cave shrine, situated at a height of 3,880 metres, since the beginning of the 40-day pilgrimage this year, which would conclude on August 7.

Govt lifts ban on sale of flats in posh societies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government has lifted restrictions on selling upmarket flats in co-operative housing societies built on government-leased land.While handing over the ownership rights of the units, owners will have to pay the transfer charges to the local collector.According to the state government notification, sale of most of the flats was halted due to the absence of a clear policy on the hand-over of ownership rights and charges therein.”Now, these transactions will be possible. Most of these housing societies are located at Nariman Point, Cuffe Parade, Worli, Bandra, Andheri, etc,” said a senior government official.These societies are primarily occupied by elected representatives and government officials, particularly IAS and IPS officers. In the Sukhada-Shubhada co-operative housing societies, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, and Congress leader Rohidas Patil own several flats.According to the notification, the occupants of these flats can sell or hand over the ownership rights to government officials, scientists, judges, and special category people.”The sellers of these housing societies have to take prior permission from the concerned collector before selling the apartments. If the exchange takes place without that, the seller then will have to pay double the amount while handing over the property rights. After getting the occupations, a person cannot sell the flat or commercial premises for the next five years. And. if it happens before five years, then the collector will charge three times the handover fee,” states the notification.AnalysisIn the 90s, MLAs, MPs, and IAS, IPS built housing societies on govt land at prime locations. It was found that the flats were being bought at reasonable rates and sold to third parties at exorbitant rates. Govt then banned the sale of these saying the purpose of developing housing societies has been defeated.

Top leaders, industrialists, cine stars mark GST launch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top leaders, industrialists, economists and celebrities tonight descended to witness the launch of landmark GST at the historic Central Hall of Parliament which opened for a midnight ceremony for the first time in two decades. President Pranab Mukherjee, who piloted the first constitutional amendment for unifying more than a dozen central and state taxes, shared a specially erected dais in the circular hall with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice- President Hamid Ansari. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda too were on the dais with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh too was supposed to be on the dais but he yesterday sent a regret letter to the Prime Minister’s Office apparently owing to his Congress’ party’s decision to boycott the “tamasha” (gimmick) launch ceremony. The Parliament building complex was illuminated just like it is done on national festivals such as the Independence Day and the Republic Day. At the stroke of midnight, Mukherjee and Modi pressed two buttons on a glass box decorated with orchids and GST inscribed on it. The pressing of buttons launched the GST and a two-minute video showcasing India’s diverse culture and tradition. Mukherjee and Modi warmly shook hands after the launch. Industry doyen Ratan Tata, RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Member of Parliament cum cine star Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha hogged much limelight with many of the participants greeting them. When Finance Minister Arun Jaitley entered the hall, Patel walked up to him to exchange pleasantries. Thereafter, the minister walked up to Tata, former Empowered Committee chairman Asim Dasgupta and former economic affairs secretary Vijay Kelkar to greet them. Almost the entire council of ministers and MPs from ruling alliance sat in the circular hall along with opposition leaders from the Samajwadi Party, the BJD, the NCP and the JD-U. The Congress, the Left, the TMC and the RJD boycotted the ceremony. NCP leader Sharad Pawar was seated with BJP president Amit Shah in the front row. As soon as former deputy prime minister and senior BJP leader L K Advani arrived, Shah gestured him to take a seat on the front row. Advani then sat between Pawar and Shah. SP’s Ramgopal Yadav was seated in the front row, so were Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD and AIADMK’s A Navaneethakrishnan. Subramanian Swamy, a bitter critic of GST-Network — the IT backbone provider for the new indirect tax regime– was also present at the launch. Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha as also Vijay Kelkar, who had first mooted the concept of GST in a report to finance ministry way back in 2003, were also present at the launch. Tata, who sat on the eighth row initially, was requested by S S Ahluwalia to walk up to the initial rows. Tata then went to sit in the fourth row along with Dasgupta and Kelkar. Media tycoon and Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, SP leader Amar Singh and Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule were also present at the launch. Among the bureaucrats, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia, DEA Secretary Tapan Ray, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa, apart from CBEC chairperson Vanaja Sarna and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia were present. Recently retired DEA secretary Shaktikanta Das too was present. Unlike the last midnight event held in 1997 on the occasion of golden jubilee of the independence at a special session of Parliament, it was a gala event at its circular – shaped hall that had been loaned for the launch of the historic reform. Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda too was present on the dais to launch the new taxation system that is set to dramatically re-shape over USD 2 trillion Indian economy. As if giving representation to regional political parties, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather were invited for the event. Former GST Council chairman Sushil Kumar Modi, former finance ministers of West Bengal and Kerala Asim Dasgupta and K M Mani, who played crucial role in negotiations for GST, were also present. CEC Nasim Zaidi, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy and chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian were also present. The GST Bill was originally piloted by Mukherjee when he was finance minister in the previous UPA regime in 2011. The GST Council, that brings together the central and state governments, has met 18 times to thrash out how the tax will work. Originally, the launch of GST which had been in the works for over a decade, was to be done from Vigyan Bhawan — the largest convention centre in the national capital that has hosted majority of the meetings of the GST Council. But the historic Central Hall was thought to be a better choice considering the importance of the new indirect tax code that unifies more than a dozen separate levies to create a single market with a population greater than the US, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan put together. GST will simplify a web of taxes, regulations and border levies by subsuming an array of central and state levies including excise duty, service tax and VAT. It is expected to gradually re-shape India’s business landscape, making the world’s fastest-growing major economy an easier place to do business. GST has been dubbed as the most significant economic reform since the BJP government came to power in 2014 and is expected to add as much as 2 percentage points to the GDP growth rate besides raising government revenues by widening the tax net. A four-rate structure that exempts or imposes a low rate of tax of 5 per cent on essential items and top rate of 28 per cent on cars and consumer durables has been finalised. The other slabs of tax are 12 and 18 per cent.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha farmers who regularly repay loans want more benefits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of farmers from Puntambe village, the epicentre of the recent agrarian protests in Maharashtra, today expressed unhappiness over the loan waiver scheme announced by the state government. The farmers want more benefits for those who regularly repay their crop loans. Eight farmers from the village in Ahmednagar district are in Mumbai to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar over their demands. The BJP-led government had on Saturday unveiled a Rs 34,022 crore farm loan waiver scheme, under which debts of up to Rs 1.5 lakh would be written off, giving relief to some 89 lakh farmers. However, the steering committee of farmer leaders yesterday rejected the mega loan waiver scheme, saying there should be no upper limit for the waiver. Under the scheme, the farmers who regularly repay loan will get 25 per cent relief on paid amount, capped at Rs 25,000. Abhay Chavan, a farmers’ leader from Puntambe, said, “We regularly repay our crop loans. The government’s loan waiver scheme helps us up to Rs 25,000 only whereas those who have outstanding loans up to Rs 1.50 lakh are going to benefit more.” “We think this is unfair to us as we repay crop loan from time to time,” he said. Another farmer Dattatray Dhanwate said, “We have come to meet Sharad Pawar because he understands our issues thoroughly. Our demand is that we should get benefit up to Rs 50,000 because many farmers would not benefit from the existing scheme. “If a farmer gets Rs 25,000 return under the scheme, it is quite less,” he said. Asked about the reasons behind their dissatisfaction, Chavan said, “Most of us grow grapes, sugarcane and soyabean. Our crop loan limit is also quite high as compared to farmers growing food grains. “Hence, when our loan turns bad, its amount is much more than that of farmers growing cereals and pulses. We are not going to benefit much from such loan waiver schemes,” he claimed. Early this month, several parts of Maharashtra witnessed large scale protests by farmers over their demands for a loan waiver and remunerative price for their produce, among others. The protests started from Puntambe and then spread to other places in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Not satisfied with loan waiver, but will cooperate, says Sharad Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP President and former Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar said on Sunday that NCP isn’t satisfied with the loan waiver announced by the state government, but has decided to cooperate with them for taking the first step.Addressing a press conference in Pune, Pawar said that indebtedness was the main reason behind farmer suicides and providing minimum support price for farm produce was the most needed measure. He pointed out that the BJP, in its 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto had promised to implement the Swaminathan Committee Report recommendation of providing farmers with their input cost along with 50 per cent profit made on the same.Stating that Tata Institute of Social Science and Pune’s Gokhale Institute have submitted a report suggesting that indebtedness is the main reason behind farmer suicides, Pawar said that the BJP hasn’t made any appointment to the Agricultural Pricing Commission since it came to power. He demanded to make these appointments and have persons of repute in the field of agriculture on it. When asked if the state can afford the loan waiver, Pawar said that it wouldn’t have any adverse effect on state’s taxpayers. He said that Maharashtra is financially more stable than Uttar Pradesh and can bear the burden with ease.Stating that farmers cultivated tur last season upon the government’s insistence and that there was good yield this year, Pawar said that the government should provide export subsidy for tur daal (Government has stopped purchasing tur from farmers). He also demanded export subsidy on onions.
When asked if there will be midterm polls in the state, Pawar said, “The CM has made such statements before; he has hinted on sending a message across to Bandra (Uddhav Thackkeray).” He further said that being a political party, NCP is always prepared for elections.

4 debt-ridden farmers end lives in Nashik in two days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four debt-ridden farmers allegedly committed suicide in the last two days in Nashik district where one of them set up his own funeral pyre, officials said today. Supadu Bhika Pawar, 77, a resident of Vadner-Khakurdi village in Malegaon taluka set up his own funeral pyre and then sat in it at his home yesterday, sub-divisional officer Ajay More said. When some locals noticed smoke emanating from Pawar’s house, they rushed in and took him to Malegaon’s civil hospital where the doctors declared him dead, More said. Pawar had taken farm loan in the name of his wife and was finding it difficult to pay it off, the family members said. A case has been registered at Vadner-Khakurdi police station in connection with the incident. Another farmer, Kacharu Punja Aher, 65, from Shivur village in Chandvad taluka, stressed over a loan burden of Rs 3 lakh in his son’s name, consumed poison on Tuesday night. The collector’s office yesterday received a report of his suicide, the revenue department sources said. In another incident, Harishchandra Vasant Ahire, a resident of Brahmangaon in Baglan taluka, ended his life by jumping into a well yesterday morning, tehsildar Sunil Soundane said today. As per preliminary information, Ahire had farm debt, he said. Besides, 32-year-old Appasaheb Khanderao Jadhav, a resident of Borale in Chandvad taluka, ended his life on Tuesday night by touching a live electric wire, police said. He was apparently under stress as he received a notice for non-payment of Rs 50,000 loan which he had taken from a cooperative society in 2010, police added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Farmer, 77, sets himself on fire after building own pyre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 77-year-old debt-ridden farmer allegedly committed suicide at Khakurdi village in Nashik district of Maharashtra today. Supadu Bhika Pawar set himself ablaze in the backyard of his house after building his own `pyre’ and sitting in it early this morning, said the sub-divisional magistrate Ajay More. When some local people saw smoke coming out from behind his house, they rushed in and took him to the civil hospital. However, he was declared dead on arrival. Pawar had taken farm loan in the name of his wife and was finding it difficult to pay it off, family members said. Khakurdi police are conducting further probe.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BVG celebrates Silver Jubilee in grand style @ 6/21/2017 3:56:15 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>New Delhi India, June 21 (ANI-BusinessWire India): A Marathi entrepreneur in the form of Hanmant Gaikwad has brought change in the service sector. His success has brought glory to Maharashtra and is pride of all Marathi people, said Union Road, Surface Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari spoke at the Silver Jubilee function of Bharat Vikas Group, in the presence of former Minister for Agriculture, Sharad Pawar, Chairman of the Strategic Group, Sandeep Vasalekar; Veteran Scientist, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar; Hanmant Gaikwad, Chairman of Bharat Vikas Group (BVG) and Vice Chairman, Umesh Mane and Arunima Sinha, the Goodwill Ambassador of BVG. Three apps were launched at the occasion. ?108?, the app designed for an emergency situation, was launched by Arunima Sinha. Domestiqa, the app for domestic services, was launched by Sandeep Vasalekar. Booklet app, the audio book app, was launched by Dr. Mashelkar. Amrut Deshmukh, who read books for the app, was felicitated. Also, the book ?BVG Krishi Tantradnyan? and the Gram Vikas App were launched by Sharad Pawar. Suryakant Mane, the first employee of the group and Tata Motors, the first customer, were also felicitated on the occasion. The logo of the BVG Nivara, the affordable housing scheme, was unveiled by Gadkari. ?My familiarity with Hanmantrao grew more and more during the last 8-10 years. He succeeded not only in Maharashtra but outside of the state as well. Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised him. He has brought glory to Maharashtra. His achievements are the pride of the Maharashtra and Marathi people. While running his business he teaches people how to conduct themselves as human and this is his true greatness. The conduct of the people trained by him is ideal,? said Gadkari. Praising Gaikwad?s work, he said influenced by Swami Vivekananda?s ideology, he has still his feet on the ground even after achieving so much success. ?You have made Marathi people successful in Delhi, now venture out to the world,? he said. Dr. Mashelkar said because of Gaikwad, the children from Varangwadi could get the chance of interacting with the scientists at Kuala Lumpur. He said that inequality since birth is a problem in India and the BVG should work to remove it. In his welcome address, Gaikwad said, ?Today?s program is actually the expression of gratitude. The credit for today?s success goes to our entire team. We are trying to bring change in the lives of 50 lakh people. We are trying to bring domestic help under the social security net like ESI and PF. We are planning to facilitate affordable houses. We are looking at opportunities in Cambodia and Zimbabwe.? ?Gaikwad has reached new heights of achievements after coming from a drought-prone area. While entering parliament, the cleaning equipment of the BVG is what we see first. Then only we can enter the parliament. The guy from Satara has reached Cambodia and he will reach Japan and US tomorrow,? added Sharad Pawar. He mentioned BVG?s work saying, ?BVG is using the plastic to make environment-friendly products. The local bodies should take their advantage. BVG is also working in the solar energy sector. The society will benefit from it without doubt. Today, BVG is providing shelter and employment to 70 thousand families.? (ANI-BusinessWire India) Ends SN NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Opp leaders meet to discuss Prez poll, no names discussed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition leaders today met to chalk out a strategy for the upcoming presidential poll but no names were discussed in the first round of talks of a nine- party sub-group set up for the purpose, members said. As the process for the filing of nominations for the July 17 election started, 10 opposition leaders met in the Parliament chamber of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad. The leaders including Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge from the Congress, JD-U’s Sharad Yadav, RJD’s Lalu Prasad, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and NCP’s Praful Patel. Derek O’Brien of the TMC, R S Bharathi of the DMK, Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP and Satish Chandra Misra from the BSP were also present at the 10 -member group’s meeting. Azad said leaders of 17 opposition parties had met at a lunch hosted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi last month, where it was decided a sub committee would be set up to take forward discussions on the issue. “A sub committee was formed in which leaders of nine parties were included, as there was need for a smaller committee,” he said. This was the first meeting of the group today. “The nitty gritty details were not discussed. No names have been short-listed yet,” he said after the 30-minute meeting. The ruling party has formed a three-member committee to discuss the possibility of a consensus candidate with allies and opposition parties. Azad said it had started contacting opposition leaders. “The process has just started. In such conditions, the selection of a final candidate is impossible. In the next few days this sub committee will meet again and probably we will hold detailed discussions then,” he said. The BJP panel comprising Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu has reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Yechury, BSP’s Misra and NCP’s Patel and would be meeting the leaders of these parties separately to discuss the issue of a joint candidate. The panel would meet Gandhi on Friday. Azad said by the time the 10-member group meets, the ruling party would have consulted opposition leaders, who would then be in a better position to discuss candidates. Asked if the government was trying to break opposition unity, he said, “The government is going to talk to opposition leaders separately and not collectively. All opposition parties are totally united.” RJD’s Lalu Prasad stressed the election was not just for choosing the President and the Vice President. “It is a preparation for the next election. The aim is to remove the BJP,” he said after the meeting. Asked about the Shiv Sena throwing up BJP leader L K Advani’s name as a possible candidate, he said, “You wait and see what happens.” Patel said Venkaiah Naidu had called him and wanted to have formal talks with him and NCP strongman Sharad Pawar. “The government will come out with their name and then we will evolve our strategy in the next few days,” he said. Misra of the BSP said Naidu had called him, too, and asked for a meeting with party leader Mayawati. “They will talk and we will see. They have expressed the desire to meet my leader in the next few days,” he said. Sources said the opposition committee is likely to meet next week again to decide on a suitable presidential nominee. While the ruling party is holding its cards close to its chest, the opposition has already mooted the names of possible candidates and has even held talks with one — former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. A retired bureaucrat and a scholar, he is one of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandsons. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s name is also doing the rounds, as is that of former Union minister Sharad Pawar. The NCP leader, however, has denied being in the race. The official notification for the presidential poll was issued today, starting the process for filing of nominations for the July 17 poll. Counting will take place on July 20. The term of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mohan Bhagwat is ideal candidate for president Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Shiv Sena on Wednesday said that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is the ideal candidate for president. Urging the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to name a candidate for the upcoming president polls, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI, ?Till now, our opinion has not been sought in the regard. We have heard that the BJP has constituted a three member committee in the connection.? ?What we want is that the BJP should propose a name then there should be a discussion. Uddhav Thackeray ji has said that for Shiv Sena Mohan Bhagwat ji is the deserving candidate for the post of President of the nation and the party collectively bats for him,? he added. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in the past had said he had suggested Bhagwat’s name for the post of President of India. Responding to a poser on Sharad Pawar’s candidature for the top post, Thackeray took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president is his guru, adding it’s difficult to guess what is in ones heart. “Suggested Mohan Bhagwat’s name, haven’t discussed Sharad Pawar. Pawar is Modi’s guru, can’t say what’s in one’s heart,” Thackeray said. With President Pranab Mukherjee’s term drawing to a close, there were reports that the RSS chief was one of the contenders and Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece Saamna, also threw its weight behind Bhagwat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra | Announce complete farm loan waiver to avoid mid-term polls: Shiv Sena to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virtually putting its ruling ally in Maharashtra on notice, the Shiv Sena has asked the BJP to announce a “complete farm loan waiver” if it wanted to avoid a mid-term election in the state.Toughening of stand by the Sena at a time when the Devendra Fadnavis government is on the backfoot due to farmers’ protests assumes significance amid reports that the BJP is weighing its options vis-a vis an early Assembly election. The BJP-led NDA government was formed in the state in October, 2014.Though the chief minister had announced a loan waiver for the small and marginal farmers amid a farmers’ protest, the Sena had been insisting on a “complete farm loan waiver”.Sena MP Sanjay Raut told a Marathi news channel that the party will not be affected if it relinquished power.”We will not lose anything and it will not affect us even if we relinquish power. We are better prepared than the BJP in case of a mid-term election. If the government wishes to avoid it, it should immediately announce a complete farm loan waiver,” he said.Asserting that the Sena would withdraw from the government “in no time” if it wanted to, Raut asked the BJP to clearly state that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party’s stand on various issues was indeed “causing anguish” within the saffron party.”Take it as our warning…announce a complete (farm) loan waiver or we will not take much time to throttle the government,” he said.The Rajya Sabha member accused Fadnavis of playing “dirty politics” over the issue of farm loan waiver.”It is the chief minister who created a rift between (Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana chief) Raju Shetti and (Minister of state for Agriculture) Sadabhau Khot,” he alleged.Referring to Fadnavis’ statement that the government will withdraw the cases only against the protesting farmers and not the others, Raut asked, “Can a worker of a political party also not be a farmer?”Replying to a query on the upcoming presidential polls, the Sena MP said his party had no intention of putting pressure on the BJP when the latter proposed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s name for the country’s top constitutional post.Referring to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s “reluctance” to throw his hat in the ring for the presidential polls, Raut said, “Pawar does not seem to have agreed on the proposal, but if he files nomination, we will see.”

Maha agri crisis: Pawar dubs CM’s allegations as "childish"

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The farmers’ stir took place as the Fadnavis government had “fallen asleep”, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has said, dubbing as childish the chief minister’s allegation that some people wanted to create a situation of anarchy in Maharashtra by using farmers. Devendra Fadnavis had yesterday announced the “biggest- ever” farm loan waiver amid the statewide agitation by cultivators who stalled movement of vegetables and milk over their demands. As some sections of protesting agriculturists refused to call off the agitation, Fadnavis, without naming the Opposition Congress and NCP, alleged that “some people are trying to create anarchy in the state” by using farmers. Reacting to it, Pawar said, “None of the political parties have taken part in the strike called by farmers. The chief minister’s allegations are childish. This is a strike of farmers and led by their representatives only.” “There is no point in giving a political colour to their agitation. Doing so does not suit the chief minister’s post,” Pawar said in Ratnagiri late last evening. He also said that, “The strike has taken place only because the government had fallen asleep.” “The chief minister has tried to create a rift between farmers to stop the strike,” Pawar alleged. Fadnavis yesterday said that the government will waive loans of farmers with small land-holding, and 80 per cent of such farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada will benefit. “We have announced the biggest-ever loan waiver for farmers, much more than what had been given by the previous government,” he said. Fadnavis said a committee will be formed to decide the details of loan waiver and it will ensure that needy farmers are not left out while wrong persons do not benefit, which happened in earlier loan waivers. The committee will have representatives of farmers too. While the chief minister agreed to grant the main demand of farmers, which was loan waiver, it emerged yesterday that there was no consensus among their leaders about calling off the protest, which continued in many places, blocking supply of milk and vegetables leading to their prices soaring in cities, including Mumbai. Also, at least 113 farmers were held during the protests across the state for resorting to violent methods like damaging public property, arson, etc, police earlier said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Fadnavis announces "biggest-ever" waiver for marginal farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today announced what he termed as “biggest-ever” farm loan waiver, though some farmers’ leaders said they were not calling off the ‘strike’ which began on June 1. The government will waive loans of farmers with small land-holding, and 80 per cent of such farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada will benefit, Fadnavis said at a press conference this morning after late-night talks with leaders of farmers. As some sections of protesting farmers refused to call off the agitation, Fadnavis alleged that “some people are trying to create anarchy in the state” by using farmers. “We have agreed to most of the demands…. Some people’s agenda is set. They want to create a situation of anarchy in the state and so they do not want the strike to end,” he said, without naming the opposition Congress and NCP. “This will be the first loan waiver to farmers in suicide-prone regions. No state in the country has given a complete loan waiver to farmers,” Fadnavis said. In a tweet, the chief minister said this was going to be the “biggest-ever” loan waiver. On the BJP’s ally and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna’s MP Raju Shetti’s support to the strike, Fadnavis said Shetti was not ready for talks, even when his party colleague, Sadabhau Khot, is a minister in the state government. Fadnavis also denied that he tried to create a rift between agitating farmers. “We have agreed to their demands,” he said. NCP chief Sharad Pawar said strike was called by farmers and not by any political party. “The strike has taken place only because the government had fallen asleep. The chief minister has tried to create a rift between farmers to stop the strike,” Pawar alleged. Fadnavis said a committee will be formed to decide the details of loan waiver and it will ensure that needy farmers are not left out while wrong persons do not benefit, which happened in earlier loan waivers. The committee will have representatives of farmers too. The waiver will benefit farmers with small land-holding; it will be launched before October 31, he said. Another decision taken by the government is to make it a criminal offence to pay farmers less than the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce, and a law for this will be enacted during the monsoon session of legislature, he said. The state commission for agricultural produce will be set up within a month, he said. Decision on increasing minimum prices of milk will be taken by June 20, Fadnavis said. While the chief minister agreed to grant the main demand of farmers, which was loan waiver, it emerged during the day that there was no consensus among their leaders about calling off the protest, which continued in many places, blocking supply of milk and vegetables. Prices of vegetables and fruits kept rising in cities including Mumbai due to drastic fall in supply from production centres like Nashik and Ahmednagar. A group of farmers from Puntambe village in Ahmednagar met Fadnavis last night and promised that the strike would be called off. “The strike is withdrawn,” Fadnavis tweeted. But later in the day, the Kisan Kranti Morcha leader, Samjay Patil Ghatnekar, said the strike was still on. “The government tried to create a rift between farmers,” he added. Facing flak, Jayaji Suryavanshi, who led the delegation to Fadnavis, “apologised” for calling off the stir. “The strike was only called off temporarily. But if farmers want it to continue, I am with them,” he said. The core committee of farmers in Puntambe protested against those who met Fadnavis. ‘Gram sabha’ of village was supposed to take final call on strike, they said. The core committee of farmers in Nashik also said the agitation would continue until the chief minister announced a total loan waiver and implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan committee. The Ahmednagar Agricultural Produce Market Committee received only 37 quintals of vegetables today, against nearly 1,000 quintals a day before the stir began. Around 20 lakh litres of milk is produced in Ahmednagar everyday. But the cooperative milk producer institutions and private milk companies received only three lakh litres today, official sources said. In Nashik, the striking farmers at Soygaon in Yeola poured milk on the roads while women from the cultivators’ families staged ‘rasta roko’ at Dindori near Nashik and blocked vehicular traffic towards Gujarat, rural police said. The farmers’ outfits also staged a road blockade at Musalgaon phata at Sinnar. At least 113 farmers were held during the protests across the state since last night for resorting to violent methods like damaging public property, arson, etc, during the protest, said Bipin Bihari, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order).(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

MbPT property occupants meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With eviction notices served to several occupants of properties in the city owned by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), the occupants met NCP leader Sharad Pawar on Tuesday. The occupants have been living in fear of losing their houses since the MbPT started talking about redevelopment of their land.”We have met leaders of political parties in the past and will meet them in future too. We met Pawar because we hear about Burj Khalifa coming up on MbPT land and its redevelopment, but we are not told anything,” said Pervez Cooper, one of the affected persons who met the NCP leader.Those affected by the decision in the past have met politicians from Shiv Sena, Congress, even the BJP. “We were told that the issue will be looked at in a humanitarian way when we last met with Nitin Gadkari. We have someone whose mother has cancer; imagine what will happen if they have to run around for their home now,” said Cooper.”I myself have not received any notice, but people around me have received them. We want the issue to be heard,” said Isak Bhagwan who has a office in MbPT property.Sharad Pawar was unavailable for comment.

Presidential Elections: Sharad Pawar in favour of consensus candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday reiterated that he was not in the race in the ensuing Presidential election. Instead, he said he was in favour of a consensus candidate of ruling and opposition parties.He was reacting to reports in a section of press that opposition parties, who met on May 26, want him to run for the post of President of India.”I have already said that I am not in the race. I do not want to retire from politics so early. I have suggested that the candidate should be decided by consensus but if it does not work out then a committee be formed to decide the opposition’s nominee,” he noted.

Pawar should join NDA to contest Prez election: Athawale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Ramdas Athawale has stuck to his position that if NCP chief Sharad Pawar was keen on contesting the presidential election, he should join the National Democratic Alliance. Athawale’s comments, made at Dombivili in Thane last night after similar remarks last week in Nagpur, come against the backdrop of Pawar’s name being earlier discussed by the Opposition camp for the presidential post. Athawale, a veteran politician from Maharashtra, had also said that he would not be contesting the polls. When reporters here asked the Union Social Justice Minister on who should be the next president, Athawale said, “This decision lies with the NDA. If Pawar wants to become the president, he should join the NDA.” He also said that Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “If a ‘Marathi manoos’ becomes the president, (I) will be happy,” said the chief of Republican Party of India (Athawale), an ally of BJP. To another question, the Union minister said Pawar may not become the candidate of the opposition parties. During an interaction with reporters in Nagpur on Saturday, Athawale said, “Only the NDA candidate will win the election. Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he should discuss with the PM and BJP president Amit Shah about his candidature.” “We will support him if he fights as an NDA nominated candidate, but he should not contest as a UPA candidate,” he said. On the recent controversy involving Maharashtra minister Dilip Kamble over his remarks against journalists, Athawale said, “Journalists are our friends. They have a right to ask questions.” At an event in Hingoli last week, Kamble, the state social justice minister had said, “Journalists write anything for money and they should be thrashed with shoes.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Uttarakhand: Met warns of heavy rain and hailstorms for next 24 hours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Uttarakhand Meteorological Department on Saturday issued warning of rain, hailstorm for next 24 hours.Heavy rains are expected in Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Bageshwar and some parts of Nainital.Earlier in the day, at least three people were killed and nine injured after being hit by lightning in Uttarkashi.The villagers informed the OSD (Officer on Special Duty) Dhirendra Pawar about the accident, who then informed the district magistrate of Uttarakhand about the casualties

Consensus can be worked out if Pawar opts to be NDA’s Prez

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Ramdas Athawale today said consensus can be worked out within NDA constituents if NCP leader Sharad Pawar opts to be their Presidential candidate. Pawar is an intelligent politician and he will not contest to lose. If he wants to get elected he should come with NDA, said Union Social Justice Minister Ramdas Athawale here. Athawale’s comment comes against the backdrop of Pawar’s name being earlier discussed by the opposition camp for Presidential post. The astute Maharashtra politician had then said that he would not be contesting the Presidential polls. Athawale was speaking to reporters at Ravi Bhavan in Nagpur where he came to attend the birthday celebrations of Union minister Nitin Gadkari. “Only NDA candidate will win the election. Pawar shares a good relation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he should discuss with PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah about his candidature,” said Athawale reacting to a question on the nominees for Presidential elections. “We will support him if he fights as NDA nominated candidate. However, he should not contest as a UPA candidate,” said the Union social justice minister. Athawale praised PM Modi and the NDA government on completion of its three-years in power. Modi has a pro-Dalit approach and large number of Dalits too are coming forward and voting for the BJP. The outcome can be seen in the recent electoral success in several states, he said. “There is a scenario being created by the opposition that reservations will be abolished and the Constitution will be changed. The Parliament can only make amendments to the Constitution, it cannot change it. PM Modi has clearly said that the reservations of Dalits, tribals and OBCs will continue,” said Athawale. He condemned recent attacks on houses of Dalits in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and said they should be protected and provided security. However, he went on to add that the present government there cannot be blamed for violence.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP, BJP in war of words after MLA climbs on hydraulic crane

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fire at a Chandni Chowk market triggered a war of words between the BJP and the AAP today over the role of ruling party MLA Alka Lamba who had climbed onto a hydraulic crane of the fire brigade during the dousing operation. The BJP filed a police complaint against Lamba accusing her of “hindering” operations, while the MLA said that she was being called to the site to “manage” the crowd after the blaze broke out in Moti Bazar of Chandni Chowk late last night. Lamba said she had reached the spot at 11 pm after receiving a call from the local market association. “At around 2 am after the blaze was largely extinguished, fire officer Rajesh Pawar asked me as the area MLA to help in managing the crowd. “The local BJP councillor had made situation unruly by shouting slogans against me while I was trying to control the crowd,” the Chandni Chowk MLA claimed. The BJP termed Lamba’s act of climbing into the crane as “mischievous” and said it hindered the operations and delayed the process, increasing the risk of spreading the fire. “She did so solely for a photo opportunity and made a complete drama of the incident,” BJP leader Nupur Sharma, who lodged a complaint with the police, said. The party also demanded the registration of a criminal case into the incident. G C Mishra, director, Delhi Fire Services, also came out in support of Lamba and said that the MLA neither participated nor disrupted firefighting. He said there was a hostile crowd who told her that the firemen weren’t working. She saw the firefighters at work from different locations. “The public also told her that there is a big fire on the top floor which hasn’t been doused yet. But we told her that it had been controlled. We took her on a hydraulic lift to see the operation,” the officer said. Due to a technical snag, the lift got stuck for a few minutes, Mishra added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress, NCP demand setting up of group to address GST issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the state is looking at joining the nationwide unified market, the opposition Congress and NCP have pointed to loopholes in the plans for the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime from July 1. Senior NCP leader and former Finance Minister Jayant Patil demanded that a study group be set up including officers, chartered accountants, lawyers and economists to put forth issues before the Centre like problems in the implementation of the GST.He added that considering the impact of GST, a committee consisting of stakeholders like farmers and traders and the chief minister, finance minister and leaders of all parties in the legislature be established to create a grievance redressal mechanism and a platform. This will also help in putting forth issues regarding the welfare of the state before the GST council. Patil was speaking on the second day of a special session called by the state government to pass the state GST laws.On Sunday, the government tabled a Bill to make provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services in Maharashtra and other connected issues. Patil said the GST network software was not completely operationalised at optimum levels.“Maharashtra’s economic backbone is sales tax (which will be subsumed in the GST). So, this tax (GST) should be implemented with full ability,” said Pawar, adding that few countries across the globe had a common tax rate.Former deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that the state government lacked the manpower to implement the GST regime from July 1. He questioned the BJP led-regime about its alternate sources of funds when the Centre stopped its compensation to state government’s for revenue loss after five years. Pawar also called on the state government to waive off farm loans.PARTY POLITICSIt is said that Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and CM Fadnavis share a cordial relationship. However, the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, criticised the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). The Sena opposes Fadnavis’ pet Mumbai- Nagpur Samriddhi corridor project and alleged that the CMO was responsible for pressurising the media to suppress stories about farmers.

179 from Maharashtra stuck in Uttarakhand after landslide: CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Altogether 179 pilgrims from Maharashtra are among those stranded at various places after a massive landslide in Uttarakhand and all of them are safe, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Assembly today. “All of them (pilgrims) are safe. We have ascertained it. Of the total 179 from Maharashtra who are stranded there, 102 are from Aurangabad and 38 from Pune,” he said. The other travellers hail from Sangli and Jalgaon districts, Fadnavis said in the Lower House on the first day of the three-day special session of the legislature called to ratify the GST bill. The Railway administration has made arrangements to bring them back to Maharashtra, Fadnavis said. Ajit Pawar (NCP) said the state government should make adequate arrangements to help those stranded. He suggested deputing an IAS officer to coordinate rescue work. Fadnavis said “We have a permanent system in place. The disaster management department coordinates such operations.” The Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway was yesterday closed near Vishnuprayag in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district due to a landslide. Due to the landslide and closure of the highway, around 2,000 travellers on way to Badrinath, the famous pilgrim spot in the hill state, were left stranded at various places.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Health, forest depts to work together to reign in monkey fever

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking stock of the situation after reports of 11 deaths due to the Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) or monkey fever, health department has asked officials of different departments including forest to cooperate and work together.”The cases have been reported only from Sindhudurg area where a population of 65,000 people is spread across 37 villages. We have asked all the departments to work with each other to contain the viral fever,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director of Directorate of Health Services.The viral fever that spreads through parasitic ticks latched on to monkeys and is transmitted to human through tick bites claimed eight lives last year. It was first reported in Karnataka and then spread to Maharashtra.Villages in Dodamarg and Sawantwadi tehsils in Sindhudurg are the worst-hit by this virus. Close to 3,000 people have already been vaccinated in the area as a preventive measure. “We will continue the efforts in the coming weeks. Everyone will work together to ensure that the cases do not spread,” Dr Pawar said.’BMC competent to handle swine flu’Meanwhile, the state health officials believe the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is competent to take care of the swine flu cases in the city. Two deaths have been reported so far with 34 registered cases. “They have not asked us for any support or help, and they are doing very well. The state is purchasing 25,000 Michigan strain vaccine from its own budget to help control the virus,” Dr Pawar said.

Sena’s protests against BJP’s Danve are meaningless: NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition NCP has sought to downplay the protests held today by the Shiv Sena against state unit BJP president Raosaheb Danve, under flak for his remarks against farmers, stating the Uddhav Thackeray-led party continues to be a partner of the ruling BJP. Addressing a press conference here, state unit NCP president Sunil Tatkare said the Sena, which held demonstrations in different parts of the state, should clarify on the work done by it for farmers since coming to power in 2014. “Arrogance of power prompted Danve to make such remarks against farmers. When power goes to your head, your feet lose contact with ground. The protests held by Sena are meaningless,” he said. Referring to Danve’s remarks, he said the government is not doing any favour to farmers by procuring tur. Danve stirred up a storm yesterday saying that farmers continued to complain despite the state government doling out sops to help tur growers, hit by dip in prices due to increased output. “The state government has so far procured the highest amount of tur in the history and it is going to purchase additional one lakh tonne, still some (referring to farmers) continue to complain,” he said at Jalna in Marathwada. “…ajoon ek lakh tonne tur kharedi karnaar aahe taree radtaat (We are going to procure 1 lakh tonne of tur but still they are crying),” he said in a reply to a question raised by a BJP worker in Jalna. As his remarks drew flak, Danve today expressed regret. Continuing his diatribe against the state government, Tatkare alleged the lack of proper management and planning for procurement of tur. “NCP leaders, including (party supremo) Sharad Pawar, will launch a statewide tour to strengthen the organisation from June 11. In July, divisional-level meetings will be held for the elected representatives who won the recent local bodies polls,” Tatkare said. Taking a dig at chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, he said, “Sustainable agriculture is good, but first give a good price for the agriculture produce. Last year, nature helped farmers with good rains but there was no good price for the agriculture produce”. The NCP leader said Pawar has chaired two meetings of party leaders, office-bearers and district unit chiefs, where he took stock of the results of the local bodies polls and of a political strategy of the party. “The opposition recently took out ‘Sangharsh yatra’ (for a loan waiver) because of which the government came under pressure and decided to launch a ‘Sanvad’ (communication) yatra. “The government is not taking a decision on waiving farm loan, only because the opposition has made the demand,” he claimed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rescued Bangladeshi sex slave tweets India’s Modi over banned rupees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By Roli Srivastava MUMBAI, May 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For a year and a half, Aruna secretly saved the rupees customers tipped her with at the Indian brothel she was sold into, assuming she could one day exchange the banknotes when she returned home to Bangladesh. But after being rescued from a brothel in the west Indian city of Pune, she learned that her stash of 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes – totalling 10,000 rupees ($155) – were worthless because Prime Minister Narendra Modi had banned those banknotes last November in an effort to crack down on corruption. So with help from the organisation that freed her, Aruna filed a grievance to Modi himself, via Twitter. “I used to hide this money from the brothel keeper in my pants pocket as I wanted to take it home,” Aruna wrote in a letter tweeted to Modi late on Tuesday from the Twitter handle of the Mumbai-based Rescue Foundation. “I earned this money through much suffering. This money is precious. Please help me exchange it,” she wrote. India’s shock currency move to withdraw its two highest banknotes aimed to bring billions of dollars of unaccounted wealth that people are hoarding, or “black money”, into the mainstream economy and curb corruption. But the demonetisation policy has left unintended victims like Aruna with nothing. A former garment factory worker in Bangladesh, Aruna was trafficked to India by a coworker who promised her a well-paying job, but sold her soon after she crossed the border. She worked at a brothel in Bangalore for a year and a half before being sold to another in Pune, where she was rescued a day after arriving, in December 2015. In March this year, Bangladesh issued her a travel permit to return home. Aruna is one of 19 trafficking survivors who on May 15 will board a train in Pune and travel about 1,800 km to eastern India, where a police bus will take them across the border to Bangladesh. But unless her money is exchanged, she will go home penniless. “The money would lend some legitimacy to her absence from home. She will be able to tell her family that she was working in India,” said Tanuja Pawar, assistant superintendent of the Rescue Foundation shelter in Pune where Aruna stays. Pawar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that following the note ban announcement last year, the rescued women’s cash savings were exchanged into new banknotes. But Aruna told Pawar about the money in her trunk that was still at the brothel after she got her travel permit. Activists say trafficking victims often withhold information as they are brainwashed to believe their rescuers would harm them or take away their money. Police helped retrieve the trunk, and the money was there, but invalid. There has been no official response from the prime minister to Aruna’s letter, Rescue Foundation officials said, and Modi’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In the meantime, many people have come forward to give her money to take back home after her tweet. ($1 = 64.2250 Indian rupees)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

If BJP can appoint RSS workers as Guvs, why not Prez: Uddhav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today questioned the BJP’s alleged reluctance in backing RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s candidature for the post of president, saying it should not be a problem when the party can entrust RSS men with gubernatorial duties. “Our heartfelt wish is that Bhagwat’s name should be put forth (by the BJP) for the president’s post. He is the most eligible candidate for our resolution of a Hindu rashtra. Look at the appointment of governors. If RSS workers can be appointed as governors of states, there should be no problem in making Bhagwat the president,” Thackeray told reporters here. When asked if Sena will back NCP chief Sharad Pawar as the next president if its first choice does not materialise, he said, “We have not spoken to each other over the issue so there is nothing to say at the moment…” “But what can be said about Pawar? Modiji has himself said Pawar is his Guru. He has also been awarded with a Padma Vibhushan. I do not know what is going on in whose mind,” Thackeray said. The Sena chief also took a jibe at the Centre over the killing of 25 CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh. “It is widely said that the act banning cow slaughter is not effective because it is implemented in some states while in others it is not. This means that demonetisation has not happened in Chhattisgarh and Kashmir,” he claimed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained that besides rooting out corruption, demonetisation was aimed at crippling terror and naxal funding. To a query on increasing fuel rates in the country, Thackeray said, “If the government can levy the same taxation system across the country (through GST) why can the purchasing price be too equal everywhere ? It is not right for Mumbai to pay the highest charge on petrol and diesel.” Recently, the price of petrol was hiked by Rs 1.39 per litre and diesel by Rs 1.04 a litre in sync with firming international rates.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ajit Pawar targets Maha govt over Mumbai-Nagpur Corridor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP leader Ajit Pawar has alleged that `Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Corridor’, the ambitious infrastructure project undertaken by the BJP-led Maharashtra government, “will destroy farmers” by acquiring their land. “The Samruddhi corridor is not a path of development, but it is a path which will destroy the lives of farmers,” Pawar said, addressing concluding rally of second phase of `Sangharsh Yatra’ campaign at Shahapur in Palghar district last evening. Opposition Congress and NCP have launched the campaign to demand loan waiver for farmers. The proposed 750-km `communication highway’ connecting Mumbai and Nagpur (`Samruddhi Corridor’) will need acquisition of 56,000 acres of land, Pawar said. “Farmers will have to give up their fertile and irrigated land in areas like Shahapur, Igatpuri, Sinnar and Kopargaon,” he alleged. Mumbai and Nagpur were already well-connected by air and rail, he said, adding, “the existing road infrastructure could have been upgraded…whose prosperity the government wants by proposing a new highway?” On one hand the Devendra Fadnavis government said it did not have money to waive farm loans, while on the other hand it was going to spend Rs 46,000 crore on this corridor, he said. Similarly, the government was also proposing to spend Rs one lakh crore on Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, Pawar alleged. BJP government at the Centre had written off Rs 2.80 lakh crore-worth loans of industrialists, but did not have money to waive Rs 30,000 crore loans of farmers, he said. The third phase of Sangharsh Yatra, from Raigad to Satara, will be undertaken soon, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Attack on Maha CIC: BBM says its cadres were provoked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after eight of its cadres were arrested for allegedly assaulting Maharashtra Chief Information Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad in Aurangabad, the Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh toady said that the party workers retaliated only in “self defence” after they were “provoked”. The incident took place last afternoon at Subhedari government guest house where Gaikwad had gone for some official work. “Upon his arrival (at the guest house), Gaikwad gestured to private bouncers who began forcibly evicting the BBM (Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh) cadres who had gathered on the lawns of the guest house for a meeting. Our party workers retaliated only in self-defence as they were provoked. We strongly believe in the rule of law,” said the BBM general secretary J V Pawar. BBM is headed by Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of dalit icon B R Ambedkar. According to the police, Gaikwad was attacked as the BBM workers were suspecting that he had a role in the demolition of historic Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai last year. Prakash Ambedkar had filed an FIR against Gaikwad, former chief secretary of Maharashtra, and Madhukar Kamble, trustee of the People’s Improvement Trust, in connection with the demolition. When asked about the reason for the presence of BBM cadres at the guest house yesterday, Pawar said that they usually hold their official meetings there as they could not afford to hold party meetings elsewhere for want of funds. “We have been holding meetings at the venue since long, which was never objected to by anyone. Until Gaikwad’s arrival at the venue, the cadres led by our Aurangabad district president Amit Bhuigad were not aware of who he (Gaikwad) was,” the BBM general secretary said. Pawar also issued a statement saying that the BBM has been locked in a political fight over the demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan and the Budhabhushan Printing Press in Central Mumbai. He stated that Gaikwad was “a pawn in the political fight.” However, Pawar didn’t specify against whom the “political fight” is continuing. The dalit leader alleged that the BJP-led state government has been “targeting” the parties like BBM which refuse to toe its political line. “The BJP was well aware that the Ambedkar Bhavan case is coming up for hearing in court on April 24 and hence the incident at Aurangabad was planned,” he said. Responding to a query how could Gaikwad sustain injuries if the BBM cadres were merely “defending” themselves, Pawar questioned, “how could a injured person walk down to the airport and board a flight to Mumbai. If Ratnakar Gaikwad was so seriously injured then why did he not seek medical treatment in Aurangabad itself before coming to Mumbai?”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Agricultural crisis worsening in Maharashtra: opposition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan today said the agrarian crisis in the state had worsened as the BJP-led government remained insensitive to the demand of loan waiver for farmers. The opposition Congress and NCP leaders who have launched a state-wide `Sangharsh Yatra’ campaign to press their demand of farm loan waiver today addressed a rally at Nampur in Nashik district. NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the farmers were facing hardships due to mounting debt. “Despite repeated appeals, the government is turning a deaf ear to their demand of loan waiver. The opposition will not rest till the demand is met, and will not hesitate to gherao the ministers and the Chief Minister for this purpose,” said Pawar. Referring to suspension of some opposition MLAs during the recently-concluded budget session of state legislature, Chavan said the opposition would not bother if its members lost membership of the state legislature or the Parliament in their fight for farmers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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