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Parliament takes on Pak dirty tricks

Political leaders cutting across party lines in Parliament condemned Pakistan’s mistreatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family in Islamabad and demanded efforts to bring back the former Indian Naval officer who has been captured and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terror. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she will make a detailed statement on the issue in both Houses on Thursday. Jadhav, 47, was allowed to meet his mother Avanti and wife Chetana Jadhav across a glass screen on Monday. India has maintained he was kidnapped and implicated. India has said Pakistan had the mangal sutras, bangles and bindis of Jadhav’s mother and wife removed, disregarding cultural and religious sensibilities. The Pakistani press also harassed the two women. During Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, members of Congress, Shiv Sena, TMC and AIADMK protested against Pakistan. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, demanded that Jadhav be brought back. The issue was initially raised by Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant who questioned the government silence. TMC leader Saugata Roy described Pakistan as “hypocritical”. AIADMK’s M Thambidurai said that asking a woman to remove her ‘mangal sutra’ is an insult to the country. Shiv Sena members raised slogans against Pakistan in the House.Outside Parliament, Congress leaders Veepara Moily and Salman Khurshid called it a diplomatic failure on the part of the government. “MEA should have ensured a protocol for the family,” Moily told reporters. He said that the issue should have been taken up with Pakistan before Jadhav’s kin went to Islamabad. Khurshid, a former External Affairs Minister, said the meeting between Jadhav and his family was distressing and disturbing. “We expected better from Pakistan, the situation is unfortunately very grave,” he said. Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy reacted sharply on Wednesday and said that India should go to war with Pakistan and split it into four parts. The Rajya Sabha MP said that “serious homework” for the war should begin “right now”. “The treatment given to the mother and the wife is akin to Draupadi’s vastraharan that resulted in Mahabharat,” he said.Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also slammed the “very irresponsible” Pakistani media over the heckling of Jadhav’s mother and wife. “Pakistan media is very irresponsible, it is not responsible like the Indian media,” Rijiju told reporters outside Parliament, assuring action by the External Affairs Ministry.India has moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, on grounds that procedures were not followed under international law when Jadhav was convicted, a rare contest by the two nuclear-armed rivals at the top UN legal body whose rulings are binding, but occasionally flouted. In May, the world court put the sentence on hold till the case is conclusively heard.

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TMC wrests seat from Congress

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal wrested the Sabang Assembly seat from the Congress on Sunday by defeating the nearest CPM contender by 64,192 votes, the results of which were announced on Sunday.TMC received 1,06,179 votes and CPM got 41,987 votes. BJP secured the third position with 37,476 votes while Congress who held the Sabang seat so far was pushed down to the fourth position with 18,060 votes.The bye-election had been necessitated after sitting Congress MLA Manas Bhunia who had won from there as the Congress-CPM alliance candidate in 2016 defected to TMC and had been made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP. His wife Gitarani Bhunia had been pitched as the TMC candidate and she bettered her husband’s winning margin by 15,025 votes. Manas had won in 2016 with a margin of 49,167 votes.TMC attributed the victory to the trust of people in Mamata Banerjee-led government. “People had brought in musclemen from outsiders to put a stumbling block for Mamata. But people have voted wholeheartedly for us. It shows that people have ignored all the canards that the Opposition spreads and have voted against the anti-people policies of the Central government,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee at a news conference in the evening.Manas said the contest of his wife was with him. “We were sure of the win. The TMC leadership only wanted to see if Gitarani could beat me in terms of the winning margin, which she has. I am enjoying my defeat,” he said.CPM candidate Rita Mondal Jana alleged a foul play. “It is the victory of terror, corruption and betrayers. They have not won with people’s votes but the bogus votes cast by a bunch of their cadres. At about 150 booths they had terrorised people and forced them to cast their votes in their favour,” Mondal said.BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said their result was satisfying. “There was hardly any existence of BJP there. We had secured 2.5 per cent vote in the last election. This time the vote share has increased by about 10 times,” he said.Congress leaders were content to put up a ‘brave fight’. “Our organisation was weak there. We did not expect to make any impact there but Congress had put up a brave fight in spite of the police atrocity as well as lawlessness and violence unleashed by the TMC,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former state party president Pradeep Bhattacharya.

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Sabang bypoll: Seven-fold increase in vote-share for BJP augurs well for its future

Sabang, in West Midnapore district of Bengal, has been largely in the news in the past for occasional political skirmishes. A Congress bastion, it has been for long the pocket borough of senior leader Manas Bhunia. He retained his seat even when other Congress stalwarts fell by the wayside unable to withstand Mamata wave. Thus when he switched party this year, it was a foregone conclusion that TMC will win the seat. The party had nominated Manas Bhunia’s wife as the candidate, and she indeed won with a handsome margin of 64 thousand votes. The real toss-up was who would end up in the second spot. And, somewhat unexpectedly CPI(M) candidate Rita Mandal Jana ended up the first runner-up getting 41,000 votes. However, the BJP which invested a lot of man-power in this election wasn’t far behind with Antara Bhattacharya winning over 37 thousand votes. It’s a massive leg-up for the party in a rural seat like Sabang where it got only 5610 votes in last year’s assembly election. The party this time won 18.23% of the votes, up from 2.60% in 2016. Congress ended a poor fourth, with its vote bank virtually collapsing post the exit of Manas Bhuniya. While Sabang is a single assembly bypoll, but it leaves some important pointers for next year’s Panchayat polls in Bengal. The Left’s core vote is still intact in rural Bengal. It has depleted from its past highs but is still enough to earn sizeable number of seats in the Panchayat poll. The BJP undoubtedly is gaining ground rapidly in interior Bengal. After a promising performance in Kochbehar LS bypoll and Kanthi Assembly bypoll, the party has again punched way above its weight and narrowly ended third. The fact that Sabang is in South Bengal shouldn’t be missed. An impressive BJP show here means the party is now present in all the major regions of the state. Also readSabang bypoll: TMC wrests seat from Congress, Gita Rani Bhunia wins by 64 thousand votes Sabang was the first election after Mukul Roy joined the BJP. He was Mamata’s former close aide, who knows how to build organisation and run a successful campaign. He alongside Dilip Ghosh and Babul Supriyo did their best to canvass for the party, and managed a positive result in a place where the party has very little ground game. BJP can take lot of heart from this result and work towards becoming the second biggest party in the next panchayat polls. But it would find it difficult to match the organisational prowess of the ruling party. TMC is the party to beat in Bengal with very little indication of it being closely challenged in the upcoming polls. The race is firmly for the second spot in Bengal.

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West Bengal: Voting continues for Sabang bypoll amid tight security

Amidst heavy security arrangement, bypolls to Sabang Assembly constituency in West Midnapore district of West Bengal began at 7 am on Thursday.The voting process began in 306 booths where 2,45,259 electors will exercise their franchise. Of them, 2,01,142 are in Sabang block and 44,117 are in Pingla.Eight companies of Central force had already arrived in Sabang to take care of law and order situation. Sabang Assembly comprises 16 panchayats. Of these Sabang block has 13 and Pingla block has three.Officials at the office of Chief Electoral Official in Kolkata said that all the booths would be equipped with VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) which means voters would be able to verify that their votes have been cast for their choice of candidate.The by-poll has been necessitated owing to the defection of Congress MLA Manas Bhunia to TMC, who had been later made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP. Interestingly his wife, Gitarani Bhunia has been pitched as the TMC candidate where as Chiranjeeb Bhowmik of Congress, Rita Mondal of CPI(M), and BJP’s Antara Bhattacharya are also in the fray.Also readSabang bypoll | Four-cornered battle for this traditional Congress bastion in BengalManas, who had been the MLA from Sabang since 1982 is confident about his wife’s win from the place. In the last Assembly election in 2016, he was the Cong-CPI(M) alliance candidate and had secured 1,45,259 votes, registering a convincing victory against Nirmal Ghosh of TMC who received 77,820 votes. “TMC is the real Congress which had been formed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the real tension is whether Gitarani Bhunia would be able to defeat Manas Bhunia in terms of winning margin,” he said.Congress and CPI(M) candidates have, however, have been campaigning by referring to Manas as a ‘turncoat’ while BJP said that if there was a free and fair election, BJP would win.Also readLitmus test for Mukul Roy in West Midnapore’s Sabang seatThe result would be announced on December 24.

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After saffron sweep in Assembly polls, Mamata trying to appease Hindus, alleges Bengal BJP

After BJP’s victory in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, Bengal unit of the party believes CM Mamata Banerjee is looking for an image correction. After a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that Rs 17 crore has been allotted for the renovation of 74 ghats centred around Dakshineswar and Belur.“The decision has been taken in today’s cabinet meeting. It is a message to those who had been spreading canards about our party,” he said. He also said that a total of 1220 new posts have been created including 460 in the Home and Hill Affairs department, 82 in the Health and Family Planning department and 42 in the Finance department.With the panchayat election next year and BJP getting a shot in the arm in the shape of the defection of former TMC Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy to BJP, TMC leaders have been trying their best to give out the message that they are for inclusive development of the state, irrespective of the person’s faith. At the district level too it is being used as a tool. In Birbhum district of West Bengal, a Brahmin Sammelan will be conducted on January 8, 2018. District TMC president Anubrata Mondal told DNA that it was being done in accordance with a party circular. “About 15,000 brahmins across the district will gather. They will perform pujas and each of them will be given a Gita, a religious shawl and a photograph of Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Ma,” he said and denied that it had any political connotation. “We had done this earlier at a block level but going by the party’s instructions, this year I am doing it at a district level,” he said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsBJP leaders, however, said that the Mamata Banerjee-led government was doing those out of fear that the party and the government was growing unpopular among the members of the majority community. “They had taken appeasement of the minority to such a level that members of the majority community was disturbed and sensing it, they have now turned to do some damage control but I don’t think these will work. I have also heard that ahead of panchayat polls the TMC will donate cows to people in the rural areas. I have have seen Mamata chant mantras full of mistakes on stage to show people that she is a Hindu,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP national secretary and former party state president. He alleged that Mamata had started the politics of division in Bengal and had she done politics on the basis of developmental work in the state, there would have been no question of appeasing members of any religion.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: It is a face-saving win but moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat, says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said it was a moral defeat for the BJP in Gujarat and the people of the state have “belled the cat for 2019”.Congratulating the people of Gujarat for their “very balanced verdict at this hour”, Banerjee said it was a face- saving win for the ruling party.”It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” Banerjee tweeted.The TMC chief had recently hailed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for “putting the BJP on the backfoot”.

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‘FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawal

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley urging immediate withdrawal of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI Bill) saying, it will take away people’s bank deposits.Terming the FRDI Bill as “draconian”, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has said it will oppose it tooth and nail in the Parliament and launch a massive campaign against it in the state.”People will lose faith in the banking system if the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill is not withdrawn. The FRDI Bill will completely shatter the age-old faith and trust reposed by the people in the banking system of the country,” Mamata Banerjee said in a letter to Jaitley, reported News18.com.A report said that Banerjee felt if the FRDI came into being, it would ‘forcibly’ take away the hard-earned life savings of common people entrusted to the banks, for ‘bailing out one section of vested interests, who have siphoned off the loans given to them by the banks”.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government is working to protect the interest of bank customers and their deposits, in a bid to scotch rumours regarding the proposed Bill.Industry body Assocham has also said that experts felt the “bail-in” clause in the draft FRDI Bill, 2017 can potentially harm deposits in savings accounts.The FRDI Bill proposes to create a framework for overseeing financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial services companies and stock exchanges in case of insolvency.The Resolution Corporation, proposed in the draft bill, would look after the process and prevent the banks from going bankrupt. It would do this by “writing down of the liabilities”, a phrase some have interpreted as a “bail in”.The draft bill empowers Resolution Corporation to cancel the liability of a failing bank or convert the nature of the liability.

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Try to loot booth during Panchayat elections: Mukul Roy dares TMC

BJP leader Mukul Roy threw a challenge at TMC daring them to loot polling booths in the panchayat election next year.“Will you be able to loot votes during the panchayat election? We will see about it at the ground level,” Roy said speaking outside the office of the state chief electoral officer (CEO).He had been to the CEO office demanding free and fair polls and to ensure that all voters can reach the polling booths to cast their votes. Referring to the upcoming bye-election at Sabang Assembly constitution in West Midnapore district, he said that they are keeping a tab on state CEO Aariz Aftab. “You will have to stick to the election norms. There are 306 booths at Sabang. Each and every booth needs to be manned and managed by Central force. There should not be any bike rally 48 hours prior to the polls and there should be area domination to instil confidence among voters of the area,” he said. Roy alleged that the state CEO has been deviating from the spirit of the constitutional post owing to his allegiance to the ruling party. “We have your bio-data. We know how many posts of the state government you have held but that should not deter you. If you are unable, then you must remember this is not the last election which you would be conducting,” he said.Mukul Roy said that BJP would get good result in Sabang and later in all the elections leading up to assembly elections in 2021. “Bhunia had been the alliance candidate of Congress and CPI(M) and he had fought against the TMC. Now he has defected to the TMC and his wife is the TMC candidate. As a result, workers of both Congress and TMC are heartbroken. They will not vote for him. After the elections of 2019 and 2021, BJP will come to power in Bengal,” Roy said.In another development, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, on the sidelines of a meeting at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas said that the way people were defecting from TMC to BJP, before the panchayat polls, TMC organisation would be broken. Speaking about arrest of TMC leaders, he said, “CBI is investigating chit fund cases under the supervision of the court and those who need to be arrested would be arrested. BJP has nothing to do with it.”

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After Centre and Bengal’s affidavit, Delhi HC disposes of Mukul Roy’s plea alleging phone tapping

The Delhi High Court today disposed of former TMC leader Mukul Roy’s plea alleging phone tapping, after the Centre and the West Bengal government said his numbers were not being intercepted.The order was passed by Justice Vibhu Bakhru after he perused the affidavits filed by the two governments. The court, however, gave Roy the liberty to approach it again if he finds any concrete evidence substantiating his allegations.Former Trinamool Congress MP, who has now joined the BJP, had sought a CBI probe into the alleged surveillance and tapping of his phone by the West Bengal police. Roy has alleged that while he was in West Bengal, he always found that the local police were monitoring his movements.Also readBiswa Bangla row: Mukul Roy summoned by court after Abhishek Banerjee files defamation caseThe plea has claimed that similar apprehensions were put on record by several other persons, including union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo.

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Watch: Don’t dare to spread canards against Mamata Banerjee, says TMC leader to Madrasa teachers

Controversial Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal has again courted attention for his speech during a teacher’s conference. Birbhum district TMC President Mondal while addressing the conference issued a veiled threat to Madrasa teachers, reported Zee 24 Ghanta. While he started the speech saying that the government is doing its best to improve madrasa education in the district, he soon changed track. Anubrata said that he is aware of how many people are badmouthing the TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. He said to the teachers but don’t dare to spread canards against Mamata Banerjee. Anubrata Mondal said that he wouldn’t tolerate any criticism against the West Bengal CM. Later in the speech he says that he doesn’t expect everyone to support TMC, but don’t criticise the party or the government. He ‘advised’ teachers to ‘keep silent’ if they don’t like TMC’s work. Here’s the full video:Last month, Anubrata had created stir by threatening to break legs of opposition leaders. The party later clarified that they don’t support such comments. Mondal alleged that Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan and senior CPI-M leader Bikash Bhattacharya were trying to “play dirty politics” with land near Bolpur in Birbhum district where the state government has decided to set up a university and housing project. “I don’t know who is Mannan or who is a big CPI-M leader. If they come again their legs will be broken”, Mondol, who is the TMC Birbhum district president had said in front of the police.
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We will see who cuts whose nose: TMC hits back at BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu over his comment against Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>We will see who cuts whose nose: TMC leader hits back at Suraj Pal Amu’s comment against MamataAfter Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the makers of controversial film Padmavati were welcome in West Bengal if they wanted to put up a premiere or even screening the film, Haryana BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu on Friday threatened Mamata saying that she would meet the same fate of Surpanakha, sister of Ravana in Ramayana. “Mamata Banerjee wants Padmavati to be released in West Bengal. Women with demonic nature should realise what happened to Surpanakha. He was taught a lesson by Lakshman,” he said.Senior TMC leaders in Bengal, naturally reacted to the comment.
ALSO READ Padmavati | Don’t forget Shurpnakaha’s fate, BJP leader threatens Mamata Banerjee for backing Deepika Padukone’s film“He should ask for forgiveness. If he doesn’t, he must realise that people of Bengal is watching everything and will give a fitting reply,” Partha Chatterjee, TMC national secretary general said on the sidelines of a public meeting at Canning in South 24 Parganas.State minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya at a rally in Kolkata said, “People are watching these provocative statements. We will see who cuts whose nose. Mamata had been elected twice convincingly in Bengal.”
ALSO READ Padmavati row: Sanjay Leela Bhansali is welcome to premiere his film in Bengal, says Mamata BanerjeeBirbhum TMC president Anubrata Mondal said that it was easier said in Haryana. “It will not be possible to say such things in Bengal,” he said at a meeting.

‘Maa Mati Manush’, Mamata Banerjee’s favourite slogan, is the name of a private company owned by her nephew

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the controversy over Biswa Bangla and Jago Bangla, in another revelation it was found out that the much-used tagline of Trinamool Congress, ‘Maa Mati Manush’ was also a business entity owned by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and party MP Abhishek Banerjee.DNA has access to evidence which reveal that through an application on January 18, 2013, the trademark for ‘MAA-MATI-MANUSH’ had been applied as a ‘single firm’. The name of the applicant is Abhishek Banerjee.The application has been made by CJ Associates whose office is at 6A Kiran Shankar Roy Road, second floor, Kolkata – 700001. The application number was 2462807, made under Class – 38.In the application, the details of the Goods and Services in which the company would deal was stated as ‘Television channels, cable television, radio and on-line broadcasting services communication by fibre optic network, electronic mail; transmission, broadcast, reception and dissemination of audio, video, still and moving images, text and data whether in real or delayed time; interactive broadcasting, news information and news agency, radio and television broadcasting; providing access to and leasing of access time to a computer database; telecommunications; information and advisory services for aforesaid services, being services included in Class-38’.Advocate Tin Kari Jana who represented CJ Associates had been given the power of attorney by Abhishek through a declaration on January 17, 2013. DNA has access to the copy of the power of attorney.In another communication to the Registrar of trademarks, it has been claimed that ‘the service mark consisting of the expression MAA-MATI-MANUSH has been adopted in an honest and bonafide manner which has acquired inherent distinctiveness and capable of distinguishing the service of the applicant’.None of the TMC leaders wanted to comment on this issue. Interestingly Mamata and all the TMC leaders had used this phrase, ‘Maa Mati Manush’ in their speeches before and after coming to power to send out a message that the party was for the common people.Former second-in-command of Trinamool Congress Mukul Roy kicked up a controversy on November 10 at his first public rally after defecting to BJP alleging that Biswa Bangla and Jago Bangla were actually business entities owned by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and party MP Abhishek Banerjee.

Mukul Roy to approach Delhi HC with allegations that TMC tapping into his phone conversations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former TMC MP Mukul Roy is likely to approach the Delhi High Court with claims that his phones are being tapped by the West Bengal government.Sources say that Roy is likely to move court on November 17. “It is not only in my case. If you talk to political leaders across all parties, many will tell you that it is true. Even leaders of the ruling disposition are not spared from this, but nobody will admit it on record,” Roy had said earlier. Political analysts say that since Roy had been the second in command in the TMC for a long time, he knew of what was happening inside the party. “It will be easy for him to make attacks such as these,” an analyst said. TMC leaders, however, were not ready to put too much importance on allegations of Roy and termed them publicity stunts. “He has left the party and is trying to be afloat by saying such things. He has to be in news and prove his worth it to the party he has recently joined. He has to eat, hasn’t he?” said party national secretary general on the sidelines of the rally put up by north Kolkata district youth TMC on Monday.Interestingly, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had levelled similar charges several times in the past. When she was at the Opposition she said that the then government had tapped her phone lines, and after becoming CM, she alleged that the Centre was indulging in phone tapping to intercept information.

TMC to organise rally to counter Mukul Roy’s allegations; son Subhrangshu to be key speaker

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirty-six hours after West Bengal BJP’s newest member Mukul Roy alleged that ‘Biswas Bangla’ was actually a business entity owned by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek, the Trinamool Congress announced that they will organize a counter-rally on Monday where one of the main speakers will be Roy’s son, party MLA Subhrangshu. Through Subhrangshu, the message that TMC leaders would be trying to send out is that Mukul, who had been promising a change in Bengal, was unable to convince his own son to join BJP. Subhrangshu is the TMC MLA from Bijpur in North 24 Parganas and after Mukul’s defection he had maintained that Mukul was his father, but Mamata Banerjee was his leader.Today’s rally has been organised by north Kolkata TMC youth leaders, According to sources, party youth wing president and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee had given instructions that the crowd must be at least twice the size of Mukul’s November 10.Speakers at today’s rally would comprise state urban development minister Firhad Hakim and party national general secretary Subrata Bakshi. The main topics of discussion would be issues such as Hindutva, demonetisation, GST and the newly-added allegation against BJP of attempt to break TMC and other parties.In another development, Mukul had written a letter to West Bengal Home secretary Atri Bhattacharya and principal secretary, mirco, small and medium enterprises Rajiva Sinha for defending Mamata and Abhishek over the allegations he had levelled against them. ‘Your press briefing on 11th November, 2017 was incorrect and false and has largely and absolutely mislead the citizens of West Bengal and the public of this country, thus, unbecoming of an IAS officer bound by the All India Service (Conduct) Rules 1968’, said the opening words of the letter, a copy of which has been served to MoS Dr Jitendra Singh, requesting him to initiate a probe against Bhattacharya and Sinha.

TMC should clarify horse-trading allegations against Mukul Roy: Kunal Ghosh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On November 10, after former TMC second-in-command Mukul Roy spilled ‘part-I’ of the beans he had promised, top TMC leadership was in a hurry to clear themselves and immediately called a press conference, where party national secretary general Partha Chatterjee, perhaps inadvertently said admitted that Roy had been engaged in buying public representatives.“Everyone knows that he had been buying and selling public representatives…” Chatterjee said in a somewhat knee-jerk reaction to one of the questions shot by a reporter.It has led to a severe controversy fuelled by ousted TMC leader Kunal Ghosh who was quick on to latch on to it on Saturday, saying, “Partha Chatterjee had specifically alleged that Roy used to engage in horse trading. He should clarify who had been bought and how. In turn, Roy should also come clean about who did he buy the leaders for, why did he do so and what did he pay in return?”
ALSO READ Mukul Roy blasts Mamata’s nephew in first speech, claims company which sponsored U-17 WC run by nephew Abhishek Sources said that prior to 2015 when Roy was called by the CBI for the first time in connection to the Saradha multi-crore ponzi scam, Roy was known to be the closest to Mamata in the party and in order to gain political strength had engineered several defections from all political parties across the board. Opposition leaders had alleged that their leaders from all levels were being poached by enticement or threat. “While some had been promised with posts and money within the ruling party others who did not give in to such allurements were threatened with being implicated in false narcotic cases and other non-bailable sections,” said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.Asked about Chatterjee’s allegation against him, Roy said, “If he has said that I was engaged in horse trading, he must have financed those,” and quipped that after Gujarat elections he would come up with part – II of his revelations.

Mukul Roy blasts Mamata’s nephew in first speech, claims company which sponsored U-17 WC run by nephew Abhishek

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his first public meeting as BJP leader, former TMC second-in-command and ex-Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy tore into TMC alleging the much talked about ‘Biswa Bangla’ was actually a business entity owned by TMC MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.“What is Biswa Bangla which sponsored the recently concluded Under-17 FIFA World Cup? It is not a government entity. It is a private business entity, owned by Abhishek Banerjee,” Roy said, holding up a bunch of printouts.He said that ‘Jago Bangla’ the Bengali daily and party mouthpiece was also a company owned by Abhishek. “After All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) was formed all the leaflets, pamphlets, hoardings and each and every printed material was printed by a company owned by Abhishek,” he said. He also alleged that state education minister Partha Chatterjee was at the helm of one of the leading puja committees which organised pujas along with corporate partnership of four chit fund companies.Roy had promised to divulge his reason of leaving TMC at this public meeting and amidst thundering applause of an unprecedented turnout for a BJP rally, said, “I have left TMC because it had failed to fulfil any of its commitments which it made before coming to power. It was getting suffocating within the party. There are many more who are suffering but are unable to say so. For all of them I am saying that TMC has become a limited company. If you delay leaving it, it might be too late.”He alleged that Mamata was using the police to rule the state and that is why she was putting her favourite IPS officers at important posts irrespective of what their track record had been. “At a time when the state was reeling under dengue, she was busy inaugurating a film festival and would leave for London tomorrow. The present dispensation would throttle any voice of dissent. Even the CPI(M) was not like this. At least they allowed the Opposition its rights,” he said.Taking a dig at Mamata’s foreign trips he said, “Just like Jyoti Basu (former Bengal Chief Minister), Mamata too has this habit of going to London on the pretext of bringing in investment which never came.”He threw a challenge at his former party and said that in the forthcoming elections there will be a ‘parivartan’ of ‘parivartan’ and to the BJP cadres he said, “For that just tears flowing down your eyes would not do. There should be fire coming out of your eyes.”Before he signed off he said that it was only Part I of things he had to say against the government. There would be many such in the near future.Soon after the rally, West Bengal home secretary Atri Bhattacharya and Partha Chatterjee refuted the allegations in two separate press conferences. “Biswa Bangla logo was designed by Mamata Banerjee. West Bengal government owns the logo. I can assure you that the logo is not owned by any individual,” Bhattacharya said.Chatterjee, talking to media persons at the party office said that the allegations were baseless. He said that the fact that party was promoting the youth did not go down well with Roy. “Now it is clear what the bone of contention is,” he said.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, during his speech at the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival referred to her upcoming London trip and said, “I go to one foreign trip every year for inviting investment. I generally dont go to foreign countries. This year I had to go to receive a prize from the UN for our project, Kanyashree.”

Mamata’s former right-hand Mukul Roy joins BJP, TMC says it’s ‘least bothered’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mukul Roy, who was long the second most powerful leader of the Trinamool Congress, joined the BJP, claiming that people of West Bengal wanted an alternative to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and will vote the saffron party to power in the next polls.The former railway minister, known for his organisational skills, joined the BJP in the presence of its chief Amit Shah.Roy told reporters later that the BJP was not a communal but secular party.”We do not want to give much importance to what Mukul Roy does. He is no longer with the TMC and we are least bothered about him,” a senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.Roy, a former railway minister and parliamentarian who had recently quit the TMC, formally joined the BJP today. He was inducted into the saffron party at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of its president Amit Shah.
ALSO READ Once Mamata’s number 2, former Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy joins BJPThe TMC, which had suspended Roy on September 25 for six years for “anti-party” activities, is yet to come out with an official statement on the issue.The Bengal BJP unit, on the other hand, welcomed the development and expressed hope that Roy would play a vital role in strengthening the base of the saffron outfit in the state.
ALSO READ Mukul Roy quits Trinamool, resigns as Rajya Sabha MP”We welcome the decision. As we all know that the BJP is growing at a fast pace in Bengal, Roy’s induction will strengthen the party in the state. He is known for his organisational capabilities,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.Asked about the corruption allegations against Roy, Ghosh said, “There can be allegations against anybody, but until and unless they are proved, how can you call someone guilty? The law will take its own course.”Incidentally, till a few months ago, the BJP had repeatedly launched verbal attacks against Roy and other TMC leaders for their alleged involvement in corruption and scams.The CPI(M) and the Congress claimed that Roy joining the BJP was a part of a “tacit understanding” between the saffron party and the TMC in Bengal.”We have been saying this for a long time that the BJP and the TMC have a tacit understanding in Bengal. Now, with Roy joining the BJP, it has been proved that the two parties are two sides of the same coin,” CPI(M) politburo member and MP Mohammed Salim said.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury also echoed his views.Roy (63) recalled how the TMC forged an alliance with the BJP soon after Banerjee founded it and became a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He said the regional party could not have grown without the BJP’s support.Rejecting Banerjee’s charge against the BJP, he said, “It is not a communal party. It is a secular party. People in Bengal are not happy and are looking for an alternative. The BJP will soon clinch power in the state.” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference after Roy joined the party that he was a founder leader of the TMC leader who played a key role in its expansion and march to power in the state.He also effectively fought excesses and atrocities of the previous CPI(M) governments, Prasad said, insisting that Roy expressed his desire to join the BJP unconditionally and the party welcomes him wholeheartedly.Roy later told journalists that “restoring democracy” in West Bengal will be his priority.”I will work for restoration of democracy in Bengal, that will be my first task. I am a national level politician, I will try to see that people in Bengal can at least vote according to their choice. If people can cast their votes in panchayat polls, the BJP will wrest power from the TMC in least in 5 zila parishads,” he said.”I am an organisational man. People of Bengal have turned against the TMC government. I am sure that in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and Assembly elections in 2021 the BJP will win Bengal,” Roy said.The party is likely to task him with an important responsibility to drive its growth in the eastern state, where it has been traditionally weak. However, it is not clear yet what role he will have in the organisation.”His role will be decided,” BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is the party’s in-charge for the state, said.The BJP will expand further in the state with Roy’s induction, Prasad said.Asked about corruption allegations against him, Roy said the law will take its own course.It will be his “proud privilege” to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, he said.Roy had quit the Rajya Sabha and the TMC last month. He was suspended by the party earlier as his differences with Banerjee grew and he was seen veering towards the BJP.

Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray call on Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here, fuelling speculations in the political circles.The Sena chief, accompanied by son Aaditya Thackeray, paid a visit to Banerjee in the afternoon at a south Mumbai hotel where she is staying. Both Sena and Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) have been at loggerheads with the BJP and the Narendra Modi government on a host of issues, including demonetization. Banerjee, who is in the city since Tuesday and expected to return to Kolkata tomorrow, met top industrialists and bankers here yesterday as part of a roadshow, ahead of the fourth edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit, to be held in Kolkata in January.The Shiv Sena had last year teamed up with the TMC in a bid to take on the BJP over the issue of demonetisation. Thackeray had told mediapersons in November last year that if there was nothing wrong in Prime Minister Modi meeting (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar, then there was nothing wrong if the Sena held talks with Banerjee on a crucial issue.

Mamata to initiate and lead countrywide anti-GST movement, start from PM Modi’s home turf

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the extended core committee meeting on Wednesday asked party leaders to organise small and micro traders across the country against Goods and Services Tax (GST). She intends to initiate and lead a countrywide movement against GST, with the help of these traders who she said had been the worst hit.“We have been asked to get in touch with associations of small and micro traders all over India in states where there is even a little bit presence of TMC,” said a senior TMC leader on Thursday. He said that it has been found out that most of the small traders have been adversely affected by GST. “They are facing a number of issues after the GST rollout on July 1. The procurement of special software comes at an additional cost and a person has to be appointed to manage it. Many are unable to enrol themselves because the system keeps on crashing. Then there is the issue of multiple GST rates like in the case of sweetmeat traders where they find the rates confusing. Mamata wants a pan India exposure of this. There will be demonstration, rallies and other forms of protest,” the TMC leader said.Mamata also intends to begin this movement from Gujarat which would gain a national attention being the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.“We were never against GST. We are protesting against the hurried implementation of it which has caught many off-guard. We had warned them against this and also against multiple tax rates. We have information that about 50 per cent of traders have not been able to enrol themselves because of some problem or the other,” she had said at the meeting and added, “We just cant sit quiet when people are suffering. We will have to raise this issue within the parliament and hit the streets as well.”State Finance minister Dr Amit Mitra too at a seminar on Tuesday had come down heavily on the Central government regarding the implementation of GST. He said that in the interest of small and medium traders, he had walked out of a GST meeting one month before it was rolled out. “It was an unfortunate, ‘zabardasti’, roll out on July 1. A beta test of GST was conducted on only 200 business houses per state which was a minute fraction of the actual number of business units and even there the failure rate was 30 per cent. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) took a review three weeks earlier, and didn’t he have a clear idea about what the situation was? We were never against GST but insisted that there should have been a proper, planned implementation of it,” Dr Mitra had said.

Former TMC leader Mukul Roy invited to BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha’s birthday party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mukul Roy has received an invitation to attend the birthday party of BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, fuelling further speculation about his growing proximity to the saffron party.Sinha’s birthday party is scheduled to be held here on October 25.”Every year, apart from the BJP leadership, we also invite the leaders of other political parties to the birthday party of Rahul Sinha. This year, we have invited Mukul Roy also as he is one of the most respected politicians of Bengal.We are hopeful that he will attend the programme,” said a BJP leader who is also one of the organisers of the event.Roy had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit the TMC earlier this month. Last month, he was suspended from the TMC for six years for indulging in “anti-party activities” after he had announced on September 25 that he would quit the party.Subsequently, Roy had described the BJP as a secular party and said the TMC would not have tasted success without the backing of the saffron outfit at the national level in its initial years. PTI PNT JM

When Pranab Mukherjee-Bal Thackeray meeting upset Sonia Gandhi in 2012

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pranab Mukherjee had upset Congress President Sonia Gandhi on July 13, 2012 when he met late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, despite being advised by her against this meeting before his election as President of India in 2012. Shiv Sena, despite being part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had extended support to Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature. This was completely unexpected as Shiv Sena was not even asked for the support. Pranab Mukherjee has revealed this in the third volume of his autobiography “Coalition Years: 1996-2012”. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar had insisted that meeting with Thackeray should happen in Mumbai when Mukherjee visits Mumbai. Shard Pawar was a coalition partner of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA-II) government. Mukherjee claims that the meeting tried to keep coalition partners like NCP in good humour. Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mamata Banerjee had already abandoned the UPA and he did not consider it prudent to ignore Sharad Pawar’s suggestion. “I had asked both Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar — who was instrumental, I think, in influencing Thackeray towards me — whether I should meet Thackeray during my visit to Mumbai. I had received several messages from him for an interaction at his residence. Sonia Gandhi was not enthusiastic about my meeting Bal Thackeray and (wanted to) avoid it, if possible. Sonia Gandhi’s reservations about Thackeray were based on her own perception of his policies,” says Mr Mukherjee.Sharad Pawar’s advice was completely different, says Mukherjee. He advised him to meet Thackeray at his residence as his followers were waiting to receive the presidential candidates at his residence and elaborate arrangements were being made for the interaction. “Pawar added that Thackeray would consider it a personal insult if I did not meet him during my visit to Mumbai. I took a decision to meet Thackeray despite Sonia Gandhi’s disapproval because I felt that the man who had broken away from his traditional coalition partner to support my candidature should not feel humiliated. I requested Sharad Pawar to take me to Thackeray’s residence from the airport, and he readily agreed to do so,” Pranab Mukherjee writes.Meeting with Thackeray was very cordial during which the Shiv Sena supremo jokingly said that it was but natural for the Maratha tiger to support the Royal Bengal tiger, reveals the book. “I had known Thackeray as a politician with a sectarian approach, but at the same time I could not ignore the fact that the man had gone out of the way to support my candidature,” the former President says. “The Sena support to his predecessor Pratibha Patil in 2007 could still be explained because she was from Maharashtra,” he further adds. “In my case, it was his deliberate decision to support me — he even told me that he found me distinctly different from other Congress politicians. Whatever be the reason, I thought it was my duty to thank him personally for his support.”But when he returned to Delhi the following morning he was informed that Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary, Ahmed Patel, were upset at the developments. “I understood the cause of their unhappiness but, as I have explained, I did what I believed was right. I had to keep in mind the sensitivity of advice of Sharad Pawar — an important ally of UPA-II. Already Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had opted out of UPA and presidential elections. If Sharad Pawar became similarly disenchanted, it wouldn’t augur well for the UPA. The UPA had two more years in office as the ruling coalition; without the effective intervention and support of its partners it would not be possible for it to complete the term,” he says.

Ex- TMC MP Mukul Roy unlikely to form new party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after resigning from the Trinamool Congress, Mukul Roy today gave strong indications that he would not form a new party in West Bengal, contending that his vast political experience could be utilised by any party including the BJP.Roy, who has been cozying up to BJP leaders for some time now, admitted that he was in constant touch with them. “I believe that any good leader of political potential can help any party get good results,” Roy told PTI here. Speaking about his vast experience in state and national politics, Roy said that “apart from Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, there is no one in TMC” who could match his knowledge of every booth in West Bengal.Roy was the chief election manager of the TMC and the right-hand man of Banerjee in poll planning till he fell out with her recently.He said he would announce his future plan after Diwali. Roy said he would go to the Election Commission tomorrow to request it to ensure free and fair elections in the upcoming bypoll to two assembly and one Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. “I always had a very close connection with the Election Commission. I feel that it is very difficult to hold free and fair elections in West Bengal without the help of the commission,” Roy said.

Mukul Roy slams Mamata Banerjee after resigning, TMC says he buckled under CBI and BJP’s pressure

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expelled TMC leader Mukul Roy tendered his resignation from the post of a Rajya Sabha member on Wednesday. After handing his resignation letter to Vice-President and Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi he interacted with mediapersons and said that he could not work as a servant of a one-man party.“One man party is not good for the country. I had been with the party since its inception. We had elected Mamata Banerjee as the leader but we are comrades of the party and not servants. I hail from an ordinary family but that can’t be a disqualification of being a politician. Not members of all parties are servants but the manner in which one party is running it is as good as that,” he said.He also alleged that he had been mulling leaving the party since six months because the party had been inconsistent in its principles. “It has been one of the biggest reasons why I am leaving the party. At one time it joined hands with the BJP and then ended alliance on flimsy ground to join UPA which it again left after some years. Now it is forming an alliance with Congress again to oust BJP. If joining hands with Congress is inevitable for freeing the country of BJP they why not merge the party with Congress?” he said.
ALSO READ Mukul Roy resigns from Rajya Sabha, keeps suspense about future political move He took a dig at Mamata saying that there was a lot of dynasty politics in TMC hinting at promotion of Abhishek Banerjee within the party and alleged that he had been asked to be in touch with RSS leaders for the sake of the party.Referring to the interrogation by CBI, he said, “CBI had interrogated me for eight hours and had filed eight chargesheets. I believe they have got all the information they wanted out of me and being a law abiding citizen, any investigating agency asks for any cooperation I am ready to cooperate.” Interestingly, he added that TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had no idea of the Saradha and Narada links with party leaders. “I think she had no idea. It was a personal affair of the leaders,” he added.Asked about which political party he was going to join, he said that he was going on a vacation and would decide that after he returned.Soon after that TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee conducted a press conference saying that it was good for party to get rid of garbage. Chatterjee said that Roy had left the party giving in to the pressure of Central investigating agencies. “He crumbed under the pressure of CBI and had realised that there is no way out other than joining hands with BJP. He feels that TMC is a one-man party. He has forgotten that there is something called role model. Mamata Banerjee is our role model and we are all co-workers of the party. He quit because he wanted to run the party like a zamindar (landlord) but could not,” he added.Chatterjee brushed aside the dynasty politics theory saying, “It’s rubbish. It has been there in the history of not only in India but America as well. His own son is an MLA. It is not a crime. Whoever is interested in serving the state and the country is welcome.”State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that Roy had shown that top TMC leaders can leave the party. “What appears as a small crack might lead to a crevice tomorrow. I had met Roy a few days ago and from what he has told me I can say that he had left the party dejected with the party leadership. Mamata Banerjee had decapitated all the opponents for the ascent of her beloved relative within the party. If Roy has the guts he would expose the TMC supremo of the prevailing corruption within the party,” Chowdhury said.BJP state president Dilip Ghosh however, called the whole episode as the internal affairs of TMC. “What Roy has said is the general characteristic of any regional party and TMC is no exception. These parties change stand according to situation,” he said at a press conference. Asked if Roy would be welcomed in the party he said that “He has left TMC now. If he expresses his will to join BJP we will have to discuss and decide about it but given his organisational strength and political network, whichever party Roy joins, will get benefit,” Ghosh said.In another interesting development, the TMC core committee meeting which usually is convened at Mamata Banerjee’s residence and is attended by few top brass party leaders, would be carried out on October 27 at Nazrul Mancha auditorium. Sources said that about 3000 party leaders right down to the block level would be attending. Banerjee is likely to give instructions to party cadres about dos and donts ahead of Panchayat elections.

Mukul Roy meets Kailash Vijayvargiya, says will resign from RS seat on Wednesday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Suspended Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy today said he will resign from his Rajya Sabha seat on October 11.”Finally, I am going to hand over my resignation to the Vice President on October 11 and then I will tell the people of this country why I decided to end my long political innings with the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party I founded with many others,” Roy told reporters. Though Roy has not yet divulged his future plans, but he is meeting leaders of various parties during his stay in Delhi.He met the BJP’s West Bengal BJP in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya at the residence of Rajya Sabha House Committee chairperson Om Mathur today. Roy said that though the meeting with Vijayvargiya was not scheduled, the BJP leader did enquire about his future plans. He also had a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday. Incidentally, Roy also had a long meeting with the West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday.Chowdhury said that Roy has not proposed to join the Congress now, but claimed that he had done so earlier. “Rahul Gandhi himself had enquired about what Mukul is doing? I told him that he is a leader with potential,” Chowdhury told PTI. Chowdhury said that the Congress earlier had reservations on Roy joining the party because of the cases against him.Once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy was suspended for six years for “anti-party activities” following his announcement on September 25 that he would resign from the party after Durga Puja. The TMC had accused him of hobnobbing with the BJP.

After Mukul Roy quits TMC, many consider following in his footsteps

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Several Muslim leaders who had defected to TMC from other parties such as Congress and BJP are now complaining of being neglected by leaders of the ruling party.Talking to DNA, a senior leader who had switched to TMC from BJP said that he had been looked down upon from Day 1.“I was handed over the party flag at the TMC headquarters but since then I had not been called for any core committee meeting or any important rally or had been asked to share the stage with any senior leader. We are referred to ‘Naya TMC’ (New TMC),” said the leader on condition of anonymity. He said that senior leaders of TMC don’t even reply they wish them and that he hardly gets to meet.“When I go to meet Partha Chatterjee there are so many rounds of questioning that I feel like I am going to meet the country’s president. Sadly, I have not yet been able to meet Abhishek Banerjee,” he added.Another such leader said that he had not given been given a portfolio even close to what he was holding. “I have not been put to any important use for several months since I joined the party and I had to take initiative myself to attend meetings of the party. There had been times when I had to request for a turn to speak at public meetings,” he saidBoth said that they had brought in hundreds of their supporters into the party and were mulling leaving the party but were waiting to see what Roy’s move would be – whether he would join BJP or put up his own party. “If he starts his own party I will move to it along with my supporters from the district but if he joins the BJP, I will stay back because Muslims still have the inhibition of voting for BJP,” said one of them.Sources also said that the Nation Trinamool Congress Party (NTCP) which Roy had founded has been funded by the BJP and now that it was registered with the Election Commission of India, it would be used to break the TMC in Bengal using Roy’s organisational support base and to lend support to BJP in Bengal.Amitava Majumder, acting president of NTCP said that Roy’s joining the party had not been confirmed yet. “We had had a word on the first week of this month and he said that he would get back to me with a concrete decision but has not done so yet,” Majumder told DNA.On the other hand, TMC, after the exit of Roy, was busy restructuring its organisation. It was found that after Roy, who used to look after national as well as Bengal affairs of the party, it has been decided that there will be no such single person other than party supremo Mamata Banerjee who will have such power. Leaders would broadly be divided into two groups looking after India and Bengal issues.Party sources said that MPs Derek ‘O Brien and Sudip Bandpadhyay would look after the party’s national issues including strategies at the parliament and interaction with other parties across the country.Party general secretary Subrata Bakshi would take care of the party’s organisational strength within the state right up to the grassroot level. Sources also said that there would be a monitoring committee which would monitor the work of leaders’ national and state-level work. Members of the monitoring committee have not been fixed yet.State technical education minister Purnendu Bose, labour minister Malay Ghatak, and Rajya Sabha member Dola Sen would take care of activities related to trade unions. State Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim and Lok Sabha MP Idris Ali will be in charge of minority division.“All elected party representatives have been asked to be alert against sparking of any in-fighting in the party which was likely to start by Roy supporters,” said a senior TMC leader.

TMC suspends Mukul Roy for six years for ‘anti-party activities’ after he expressed desire to quit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP and former railway minister Mukul Roy was on Monday suspended from the party for six years for “anti-party activities”, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.”He (Roy) has been trying to weaken the party for quite some time. The party’s disciplinary committee has discussed the issue and recommended punishment for him to TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee,” he said. Shortly after Roy announced that he would tender his resignation from the party’s working committee today, Chatterjee told reporters that the Rajya Sabha member had been suspended from the party for six years for “anti-party activities”.Roy also told reporters that he would resign from the Upper House of Parliament and give up the primary membership of the party after Durga Puja.
ALSO READ West Bengal: Senior Trinamool Congress leader & MP Mukul Roy to quit party”If he (Roy) wants to leave, why isn’t he leaving now? What is stopping him?” Chatterjee asked. Earlier in the day, Mukul Roy expressed his desire to quit TMC. “I was one the signatories when the party was founded. I am announcing with a heavy heart that I will resign from the party’s working committee today. “And after the Durga Puja festival, I will resign from the Rajya Sabha and also from the primary membership of the party,” Roy said at a press conference.Roy, whose relationship with the leadership has been strained of late, said he would give an explanation on why he was leaving the party and why he was “forced to do so” after Durga Puja. The TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, had last week censured Roy for allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders and said it was keeping a close watch on him. Asked whether he would join the BJP in days to come, Roy said, “Whatever I have to say. I will say it after Durga Puja.But I would like to mention that people of Bengal don’t like political controversies during Durga Puja,”. Once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy was absent from an event to unveil the Durga Puja edition of the TMC mouthpiece, Jago Bangla, on September 19. Banerjee and the entire TMC top brass, barring Roy, was present at the event. Roy was recently removed as the TMC vice president after the party decided to restructure its committee. He was earlier removed as the party’s in-charge of Tripura, where the TMC was steadily making inroads till its members switched over to the BJP earlier this year.

West Bengal: Senior Trinamool Congress leader & MP Mukul Roy to quit party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Member of Parliament Mukul Roy on Monday announced that he is quitting the party.”After Durga Puja I will resign from the party and post of MP. I will reveal why I am resigning from the party.” Roy said addressing to mediaLast week, the TMC had censured estranged party leader for allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders and drew the line by saying the party was keeping a close watch on him.The warning from the ruling party of West Bengal came two days after Roy gave up the ‘Z’ category security cover provided to him by the state government.On Saturday, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that Roy was in touch with the top leadership of his party, but stopped short of saying whether he would join the saffron outfit.”He (Roy) is a big leader. I am not aware whether he would join the BJP or not. But he is in touch with our leaders in New Delhi,” he said.Once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy, a Rajya Sabha MP, currently shares a strained relationship with the party.Roy was recently removed as the TMC vice-president after the party decided to restructure its committee.He was earlier removed as the party’s in-charge of Tripura, where the TMC was steadily making inroads till its members switched over to the BJP earlier this year.

Baichung Bhutia goes against TMC party line, expresses support for separate Gorkhaland

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eminent ex-footballer and TMC leader Baichung Bhutiya has expressed his support for a separate Gorkhaland. As per reports in Anandabazar Patrika, Baichung Bhutiya has said that he is personally in support for a separate Gorkhaland. According to Baichung, during his visit to the hills, said he has spoken to several TMC leaders and bureaucrats. According to him, there is an undercurrent of support for Gorkhaland among them, but no one is willing to say it out loudly.The legendary footballer claimed that even sections of Bengalis supported the Gorkhaland movement. Baichung has unsuccessfully contested for TMC in both Assembly and Parliamentary elections. He is currently the head of North Bengal Sports development Council. Baichung, originally hailing from Sikkim has spent the better half of his footballing career playing for Kolkata Maidan giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Reacting to Baichung’s comments, Minister Gautam Dev said that he has no clue why such comment was made and would ask the former player for clarification.The comments unlikely to go down well with TMC supremo and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. She had said after the GJM protest had ended: “It’s good news. We want restoration of peace and wellbeing of the people there (in Darjeeling).” The bandh for a separate Gorkhaland state lasted for 78 days. GJM supporters clash with policePro-Gorkhaland supporters today clashed with the police after attacking a school bus and ransacking several shops in Kalimpong district in the Darjeeling hills, police said.Police baton-charged the protesters and arrested 12 GJM supporters.The incident took place when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters, who were picketing on the streets of Kalimpong to enforce the indefinite shutdown which entered its 93rd day today, tried to stop a school bus.GJM supporters pelted stones at the bus and ransacked several shops which tried to reopen today, the police said.The police initially tried to pacify GJM supporters, but they pelted stones at the police injuring few police personnel.Police and security forces were patrolling the streets to avoid any untoward incident.Several shops and markets which had reopened in Kalimpong yesterday downed its shutters.GJM chief Bimal Gurung had yesterday asked partymen to intensify the bandh and said the shutdown will continue till a tripartite meeting was convened by the central government.He had also asked the GJM cadre to intensify the bandh in the hills and ensure that no one made an attempt to break it.Though the state-run North Bengal State Transport Corporation plied a few buses, they were escorted by security personnel.The buses were operating from Siliguri to Darjeeling via Kurseong. Buses were also plying between Siliguri and Mirik in Darjeeling district, police said.For the seventh day in a row, the police, along with the administration, appealed to the locals via public address systems to open shops and restore normalcy in the hills.Peace rallies were taken out by residents in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik.GJM supporters took out rallies in some parts of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong supporting creation of Gorkhaland and the ongoing shutdown, police said. With inputs from PTI

Amit Shah unhappy with Bengal BJP’s booth-level expansion, stresses on greater coordination with RSS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his third day of visit to Bengal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah reportedly met leaders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Wednesday and sought their help in strengthening the party organisation in Bengal.Sources said that Shah was not happy at the progress report in terms of formation of booth level committee. “He had found out that committees at not even 35,000 booths out of the 75,000 booths of the state had been formed. He had sought the help of trained forces of the RSS for BJP’s expansion. He said that both the BJP and the sangh were in equal footing as far as issues like Muslim appeasement in Bengal, communal tension and rise of fundamentalism was concerned,” said a source within RSS.It was also found out that Shah discussed at length the problem of atrocities on Hindus in Bengal and he told RSS leaders how Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee engineered hurdles to prevent delegates from the Centre to meet victims and their families in Bengal. “He said that there should be a better coordination between the RSS and BJP here. It will come handy in dealing with several issues. Say for example as Mamata had prohibited immersion of Durga idols on Dashami, the trained forces of sangh would connect with people and raise their awareness among them while BJP would look into the legal battle. The idea is to mobilise and marshal all the resources in the most effective manner,” the source said.
ALSO READ Kolkata: Amit Shah has ‘sumptuous Bengali cuisine’ at BJP worker’s houseAs Shah had done during his earlier visit, this time too, he visited a household from the lower middle class section of society for lunch but this time with a difference. Earlier he had been at two places – at Naxalbari in Siliguri and in Kolkata – but a day after family members of those households had been allegedly hijacked by the ruling TMC and made to join TMC ‘forcefully’. This time Shah visited the residence of Manas Sen, who is already a BJP member. Shah, along with other senior leaders of the state visited the household at Lock Gate Road in north Kolkata. There, Shah, along with state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, party general secretary and co-observer Kailash Vijayvargiya, joint general secretary Shiv Prakash and national secretary Rahul Sinha were given a warm welcome. The family served a pure vegetarian lunch to the team on earthen plates, bowls and glass. After lunch, they interacted with the family for sometime listening to their problems and took pictures with the BJP leaders. The team spent about an hour at the place. Sen works at a city mall.His sister, Shampa Sil who had come over from her in-laws’ place to meet Shah and help her mother prepare lunch, said, “It was a great moment for us. He liked all the preparations and even asked for another helping of rice.”Earlier TMC national secretary general, Dr Partha Chatterjee had taken a dig at Shah saying that people like him come over to Bengal to eat lunch with the poor and end the day with dinner at five star hotels. “These will not help. People of Bengal are with Mamata Banerjee and these occasional visits of BJP leaders will not be of any consequence,” Chatterjee said.

Is this Tagore or Vivekananda’s Bengal? Amit Shah slams TMC for ‘unleashing violence against BJP workers’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah today accused West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress of unleashing violence against BJP workers in the state and urged human rights organisations to speak against it.No violence could stop the growth of the BJP in Bengal,he said.”Today, I met the family members of the victims of political violence in Bengal in the last six months… All this happened because they did not support the ideology of the ruling Trinamool Congress,” Shah, who is on a three-day visit to the state, told reporters.”I want to ask the people here — is this Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengal? Is this Swami Vivekananda’s Bengal? No one has the freedom to play a part in any political party other than the TMC,” he said.This kind of violence was perhaps not seen anywhere else, the BJP president said.Several people were killed, many injured and their property destroyed, he alleged, targeting the Mamata Banerjee-led government in the state.The BJP chief said development could not take place in Bengal under such circumstances.He urged human rights organisations to report political violence against BJP workers in the state. Members of human rights organisations should visit Basirhat, Birbhum and other places in the state and talk to the victims of political violence, he said.

Narada sting case: Mukul Roy questioned by CBI, Suvendu Adhikari by ED

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari were today questioned by the CBI and ED respectively in connection with the probe into the Narada tapes “scam”.Roy, a TMC MP, was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to appear before the agency for questioning with regard to his alleged involvement in the “scam”, a sting operation allegedly involving various leaders of the ruling party in West Bengal. The sting operation was conducted by Matthew Samuels, the CEO of Narada News. The tapes show Samuels, posing as a businessman, purportedly offering money to the TMC leaders.Adhikari, who is also the state transport minister, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the first time in connection with the case and was questioned about his alleged involvement in it, the agency sources said.Both the ED and CBI are jointly probing the case.

Counter TMC attacks with mass movement against their misrule: Amit Shah to Bengal BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah has exhorted the party leadership in West Bengal to launch a mass movement against the alleged misrule of the Trinamool Congress(TMC), a state BJP leader said today.Shah, who is on a 3-day visit to the state, also advised partymen to reach out to the masses with the development projects initiated by the Modi government.”Amit Shahji told us that instead of complaining of attack against our party workers by TMC, we should put up a counter resistance through a mass movement against their (TMC) misrule. Our party president is well aware of the present political situation in Bengal,” West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh told reporters after a four-hour-long closed door meet here that Shah had with state party leaders.”He is here to encourage us despite the fact that BJP has only three MLAs and two Lok Sabha MPs from the state,” Ghosh said.Ghosh said that the party chief told them that the only formula for increasing the BJP’s base in Bengal is to build an “active organization”.”He said that an active organization can help the party to grow in the state. There is no other way to increase BJP’s base in Bengal,” Ghosh said quoting Shah.Shah today held marathon closed door meetings with state office bearers and district leadership of BJP.According to state BJP sources, Shah while addressing the party leaders said that the party will reach its peak only when it forms governments in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other non-BJP ruled states.”Amit Shahji said that when Jan Sangh started its journey it was not in power in any municipality or any state.But today BJP on its own has formed the government at the Centre and in many other states,” a senior state party leader, who did not want to be quoted, said.”The BJP has the largest number of MPs in both houses of Parliament. But the party is yet to reach the peak. The sky is the limit,” the state party functionary said quoting Shah.”Amit Shah said that BJP’s sole aim is not only to form government but also to serve the nation,” the state leader said.Several state party leaders informed Shah of the difficulties that the party is facing at the grassroot level in the state.BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said that tomorrow Shah is scheduled to meet party workers who are the victims of Trinamool Congress violence and will also meet intellectuals.

BJP to go to court against denial of permission to use Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata: Amit Shah

Updated: Sep 7, 2017, 11:41 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP will move the court against the alleged cancellation of booking at a state-owned facility for a party event in Kolkata, its president Amit Shah said on Thursday. The BJP had yesterday alleged in Kolkata that the Netaji Indoor Stadium, where Shah was scheduled to attend a programme next week, had cancelled the booking for the event. West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has claimed it had nothing to do with the alleged cancellation. “We will go to the court. They (Mamata Banerjee government) have tried several times to stop me and every time the court has granted permission. We hope the court will allow us this time too,” he told reporters here.”The question of democratic values can be expected only from those who believe it,” he said. Shah is scheduled to undertake a three-day visit to West Bengal from September 11 to 13.

WB: BJP denied stadium for Amit Shah visit on September 10

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The West Bengal unit of the BJP is outraged after the West Bengal government denied access to use the Netaji Indoor Stadium for a meeting on September 10 that was supposed to be chaired by party president Amit Shah. The meeting was scheduled to be held on September 10. Sayantan Basu, BJP state general secretary said that they had called on August 25 enquiring about the availability of the stadium either. “We were told to meet them on August 28. On that day we were given a temporary confirmation of the booking and were asked to obtain an NOC from Kolkata Police but two days later we were told that the place was pre-booked for the entire month of September other than the days between September 27 and 30 that is during Durga Puja. Naturally we had to call off the proposed meeting because only a place like that could have accommodated about 12,000 senior members who the national president would have interacted with,” Basu said and added that the other programmes of Shah would continue as per schedule.Authorities of Netaji Indoor Stadium refused to comment on the issue but senior TMC leaders said they had nothing to do with the place being not available. “The allegations levelled are baseless and completely unfounded. Neither the TMC nor the state government control Netaji Indoor Stadium. They have their own management body,” said state education minister Dr Partha Chatterjee.Earlier this month the state government had been accused of not letting out the state-run Mahajati Sadan auditorium for a meeting on October 3, which was supposed to be attended by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. Authorities had said that Sadan would be shut for maintenance from September 26 to October 6. While Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy in a series of tweets alleged that the TMC-government had done it deliberately to stop the meeting, TMC leader and state food minister Jyotipriya Mullick said, “It has been clearly said that the auditorium would be shut for repair works for 10 days. The BJP is trying to kick up a controversy unnecessarily to malign the state government.”This is not the first time though that the TMC had been alleged to have intervened against giving permission for venues to be used for BJP meetings. Earlier the state was also alleged to have engineered a denial of police permission of a public meeting on November 30, 2014 where Shah was the chief speaker. Later the state BJP leaders had to move court and get permission for the public meeting.

Bengal BJP aims for 22 seats in 2019 LS polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after BJP national president Amit Shah said he was looking at 120 more seats in the next Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2019, Bengal BJP president said they were aiming at winning 22 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal.”We will win in 22 Lok Sabha seats including seven from north Bengal,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh told DNA said on Friday. He said that preparations were on to take the TMC head on and it would begin with the Panchayat polls next year. “About 50,000 party workers would be trained till the booth level to strengthen the organisation at the grassroots level. We have already reached out to 45,000 booths and after puja, we will step up our movement of reaching to all 77,000 booths of Bengal,” Ghosh said.Asked what he expected out of the Panchayat election next year, Ghosh said it would be a 50-50 fight between TMC and BJP which would be the dress rehearsal before the big fight in 2019. “We will strengthen our organisation and ensure that people have the confidence of going to the booths and casting their own votes. That itself will boost the morale of people and our workers,” he added.Talking about the alleged state-sponsored violence during the election he said that it would not be easy in panchayat polls and that the state BJP would not take any such attempts sitting down. “Assembly elections are different. There, the ruling party brings in people from outside the state and creates trouble but Panchayat election is very localised. Goons from some other villages cannot come over to create trouble in any village. And we will be on the guard too. If there is any attempt by the state government we will break their legs,” he said, adding that the recent civic poll results were showed a positive sign that BJP had come up as the second strongest party in the state.TMC leaders refused to react to it. “Reacting to statements like these from the state BJP president would give the party more unnecessary attention, which we don’t want to,” said party general secretary Subrata Bakshi.WAY TO POLLSWe have already reached out to 45,000 booths and after puja, we will step up our movement of reaching to all 77,000 booths of Bengal
Goons from some other villages cannot come over to create trouble in any village. And we will be on the guard too, Ghosh said

West Bengal: Trinamool Congress leading in municipal polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Trinamool Congress today was ahead of its rivals in all seven urban local bodies, where elections were held on August 13. The seven ULBs comprise the five municipalities of Panskura and Haldia in East Midnapore district, Nalhati in Birbhum, Buniadpur in South Dinajpur and Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri districts respectively. Polling was also held for one municipal corporation, the Durgapur Municipal Corporation (DMC) in Burdwan West district and one notified authority, the Cooper’s Camp Notified Authority in Nadia district on August 13. As the counting began this morning, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was leading in 8 wards of Dhupguri municipality while the BJP was leading in two wards. The Dhupguri municipality has 16 wards. Of the 14 wards in Buniadpur, TMC was leading in 10 wards while the BJP was leading in 1 ward. In Nalhati municipality, the TMC was leading in 8 wards of the 16 wards, while the Left Front was leading in 1 ward. In Haldia municipality, a stronghold of TMC leader and state transport minister Suvendu Adhikari, TMC surged ahead in 10 wards out of the 29 wards. The Left Front was leading in 1 ward and BJP leading in two wards. In 18-member strong Panskura municipality, the TMC was leading in 7 wards, BJP leading in 1 ward and Left Front in two wards. The TMC was also leading in 10 wards of the Durgapur Municipal Corporation, which has 43 wards under it. In Cooper’s Camp which has a strength of 12 wards, the TMC was leading in 8 wards.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Oppn alleges violence, booth-capturing, demands cancellation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The major opposition parties in West Bengal have demanded cancellation of elections to seven municipal bodies, which were held today, alleging widespread violence and booth-capturing by Trinamool Congress workers. The ruling TMC, however, denied any role in the poll violence and blamed the BJP and CPI(M) for it. The State Election Commission declined to comment on the issue. At Durgapur in West Burdwan district, clashes between various groups were reported since early morning and several vehicles were set on fire. A huge police contingent was rushed to the area to control the situation. Violence was also reported from various wards of Haldia and Panskura in East Midnapore district. However, when contacted, Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Anuj Sharma said, “Some small incidents were reported.” The Congress demanded removal of State Election Commissioner (SEC) A K Singh and staged a sit-in outside the State Election Commission office here. “The SEC has completely failed to conduct the polls in a free-and-fair manner. This is not the first time this has happened, we had witnessed the same thing in the municipal election held in May. The TMC has turned the elections into a farce,” Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said. State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh demanded cancellation of the elections at Haldia, Panskura and Durgapur Municipal Corporation (DMC). “We demand that fresh elections are held after the deployment of central forces. We do not demand the SEC’s removal as that will not solve the matter as he is under the state government,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Opp parties demand cancellation of civic body polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Major opposition parties in West Bengal have demanded cancellation of elections to the seven municipal bodies held today, alleging widespread violence and booth-capturing by Trinamool Congress workers. The TMC, however, denied any role in the violence during the election and blamed the BJP and CPI(M) for it. The state election commission declined to make any comment. Reports from Durgapur said, clashes took place between various groups were since early morning and several vehicles were set on fire. Huge police contingent was rushed to the spot to control the situation. The Congress demanded removal of state election commissioner A K Singh and held a sit in demonstration outside State Election Commission office. “The SEC has completely failed to conduct the polls in free and fair manner. This is not the first time. In municipal elections held in May we had witnessed the same thing. The TMC has turned the elections into a farce,” Leader of opposition and state Congress leader Abdul Manan said. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however demanded cancellation of elections in Haldia, Pashkura and Durgapur Municipal Corporation (DMC). “We demand that fresh elections should be held after deployment of central forces. We don’t demand the SEC’s removal as it will not solve the matter as he is under the state government,” Ghosh told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Narada case: ED interrogates TMC leader and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee

Thu, 10 Aug 2017-10:20pm , Kolkata , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kolkata Mayor and Trinamool Congress leader Sovan Chatterjee was today interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here in connection with the Narada tapes scam.An ED official told PTI that Chatterjee, one of the several TMC leaders allegedly featured in the tapes, arrived at the CGO complex office here just before 12 noon and stayed inside for more than seven hours. Chatterjee, who is also the West Bengal Minister for Environment, Fire and Emergency Services and Housing was allegedly shown in the Narada tapes accepting money from a businessman and then wrapping it with a towel.The tapes purportedly showed CEO of Narada News, Matthew Samuels offering money to the leaders while posing to be a businessman. Another TMC leader and West Bengal Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim was also interrogated by ED yesterday in this connection.

Mamata calls on Prez Kovind, says it was wonderful meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called on President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan this evening and said it was “wonderful” meeting. “Today I called on the Hon’ble President of India to pay my courtesies. It was a wonderful meeting,” she wrote on Facebook. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said she also invited Kovind to visit Kolkata. “I have extended a hearty invitation to the Hon’ble President to visit Kolkata,” she said. Banerjee is in the national capital to attend a meeting called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi tomorrow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rs 500 note size issue rocks RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes were being printed in different sizes, the Opposition halted the Rajya Sabha (RS) proceedings on Tuesday. Attacking the government, the leaders stated that this was the biggest scam in the country. Some members even flashed new notes of different sizes, which led to a ruckus in the House. The BJP-led government, however, called the Opposition’s allegations frivolous and meant to create confusion in the country.The Congress members were joined by members of other parties, such as Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Janta Dal (United), who then stormed the Well of the House.Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who had raised the issue when the House met for the day at 11 am, said the variation in note size “jeopardises the credibility of the currency”.”We have discovered today the reason why the government did demonetization,” he said. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad joined in, saying, “This is the biggest scam of this century,” adding that the government had no right to continue.Significantly, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav sided with the Opposition on the issue, despite his party now being a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).Amid the din, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said his party was staging a walkout. TMC’s Derek O’Brien even walked up to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to pinpoint the difference in sizes.Jaitley accused the Congress of raising “frivolous” issues, without prior notice, to stall the Zero Hour proceedings.”This is a misuse of the Zero Hour,” he said, adding that earlier, the Congress had raised the issue of provision for the None-Of-The-Above (NOTA) option for Rajya Sabha poll, only to discover later that the provision was provided for during their rule.He, however, did not comment on the Opposition’s charges regarding the different-sized notes.As sloganeering by the Congress as well as the ruling party continued, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien urged the members to go back to their seats.Addressing Congress members, he said: “If you consider the issue very serious, then give a notice for discussion.”Kurien also questioned the ruling party members, saying: “What is there for you to be agitated?”He then adjourned the House till Wednesday.

Oppn protest over different types of currency disrupt RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition Congress, supported by TMC and JD(U), today forced four adjournments of the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha over what it called as “biggest scam of this century” in the printing of two different kinds of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Slogan-shouting Congress members trooped into the well even as Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the opposition party has been raising “frivolous” issues without giving notices to stall Zero Hour proceedings. They were supported by Sharad Yadav (JD-U) who displayed copies of some currency notes. Some members including Derek O’Brien (TMC) displayed the new 500 rupee notes issued after demonetisation to show the different sizes they were bring printed. He first offered to submit the notes to Jaitley for scrutiny and then walked up to him to explain to him the difference. He, however, did not leave the notes with the Finance Minister. Jaitley said there is no provision in the rules that anyone could “flash any paper and say it is point of order.” “There is a misuse of zero hour which is going on,” he said, adding that the Congress first raised the issue of provision for None-Of-The-Above (NOTA) in the ballot for Rajya Sabha poll but then discovered that the provision had been made during their rule. “You have been raising frivolous issues in the Zero Hour without giving notice” with a view to disrupt and not get replies, he said, but did not reply to the opposition contentions on different sized notes. Raising the issue through a point of order, Kapil Sibal (Cong) said different sizes of the new high denomination currency was being printed – “one for the ruling party (members) and one for the others”. “We have today discovered the reason why the government did demonetisation (of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes in November last year),” he said. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said “this is the biggest scam of this century.” As Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi countered, Azad said two types of notes are being printed. “The government has no right to remain in office for even five minutes,” he said. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said even if there are two types of notes, it cannot be a point of order. “You raise the issue in a different form.” “It is a serious issue,” O’Brien said as he displayed two 500 rupee notes that he said were different in size and design. Prasad asked opposition members to explain where they got the currency notes from. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said no country in the world has two notes of different sizes. “One is bigger, one is smaller,” he said. “I can give signed (copies of the notes).” Kurien said he is not an expert to examine the notes. “You give separate notice.” “I will give them to Finance Minister,” O’Brien said. Kurien said “give it to the Finance Minister, I have no objection.” Anand Sharma (Cong) said the credibility of the currency in circulation has been challenged. Kurien however said the issue cannot be taken up through a point of order and the members have to give separate notice. Pramod Tiwari (Cong) said notice has been given, to which Kurien said the Chairman will examine them. As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes. After the adjournment, as Kurien asked the members again to give notice on the issue, O’Brien said he has given notice for discussion on demonetisation for the past three weeks, but the government has not yet listed the matter. As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the House till noon. Similar noisy scenes were witnessed when the Question Hour was taken up by Chairman Hamid Ansari, who adjourned the proceedings for another 15 minutes. When the House assembled again, the opposition members continued slogan-shouting, forcing Ansari to adjourn the House till one PM.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ahead of polls, Tripura gets saffron tinge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six TMC MLAs from Tripura, sacked from the party last month, joined the BJP on Monday, lending a tinge of saffron to the 60-member state Assembly, dominated by the communists for decades.The BJP has become the main Opposition party in Tripura, a state it has never won. The ruling CPM has 50 seats in the Assembly and its ally CPI has one MLA.MLAs Sudip Roy Barman, Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen, Pranjit Singh and Dilip Sarkar were inducted into the BJP in Agartala in the presence of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.Tripura goes to the polls next year. The BJP has seen a recent surge in support in the North East, after winning elections in Assam and forming governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.Pradhan said that Tripura will be headed by a BJP Chief Minister in 2018. “They (the TMC MLAs) are joining my party, a strengthened party in Tripura. It is very clear that the next government in Tripura will be headed by a BJP CM,” he said.The former TMC members had met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi on Saturday. Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was also present at the meeting.The six had resigned from the Congress and joined the TMC protesting against the grand old party’s alliance with the CPI-M ahead of the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections. Led by Barman, the six legislators had voted for NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, which resulted in their ouster from the TMC.Barman said that his party was searching for a platform from where they can give a solid fight to the CPM, thereby defeating and uprooting it form the government.”There will be heavyweight leaders of West Bengal also joining the BJP soon to dislodge the forces in West Bengal as well,” he said.

Six sacked TMC MLAs join BJP in Tripura

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six Tripura MLAs, who were sacked by the Trinamool Congress and voted for NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election, today formally joined the BJP. The six legislators, led by former leader of the opposition (Congress) in the Tripura Assembly Sudip Roy Burman, were welcomed into the saffron party by Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the party’s North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener Himanta Biswa Sarma, state BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb and state party observer Sunil Deodhar. Besides Roy Burman, the other MLAs are Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen, Pranjit Singha Roy and Dilip Sarkar. The MLAs had met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on August 5. On July 3, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had said the party would have no relations with the six MLAs. The six legislators had quit the Congress and joined the TMC in protest against the Congress’ electoral tie-up with the Left, ahead of the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election. In the run-up to the presidential poll, the MLAs had announced that they would not vote for a candidate supported by the CPI(M) and were sacked by the TMC. Burman in his speech pledged to oust the “repressive and fascist” Manik Sarkar government. “When Congress betrayed us in our movement to oust the Left Front government, we thought TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee would help us in our mission. But we found that she became close to Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury,” he said. “Had we been in TMC, it would have been comfortable for CPI-M to divide the opposition and remain in power. We did not want to give them this opportunity,” he added. Pradhan said law and order has completely collapsed in Tripura and crime against women has gone up. “The LF government has no right to remain in power even for a moment.” Tripura, he said, is rich in natural resources like natural gas and could become self reliant but has remained poor and dependent due to its government’s inefficiency. Sarma said with the six MLAs joining BJP “the last nail in the coffin of the Left Front government in Tripura has been struck”. Exuding confidence that BJP would form the government in the state after the assembly elections slated for February next, he said “Development of the state would then be taken up with the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wants to convert the Northeast into a developed region.” In his speech, Deb expressed confidence that BJP would win the 2018 assembly poll in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SUV carrying food items torched, state blames GJM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) members have been alleging that the state administration isn’t letting vehicles carrying food materials reach the hills, an SUV carrying vegetables and cereals was allegedly intercepted and set ablaze by GJM supporters late on Tuesday.According to a senior TMC leader in Darjeeling, around midnight on Tuesday, a Tata Sumo carrying fruits, vegetables and cereals was stopped near the Darjeeling Toy Train Station.Passengers and drivers were allegedly beaten up by GJM supporters for plying during a bandh. Later, when the passengers fled, the car was set ablaze.After the incident, Bijonbari Gram Panchayat office was also vandalised and set on fire.Morcha leaders are claiming that it was the state government’s misdoing. “Why should we stop and burn vehicles carrying food? Those are for us. The state government and its machinery, that is the police and the administration, are doing it to cut off ration supply to the hills and to weaken our movement.””We have seen how some organisations, along with TMC cadres, have intercepted trucks at Siliguri to prevent food from reaching the hills,” said Arun Tamang, a former GTA member, and a GJM leader.He alleged that even vehicles carrying crates of eggs and packs of baby food were stopped, and the edibles were thrown away.Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya, too, had alleged that police were, indeed, stopping vehicles carrying food items from regulated markets to the hills. He added that it was being done in order to keep GJM protesters under pressure.State Food Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick, however, brushed aside all allegations and said that a special control room has been opened to deal with the problem of food supplies in the hills.He said that owing to the ‘mindlessness of a handful’, the public distribution system has collapsed completely. Thus, the control room will have to monitor food grain supply to Darjeeling, Mirik, Kalimpong, and Kurseong.

Opposition attacks govt on move to do away with LPG subsidy, terms it ‘cruel’

Tue, 1 Aug 2017-08:00pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Opposition parties today attacked the government over its decision to gradually do away with the LPG subsidy, calling it “cruel” and demanding that the proposal be withdrawn.KC Venugopal (Cong) raised the issue during the Zero Hour, saying it will adversely affect the common man and there was no justification of it when the crude oil prices had gone down. “It should be immediately withdrawn,” he said. Sudip Bandopadhyay (TMC) said the steady increase in the LPG cylinder price by the government had been highest in the last six years.Describing the move as “anti-welfare”, he wondered what will be the “fate” of over 2.5 crore women given the connection for free. While Sreemathy Teacher (CPI-M) said the decision was cruel, N K Premachandran (RSP) accused the government of avoiding transparency on the matter as he said the decision was taken in March this year and was not shared publicly. Opposition parties later staged a walk-out from the House as they sought a response from the government.

United Oppn stall RS proceedings protesting LPG price hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A united opposition today stalled the pre-noon proceedings in the Rajya Sabha protesting against the government’s decision to hike the prices of domestic cooking gas (LPG) by Rs 4 per cylinder every month to eliminate all subsidies by next March. Congress, SP, TMC, BSP and Left MPs stormed into the Well of the House shouting slogans seeking withdrawal of the decision, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to first adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes and then till noon. The issue was raised by Derek O’Brien (TMC) who gave a notice under rule 267 that seeks to set aside business of the day to discuss an important issue. He said the government was not fulfilling its social commitment to provide cooking gas at subsidised rates. Oil prices have come down from USD 111 per barrel to USD 48 but the government is raising rates of cooking fuel, he said. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had yesterday told Lok Sabha that the government has doubled the monthly increase in LPG price to Rs 4 per cylinder from July 1 with a view to eliminate all subsidies by March 2018. “Whey they make promises, why not implement it,” O’Brien asked. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said at the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people had voluntarily given up subsidies so that subsidised LPG can be provided to the poor and needy. But the government has now decided to charge all the poor Rs 4 per cylinder more every month, he said. “This is strongly condemnable. Government should withdraw (the decision).” Tapan Sen (CPI-M) said people are being “cheated”. Naresh Agarwal (SP) said this is a “government for profits.” Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the notice under rule 267 was being disallowed but a short duration debate can be permitted if a notice is given. The opposition members rushed into the Well shouting slogans against the decision, forcing Kurien to adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes. When the House met again, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the people had voluntarily given up their subsidies in the hope that subsidised cooking gas will be given to the poor. But the government is “killing the poor”, as within a year, the price of LPG would go up by Rs 48 per cylinder at a time when oil rates globally have slumped to a multi-year low. “This is not acceptable,” he said. Clarifying the decision, Pradhan said the move flowed from a June 2010 decision under the previous UPA government to raise prices every month in small quantum to completely eliminate subsidies. He read out from a document that listed the decision and those who endorsed it. Pradhan said the BJP-led government has in the last three years raised the LPG connections from 14 crore to 21 crore and given as many as 2.6 crore free connections to poor women household members. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said when Parliament was in session, the decision should not have been announced outside. Slogan-shouting members trooped into the Well raising slogans. The minister made his submission amid slogan shouting. As members refused to relent and return to their seats, Kurien adjourned the proceedings till 1200 hours.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

1 Cong, 5 TMC candidates elected unopposed to RS from Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five TMC candidates and a Congress candidate were elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed from West Bengal after CPI(M) candidate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya’s nomination was cancelled due to technical reasons. The five TMC candidates elected to the Rajya Sabha are Manas Bhunia, TMC’s chief national spokesperson Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Dola Sen and Santa Chetri. Congress candidate Pradip Bhattacharya was also elected to the Upper House. Bhattacharya, Roy, O’Brien and Sen were renominated by their respective parties, while Bhunia and Chetri are first-timers. “Congratulations to the five @AITC official candidates elected today to Rajya Sabha and the sixth supported by us who had switched over to the TMC,” West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet. Banerjee had on Friday extended her party’s support to the Congress candidate. The nomination of CPI-M candidate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya was rejected on Monday after the returning officer declared it as invalid on the ground that an additional affidavit was submitted after the 3 pm deadline on the last date for filing of papers on July 28 for the August 8 polls to the six seats. The cancellation of Bhattacharya’s nomination has kicked off a political debate between the TMC and CPI(M), with the latter alleging that it was the “handiwork” of the ruling party in the state. “We feel TMC was rattled by his nomination and that is why a conspiracy was hatched to reject his nomination. We will seek legal advice on it,” CPI(M)LP leader Sujan Chakraborty said. Countering Chakraborty’s claim, TMCLP leader Partha Chatterjee said, “There is no conspiracy. They are trying to malign the Election Commission. Actually they had a secret understanding with the BJP before nominating a person like Bhattacharya who has never been a part of the Rajya Sabha.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TMC torturing families in B’deshi enclaves: Sengupta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two years ago, on July 31, 2015 at midnight, 14,856 residents of Bangladeshi enclaves in India were declared citizens of India and about 921 came over from Bangladesh. They had been residing as residents of Indian enclaves in Bangladesh three months later.At present, Deeptiman Sengupta, who had spearheaded the movement in Cooch Behar district with his organisation, has now joined the BJP and is allegedly not being able to visit these enclaves because of security reasons and repeated threats by a TMC leader.Sengupta has been heading the Bharat Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Coordination Committee (BBEECC), which was later rechristened as Citizens’ Rights Coordination Committee (CRCC) after India and Bangladesh signed the historic Land Boundary agreement (LBA). It has been alleged that TMC MLA Udayan Guha has threatened Sengupta and that his musclemen are all over the enclaves to prevent Sengupta from entering the place.”At midnight tomorrow, there will be candles lit at all the enclaves to mark the occasion. We will refrain from any celebration because our leader has been barred from coming over,” said Jainal Abedin, one of the enclave-dwellers.Talking to DNA, Sengupta said that he had cut down on his visits to the enclaves for the sake of residents there.”The families that I visit have been invariably targeted and subjected to atrocities of the TMC. Thus I have cut down on my visits,” Sengupta said.Guha, on the other hand rubbished all allegations. “He is talking as if there is no police or administration. If I pose as a threat to his life, why doesn’t he complain to the police? In fact he knows that he has lost his foothold at the enclave with the TMC being more popular now,” he said.

TMC panchayat official killed, CPI-M blames factional feud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Trinamool Congress (TMC) panchayat functionary of West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district was shot dead by unidentified assailants today. Asikul Islam (30) alias Babushona, the panchayat functionary of Bhangar block II and considered the right hand man TMC strongman Arabul Islam, was killed when he was on his way to attend a gathering at Natunhat area. Supporters of Arabul Islam were gathering at his house to counter a procession proposed by those protesting against the construction of a PGCIL sub-station in the area. A bullet penetrated Asikul’s head and he died on the spot, the police said. The group of people opposing the PGCIL sub-station alleged that Asikul had been killed by his own group, Arabul Islam’s followers alleged that those opposing the project in Bhangar were behind the killing. Police have started an investigation after receiving complaints. “We are investigating the matter,” Superintendent of Police of Baruipur, Arijit Sinha said. CPI(M) Politburo member Biman Bose alleged in the city that the death was due to factional fighting of the ruling party. Bose, who took part in the procession by ‘Jibon and Jibika Raksha Committee’ to protest against the PGCIL substation, told reporters, “The death of the Panchayat functionary of Bhangar block was due to infighting between armed TMC men.” Blaming the TMC of trying to pass the buck on the committee, he said, “The TMC is trying to terrorise the peaceful demonstrators and levelling false charges against innocent villagers and leaders and supporters of the democratic movement.” “But they won’t be able to befool the people,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Need no TMC support, has number for its nominee for RS: Adhir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury has said TMC is doing no favour by extending its support to the Congress as the party has numbers to send its nominee to the Rajya Sabha from the state. “Mamata Banerjee didn’t do any favour by supporting the Congress candidate. Her party has adequate numbers to field five Rajya Sabha candidates from the state. She has done that. “She doesn’t have the numbers to ensure the victory of a sixth candidate. That is why she has supported us. I would have called it a favour if she had given up one of the seats from the five to accommodate the Congress,” Chowdhury said yesterday. According to Congress sources, Chowdhuruy, who is a staunch anti-TMC voice in the state, is not happy with the TMC and the Congress coming together at the national level and that too at a time when Bengal Congress time and again had accused the TMC of poaching Congress MLAs. “We are fighting hard at the ground level to keep our base intact. But with our party leadership coming close to the TMC in the name of countering BJP is having an adverse impact on grassroots level workers,” a senior state Congress leader said. According to another Congress leader, who had welcomed the TMC’s support to the Congress said “we need TMC’s support to ensure that those Congress MLAs who have switched over to the TMC vote in favour of the Congress. The defiant Congress MLAs have been instructed to vote for Pradip Bhattacharya, which will help them obey the Congress whip and escape the defection law. West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday had extended her support to Congress candidate Pradip Bhattacharya in the upcoming elections for the Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal. Five TMC candidates have already filed their nominations on July 26. Congress candidate Pradip Bhattacharya and CPI(M) led Left Front candidate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya have also filed their nominations for the sixth seat on July 28. The elections for six Rajya seats from Bengal will be held on August eight. Out of the six seats four are presently held by the TMC, one by the CPI(M) and one by the Congress. The TMC, however, with its increased strength after the 2016 Assembly polls, is in a position to send five MPs to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress, the second largest party, will be able to elect one MP on its own strength. With the present strength of the Assembly and the number of Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, a candidate will need about 43 votes to get elected to the RS. The CPI(M)-led Left Front has 32 MLAs in the Assembly. The Congress has 44 MLAs and the ruling TMC has 211 members. Although eight Congress MLAs and one Left MLA have switched over to the TMC, they are yet to resign from their parent parties. Only Manas Bhunia, a Congress MLA, resigned yesterday to contest the Rajya Sabha polls as a TMC candidate. He had joined TMC in September last year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC raps Thane civic body for ‘blindly’ issuing OCs without

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court today pulled up the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) for “blindly” granting occupation certificates for new constructions, when it was not even in a position to provide a basic amenity like regular water supply. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar refused to vacate a temporary stay granted by it in May this year on new constructions on the Ghodbunder road in Thane district over the issue of inadequate water supply to residential colonies in the area. The high court had then too restrained the TMC from granting commencement and occupation certificates for any new constructions along the Ghodbunder road. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Thane resident Mangesh Shelar complaining about abrupt cuts of water supply to various areas along the road. “The corporation is blindly issuing occupation certificates in the name of development. We know development is important, but at the same time basic amenities like water is also a must. What is the point of living in towers without water supply?” Chief Justice Chellur said. The court directed the Thane civic body to compile data of all buildings that have been constructed in the district in the past five years, how many of them got water supply and how many do not. “Compile and submit this data in three weeks. We want to be satisfied first, only then we will consider lifting the stay (on new constructions),” the court said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Left Front fields Bikash Bhattacharya for Rajya Sabha polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Left Front today decided to field its own candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in West Bengal. Left Front chairman Biman Bose, today announced the name of Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, a senior CPI(M) leader and former mayor of Kolkata, as their candidate. “We had approached the Congress with the idea of fielding a Independent candidate jointly. But the Congress fielded their own candidate so we had decided to field Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya,” a senior Left Front leader said. The idea to field a candidate comes as a jolt to the Left-Congress alliance in the state, which had fought the last assembly polls together in the state. The Trinamool Congress had already decided to support Congress in the upcoming elections for the Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal if it nominates Pradip Bhattacharya as its candidate. The polls will be held for the six Rajya Sabha seats from the state on August 8. Out of the six, four are held by the TMC, one by the CPI(M) and one by the Congress. The TMC, however, with its increased strength after the 2016 assembly polls, is in a position to send five MPs to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress, the second largest party, will be able to elect one MP on its own strength. With the present strength of the assembly and the number of Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, a candidate will need about 43 votes to get elected to the RS. The CPI(M)-led Left Front has 32 MLAs in the assembly. The Congress has 44 MLAs and the ruling TMC has 211 members. Although eight Congress MLAs and one Left MLA have switched over to the TMC, they are yet to resign from their parent parties. Only Manas Bhunia, a Congress MLA, resigned yesterday to contest the Rajya Sabha polls as a TMC candidate. He had joined TMC in September last year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bengal Congress proposes Meira Kumar as RS candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Congress leadership has urged the party high command to consider former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar as a candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in the state. “There are a lot of names that have been doing the rounds. But we have proposed the name of Meira Kumar to our party high command as she has been our candidate for the recent presidential elections and is acceptable to every body,” a Congress leader said here on condition of anonymity. Meira Kumar was the joint opposition candidate and ruling Trinamool Congress and the Left had supported her. Senior Congress leaders, WBPCC president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had met the party’s leadership in New Delhi to discuss the probable name of its lone candidate for the Rajya Sabha poll in West Bengal. Earlier, Congress had expressed keenness on extending support to CPI(M), provided it fielded its general secretary Sitaram Yechury. But the CPI(M) leadership itself is in a dilemma over Yechury as a third term MP. Polls will be held in six RS seats in the state in August. Out of the six, four are held by TMC, one by CPI(M) and one by Congress. However, TMC with its increased strength after the 2016 assembly polls is in a position to send five MPs to the Rajya Sabha. Congress, the second largest party, will be able to elect one MP on its own strength. With the present strength of the assembly and the number of Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, a candidate will need about 43 votes to get elected to the RS. The CPI(M)-led Left Front has 32 MLAs in the Assembly. The Congress has 44 MLAs and the ruling TMC has 211 members. Although five Congress MLAs and one Left MLA have switched over to TMC, they are yet to resign from their parent parties. Only Manas Bhunia, a Congress MLA, resigned today to contest the Rajya Sabha polls as a TMC candidate. He had earlier joined TMC in September last year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

WB, TN students got different NEET question papers: MPs in RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of the TMC and AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha today expressed grave concern over the issue of different questions papers being given to students attempting the common medical entrance examination in regional languages in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Derek O’Brien (TMC) said till 2013, the English question paper for medical entrance examination, NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), used to be translated into regional languages. But this year, those attempting NEET in Bengali or Tamil got question papers that were entirely different, he said, adding that 40,000 of the 56,000 students who wrote the exam in Bengali or Tamil had “disastrous” results. He also raised the issue of a report that NCERT wants Rabindranath Tagore out of school testbooks. The HRD Ministry has a lot to explain on the issue, he said. “NEET exam is not a West Bengal issue. It is a federal issue,” he said. He was joined by AIADMK members who demanded scrapping the applicability of NEET to Tamil Nadu. A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) said a uniform NEET syllabus should be introduced first. Both TMC and AIADMK members wanted the government to respond, but with no word coming from treasury benches, they rushed into the Well of the House raising anti-NEET slogans. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he had allowed Drek O’Brien to speak because he had given a notice under rule 267 that seeks suspension of listed business to take up discussion on the issue, and allowed the AIADMK members to mention and the issue has been understood. “Now go back to your seats,” he said. Reacting to the issue, Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said the issue was under examination of the government. “We are looking into the matter,” he said. Members then returned to their places and the House resumed normal functioning thereafter.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TMC slams Javadekar for accusing it of pursuing divisive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee today slammed Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar for accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of pursuing divisive politics. “What does he know about Bengal and its situation? They were making those vague statements as they are apprehensive of their own future after witnessing TMC’s rally yesterday,” Chatterjee told reporters here. TMC had organised a massive rally here yesterday in which Banerjee gave a call for ‘Oust BJP from India’. “People of Bengal know the truth. They (BJP leaders) should first read the history of Bengal before making those baseless comments,” he said. In a programme here earlier today, Javadekar accused Banerjee of pursuing ‘divisive politics’. Chatterjee, the state education minister, also denied allegations levelled by Javadekar that West Bengal remains absent in inter-state meet on education. “This is a complete lie. Our officers are always present in those meetings,” he said and charged the central government of taking decisions related to education unilaterally and trying to saffronise the entire education system of the country. Stating that education is a national agenda, Javadekar had said when his ministry organises inter-state meets, West Bengal is at times absent. “Most of the ministers in Narendra Modi cabinet don’t have any work as all work is being done by Modi. That is why they make all these baseless comments,” Chatterjee said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Blame game after cross-voting in WB during prez poll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition Congress and CPI(M) were today engaged in a blame game over cross voting that took place in West Bengal during the presidential poll, with the opposition accusing the TMC of covertly helping the BJP. The Trinamool Congress has denied the allegation. President-elect Ram Nath Kovind, who was supposed to get votes of six MLAs of the West Bengal Assembly – three of GJM and three of BJP – got votes of 11 MLAs which has kicked off a debate among political parties here. The cross-voting, however, was welcomed by the BJP, which termed it as a signal of “the TMC fast losing ground in Bengal”. Apart from cross-voting, 10 votes from the Assembly were also declared invalid. The Congress, the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress had decided to support joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar. The total number of MLAs of these three parties is 287. The BJP and its ally the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) each has three MLAs. “All 211 MLAs of the Trinamool voted for Meira Kumar. We do not know what the legislators of other parties may have done,” the TMC said in a statement. “Why are you asking us? Please ask the CPI(M) and the Congress,” a senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named, told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cross-voting by opposition lawmakers boosts Kovind’s prez bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ram Nath Kovind’s triumph was a foregone conclusion given the NDA’s numerical superiority over the opposition, but his presidential bid got a push with lawmakers from rival parties cross-voting for him in several states including poll-bound Gujarat and Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal. BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, Kovind’s key election manager, claimed close to 116 lawmakers from rival parties, including the Congress, appeared to have voted for the NDA candidate. The 71-year-old Kovind defeated joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker, after garnering 65.65 percent of the votes in the electoral college. A former Bihar governor, Kovind received 2930 votes with a value of 7,02,044, said election Returning Officer Anoop Mishra. Kumar got 1844 votes with a value of 3,67,314. The states from where Kovind got votes from the rival camp included West Bengal, where the BJP is locked in a bitter, and often bloody, fight with the ruling TMC. Kovind clinched the votes of 11 MLAs in the state, five more than NDA’s tally of six. He also managed to secure votes of seven lawmakers in the Left-ruled Tripura, where BJP or its NDA allies do not have any MLA. These included six TMC MLAs who are likely to join the BJP. The Congress has much to worry about Gujarat where Assembly elections are due later this year, with at least eight of its MLAs appeared to have voted for the NDA’s candidate. The party has 57 MLAs in the state but Meira Kumar got only 49 votes. The Congress party is gripped by a factional feud in Gujarat between Leader of the Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela and state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki over who would leader the Assembly poll campaign. In Maharashtra, the NDA nominee got 20 votes more than the alliance’s strength of 188 in the state assembly. Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are among other states that witnessed cross-voting in Kovind’s favour. “Going by the opposition’s strength in the Maharashtra Assembly, Meira Kumar should have got 90 votes, but secured only 77,” a jubilant state BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TMC party office, hall set on fire by Gorkhaland supporters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A century-old community hall and a TMC party office in the Darjeeling hills were set ablaze by pro-Gorkhaland supporters, police said today as the indefinite shutdown for a separate state entered its 35th day. While the Raj Rajeswari hall in Kurseong area was reduced to ashes after the blaze late last night, the Trinamool Congress party office in Darjeeling town was also gutted after it was set on fire today. “No one was injured but both the hall and party office were reduced to ashes. We are trying to identify the culprits,” an official said. Political party activists, dressed in traditional Nepali attire, took out rallies in the morning. They were heard raising slogans in support of a separate Gorkhaland state. The GJM also has plans to conduct rallies in various parts of the hills today. Police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a tight vigil on entry and exit routes. Internet services remained suspended in the hills. Except pharmacies, all the other shops, restaurants,, hotels, schools and colleges were also closed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Vice-Presidential poll: Section of Bengal CPI-M unhappy with support for Gopalkrishna Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A section of the CPI-M in West Bengal is not happy with the central leadership for backing combined Opposition vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who had criticized the role of the party during the height of Singur and Nandigram stir when he was the governor.The decision to support Gandhi’s candidature has not gone down well with a large section of state committee members and grassroot leaders, some of whom have expressed their anger in the party forum and some have taken to the social media to express displeasure.The disgruntled leaders referred to Gandhi’s opposition to ‘forcible’ land acquisition in Singur in Hooghly district for setting up a Tata Motors small car factory and Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement.They even went to the extent of describing him as “partisan to Trinamool Congress”.”We really have no idea what our party leadership is upto. First, they decided to forge an alliance with the Congress and now they decide to support Gandhi,” a CPI-M state committee leader told PTI on condition of anonymity.”How can the party forget the partisan role played by Gandhi between 2006 and 2009? This is absolute madness in the name of stopping the BJP. The party is digging its own grave,” the leader felt.Another senior CPI-M state committee leader, who had vehemently opposed the alliance with the Congress in the last Assembly polls, said, “Last year our party leadership told us to forget about the neo-liberal policies and atrocities committed during Emergency by the Congress and instead align with it to stop the TMC and the BJP.””Now we have decided to forgive Gandhi in order to stop the BJP. Next year the party might even ask us to forgive the TMC and align with it to stop the BJP,” he said with his tongue firmly in cheek.Defending the decision of his party’s top brass, CPI(M) politburo member Hannan Mollah told PTI that certain decisions were taken with an “eye on a bigger perspective” irrespective of the anger and heartburn that they might generate.”There might be anger or reservations about the decision. But these are collective decisions taken in our central committee and politburo. At times it is not about forgiving someone, but about taking a decision with an eye on a bigger perspective. Now the biggest enemy of the country is the RSS and the BJP, so in order to stop them we had to support him (Gandhi),” Mollah told PTI.Similarly, CPI-M state secretariat member Nepaldeb Bhattacharya said, “Those who are criticizing the party’s decision are doing that keeping in mind the Bengal perspective. They may be right from their point of view. But if you think about a pan-India perspective, you will come to see that the party has taken the right decision.” Gopalkrishna Gandhi was the governor of West Bengal from December 2004 to December 2009. The relation between the governor and then CPI-M led Left Front government started deteriorating after Gandhi criticized the state government for ‘forcible’ land acquisition in Singur and police firing in Nandigram that led to the death of 14 persons in 2007.During Nandigram agitation in November, 2007 when alleged armed CPI-M supporters had violently taken over the area, he had said, “Darkness descended during Deepavali in Nandigram.”The infuriated CPI-M top brass had then questioned his jurisdiction for commenting on Nandigram. Senior CPI-M leaders Biman Bose and Binoy Konar had criticized Gandhi accusing him of being partial towards the Trinamool Congress.”Go and pick up a Trinamool flag but have the decorum to get out of the Raj Bhavan and leave for good, party leaders had then told a public rally.

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