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CPM: Polls to decide if BJP extends ‘hegemonic rule’


CPM: Polls to decide if BJP extends ‘hegemonic rule’

Among the five states and one UT going to the polls only Assam has a BJP govt

The CPI (M) today said the coming Assembly elections in five states will decide whether the BJP extends its “hegemonic rule” in the entire country, or the opposition to its “authoritarian” drive gains strength. In an editorial in its official journal People’s Democracy, the party said among Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry, going to the polls from 27 March to 29 April, only Assam has a BJP government.

The “capture” of Assam in 2016 helped the BJP advance in the North-east. The party formed governments in Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh subsequently, “by hook or by crook,” the editorial said.

In Assam, the BJP has sought to use the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to advance its communal agenda.

Against the BJP, a combination of seven parties has emerged comprising Congress, AIUDF, CPI (M), CPI, CPI (ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha and Bodoland People’s Front. “This united opposition grouping should be able to give an effective fight to the BJP alliance,” the CPI (M) said.

The CPI (M) and the Left parties have the biggest stakes in West Bengal and Kerala. The situation in West Bengal is the most complicated, the party journal said. The BJP is making a serious bid to capture power in the state.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election saw a polarisation between the TMC and BJP and the latter won 18 of the 42 seats polling 40.6 per cent. The Left Front got squeezed out in this polarisation and got only 7.4 per cent of the vote.

The CPI (M) and the Left Front have been strenuously working to recover lost ground. “The danger of BJP advance in West Bengal is real. This has led some liberal and Left circles outside Bengal to advocate cooperation with the TMC by the CPI (M) and Left Front,” the party journal said.

“This would be suicidal for the Left and actually facilitate a BJP victory. There is strong discontent against the TMC and its thuggish misrule. A soft attitude to Mamata Banerjee and her party on the part of the Left will drive all the anti-TMC voters into the arms of the BJP,” the editorial said.

“In fact, it is the projection of an alternative combination of the Left Front, Congress and other non-BJP, non-TMC forces that can rally these people and deprive the BJP of additional support,” the CPI (M) said.

The contest in Kerala is between the LDF and the UDF. The BJP is aspiring to become the third pole. Throughout last year, the Congress worked in tandem with the BJP in raising allegations against the LDF government and the chief minister regarding the gold smuggling and other cases.

Rejecting this anti-LDF tirade, the people gave a resounding mandate to the LDF in the local body election in November, 2020.




Bihar Cov jabs: Cases soar, lens on medical fraternity


Bihar Cov jabs: Cases soar, lens on medical fraternity

So far, one MBBS student has died whereas six medical students have been left infected after taking the first dose of vaccine in the state.

The increasing cases of medicos contracting coronavirus after getting first dose vaccines has hugely alarmed the medical fraternity in Bihar. So far, one MBBS student has died whereas six medical students have been left infected after taking the first dose of vaccine in the state.

Panic gripped the medical students at the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH), one of the two premier government hospitals in Patna, after 10 more of them tested positive earlier this week. Strangely, six of them had taken first dose of Covid vaccine in the first week of February, according to local doctors.

“All the undergraduate students testing positive for the virus at the NMCH belong to 2016, 2018 and 2020 batches. They began to show symptoms of the virus from the last week,” a junior resident doctor associated with the vaccination drive at the NMCH Dr Papu Kumar Saifi told a local newspaper. Reports said majority of them contracted the virus well some 20 days after getting the first shot. Heath experts say one begins to develop immunity against the virus 14 days after getting the second jab of the vaccine.

Alarmed at the increasing infection among the medical students, the hospital authorities have collected swab samples of 270 other medicos for RT-PCR test. The test report is likely to come tonight or tomorrow, a NMCH official said.

There are some 700 medical students at the hospital. The hospital administration went into tizzy after a final year MBBS student Shubham Shekhar died, 22 days after he had taken the first dose of the Covaxin.

According to hospital officials, the deceased had taken the first shot of the Covaxin in the first week of February but was tested positive on 27 February.

Hospital sources said the medico had given his swab samples on 24 February after developing symptoms before leaving for his native village in Begusarai district. He was admitted to a private hospital after his condition deteriorated but he died later.

The medical superintendent of Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr Gopal Krishna too got infected after taking the first shot of the vaccine earlier. Subsequently, he was advised to go for home quarantine.

However, the Opposition legislators have refrained from getting the vaccines so far despite appeals by the chief minister to go for the shots.




650-cr discrepancies found in raids on Pannu, Kashyap


650-cr discrepancies found in raids on Pannu, Kashyap

The statement from the CBDT came as raids on the homes and offices of Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, director Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered Phantom Films continued in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad for the second day.

The Income Tax Department has detected financial irregularities of over Rs 650 crore after it raided two film production companies, two talent management companies and a leading actress, the Central Board of Direct Taxes claimed on Thursday but did not take any names.

The statement from the CBDT came as raids on the homes and offices of Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, director Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered Phantom Films continued in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad for the second day.

The searches also covered some executives of celebrity and talent management companies KWAN and Exceed, officials said.

Official sources identified the entities raided as Pannu and the four former promoters of Phantom Films ~Kashyap, director-producer Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Vikas Bahl and producer-distributor Madhu Mantena. They also identified the celebrity and talent management companies as Kwan and Exceed.

The second film production company that was raided belongs to Kashyap. Evidence of huge suppression of income by the film production house compared to the actual box office collections has been unearthed,” the statement from CBDT, the administrative body of IT Department, claimed.

~With inputs from PTI~




Gujrat municipalities Election AIMIM wins 17 seats in debut polls in 3 municipalities


Gujrat municipalities Election   AIMIM wins 17 seats in debut polls in 3 municipalities

Ahmedabad: Putting an impressive show in its debut election in Gujarat, Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM won 17 seats in three municipalities in the state, where votes were counted on Tuesday.

As per the final results declared by the State Election Commission (SEC), of the total 24 candidates fielded by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in three municipalities of Modasa, Godhra and Bharuch, 17 have emerged victorious.

In two of these three municipalities, the AIMIM bagged the second position after the BJP relegating the Congress to the third slot.

In Modasa municipality in Arvalli district, 9 of the 12 candidates of the AIMIM won.

Though the BJP retained power in this 36-member municipality, the AIMIM has won one more seat than the Congress (8).

In the 44-member Godhra municipality in Panchmahal district, the AIMIM won seven out of the eight seats the party had contested. Among others, the BJP bagged 18 seats, the Congress one while 18 seats were won by Independent candidates.

In Bharuch municipality, one of the four nominees of the AIIMIM won.

The Owaisi-led party had not fielded candidates for district and taluka panchayat polls which were held on February 28. In all, 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats went to polls on Sunday.

Ahead of the polls, Owaisi had addressed campaign rallies in Modasa and Godhra towns.

Recently, the AIMIM won seven seats in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation which went to polls along with six urban civic bodies on February 21.

Source: PTI




US condemns LoC infiltration, expects Pakistan’s ‘constructive role’


US condemns LoC infiltration, expects Pakistan’s ‘constructive role’

The US condemns terrorists infiltrating the Line of Control (LoC) and expects Pakistan to play a “constructive role” in Kashmir, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

The US condemns terrorists infiltrating the Line of Control (LoC) and expects Pakistan to play a “constructive role” in Kashmir, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

“We have been very clear that we condemn the terrorists who seek to infiltrate across the Line of Control,” he said on Thursday at his daily briefing in Washington.

He said that the US welcomed the joint statement by military officials of India and Pakistan to observe the ceasefire along the LoC and added, “We encourage continued efforts to improve communication between the two sides and to reduce tensions and violence along the Line of Control.”

Acknowledging that Pakistan is an important partner of the US, he said that Washington will be paying close attention to it and urged Pakistan to play a constructive role Kashmir.

Pressed by a reporter if the Biden administration had played a “role in helping broker this new ceasefire agreement”, Price discounted the suggestion of direct US involvement, saying, “When it comes to the US role, we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern”.

About Washington’s relations with Islamabad, he said, “Pakistan is an important partner with whom we share many interests. We, as I said, have been clear in terms of this issue.”

He added, “Obviously, Pakistan has an important role to play when it comes to Afghanistan and what takes place across its other border. So clearly we will be paying close attention, and we urge the Pakistanis to play a constructive role in all of these areas of mutual interest, including in Afghanistan, including with Kashmir, including with our other shared interests.”

The two neighbours’ directors general of military operations (DGSMO) announced the agreement reaffirming the ceasefire on Wednesday.

Their joint statement said that after a “free, frank and cordial” assessment of the situation along the border they agreed “In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGsMO agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.”

Earlier, President Joe Biden’s Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the US welcomed the agreement as “a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia, which is in our shared interest and we encourage both countries to keep building upon this progress”.

Asked whether Pakistan was doing enough to combat terrorism, Psaki did not give a direct reply.

She said, “We remain closely engaged with a range of leaders and officials in the region, including those in Pakistan. But in terms of an assessment of that I would point you to the State Department or the intelligence Department.”




FM: Kerala is now ‘fundamentalists’ own country


FM: Kerala is now ‘fundamentalists’ own country

Speaking at a public meeting at Tripunithara near Kochi,organised in connection with the reception accorded to the ‘Vijaya Yatra’ led by BJP Kerala president K Surendran, Nirmala Sitharaman said Kerala which was famed as ‘God’s own country’ has now become ‘fundamentals own country’, because of the LDF government’s appeasement of the fundamentals

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday alleged that Kerala has lost its famed tag line of ‘God’s own country’ because of the LDF government’s policy of appeasement of fundamentalists.

Speaking at a public meeting at Tripunithara near Kochi,organised in connection with the reception accorded to the ‘Vijaya Yatra’ led by BJP Kerala president K Surendran, Nirmala Sitharaman said Kerala which was famed as ‘God’s own country’ has now become ‘fundamentals own country’, because of the LDF government’s appeasement of the fundamentals.

The union finance minister said that the CPI-M, which is leading the LDF government in Kerala is not just engaged in minority appeasement,but also the appeasement of the fundamentalists.


 
She alleged there is a secret deal between the CPIM and SDPI. Alleging that the law and order situation has gone worse under the LDF rule in Kerala, she said the Walayar rape cases, killings of Kripesh and Sarathlal and the recent murder of RSS worker Nandu Krishna in Alappuzha are examples for this.

She further said that the state government under Pinarayi Vijayan is neck deep in corruption and the government failed to contain the spread of Covid-19. She said the slogans of the 1921 Mapplla rebellion, which she termed as a rebellion against the majority community is being again sounded in Kerala.




Mehbooba accuses Centre of crushing J&K economy


Mehbooba accuses Centre of crushing J&K economy

Mehbooba, who was addressing a PDP convention in the apple growing belt of Pulwama in south Kashmir, alleged that apart from robbing us of our constitutional rights we have witnessed the loot of our resources and our economy being crushed.

Former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday warned that attempts were being made to crush the economy of Kashmir by allowing flooding of the markets with apple imported from Iran.

Mehbooba, who was addressing a PDP convention in the apple growing belt of Pulwama in south Kashmir, alleged that apart from robbing us of our constitutional rights we have witnessed the loot of our resources and our economy being crushed. The horticulture sector which forms the backbone of our economy has not been spared either.

By allowing apple produce from Iran to flood the market and our own crop destroyed by supply of spurious pesticides, the nefarious designs are being implemented. “This also seems to be a part of the scripted scheme to pulverise our economy. The need is to stand up in unison and struggle for our rights, identity and the future of our coming generations,” she said.

Mehbooba advocated an unrelenting peaceful struggle for the restoration of democratic and constitutional rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

She said that people of Kashmir should not let despair decide their destiny but rather strengthen their resolve, unify their ranks and articulate their pain vociferously. Referring to the fact that more youngsters were taking to gun, she emphasised that gun is no solution to any problem and that we should always keep peaceful means as our lodestar and not lose sight of the fact that there are elements who wish to bracket us as violent and extremist so as to delegitimise our aspirations and our struggle.

Pointing to how farmers have mobilised and successfully rallied the whole world behind their cause, she said that the discipline underpinning the farmer’s movement is something worth emulating.

“Pulwama is the heartbeat of PDP and your unwavering support is the source of personal strength to me. And my first visit to your district after being re-elected as the party president is a reaffirmation of my love for you,” she said.

Reaffirming that dialogue and reconciliation as envisioned by PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, is the only way to bring about peace and prosperity not only to the people of J&K but the whole of subcontinent, Mehbooba said that they she would continue to advocate dialogue between India and Pakistan no matter how disliked the idea is.

“We have always advocated dialogue and reconciliation. No matter what they said till yesterday, today we see them only emulating our roadmap as inevitable. The recent joint statement of DGMOs of Indo- Pak Armies is a case in point. We want them to take this forward to the highest levels and also engage with the people of Jammu & Kashmir constructively respecting their dignity,” she added.




‘India emerging as a frontline nation in scientific innovation’


‘India emerging as a frontline nation in scientific innovation’

Delivering the keynote address on the occasion of ‘National Science Day’ in the University of Jammu, Jitendra Singh said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the last few years, government has taken some revolutionary and programmatic decisions to give fillip to indigenous scientific innovations which will be a key to “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said that India is fast emerging as a frontline nation in scientific innovations.

Delivering the keynote address on the occasion of ‘National Science Day’ in the University of Jammu, Jitendra Singh said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the last few years, government has taken some revolutionary and programmatic decisions to give fillip to indigenous scientific innovations which will be a key to “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

In this context, he made a special mention of the decision to “unlock” India’s Space Technology to private players for the first time after independence and the approval given by the union Cabinet to go ahead with joint ventures in the field of Atomic energy and nuclear energy in order to promote the setting up of new nuclear installations.

The theme ‘Future of Science Technology Innovations…’ chosen for this year’s ‘National Science Day’, said Dr. Jitendra Singh, is most appropriate considering the rapid strides being made in contemporary India and being followed by other countries of the world.

He cited the example of Covid vaccine which India is not only among the first countries to prepare indigenously but also to export to other countries.

Jitendra Singh said, it is a remarkable coincidence that on the morning of ‘National Science Day’ today ISRO achieved another glorious landmark by successfully launching the PSLVC51/Amazonia-1. While India began its Space journey much after several other countries, today we are in a position to provide inputs from Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan to the premier institutions of the world like the NASA of the USA, he added.

He said, it is to the credit of PM Modi that he promoted the extension of applications of space technology to different sectors and areas in order to bring ‘ease of living’. He said, whether it is railways or smart cities, agriculture or disaster management, highways or defence, space technology is contributing in a big way.

In his concluding remarks, Jitendra Singh said, this year’s ‘National Science Day’ is being observed at a time when India is on the verge of entering the 75th year of Independence and we would be planning for the next 25 years when India celebrates 100 years of Independence. This is the period when India will be a world superpower and the journey of ascent has already started, he said.




CPM: Rahul Gandhi speaking like BJP recruiting agent


CPM: Rahul Gandhi speaking like BJP recruiting agent

“Rahul merely echoed the voice of the BJP in attacking the Left just serves to expose the Congress’ meek surrender to communalism. It is just such an approach that has led to Congress MLAs shifting base to BJP in many states,” said the CPI-M on Wednesday in the statement.

The CPI-M on Tuesday came out against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his unprecedented attack on the Left and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the concluding rally of UDF’s ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’ here, saying Rahul’s speech sounded like that of a BJP’s recruitment agent.

In a statement, the CPIM state secretariat said the Congress national leader didn’t even try to make a feeble criticism against BJP while he launched scathing attack on the CPI-M.

“Rahul merely echoed the voice of the BJP in attacking the Left just serves to expose the Congress’ meek surrender to communalism. It is just such an approach that has led to Congress MLAs shifting base to BJP in many states,” said the CPI-M on Wednesday in the statement.


 
Rahul should remember that he himself is a person released on bail in a financial fraud case, the statement said and added that “Rahul would have thought of his brother-in-law Robert Vadra who is currently facing charges of amassing disproportionate assets.”

Gandhi on Tuesday came down heavily on the Left government and chief minister Vijayan over the recent allegations and issues, including the sensational gold smuggling case and the alleged backdoor appointments in government services.

“If you hold the CPM flag, you can do gold smuggling by sitting even in the CMO. If you are with the LDF, you are guaranteed to get all the jobs. Or else, you will have to go on a hunger strike. But the chief minister will not budge to hold talks with the protesters even if they die,” Rahul told the party workers and supporters gathered at a rally here organised at the culmination of the Aishwarya Kerala Yatra led by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.




ISF wants AIMIM in alliance; Left, Congress refuse


ISF wants AIMIM in alliance; Left, Congress refuse

Asaduddin Owaisi had expressed his desire to contest in the upcoming West Bengal State Assembly Election. He had said that AIMIM would tie-up with ISF.

The seat-sharing talks between the Left Front, Congress and Indian Secular Front seem to have hit another hurdle with the latter asking for Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM to be a part of it.

Owaisi had expressed his desire to contest in the upcoming West Bengal State Assembly Election. He had said that AIMIM would tie-up with Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui’s ISF.

Both the Left Front and Congress had shown no interest in having AIMIM. And with Congress’ staunch attacks on Owaisi’s party after the Bihar polls last year, it became apparent that the Hyderabad-headquartered party would find no place in the alliance.

But Siddiqui has argued in favour of AIMIM, saying that without them Congress’ fate in West Bengal could be similar to what happened in Bihar. It is believed that AIMIM had cut minority votes to deter Congress and RJD’s chance.

The Pirzada’s proposal further sent the seat-sharing discussion with the Left Front and Congress down into muddy waters. He had given an ultimatum on Tuesday that if a solution was not found sooner, ISF would go alone in the polls.

While the Left has been accommodative, Congress has taken a strong arm approach in front of the ISF in terms of sharing seats for the grand alliance in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly Election.

The Left parties are believed to have compromised 27 seats to the ISF. CPIM alone have spared 20. Congress has so far agreed to sacrifice eight seats to the the ISF.

“We don’t have cut money but we have manpower. That’s why we can create problems anywhere! If everything is sorted by February 28, we’ll bring a sea of people. But without me no one will be there,” Siddiqui said.

At a rally against the new farm laws in Kolkata’s Dharmatala on Tuesday, he further added, “If you accept my friendship I’ll keep you in my heart. But if you stab me then what?”

It was reported earlier Siddiqui’s ISF had demanded a minimum of 45 seats after starting negotiations from 72, asking Congress to sacrifice some of its winning seats in Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas.

The West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury then served a stern ultimatum that their won’t be any compromise from its end for seats in Murshidabad and Malda region. They also disagreed to spare seats in South 24 Parganas that they had won in 2016.

Reportedly this hardcore stance from Chowdhury has not gone down well with Congress and Bengal’s main opposition leader Abdul Mannan. The latter has let his disenchantment known in a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The party supremo had directed the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) to complete seat-sharing deal by January 31. But with Mannan and Chowdhury failing to reach a consensus, the All India Congres Committee (AICC) may take matters in its own hand now.




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