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In extended core committee meet, TMC looks to stem BJP’s growth in Bengal

The first extended core committee of Trinamool Congress, after the three-tier Panchayat election will be held on June 21, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.Sources within the party said that West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee would be giving out important instructions to party leaders post the panchayat results and ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Sources also said that there will be an assessment of the panchayat results and accordingly some district leadership are likely to be changed. Districts such as Purulia and Nadia would have an overhaul in terms of leadership given the party’s poor performance there and the ascent of BJP at those places. Changes in district president of South 24 Parganas is also expected.It was found out that Mamata would also thank party leaders for their impressive performance across the state. She would also instruct about the formula to be used for board formation in places where the result is hung. She will also decide fate of those panchayat members of previous term who had not been given tickets this time around. They would be put on important posts to avoid any dissidence.Mamata is also expected to draw a roadmap for district leaderships for the 21 July Martyrs’ Day observance, one of the biggest annual public meetings of TMC which takes place at Esplanade. Party MP and Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee would not be able to attend the meeting because at that time he would be in Singapore for eye treatment.
West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

Singapore

bharatiya janata party

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Bengal BJP workers taking shelter in other states: Dilip Ghosh

BJP’s West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh on Thursday said his party workers were taking shelter in neighbouring states following continuous violence allegedly unleashed by the ruling Trinamool Congress.”The violence witnessed before the panchayat elections has been continuing even after the polls are over in rural Bengal. The Trinamool Congress workers have created an atmosphere of terror and fear,” Ghosh told reporters here.Under this circumstances, he said, BJP workers were moving out of Bengal and taking shelter in adjacent states.Ghosh said ministers and leaders were openly called for opposition-free West Bengal.”In my opinion, It is not healthy ln a democracy,” he said.Ghosh has come here to felicitate the party winners in panchayat elections.
West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

BJP

bharatiya janata party

Dilip Ghosh

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West Bengal: After BJP workers found hanging, CPI(M) alleges TMC shot party worker who won Panchayat polls

After two BJP workers were found dead in West Bengal’s Purulia district in the past five days, the CPI(M) has now alleged that workers from West Bengal-led Trinamool Congress government have attacked a party worker in the state’s Coochbehar district.Taking to Twitter, the CPI (M) said, “Atabul Islam, a student leader of CPIM had won the Panchayat Polls from Jamaldaha, Mekhliganj in face of grave threats from TMC goons. Today TMC goons attacked his house in Coochbehar, Bengal. His uncle Ramjan Ali was shot dead and 7 family members including himself and his father are in a critical condition in the hospital.Our Comrades bear the brunt of TMC’s murderous violence as TMC snuffs out democracy in Bengal!”Also readWest Bengal: Post-mortem reveals second BJP worker found hanging in Purulia district committed suicideThe CPI(M) also shaered some gory images of the incident on Twitter.Earlier in the day, the BJP leadership in the state called for a 12-hour bandh at Balarampur, to protest the deaths of the two party workers, allegedly at the hand of ‘TMC goons’.Also readWest Bengal: Purulia SP shunted after two BJP workers found hanging in district in four daysOn May 31, the body of 18-year-old Trilochan Mahato, member of the district BJP youth wing was found hanging at Supurdi village with a message on his T Shirt saying it was the result of him supporting BJP.On Saturday, 32-year-old Dulal Kumar’s body was found hanging from a high-tension electric pole in Dabha village of Balarampur area.Both incidents have been criticised by political parties, who have asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take prompt action
CPI(M)

Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Congress

bharatiya janata party

Mekhliganj

West Bengal Panchayat polls

Violence in West Bengal

Purulia district

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West Bengal: Two BJP workers found hanging in four days, cases handed over to CID

After Trilochon Mahato, another BJP worker has been found dead hanging in Purulia district of West Bengal. While Mahato died on 30th May, Dulal Kumar died today. 32-year-old BJP worker’s body was found hanging from by a pole in Dabha village of Purulia’s Balarampur. West Bengal BJP twitter handle has posted a video, alleging that TMC is behind this heinous crime. It has alleged that TMC has murdered Dulal Kumar to make Purulia district BJP free. According to Zee 24 Ghanta report, villagers are agitating when police came to remove the dead body from the place. They want those behind the heinous crime to be arrested immediately. A huge police force has rushed to the area to control the mob. Facing heat over these two deaths, Bengal govt has handed the cases to CID. However BJP has demanded CBI probe into these two brutal deaths. BJP Bengal tweeted, ” BJP worker Dulal Kumar from Balrampur, Purulia was missing from yesterday night, found hanged. TMC goons executed the order of Yuvraj @abhishekaitc to make Purulia opposition free.We are not sorry to share the disturbing video as this is the current situation of WB.” TMC spokesperson and MP Derek’ O Brien however has denied all allegations. He said to ANI, ” Strongly condemn this despicable act.All angles must be probed.Perpetrators of the heinous act must be punished.What role did J’khand border play?What elements of Bajrang Dal,Maoist or BJP involved.Let truth be found by investigation”. With Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee vowing to turn Purulia into an “opposition-free district”, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh has warned that situation could be “dangerous” as several people were being killed to achieve the objective.Killing of a 20-year-old Dalit youth whom BJP claims as its member in Purulia district has turned out to be new flashpoint between ruling TMC and the saffron party seeking to gain ground in the state.”The manner in which the TMC is trying to make the state opposition-free by killing people is going to be dangerous. What kind of politics is this? What type of administration is this?,” Ghosh said while addressing a rally held in North 24 Parganas district’s Habra. The rally was to protest the killing of Trilochan Mahato in Balarampur in Purulia district on May 30 last. He was found hanging from a tree near his home. An unsigned handwritten note in Bengali found near Mahato stated that he was “punished for working for the BJP” during the recent panchayat polls in the state.”We can also free up many things. We have already made the entire India opposition-free. And you (Abhishek) are in a corner of West Bengal and even you will also disappear,” he said. The state BJP chief highlighted several incidents of violence in the state during the recent panchayat elections to drive home the point.Banerjee, who heads TMC youth wing, during a rally held in the city last Tuesday had vowed to turn Purulia into an “opposition-free district”. Banerjee had said that he would visit the region along with party secretary-general Partha Chatterjee for the purpose. In the Balarampur block where Trilochan’s village is located, BJP won majority in seven gram panchayats and the panchayat samiti, snatching them from Trinamool. The BJP state president also hit out at the state police and alleged that they were “working” for the TMC resulting in the common people losing their faith in police.With PTI inputs
Bajrang Dal

Abhishek Banerjee

Balrampur

Dilip Ghosh

Trilochon Mahato

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West Bengal: Another BJP worker found dead hanging, party alleges TMC hand

In a shocking incident, a 32-year-old BJP worker was found hanging from by a pole in Dabha village of Purulia’s Balarampur. West Bengal BJP twitter handle has posted a video, alleging that TMC is behind this heinous crime. It has alleged that TMC has murdered Dulal Kumar to make Purulia district BJP free. According to media reports, police are also investigating the suicide angle in connection with Dulal’s death. This is the second BJP worker found dead hanging in Purulia. Earlier in the week, young BJP activist Trilochon Mahato was found hanging from a tree. It prompted strong reaction from BJP President Amit Shah who condemned the incident and blamed state government for inaction. TMC on its part has denied all allegations in this regard. Senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha has asked for CBI probe into these deaths. With Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee vowing to turn Purulia into an “opposition-free district”, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh has warned that situation could be “dangerous” as several people were being killed to achieve the objective.Killing of a 20-year-old Dalit youth whom BJP claims as its member in Purulia district has turned out to be new flashpoint between ruling TMC and the saffron party seeking to gain ground in the state.”The manner in which the TMC is trying to make the state opposition-free by killing people is going to be dangerous. What kind of politics is this? What type of administration is this?,” Ghosh said while addressing a rally held in North 24 Parganas district’s Habra. The rally was to protest the killing of Trilochan Mahato in Balarampur in Purulia district on May 30 last. He was found hanging from a tree near his home. An unsigned handwritten note in Bengali found near Mahato stated that he was “punished for working for the BJP” during the recent panchayat polls in the state.”We can also free up many things. We have already made the entire India opposition-free. And you (Abhishek) are in a corner of West Bengal and even you will also disappear,” he said. The state BJP chief highlighted several incidents of violence in the state during the recent panchayat elections to drive home the point.Banerjee, who heads TMC youth wing, during a rally held in the city last Tuesday had vowed to turn Purulia into an “opposition-free district”. Banerjee had said that he would visit the region along with party secretary-general Partha Chatterjee for the purpose. In the Balarampur block where Trilochan’s village is located, BJP won majority in seven gram panchayats and the panchayat samiti, snatching them from Trinamool. The BJP state president also hit out at the state police and alleged that they were “working” for the TMC resulting in the common people losing their faith in police.With PTI inputs
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Abhishek Banerjee

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Trilochan Mahato

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Bhaichung Bhutia launches political party, Hamro Sikkim Party at CM Chamling’s stronghold h

Bhaichung Bhutia and former Sikkim Minister RB Subba launched Hamro Sikkim Party today at Daramdin in West Sikkim.Close to 10,000 people from far away places of Sikkim gathered at the party launch. Daramdin is the same place where Sikkim Democratic Front founder and Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling had launched his party back in 1993. While West Sikkim continues to be a strong hold of the SDF, Bhaichung Bhutia, along with his party chose this place for the party launch with a view to give a tough fight to SDF in the upcoming assembly polls in Sikkim due in 2019.Last month, Bhutia had launched his party in Delhi. Speaking to PTI, Bhaichung had said, ” I felt like an outsider” in the Trinamool Congress”. Bhutia said that even after being part of West Bengal politics and playing for top Bengal clubs for years, he could not get rid of the “outsider” tag and now he had returned to his roots. “I was dropped from the top in the TMC. Let’s not forget that when I contested from Siliguri, there was an outsider tag on me as well. Bhaichung earlier was part of TMC, and became distant from them during the Gorkhaland agitation. With agency inputs
Bhaichung Bhutia

Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP)

sikkim democratic front(SDP)

Hamro Sikkim Party

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TMC torturing BJP workers in Bengal, alleges Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das

Since panchayat polls in Bengal, hundreds of BJP workers have deserted their houses and taken shelter at BJP party offices in Sahebgunj and Pakur districts of Jharkhand, as some Trinamool Congress leaders were threatening them, BJP sources said. Das also directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Dhanbad, Manoj Ratan Chothe, to seize illegal coal-laden trucks from Bengal as they enter Jharkhand. P”
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Updated: May 24, 2018, 12:18 AM IST<!–end of articllftpbx–>Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das today accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of torturing BJP workers.Das while talking to media persons here this morning alleged that Mamata Banerjee has been targeting BJP workers and unleashing atrocities on them. “She has become a dictator,” Das alleged, adding, her dictatorship would not last long. Such things do not happen in democracy and she would be taught a lesson in next election he said. The BJP would replace the Trinamool Congress in the next Assembly election, he said.Das said that the injured BJP workers of Bengal would be provided with proper treatment facilities in Jharkhand.Since panchayat polls in Bengal, hundreds of BJP workers have deserted their houses and taken shelter at BJP party offices in Sahebgunj and Pakur districts of Jharkhand, as some Trinamool Congress leaders were threatening them, BJP sources said. Das also directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Dhanbad, Manoj Ratan Chothe, to seize illegal coal-laden trucks from Bengal as they enter Jharkhand. P
West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

Raghubar Das

Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP)

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Kumaraswamy to take oath on Monday as Karnataka CM, Rahul to attend, top opposition leaders invited

The opposition is planning a big show of strength on Monday when HD Kumaraswamy will be sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister.The Governor has invited us to form the government. Modalities with Congress will be worked out for formation of government,” Kumaraswamy said while addressing a press conference.He claimed that the BJP was continuing Operation Kamala on both Congress and JDS legislators. “BJP failed to show it’s strength on floor of house. I am not afraid even though central government misuses its agencies to throttle opposition. I will take oath on Monday between 12 and 4,” he added.Sources have said that BSP leader Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, NCP President Sharad Pawar, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC president Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, DMK President MK Stalin, and Rashtriaya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh will be present at the swearing-in ceremony.Earlier on Saturday, Left parties and the Trinamool Congreess termed the resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa without facing a trust vote a “victory of secular democratic forces”.Also readCongress makes amends for Goa and Manipur by denying BJP in Karnataka “It’s a victory of secular democratic forces. The BJP never had the numbers, but the governor invited them to form government. The party was given time for horse-trading. Karnataka showed that the BJP’s downslide has started,” CPI leader D Raja told PTI.Secular democratic parties should learn a lesson from Karnataka that the BJP can be kept at bay by forming an alliance.Also read2G, CWG, Jijaji: Javadekar targets Congress ‘scams’ after Karnataka disappointmentCongratulating the JD(S)-Congress combine , Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee sais it was a victory of regional forces.”Democracy wins. Congratulations Karnataka. Congratulations DeveGowda Ji, Kumaraswamy Ji, Congress and others. Victory of the ‘regional’ front,” she tweeted.Banerjee has mooted the idea of a Federal Front to take on the Narendra Modi government in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.The Supreme Court had yesterday ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM today, drastically slashing the 15-day window given by Governor Vajubhai Vala to BJP Chief Minister Yeddyurappa to prove his majority.His resignation will pave the way for formation of a government led by JD(S) state chief H D Kumaraswamy, who has the backing of the Congress. The newly formed alliance has claimed support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member House with an effective strength of 221.Polling for two seats was not held due to various reasons, while Kumaraswamy won from two places.

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WB Panchayat Polls: Independent candidate claims TMC supporters cast false votes during counting

An independent gram panchayat candidate in Nadia district today alleged that Trinamool Congress supporters cast false votes during counting.The candidate Niladri Sukul, who had contested the rural poll from Shibnibas gram panchayat under Krishnaganj block in the district, alleged that Trinamool Congress supporters had also attacked him since he was leading by 220 votes.”While one group beat me up, the other group of TMC supporters entered the counting centre and started stamping the ballot papers that were already counted,” he alleged.”We have received a complaint and are looking into it,” Nadia district magistrate Sumit Gupta said. The ruling Trinamool Congress today headed for a massive victory in West Bengal’s rural polls, bagging 20,441 seats in gram panchayats, while the BJP emerged as its main rival, according to the results declared till 10 pm.State Election Commission (SEC) sources said the TMC was ahead in another 315 gram panchayat seats for which counting was in progress.The BJP has won 5,465 seats and is leading in 28 seats, they said.According to a senior state BJP leader, it was the first time in last 10 years that the party had been elected to the gram panchayat level in every district of the state.The CPI(M) slipped to the third position from the second place it had occupied in the last panchayat polls in 2013. It won 1,415 gram panchayat seats and was ahead in another 13, the sources said.The Congress is at the fourth position by winning 993 seats and leading in 13 – a score lower than that of even independents, who won 1,741 gram panchayat seats and were leading in 18 seats.A jubilant TMC said the result would boost the party ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha election as the rural poll was the last major electoral event in the state before it.The BJP said the result in the three-tier panchayat polls, which saw its emergence as the main challenger to the ruling TMC in Bengal, would act as a morale booster for the party’s rank and file.The TMC outraced others in panchayat samiti seats too by winning 3,598 of them so far and leading in another 239. The BJP won 460 seats and was leading in 28.The CPI(M) won 63 seats and was leading in seven, while the Congress won 73 seats and was leading in four, the SEC sources said.The independents have won 77 panchayat samiti seats, they said.In zilla parishads, the TMC won 159 seats, with a complete sweep in Burdwan West district, and was leading in 168 seats across the state.The BJP and the CPI(M) were leading in one seat each.In Purulia, the TMC and BJP had a close fight in the gram panchayats, winning 748 and 626 seats, respectively till 6 pm. The Congress and the CPI(M) bagged 147 and 144 seats, respectively, the sources said.In Jhargram too, the TMC and the BJP were engaged in a close battle for the gram panchayat seats, winning 372 and 329 seats respectively. The CPI(M) trailed far behind with 13 seats and the Congress is yet to open its account.In the traditional Congress stronghold of Malda, the TMC won 973 gram panchayat seats, the BJP 502, the Congress 359 and CPI(M) 101 seats.The TMC bagged 918 seats, followed by the Congress with 359 seats in Murshidabad. The CPI(M) and the BJP bagged 111 and 54 seats, respectively in the district, the SEC said.In Nadia, another border district like Murshidabad and Malda, the TMC won 1,362 gram panchayat seats, the BJP 508, the CPI(M) 148 and the Congress 54 seats.In South 24 Parganas, the TMC bagged 1,916 gram panchayat seats, followed by BJP with 351, CPI(M) with 144 and the Congress with 33.In East Midnapore, the TMC won 1,969 gram panchayat seats, the BJP 177, the CPI(M) 134 and the Congress 15 seats.The panchayat poll was held in 621 zilla parishad, 6,123 panchayat samiti and 31,802 gram panchayat seats in 20 West Bengal districts on May 14.Of the total 48,650 seats in gram panchayats, 16,814 went uncontested. There was also no contest for 3,059 of the 9,217 panchayat samiti seats and in 203 of the 825 zilla parishad seats.”Despite so much violence, we have won more than 5,000 seats in GP (gram panchayat). Had the elections been free and fair, we would have won 50 per cent seats at all the three levels of the panchayat,” state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said.Widespread violence during the polls claimed at least 12 lives and left 43 injured.The CPI(M) and the Congress dubbed the election a “farce”.The TMC, on the other hand, said the people of Bengal had voted in favour of development ushered in by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”People have voted in favour of development and have defeated the forces who were spreading canards against our state,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.
West Bengal

Lok Sabha

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Congress

bharatiya janata party

Jhargram

Purulia

Murshidabad

Nadia

Kalyani

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Stick to Bournvita Quiz Contest: Twitter outraged after Derek O’Brien tries to downplay Bengal Panchayat violence

Amid reports of massive violence during West Bengal Panchayat elections, senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien slammed those ‘deliberately trying to foment trouble’.In a series of tweets, O’Brien questioned the ‘‘newborn’ experts on Bengal Panchayat Elections’ and talked about the history violence in the state.Recalling the 90s, O’Brien said that around 400 people were killed in poll violence under CPM rule in the state.The Trinamool lawmaker then compared the numbers to the period of 2003, when there were 40 deaths in the state.‘Every death is a tragedy. Now closer to normal than earlier times. Yes, few dozen incidents. Say,40 out of 58000 booths. What’s %age (sic),’ O’Brien said on Twitter. Also readAfter massive poll violence in Bengal, Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien talks about 400 deaths under CPM ruleHe blamed the BJP and the Left for the clashes. He, in fact, went on saying that the Opposition parties in the state were ‘ganging up with Maoists to kill/shoot/stab three Trinamool workers in different incidents in Bengal today.’‏His tweets trying to justify the violence didn’t go down well with Twitterati.Also read53 killed in UP, Andhra, Bengal and Delhi due to lightning, thunderstorms: MHA 10 people were killed and several others injured in violence during the single phase panchayat elections in West Bengal, which recorded over 41 per cent polling till 1 pm, officials said. The polling is being conducted amid massive security across 20 districts. A total of 10 deaths have been reported so far. Deaths have been reported in Tehatta, Beldanga and Nauda in Murshidabada, Kultaki in South 24 Parganas, Amdanga and Deganga in North 24 Parganas, Santipur and Nakashipara in Nadia, Nandigram in East Midnapore and in North Coochbehar.Baharampore Sub-Divisional Officer Dibyanarayan Chatterjee said one person was shot dead near a booth at Sujapur village in Murshidabad district’s Beldanga police station area.The victim was a worker of the BJP, a party leader from Murshidabad district, Subhas Mondal, claimed.”We have also received a report that four people were injured and another person was killed at Tapan in South Dinajpur district. But the police are yet to confirm the death,” the SEC official said.He said 41.5 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm.A CPI(M) supporter was killed and another was injured when bombs were hurled outside a polling station in the Amdanga area of North 24 Parganas district, the official said.At Kultali in South 24 Parganas district, one person was killed when a bomb was hurled outside a polling station, the SEC official said.In Nadia’s Shantipur area, one person was killed and two others were injured in clashes, he said.In Coochbehar district, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh allegedly slapped a person outside a polling booth.The SEC said it has received a complaint in this regard and asked authorities to take action.Televisions channels showed the minister purportedly slapping the person. However, Ghosh claimed he did not do it.In the Dinhata area of Coochbehar district, at least 15 people, including voters, were injured after clashes broke out between two groups outside a polling station, police sources said. The voters later lodged a police complaint.Fifteen people were injured in a clash between two groups outside a booth in the Nandigram area of East Midnapore district. One person was hit on the head with a chopper while another lost a finger, police said.In Contai in the same district, Independent candidate and four others were injured when chilli powder was thrown at them at a booth, they said.In North Dinajpur district, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, around three km from district headquarter Raiganj, police said.Of the three bombs, two were found on railway tracks, affecting movement of trains, RPF sources said, adding that the bomb squad has been informed.In Birbhum, masked men carrying weapons and sticks were seen intimidating voters outside some of the booths.Television footage from Basanti block of South 24 Parganas district showed masked gunmen roaming outside polling stations.In the Bhangar area of the same district, police resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a mob following clashes there, the SEC official said, adding that the police were asked to submit a report regarding the incident.In Keshpur area of West Midnapore district, police resorted to lathi-charge and chased people who were allegedly trying to intimidate voters.After a protracted legal battle in the Kolkata High Court and the Supreme Court involving the SEC, the TMC and the opposition parties, the three-tier panchayat polls is being held in the state.With inputs from PTI
West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

Web Exclusive

Derek O’Brien

Bengal Panchayat Violence

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He doesn’t remember voters of Bengal are far smarter: Son criticises Mukul Roy; slams BJP’s ‘smartphone’ promise

Subhrangshu Roy, BJP leader Mukul Roy’s son and Trinamool Congress MLA from Bijpur in North 24-Parganas ​ on Wednesday slammed BJP and criticised his father for attempting to entice young voters with smartphones.Since the time Mukul joined the BJP, this is the first time he spoke out in public against his father.“Perhaps he doesn’t remember that voters of Bengal who had seen the developmental work of Chief Minsiter Mamata Banerjee are far smarter than that and cannot be baited into voting for some party who promise them material incentive,” he said.He also said that such comments may appease Prime Minister Narendra Modi but not the people in Bengal.Last week, Roy stirred up a controversy after he promised gifting smartphones to first-time voters in Jalpaiguri district, if the party emerged victorious at the Zilla Parishad there in the upcoming panchayat elections.”If we manage winning the Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad, we will be giving away smartphones to all the young voters who have turned 18 years,” Roy said at a rally.Last year, Mukul Roy quit the party as well as his Rajya Sabha seat, saying all members in a party ‘should be comrades and not servants’.Roy was suspended for six years for “anti-party activities” by the TMC following his announcement on September 25 that he would resign from the party after Durga Puja.
Mamata Banerjee

Mukul Roy

Zilla Parishad

smartphones

Trinamool Congress

BJP

Bijpur

Subhrangshu Roy

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TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay meets President Ram Nath Kovind, accuses BJP of perpetrating violence

Amid charges of perpetrating violence, a delegation of Trinamool Congress led by senior leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday stressing that the opposition parties were spreading rumours about not able to file nominations for the upcoming Panchayat polls.In a memorandum to the President, the TMC said the allegations are misplaced as 96,000 nominations out of 2 lakh have been filed by opposition parties so far.The move came after the candidates fielded by opposition parties accused the ruling TMC members of stopping them forcibly from filing their nomination papers for the elections. TMC too has accused the BJP of spreading violence and roping in outsiders to foment trouble in the state.Following the allegations and counter allegations, the Election Commission postponed the date of the panchayat polls tentatively to May 14 from the previously announced May 1, 3, 5.In its memorandum, the TMC credited itself for bringing peace in the violence torn state and emerging as top state in mandays generation, bank credit flows to the MSME sector in ease of doing business etc.It also accused opposition parties, especially the BJP, for perpetrating violence leading to the killing of five of its cadres recently.
Election Commission (EC)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Trinamool Congress

Sudip Bandyopadhyay

Ram Nath Kovind

Opposition parties

West Bengal Panchayat polls

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In Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress wins record 34% panchayat seats

In an unprecedented development, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has bagged 34% seats in yet-to-be conducted Panchayat Polls.There will be no polling in 20,076 seats of the total 58,692 seats in the forthcoming three-tier Panchayat polls in West Bengal because the ruling Trinamool Congress has won at about one-third seats uncontested.It was found out that in terms of percentage TMC has won uncontested in 34 which is a record in the history of Panchayat elections in West Bengal, beating the figure of 2003 when the ruling CPI(M) had won in 11 per cent seats across the state.According to the information from the State Election Commission (SEC), of the 48,650 Gram Panchayat seats TMC has won in 16,814. Total number of Panchayat Samity seats is 9,217 of which 3,059 have been taken over by the TMC uncontested and of the 825 Zilla Parishad seats TMC has, so far, already won in 203 seats.Most of the seats where the TMC has won uncontested are in districts of Birbhum, Bankura, Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas. After April 28 which was the last date for withdrawal of nominations, at places which are not going to polls, returning officers have already declared TMC candidates as winners and party supporters have begun celebrations.After the last date of withdrawal, SEC statistics show that of the total 825 Zilla Parishad seats, TMC has withdrawn 134, BJP 153, CPI(M) 79 and Congress 54. Others and independents have withdrawan 491 nominations.In case of Panchayat Samity, TMC has withdrawan 2407, BJP 931, CPI(M) 558 and Congress 301. Others and independent amounted to 4679.Withdrawals in case of Gram Panchayat seats figured at 7033 for TMC, 4490 for BJP, 2490 for CPI(M) and 1383 for Congress. Others and independent have withdrawn 18,449 nominations.
West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

bharatiya janata party

West Bengal Panchayat polls

Bengal panchayat polls 2018

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Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao holds talks with DMK leader MK Stalin on federal front

Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrashekhar Rao as part of his efforts to forge a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front at the national level for next year’s Lok Sabha election, held a long discussion on the political situation in the country with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin at his residence on Sunday. The leaders also called up Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee over the phone.Rao first met DMK supremo M Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence and enquired about his health before proceeding to the residence of Stalin who hosted him for lunch.After the meeting with Stalin ended, Rao denied any attempts at forging a third front. The Telangana CM also parried a question on whether he was projecting West Bengal CM Banerjee as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls in 2019.”We have not proposed any third, fourth or fifth front. This so-called front is created by media. We have never announced a third front… It is not a mere alignment of political parties, but an alignment of people of India, the masses and unemployed youth of India,” he said while responding to a query on the third front.When asked whether any front without Congress would help the BJP, he said that they were neither associating with the Congress nor going to desert it. “We are not saying we will associate with Congress, nor we will desert them. We don’t propose any such thing now,” the leader said. He said that a decision would be taken on what to do next after reaching a consensus with other parties in the next two to three months.”We decided to continue the talks further. He is also holding talks with chief ministers of many states. I told him that I am going to discuss with the like-minded parties in the state,” he said.Stalin, whose party is aligning with the Congress and is also working closely with Left parties in the state, said that the discussions centred around the prevailing political situation, adding that any announcement on a possible alliance would come only during elections.The TRS chief has recently met Banerjee and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda as part of his move to form an alternative. A resolution at the TRS Plenary on April 27 had authorised Rao to take appropriate decisions on forming the alternative to the BJP and Congress.”Across the nation, there is a debate that there is a need for a qualitative change in the governance of India and politics of India. We have been discussing this with leaders across the country,” Rao said.This effort will take about two to three months for a consensus to be achieved, Rao said adding he and Stalin shared the view that India should be a secular country. “The centralisation…Dictatorial trends” of successive governments seen in the last seven decades should go, he said.When asked if the Centre ‘ignored’ southern states, Rao shot back saying, “where is the doubt about it” and vowed to ensure justice for people. On whether he would reach out to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, he said “why not”, adding he considered him as “best friend”.Rao was accompanied by his senior party colleagues including K Keshava Rao, MP, while former DMK ministers TR Baalu and A Raja were present during the meeting.
Congress

West Bengal

Lok Sabha

TRS

Mamata Banerjee

Karunanidhi

MK Stalin

Telangana Rashtra Samithi

K Chandrashekhar Rao

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Bhaichung Bhutia launches ‘Hamro Sikkim Party’, says felt like an outsider in TMC

Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia today launched his political party “Hamro Sikkim” here. He said he “felt like an outsider” in the Trinamool Congress. The party will be based in his native state Sikkim. Bhutia said that even after being part of West Bengal politics and playing for top Bengal clubs for years, he could not get rid of the “outsider” tag and now he had returned to his roots. “I was dropped from the top in the TMC. Let’s not forget that when I contested from Siliguri, there was an outsider tag on me as well. “I played in Bengal for many years, but the tag was always there. My commitment to the TMC was not there. I think it was unfair on my part to be in a party I am not committed to,” he said. “Now, I am going back. My family, my house, all are in Sikkim. I am the son of the soil. Now, I will be able to commit myself. I think I can contribute much more here,” Bhutia added. Soon after his defeat in the West Bengal Assembly elections, difference of opinions cropped up between the TMC and Bhutia as he did not support the party’s stand on the Gorkhaland issue.”There were one or two major issues regarding Gorkhaland I did not agree to. I did not support the TMC’s stand on the issue,” he said. Bhutia said his party would try to rise above the petty politics of caste and religion, and make the state graft free as it had become a safe haven for corrupt people under the present state government. According to some political observers, the newly formed party would keep its options open to team up with the NDA, though Baichung said his first priority would be his party
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Hamro Sikkim

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West Bengal Panchayat Elections: BJP workers demonstrate outside Rajnath Singh’s residence over pre-poll violence

The panchayat polls in West Bengal will take place between May 1 to May 7 and the counting will take place on May 8. ”
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Updated: Apr 26, 2018, 02:31 PM IST<!–end of articllftpbx–>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers affected in pre-Panchayat poll violence in West Bengal on Thursday demonstrated outside Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence.The recent clash took place in West Bengal during filing of nominations for the upcoming panchayat elections.Incidents of violence were reported from Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas districts on Monday, when clashes erupted between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP supporters.The BJP claimed that nearly 30 of its party workers were attacked after violence erupted in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, claiming one life.The panchayat polls in West Bengal will take place between May 1 to May 7 and the counting will take place on May 8.
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NEW DELHI

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Mamata Banerjee should visit temples for mental peace: Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb

Lashing out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for discrediting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) victory in Tripura, the latter’s Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said the former “should get her brain examined in a hospital.”The newly-elected chief minister further suggested that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chief should visit temples for “mental peace.””Mamata didi should go to a temple and then get her brain examined at a hospital,” Biplab told reporters here.Earlier, Mamata in an interview had discredited the BJP for its victory in Tripura, and compared the saffron party’s feat to “winning the municipal elections”. She also reportedly claimed that the BJP’s victory in Tripura was no cause for concern for her.The BJP- Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) coalition defeated the Communist Party of India (CPI) with a two-thirds majority in the Tripura legislative assembly elections.The BJP won 35 of the 59 seats that went to polls in the Left bastion, ousting the CPI (M) which won only in 17 assembly constituencies.
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West Bengal panchayat poll violence: Victims to meet President Kovind

Following the clashes that erupted over the filing of fresh nominations for the panchayat elections in the state, the victims are scheduled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.On Monday, nearly 30 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were attacked after violence erupted in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, claiming one life.The clash broke out between the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP supporters during filing of nominations for the panchayat elections.In this regard, West Bengal BJP Vice President Biswapriya Roy Chowdhury said the affected victims will address the matter before President Kovind as well as in the party office, for which they are being brought to New Delhi.Terming the clash an “attack on democracy,” Chowdhury said that such a situation was not new to the state.”In West Bengal, democracy is under threat in the reign of the TMC government. This situation has been prevalent in the state for long, but the administration has not taken any action. 30-35 BJP workers have been attacked, who did not go for nominations. We will go to Delhi and present the case before the President and in the party headquarters,” he said.Echoing a similar view, the wife of the man who was killed in the clashes alleged that the death of her husband was an attack by the TMC. She further alleged that she was threatened by the ruling party.Incidents of violence were reported from Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas districts on Monday.Earlier in the month, six policemen were injured when the BJP and TMC workers engaged in a clash that broke out at Usti in South 24 Parganas district over the filing of nominations.On a related note, the panchayat polls in West Bengal will take place between May 1 to May 7 and the counting will take place on May 8.

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West Bengal Panchayat polls: Filing of fresh nominations turn bloody, at least two dead

The filing of fresh nominations for panchayat elections in West Bengal happened on Monday amid allegations of violence levelled by opposition parties against “goons” of the ruling Trinamool Congress. According to preliminary reports, at least two people have died in clashes regarding filing of nominations. Violence was reported from several parts of Bengal including Birbhum, North 24 Parganas, Malda etc with even senior opposition leaders allegedly being targetted by ruling party. A BJP worker has been killed in Siuri, in Birbhum district of the state, considered one of ruling TMC’s stronghold. Another person has been killed in Gopalnagar, in North 24 Parganas. Union Minister Babul Supriyo alleged that he was stopped from escorting his party workers to file nomination and police are helping the ruling party.The filing of nominations, which began at 11 am, continued till 3 PM. The Calcutta High Court had on Friday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to extend the date. The SEC issued a fresh notification on Saturday announcing April 23 as the new date for filing nominations to the three-tier panchayat elections. “The opposition has accused the Trinamool Congress of “letting loose a reign of terror” since the morning to prevent their candidates from filing their papers. “Since the morning, goons of the TMC are trying to terrorise our candidates. The police and administration are mute spectators,” state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said. A senior TMC leader brushed off the allegations as “baseless” and blamed the opposition for “vitiating peace” in some parts of the state. State Minister and close Mamata aide Bobby Hakim said that BJP is gradually losing ground and hence it is bringing people from outside to garner support. The dates for the polls, which were earlier scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5, are yet to be announced by the commission. The nominations received today would be scrutinised on April 25. The last date for the withdrawal of candidature is April 28, the notification had saidWith PTI inputs

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West Bengal Panchayat Polls: Filing of nominations begins on extended date

The filing of fresh nominations for panchayat elections in West Bengal began today, amid allegations of violence levelled by opposition parties against “goons” of the ruling Trinamool Congress.The filing of nominations, which began at 11 am, will continue till 3 pm.The Calcutta High Court had on Friday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to extend the date.The SEC issued a fresh notification on Saturday announcing April 23 as the new date for filing nominations to the three-tier panchayat elections.”The nomination process has began and we have received a few complaints and are looking into them. We have also formed a control room to address those problems,” a senior SEC official said.The SEC has asked the police to make adequate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident during the filing process.The opposition Congress and the BJP accused the Trinamool Congress of “letting loose a reign of terror” since the morning to prevent their candidates from filing their papers.”Since the morning, goons of the TMC are trying to terrorise our candidates. The police and administration are mute spectators,” state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said.The opposition parties alleged that incidents of violence had occurred in Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas districts.A senior TMC leader brushed off the allegations as “baseless” and blamed the opposition for “vitiating peace” in some parts of the state.The dates for the polls, which were earlier scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5, are yet to be announced by the commission.The nominations received today would be scrutinised on April 25. The last date for the withdrawal of candidature is April 28, the notification had said.

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West Bengal panchayat polls: Calcutta HC extends stay on election process

A single bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday extended a stay on the panchayat election process in West Bengal till the next date of hearing as an appeal on the maintainability of a petition by the BJP is pending before a division bench.Justice Subrata Talukdar directed that he will take up the matter tomorrow at 2 PM after going through today’s order of the appeal bench.The State Election Commission and the Trinamool Congress had moved the division bench comprising justices D Somadder and A Mukherjee challenging the single bench order which had accepted the maintainability of the petition at this stage.Justice Talukdar had stayed the election process for the three-tier panchayat elections on April 12 and had directed the SEC to submit a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected, amongst other information.The court had said that it would hear on April 16 the pleas challenging the SEC’s decision to withdraw its April 9 notification, which had extended the date for filing nominations by a day.SEC secretary Nilanjan Shandilya, who appeared in person before the court in view of an ongoing ceasework by lawyers, submitted the report today. Justice Talukdar had on April 10 stayed the withdrawal of SEC’s April 9 notification, directing the Commission to treat its order of cancellation as kept in abeyance.He had also imposed a cost of Rs five lakh on the BJP for misrepresentation holding that the BJP had moved both the high court and the Supreme Court on similar pleas and likened its conduct to “forum hopping”.The apex court had directed the BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court with its grievances over the deadline for filing of nominations for the panchayat polls in West Bengal.Apart from the BJP, the CPIM and the Congress too has moved the high court challenging the SEC’s decision.(With PTI inputs)

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TMC throttled democracy in West Bengal: Mukul Roy

BJP leader Mukul Roy today alleged that the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has throttled democracy in West Bengal.Those who do not respect the democratic rights and values should not talk big about democracy, Roy said.”There is an unprecedented attack on the basic democratic rights of the opposition parties. The Trinamool Congress has resorted to a full-fledged assault on democracy.Even mediapersons have not been spared,” Roy alleged.The BJP state leadership led by Roy today took out a rally to observe the 127th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.Referring to the violence during nomination filing for next month’s panchayat polls, Roy alleged that the TMC didn’t allow the opposition parties to file nominations as they are afraid of free and fair polls.He asked, “If they were so sure of their developmental work, why did they not allow the opposition parties to file nominations?”The Calcutta High Court on April 12 had stayed till further orders the ongoing panchayat election process in the state.

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WB panchayat elections: SC to hear BJP’s plea against poll body’s order recalling time extension for nominations

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear tomorrow a plea of the BJP against the West Bengal State Election Commission’s (SEC) decision to recall its order extending the deadline for filing of nominations for panchayat polls by a day.The West Bengal unit of the BJP moved the apex court hours after the state poll panel recalled its yesterday’s decision extending the last date for filing of nominations for next month’s panchayat election in the state. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the matter would be listed tomorrow before the same bench which had passed the verdict yesterday. Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the BJP, said that the apex court had passed the verdict asking them to give a representation to the State Election Commission with their grievances. “They (State Election Commission) have extended the deadline for filing the nominations by one day, but today they have recalled the order under pressure from the ruling Trinamool Congress,” Bhati said.She further said that the BJP filed an fresh Interlocutory Application (IA) seeking proper representation to the SEC and extension of the last date for filing of nominations. Bhati said that due to recall of the order, BJP candidates were not able to file their nomination papers. Though the last day for filing nominations for the rural polls slated for May 1, 3 and 5 was till yesterday, the SEC had extended it till 3 pm today on complaints that the opposition candidates had been prevented from filing papers.Also readWest Bengal Panchayat polls: State EC retracts order of extending nomination deadline, BJP likely to move HC The top court had yesterday refused to interfere with the poll process, saying that with the April 2 notification of the State Election Commission, the poll election process had been set in motion. The apex court had, however, said if any grievances were raised by any political party or any candidate in writing, then the SEC would ensure disposal of such grievance strictly in accordance with the law forthwith. Today, the State Election Commissioner cancelled the poll panel’s previous order extending the deadline for filing of nominations. The SEC said that there was no specific direction by the apex court for extension of the nomination date.According to the new notification, the State Election Commissioner received two letters, one from the special secretary of the state government and another one from the Trinamool Congress, citing legal infirmities in the previous order of the commission.

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West Bengal panchayat polls: TMC wins uncontested in many districts

On Monday, the last day for filing nominations for the panchayat election, it was observed that in several districts, the TMC has effectively gained control of the zilla parishad in the absence of any nomination by Opposition parties.At the top of the list is Birbhum, where, of the 42 zilla parishad seats, TMC has won in 41, uncontested. “We had managed to pitch one candidate from Rajnagar, which was the only seat where the TMC did not win uncontested,” Ramkrishna Roy, BJP district president, Birbhum, said.Similarly, of the 19 Panchayt Samitis of the district, 14 had been swept away by the TMC uncontested. TMC strongman and party district president from Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal, had said if the Opposition leaders are unable to file nominations, they should approach him for help.Senior CPI (M) leader Rabin Deb said that the number of uncontested wins would rise in favour of the TMC. “The number of uncontested wins will go up, as many of those who had filed nominations will be forced to withdraw,” he said.BJP leaders, too, blamed the TMC for engineering such a victory. “TMC’s culture of bombs and guns have won. If Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was so confident about the developmental work done, why did she resort to violence?” said BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.TMC workers had started celebrating the uncontested victory since 3 pm, when the nomination process ended. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said it was not the end of the world. “After using brute force, if people think they can destroy BJP, they are wrong. Lok Sabha elections will be held next year. Trinamool will be taught a lesson then,” Ghosh said.At Magrahat I BDO office in South 24 Parganas, people had started gathering since morning to file their nominations. It has been alleged that TMC workers appeared in huge numbers and tried to discourage them by attacking. BJP workers had retaliated and in the process, Rafique Jamal, SI, Usthi PS received a bullet injury on his hand as police tried to disperse the irate mob.Daughter of a BJP candidate, who had come to file her nomination at Baruipur in South 24 Parganas, was beaten up by TMC cadres.In Murshidabad district, too, Trinamool swept 29 of 30 panchayat samiti seats at Kandi. All the 21 panchayat samiti seats of Bharatpur and 37 of Barwan were also won uncontested by the TMC.Sk Saifuzzaman, Congress MLA from Beldanga was allegedly beaten up by TMC workers as he put up a road block on NH-34, protesting against TMC atrocities.ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma said on Monday that armed police would be posted at every booth during the poll process.CELEBRATIONTMC workers had started celebrating the uncontested victory since 3 pm on Monday. It has been alleged that TMC workers tried to discourage people from filing nominations by attacking them.

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West Bengal Panchayat Polls: Fresh violence in several districts, over 2,000 held

Clashes broke out in several districts in West Bengal today between the TMC activists and opposition parties in continuing political violence during the filing of nominations for the May panchayat polls, police said, even as nearly 2,000 people have been held in the state.The Congress alleged that ruling Trinamool Congress workers attacked a rally led by state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury in Murshidabad district, while bombs were hurled in Birbhum district following a clash between BJP and TMC workers.In Purulia, septuagenarian CPI(M) leader and nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia was assaulted allegedly by TMC supporters near the block development office at Kashipur yesterday, CPI(M) sources said today. Acharia was accompanying CPI(M) candidates who were on their way to file nominations at the BDO office for the panchayat polls.He was later admitted to Purulia sadar hospital with abdominal injuries, hospital sources said.The Trinamool Congress denied the allegations.State election commissioner (SEC) A K Singh told reporters that he received reports of violence from six places across the state.The SEC, who held a meeting with poll observers, instructed them to perform their duties without any fear and intimidation.”Don’t be afraid to perform your duties. If you face any sort of problem please feel free to call me. You are eyes and ears of SEC. You should work freely and fairly. I am there to help you,” Singh told the poll observers.Bombs were hurled in Birbhum’s Mohammad Bazar area following clash between BJP and TMC workers over filing of nominations for the panchayat polls, a distict police officer said.ADGP (law and order) Anuj Sharma told reporters that additional police force were being rushed to Birbhum.He claimed that outsiders from Jharkhand have sneaked into Birbhum to create trouble.He said that one person, identified as Biswanath Mahara, was injured during a clash and was admitted to Suri Hospital.Sharma said that the number of check posts along the interstate border was being increased to prevent the entry of people from outside.”The superintendent of police in Birbhum district has talked to his counterpart in the neighbouring Dumka district of Jharkhand”, he said.Asked who could be behind the Mohammad Bazar clash, Sharma showed a video footage to the media and said “I can only show you this (footage) which we received.” The footage showed a mob waving saffron flags.He said police were taking action wherever there is report of any untoward incident and additional forces were being sent to violence-hit areas.Sharma said that eight arms were seized, nine rounds of ammunition recovered and 15 bombs were found during raids in the past 24 hours in the state.There have been 1732 preventive arrests, 199 arrests and 475 warrant executions till April 6 to curb panchayat poll-related violence, he said.BJP leader Mukul Roy alleged that the outsiders brought by the TMC prevented his party candidates from filing nominations.”The police chased our party workers at many places when they went to file nominations”, he alleged.In Kandi area of Murshidabad district, a Congress stronghold, unidentified miscreants attacked a rally of Congress supporters led by state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.Infuriated over the attacks, Chowdhury along with Congress supported gheraoed a local police station and demanded arrest of the culprits.”The opposition is not allowed to file nominations, is this a sign of healthy democracy ? Why are they so afraid of opposition filing nominations ?” Chowdhury said.State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party will not “leave a single inch without putting up a fight”.”If we are attacked with bombs, guns and swords then TMC should not expect us to serve them sweets,” Ghosh said.TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee accused the opposition BJP of trying to foment trouble in the state by “importing outsiders” from neighbouring states.The rural polls are scheduled to take place in the first week of May in three phases.In Coochbehar, police used baton charge to disperse activists of the TMC and the BJP after clashes broke out between the groups over filing of nominations.BJP Coochbehar district president Nikhil Ranjan Dey claimed that the TMC had attacked BJP candidates and had tried to stop them from filing nominations during the day.TMC leader Binay Burman denied the allegations and accused the BJP of trying to destroy peace of the area.

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Row over ‘snakes, dogs’ remark: We don’t take Amit Shah too seriously, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah for making “disrespectful statement” against opposition parties by equating them to animals. “We don’t take what Amit Shah says with too much seriousness,” Rahul further added. In a stinging attack on political rivals, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Friday equated the parties trying to join hands against the BJP to ‘snakes, ‘mongoose, ‘dogs’ and ‘cats’. Later, he said his intention was not to equate Opposition parties to animals.”When huge floods occur, everything is washed away… Only a ‘vatvriksha’ (banyan tree) survives and snakes climb onto it, mongoose climb on it, cats climb onto it, dogs climb onto it, cheetah climb onto it and lions climb onto it because of the rising waters.”The flood caused by Modi has made all cats, dogs, snakes and mongoose to come together to contest polls,” Shah said during the rally.He was apparently referring to the efforts being made by various parties like the TRS, the Trinamool Congress and the TDP to sew up a coalition to take on the Modi-led BJP in the next general elections.Later, addressing a press conference, Shah said, “What I meant was political parties having no ideological similarities are coming together out of fear of Modi.”He was responding to questions over his remarks.”Snake and mongoose have nothing in common. Let me take names: Samajwadi Party and BSP, Trinamool Congress and Congress, Chandrababu Naidu and Congress, they have nothing in common and no ideological similarities, but are coming together,” the BJP president said.Earlier, in his address at the rally on the occasion of the BJP’s 38th Foundation Day, Shah expressed confidence that the BJP will win the 2019 polls, “not by giving hollow assurances but on the basis of work done by the Modi government.”Earlier on Saturday, The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday lashed out at BJP for making “insulting” remarks against political parties. In a letter to the party president, BSP chief Mayawati said the people of Uttar Pradesh through results of the Lok Sabha by-polls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur taught a lesson to the BJP for using such an “insulting and sanghi” language.(With inputs from agencies)

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West Bengal Panchayat polls: Calcutta HC asks EC to ensure peaceful elections

Hearing a plea filed by Congress’ West Bengal unit chief Adhir Chowdhury, Calcutta HC on Friday asked the state Election Commission to ensure peaceful election in the state. It also asked the Election Commission to file an affidavit regarding steps taken by them to ensure peace by April 16. The next hearing in this PIL will be heard on April 20. Panchayat polls are slated to be held next month in West Bengal. Opposition has alleged the ruling Trinamool Congress government of widespread violence and intimidating candidates and stopping them from filing nominations. High Court in its order said, if there is a law and order problem while filing nominations, the district Police Super has to set in. On Thursday, Congress’ West Bengal unit chief Adhir Chowdhury moved the Calcutta High Court seeking deployment of central forces for three-tier panchayat polls to be held in the state next month. He also sought the court’s direction to the State Election Commission to take steps for free and fair polls and to ensure that opposition candidates can file their nomination papers peacefully.In his petition, he claimed that the ruling Trinamool Congress workers are perpetrating violence in the state to terrorise terrorise the opposition candidates for the panchayat polls. The former Union minister also prayed for directions for deployment of central forces to ensure security of both the voters and the candidates during the panchayat elections. The sitting Lok Sabha MP claimed that opposition candidates are not being allowed to file nominations, the process of which is on at present, and prayed that the time for filing nominations be extended by a few more days. Also readWest Bengal Panchayat Polls: BJP, TMC workers clash during nomination in Jalpaiguri, around 25 injuredWith roughly same demand, BJP has moved Supreme Court. The matter will be heard in the apex court on Monday. With PTI inputs

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Angry with RS MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi for representing TMC in SC, Bengal Congress cancels meeting

Angry with Congress Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi for representing TMC in court, Congress MLAs cancelled the meeting with him on Saturday.While the official reason stated was that the MLAs had been busy with the forthcoming panchayat election and ill-health of leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan, but sources close to Mannan said that the meeting had been avoided after Singhvi represented TMC at the Supreme Court on Friday.“The meeting could have led to uncomfortable questions asked to him. That is why it has been called off,” said a senior MLA on condition of anonymity.As a bench of Justice RK Agarwal and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre heard BJP’s plea to allow their candidates to file nominations peacefully, to reschedule election and to deploy Central forces, Singhvi, who appeared for the TMC-led West Bengal government said that the BJP was doing it to gain media attention and that the BJP had filed more nominations than the TMC.Congress MLAs in Bengal thought that Singhvi’s move had watered down their fight against the TMC and that it would lead to more Congress MLAs defect to TMC.Singhvi, however, in a reply to a text message by DNA, refuted all allegations. ‘Amazingly false and distorted interpretation by vested interests. Meeting cancelled three days ago cos (sic) all MLAs out for panchayat elections. Anti-BJP brief I accepted today morn (sic) and saw first time today. Completely false. Also, I appeared as respondent in a brief where Petr (petitioner is BJP), the text read.Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for West Bengal, said the BJP’s petition was based on a wrong premise as there are several districts in which BJP candidates have filed more nomination papers than the ruling Trinamool Congress.He said the BJP should have first approached the State Election Commission, which should have approached the Calcutta High Court.”There is a triple whammy in BJP’s petition. First, they cannot directly come to the Supreme Court, they should have first moved the State Election Commission, and thirdly they should have made some specific averments of nomination papers not being allowed in a particular district,” Singhvi said.The bench, after hearing the arguments, said it will pass orders.The apex court had yesterday agreed to hear the matter today, considering the submission of Aishwarya Bhati, the counsel for BJP state general secretary Pratap Banerjee, that the last day for filing nominations was April 9.Bhati had also referred to the recent murder of a Dalit leader in the state and accused the Trinamool Congress government in the state of fomenting trouble.The plea sought issuance of nomination forms to BJP candidates, so they could file their papers.It alleged that block development officers, appointed assistant panchayat electoral registration officers by the West Bengal State Election Commission, are refusing to give nomination forms to BJP candidates.The West Bengal State Election Commission is the authority tasked with superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to panchayats and municipalities.”… the entire election process is being reduced to a farce. In addition to refusal of nomination forms, the ruling party in state of West Bengal has unleashed violence against the candidates of the petitioner (BJP) and the candidates of the petitioner along with their families are being threatened and dissuaded from contesting the panchayat elections on the symbol of the petitioner,” the plea said.The state poll panel has abrogated its responsibility and is behaving like a mute spectator without taking any action in this regard, it claimed. With inputs from PTI

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West Bengal Panchayat Polls: BJP, TMC workers clash during nomination in Jalpaiguri, around 25 injured

Around 25 people were injured in a clash between TMC and BJP workers during filing of nominations for West Bengal Panchayat polls in Jalpaiguri. on Friday.Earlier on Friday, the West Bengal BJP organised a sit-in demonstration in protest against the continuing violence over filing of nomination for the panchayat polls.The party also demanded adequate deployment of central paramilitary forces for free and fair panchayat polls.Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy and BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha along with other party leaders organised the sit in demonstration in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Mayo Road area in the city.”The Trinamool Congress has turned the panchayat elections into a farce in the state. The TMC is not allowing others to file nominations,” Roy said.The entire state is bleeding and both the State Election Commission (SEC) and the police administration are mute spectators. The police is acting like cadres of the TMC, Roy said.During the demonstration, BJP activists were carrying placards against the state government condemning the violence.Roy urged the workers of the opposition CPI(M) and the Congress to leave their party and join the BJP if they are serious about fighting against the alleged misrule of the TMC.”Both the Congress and the CPI(M) are spent forces in Bengal. They don’t have the strength to fight against the TMC’s misrule. The workers of BJP and CPI(M) should join the BJP if they are serious about fighting TMC,” Roy said.While addressing the agitation programme, Rahul Sinha said the BJP won’t leave a single inch to the TMC without putting up a fight.The protest comes in the backdrop of widespread violence across the state over filing of nominations. There have been several incidents of clashes between the BJP and the TMC supporters in various parts of the state.A state BJP delegation will today meet the SEC to complain about the ongoing violence in the state, party sources said.TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee dubbed the allegations as baseless.”The BJP is trying to disturb the peace and stability of the state by flaring up communal violence and bringing in outsiders to create trouble during the panchayat polls,” Chatterjee said.Panchayat polls will be held in the state in the first week of May. (With PTI inputs)

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West Bengal Panchayat Polls: BJP to move Supreme Court to ensure fair polling

Following his meeting with the State Election Commission over nomination issues for the impending Panchayat polls, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukul Roy, on Wednesday suggested that his party will move to the Supreme Court to ensure a fair polling in the state.Addressing the media, Roy said, “We are not scared of the (Panchayat) elections. We will knock at the doors of the Court only for getting some sort of direction to file our nomination. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is scared so they don’t want to go into elections.”Blaming the current Mamata Banerjee led-TMC government for ravaging the state of democracy in the state he said, “Today Bengal is bleeding. Those interested to file their nomination are beaten, stabbed, their family members threatened. Bengal democracy has been raped by the government. Bengal’s people have been raped in name of democracy.”Also readWest Bengal Panchayat Elections: 3-phase polling begins on May 1, counting on May 8; Oppn fumes over early announcementEarlier on Wednesday, a contingent of BJP leaders, including Roy, staged protests outside the State Election Commission’s office over the incidents of violence during the filing of nominations for the forthcoming elections.The Panchayat general elections in 20 districts of West Bengal are scheduled to take place in three phases in May.Also read’Stay together peacefully’: West Bengal Governor gives message of harmony to riot-hit AsansolThe elections in 20 districts across the state will be held on May 1, May 2 and May 5 respectively.The counting of votes will take place on May 8, 2018.

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Anti-BJP front can only succeed under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership: Congress

West Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury today said an anti-BJP front in the country “can succeed only under party president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership”.He took a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s proposal of putting up a “one-to-one” fight against the BJP and said the Congress did not need any advice from her.Chowdhury claimed that Banerjee was trying to project herself as a pan-India leader.Also readSetback to Congress in Odisha: Senior leaders quit party, some decide to join BJD “She is advising the Congress on what to do and what not to . Who has appointed her as an adviser to the Congress? If you are serious about fighting the communal forces, you have to fight under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.Banerjee, during her recent visit to New Delhi, had talked about a “one-to-one fight” between the BJP and the opposition parties in every state.Chowdhury also blamed Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal for failing to control violence in the state during Ram Navami celebrations.”The state government was unable to tackle the clashes as the TMC and the BJP are two sides of the same coin,” he said.The Congress did not need any suggestion from the TMC on how to deal with communal forces, Chowdhury added.”We are not opposed to any particular individual, the party stands against the communal ideology of the BJP as a whole,” he said.Also readAshok Gehlot replaces Janardan Dwivedi as Congress gen secy incharge of training, organisationIn a bid to forge opposition unity, Banerjee had met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi earlier this week and stressed the need for a united front against the BJP.The TMC supremo had also met a host of opposition leaders from other parties, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, during her two-day visit to the national capital to explore the possibilities of forming a “federal front” to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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Mayawati accuses BJP of double standards in dealing with Bengal and Bihar violence, Didi thanks her for support

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today thanked BSP president Mayawati after she charged the Centre with adopting double standard in dealing with NDA-ruled Bihar and TMC-governed West Bengal, and said the UP leader had “exposed” the Narendra Modi dispensation. Banerjee, who is the Trinamool Congress chief, also said that the BJP government was “scared” because all the opposition parties were “working together”.”Thank you Mayawati Ji for your comments about Bengal. You have exposed the BJP govt. BJP govt is scared as we are all working together,” tweeted Banerjee, who is currently in Delhi to explore a ‘federal front’ option to take on the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls.”The BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is adopting double standards while dealing with Bihar and West Bengal governments as the former is led by their own coalition and the latter by TMC’s Mamata Banerjee,” Mayawati said in a statement released in Lucknow.”Though the West Bengal government is being targeted for asking police to act sternly against those instigating riots by taking out a yatra, in a similar case in Bihar, the government there is out to save the son of a union minister,” the BSP chief said.She was apparently referring to Arjit Shashwat, son of Union minister of state Ashwini Kumar Choubey who was recently booked for allegedly inciting communal passion by taking out an unauthourised procession in Bhagalpur town in Bihar.In her statement, Mayawati asked, “Why this double standard on the part of the central government on the issue of law and order and amity?” She also recalled that communal riots had taken place in Kasganj area of Uttar Pradesh when a ‘tiranga yatra’ was taken out allegedly “without permission”.Banerjee had yesterday held meetings with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and leaders of some regional parties as well as NDA ally Shiv Sena mooting a “one-to-one” fight in all the states.Today she met disgruntled BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha in New Delhi.

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Mamata Banerjee to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar, opposition leaders in Delhi

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will on Tuesday meet the leaders of several opposition parties during her four-day visit to the national capital.The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo is scheduled to attend a meeting of the opposition parties, convened by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, in the national capital.At the airport, she told reporters that it was a “routine visit”.”The Central Hall is a famous hall, where I will meet the leaders of my party and if the leaders of other parties want to meet me, I welcome them. We are all friends,” she said.A strident critic of the BJP-led central government and its policies, Banerjee had recently called for unity among all the anti-BJP forces to defeat the saffron party in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.On whether she would be meeting UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during her visit to New Delhi, the chief minister said, “She is hospitalised. Let her recover. I do not want to disturb her.”Asked whether she would be meeting Pawar, Banerjee said, “We (TMC) have 46 MPs (including 12 Rajya Sabha members) there. Sometimes I get the opportunity to go there and meet them. I have worked as an MP for seven terms and I know many leaders and MPs of several political parties.” Pawar has called a meeting of all the opposition leaders, including those from the Congress, to discuss the strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.NCP leader Praful Patel had met Banerjee earlier this month here and invited her to attend the meet.The TMC chief had also met TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, who called on her to discuss the process of setting up a federal front against the BJP-led government at the Centre.

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Ram Navami: Fresh violence reported in West Bengal’s Murshidabad, Bardhaman; cop loses hand in blast

Trouble over Ram Navami processions continued in West Bengal for the second day today as members of saffron outfits clashed with the police in Murshidabad and Bardhaman West districts, resulting in a senior police officer losing his hand when a bomb was hurled at him.One person was killed and five police personnel were injured yesterday in a clash between two groups in Purulia as sword-wielding BJP supporters defied the state government’s ban on armed rallies on Ram Navami.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the director general of police (DGP) to instruct all the superintendents of police (SPs) to take strong action against those who carried arms in the rallies.Also readRam Navami rallies: CPM slams Trinamool, BJP for engaging ‘competitive communalism’ in Bengal”The law will take its own course. I will not tolerate this,” she said at a meeting at Pailan, near here, adding that action would be taken against the police if they failed to take measures in this regard.In the Kandi area of Murshidabad district today, clashes broke out when the participants in a Ram Navami rally, allegedly armed with swords and tridents, tried to enter a police station, the police said.Also readPolice complaint against West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh for carrying arms in Ram Navami processionAt least 10 persons were injured when the members of the Ram Navami Utsav Committee came to blows with the police personnel during a procession in the area, a senior police officer said.The committee, also comprising BJP and VHP activists, had organised the rally from the Kandi bus stand to the Radhaballav temple around 11.30 am, Additional SP (Sadar) Anish Sarkar said.Also readRam Navami Procession: Mamata Banerjee asks police to take action against those who took out armed rallies”A clash ensued between the two sides as a few participants of the rally hurled stones at the police station and the vehicles parked outside. The police had to baton-charge the agitators,” he said, adding that no one was arrested in connection with the incident so far.BJP leader Subhash Mondal, however, blamed the local members of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) for the ruckus.”Unidentified miscreants of the TMC joined the rally to create a ruckus. It was an attempt to spoil our image before the people here,” he alleged.Refuting Mondal’s allegations, TMC MLA Apurbo Sarkar accused the BJP and the VHP of trying to disturb peace in the area and claimed that the ruling party had nothing to do with the incident.In the Raniganj area of Bardhaman West district, two police officers were seriously injured when two groups attacked each other during a rally.One of the Ram Navami processions allegedly tried to enter a area, where members of the minority community lived in large numbers, a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.The members of the two communities got into a fight even as the police tried to intervene, he said, adding that a temple in the vicinity was also attacked during the clashes.”Asansol-Durgapur Deputy Commissioner of Police Arindam Dutta Chowdhury was injured in the incident. He lost a hand when the agitators hurled a bomb at him. He has been admitted to a private hospital,” the officer said.Officer in-charge (OC) Pramit Ganguly also received head injuries in the violence, he added.Union minister and Asansol MP (BJP) Babul Supriyo, who was supposed to participate in one the rallies in Raniganj but backed out at the last moment, alleged that it was a “premeditated attack, meant to hurt me”.Asansol Mayor Jitendra Tiwari urged the people to maintain peace in the area.The TMC and the BJP had organised several processions to celebrate Ram Navami in the state, with the saffron party dubbing the rallies as a first step towards “uniting the Hindus” of Bengal.State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said it was an age-old Hindu tradition to conduct “astra puja” (worship of weapons) on the day of Ram Navami and that he was not aware of any ban on armed rallies.”Where is the government order banning arms in Ram Navami processions? Where is the circular?” he asked.A case was also registered against BJP West Bengal Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee today for allegedly participating in an armed Ram Navami procession in Birbhum district yesterday, Superintendent of Police (SP) N Sudheer Kumar said.Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma said the police had not given permission to take out armed rallies.The police would take legal action against those who defied the rules, he added.

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West Bengal Panchayat polls: Parties rely on social media to reach out to voters

Political parties in West Bengal will use the social media extensively for the first time to woo rural voters in the panchayat polls slated for later this year, given the rise in the number of smart phone users in the state, leaders of various parties said.With 70 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats of the state being in its rural areas and the general election due next year, the panchayat polls and its results have assumed greater importance, they said. The ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are way ahead of its rivals in terms of presence on the social media and are followed by the CPI(M) and the Congress. The TMC leadership has asked its district leaders to ensure maximum use of social media to reach out to young voters. Its students wing, the Trinamool Chatra Parishad, has engaged its cadres in various colleges of the districts to create awareness about the developmental work of the Mamata Banerjee government. “Apart from the traditional mode of election campaigning, social media will also be used to reach out to the people as almost 99 per cent of the youths use WhatsApp and Facebook,” a senior TMC leader told PTI.The TMC leadership has also asked its party workers to remain active on social media in order to counter any “misuse of social media to foment trouble in the state”. “The BJP and the RSS are for a long time trying to foment trouble in the state by circulating fake posts and rumours on Facebook and WhatsApp. We are cautious about it,” said another TMC leader. The state had witnessed incidents of communal violence last year triggered by inflammatory posts on social media. A BJP leader said a dedicated team of the party’s leaders and workers are working 24×7 to ensure that messages, video clips of speeches of its important leaders and the development work by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre are communicated to the people over the social media.Also readInspired by Tripura win, Bengal BJP leadership to meet tomorrow to set Panchayat poll roadmap “Apart from going to the people physically, social media will play a vital role in reaching out to masses especially youths,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said. The party plans to run 50 WhatsApp groups in each block of the state so that all the 77,000 booths can be covered by using social media, said another BJP leader. “In many places of the state, the opposition is not being allowed to hold a rally or a press conference. In those places social media will play an important role in reaching out to people,” he said. With smart phones getting cheaper, many people in the rural areas have access to them and are regular users of WhatsApp and Facebook, he added.The Congress too is trying to woo the youth through the social media – a move party leaders said would help it counter the campaigns by the BJP and the TMC over the Internet. The state unit of the party has recruited social media coordinators for each Assembly segment.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury stressed that the party could not lag behind the aggressive social media campaigns by the BJP and the TMC. “Social media is one of the best tools to reach out to the youth of the state who are well versed with it – be it Facebook or WhatsApp. To reach out to the youth, a strong social media presence is a must,” Chowdhury told PTI. The Congress plans to highlight the “failures” of both the BJP government at the Centre and the Trinamool Congress government in the state on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp as well as its own election manifesto, party sources said. The CPI(M)-led Left Front, which is facing a tough time in the state and is staring at the possibility of losing its opposition status to the BJP, is actively training hundreds of its cadres on proper use of social media platforms.

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Budget session of Parliament: Day 7 washes out with blame game

As both the Houses of Parliament continued to face logjam for the seventh consecutive day, the government and Opposition blamed each other for the stalemate situation on Tuesday.Blaming the Congress for the impasse, BJP dubbed the party as ‘anti-democratic’ and said that it still holds the same contempt for democracy as it had during the Emergency.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government has been talking to different parties to break the deadlock in Parliament, but the Congress is playing the spoilsport.Despite appeals by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, the Upper House got adjourned soon after meeting at 11 am as members of various parties including AIADMK, TMC, Congress, TDP and YSR stormed into the Well. Naidu said that the government has agreed to hold discussions on all the pressing issues, including banking fraud, but the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and other parties demanded for a debate under rules that allow voting.Naidu said the issues have been permitted under Rule 176 that provides for a member to give notice of a Short Duration Discussion for raising a matter of urgent public importance. Opposition, however, said that they would settle for no rule other than 168/169 that requires voting on a resolution.TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said his party has given a notice for discussion on PNB fraud under Rule 168. “If my motion is not accepted, principle of natural justice will be denied,” he said.Agreeing with Roy, Naidu said that a discussion can only be allowed under Rule 176 which was opposed by the Congress and TMC. In addition, MPs from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh joined them in the Well which prompted Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 2 pm.In Rajya SabhaThe Congress and TMC push for a debate that requires voting for a resolution on bank fraud. Chairman allows the topic to be discussed for short duration, leading to adjournment.

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Tripura CM Biplab Deb allocates portfolios; keeps Home, PWD

Biplab Kumar Deb, who assumed the office of Tripura chief minister yesterday, allocated portfolios to all the nine ministers sworn-in, including himself, today.Chief Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan, in a notification, said Deb would be in charge of seven departments — home, PWD, industries and commerce, urban development, general administration, labour, information and cultural affairs — apart from being responsible for all the policies and any other department not allocated to any minister.Deb, however, would not be looking after the Information Technology (IT) sector in the industries and commerce department, the notification said.Also readTripura: In a heart-warming gesture, Biplab Deb touches ex-CM Manik Sarkar’s feetDeputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma, who is yet to win an election from an Assembly seat, was given the portfolios of power, rural development, finance, planning and coordination.Ratan Lal Nath was given the charge of school education, higher education, law, parliamentary affairs, welfare of OBCs and minority portfolios.Sudip Roy Barman, who had joined the BJP with five other Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLAs last year, was given the portfolios of health and family welfare, industries and commerce (IT), science, technology and environment and drinking water supply.Also readTripura: Left Front withdraws candidate from Charilam constituency amid violencePranajit Singha Roy was given the agriculture, transport and tourism portfolios.Manoj Kanti Deb was given the charge of the department of youth affairs and sports, apart from food, civil supplies and consumer affairs.Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) president and veteran leader N C Debbarma was given the revenue and fishery portfolios, while IPFT general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia was given the tribal welfare and forest portfolios.Also readBiplab Kumar Deb – From RSS member to Tripura CMShantana Chakma, the youngest minister and the only woman in the new government, was given the social welfare and social education portfolio as well as animal resource development.

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BJP, TMC workers clash over purification of Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s statue in Kolkata

The scheduled programme of BJP to purify the bust of Syama Prasad Mookerjee ended up in a clash between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress supporters near Keoratala Crematorium in south Kolkata today. Mookerjee’s bust was vandalised yesterday by a left wing “radical” group in protest against pulling down of communist icon Lenin’s statue in Tripura. The statue was damaged and was smeared with black paint.On Thursday, a group of BJP supporters carrying pots of milk and water from the Ganga started to march from Rashbehari Avenue to the the crematorium but were allegedly stopped by TMC activists. BJP alleged that they were beaten up by the TMC cadres.“We were going for the shuddhikaran (purification) of Mookerjee’s statue but armed goons of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unleashed an attack on us. We are giving them time till 5 pm to come up with a statement as to when will the statue be restored. If they are unable to do so, we will put up sit in demonstrations in front of all statues at all district headquarters. Police too are working as TMC cadres,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said. He added that they were ready to tackle the violence of TMC. “If TMC wants to carry out politics with violence, we are ready. We will play by the rules they set,” Ghosh said. He said that two of their workers who had been attacked were arrested by police.In total, 74 party workers including two women were arrested, BJP claimed. But the police said that they arrested 59 people, including two women, without specifying the party to which they belonged. They were later released on bail, the police said. Local TMC councillor Mala Roy said, “It was a gimmick by the BJP which was resisted by local people. They had no permission to enter the park after the incident yesterday.”Later during the day, another clash broke out between RSS workers and members of Students Federation of India (SFI). Members of Bangali Hindu Astitva Raksha Committee had put up a programme inside Jadavpur University campus but SFI members alleged that RSS members wanted to avenge the damage done on Mookerjee’s statue, and had gathered to pull down the statue of Lenin within the JU campus. Huge police contingent was pressed in to bring the situation under control. Police also resorted to mild lathi charge. Police sources said that two persons were arrested after the incident.

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2 Lenin statues brought down in Tripura; CPM blames BJP

Two statues of communist icon Vladimir Lenin were brought down in South Tripura, the police said today, as the CPI(M) and its arch-rival in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, blamed the BJP for the incidents.The statues were pulled down just days after the Left was defeated in Assembly polls by the BJP and its ally IPFT, which together won a two-third majority in the House in a state where the CPI(M) was in power for 25 years.A five-foot high fibre glass statue of Lenin was toppled at Belonia yesterday, while a smaller figure was razed at Sabroom two days ago, district superintendent of police Monchak Ipper said.Tripura chief minister-designate Biplab Deb has urged the people of the state to maintain peace and said anybody indulging in violence would be punished.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to state Governor Tathagatha Roy and the director general of police, asking them to ensure peace till a new government was installed, an official said in New Delhi.The demolition at Belonia evoked a sharp reaction from Trinamool Congress chief and Mamata Banerjee, who blamed the BJP and the RSS for the incidents.Tripura CPI(M) district secretary Tapas Datta alleged that the statue, unveiled by the party’s Politburo member and former general secretary Prakash Karat a few months ago, was razed by BJP workers yesterday at College Square in Belonia, about 110km from here.”After pulling down the statue, slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ were raised,” Datta told PTI.Ipper said the driver of the JCB excavator machine allegedly used to bring down the Lenin figure at Belonia was arrested and a notice sent to its owner.The statue would be handed over to the authorities of the Belonia Municipal Corporation, he said.The incidents took a controversial turn with a tweet posted by Governor Roy.”What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa”, he tweeted.CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who criticised the incidents, described the tweet as “unfortunate”.”The tweet by the governor is unfortunate … This shows how constitutional posts are being undermined,” he said.Asked by a TV news channel for his comment, Roy said, “‘Yechury may go on making charges. It is not my duty to reply.” Prohibitory orders were clamped on several areas of West Tripura district including – Srinagar, Lefunga, Mandai, Amtali, Radhapur, Arundhatinagar, Jirania, Mohanpur following post-poll violence, district magistrate Milind Ramteke said.The CPI(M) accused the BJP and the IPFT of unleashing an “unprecedented reign of terror” across the state after the election results were announced on March 3.Yechury alleged in Kolkata that 514 party activists have been assaulted, 1,539 houses of party activists attacked and 196 houses set ablaze in the last few days.He also claimed 134 CPI(M) offices were attacked and looted, 64 party offices set on fire and 90 offices of mass organisations occupied by BJP-IPFT supporters.The party top brass including Yechury and Politburo members Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat and Surjya Kanta Mishra led a rally in Kolkata, which ended in front of a statue of Lenin at Dharmatalla in the heart of the city.Tripura CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar appealed to the state administration and the BJP to “stop the violence”.”In a democratic system a change of government is usual, but violence in such a grave form is not acceptable,” he said.The police today said it had received complaints of post-poll violence from various parts of the state since Sunday night.Senior CPI leader D Raja said while one party may win and another party lose an election, it did not mean either could indulge in vandalism.”Lenin is considered one of the tallest leaders of the world. We should have that respect,” he told a TV news channel.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the RSS-BJP for their alleged involvement in the pulling down of Lenin’s statues.”It is not one’s job to pull down the statue of an icon after coming to power in a state,” she said at a public meeting in Bankura in West Bengal.Tripura’s BJP vice-president Subal Bhowmick had alleged yesterday that CPI(M) activists assaulted 49 BJP supporters, 17 of whom had to be hospitalised.

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From winning 56 out of 60 seats in 1978 to 2018 decimation: The rise and fall of Left Front in Tripura

The CPI(M)-led Left Front (LF), which had first assumed power in Tripura in 1978, winning 56 of the 60 seats in the state Assembly, never fared so badly in elections in the north-eastern state as it did in this year’s polls, the results of which were declared today.Nripen Chakrabarty had headed the first LF government in the state in 1978. The Congress had drawn a blank and the Tripura Upajati Juba Samity (TUJS), a tribal outfit, had managed to bag four seats in 1978. In the 1983 Assembly election, the LF had bagged 39 seats, while the Congress-TUJS alliance captured 20 and the Amra Bangali, a regional party, won the remaining seat. Of the 39 seats won by the LF, the CPI(M) alone had bagged 37 while the other two seats fell into the kitty of its ally, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). The Congress had won 14 and the TUJS six seats in 1983.The LF was defeated by the Congress-TUJS combine by a slender margin in the 1988 Assembly election. Polling was held in 59 seats in 1988, while it was countermanded in one seat due to the death of the CPI(M) candidate.Also readTripura Election 2018: 5 reasons behind BJP’s historic winThe Congress had captured 23 and the TUJS seven seats in 1988, while the CPI(M) won 29. Subsequently, the Congress-TUJS alliance’s tally went up to 31 after the tribal outfit won another seat in a by-election. In 1993, the LF had wrested power from the Congress-TUJS combine, winning 49 seats. The Congress had managed to win 10 seats and the TUJS only one. The LF had retained power in the 1998 Assembly election, capturing 41 seats. The Congress-TUJS combine had won 19 seats with the former bagging 15 and the latter four. Manik Sarkar was elected Chief Minister after the 1998 polls. In the 2003 Assembly polls, the LF had retained power by winning 41 seats. While the Congress had bagged 13 seats, its new ally, the Indigenous People’s Party of Tripura, won six seats.The LF had pulled up an impressive victory in the 2008 Assembly election, getting 49 seats, while its opponents — the Congress and the INPT — won 10 and one seats respectively. The LF’s tally went up to 50 in the 2013 polls, while the Congress won the remaining 10 seats. Six Congress MLAs had quit the party and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2016. Subsequently, they had switched over to the BJP. Another Congress MLA, Ratan Lal Nath, had also joined the saffron party two months before the 2018 Assembly election and was disqualified by the Assembly speaker under the anti-defection law.

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Bhaichung Bhutia, picked by Didi, quits all TMC posts

Former captain of the Indian football team, Bhaichung Bhutia, has quit Trinamool Congress, the party which he had joined in 2013, saying he had joined active politics because he did not want to sit on the sidelines and criticize the system.On his Facebook and Twitter accounts, he put up a post on Monday which read, “As of today I have officially resigned from the membership and all the official and political posts of All India Trinamool Congress party. I am no longer a member or associated with any political party in India.”Sources said Bhutia was not happy with the way the state government had handled the Darjeeling issue. “He had expressed his dissatisfaction over the police firing in Darjeeling and the 104-day bandh which followed at the Hills,” a source close to the ace footballer said.Amid buzz that Bhutia might go to BJP, Bengal party president Dilip Ghosh said people like him are welcome. “I am surprised how he sustain ed in a party like TMC for so long. It is good that he has finally quit the party and it will be better if he joins BJP because it is only BJP where people with international repute like him will get the right kind of treatment and opportunity to work for the people,” he said.“The party has not reacted to Bhutia’s resignation. If it does we will tweet,” TMC spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek O’ Brien told DNA.Party national secretary general Partha Chatterjee said he was not aware of the development.

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Mosque turned away 25 families after joining BJP in Tripura village, now they pray in makeshift mosque

Around 25 families living in a small village in South Tripura were turned away by a mosque for joining Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) two years ago. They are now forced to worship in a temporary mosque. The village has over 100 families and 83 of them are Muslim.Moidatila, a small village of farmers now has two mosques. A report in the Indian Express says that the original mosque holds congregations of the non -BJP families and the BJP supporters pray in a makeshift mosque.Babul Hossain, a resident of the village said that they joined the BJP 16 months ago and soon, people at the mosque told them they could no longer pray there.”They said since we are supporting a Hindu-vadi party, there is no longer any need to come to the mosque and we could go with the Hindus,” Hossain told the daily.The families have engaged a separate imam and pay to him through collections.Hossain also said that he doesn’t know about the BJP being a Hindutva party and don’t believe they have been involved in attacks against Muslims in other parts of the country. He also said that they want to current government to go as they have got nothing from them (Left Front) in 25 years.Tripura is set to go to polls to elect a 60-member Assembly on February 18 and the results would be declared on March 3. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on Monday claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win in the Tripura election 2018 and form a government in the state.The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) has a strong foothold in Tripura and is in power for the past 25 years. In the 2013 polls, the CPI(M) managed to bag a majority with 51 seats, while the rest was shared by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Congress party.

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Loya’s death: Rahul Gandhi leads 114 MPs to meet prez Kovind, demands SIT probe

Opposition MPs on Friday petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind for a court-monitored SIT probe into the death of CBI judge B H Loya and said they have no faith in either the CBI or the NIA.MPs from several political parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, met the president today and presented him a memorandum with the demand.”To uphold the majesty of law, we request you to intervene in the matter. What is required is a thorough investigation through a team of independent officers selected and monitored by the Supreme Court,” the memorandum stated.It has been signed by 114 MPs from 15 parties, including the TMC, SP, NCP, DMK, RJD and AAP as well as the Left parties. The BSP is not a signatory to the letter.The investigation should not be entrusted to either the Central Bureau of Investigation or the National Investigation Agency, given their track record, the MPs said.”Such a procedure will ensure the credibility of the institution in the eyes of the public. We sincerely hope you will use your good offices to serve the cause of justice,” they told the president.Rahul Gandhi, who led the opposition charge, said a large number of MPs felt that there is something suspicious in the death of Loya and two more that took place thereafter.”A large number of MPs feel suspicious and uneasy over the death of judge Loya and two others. They wanted an independent probe and did not want the investigation to hbe handed over to the CBI,” Gandhi said after the meeting.He said the president gave a positive response and has assured them that he would look into the matter.Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.The issue came under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case.

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Opposition manufacturing non-existent issue: Arun Jaitley on ‘murder of democracy’ allegation in RS

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday lashed out at the opposition, led by the Congress, for staging a walkout, terming it as ‘unprecedented.’“Congress and some other parties have tried to manufacture an issue when none existed,” Jaitley told reporters.Earlier in the day, opposition parties sent a letter to Rajya Sabha chairperson and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu stating that the government was “murdering democracy” in the Upper House by not letting them speak.The letter was sent following a meeting of opposition parties to discuss strategy for parliament. The meeting took place after they joined hands in boycotting the Upper House for the first time in this budget session.”We have raised our concern over the way the Upper House is been run. As a first step we are writing to the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. We have said that the government is murdering democracy in the House by not letting the opposition speak,” Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien told PTI.The letter was signed by the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, Left parties and other opposition parties.The Trinamool Congress had given notice to the Rajya Sabha chairperson on the issue of constitutional authorities overstepping their limits.Also readNo one today talks to me over phone because they say your phone is tapped: Ghulam Nabi Azad in RS It alleged that Naidu did not allow its member to speak and adjourned the House.”We know that the chairperson has the discretion power.But even the Supreme Court has many a times said the power should be used sparingly and not randomly. In a democracy even the voice of the opposition is heard. All opposition parties have agreed on this. We have written to the chairperson jointly,” said Trinamool leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.Opposition parties have decided to chalk out their strategy and “take up their issue to the next level” if their demands are not met, party leaders said.

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TMC not keen on Cong alliance in Tripura

The Congress’s bid to enter an alliance with the Trinamool Congress in Tripura is most likely to fall flat, with the TMC being unhappy with what the Congress has to offer.When they released their list of candidates for Tripura, the Central leaders in the Congress gave tickets to more than 56 candidates in the 60 seats it is contesting, and said that four names will be let out later. However, days before that, the party sent a prominent state leader as an emissary to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who seemed positive and open to the alliance.The Congress’s offer was that the parties will enter into a seat-sharing basis and that the party will hand over five or six seats to TMC. Of these, one seat was to be reserved for SC and ST candidates, while the remaining were to be of general candidates. All the seats were to be in the tribal belt. Further, the Congress’s condition was that the alliance will work only if Mamata herself campaigns in the state. This was to ensure that the Bengal CM thaws away into the CPI (M)’s Bengali vote-bank in the state. The talks had also presumably reached a high level. However, with the February 3 deadline for the withdrawal of nominations in the state, it is likely that the alliance will not work out. A TMC leader, unwilling to be quoted, said that the party is unhappy with the Congress’s arrogance over the matter.“They have not budged an inch, and are not willing to comply to some of our demands,” said the leader.In the state, where 56 of the 60 seats were won by CPI (M), Congress has four MLAs. Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath along with Mahila Congress president Himani Debbarma joined BJP in December.FALLING FLATA TMC leader said the party is unhappy with the Congress’s arrogance over the matter. “They have not budged an inch and are not willing to comply to some of our demands,” he said.

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Mamata Banerjee not to attend Opposition party meeting in Delhi tomorrow

West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said she would not attend tomorrow’s meeting of opposition parties called by Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.Banerjee described it as a “routine meeting”.”I will not be able to attend the meeting tomorrow because of some other preoccupation,” Banerjee told reporters in the state Assembly here.She said it was a routine meeting which would be attended by Trinamool Congress Parliamentary party leaders.Gandhi is likely to chair the meeting of opposition leaders to plan a joint strategy for the Budget Session of Parliament.The meeting is slated to be held after the presentation of the Union Budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Asked about the violence in Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh, Banerjee, “What has happened there is very unfortunate. Let peace be restored there”.”I am not like the BJP that I will criticise everything,” she added.To a question on the VHP’s demand that the family of Chandan Gupta, killed at Kasganj, be given Rs 50 lakh as compensation, Banerjee said, “I don’t know the details. If there is a communal situation, we don’t comment (on it).Let the state government take a decision on humanitarian grounds.”

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TMC to continue fight against Aadhaar, says Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien

The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) said today that it would continue to “expose” various Aadhaar card-related problems and carry on its fight against the central government’s move in and outside Parliament.In a statement, TMC MP Derek O’Brien said that his party would be “persistent” in its protest against Aadhaar card.”From notices in Parliament to questions in Question Hour and Mamata Banerjee’s public declarations, the Trinamool Congress has exposed Aadhaar card problems. We won’t stop. The All India Trinamool Congress have fought war on Aadhaar beyond just tweeting about it — early, consistent, persistent. In Parliament and outside it,” he said.Opposing linking of Aadhaar with mobile phone number, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that she would not comply with it even if her phone connection was snapped.The TMC has accused the central government of imposing an “autocratic” rule and said her party would “have to play a role so that the BJP is removed from power” at the Centre.In a TMC parliamentary party meet just before the winter session of Parliament, Banerjee had directed party MPs to keep raising the issue to corner the government.TMC MPs also staged a protest in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament House, while in the Rajya Sabha TMC member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy had given a notice for a short duration discussion on the matter and also raised the issue.

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Bhima Koregaon violence: Maha caste violence reverberates in Rajya Sabha

Maharashtra caste violence reverberated in Rajya Sabha for the second day with Opposition members training guns on the BJP government in the state and seeking a speedy judicial inquiry to punish the culprits.NDA ally Shiv Sena said not all such cases should be linked with Hindu organisations.Rajani Patil of Congress, who gave notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 to take up the issue of Bhima Koregaon violence, alleged that atrocities against Dalits had taken place under the watch of the Maharashtra government and demanded setting up of a probe panel.She also alleged that people behind the violence were associated with “Hinduwadi” outfits and demanded action against them. However, unlike Wednesday, the House did not witness disruption of proceedings on the issue today with several members appealing for peace and unity.Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said, “Our approach should be to see that tempers come down and situation is brought back to normalcy. We should not accelerate the tension. After all, it is a social conflict.”Naresh Agrawal of the Samajwadi Party alleged that Maharashtra government failed to provide security to people while Nadimul Haque of Trinamool Congress called for stopping such “political lynching”. Haque said the Maharashtra matter is not an isolated incident and a pattern is emerging.Dilip Tirkey of BJD demanded a probe into similar incidents of violence across India. Veer Singh (BSP) blamed “bhagwa jhandadhari” (saffron flag-bearers) for the violence and seconded the demand of CPI-M’s T K Rangarajan for a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the apex court. NCP chief and former Maharashtra CM Sharad Pawar apprised the House about the history of the Bhima- Koregaon event and the sentiments of Dalits associated with it.

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CRPF camp attack in Jammu and Kashmir| Day after assault, family of martyr demands action

In another incident yesterday, a soldier lost his life in the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir's Nowshera sector. The Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked firing on Indian Army posts in the early hours wherein the Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 1 January 2018 12:31 ISTMust readLucknow madrasa shocker: Police rescues 51 girls who were being sexually exploited by manager Gujarat: Sulking Nitin Patel to wait and watch<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The world has not seen a worse country than Pakistan, the son of a late Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan said on Monday.Anees, whose father Tufail Ahmad lost his life on Sunday in the Pulwama terror attack, also appealed the government to take measures to stop the menace of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.”Militancy has not ended; our jawans are continuing to sacrifice their lives; please do something. The world has not seen a country worse than Pakistan,” Anees said, while talking to ANI at Dodasan village in Rajouri district.Five jawans lost their lives after terrorists stormed a training centre in Pulwama district in the wee hours of Sunday. The terrorists first lobbed grenades and then began indiscriminate firing and entered the training centre in Awantipora. Three terrorists were also killed.Also readPulwama: Five CRPF jawans killed in JeM attack, 2 terrorists neutralised In another incident yesterday, a soldier lost his life in the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera sector. The Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked firing on Indian Army posts in the early hours wherein the Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively.

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CPI(M) slams 1993 Inquiry Commission report as a ‘political leaflet’

Reacting sharply to the Commission of Inquiry report into the police firing at a Youth Congress rally in 1993, CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim on Monday dubbed the report as a “political leaflet” and said it was “unacceptable”.”Such report from a retired Judge cannot be accepted,” Salim said in his reaction to the report of the one-man Commission of Justice (retd) Sushanta Chatterjee. “There could be a discussion on whether the firing was done willingly or unwillingly, but comparing the incident with the Jalianwallah Bagh massacre has made it a political leaflet,” the Left leader said.”Comparing this firing with the Jalianwallah Bagh massacre, which is a very important chapter in our freedom struggle, clearly shows the political motive in it,” Salim said. In a major embarrassment to the Left Front, the Commission of Inquiry in its report today described the firing as “worse than the Jalianwallah Bagh massacre”. Salim further alleged that the Trinamool Congress government under Mamata Banerjee had formed several commissions to help spread her political agenda.During its 34-year regime, Salim claimed the Left Front government had followed the principle of allowing public demonstrations without any hindrance from police force. “In the entire 34 years of our rule we had always followed the principle of not allowing any form of police atrocities on public demonstrations,” he said.Stating that “firing is not at all good and it would have been good if there was no firing on that day also,” the CPI(M) MP said there could be a debate on the role of the administration as well as the police. “There could be a debate on the role of administration, that of the police and whether the situation could be controlled without firing,” he added. Read Also: 1993 police firing on Mamata Banerjee led procession worse than Jallianwala Bagh massacre: Commission

Neither Government, nor BJP involved in conversion, says Venkaiah Naidu

Facing opposition attack over the conversion issue, Government on Monday said in Lok Sabha that neither it nor the BJP was involved in such acts and the state governments should take action if anyone violates the law.Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that the government does not support conversion or re-conversion.”Government is nowhere in the picture, the party (BJP) is nowhere in the picture. If any individual does it, action has to be taken by the state government,” he said after Congress member K C Venugopal, supported by his and other opposition parties, raised the issue during Zero Hour.”Government is not involved and government does not support conversion or re-conversion. The entire country is peaceful, some people are unhappy. You want to make a political issue, make it outside. You can’t go levelling allegations,” Naidu.With Venugopal raising the issue of recent instances of conversions in Kerala, Naidu said, “Action has to be taken by the state government and unfortunately it belongs to Venugopal’s party (Cong). Who stopped the Congress government (in Kerala) from taking action? Action should be taken by the state government.”Heated exchanges ensued after Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Every day such incidents of ‘ghar wapasi’ are happening in various states. Government is indirectly supporting it.”As opposition and BJP members got into a slanging match, Rajesh Ranjan (RJD) and AIUDF member Badruddin Ajmal rushed into the Well and some Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress members came to the aisle.Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai then adjourned the House for an hour. Earlier raising the issue, Venugopal said while two cases of conversion were reported from Kerala, there was one in Gujarat’s Valsad district.”I want to know whether the government will condemn these incidents,” the Congress member said.”These incidents indicate a purposeful move of the Sangh Parivar. It is not an innocent move. The organisers are carrying out conversions by dishing out false promises, they are disturbing communal harmony. They are giving huge publicity to these functions,” he said, fuelling protests from BJP members.Kharge also charged organisers of conversion ceremonies with providing “inducements” and making false promises.Venugopal was joined by Rajesh Ranjan in condemning the incidents but the RJD member’s speech could not be heard in the din.N K Premachandran (RSP) was also seen trying to raise the issue.

Ruckus during Madan Mitra’s production not contempt of Supreme Court: Ex CJI Altamas Kabir

PTI
Former Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Saturday said the ruckus made by supporters of West Bengal minister Madan Mitra, arrested in connection with the Saradha scam, while he was being produced in a Alipore court was not a contempt of the Supreme Court.”The Supreme Court has ordered a probe into the matter. Contempt of the apex court would have happened if a hindrance was caused to the investigation. But nothing of this sort has happened,” Kabir told reporters on the sidelines of a book launch in Kolkata.”They (Mitra’s supporters) were only demonstrating, which they can do. You cannot stop demonstrations and it depends on the administration to decide how to stop it,” the former CJI observed. However, he said, ruckus inside a courtroom in general is surely a contempt of that court. “This (demonstration) must not happen inside any court room. If this has happened, it’s a contempt of the court,” the former judge felt.”Nobody can speak on this matter other than the Supreme Court because it has given the directive,” he said. Asked whether the CBI should go to the Supreme Court, he said anybody can go and it should be done immediately.Supporters of Mitra, also a senior Trinamool Congress leader, demonstrated outside the Alipore court here on December 13 obstructing the police from taking him into the courtroom for production.The CBI headquarter sought a report from its Kolkata office over the way Mitra’s supporters demonstrated outside Alipore court, following which the police lodged an FIR against unknown persons. The ex-CJI was speaking on the sidelines of launch of “An Undocumented Wonder” by former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, at a city hotel here.

Bitter rivals Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee meet, exchange pleasantries

A banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for a visiting foreign dignitary tonight provided the platform for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his bitter political foe West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to meet and exchange pleasantries.As the Prime Minister arrived at the banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in honour of Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, he shook hands with the Indian delegation that had lined up for customary introduction to the visiting head of state.Modi stopped for a while and exchanged greetings with the West Bengal Chief Minister. After exchanging pleasantries with Banerjee, Modi walked ahead along the line and stood with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while Banerjee talked to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.This was the first time Mamata met Modi in the backdrop of weeks of a bitter war of words between BJP and Trinamool Congress, including the party supremo, for weeks on a range of issues including Saradha chit fund scam, Burdwan blast and incidents of communal tension in parts of the country.Mamata has repeatedly targeted Modi using some strong words against him and BJP too attacked her and Trinamool Congress accusing them of shielding those involved in Saradha chit fund scam and Burdwan blast.The President, who returned from a week-long hospitalisation where he underwent a coronary angioplasty, did not stay for the banquet and retired to bed on health grounds.The banquet, where the visiting President was served ‘sorsey maach’ (fish dipped in mustard paste), ‘doi maach’ (fish prepared with curd), ‘maach bhapa’ (steamed fish) with Bengali music playing in the background, was carried forward by Vice President Hamid Ansari.There was a cultural programme ahead of the banquet where renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Priya Venkataram performed before the VVIPs.

President Pranab Mukherjee discharged from Army Hospital

President Pranab Mukherjee has been discharged from the Army Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi on Friday after he underwent an angioplasty recently.According to reports, the doctors have installed a coronary stent in President Mukherjee’s artery to remove a blockage. He was taken to the hospital after he complained of some problems.Coronary angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed coronary (heart) arteries. The procedure improves blood flow to the heart muscle.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on President Mukherjee at the hospital on Tuesday to enquire about his health. Several other leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, had also visited him in hospital.The President was admitted to Army Research and Referral Hospital last week.

Trinamool Congress gives privilege notice against Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha

Trinamool Congress on Wednesday gave a notice for privilege motion against Finance Minister and Leader of Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, alleging that he had misled the House on CBI investigation into Saradha scam.In his notice, Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien said Jaitley had told the House on Monday that the “case (of CBI investigation into Saradha scam) is being monitored by Supreme Court. CBI acts independently in the case and reports to the Supreme Court. Government has nothing to do in the matter.” Along with this, O’Brien cited Paragraph 39 of the Supreme Court judgement in the case which reads: “We do not for the present consider it necessary to constitute a Monitoring Team to monitor the progress of the investigation into the scam. But, we leave the exercise of that option open for the future.”In view of this, he wrote to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat that “we urge you to move a privilege motion against Shri Arun Jaitley under Rule 187 for misleading this august House.”

Mamata Banerjee expected to go to Delhi on December 17

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to go to Delhi on Wednesday to visit President Pranab Mukherjee who underwent coronary angioplasty. “She is expected to go to Delhi on December 17 and visit the President who recently underwent coronary angioplasty,” a state secretariat source said.Banerjee’s visit to Delhi comes at a time when Trinamool Congress has decided to intensify campaign against alleged ‘political vendetta’ by BJP following the arrest of state Transport Minister and a key party organiser in Bengal, Madan Mitra. TMC continued its protests over the issue and organised a procession in Kolkata on Monday, while its MPs staged a protest outside Parliament House against Mitra’s arrest in the Saradha ponzi scheme case and accused the Centre of misusing CBI.Former Indian soccer stars Shyam Thapa and Gautam Sarkar were among those who took part in the march. CBI had on Friday arrested Mitra, also the state’s Sports Minister, after questioning him in connection with the Saradha scam spurring Banerjee to launch a tirade against the Centre for ‘political victimisation of Bengal’. “The campaign against BJP’s political vendetta will be intensified,” Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee, who is also Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, had said on Sunday.

Saradha scam: Madan Mitra alleges political conspiracy behind arrest

West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday in connection with the Saradha chit-fund scam, alleged on Saturday that he was the victim of a political conspiracy. “Whatever has to be said has already been told by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. But it is apparent that I am a victim of political conspiracy. I have nothing to say beyond what the Chief Minister has said,” said Mitra. Mitra, who was produced in court earlier on Saturday, has been remanded to CBI custody till December 16.Taking strong exception to Mitra’s arrest in connection with the multi-crore scam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday termed his arrest ‘illegal and unconstitutional’. His arrest came as a major setback for the West Bengal government as the CBI had last month also arrested Trinamool Congress (TMC) Member of Parliament Srinjoy Bose in connection with the scam.

Saradha scam: Mamata Banerjee backs Madan Mitra, says situation in India like that of Emergency

Launching a blistering attack against the Centre, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday termed state Transport Minister Madan Mitra’s arrest as “political vendetta” and “dirty conspiracy” by the BJP and dared the NDA government to arrest her.”What has happened is illegal and unconstitutional. It is a dangerous step to destroy democratic institutions. My government condemns the arrest of Madan Mitra in the strictest of terms,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat in Kolkata.”It is a conspiracy, a very dirty conspiracy, I ask the Prime Minister to put me in jail first. He (Mitra) was called as a witness. Within a few years he was arrested. Is it not a political vendetta?” a furious Banerjee said. “I will visit Madan in SSKM Hospital (when he is taken there for medical examination). Arrest me with whatever police Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have at their disposal,” she said.Taking on the BJP leadership and its president Amit Shah, the Trinamool Congress supremo said, “We will tear open their mask, we will fight them in Delhi.” “A man who has himself been arrested and chargesheeted by the CBI is pointing finger at us,” Banerjee said. “It is pure political vendetta, the secular, democratic and republican fabric of the country is being destroyed,” Banerjee said terming Mitra’s arrest as illegal, unconstitutional as also discourteous.She said that the Trinamool Congress would hit the streets from Saturday and threatened to take up the issue in the Parliament. “They have cleverly arrested Madan on a Friday as Parliament will be closed on the weekend,” she claimed.”Situation in India is like Emergency now, new battle has begun. We accept your challenge, my government condemns Madan Mitra’s arrest in the strictest of terms,” she said adding, “Centre is behaving like a coward and an autocrat, this is a dangerous and disastrous game.””All people of Bengal are my assets, if the Centre arrests even one person illegally, I will protest,” she said. Claiming that the activities of the BJP government are worse than the Emergency days during Indira Gandhi’s prime ministership, she said, “He (Mitra) has taken the constitutional oath, he is my colleague in the ministry. He has taken oath not to do anything unconstitutional.” “You arrest a person who has taken a oath on Constitution just for political reasons. Without informing us you have arrested him. Is it ethical, is it courtesy?” she questioned. “The country’s government has gone into the hands of RSS,” Banerjee said.”Madan Mitra submitted his resignation letter, but I am not accepting it because his arrest is illegal,” says Banerjee. “They have arrested a minister without informing the Government or Speaker. Bad precedent has been set,” Banerjee said and claimed that “the CBI has now become a tool of BJP”. “What CBI has done is wrong. It is illegal, unconstitutional. We go to several programmes and events. Do we always enquire which company is sponsoring it,” Banerjee said.”Several media houses took advertisements from chit funds. Has any action been taken against them?” Banerjee wondered. “Are Sourav and Sachin criminals for playing under Sahara sponsorship? she said adding “there is a company in Delhi, located near the Finance Ministry, which has misappropriated funds worth thousands of crore.” “BJP is misusing power”, Banerjee said.Taking a dig at BJP president Amit Shah, Banerjee said, “A person’s appearance comes first and then his qualities are judged. Have you seen his appearance? It invokes fear, violence, terror, loot. He is the party president. Threats are being issued using his name like using CBI.” “A few days ago at a rally, BJP raised the slogan “Bhaag Mamata Bhaag”. Should we say “Bhaag BJP Bhaag from India”? Banerjee referring to a rally in Kolkata on November 30 which was addressed by Amit Shah and the party national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh.”In spite of the atrocities committed by the CPI-M for 34 years, we did not arrest them for political vendetta”, she said. “After coming to power, we never arrested anyone based on political vendetta. A few days ago, a BJP leader held a rally in Kolkata. He gave the sequence of arrests. CBI is acting as per that sequence”, Banerjee said. She however said that the agenda of governance will not be affected by politics.”So many leaders of CPM have been seen with owners of chit funds. Should we arrest them”, she said. “Madan had submitted a resignation letter before going to CBI office. But I have not accepted it because the arrest is illegal. He continues as transport minister,” she said. “The situation in India is like Emergency now”, Banerjee said adding “we do not seek power. We are ready to support any party which wants to fight against BJP”, she said. “Now battle has begun. We accept your challenge. BJP will bite the dust in upcoming elections. We will not tolerate any plan to insult the soil of Bengal,” Banerjee said.”BJP cannot take the Nation for granted. They got only 31% votes. They cannot sell off the country”, she said adding they would hit the streets from tomorrow in protest.”They are trying to incite riots in Bengal. Centre is attacking Bengal. Centre is defaming Bengal’s culture. We do not seek power. We are ready to support any party which wants to fight against BJP,” she said.”I dare the Prime Minister and BJP Leadership to arrest me”, she said adding “this is a conspiracy to attack democracy. Central government is trying to finish off democracy in India,” she said.”Where is so much money coming from to sponsor the foreign trips. What is the Centre doing about Black Money she said. She observed that they were crossing their jurisdiction.”BJP party cadre and central government are crossing all limits.””There are are so many reports of conversions. What is their priority,” she said. “One Union Minister wants to make Gita the National Holy Book. India is a secular country. Constitution is the Holy Book”, she said. “BJP is destroying the federal structure of Constitution,” she alleged.Questioning why Mitra was arrested within few hours after being called as a ‘witness’ by the CBI, Banerjee said, “Is he a thief, a dacoit or committed a murder or tried to flee?” Banerjee said, “Before going to the CBI office he (Madan) asked me whether he will go and I told him definitely you will.”Banerjee alleged that the BJP was harbouring the thought that since they have come to power in Delhi, they would now capture (power) everywhere by using force. “This is not fair in democracy. By bringing some goons from outside if they think they will capture power it doesn’t behove well in democracy,” she said.

Saradha scam: Kunal Ghosh’s judicial remand extended

A city court on Friday extended till December 22 the judicial custody of suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh, company’s head Sudipta Sen and his associate Debjani Mukherjee in the Saradha chit fund scam case.Sessions judge Arvind Mishra directed that the judicial remand of Ghosh, Sen and Mukherjee would be extended till December 22 on a prayer by the CBI which is probing the scam on a Supreme Court order. The judge called for the records of Manoj Negel, a senior official of Saradha Group, who was arrested by the state police and handed over to CBI after it took over the reins of investigation last July. Negel is in judicial remand and has not been named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in connection with the case.His counsel prayed that he be released on bail as he had not been named in the charge sheet, though his name appeared in an FIR in connection with the case and had been in custody since November, last year.

Saradha scam: CBI summons West Bengal Minister Madan Mitra

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday summoned West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra in connection with the Saradha scam. Mitra had earlier not appeared before the CBI as he was unwell. In a major setback to the Mamata Banerjee -led West Bengal Government, the CBI had last month arrested party MP Srinjoy Bose in connection with the scam. Last month, Trinamool Congress MP and Saradha scam prime accused Kunal Ghosh was hospitalized after he allegedly tried to commit suicide in jail. The Kolkata-based Saradha Group, ponzi scheme had over 10,000 registered chit funds across the country and with an aggregate turnover of Rs.30, 000 crore per annum. The Saradha Group is said to have defrauded thousands of investors, including poor people, inWest Bengal, leading to the arrest of its owner Sudipta Sen. The industry is governed by Chit Fund Act 40/1982 and is regulated by state governments with their own set of rules. Reserve Bank of India is the principal regulator and at the state level Registrar of Chits/The Inspector General of Registration oversees these regulations.

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