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Shiv Sena faction leader Eknath Shinde to be CM, Fadnavis to stay out

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In a political bolt from the blue, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said it will support a new minority government led by Shiv Sena rebel group leader Eknath Shinde, who will be sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra here this evening.

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis made the stunning announcement after calling on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari along with Shinde in the afternoon.

“We have submitted a list of entire BJP MLAs, the group led by Shindeji, 16 Independents and others, with more still joining us, to the Governor,” the former Chief Minister said.

Accordingly, Shinde will be sworn-in alone as the CM at 7.30 p.m. and the cabinet will be expanded later to accommodate MLAs from both sides.

Shinde, on his part, said he would work for the progress and development of the state “which had practically halted since the past 30 months of the previous government”, and reiterated that he would follow the ideals of Bahasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva.

He also thanked the BJP and Fadnavis for their large-heartedness in supporting his prospective government.

Fadnavis said: “I will remain out of the government, but I shall do everything possible to make the new government a success on all fronts, and resume the developmental activities that had stopped in the past two and a half years.”

Earlier, in the past 9 days, the rebel camp had repeatedly asserted that while Fadnavis would be the new CM, Shinde would be the Deputy CM, but the latest developments put to rest all the claims.

Fadnavis pointed out how in the MVA rule, Hindutva and Veer Savarkar were “insulted” daily, and on the last day in office, the cabinet took decision to rename Aurangabad as “Sambhajinagar” and Osmanabad as “Dharashiv”.

“After the Governor’s letter (on floor test), the CM Uddhav Thackeray should have not held any cabinet meeting… We (however) support the renaming decisions,” he said.

Fadnavis also noted that despite around 170 legislators getting elected after the BJP-Sena contested the 2019 elections jointly, the Sena decided to join the NCP-Congress Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance.

“In such circumstances, Shinde, who is the Sena party group leader, took a firm resolve to break the alliance with NCP-Congress. Instead of taking cognisance of the MLAs’ sentiments, Thackeray followed the NCP-Congress,” he added.

He said there were questions being raised about fresh Assembly elections but said Shinde and BJP will give a stable alternative government to the state.

Responding, Shinde expressed gratitude to the 51 MLAs for standing behind a humble leader like him amid all the big names, and assured that he would do the best of his abilities for taking the state ahead.

“Fadnavis has displayed magnanimity by giving me the CM post despite the BJP having the highest number of MLAs,” Shinde added, addressing the media alongside Fadnavis along other leaders.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Maha political strife: Rebels claim support of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs

As the political crisis entered the fourth day, the rebel Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde claimed the support of “40-plus MLAs”, besides around 12 independents and smaller parties, on Friday.

Speaking to the media from Guwahati, Shinde also dismissed the ‘warning’ issued by Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar that the rebel legislators would have to come to Mumbai before the Governor or the Legislature to prove their strength.

“We are not scared by such threats… Whatever we are doing is absolutely legal. We have the affidavits of all the MLAs that they have joined us voluntarily. The majority numbers are with us, more than 40 Sena MLAs plus 12 independents and others,” Shinde asserted.

A day after telling his supporters that they would join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the breakaway group leader on Friday denied meeting any BJP leaders in Guwahati.

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress has accused the BJP of instigating the revolt to topple the 30-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) as the three alliance partners decided to stick together till the end.

State Congress Minister Dr. Nitin Raut on Friday accused the BJP of “murdering democracy” by engineering the rebellion in the Sena ranks.

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‘Opposition unity’ on menu at Maharashtra-Telangana CMs’ Sunday lunch

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray invited his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrashekar Rao for lunch on Sunday with a power menu comprising national affairs and opposition unity, officials said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Thackeray called up KCR, as Rao is popularly known, and lauded his efforts to rally the country’s regional and Opposition parties and forge a united challenge to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre.

Thackeray is understood to have conveyed to KCR the need to “save the country” from BJP’s divisive political agenda for which the Shiv Sena would extend full support.

KCR is expected to fly down from Hyderabad on Sunday morning and drop in at the CM’s official residence ‘Varsha’ at Malabar Hill for the ‘lunch pe charcha’, an official indicated.

However, ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) other constituents – the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress – told IANS that “as of now, no meetings are scheduled between their leaders and KCR”.

Key states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu or even Delhi – where the BJP has lost elections since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls – are considered critical in its ambitions to ensure maximum leverage for the 2024 Lok Sabha or even the future Rajya Sabha polls.

Since the past few weeks, the Telangana CM has been zipping around the country, meeting top leaders of various national and regional Opposition parties to rally them for a united front against the BJP before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Among the leaders he has already met are Tejaswi Yadav, his Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin, and is likely to meet Thackeray and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee – who incidentally had come to meet Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar in December.

Former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda has also expressed support to KCR on his anti-communal agenda and the duo are slated to have a meeting shortly.

Most states ruled by Opposition or regional parties have been strongly protesting at the BJP’s continuing “destabilising” efforts or “toppling attempts”.

They have also been accusing the BJP of misusing power and government machinery by letting loose various Central investigating agencies against their top leaders and even family members to make them “bend” or “break”.

Among the parties that are considered the prime targets include Shiv Sena, the NCP, the Trinamool Congress, and certain other parties, too.

A MVA leader said that similar issues had come up during Banerjee’s confabulations with Thackeray and Sharad Pawar last December, and the upcoming discussions with KCR are likely to move these even further.

On Tuesday, Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut launched a scathing attack on the state BJP functionaries, Enforcement Directorate and other central agencies, on how they have been harassing people on flimsy reasons to target the top leaders.

He also charged the Central agencies of going all out against the Opposition leaders, but not displaying the same vigour when BJP leaders are accused of graft charges despite providing evidence repeatedly.

A senior state Congress leader said while the Opposition unity plans are necessary to dare the BJP’s communal and disruptive politics, “no such exercise can be complete or practical without Congress” – a sentiment voiced even by Pawar several times in the past.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Bombay HC cancels ex-filmstar, MP Navneet Kaur Rana’s caste certificate

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In a huge jolt, the Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench on Tuesday struck down the caste certificate issued to Amravati Lok Sabha MP and ex-filmstar Navneet Kaur Rana on the grounds that it was obtained fraudulently using fabricated documents.

A division bench comprising Justice R. D. Dhanuka and Justice V. G. Bisht ordered her to surrender it within 6 weeks and imposed a fine of Rs 200,000 to be paid to the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority within a fortnight.

Rana is the wife of independent MLA from Badnera, Ravi Rana, the founder of the Yuva Swabhiman Party (YSP) and is a relative of yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

The judges noted that Rana’s claims of belonging to the ‘Mochi’ caste’ for obtaining a Scheduled Caste certificate itself was fraudulent and made with the intention to obtain various benefits available to a candidate from such a category despite knowing that she does not belong to that caste.

Navneet Kaur is a former model and actress who fought the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Amravati (SC-reserved) constituency defeating veteran Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Anand Mahindra takes dig on Maharashtra govt formation

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In a stunning political development, Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari early on Saturday administered the oath of office to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis as the new Chief Minister of the state and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as the new Deputy Chief Minister.

After all the twists and turns that took place in Maharashtra, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra took a dig on the situation by retweeting a video with a quote on Twitter.

Mahindra said that the video aptly described the current situation in Maharashtra politics. In the video, boys are seen playing kabaddi with one raider, who is from the other side, is dragged back almost when he is about to touch the centre line.

On November 15, Anand Mahindra had tweeted the video of a kabaddi match.

At that time, Mahindra’s tweet said, “Received this video with the following message: ‘Even in an adverse situation, one shouldn’t give up till the last moment as it is possible to transform failure into success.’ Couldn’t agree more! And haven’t seen this stunt too often, even in #PKL!”

After what happened in Maharashtra, Mahindra quoted his older tweet and said, “Remember this video I had tweeted? Can you think of any more appropriate way to describe what just happened in Maharashtra?”

Mahindra’s tweet has garnered a staggering response with 2.3K likes and 12.7K retweets within eight hours.

One user wrote, “The overconfident raider is none other than sanjay raut.”

“#UdhavThackeray so near yet so far,” wrote one user.

Another remarked, “Uddhav Thackeray has been run out — based on script written by Amit Shah & Sharad Pawar.”

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Union Cabinet approves President Rule in Maharashtra

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The BJP government at the Centre gave a rude shock to the Shiv Sena party by deciding to impose the President’s Rule in Maharashtra. The Union Cabinet has approved the recommendation made by the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

This is a very surprise development as such a decision will not be usually taken immediately after an election. However, the Modi government may not face criticism on this count as Shiv Sena could not submit letter of support to the Governor as per the given deadline. Moreover, its new alliance with Congress and NCP took longer time than needed. As they dragged the issue too much, it gave enough time to give BJP a chance to spoil their rivals plan.

Assuming power is indeed a long standing dream of Shiv Sena party in the state. It came very close to forming the government with the support of Congress. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is expected to approach the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Koregaon Bhima issue – Clashes, Protests and Violence in Maharashtra

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Koregaon Bhima issue

With so many Telugu people as students and IT employees in Mumbai and Pune, the ongoing “Koregaon-Bhima” protests, clashes and violence in Maharashtra caused concern among several Telugu families. For past 3 days, several parts of Maharashtra remained on edge as tremors of violence, disrupted local train services, rasta rokos, pelting of stones encircled Maharashtra, especially Pune and Mumbai.

What is Koregaon-Bhima issue:

Koregaon Bhima is name of village near Pune. Exactly 200 years back, on January 1, 1818, battle of Koregaon took place between the army of Maratha King (Baji Rao II) and British army (East India Company force). In this battle, British army won. But people of Maharashtra celebrate this victory. Why? Even though, it was called British army, actually the sepoys were Indian and they belong to Mahar caste. Today also Mahars are called Dalits and belong to Schedule caste. Ambedkar born in this caste. And the army they defeated belong to upper caste Peshwa. So these Dalits celebrate it as the victory of “outcaste” Dalits on high caste Peshwas as the community faced oppression during Peshwa rule. We have also seen in previous article how Periyar’s and Ambedkar’s Dalit parties were pro-British those days.

How the clashes started:
Now right wing activists (read it BJP followers) questioned Dalits, how you can celebrate British victory and the issue started with this arguement. In 1851, the British erected a memorial pillar at Koregaon-Bhima to honour the soldiers – mostly Mahars – who had died in this battle. On January 1, 1927, Bhimrao Ambedkar started the ritual of holding a commemoration at the site of this pillar, one that is repeated every year. 2018 marks bicentenary celebrations of Bhima-Koregaon battle and clashes started during this between Non-Dalits and Dalits which left one person dead and several injured near Koregaon Bhima village. With Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis ordering inquiry and police took over situation is currently in control but simmering.

Takeaway from the issue:
We can easily understand how English used “divide and rule” policy to rule us. Because Britishers needed soldiers to protect their empire and they can not bring so many english men for the purpose, they recruited Indians who are estranged by the ruling class into their army. As Indian society had severe hirearchy those days, they could easily recruit Dalits as Sepoys.

What is surprising is – even after 70 years, Indians were not able to realize the divide and rule policy of Britishers and also, it was failure on part of Indian rulers and governments in independent India for not being able raise nationalism above the caste consciousness. Still, for many Indians, caste consciousness is above “nationalism” – be it Dalits or non-Dalits.

We need to wait and see whether governments will learn from this incident and take some constructive steps to address the issue.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Now drought tax: Maharashtra shows the way

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At the drop of the hat, Indian politicians in power inventively levy one form of tax or the other on the pretext of meeting additional burden of welfare programs or shore up the revenues. But they never think of cutting their commissions or political corruption by one per cent. No politician ever takes a pledge that he would take lesser commission from the contractors in view of flood situation or failure of monsoons.

Now, Maharashtra government is showing the way to other states, which are drought-prone to mobilize funds for drought relief by levying a tax.

According to report in The New Indian Express (Maharashtra to levy drought tax, Aug 12, 2015)the cash-starved Maharashtra government has decided to impose ‘drought tax’ on the state’s residents to deal with the situation arising out of the deficient monsoon. And the government hopes to raise around Rs 5,000 crore every year to help the nearly three crore drought-hit people in the state.

A Cabinet subcommittee on the relief and rehabilitation on last Tuesday decided to impose the tax in view of lack of funds to deal with the drought situation.

State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who heads the Subcommittee, said that the drought tax will be imposed only in an emergency situation. “We have reserved a considerable amount for drought relief. The tax will be introduced only if this amount is exhausted and there will be no other way to raise additional funds,” he said.

The Opposition Congress and the NCP have expressed reservations about the government move. “The government should run an austerity drive and save money to be used on the drought related works instead of burdening the taxpayers,” said Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the government should waive the farmer loans instead of imposing the tax.

Raju Shetti, a BJP supporter MP and farmers’ leader, welcomed the idea. “I will not oppose the tax if it is the last resort to raise the funds. The drought affected people should be helped at any cost,” he said.

According to the state government’s official data, the state had received 61 per cent of its average rainfall till July-end. The water storage in the state’s dams is only 44 per cent. The 229 talukas out of the 355 have received less than 75 per cent of the average rainfall.

This year, entire region of Andhra Pradesh is passing through critical phase. The region comprising Kadapa(-39.6%)), Kurnool(-49.7 %), Anantapur (-40.2%) and Chittoor(-36.8%) have received deficit rainfall. Another coastal district Nellore recorded minus 36.2 %.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Naidu Takes Break for Swachh Bharat

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]aking a break from political controversies Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will hold a meeting of 11-member Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) tomorrow in Bangalore.

The sub-group has chief ministers Haryana, Karnataka, Delhi, Bihar, Maharshtra, Mizoram, Sikkim, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In the previsous meeting held in April only two CMs from Haryana and Karnataka attended. The Group is set up by PM Modi to recommend the  step to be taken to  bring about institutional and behavioural changes to implement Swachh Bharat mission across the country.

The CM’a group, however, is expected to submit its report by end of June. Tomorrow’s  meeting will review the current situation of solid and liquid waste management technologies, discuss on their visits to Waste to Energy plants and waste treatment facilities and also on the technology providers/ technologies recommended to address the waste challenge.

 

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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