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Maharashtra

80-hour regime: Ajit Pawar, Fadnavis ‘ko gussa kyun aata hai’

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Thirty months after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar suddenly took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively, in the morning of November 23, 2019, that incident continues to haunt and embarrass them.

Despite their best efforts to chase away the ghost of that clandestine swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan that morning, it keeps popping up frequently in the most unexpected ways — this time raked up by none other than Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray himself at his huge rally on May 14.

Replying to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism, Thackeray declared that he allied with the Congress (and NCP) openly, not in an ‘early morning’ oath-taking ceremony of the 80-hour-long two-man regime — and his words pierced the target.

Willy-nilly, the CM also hinted at the ‘real secret’ behind why the Central probe agencies like the CBI, ED, NCB, I-T and the NIA keep hounding only the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party leaders for over two years.

The Shiv Sena President thundered saying if the BJP and MNS do not stop their vicious politics, hounding by the Central agencies, lodging false cases against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government leaders or their families, then “we won’t forgive or spare you”.

“Tomorrow, they will go after Dawood (Ibrahim Kaskar) but if he joins them, he will be made a cabinet minister… If that (2-man govt) ‘experiment’ had succeeded, then people like Anil Dashmukh or Nawab Malik would have been in your good books,” said Thackeray amid applause.

As the MVA government trudges to the mid-way mark in its five year term, BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis continues to cry over the spilt milk, his ‘birth-right’ to power that he was unceremoniously deprived of after the 2019 Assembly elections.

The Ajit Pawar-Fadnavis duo has been lampooned and ridiculed since that indiscretion in Raj Bhavan, sans any trappings, but with the drapes drawn tightly to keep off peeping-toms prying at the political hustle enacted that dawn when the groggy state was engaged in its morning ablutions.

Once, displaying rare courage, Fadnavis confessed that “it should not have happened”, and again hammered Thackeray for ‘backstabbing BJP’ to grab power with the help of the Congress-NCP.

Even the much-pilloried Ajit Pawar, painted as a ‘black sheep’, feebly tried to justify the swearing-in event, saying it was not in the early morning as speculated, but “at 8 a.m.”, though later the NCP hugged him and rewarded him with the same post as Fadnavis did for 80 hours!

Wily Uncle and NCP President Sharad Pawar also never missed an opportunity to take a swipe at the dawn ceremony in his characteristic style.

In late-2020, when Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari published a coffee table book, Pawar wrote to him how everything was there in his coffee table book “except a particular swearing-in ceremony”.

Congress state President Nana Patole also took a potshot saying Ajit Pawar was to “explain” it at an appropriate time, but has nothing till date.

“So much water has flowed under the bridge… We 3 parties are now working together, the government is running well… Why do you keep raising it repeatedly,” an irked Ajit Pawar said of that 80-hour fling, Monday.

There have been heated exchanges inside the Maharashtra legislature and outside with the MVA leaders laughing and leering at that morning venture while livid unrepentant BJP leaders shielding it.

Maharashtra

‘Love jihad’ law in Maharashtra very soon? Fadnavis says will study laws of other states

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Days after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s comments on “love jihad” with reference to the Shraddha Walker murder case, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the government has not taken any decision on the “love jihad” law yet but they will study laws of the other states.

This comes after the press conference of Shraddha’s father, Vikas Walker. Shraddha was strangled by her live-in partner Aaftab. He also cut her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in Mehrauli in south Delhi in May this year, before dumping them across the city over several days.

Vikas Walkar claimed on Friday that she would have been alive if the Maharashtra Police had helped him.

He alleged that the Vasai Police showed “laxity” in the investigation of the case, however, hailing the combined probe by the Delhi Police and the Vasai Police.

Earlier, in November, Speaking to ANI, Shraddha’s father, Vikas Walker had said that he suspected a love jihad angle in his daughter’s case. The murder of the girl had sparked debate over ‘love jihad’ in Maharashtra. 

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Maharashtra

Mumbai: China mission to commemorate Dr. Kotnis’ 80th death anniversary

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The Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis Memorial Committee and the Consulate General of China in Mumbai will commemorate and pay homage to the legendary medico Dr. Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis on the occasion of his 80th death anniversary, an official said here on Friday.

Dr. Kotnis, revered in China and India alike, passed away in China at the young age of 32 on December 9, 1942 and the memorial event shall be held on Saturday, said Consul General Kong Xianhua.

The tributes will be in memory of Dr. Kotnis’ services to the Chinese people as part of the Indian Medical Mission there in 1938, and the focus of tomorrow’s event would be aInheriting the Spirit of Dr. Kotnis & Working together for a bright future, said Xianhua.

“We honour his heroic deeds to renew his spirit in the new era. Chairman Mao wrote in the elegy that the Chinese people will never forget Dr. Kotnis’ spirit of internationalisma He arrived in Chian at the most dificult time of the country’s anti-Fascist war, rescued the wounded in the front-line, and devoted himself to the liberation of the Chinese people,” he said.

The diplomat added his countrymen will forever remember how Kotnis devoted his precious life to the cause of China under very tough conditions, and the Chinese people admire and cherish his memory even today.

There are many commemoration events lined up in China on Friday and also during the annual Qingming Festival to pay homage to martyrs like Kotnis.

Kotnis was born in Solapur on October 10, 1910 and acquired his medical degree from the University of Bombay through the Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital here.

After Japan invaded China, the Communist General Zhu De had requested Congress leader Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to send a medical team, and the then Indian National Congress President Subhash Chandra Bose made the necessary arrangements and organised the funds for the voluntary mission.

When Dr. Kotnis was barely 28 and preparing his Master’s, he took his family’s permission and joined the humanitarian Indian Medical Mission Team to China.

The mission — with Dr. M. Atal from Allahabad, Dr. M. Cholkar from Nagpur, Dr. B.K. Basu and Dr. D. Mukerjee from Kolkata, besides Kotnis from Solapur — first went to Hankou Port in Wuhan in September 1938.

Later it was sent to Yan’an where they met top Chinese leaders like Mao Zedong, Gen. Zhu De and others.

During the IMMT sojourn there, Dr. Kotnis worked under trying conditions to treat and operate upon wounded soldiers in mobile clinics virtually non-stop for days for nearly five years.

In 1940, Dr. Kotnis, who had learnt Chinese, met a local nurse Guo Qinglan and they married in December 1941, and the couple had a son Yinhua in August 1942.

Barely three months later, owing to the immense stress of his medical duties on the warfronts, Dr. Kotnis suffered major health issues and passed away on December 9, 1942.

Shocked by his demise, subsequently, China honoured him with a statue, a memorial, tomb and other honours, besides a memorial in his hometown of Solapur.

India released a special postage stamp (1993) in his honour, the renowned filmmaker V. Shantaram made a biopic “Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahania (1946) and a Chinese film “Ke Di Hua Dai Fu” (1982).

Successive Indian Presidents and Prime Ministers as well as top Chinese leaders have remembered Dr. Kotnis and his family in Maharashtra, and his selfless services to the Chinese people in their time of need.

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Crime

Maharashtra: Police constable dies by suicide in Dhule; probe underway

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 A 57-year-old police constable allegedly hanged himself to death at his native village in Dhule district of north Maharashtra, an official said on Friday.

The incident took place on Thursday evening at Pohbara in Sakri taluka and the deceased constable was identified as Kaluram Chaitram Ahire, he said.

“Ahire was posted at the Mantralaya, the state secretariat, in Mumbai for security. He had been at his native place since the last few days,” he said.

He was found hanging in the cattle stable in the premises of his residence, the official said, adding that the exact reason behind the suicide is yet to be known.

Investigation into the case is being conducted by Pimpalner police.

In another case recently, a 24-year-old youth from Shivshakti Nagar in Turbhe allegedly died by suicide. The police said that the youth was going through financial issues which prompted him to take the grave step.

Identified as Kiran Ghadge, the deceased worked in private company’s housekeeping department.

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