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Monday,17-January-2022

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Amit Shah and Amarinder Singh meet on farmers’ issue

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A crucial meeting started on Thursday noon between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here as the next round of talks between farmers and the Centre also got way.

The meeting started at Shah’s residence soon after the Punjab Chief Minister reached there, minutes before the fourth round of government and farmer representative meeting at Vigyan Bhawan began.

Amid the escalating farmers protest around Delhi, spearheaded by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, Shah and Amarinder Singh’s meeting is significant.

They were expected to discuss the issues plaguing the army of farmers around the national capital’s periphery.

Tens of thousands are perched along Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26. These farmers owe allegiance to over 32 farm unions and are huddled under an open sky at the onset of a long winter, refusing to budge until their demands are met.

The Singhu and Tikri borders, and also Chilla and Ghazipur ones have now been hosting these multitudes for over a week. Hundreds of farmers have almost blocked entry and exit out of the capital.

Shah and Punjab Chief Minister’s meeting took place after the Home Minister met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal for about half-an-hour ahead of government and farmers’ representatives meet.

The fourth round of meeting with over 32 farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.

In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously turned down the Centre’s proposal of a special committee to thrash out the differences and resolve concerns over the farm laws.

A breakthrough was not expected in a single meeting, sources had said, in view of the government firmly standing by the laws it has called “historic reforms” in the farm sector.

The farmers though have hardened their stance, warning that if on Thursday “the last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws was not taken the stir could intensify further.

In place of a committee, they have demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called “black laws” made to favour corporates — which not entertained might lead to a chokehold across the nation, not just Delhi.

National News

ECI holds meet to review request to defer Punjab polls

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 The Election Commission of India is holding a meeting to review its decision on Punjab Assembly elections scheduled to be held on February 14.

After the ruling Congress party, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party also requested the poll panel to defer the polling on February 14 as it is close to the Ravidas Jayanti on February 16.

Submitting a written request, the Congress Party on January 13 said that over 20 lakh Schedule Caste voters go to the religious visit to the places related to Sant Ravidas ji. The Party further said that a sizable number of SC voters visit Varanasi from February 10 to 16 every year, therefore, the scheduled date for the polling in Punjab should be postponed till Ravidas Jayanti.

Later the BJP also made a similar request to the EC, reiterating the same reason and said many of the voters will either miss their religious trip or skip voting on February 14.

The Aam Aadmi party on Monday also made the same request to the Commission citing Ravidas Jayanti.

Sources close to the ECI said that it is reviewing all options as it needs to reschedule the poll date by one week or so. They also said that the assembly polls in the state will be held in a single phase, therefore, the EC will take a call on the political parties’ request after considering all aspects of the electioneering process as scheduled earlier.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra Veteran PWP leader Prof N.D. Patil dies at 93

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Veteran political leader of Peasants & Workers Party (PWP), an ex-cabinet minister and a four-time legislator, Prof Narayan Dnyandeo Patil passed away following a brief illness, party leaders said here on Monday.

Battling from a recent brain haemorrhage, he breathed his last at a private hospital here early on Monday, aged 93.

Earlier, the fiery leader – who spent over seven decades in public life – was infected by Covid-19 and had recovered from it despite his advanced age.

He dedicated his life to the cause of farmers, peasants, mill-workers, casual labourers, the deprived and downtrodden in society and served as Maharashtra Member of Legislative Council for four terms, and served as a minister from 1978-1990.

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Maharashtra

Bombay HC rejects BJP MLA Nitesh Rane’s anticipatory bail plea

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In a massive setback, the Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed an anticipatory bail plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nitesh Rane, son of Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane – in an attempt to murder case.

Kept in reserve last week as Nitesh Rane was granted continued interim protection from arrest, the much-anticipated order was pronounced by Justice C.V. Bhadang.

However, on the court’s request, the prosecution assured it will continue its earlier commitment and refrain from any coercive steps against Nitesh Rane till Jan 27.

Among other things, Nitesh Rane, 39, has been accused as the key conspirator behind an attempt to murder case against a ruling Shiv Sena leader Santosh Parab – which allegedly took place on Dec 18 (2021) – in Kankavli town of Sindhudurg district, considered the political bastion of the Rane family.

On Dec 30, the Principal Judge of Sindhudurg District & Sessions Court Shirishkumar V. Hande had rejected the legislator’s anticipatory bail plea which was challenged by Rane on Jan 4 in the Bombay High Court.

The Kankavli Police lodged an FIR against Rane Jr following a complaint by Parab, but the BJP legislator claimed that he was being targeted for allegedly mocking Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray and to prevent his participation in the Sindhudurg District Cooperative Bank elections held on Dec 30.

Nitesh Rane’s lawyer, Nitin Pradhan contended before the court that his client had been cooperating with the investigators and had been questioned for four hours last month.

The Special Prosecutor Sudeep Pasbola said that they needed Nitesh Rane’s custodial interrogation to corroborate the circumstantial evidence collected in the case, various transactions like who had paid and how much for the attempted contract killing, plus the forensic reports of the confiscated phones of the accused.

Meanwhile, BJP Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar slammed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for allegedly misusing the official machinery and pursuing vendetta against Rane Jr, but said they respect the court verdict.

The Shiv Sena has demanded that now with the Sindhudurg District & Sessions Court and Bombay High Court have rejected the anticipatory bail plea, Nitesh Rane – who was ‘incommunicado’ for several weeks – should gracefully go and surrender before the police.

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