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Battle for UP: Rahul, Priyanka are secular, says IMC chief

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Ittihad-e-Millat Council chief Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan has said that after meeting Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, he realised that these two siblings were truly secular and therefore decided to support them.

“We had our resentment with Congress, but Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took advantage of it. We are responsible for the loss of the country. This step has been taken to rectify that mistake,” he said.

He said that the Congress had promised to him that they would probe Batla House encounter if their government is formed in 2009.

“Had there been a probe, world would have known that those killed were not terrorists and should be given martyr status,” he told reporters.

He admitted that he had always been against the Congress but has now realised that it was a mistake on his part.

Maharashtra

FIR against unknown person for threatening MP Navneet Rana

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Delhi Police has registered an FIR against an unknown person for allegedly issuing death threats to Member of Parliament Navneet Rana, an official said on Thursday.

“An FIR has been registered at the North Avenue police station under sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi district) Amrutha Guguloth said.

Rana’s Personal Assistant, Vikas Goswami, in the complaint, alleged that the parliamentarian received 11 calls on Tuesday in which the caller threatened her of dire consequences if she ever recites Hanuman Chalisa or comes to Maharashtra.

“The caller spoke to her very rudely and in a very inappropriate manner. He abused her, threatened to kill her and said he won’t allow her to enter Maharashtra,” the complaint lodged in Hindi read.

He further wrote that MP Rana was extremely disturbed and scared after several threatening calls.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has started probing the matter, and call detail records of the parliamentarian are being examined.

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Maharashtra

Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar file nominations for RS polls in Maharashtra

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Two Shiv Sena leaders — party Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut and Kolhapur District Chief Sanjay Pawar — filed their nomination papers for the upcoming biennial elections to Rajya Sabha, here on Thursday.

In a major show of strength by Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Raut and Pawar were joined by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Congress Legislature Party chief and Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, many ministers, MPs and MLAs from the three allies.

Simultaneously, the NCP has decided to renominate senior leader Praful Patel for one seat, while the Congress is yet to announce its candidate.

With Sena filing nominations for two seats, the fate of Yuvraj Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje is not clear, as he had planned to contest the RS polls independently with support of all other parties.

There are indications that Sambhajiraje may withdraw from the contest and he is likely to announce his decision here on Friday.

Speaking to mediapersons after submitting their nomination papers, Raut said that both the RS seats “belong to the Sena” and the party would bag them comfortably.

To a question, Raut said even if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fields a third candidate, the Sena nominee would win as it has “more than the required number of votes”.

The RS elections will fill up the vacancies by six retiring members — one each from ruling (MVA) allies, Shiv Sena (Sanjay Raut), NCP (Praful Patel) and Congress (P. Chidambaram), and three from the BJP Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Piyush Goyal and Dr. Vikas Mahatme.

This time, given the re-alignment of the legislature after the 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP can win only two of the three seats it holds, the MVA can win their three seats, and Sena is now contesting the third seat held by the BJP.

The electoral college comprises the 288 MLAs and a candidate must get 42 votes to win a seat in the Upper House of Parliament.

The MVA has 170 MLAs — Shiv Sena 55 (one MLA Ramesh Latke, died in Dubai last week), NCP 53, Congress 44, smaller parties/groups 10 and eight Independents.

On the Opposition side, BJP has 106 with other smaller parties/groups two and five Independents.

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National News

Muslim side questions maintainability of Gyanvapi petition

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The Muslim petitioners on Thursday questioned the maintainability of the Hindu side’s plea in the Gyanvapi dispute case.

As hearing began in the court of District Judge Dr A.K. Vishvesha, the Muslim lawyers cited the Places of Worship Act 1991 and claimed that the petition was not maintainable.

Abhay Yadav, the lawyer for the Muslim side, said that rumours of a ‘Shivling’ being found inside the mosque were being deliberated floated to create confusion.

He contended that the ‘Shivling’ had not yet been established by court and the court should put an end to such rumours.

Meanwhile, Vishnu Jain, lawyer for the Hindu petitioners told reporters outside the court that holes had been drilled into the ‘Shivling’ to make it look like a fountain.

Only 36 persons, including the lawyers were allowed inside the court where hearing was heard under tight security.

Hearing will continue in the case on Monday when Hindu petitioners will put up their arguments.

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