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Monday,17-January-2022

National News

BJP leader Smriti Irani tests positive for Covid

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Smriti-Irani

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday became the latest Union Minister to be infected by coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter, Irani said: “It is rare for me to search for words while making an announcement; hence here’s me keeping it simple – I’ve tested positive for COVID and would request those who came in contact with me to get themselves tested at the earliest.”

Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and AYUSH Minister Shripad Y. Naik were among those infected. Chief Ministers like Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Karnataka’s B.S. Yediyurappa had also tested positive.

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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