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Monday,17-May-2021

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Centre studying Supreme Court observations on farm laws: Shahnawaz Hussain

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The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre is studying the observations made by the Supreme Court on the farmers’ agitation against the three Central farm laws, and would present a studied opinion before the apex court, BJP’s national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference here, Hussain said the BJP is sensitive towards the needs of the farmers, adding that the three farm laws passed by the Parliament were in the best interests of the farmers of the country.

“The issue related to the farmers’ agitation was heard in the Supreme Court on Monday. The Central government is studying the observations made by the court and would present a studied opinion soon,” Hussain said.

“We are sensitive towards the requirements of the farmers, but the laws passed by the Centre are in the interest of the farmers. We have never said that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) or the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis will be scrapped,” the BJP national spokesperson added.

The former Union Minister said he would not be able to comment further on the issue because the matter is “sub-judice”.

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Mamata Banerjee starts dharna at CBI’s Kolkata office

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has started a sit-in in CBI’s Kolkata office to protest the arrest of four of her Trinamool Congress leaders, provoking an unusual Centre-state confrontation of sorts.

Banerjee rushed to the 15th floor of the ‘Nizam Palace’ where the CBI has the office of its anti-corruption cell.

Her spokesperson, lawyer Anindyo Raut told waiting media persons: “Didi (Banerjee) will not leave this CBI office until her party colleagues are released or until she is also arrested.”

He said Mamata Banerjee told the CBI officers they have arrested the four leaders, among them two sitting and two former ministers, without the mandatory notice. “These arrests are politically motivated and illegal. Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy have been let off though they faced the same charges,” Raut quoted Mamata Banerjee as saying.

Central forces guarding the CBI office were not letting media persons inside the office — so speaking to CM Banerjee was not possible.

But she sent out Raut to let journalists “know her viewpoint”.

The CBI on Monday launched parallel raids and detained TMC ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and MLA Madan Mitra in its probe in the Narada sting case. Within hours, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office.

Along with the TMC leaders, former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee was also picked up and later arrested by the CBI in the same case.

The TMC leaders were taken to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office in the Narada sting operation case. A few days ago, Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had given permission to the CBI for prosecution of these TMC leaders.

Dhankhar had threatened the Trinamool Congress and said he should not be forced to use his powers.

Trinamool MP and lawyer Kalyan Banerjee told IANS the party leaders had “always cooperated with the CBI in these cases.”

“Now the CBI says they have arrested the four because they are submitting the charge sheet against them. If they are submitting charge sheet, that means the investigation is over. So why they need the leaders in custody and where is the mandatory notice of arrest! This is downright illegal and politically motivated, we will move the court and we have faith in it,” Banerjee told IANS.

Analysts blamed the Modi-Shah government at the Centre for provoking this confrontation.

“Modi and Shah have failed to stomach the party’s humiliating defeat in West Bengal. They are not only trying to take revenge but also divert national attention from their failure to handle Covid by provoking this confrontation. Who knows what they plan if this leads to violence,” said Sukhoranjan Dasgupta, veteran political commentator and writer of several books on West Bengal.

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National News

Amit Shah talks to 4 CMs about preparedness on cyclone Tauktae

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday chaired a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Union Territory of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli to assess preparedness to deal with the cyclonic storm “Tauktae”.

He took stock of the measures and the plans by the states and UTs, as well as Central Ministries along with agencies concerned to deal with the cyclone, and the situation arising out of it.

National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “Tauktae” (pronounced as Tau’Te) over east central Arabian Sea is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.

The cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) around May 18 early morning.

“Tauktae” moved nearly northwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday over east central Arabian Sea near latitude 15.0 degree North and longitude 72.7 degree East, about 130 km west-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 450 km south of Mumbai, 700 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 840 km southeast of Karachi (Pakistan),” the IMD said.

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Harsh Vardhan to hold video meet with 4 CMs on Covid

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will be holding a meeting with Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat on Covid-19 situation and progress on vaccination drive in these states later on Saturday.

Harsh Vardhan will hold a meet with the Health Ministers of these four states through video conference at 3 p.m.

The Union Minister will review current Covid situation and progress of vaccination drive being run in their respective states to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus which so far has infected 2,43,72,907 people across the country, including 36,73,802 active cases and 2,66,207 deaths.

In a tweet, the Minister informed about his meeting on Covid-19 situation and vaccination drive in these states.

Uttar Pradesh is on top with 13,85,855 Covid cases reported so far in the state followed by Andhra Pradesh (11,75,843), Gujarat (6,09,031) and Madhya Pradesh (6,05,423).

The Health Minister will hold the meeting hours after attending a high-level virtual meeting on Covid-19 situation in the country chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the past 23 days India’s daily Covid tally has plateaued over the three-lakh-mark and over 3,000 casualties for 17 days.

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