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Chirag Paswan ‘upset’ with Manjhi’s inclusion in NDA




The inclusion of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) led by Jitan Ram Manjhi in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has invited the displeasure of alliance partner Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) it appears.

Chirag Paswan, the son and political successor of veteran Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan, is reportedly angry with the ruling Janata Dal United (JDU) for giving space to the HAM in the alliance.

Manjhi is also a prominant Dalit leader and his inclusion in the NDA may affect seat-sharing and the backward vote in Bihar. Such a situation is of concern to the LJP.

The LJP has now given a slogan emphasising Bihari pride. The slogan reads: “Woh lad rahen hain raj karne ke liye, LJP lad rahi hai Bihar par naz karne ke liye” (They are contesting elections to rule the state and the LJP is contesting elections for the pride of Bihar).

Paswan has also been critical of CM Nitish Kumar for his policies on the return of migrant labourers from other states, inadequate flood relief measures and failing to control the spread of Covid-19 in the state.

However, LJP spokesperson Asraf Ansari said that the slogan is meant to target opposition parties such as the RJD, Congress and others. But political observers in the state say the slogan is targeted at Manjhi for joining the NDA just before the polls.

Prem Kumar, a prominent BJP leader and the agriculture minister of Bihar, said: “There is no such conflict among the LJP and the HAM. Now, four parties will fight together under the common NDA umbrella led by CM Nitish Kumar. The inclusion of Manjhi in the NDA will help us rather than cause division of votes in the Dalit community.”

Danish Rizwan, the official spokesperson of HAM, said: “Chirag Paswan taking a tough stand is his personal matter and the HAM has nothing to do with it. He has given some unwanted statements against CM Nitish Kumar, who has changed the the impression of Bihar over the last 15 years. Now, people talk about Bihari pride and people in other states give respect to Biharis. Chirag’s statement of ‘Bihar first, Bihari first’, has come only in these elections.”

“If Chirag will continue with the stand, his party and he will face consequences in this election,” Rizwan added.

“The statements of any individual leader are not important for the JD(U). We are contesting under one umbrella of the NDA and guidance from Amit Shah are important to us. We are also following the directions of the Election Commission,” Said Neeraj Kumar, a senior JDU legislator and Bihar’s information and public relations minister.

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Amit Palekar is AAP’s CM face for Goa polls




Describing Amit Palekar as a “fresh, committed face”, Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday nominated this 46-year-old lawyer as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 state assembly polls in Goa.

Kejriwal, who is in the coastal state on a two-day visit, said that Palekar would be contesting from the St Cruz assembly constituency in North Goa.

“We said we will give a Goa CM face whose heart beats for Goa and who is willing to give his life for Goa, who can take everyone along in Goa irrespective of religion, caste. And most importantly, he should be an honest man. That man is Amit Palekar,” Kejriwal told reporters.

Palekar joined the party a few months ago but was indirectly thrust with high profile political and activism-linked assignments. Palekar belongs to the Bhandari samaj, one of the largest non Brahmin caste groupings in Goa.

Kejriwal last year had promised that the party would field a Chief Ministerial face from the Bhandari samaj, a caste grouping which the Delhi Chief Minister said had been largely deprived of political representation at the very top.

“You have seen the dirty politics of the last five years and in the last two months you have seen it fall at such a level that the Goans have begun to feel ashamed. We have entered politics to change this and are asking for one chance to bring a change,” Palekar said soon after accepting the mantle.

“I was a victim of scams. Despite being a state ranker, because my father had no money I didn’t get a government job. And I decided that one day I will fight against this injustice. I want to thank Arvind Kejriwal for this opportunity,” he also said.

The AAP is contesting the state assembly polls in Goa under its own steam and has steered clear of alliance offers from the Trinamool Congress, Congress and other regional parties.

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PM Modi to meet Central Asian leaders virtually




Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit in virutal format on January 27.

Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will participate in the virtual meet.

This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders.

The state heads of central Asian countries were invited to grace the Republic Day celebrations but was forced to cancel it owing to the Corona situation.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said: “The first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s Extended Neighbourhood”.

PM Modi paid a historic visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.

The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from 18-20 December 2021, has provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations’, the statement read.

During the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights.

They are also likely to exchange views on regional and international issues of interest, especially the evolving regional security situation.

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Mulayam Singh’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joins BJP




Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav on Wednesday joined the BJP just three weeks ahead of the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh.

She joined the BJP in presence of Uttar Pradesh state unit president Swatantra Dev Singh, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP media department head Anil Baluni, at party headquarters here.

Welcoming Aparna in the party, Singh said that Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ‘Bahu’ (daughter-in-law) is joining BJP and she will work to strengthen the party.

Deputy chief minister Maurya said, “Despite being Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law, she always spoke in favour of BJP’s work.

Taking a dig at Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Maurya said, “Akhilesh was not successful in managing family, as chief minister and also as a Member of Parliament. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and my name were announced in the first list of BJP. Akhilesh, who always tried to take credit for BJP government’s work have no courage to contest assembly polls from anywhere in the Uttar Pradesh.”

Aparna thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Adityanath for giving an opportunity to join the BJP.

“I am always influenced by the Prime Minister and spoke about Swachh Bharat Mission or works done to empower women. For me nation is priority and now started a journey on the path of nation building,” Aparna said.

It is learnt that she is seeking a ticket from Lucknow Cantt assembly seat, however, the BJP leadership has clarified that there is no pre-condition for joining.

Aparna, wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Pratik Yadav, had unsuccessfully contested the 2017 polls against BJP Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt. BJP Lok Sabha member from Allahabad Joshi, meanwhile, offered to resign from parliament if the party is ready to give ticket to her son Mayank Joshi in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

The Uttar Pradesh assembly polls will be held in seven phases in February-March starting from February 10. Counting of votes will be held on March 10.

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