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Devendra Fadnavis’ tweet on Delhi Metro ride sparks row in Maharashtra




An innocuous tweet by BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis taking a swipe at the Maharashtra government on the Mumbai Metro, ignited another war of words in the state on Thursday.

Late on Wednesday, Fadnavis took a ride on the Delhi Metro, and posted his photos with a mocking comment on Twitter targeting the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government back home.

“I travelled in Delhi Metro today to return back to the airport and reached in a very short span as compared to travel by road!” Fadnavis tweeted.

He added: “Don’t know when will I be able to travel in Mumbai Metro 3 to the airport, looking at the things messed up by the MVA on car shed issues.”

The sarcasm was not lost on the ruling MVA partners – Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, and Congress which hit back vigorously and unitedly.

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said he was glad that Fadnavis appreciated the “Delhi Metro, developed by the Congress government.”

“The only metro (in Mumbai) completed was also by the (erstwhile Congress-NCP) government. Your government could not meet 2019 deadline,” Sawant said.

The Congress leader assured that with vast experience in governance, “the MVA will surely do what your (BJP-led Fadnavis government) could not, if the hurdles created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government are removed.”

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s media advisor Harshal Pradhan cajoled Fadnavis to “feel proud of Maharashtra first” before lavishing praise on others.

“You should feel proud that India’s best CM (Thackeray) has saved and given a forest to Mumbai in Aarey Colony. We are a growing state with a visionary leadership. Be proud of the fastest developing state,” Pradhan suggested.

Turning the tables on the opposition, NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase asked Fadnavis to help clear the obstacles allegedly created in the Mumbai Metro project by the BJP at the Centre.

“We want that these hurdles should be cleared, the state and Centre must jointly contribute to give a well-deserved Metro project to the citizens of Mumbai,” urged Tapase.

In an oblique reference to Fadnavis’ remarks, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar assured that “the work on Mumbai Metro is proceeding satisfactorily” as per schedules.

Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena, crusading for the protection of the Aarey Colony forests, had a poser for Fadnavis: “Did you find any Metro depots being built in the city forests inside Delhi”.

Bhathena’s query pertained to the MVA-BJP state-Centre tug-of-war over the location of the proposed Mumbai Metro car shed at Aarey Colony – now declared a ‘forest’ – or at the new Kanjurmarg site, a few kilometres away.

The BJP and Fadnavis are keen to retain the site at Aarey Colony, while the MVA wants to take it to the Kanjurmarg site, which has now been claimed by the Centre, and failing this, the MVA is eyeing a site in Bandra Kurla Complex where the proposed Bullet Train terminus is planned, giving palpitations to many.

Hammering Fadnavis on this, Sawant said: “It was your government that messed up by doing a deal with Shapoorji Pallonji builders. It was your government that favoured private builders over a public metro. If you want to look for someone to blame for this mess, do look into the mirror.”

The CM’s aide Pradhan added that actually Fadnavis should feel “sad” that he missed the opportunity to be a part of the golden era of Maharashtra especially since “the Sena and Thackeray were once in alliance with BJP”.


Anil Deshmukh once again skips ED summons




Former Maharashtra Home Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh, who is being probed in an alleged money laundering case, skipped the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons for questioning once again on Monday.

“Deshmukh has skipped summons and has sent a two-page letter to the agency through his advocate,” an ED official related to the probe told IANS.

This is for the third time Deshmukh has skipped ED summons in connection with the case. The official said the financial probe agency had sent fresh summons to Deshmukh and his son Hrishikesh Deshmukh on Friday asking them to join the probe with the agency on Monday.

On Friday, the Supreme Court did not grant any protection from arrest to Deshmukh on his plea seeking protection from any “coercive action” in the money laundering case registered against him by the ED and scheduled the matter for hearing on August 3.

Deshmukh, who had skipped the previous summonses by the agency, had, in the plea to the top court, challenged these summonses and sought protection for both himself and his son.

Deshmukh has been accused of extortion from a bunch of Mumbai orchestra bars and money laundering, and the matter is being probed by the ED.

It has been alleged that Rs 4.7 crore was collected as “extortion” from the orchestra bars by the now-dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze allegedly on Deshmukh’s instructions.

Later, this amount was transferred to Deshmukh’s Nagpur-based educational trust by his son, Hrishikesh.

According to the allegation, the transaction was routed via two hawala operators and was showed as a “donation”.

The 71-year-old NCP leader is the president of the trust and his two sons, Salil and Hrishikesh, are trustees.

On May 11, a case was registered against the former minister and on June 25, the ED raided Deshmukh’s residences in Nagpur, Mumbai, and three other places.

In April, the CBI had conducted raids at four premises of Deshmukh after registering an FIR against him in connection with the case.

Param Bir Singh, former Commissioner of Mumbai Police, in his letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleged that Deshmukh had indulged in “malpractices” and asked Waze to collect Rs 100 crore every month.

Earlier this week, the top court had adjourned the matter for a hearing on Friday and asked Deshmukh’s legal counsel to provide a copy of the plea to the ED and the Maharashtra government.

The ED had earlier arrested Deshmukh’s personal secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde after carrying out raids against them and the NCP leader in Mumbai and Nagpur.

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More patients of corona virus are being found in 8 wards including Byculla, Bandra, Bhandup of Mumbai !





The second wave of corona in Mumbai may have come under control, but there are 8 wards of Mumbai where the growth rate of corona patients is more than the average growth rate of Mumbai. Out of these 8 wards, Bandra area of ​​West Suburban is at number one, while Bhandup at number two and others area are at number three. At present, the average growth rate of corona patients in Mumbai is 0.05 percent. In comparison, the growth rate of corona patients is higher in Bandra, Bhandup, Byculla, Chembur, Colaba, Grant Road, Andheri-West and Dahisar areas. According to the Corona Dash Board of BMC Health Department, the growth rate of corona patients in Bandra West and Bhandup is 0.07 percent. While the growth rate of corona patients in Byculla, Chembur East, Colaba, Grant Road, Andheri West and Dahisar areas is 0.06 percent.

According to the Dash Board, between July 23 and July 29, the number of patients received daily in Bandra West has been between 17 and 27, while the number of corona patients in Bhandup has been between 15 and 28. On July 28, 43 patients were found in a single day in Bhandup. Same is the case with other wards. The daily number of corona patients in Byculla is between 14 and 26. The number of patients is 15 to 17 in Chembur, 6 to 10 in Colaba, 15 to 29 in Grant Road, 22 to 37 in K-West and 10 to 20 daily corona patients in Dahisar.

Dr. Gautam Bhansali, a member of the Covid Task Force, said that even though fewer patients are being received daily in Mumbai, but for the last few days, some areas of Mumbai are witnessing an increase in the number of corona patients. Especially in South Mumbai areas, more patients are being found. It is a matter of relief that moderate symptoms of corona are being found in them. He has expressed the possibility that a possible third wave of Corona may knock by August 20.

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Maharashtra BJP’s end is near: Shiv Sena





Fuming over a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator’s threat to ‘raze the Shiv Sena Bhavan’, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)’s saffron ally on Monday warned that the “BJP’s end is near” and those who cast an evil eye at the party headquarters, “will be found floating in the Worli gutters”.

A BJP MLC Prasad Lad raked up the row by commenting on the posse of police presence outside the Sena nerve-centre in south-central Dadar, and said, “if needed, the Sena Bhavan could be demolished”, sparking an ugly verbal spat with its former ally.

Though Lad apologised later and expressed regards for the Sena founder the late Balasaheb Thackeray, but as the controversy snowballed, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis quickly detached himself from the fracas, saying the BJP doesn’t believe in “the culture of destructive politics”.

Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray himself launched a veiled “Dabangg” Sainik-style fighter attack on Sunday, saying they “are not scared of a slap” but those who dared to do it would be paid back in the same coin and in double measure.

While the divide between the two ex-allies just became deeper, the Sena scoffed at the BJP, saying “people who threaten the party are light-weight lowly ruffians, who simply just cannot digest the Sena Flag fluttering atop the Sena Bhavan”.

In sharp edits in the party newspapers, ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’, the Sena said the “chindi-chors” (small-time crooks) who talk of attacking the Sena Bhavan are actually targeting the empire of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and the ‘Marathi Pride’ of the ‘sons of the soil’, cemented by the Hindu HridaySamrat Balasaheb Thackeray.

It pointed out how the BJP was once a party of “loyal grassroots workers working for the Hindutva ideology, but now it is full of outsiders (defectors from other parties), who have sidelined the original activists to the dump yard — That is why this party (BJP)’s end is looming near…”

Lampooning the BJP, the Sena said during the post-Babri riots of 1992-1993, the Sena Bhavan was the true protector of the Hindus and Marathis who believe in Hindutva, while these “rioters of today were scared of Pakistan and wetting the mattress at home”.

The edit said that Shiv Sena represents justice, hope and aspirations, while the BJP was a traitor party which did not live up to its promise, but despite this, “today, Sena has become the ruling party in Maharashtra”.

Throwing the final gauntlet, the Sena said that those who showed the daring to reach the Sena Bhavan on their feet would not return likewise, “so they should ensure they come with a few who can carry them back on their shoulders”.

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