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Export ban protest: Maharashtra NCP sends onions as gift to PM, Governor




Even as the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress continued to protest against the Centre’s ban on onion exports, the NCP’s Women’s Wing on Friday sent onions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Women workers from all 36 districts in Maharashtra collected onions and sent them to Modi and Koshyari, said NCP Women’s Wing President Rupali Chakankar.

“Our women collected onions despite financial constraints and sent parcels of 5 kg each to the PM and the Governor. From Pune, we have dispatched the onion consignments by India Post. In other districts, our members handed these to Collectors or other officials to be forwarded to the two leaders,” Chakankar told IANS.

She said the onion parcels would convey the sentiments of onion farmers who were crying because the export ban had hit their livelihood badly, besides causing huge market fluctuations.

“The PM celebrated his birthday on September 17. Today, we sent him a belated birthday gift to make him understand the tears our poor farmers are shedding,” Chakankar added.

Asked why the onion parcels were sent to Raj Bhavan, she said that the Governor had time to meet all and sundry who speak ill of Maharashtra, but had no time to hear out onion farmers to acknowledge their problems in these difficult times.

“After spending so much time with anybody who criticises Maharashtra, its leaders and the Mumbai Police, the Governor should spare some time to meet our poor farmers and convey their plight to the Centre,” the NCP leader said.

Pointing to the gravity of the situation, she said that around 500,000 tonnes of onions were stuck at Mumbai ports due to the ban, causing a loss of Rs 1,250 crore to the farmers and others.

“Who’s responsible for all this? Will the BJP-led government compensate them for their losses?” she asked.

The NCP leader said that after a series of calamities like drought, floods, unseasonal rains and lockdown, the central government has brought another catastrophe on the suffering farmers. She demanded that the export ban be revoked forthwith.


Anybody with self-respect would quit: Sharad Pawar attacks Maharashtra Governor




In a direct attack on Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said on Monday that “anybody with self-respect” would not continue in the post.

Replying to a question on the recent ‘letter-war’ that erupted between Koshyari and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Pawar said: “Anyone with self-respect will not continue in the post. Who are we to make any demands (for his removal).”

He pointed out that even Union Home Minister Amit Shah had taken umbrage at Koshyari’s letter to the CM by making it clear that the use of certain words could have been avoided by the Governor.

“After Shah’s statement, anyone with self-respect would take a call on whether to continue in the (Governor’s) post,” said Pawar, a week after the letter war fuelled the uneasy relations between the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the Raj Bhavan.

In fact, Pawar had last week shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining about the Governor and later Shah made the statements expressing his displeasure over Koshyari’s language.

The NCP chief’s statement came a day after Shiv Sena chief spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut lauded Shah’s comments and even signalled an end to the controversy.

Koshyari had written a letter to Thackeray on October 12 on the issue of reopening of places of worship in the state, questioning Thackeray’s “Hindutva credentials” and whether the CM had suddenly become “secular”.

Thackeray hit back by saying that he did not need a ‘Hindutva’ certificate from anybody, but assured to take the appropriate decision in the matter of reopening places of worship taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic scourge in which Maharashtra still ranks first in the country.

The letter war was strongly criticised by the MVA partners Sena-NCP-Congress, prompting Shah’s intervention and attempt to defuse the fracas with his comments in a television interview on Saturday.

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Supreme Court to Maharashtra government: Can Nanded Gurudwara procession be held at 5 a.m.?




The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to examine whether the Nanded Gurudwara can be allowed to hold Dussehra festivities and the Guru Granth Sahib procession at 5 a.m., with limited gathering.

A vacation bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi said the Maharashtra state disaster management authority (SDMA) should take decision in the matter in the backdrop of the Covid-19 scenario.

The order has come on a plea filed by the Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Board, which sought permission for Dussehra, Takht Isnan, Deepmala and Gurta Gaddi events. The board cited these events are three centuries-old custom maintained by the Gurudwara.

Advocate Praveen Chaturvedi, representing the petitioner, contended the state government has already allowed marriages with 50 people in attendance, and his client is not asking for public participation instead the procession, on a limited route, can be allowed with 40 to 50 people.

The bench queried who will control if the procession is on the road?

The bench noted that state government is saying there is a health risk in the backdrop of people affected in Nanded and added that in Puri there were restrictions but many people turned up.

Chaturvedi further clarified that his client has reduced the procession route to 1.5 km and they will use a truck on which Granth Sahib will be kept and the proceedings will be live telecast.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, cited the MHA August 29 order which allowed religious/political/social functions from September 21 and September 30 guidelines allowing gathering of up to 100 persons outside containment zones subject to conditions.

Mehta suggested that the procession br 1.5km, they could consider holding it between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., so that people other than those participating in the ritual are not involved.

The top court also asked the state government whether it could impose a curfew like the one which was imposed in Puri for the Jagannath Yatra procession.

The Maharashtra government in its affidavit has informed the top court that Dussehra procession will not be a “practically feasible option” amid COVID-19, as it has hit the state worst, and the government has taken a conscious decision to not allow religious functions.

The bench said would giving permission to one festival will lead to giving permission to others? Mehta said this was not a festival celebrated across Maharashtra, rather it is only restricted to Nanded and also to in a community with small numbers.

The Maharashtra government counsel said the state is genuinely concerned regarding public health, which is a state subject. The counsel added that the government’s experience has shown that these 50-60 people congregation is not possible, as greater number of people will turn up and added the government did not permit even the popular Ganapathi festival procession.

Concluding the hearing, the bench asked the state government can’t you have the procession at 5 a.m.?

The Maharashtra government counsel replied the petitioner should file representation before the state disaster management authority. The bench noted that it was something where the court cannot interfere, especially when the state is saying it is difficult.

The bench asked the SDMA to decide on the representation by Nanded gurudwara management board by Tuesday and told the petitioner they can move the Bombay High Court, if not satisfied.

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After Amit Shah ‘frowns’ at Maharashtra Governor, Shiv Sena says issue over




A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah indicated disapproval of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on reopening of temples, the state’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi on Sunday expressed satisfaction and said the matter would be now “closed”.

Shiv Sena chief Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut told media persons that Shah is the country’s Home Minister, and speaks with caution and responsibility.

Besides, the Raj Bhavans and the office of Governor is a Constitutional post which come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs, he added.

“The Governor’s letter, followed by the CM’s reply, created an avoidable controversy, which we haven’t started. However, we are satisfied with Shah’s stand in the matter. We thank him for understanding the reasons behind our anger,” Raut said, signalling an end to the embarrassing “letter-war”.

Asked about the controversy, Shah, in a TV interview on Saturday evening, said: “I have read the letter. He (Governor) has made a passing reference. I believe some restraint could have been exercised.”

Koshyari’s letter to Thackeray on October 12, followed by the Chief Minister’s reply the next morning, had sparked off a massive political furore with the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress targeting the Governor and several leaders seeking his dismissal.

In a strongly-worded letter, NCP President Sharad Pawar complained about the Governor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that same evening.

The next day (October 14), the Congress, in a press conference in New Delhi, lashed out at Koshyari, seeking to know that since he is also holding charge as Governor of Goa, why has he not written a similar letter to the Goa Chief Minister on the issue of reopening of temples.

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