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Tuesday,09-August-2022

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Goa should consider reopening casinos next month after Covid assessment: Ports Minister

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Michael Lobo. (File Photo: IANS)

The Goa government should consider reopening casinos in the state next month only after assessing the Covid situation in the country, state Ports Minister Michael Lobo said on Friday.

“Casinos right now have not started. Government will consider starting casinos by next month, after looking at the (Covid) situation in the country. If the Covid situation in the country improves, only then the casinos will start and we will get tourists in the state of Goa,” Lobo said.

Speaking to reporters Lobo also said that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs should provide relaxation to the aviation tourism industry by allowing flights on safe air bubble routes to allow facilitation of charter tourist flights from designated destinations to Goa.

“We hope that the tourism business improves, once Covid-19 comes down. We are also hoping that the international charter flights open in the state of Goa. Flights from Europe, Russia and some other European countries come here,” Lobo told reporters.

“Since there is a ban on tourists coming to India, I feel that the MHA should give relaxation for these bubble flights, specially charter flights coming from one country to the other.

“Tourists should be double vaccinated and they should produce RT-PCR negative test reports. They can do the antigen tests and enter the state. This is what we are expecting the Central government to do,” Lobo also said.

While domestic tourism is slowly reviving in the coastal state, international tourism in the beach state has hit rock bottom due to the restrictions on international air travel. Before the advent of the pandemic, nearly eight million tourists visited the state every year.

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Nitish to continue as CM, RJD to get Dy CM & Speaker’s post, say sources

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 Amid hectic political activities in Patna, sources said a broad consensus on the government formation has been built, which includes retaining Nitish Kumar as the chief minister, Tejaswi Yadav the Deputy Chief Minister and Speaker from the RJD.

The promise of five lakh jobs for the youths is also one of the key points of RJD’s reunion with JD(U) .

The RJD had mooted the idea of public welfare and its manifesto had promised 10 lakh jobs.

“The first decision will be the announcement of jobs,” said an insider, who claimed that there are no differences on the power sharing arrangements.

The Congress is likely to get a ministerial berth after a formula was evolved during the discussions while the Left parties may extend their support from the outside.

Earlier, in the day, the Congress and Left parties handed over the lists of their legislators to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav.

Mandan Mohan Jha, the state president of Congress said: “We will support Nitish Kumar if he leaves the BJP and forms a new government with the help of Mahagathbandhan. We have also given the list of all 19 MLAs of our party to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.”

Mahboob Alam, the MLA of CPI (ML) said: “We have also given the list to Tejashwi Yadav. We will uproot the BJP from power. We are giving support to Nitish Kumar for the formation of a new government.

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National News

Number game suits Nitish if he goes with Mahagathbandhan in Bihar

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With a change expected in Bihar, the new government likely to be formed with the help of Mahagathbandhan will suit Nitish Kumar more, both in terms of numbers as well as upholding his socialist ideology, which gels with the RJD, Congress and the Left parties.

As far as the numbers are concerned, the JD(U) has 45 MLAs and it also has the support of an independent candidate Sumit Singh. LJP MLA Raj Kumar Singh also merged with the JD(U). Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has already decided to stay with Nitish Kumar. The HAM has 4 MLAs. And, the final count of MLAs with Nitish Kumar is 51.

On the Mahagathbandhan front, the RJD had 80 MLAs but as MLA Anant Singh lost his legislation after the MLA-MLC court of Patna convicted him for 10 years jail term in AK 47, hand grenade and bullet proof jacket case, RJD was reduced to 79. Still, it is the single largest party in Bihar Assembly.

Besides the RJD, Congress has 19 MLAs, CPI (ML) has 12 MLAs, CPI has 2 and CPI(M) also has 2 seats. Hence, Nitish Kumar will have the support of 165 MLAs.

The Bihar Assembly has 243 seats and requires 122 for any alliance or party to prove the majority and form the government. The ‘165’ number will make Nitish Kumar more comfortable to run the government. He would be aiming to give participation to every party in his cabinet to run the government smoothly.

On the other hand, when Nitish Kumar was running the government under the umbrella of NDA, he was having the support of 77 MLAs of BJP apart from 4 MLAs of HAM, 46 MLAs of his own party JD(U) and one independent MLA Sumit Singh.

Nitish Kumar could also feel comfortable with Mahagathbandhan due to his socialist image. Kumar is a leader who emerged from the JP movement and worked under Karpoori Thakur. When he went with the BJP, his socialist image was a bit dented. Now that he is set to join Mahagathbandhan, course correction will be one of the focus for the future, sources said.

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Majority Indians believe Nitish Kumar will break alliance with BJP, tie up with RJD again

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 Speculation is rife about the possible split in the ruling coalition in Bihar and political realignments in the state.

If we look at the political posturing by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the past few weeks, fissures in the BJP – JD(U) alliance are quite evident.

The Bihar Chief Minister skipped the Niti Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 7 in a clear snub to the alliance partner.

Nitish Kumar did not participate in the meeting of all chief ministers called by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 27. He decided to stay away from the farewell banquet hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind on July 22 and the swearing-in of NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu as the President of the country on July 25.

At the same time, media reports about Nitish Kumar’s two-round meetings with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav last week further fuelled the speculation of the two parties coming together once again and the change of government in Bihar. Notably, in 2015, JD(U) and RJD contested the Assembly elections together as part of Mahagathbandhan and formed the government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.

In 2017, Nitish Kumar pulled out of the alliance on the plank of ‘no corruption’ and joined hands with the BJP to continue as Bihar Chief Minister.

CVoter-IndiaTracker conducted a nationwide opinion poll on behalf of IANS about the political churning going on in Bihar. During the survey, a majority of Indians opined that Nitish Kumar will break alliance with the BJP and again tie up with the RJD in Bihar.

According to the survey data, while 60 per cent believe that JD(U) will break away from the NDA and join hands with the RJD once again, 40 per cent respondents did not share the sentiment.

Interestingly, during the survey, while the majority of opposition voters – 64 per cent predicted a split in the ruling coalition in Bihar and JD(U) and RJD forging an alliance once again, the NDA voters were divided in their views with a bigger proportion replying on similar lines. As per the survey data, while 55 per cent NDA voters foresee the BJP-JD(U) alliance falling apart, 45 per cent disagreed.

During the survey, a majority of most of the social groups believe that the BJP-JD(U) alliance will fall apart in Bihar, and Nitish Kumar will once again form the government with the RJD. According to the survey data, 62 per cent Upper Caste Hindus (UCH), 62 per cent Other Backward Classes (OBC), 61 per cent Scheduled Castes (SC) and 65 per cent Muslims held this view.

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