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Wednesday,26-January-2022

Maharashtra

Maharashtra: Congress livid as Didi writes UPA’s epitaph

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Relegated to the political pavement as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stormed Mumbai in her 2-day-long high-profile trip which ended on Thursday, the Maharashtra Congress unitedly slammed her for her ‘RIP’-ping comments spelling doom for the UPA.

Banerjee met leaders of two of the 3 ruling allies – Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena’s MP Sanjay Raut and Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, met civil society members, some industrialists, film personalities, but obviously she had no love lost for the state Congress.

The visiting leader’s shocker came during her brief media interaction, when she virtually blurted out – “What UPA? There’s no UPA now…” stunning the Congress and momentarily even the NCP supremo Pawar seemed dazed but kept his legendary cool.

An enraged Congress top brass hit back, though diplomatically – to avoid antagonising the Sena-NCP leaders or even remotely appear siding with the BJP – and harked on the grand old party’s contributions, the Gandhis’ leadership while blaming Banerjee’s “personal ambitions and ego” and painting the BJP as the real villain.

“The BJP is a threat to the Constitution and Democracy. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are constantly challenging the dictatorial attitude of the BJP,” said State Congress President Nana Patole.

The Congress Legislature Party Leader Balasaheb Thorat dismissively said, “no individual party can fight the BJP if that party only thinks of its own political gains and personal ambitions” and the Congress remains the sole viable option before the country.

AICC Secretary Sanjay Dutt said, “if there is one party which has been fighting fascist forces and standing up for the people of India, it’s the Congress”, and others are now posturing only to grab the ‘chair’ (power).

“If any other party leader makes any baseless, sarcastic or malafide comments about Rahul Gandhi, we will give a befitting reply and show them the mirror of their past stance and statements,” hissed Dutt.

State PWD Minister Ashok Chavan hit back at Banerjee saying the “Congress and its leadership needs no certification for its commitment to Democracy and Constitution, or its tireless struggle against the BJP’s policies”.

“Since before Independence, Congress has been fighting for the commoners, the rights of the people… The (BJP) central government is using the ‘divide-and-rule’ policy on the opposition parties. In such a scenario, it becomes the responsibility of all non-BJP parties not to indulge in politics that supports this policy of the Centre,” said Chavan sharply.

Patole pointed out how Rahul Gandhi has stood firm against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, on the land acquisition law and the three black agriculture laws, the BJP’s divisive policies, inflation, unemployment, etc.

“The country is more important than personal ambitions or egos… A political party restricted to one state cannot provide an alternative to the BJP. Given the gravity of the situation, all like-minded parties must come together in the national interest,” urge Patole, adding only Congress is the viable option to the BJP.

Thorat cautioned that criticising Rahul Gandhi would only help the BJP which he has fearlessly challenged, plus the Congress and the entire Gandhi family has borne the oppression of the BJP, but they were not cowed down.

Some political commentators have claimed that despite the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) venturing into uncharted territories where it is barely known or has any base, ultimately they will need Congress support to form the government as it happened during the tenures of the former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda or I.K. Gujral.

Besides Congress, even the Opposition BJP leaders attacked Didi, questioning her ‘private’ meeting with Shiv Sena leaders and asked whether Maharashtra would go the West Bengal way.

Maharashtra

Can reduce Juhi Chawla’s 5G suit fine, but on one condition: Delhi HC

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said it will consider reducing actress-environmentalist Juhi Chawla’s fine – slapped for abuse of the process of law in relation to a lawsuit challenging 5G wireless network technology – from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 lakh on the condition she does some service for the public.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said: “We will make it Rs 2 lakh but that comes with another condition. Considering that your client is a celebrity, she should do some public work. Her status should be implied for some good of society. She could do a programme for the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA).”

Representing Chawla, senior advocate Salman Khurshid, argued that the petitioner had raised a genuine concern on the impact of 5G technology on the human body. If the cost amount could be waived, his client could go back to pursue the cause, he said.

Later, he said he would seek her instructions on the suggestion made by the court.

Further, issuing notice to the DLSA Secretary, the court listed the case for further hearing on January 27.

On January 21, the DSLSA approached the court seeking the execution of the order, in which Chawla and two others were directed to deposit Rs 20 lakh fine imposed in relation to a lawsuit challenging 5G wireless network technology.

On June 4 last year, Justice J.R. Midha had dismissed her lawsuit against the setting up of 5G wireless networks in the country. Her plea stated the levels of RF radiation are 10 to 100 times greater than the existing levels. It also claimed that the 5G wireless technology can be a potential threat to provoke irreversible and serious effects on humans and it could also permanently damage the earth’s ecosystems.

The court had held that the suit filed by Chawla and two others were defective, non-maintainable, and also contained unverified and vexatious assertions and also imposed the fine.

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Maharashtra

Maha BJP MLA Nitesh Rane moves SC for anticipatory bail

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BJP’s Maharashta MLA Nitesh Rane, the son of Union Minister Narayan Rane, has moved the Supreme Court, seeking anticipatory bail in an attempt to murder lodged against him in Sindhudurg district last month.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Rane, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, submitting that the matter is a result of political rivalry. After hearing brief submissions, the bench agreed to consider the request to list the matter urgently.

Rane has challenged the January 17 order of the Bombay High Court, declining to entertain his plea seeking anticipatory bail, before the top court. The matter is connected with a road rage incident, which occurred in December last year. The complainant alleged that his motorcycle was hit by a car without a number plate and claimed he heard one of the occupants say “should inform Gotya Sawant and Nitesh Rane”.

The Maharashtra Police had given an oral assurance before the high court that Rane would not be arrested till Monday. However, Nitish claimed the case was registered to stop him from participating in the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections.

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Maharashtra

PM condoles loss of lives in Maha accident

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed deep grief over the loss of lives due to an accident near Selsura in Maharashtra. The Prime Minister has also announced an ex-gratia from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the victims.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted, “Pained by the loss of lives due to an accident near Selsura in Maharashtra. In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray that those injured are able to recover soon: PM.”

In another tweet, the PMO said, “PM @narendramodi announced that Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives in the accident near Selsura. Those who are injured would be given Rs. 50,000.”

At least seven medical students, including the son of a BJP legislator, were killed in a major road accident on the highway in Wardha district of Maharashtra early on Tuesday.

According to a police official, the accident took place when they were travelling in an SUV from Yavatmal to Wardha. At one stretch as the SUV sped on a bridge near Selsura, the driver lost control over the vehicle and it plunged into the river below. All the victims were students of the Sangavi Medical College.

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