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Tuesday,16-August-2022

Maharashtra

Maharashtra Oppn slams gas price hike, terms it fallout of new ‘ED govt’

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The Opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress on Wednesday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre for the steep hike of Rs 50 in the prices of LPG cooking gas cylinders, terming it as a “fallout” of the new government assuming power in Maharashtra.

NCP Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said 50 MLAs from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) rebelled against the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and a week later, the cooking gas prices were increased by Rs 50.

“The 50 MLAs were taken to Surat, flown to Guwahati and then to Goa, everywhere pampered in deluxe hotels… The ‘invisible force’ behind that operation to topple the MVA government must have cost a huge amount. Is there any connection between the 50 MLAs and Rs 50 spike in gas cylinder prices,” Tapase asked.

He also referred to the development as a consequence of the ‘E.D.’ government — of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis — as pointed out by the latter (Eknath-Devendra) last week.

In a sharp attack, Congress state President Nana Patole asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi how can the masses afford the huge hike of Rs 50 for domestic gas cylinders in the all round inflation.

“The Modi government has a new slogan now – ‘Na khaunga, Na pakaane doonga’. With the latest hike, the domestic gas cylinder prices have touched Rs 1,053,” Patole pointed out.

Tapase pointed out that barely 24 hours ago, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had promised to reduce taxes on petrol-diesel and today, people got a shock when the BJP government hiked the gas cylinder prices, indicating that the reality is very different from perceptions.

Patole recalled how, ever since the Modi regime came to power, the inflation graph has been rising and the government has “failed to control” the price rise.

“Owing to the continuous price hikes, essential commodities have also gone out of reach of the common masses. In 2014 ,during the Congress-led UPA government, the gas cylinder cost Rs 450, ensuring the commoners were not hit by inflation,” said the Congress chief, adding: “The subsidies extended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have also been removed by the Modi government, and Indians are using the most expensive gas in the world.”

Claiming that it is impossible to get a new gas connection, Patole said it cost Rs 2,200, plus Rs 4,400 security deposit, regulator price has gone up by Rs 100, and then highly-priced monthly refill cylinders costing Rs 1,000-plus.

Referring to the Centre’s figures of 9-crore gas connections given under the Ujjwala Yojana, Patole demanded to know how many of those beneficiaries can afford the revised cylinder prices, and now they cannot go back to kerosene which has been stopped to them.

“The economy is on downslide, the Indian Rupee falling daily against US Dollar, but the government has already looted the people of Rs 26 lakh crore on fuel taxes and filling its own coffers as the masses continue to suffer in the whirlpool of inflation,” said Patole.

The fresh increase in cooking gas prices has attracted severe flak even on the social media groups.

Maharashtra

BJP appoints new bosses for Maharashtra, Mumbai

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 The Bharatiya Janata Party has appointed former ministers Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ashish Shelar as the chief of the part’s Maharashtra and Mumbai units, respectively, according to an announcement.

Bawankule and Shelar, both sitting legislators, replace Chandrakant Patil and Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who have been appointed as ministers in the government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, earlier this week.

As per a statement by BJP President J. P. Nadda, both appointments are made with immediate effect, and come ahead of the imminent elections to various civic bodies in the state.

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Maharashtra

CM Eknath Shinde snubs Thackeray again, drops Shiv Sena from BAC meet

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In a fresh snub to ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, his Shiv Sena faction in the Maharashtra Assembly was dropped from the crucial Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meet to prepare for the upcoming Monsoon Session of the Legislature.

Thackeray faction leader and chief whip Ajay Chaudhari had written to Speaker Rahul Narvekar seeking representation to the BAC, but it was rejected.

However, now two ministers from the faction headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde have been included in the BAC — Dada Bhuse and Uday Samant.

The BAC presided over by Shinde and attended by group leaders of all parties on Thursday decided to extend the Monsoon Session by two days and now it will be held from August 17-25.

This was because the legislature will not function on August 19 (Dahi Handi celebrations) and the weekend, and the two additional days would enable discussions and decisions on various issues.

The BAC comprises Assembly members like Shinde, BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, NCP’s Jayant Patil, BJP’s Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Chandrakant Patil, and Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan.

Besides, there are other invitees like Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal (NCP), Ashish Shelar (BJP), Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) and Amin Patel (Congress) in the BAC.

From the Council, besides Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe, the BAC has newly-appointed Leader of Opposition Ambadas Danve and Anil Parab, both from Shiv Sena, Pravin Darekar and Vijay Girdhar (BJP), Shashikant Shinde (NCP) and Bhai Jagtap (Congress).

The invitees from the upper house included Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil (BJP), Jayant Patil (PWP), Kapil Patil (Lok Bharati) and Vikas Potnis (Shiv Sena).

After the government headed by Shinde and Fadnavis was sworn-in on June 30, the monsoon session was originally scheduled to start on July 17, but was postponed for various reasons.

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Maharashtra

Skeletons peep out of Maharashtra CM’s ‘mini-cabinet’, 75% ministers face criminal cases

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Maha-Govermetn

 The 18-member ‘mini-cabinet’ expansion of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis have thrown up many facts, including 75 per cent of the total 20 ‘crorepati’ ministers have criminal cases lodged against them.

According to a study conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a total of 15 ministers have declared criminal cases, including seven from the Shinde Group Shiv Sena and eight from the BJP, in the ‘gents only cabinet’.

Of these, 65 per cent — or 13 ministers — including seven from Shinde Group and six from the BJP have serious criminal cases filed against them.

Of the 20 crorepatis, BJP’s Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a reputed builder, is the richest among the ministers with assets worth Rs 441.65 crore and liabilities of Rs 283.36 crore.

Though a ‘crorepati’, the poorest in the lot is also BJP’s Sandipanrao A. Bhumre with assets of Rs 2.92 crore in his name.

The average assets of the ministers’ whose poll affidavits were analysed by ADR comes to Rs 47 crore — comprising the BJP’s Rs 58 crore and Shinde Group’s Rs 36 crore.

On the academic front, two ministers (or 10 per cent) have declared their educational track record as SSC pass, six (30 per cent) as HSC pass, 11 ministers (55 per cent) are higher qualified with degrees, and only one Dr. Suresh Khade of the BJP holds a doctorate from a university in Sri Lanka.

As far as the age group is concerned, 16 ministers (80 per cent) fall in the upper echelons aged between 51-70, and four (20 per cent) are between 41-50, said the ADR’s Maharashtra Election Watch, coordinated by Ajit Ranade, Sharad Kumar and Satish Khot.

CM Shinde carried out his much-awaited cabinet expansion on Tuesday, inducting 18 ministers, including three allegedly ‘tainted’. No women MLA could find a place in the cabinet and so could not the Independents and smaller parties.

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