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MVA launches all-out attack on Centre over ‘Agnipath’



The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi on Friday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre for its ‘Agnipath’ scheme which has triggered tension and inflammatory protests in many parts of the country.

As reports of anti-Agnipath agitations pour in from different states, the MVA allies’ sharp reactions ranged from “teasing the unemployed youth” to “BJP is anti-army” to “a Jumla-path” on the people of the country.

State Congress President Nana Patole said the BJP at the Centre has imposed yet another ‘mindless and arbitrary’ decision on the country like many others in the past.

“Only 4 years’ service in the armed forces under the cute name of ‘Agnipath’ means that the youth of the country face a bleak future. Then, these young boys and girls will again be rendered jobless. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making a mockery of the people and deceiving the youth and the jobless of India,” said Patole.

Nationalist Congress Party chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said under the BJP rule, the country is witnessing its highest-ever unemployment ratio and the Centre is not serious about finding a long-term solution for the millions of jobless youth.

“The new Agnipath scheme envisages unemployed youths of the country to join the Indian Armed Forces for a short service tenure of four years, and then fails to safeguard the long-term service prospects of these hopeful young men and women. The scheme lacks imagination and direction, and this is evident from the massive protests that have erupted all over the country,” said Tapase.

Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande termed Agnipath as yet another instance of how the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ‘anti-army’ though our brave soldiers are always prepared to sacrifice their lives for the nation.

“First there was the controversial policy of OROP which was opposed by the armed forces also, and now the Agnipath. Till now the youth could serve for 16 years and then if found physically fit, their tenure could be extended. But Agnipath will completely dilute it,” said Kayande.

Slamming the scheme, she said “the 56-inch chest is nothing but a hype of ‘Modi and BJP’, and now they are even acting against the interests of the courageous soldiers who secure our borders from enemies.”

“The Agnipath scheme is clearly an injustice on the young people who are the future of the country. We demand that this scheme should be immediately withdrawn,” demanded Kayande.

Tapase said while earlier Modi had promised ‘One Rank One Pension’, under Agnipath, there will be ‘No Rank, No Pension’ or even gratuity for the youth who take up the 4-year jobs in the armed forces.

“Under such a scenario, how and where will the youth learn new skills to get them proper jobs after leaving the armed forces, and even the private sector will not accept them with full pay scales and the dignity they deserve,” pointed out Tapase.

Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe said that presently, there are 62,29,000 vacancies in the Central Government, out of which 2,55,000 are in the Indian Army.

“The decision to recruit only 46,000 of them was made with great fanfare. After six months training and then 3.5 years in the job, those opting will get barely Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 salary, no job security and no future provisions. The BJP government is gambling with the careers of our youths and Agnipath must be rolled back,” said Londhe.

The trio of Patole, Tapase and Kayande raised the question of “what happened to Modi’s tall promises of two crore jobs every year” made during the 2014 elections, and sought details of exactly how many work opportunities were created in the past 8 years of the BJP rule.

“It was nothing but an election gimmick and now even Agnipath is attracting massive protests by the disillusioned youth all over the country,” added Kayande.

“Our valiant soldiers do not care about their lives while guarding the borders of the country. They don’t concern themselves about any party or group and messing around with them is like ‘compromising’ with the nation’s security,” warned Patole.

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BJP appoints new bosses for Maharashtra, Mumbai




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




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





 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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