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Old practice of feni-making will continue, no changes: Goa CM Pramod Sawant

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Pramod-Sawant

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday denied any efforts to alter the process of auctioning of cashew plantations in the state, which the Opposition as well as feni distillers had alleged as a conspiracy to corporatise and facilitate mass production of Goa’s heritage drink.

“No one needs to worry. The old practice of (making) cashew feni will continue,” the Chief Minister told reporters here.

On Monday, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat as well as feni distillers in Goa had accused the Goa government of trying to ‘corporatise’ feni manufacture in the state, by trying to alter the state excise laws dealing with country liquor, in order to facilitate mass manufacture.

One of the changes in the excise laws, Kamat had said was the cancellation of auctioning of government-owned cashew plantations, from where the raw source of feni, cashew apples are harvested from.

Sawant however has maintained that the “government has no such plans to make any changes in the existing process”.

He also maintained that cashew farmers should not believe in “such rumours”, which Sawant said had been “created by mischievous elements”.

Cashew feni is distilled from fermented juice extracted from the cashew apple and is a popular alcoholic beverage in Goa. The cashew apple is harvested from orchards by farmers, who lease the tracts from the government every season.

The juice from the apples is then fermented and distilled using traditional equipment. A similar process is also used to distill coconut feni from palm toddy.

Cashew feni is also the country’s first indigenous liquor to obtain the Geographical Indication tag.

In 2016, the Goa government had passed amendment to the state excise law, elevating feni, a popular locally brewed cashew-based alcohol, to the status of a heritage spirit, bringing it on par with scotch whisky and tequila.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to Sachin Pilot: Ajay Maken

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has spoken to Sachin Pilot, party leader Ajay Maken said this on Friday dispelling rumours that ‘no leader was engaging with Pilot’.

Sources have said that party interim President Sonia Gandhi ‘is likely to intervene’ to resolve the deadlock between the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot.

Ajay Maken Congress General Secretary In-charge of Rajasthan said, “Priyanka Gandhiji and I have spoken to Sachin Pilotji. As he is senior leader of the party and asset, so it’s impossible if he seeks appointment he will be denied, K.C. Venugopal has also spoken to him.”

The MLAs and the Pilot camp in particular have been pressurizing the Congress leadership for cabinet expansion and appointments in board and corporations in Rajasthan. They allege all this is being stalled by the Chief Minister’s camp.

Pilot was in Delhi last week and even toured Uttarakhand to meet his supporters where he attacked the BJP.

Maken had said last week, “Vacant positions in the cabinet, boards and commissions would be filled soon and we are in talks with all.”

He said that all other pending issues will also be taken up.

When asked if senior party leader Sachin Pilot is angry, the former Union Minister said, “I am speaking to Pilotji on a regular basis. If he would have been angry, he would not be speaking to me.”

Pilot has raked up the issue of non-resolution of commitments made to him.

“It has now been 10 months. I was given to understand that there would be swift action by the committee, but now half of the term is done, and those issues haven’t been resolved. It is unfortunate that so many of the party workers who worked and gave their all for getting us the mandate are not being heard,” Pilot had said.

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Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin meets Sonia Gandhi and Rahul

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday met Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi here for the first time after the Assembly poll results were declared on May 2.

Stalin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The DMK leader along with his wife arrived at the residence of Sonia Gandhi on Friday morning at 10 Janpath.

During the meeting, Rahul Gandhi was also present.

The meeting lasted for over 40 minutes.

Party sources said that the leaders discussed several issues for the development of the state.

After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote, “Congress President Sonia Gandhi and I had the pleasure of meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Durgavathy Stalin earlier today. We will keep working with the DMK to build a strong and prosperous state for the Tamil people.”

The Congress had contested the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls in alliance with the DMK.

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Former TDP MLA Philip C. Tocher joins YSRCP

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Former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Christian minority leader Philip C. Tocher has joined Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP).

Tocher joined YSRCP in the presence of party founder and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday at his camp office.

The former MLA was accompanied by YSRCP MLC Lella Appi Reddy and party leaders Kathera Suresh and Kathera Henry Christina.

Back in January, Tocher resigned from the TDP, accusing party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu for his remarks on the Christian community.

He was with TDP since its inception in 1983 and went on to be nominated as the Anglo-Indian MLA during the TDP regime from 2014 to 2019.

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