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PM Narendra Modi may hold all-party meet on Jammu and Kashmir next week

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir next week, a first such move taken since the abrogation of Article 370 from the region and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories in August 2019, sources said.

However, the schedule is not yet fixed, it is learnt that the meeting may occur any time next week.

The meeting will be held in Delhi as the central government wanted to restart the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir which was bifurcated into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir with an assembly and Ladakh without one.

Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir may also agree to participate in the Delimitation Commission proceedings. The commission was set up in March 2020 to redraw the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir before the next assembly elections are held.

However, the National Conference (NC), one of the oldest parties in Jammu and Kashmir, may not join the meeting as it is adamant on the restoration of the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

Public representatives may also be the part of the meeting.

The development comes following a meeting taken by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday in Delhi to review ongoing welfare programs in Jammu and Kashmir in order to bring development with transparency in the region.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials attended Shah’s meeting on Friday.

In a statement, the home ministry said that all-around development and welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir is the government’s top priority. Shah congratulated Sinha and his team for ensuring the Covid-19 vaccination drive has reached 76 per cent of the target in the Union Territory and 100 per cent in four districts.

The statement said Shah asked authorities to ensure the farmers in the region get the benefits of the central schemes.

Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since chief minister Mehbooba Mufti lost power when the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support to the People’s Democratic Party-led government in June 2018.

Mufti and two other former chief ministers were among hundreds of people arrested in the run-up to the nullification of the Constitution’s Article 370 that stripped Jammu & Kashmir of its special status. A communications blackout and a lockdown were also imposed to stem protests against the move. All the restrictions have since been removed.

The first major electoral exercise –District Development Council polls — was held in the region as part of efforts to restart political activities in Jammu and Kashmir last year. All major political parties participated in the exercise. The parties have also shown willingness to engage with the Centre.

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Punjabi singer Moosewala joins Congress

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Famous Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, who was booked on charges of promoting violence and gun culture in a song, on Friday joined the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Punjab.

He joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and State Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu.

During the induction ceremony, Sidhu described Moosewala as a youth icon.

“Sidhu Moosewala is joining our family. I welcome him in the Congress fold,” Sidhu told the media.

Describing Moosewala as a “big artiste”, Channi said with his sheer hard work, he has won the hearts of millions of people.

Moosewala, whose real name is Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, is known for his hit Punjabi tracks like ‘Legend’, ‘Devil’, ‘Just listen’, ‘Jatt da Muqabala’ and ‘Hathyar’, among many others.

His name also featured in the Billboard Canadian Albums in 2018.

“I am not entering politics for status or to earn praise. I want to become a part of the system to transform it. I am joining the Congress to raise the voice of the people. I am joining the Congress as the party has leaders who have come from common families,” Moosewala said.

He said he is still living in the same house in his village. His father is an ex-serviceman and his mother is a sarpanch. “Residents of my area have expectations from me,” he added.

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‘MLA not a govt servant’, Kerala HC cancels appointment of late leader’s son

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo: IANS)

In a stinging blow to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had given a government job to the son of late CPI-M MLA K.K. Ramachandran Nair, the Kerala High Court on Friday ruled that a ‘legislator is not a government servant’ and cancelled the appointment.

Nair, a first time legislator after being elected from the Chenganoor Assembly constituency in the 2016 Assembly polls, passed away in 2018 following health issues.

Vijayan, in a surprise decision, decided to appoint Nair’s son R.Prasanth as an assistant engineer in the Public Works Department, which led to a huge criticism from several quarters.

However, a petitioner from Palakkad, Ashok Kumar filed a plea in this regard at the High Court and on Friday a division bench chaired by the Chief Justice S. Manikumar ruled that an ‘MLA is not a government servant as they have an elected term of only five years, and hence a government job under the dying in harness mode is not applicable and cancelled the appointment.

Incidentally, this judgement comes at a time when a petition is before the Lokayukta after Vijayan sanctioned a substantial sum of money from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund to clear off the debts of Nair.

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SP’s ‘Vijay Rath Yatra’ in Jhansi, Akhilesh to address public rallies at 9 places

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 Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is taking out a ‘Vijay Rath Yatra’ in Jhansi on Friday, with the focus on Bundelkhand and will also hold public rallies at nine places.

As per information, the yatra will traverse through Laxmi Garden, Elite Square, Jail Square, Court Square, Kunj Vatika Marriage Hall, Mandi Tiraha, University Gate, Medical College Gate, Medical Bypass Tiraha, where he will be welcomed by the party workers.

After this, he will address public gatherings at Mahant Laxman Das Kanya Inter College in Baragaon, Rashtrakavi Maithilisharan Gupt Mahavidyalaya in Chirgaon and Tika Ram Kanya Mahavidyalaya.

Earlier, in Lalitpur, Akhilesh accused the BJP of “fooling” the people. He raised the farmers’ issue and said that only a family man can understand the pain of a family member.

In Bundelkhand, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda and Chitrakoot comprise a division (mandal). Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalon is another division. There are seven districts and 19 Assembly seats in the area.

For Akhilesh, Bundelkhand remains a major challenge because the BJP has a strong hold in the area and it had won all the 19 Assembly seats in the region.

In the 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP wiped out the SP, BSP and Congress in the region.

The SP is busy in stitching together alliances with small parties to give a tough fight to the saffron party.

On October 13, Akhilesh had launched his ‘Vijay Rath Yatra’ as part of the 2022 UP Assembly election campaign.

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