Ending weeks of speculation, the ruling NDA constituents – Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – finally sealed an alliance for the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections.
BJP President Amit Shah and Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi and other senior leaders from both sides made the announcement at a joint media briefing late this evening.
“We have been together for over 25 years because of our shared ideologies and spirit of nationalism. In 2014 elections, owing to certain reasons we had split, but later since the past nearly five years we are in alliance in Maharashtra and at the Centre,” Fadnavis said.
Now, the partnership will continue for the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly and others elections on a wide-ranging basis, he added.
Export ban protest: Maharashtra NCP sends onions as gift to PM, Governor
Even as the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress continued to protest against the Centre’s ban on onion exports, the NCP’s Women’s Wing on Friday sent onions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
Women workers from all 36 districts in Maharashtra collected onions and sent them to Modi and Koshyari, said NCP Women’s Wing President Rupali Chakankar.
“Our women collected onions despite financial constraints and sent parcels of 5 kg each to the PM and the Governor. From Pune, we have dispatched the onion consignments by India Post. In other districts, our members handed these to Collectors or other officials to be forwarded to the two leaders,” Chakankar told IANS.
She said the onion parcels would convey the sentiments of onion farmers who were crying because the export ban had hit their livelihood badly, besides causing huge market fluctuations.
“The PM celebrated his birthday on September 17. Today, we sent him a belated birthday gift to make him understand the tears our poor farmers are shedding,” Chakankar added.
Asked why the onion parcels were sent to Raj Bhavan, she said that the Governor had time to meet all and sundry who speak ill of Maharashtra, but had no time to hear out onion farmers to acknowledge their problems in these difficult times.
“After spending so much time with anybody who criticises Maharashtra, its leaders and the Mumbai Police, the Governor should spare some time to meet our poor farmers and convey their plight to the Centre,” the NCP leader said.
Pointing to the gravity of the situation, she said that around 500,000 tonnes of onions were stuck at Mumbai ports due to the ban, causing a loss of Rs 1,250 crore to the farmers and others.
“Who’s responsible for all this? Will the BJP-led government compensate them for their losses?” she asked.
The NCP leader said that after a series of calamities like drought, floods, unseasonal rains and lockdown, the central government has brought another catastrophe on the suffering farmers. She demanded that the export ban be revoked forthwith.
Nobody cured due to ‘Bhabhiji papad’: Shiv Sena attacks Centre
Taking a jibe at Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who promoted ‘Bhabhiji papad’ to fight the coronavirus infection, the Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, “Maharashtra has done good in controlling the pandemic and nobody was cured by eating the papad”.
In July, Meghwal promoted ‘Bhabiji papad’, claiming that it was made from such ingredients which could help in building antibodies against Covid-19.
Raut, while attacking Meghwal said, “Maharashtra has actively controlled the spread, and Dharavi is the best example, which is the largest slum in the country. Many ministers are infected, a former cricketer-minister Chetan Chauhan has died. There should be no blame game on the issue and we should fight this pandemic together.”
Participating in the debate on the Covid-19 situation in the country, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel said the state is being targeted unduly and this is the time to fight together.
The opposition attack was triggered after BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe targeted the Maharashtra government on the Covid issue.
Congress leader Anand Sharma initiated the discussion on Wednesday on the statement of the Union Health Minister. Sharma targeted the government over the imposition of ‘sudden lockdown’ in the country and the government claims that this prevented nearly 14 to 29 lakh Covid-19 cases.
“Yesterday, the health minister said that this decision (lockdown) could prevent approximately 14 to 29 lakh Covid-19 cases and 37,000-78,000 deaths. This House must be informed what is the scientific basis of this and how they have reached this conclusion,” Sharma said. He said there was a very wide gap in this.
Sharma also questioned why the government had no data on the migrant workers. He also said had the facilities like the quarantine centres been in place in cities for the migrant workers, their migration could have been restricted, and thus the pandemic could have been contained from spreading into rural areas.
Champat Rai says ‘Uddhav welcome in Ayodhya’
Champat Rai, general secretary of the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, has said that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is always welcome to visit Ayodhya.
“Kisi ki maa ne dhoodh pilaya hai ki Uddhav ko rok sake (dare anyone who can stop Uddhav),” Rai said
Rai’s statement is significant since it comes two days after the Akhara Parishad , VHP and other Ayodhya seers announced their support for actor Kangana Ranaut and asked the Maharashtra Chief Minister to stay away from Ayodhya.
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