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Under pressure to expand team, Maharashtra CM again air-dashes to Delhi



Under pressure to expand the cabinet from his restless flock of 50 MLAs and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing pertaining to disqualification proceedings, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday again rushed to New Delhi.

Visiting the national capital for at least the 5th time in 28 days since he took office, Shinde is likely to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Bharatiya Janata Party President J. P. Nadda and other leaders in the capital.

However, BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis is not accompanying him on this trip to New Delhi, fueling fresh speculation in political circles.

Shinde faces a daunting challenge – balancing the clamour for ministerial berths from the rebel group which left him in June – besides many senior hopefuls from the BJP side which has a larger strength.

The repeated postponement of the cabinet expansion has also pushed back the Maharashtra Legislature Monsoon Session – normally held in July – to sometime in August.

There are also major concerns as many districts in the state have been ravaged with floods and the relief and rehabilitation packages have not yet been finalised.

These delays, coupled with the ensuing SC hearing on August 1, has unnerved the new regime and attracted huge flak from the opposition Nationalist Congress Party-Congress-Shiv Sena leaders.

Leader of Opposition, NCP’s Ajit Pawar said that though Shinde is the CM, “it’s the BJP’s government” and for everything, the CM has to get clearance from Delhi.

Ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took a swipe by comparing Shinde-Fadnavis to a Dev Anand blockbuster, “Hum Dono”, and the superhit song from “Bobby” film – “Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho”.

“The two are locked in the room and the key is lost.. When people at the ‘top’ approve, the cabinet will be expanded,” added Thackeray.

NCP’s chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase wondered why there’s a reluctance to expand the cabinet, especially when the state is reeling under heavy rains, over 8-lakh hectares of farmlands have been hit and farmers are in sorrow with the downpour.

Political circles rule out any possibility of the Shinde-Fadnavis team being expanded in view of the uncertainties till the apex court verdict is delivered on Monday.

After the MVA government collapsed with Thackeray’s resignation on June 29, Shinde-Fadnavis were sworn-in on June 30 and are functioning as a two-man cabinet since the past 28 days now.


Navi Mumbai Congress hits road against Rahul Gandhi’s jail sentence




The Navi Mumbai unit of the Congress party took out a protest march and raised slogans ‘Jail Bharo’ to condemn the two-year jail sentence given to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi by a Surat court.

The protest march was taken under the guidance of the district president of the party Anil Kaushik.

Party leaders, former corporators, office bearers of various cells, and activists participated in the demonstrations and agitations were held all over the country to protest against the sentence.

Navi Mumbai Congress under the guidance of district president Anil Kaushik started their protest by staging a demonstration outside the Vashi Police Station. They alleged that the central government is acting with malice.

The party workers expressed their determination to intensify the agitation in the future.

Other leaders present at the protest included Jawaharlal Manch Cell Maharashtra Pradesh President Nila Limaye, Regional Spokesperson Nasir Hussain, and former corporator Meera Patil.

The protest was attended by a large number of Congress workers, including Navi Mumbai District Congress Secretary Vidya Bhandekar, Sandhya Kokate, Rakhi Patil, Cell President Ritesh Tandel, Ex-Corporator Babasaheb Gaikwad, Gyandeep Singh Chandok, Sunil Parkar, Vinod Patil, Vijay Patil, Dilip Nagpal, Balaji Salve, Bharat Malve, Abhijit Kakade, Sonwane, and Surendra Prasad

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Mumbai: Decision on information commissioner appointment after budget session




Eknath Shinde (1)

Mumbai: The decision on appointment of chief information commissioner and information commissioners will be taken after the budget session, said senior Mantralaya officials. The government, they said, will be considering applications of candidates other than administrative background as envisaged under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. 

Additional Chief Secretary (ARO&M), general administration department, Sujata Saunik said that the Chief Minister will decide on the date. “We will be filling up all vacancies. There is no decision at present on increasing the number of benches. Vacancies of only the existing benches will be filled,” she said.

Only 8 posts created in Maharashtra

The RTI Act provides that people of “eminence” in public life can be appointed as commissioners. In Maharashtra, only eight posts have been created, including that of the chief commissioner. However, the post has mainly been occupied by bureaucrats. 

As of now, four posts of information commissioners are vacant and that of chief commissioner will become vacant after April 13 when chief information commissioner Sumit Mullick retires. Manu Kumar Srivastava is said to be among the contenders for the post. 

The state government in February this year had issued an advertisement for three vacancies. “I have applied but we are yet to hear anything on it,” said Mohammed Afzal, one of the applicants from non-administrative background.  

Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner, said, “I think they should be appointing people before they retire. It is too little too late to fill vacancies when posts have been vacant for long. Some activists should also get selected and the government should consider selecting some younger.”

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Bombay HC asks police to take down obscene video made public by Rakhi Sawant during press meet




Observing that ethical standards have to be maintained, the Bombay High Court reprimanded model actor Rakhi Sawant and asked the Mumbai police to take necessary steps to delete obscene videos made public by the actor of a fellow actor in a press conference.

Justice Anuja Prabhudessai questioned Sawant’s advocate as to why the actor indulged in such an act. “Why should you indulge in these things of showing such videos? Why should it be done for another lady? Some ethical standards have to be maintained,” said Justice Prabhudessai.

HC directs Mumbai Police to delete the videos

The judge has also asked Mumbai police to inform on March 28 whether such videos are available on any websites. Also, they have to inform the steps they propose to take to delete these videos.

The HC is hearing a pre-arrest bail plea filed by Sawant after the same was rejected by the sessions court. An FIR was registered against Sawant last October after she called a press conference and allegedly showed obscene video of a fellow actor and made defamatory statements.

Seeking relief, her advocate said that Section 67A, which was imposed on the actor, was non-bailable. The section deals with the offence of transmitting obscene videos.

Justice Prabhudessai questioned whether Section 67A would be applicable since the actor has denied transmitting any obscene video. According to the FIR, Sawant showed the video to media persons. Besides, the punishment for this, if found guilty, is only five years.

Further, the FIR does not say that the media has circulated all this. Also, the FIR states that the video is already available online.

The victim’s advocate pointed out that the video shown by Sawant was a private one which is not available online. She defamed the victim and showed the video, which is viral now.

The court then asked the police to check whether the video was deleted. If it is displayed then the same should be deleted.

The HC has kept the matter for hearing on March 28.

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