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'Ayarams Gayarams' flourish in Maharashtra as parties hand out tickets to them

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Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, political defectors have hit the jackpot in Maharashtra as the parties of both the MahaYuti and the Maha Vikas Aghadi have rolled out the red carpet for them.

Seven such leaders, who either left their parties or made a ‘ghar wapsi’ (return), have succeeded in getting nominations for various Lok Sabha seats.

Archana Patil, a former BJP leader and the wife of party legislator Rana Jagjit Singh Patil, joined the NCP led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and was nominated from the Dharashiv constituency against her estranged brother-in-law and Shiv Sena-UBT nominee Omraje Nimbalkar.

Three-term MP and former Shiv Sena deputy leader Shivajirao Adhalrao parted ways with the party and joined the NCP, which fielded him from the Shirur constituency against the NCP-SP nominee and sitting MP Amol Kolhe.

Adhalrao had represented Shirur in the 2004, 2009, and 2014 elections as the Shiv Sena (united) candidate but lost to Kolhe in the 2019 elections. Thereafter, he deserted Uddhav Thackeray and joined the Eknath Shinde camp.

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Congress legislator from Umred, Raju Parwe left the party and joined the Shiv Sena. He was nominated from the Ramtek constituency where the Sena dropped the sitting MP Krupal Tumane, and will face Congress candidate Shyamkumar Barve.

BJP leader Karan Pawar left the party and joined the Shiv Sena-UBT. He was nominated from the Jalgaon constituency against BJP candidate Smita Wagh.

In Beed, Bajrang Sonawane deserted Ajit Pawar and joined the NCP-SP led by Sharad Pawar. He has been fielded from the Beed constituency against the BJP’s Pankaja Munde.

NCP legislator Nilesh Lanke from Parner constituency in Ahmednagar district made a ‘ghar wapsi’ to the NCP-SP, which nominated from the Ahmednagar constituency against BJP nominee Sujay Vikhe-Patil.

Two days ago, BJP leader Dhairyasheel Mohite-Patil, who is the nephew of former Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, left the party and joined the NCP-SP. He has been nominated from the Madha constituency in Solapur against BJP nominee Ranjit Sinh Naik-Nimbalkar.

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–IANS

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Seychelles patrol vessel leaves for home after GRSE completes refit in record time

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Kolkata, May 30 (IANS) There was cheer all around as fast patrol vessel SCG PS Zoroaster set sail from the Rajabagan Dockyard of Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd in Kolkata on Wednesday after completion of its maiden short refit.

The refit was to last 90 days but GRSE added yet another feather to its cap by completing the process in just 60 days. SCG PS Zoroaster was built by GRSE and handed over to the Seychelles Coast Guard by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 8, 2021.

In keeping with modern shipbuilding practices, GRSE — a Defence PSU that has delivered over 100 warships to the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard — not only builds warships but carries out refits, repairs and upgrades on them as and when required.

Accordingly, the refitting of SCG PS Zoroaster began on March 22 this year and was completed on May 24. According to a senior GRSE official, this was possible through meticulous planning and an advanced execution strategy.

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“This is in keeping with India’s Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision. Undertaking such a refit for a foreign nation was a unique endeavour for GRSE that will go a long way in strengthening collaborative efforts between India and Seychelles towards enhancing regional stability and security,” the official added.

An Indian Navy team of experts from the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam carried out sea safety checks after the refit. River trials of the ship’s machinery were also successfully carried out. The team will continue with the checks at sea till the SCG PS Zoroaster stops by at Visakhapatnam before sailing for the Seychelles.

“The ship’s stay at Kolkata was supported by the Indian Navy through INS Netaji Subhas. The crew of the vessel was seen off by the Indian Navy and GRSE and will carry fond memories of their stay in the City of Joy,” the Navy has posted on X.

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–IANS

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J&K: 7 killed, 28 injured after bus falls in gorge in Akhnoor

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Jammu, May 30 (IANS) Seven people were killed and 28 injured on Thursday after a bus carrying pilgrims fell into a deep gorge in J&K’s Akhnoor area on the Jammu-Poonch highway.

Officials said that seven people have died and 28 others were injured after a bus carrying pilgrims went out of the driver’s control near Chungi Morh at Chowk Choura in the Akhnoor area on the Jammu-Poonch road.

The bus was reportedly carrying pilgrims from Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.

The injured have been shifted to Akhnoor Hospital from where those with critical injuries have been referred to the government medical college hospital in Jammu city, officials added.

A massive relief and rescue operation is underway.

–IANS

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Local issues, not national, dominated campaigning for 42 LS seats in Bengal

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Kolkata, May 30 (IANS) With campaigning in the last and seventh phase of polls for nine Lok Sabha constituencies set to end within a few hours, a quick look back shows that local issues took precedence over national matters during the campaigns for the 42 seats in West Bengal.

Although the electorate is voting to elect the government at the Centre, the focus of all political parties in the fray is still on state-centric issues and how the results of the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal will determine the longevity of the ruling government in the state, which is officially scheduled to continue till 2026.

For instance, the BJP has focussed on issues like corruption cases against the state government and Trinamool Congress leaders, charges of sexual harassment of women at Sandeshkhali and misuse of funds released under centrally-sponsored projects.

Interestingly, this line of campaigning has not just been followed by prominent BJP leaders in the state like President Sukanta Majumdar or the Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, but even by the party’s national leadership.

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The campaign speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were full of references of state-specific issues.

Although both PM Modi and HM Shah touched upon national issues like India’s social and economic progress in the last 10 years, the time allotted for the same was too less compared to the references to state-specific issues.

For instance, in the campaigns for the last two phases, PM Modi focussed on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s observations, accusing a section of the monks of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and ISKCON of acting on behalf of the BJP.

On the other hand, Trinamool Congress leaders, especially Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the party’s General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee devoted most of the time in either defending the allegations made by the BJP or in explaining how the saffron party has deprived the state government of its legitimate dues under different centrally-sponsored schemes.

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In addition, both leaders have dedicated much time on how the NRC, CAA and UCC will be against the interest of the Muslim community and how determined the Trinamool Congress is to block these in West Bengal.

Similarly, in the campaign meetings for the last two phases, CM Banerjee has devoted substantial time in explaining that her comments on the iconic religious institutions were being misinterpreted and she had never been against such entities.

However, one interesting similarity in the campaigns of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress has been their take on the CPI(M) and the Congress.

Both BJP and Trinamool Congress have accused the CPI(M) and the Congress of having a covert understanding with their political rival in the state.

This slur war was kicked off by CM Banerjee when she started describing CPI(M) and the West Bengal unit of the Congress as clandestine partners of the BJP in the state.

Soon the BJP leadership, including PM Modi launched a counter-campaign describing CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress as “enemies in Bengal but partners in Delhi.”

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Surprisingly, even the Congress-Left Front alliance in West Bengal has focussed on state- specific issues while campaigning.

The alliance leaders have mainly talked about three issues, namely cases of corruption, clandestine understanding between BJP and Trinamool Congress and attempts to polarise voters in the state on religious lines by the BJP and Trinamool Congress.

An interesting factor in the Trinamool Congress’ campaign for these General Elections has been the constantly-shifting stand of CM Banerjee on the INDIA bloc.

After claiming that the INDIA bloc will end the tally with over 300 seats, with the BJP stopping at a little over 200, the CM said that she would give outside support to any probable Union government formed by the Opposition alliance.

Within days she shifted her stand and claimed that she is very much a part of the INDIA bloc and will take the lead role in any probable Opposition-led government at the Centre.

–IANS

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Now, a 3-day 'Dharavi Premier League' cricket tourney to kickstart on May 31

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) The Dharavi Redevelopment Project Pvt Ltd (DRPPL), a joint venture of Maharashtra Government and Adani Group, will unveil the first three-day cricket tournament, Dharavi Premier League (DPL) to salute the spirit of over one million souls residing in Asia’s largest informal settlement, as per an official statement here on Thursday.

The tourney will be divided into six phases, with the first featuring 14 teams and over 200 players from Sector 1 of Dharavi, which is the largest geographically and population-wise, covering areas of Matunga Labour Camp, Shahu Nagar, Sat Chawl, Valmiki Nagar and Kamala Nagar.

The matches will be played in a 10-over format on a knockout basis at the RPF Grounds in Dharavi under floodlights and shall be governed by the ICC rulebook for T20 cricket, including a third umpire and an equal number of referrals available to both competing teams, on the lines of the professional matches.

The 14 teams from Sector 1 are: Thunder Boltz, Strikers, Valmiki Giants, Team Spirit, Vicky Panthers, Matunga Warriors, Young Boyz, Shahunagar Singhams, Hibah Ke Fighters, Meghdoot Blasters, Ashtavinayak Squad, Morya Boyz, Samrat and Lions Cricket Club.

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The match, with replays, including decisions referred to the third umpire, will be broadcast live on big LED screens and on DPL’s YouTube handle @dharavipremierleague.

The DPL is being organised by the people of Dharavi, who will also provide in-match entertainment, music and food.

Apart from the players, the match referees, umpires, and groundsmen are all residents of Dharavi.

There will be cash prizes for the lucky winners and runners-up, and categories like the man of the match and the player of the series, besides spot prizes for the viewers who come to cheer their favourite teams.

–IANS

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Minister admits NCP MLA rooted for reinstating tainted doctor as Sassoon Hospital MS

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Pune, May 30 (IANS) Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Hasan Mushrif has admitted that a ruling MahaYuti ally Nationalist Congress Party had recommended the reinstatement of the tainted medico, Ajay Taware – now arrested and suspended – to the coveted post of Medical Superintendent (MS) in Sassoon General Hospital, here on Thursday.

The recommendation was made by MLA Sunil Tingre, and a letter purportedly penned by him had gone viral on social media last week, though the legislator had vehemently denied the development.

Mushrif said that Tingre had written the recommendation letter around December 2023 which he (as Minister) had endorsed for further action to the concerned hospital authorities.

When questioned over this, Mushrif pointed a finger at the hospital Dean Vinayak Kale – currently sent on compulsory leave – asking why he failed to oppose the name of Taware.

“If he (Kale) did not consider Taware to be a suitable candidate for the MS post, then why did he not clearly inform the government about it,” Mushrif shot back, as fresh developments continued to crop up almost daily since the May 19 Porsche crash.

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On May 29, Kale hinted at the involvement of the legislator and the minister in the return of Taware as the MS despite his questionable professional record at the hospital.

Incidentally, Tingre is under a cloud for attempting to use his political clout and misguide the police investigations, and the Opposition parties have questioned whether the legislator’s son was also in the Porsche along with the builder’s minor son.

Targetting the government, Congress’ Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Vijay Wadettiwar has alleged that a “top person” in the regime was reportedly shielding the officials and the murky goings-on at the Sassoon General Hospital and would reveal the names later.

As the Sassoon General Hospital is caught in the eye of the Porsche crash storm, the axe is falling on several officials with the Dean eased out on compulsory leave and replaced by Chandrakant Mhaske.

Two senior medicos Ajay Taware and Shrihar Halnor plus a peon Atul Ghatkamble were arrested and suspended, and they shall be produced before a Pune Court later in the day for extension of their custody.

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The police have also questioned over two dozen other staffers of the hospital including medicos, nurses, administrative and medical employees for the probe.

–IANS

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