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BJP set to take advantage of 'cracks' in MVA partners, VBA’s 'Ekla Cholo' move

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Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) The BJP in Maharashtra is all set to cash in on the cracks that have surfaced among the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners, and the political situation arising after the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) announced to go solo by fielding seven candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

BJP insiders said the ‘Tu Tu Main Main’ among the MVA partners and VBA’s move to join hands with pro-Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil is a blessing in disguise to achieve its ‘Mission 45-plus seats’ target in the state.

Apart from riding on the Narendra Modi wave and the ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’ plank, the BJP hopes to benefit from the division of votes among the MVA partners.

The party looks to have the last laugh over the political developments unfolding in the state, especially after differences surfaced between the Congress and the Shiv Sena (UBT) and also due to VBA’s ‘Ekla Cholo’ move.

More importantly, the BJP expects to gain political mileage with VBA’s move to field its nominees in Bhandara-Gondiya, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Buldhana, Akola, Amravati, Wardha, and Yavatmal-Washim, where the Congress is the main opponent.

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The Congress, which continues to be a divided house, is pulling out its resources and mobilising the party cadres to fight against the BJP in the eight seats in the Vidarbha region. However, VBA’s move is expected to hamper Congress’ plans.

The Vidarbha region had been a Congress bastion, but over the years, it has lost its grip and is now struggling to stay relevant there.

On the other hand, the BJP has systematically increased its presence and consolidated its position in the Vidarbha region by not just winning Lok Sabha and Assembly elections since 2014, but also increasing its tally in the local bodies. The party expects to gain from the VBA’s decision to contest elections in the Vidarbha region.

Also, the Shiv Sena (UBT) announcing its nominees in Sangli (which was demanded by the Congress) and four seats in Mumbai has not gone down well with the grand old party.

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Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat and Vijay Wadettiwar even criticised Uddhav Thackeray for ‘breach of alliance dharma’. Ex-MP and senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam not only lashed out at Thackeray, but also the party leadership for its ‘total surrender’ to Shiv Sena (UBT).

Nirupam has also threatened to take an ‘extreme step’ if the party leadership fails to take corrective measures.

Claiming that many people have walked out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is projected by the BJP as the ‘Chanakya’ of Maharashtra politics, said, “Although I do not want to comment on what is happening in the MVA, one thing is clear that all is not well there.”

Fadnavis also targeted Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, saying the Congress will have to get used to his style of functioning.

“We had experienced it when we were together,” he said.

Fadnavis’ cryptic remarks have dropped a hint that the BJP, along with the other MahaYuti partners, will reach out to the voters by exposing the MVA’s ‘failure’ to stitch a seat-sharing arrangement.

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The BJP will go the whole hog with its Viksit Bharat 2047 resolution, and to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister for the third time.

Meanwhile, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar took a dig at Thackeray, claiming that the people of Maharashtra will soon realise that the party is nothing less than a gasbag full of arrogance, considering the way it is behaving with the Congress and its partners in the INDIA bloc.

Shelar’s remarks also show that the BJP is determined to dent Thackeray’s sympathy card and lure the traditional Shiv Sainiks and Marathi Manoos in the six constituencies in Mumbai.

As campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls gathers momentum, the BJP and its allies propose to step up their attacks against Thackeray and other INDIA bloc partners by taking advantage of the rifts while projecting the MahaYuti’s show of unity.

–IANS

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Communicable disease control, Dastak Abhiyan to begin on July 1 in UP

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Lucknow, June 16 (IANS) To tackle health challenges due to water-borne diseases and other seasonal vagaries ahead of the monsoon season, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh will initiate the Communicable Disease Control Campaign statewide from July 1 to 31, a government spokesman said.

Concurrently, the Dastak Abhiyan will be conducted from July 11 to July 31.

A detailed action plan has been prepared, with officials instructed to implement it effectively.

The Urban Development Department is actively supervising the initiative and issuing directives to urban bodies for seamless execution of the plan, said a government spokesman.

The Urban Development Directorate has instructed all Municipal Commissioners, General Managers of the Water Institute, and Executive Officers of the Municipal Council to implement action plans following the directives provided.

Additionally, sensitisation meetings have been scheduled for Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils, and all Nagar Panchayats.

Instructions have been issued to provide the District Chief Medical Officer with a micro-plan detailing ward-wise and area-wise activities to be completed by June 28 for the special Communicable Disease Control Campaign.

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Urban bodies are also directed to submit consolidated reports to the government regarding the activities conducted and completed during the campaign as per this micro-plan.

Urban bodies have also been directed to collaborate with the Health Department to educate officials and staff about preventing encephalitis and other vector-borne and waterborne diseases, as well as maintaining cleanliness.

Continuous awareness campaigns through Mohalla Committees will be conducted to address these health concerns.

Urban areas will also see regular fogging and targeted vector control activities in high-risk areas identified by the Health department. Additional instructions include promoting environmental and personal hygiene, preventing open defecation, ensuring the use of clean drinking water, and controlling mosquito population.

Guidelines have also been provided for waterlogging and water supply.

Mini public water supply systems and tank-type stand posts must be installed and monitored according to standards.

Roads and pavements will be constructed to prevent waterlogging and vegetation growth.

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Vegetation along roads will be regularly cleared, and activities will be focused on sensitive urban population and slum areas.

–IANS

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164 kg ganja seized in Hyderabad, six held

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Hyderabad, June 16 (IANS) The Hyderabad Police have seized 164 kg of ‘ganja’ (cannabis) and arrested six inter-state drug peddlers.

Acting on credible information, the sleuths of the Commissioner’s Task Force, South West Zone Team, apprehended drug peddlers who were found in possession of a huge quantity of narcotic substance weighing 164 kg in Humayun Nagar and Bhavani Nagar police station limits.

S. Rashmi Perumal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Commissioner’s Task Force, told mediapersons on Sunday that property worth Rs 60 lakh was seized in both cases.

In the first case relating to Humayun Nagar police station, three drug peddlers were caught in the Paramount colony in the Tolichowki area and 100 kg of ganja was seized from them.

Dharavath Ravi, a native of Kamareddy district was previously arrested in a NDPS case in Maharashtra.

Recently, he travelled to Muchumput, Odisha, where he purchased 32 packets of ganja worth 100 kg from one ganja cultivator named Govind.

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Ravi, along with his friends Syed Bahadur and Ananda Ramji Kadam, both from Nanded in Maharashtra, loaded the same ganja into a Hyundai Accent car and travelled towards Hyderabad.

Acting on credible information, the Task Force apprehended the accused persons near Paramount Colony, within the limits of Humayun Nagar police station.

In the second case, the Task Force arrested three persons and seized 64 kg of ganja under the limits of the Bhavani Nagar police station.

The accused were identified as Shaik Parvez, Abdul Rawoof, and Mohammed Anwar.

Shaik Parvez, a native of Hyderabad, was previously involved in two NDPS cases, including one in Ravulapalem, Andhra Pradesh.

According to the police, when Parvez was in Rajahmundry Jail, he met one ganja cultivator and peddler Deepak, who is a native of Kalimela, Odisha.

Upon his release from jail in April 2024, he hatched a plan to peddle ganja and make easy money.

He contacted Deepak who transported the ganja through his associates to Hyderabad in RTC buses.

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Acting on credible information, the Task Force team apprehended the accused persons in two cars and a two-wheeler.

–IANS

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FairPoint: Is there something under wraps in Kashmir

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The recent terror attacks in Jammu have sparked a wave of anxiety and panic among people in the region. The fact that terrorists can carry out heinous attacks anywhere and anytime has exposed chinks that need to be sealed.

The attack on a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Reasi raises several questions — like how come the attackers knew the bus was carrying Hindu pilgrims or it would be travelling on that particular route at that time. Were they given the information? Who told them? The terrorists ambushed the bus on a stretch where traffic was less and as per those who survived, the attackers were there for almost 20 minutes.

Does this not indicate a kind of collusion with some local sympathisers? The questions may be part of the investigation being carried out, but they are reminiscent of the times when terrorism struck Kashmir in the early 1990s and most of the attacks were carried out after getting information from neighbours or colleagues and even local policemen. This was something which was even described in detail by Late Governor Jagmohan in his book, ‘Frozen Turbulence’.

The help at the local level could be out of fear or sympathy. With improved security situation and crackdown on separatist leaders, the atmosphere of fear is supposed to have been curbed. But, terror eruptions like the recent ones bring forth an ugly fact that rogue elements continue to exist and exert their presence from time to time.

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These elements try to rear their heads when they deem fit or act on orders from across the border. Pakistan has not shut its terror factory and continues to infiltrate terrorists to carry out attacks. It believes that it is its right to keep J&K disturbed through such acts of violence.

J&K Director General of Police R. R. Swain recently said that 70-80 foreign terrorists are active in the Union Territory. An equal number is reported to be trying to sneakily cross the LoC/border from various launch pads in Pakistan.

With the security apparatus tight and strong in Kashmir, the terrorists have been trying to shift their activities to the Jammu region, in the south of Pir Panjal range. The region with dense forests is a difficult terrain where terrorists get enough space to hide. The Pakistan-backed terrorists are also now trying to go to those areas which have been relatively peaceful, and the Reasi attack is an example.

This is the challenge for security forces. The fact that terrorists are able to strike and vanish is something which is deeply worrying. The question again arises — is it possible for the attackers to just vanish or are there elements helping them in the UT?

The terror attacks cannot happen in isolation. There is always a local connect, whether it is in the form of a hybrid terrorist, an overground or underground worker or just simply doing it for money or getting exploited on the basis of religious sentiments.

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Before the abrogation of Article 370, the separatists and the pro-Pakistani elements were successful in creating a network which was connected by Islamic sentiments. This link helped in organising stone-pelting sessions, targeted killings, attacks on minorities and security forces, etc.

After Article 370 ceased to exist, the valley has seen a drastic change. The pro-separatist network was demolished and a drastic reduction in violence, including stone-pelting, was noticed. The valley has been witnessing a massive and unprecedented flow of tourists.

Despite a majority wanting to live in peace, there is a hidden remnant of the motivated link that has been trying to gather itself by various means. These hidden elements show their presence through acts of terror, as was witnessed in three back-to-back attacks in Jammu, including the targeting of Hindu pilgrims in a bus in Reasi district.

The police have announced huge rewards for information about the attackers but days after the attack, no one has been arrested. The fact is that these hidden elements are able to get support — with moving around, hiding, food, weapons or pinpointed information about the subject of attack. This is something which should act as an alarm bell for the government.

The victory of Engineer Rashid, a leader with an inclination towards the separatist agenda, in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, is again a pointer to something brewing in the valley.

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Rashid has been in Tihar jail for the past five years in connection with a terror funding case. In 2015, when he was an MLA, he organised a party at his official residence where beef was cooked. He has also repeatedly raised his voice for the “right to self-determination” in the then J&K Assembly.

Recently, when he won the Lok Sabha elections, eyebrows were raised as to how he managed to secure the win despite being in jail. His campaign was led by his 26-year-old son Abrar Rashid.

Much on the lines of AAP head and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign in the general elections, where he appealed to people to vote for him to keep him out of jail, Abrar Rashid adopted a similar strategy. His short speeches — “Your vote can get my father released…,” struck a chord and translated into victory.

If Engineer Rashid enters Parliament, will he raise his voice for self-determination as he used to do when he was an MLA.

The question is troubling, is there some under-wraps agenda that is now gradually unfolding? The separatists, by fielding proxies even if the Jamaat-e-Islami, JKLF and others are banned organisations, plan to enter the system. Is there an effort to implode the system by entering the system legitimately?

The questions may seem hypothetical currently, but Kashmir has a lot hidden.

(Deepika Bhan can be contacted at deepika.b@ians.in)

–IANS

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INDIA bloc wants to include Chandrashekhar Azad for 2027 UP polls

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Lucknow, June 16 (IANS) Buoyed up by its recent victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh are now looking to expand their vote base by bringing in ‘more influential leaders’.

The INDIA bloc members are clearly eyeing Azad Samaj Party MP Chandrashekhar Azad who registered a spectacular win from the Nagina reserved seat on his own.

While Chandrashekhar won his Nagina seat, another Azad Samaj Party (ASP) candidate Amar Singh Chaudhary in Domariyaganj ranked at the third position.

The BSP in both constituencies ranked at the fourth position with 1.33 per cent votes in Nagina and 3.5 per cent votes in Domariyaganj.

“The fact is that Chandrashekhar has emerged as an alternative to Mayawati and her BSP in these elections. His acceptability among Dalit youth has increased substantially and the Dalit votes are rapidly veering towards him from the BSP. We would definitely like to bring (ASP) into the INDIA bloc so that our position gets stronger before the next assembly polls in UP in 2027,” said a senior Samajwadi Party functionary.

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Chandrashekhar, it may be recalled, was brought in to meet SP President Akhilesh Yadav by RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary who was then in alliance with SP.

However, he was left to fend for himself when Jayant Chaudhary walked across to join the NDA.

Akhilesh did not continue his relationship with Chandrashekhar after being ‘betrayed’ by RLD.

Rahul Gandhi, however, was among the first leaders to call up Chandrashekhar when the latter’s convoy was fired upon in June last year.

According to sources, Chandrashekhar has already started working to build up his party organisation and is preparing to contest assembly elections.

The SP and Congress have indicated that their alliance would continue and now there will be seat-sharing between the two in by-polls too.

“The alliance will continue. Will be in play in the forthcoming by-polls also. And there will be seat-sharing discussions,” said UP Congress President Ajay Rai.

SP national secretary and party’s chief spokesperson, Rajendra Chaudhary said: “Yes, the alliance continues and there will be seat-sharing between the SP and Congress in the by-polls as well”.

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SP sources said that if Chandrashekhar agrees to join the INDIA bloc, the formation could get greater strength.

“Dalits will now go with Chandrashekhar because Mayawati has already slipped into political oblivion. If he joins us, the PDA (Pichhda, Dalit and Alpasankhyak) formula will become stronger and the 2027 polls will bring good news for the INDIA bloc,” said an SP functionary.

–IANS

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6 feared missing as boat capsizes in Patna

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Patna, June 16 (IANS) Six persons are feared missing on Sunday after a boat capsized on the outskirts of Patna, authorities said.

Subham Kumar, Barh Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), confirmed the incident, adding that 17 members of a family boarded the boat to cross the Ganga River

“It has capsized in the middle of the river. The local boat sailors managed to rescue 11 of them but six persons are still missing. The mishap occurred at Umanath Ghat of Barh,” Kumar said.

He added that the victims belong to one family living in Malti village of Nalanda district.

The district administration has informed the NDRF and SDRF about the incident and the rescue operation is underway to pull out the missing persons.

On the occasion of Ganga Dussehra, a large number of devotees had come from far-flung areas to take holy bath in the Ganga river.

The eyewitnesses have said that many devotees went to the other side of the Ganga river using boats to take a holy bath.

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The victims boarded a boat which capsized midway in the river.

–IANS

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