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Hajipur Lok Sabha seat a litmus test for Chirag Paswan

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Patna, May 16 (IANS) Hajipur (SC Reserved) seat is one of the hot seats of Bihar which will decide the political future of youth leader Chirag Paswan, who is the National President of the Lok Janshakti Party Ram Vilas (LJP-RV).

He carries the big political legacy of his father Ram Vilas Paswan on his shoulders and it is his responsibility to preserve it.

Hajipur came into the limelight in 1977 when Ram Vilas Paswan won from here on a Janata Party ticket by an unprecedented number of votes and registered his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ram Vilas Paswan, who secured 89.3 per cent votes in 1977, won from Hajipur Lok Sabha seat eight times and in 2019 his brother Pashupati Kumar Paras became an MP from this seat.

Now, with the senior Paswan gone, this seat is considered a litmus test for his son Chirag.

Chirag Paswan overshadowed his uncle in claiming the Hajipur seat and he is pitted against RJD’s Shivchandra Ram.

To give his candidature a boost, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an election rally in Hajipur.

Chirag Paswan is claiming that the NDA will win not only Hajipur but all the 40 seats of Bihar. For the first time in his political career, he is contesting an election without the support of his father.

Significantly, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Prince Paswan and other members of the Paswan family are also not seen openly supporting Chirag Paswan.

On his part, the young leader has also said on many occasions that his uncle and brothers left him during a time of crisis and he is only getting support from his mother Reena Paswan and PM Modi.

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There was a huge rivalry between Pashupati Kumar Paras and Chirag Paswan regarding this seat, but NDA supported the young leader and gave him the responsibility of saving his father’s legacy.

When Ram Vilas Paswan separated from everyone else and formed his party called Lok Janshakti Party, he first established his family in politics. However, his brother Pashupati Kumar Paras also started his political innings by winning the Assembly elections in 1977. In the 2014 parliamentary election, out of the six seats that the LJP won as a constituent of the NDA, three MPs were from the Paswan family.

The same story was repeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. When Ram Vilas Paswan went to Rajya Sabha, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Ramchandra Paswan and Chirag Paswan were elected MPs from Hajipur, Samastipur and Jamui respectively.

When Ramchandra Paswan died in 2020, his son Prince Raj was fielded in the bye-election and he also reached Parliament. In this way, Ram Vilas Paswan established his entire family in politics.

After Ram Vilas Paswan died in October 2020 following a protracted illness, the entire responsibility of the party fell on Chirag Paswan who was also the Chairman of the LJP Parliamentary Board.

Plus Chirag Paswan had already become the acting chief of the party while his father was alive.

When the Bihar Assembly elections were held in 2020, Chirag Paswan gave the slogan of ‘Bihar First, Bihari First’, opposing the JD(U) and CM Nitish Kumar.

He took a different path from the NDA and contested the elections alone. However, he did not field his candidates on most of the seats against the BJP. Chirag thought that he would get so many seats in the Assembly elections that were held soon after his father’s death, that he would form the government along with the BJP.

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However, Chirag Paswan’s hopes were dashed when the LJP, which was contesting on 137 seats, got only 1 seat.

This was a big loss for Chirag, his party and also for the JD(U). However, the BJP and JD(U) succeeded in forming the government.

The effect of the defeat in the Bihar Assembly election was such that many leaders within the party openly opposed Chirag Paswan’s strategy and the party split eventually.

Chirag became completely isolated after the LJP broke in 2021. Chandan Singh, the MP from Nawada, Veena Devi of Vaishali and Mahboob Ali Kaiser of Khagaria, Pashupati Kumar Paras of Hajipur and Chirag Paswan’s cousin Prince Raj from Samastipur also left him and formed a new political party Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party with five MPs.

After the split, the battle for the legacy of Ram Vilas Paswan began within the Paswan family.

In the name of Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan took out an ‘Ashirwad Yatra’ across Bihar for sympathy and support. He succeeded in his efforts and got the support of Dalits and youths.

After the split in LJP, Pashupati Kumar Paras got the post of Union minister while Chirag Paswan did not get a place in the Cabinet.

Despite that, he did not leave the NDA officially and his relations with big leaders of the BJP remained cordial. He also described himself as ‘Modi’s Hanuman’ in many public forums.

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Not only this, he supported the BJP in the bye-elections held for three seats of the Bihar Assembly and the party won two out of three seats. After this, it was final that Chirag Paswan would remain with the BJP only.

Meanwhile, just before the announcement of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the political equation in Bihar changed and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) became a part of the NDA.

The arrival of the JD(U) in the NDA had created many complications regarding seat distribution, the biggest problem being the Hajipur seat as both Pashupati Kumar Paras and Chirag Paswan were claiming it.

The top BJP leadership wanted the uncle and nephew to reach a consensus however, it did not happen.

While Paras was calling himself the successor of Ram Vilas, Chirag claimed that being the son, he had a natural claim on his father’s inheritance.

In this fight between uncle and nephew, the nephew got the support of the NDA and ultimately Chirag got the Hajipur seat and his party got five seats in Bihar, while his uncle Pashupati Paras’ party was not given a single seat.

Angered by this seat distribution, Paras resigned from the Union Cabinet. There were discussions about going with the Grand Alliance but later all RLJP MPs except Mahboob Ali Kaiser decided to stay with the NDA.

The voting in Hajipur will take place in the fifth phase on May 20 and it remains to be seen how the son will uphold the legacy of his father.

–IANS

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Congress leader Chennithala moves Kerala HC challenging amended Lok Ayukta Act

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Kochi, May 24 (IANS) Veteran Congress legislator Ramesh Chennithala has moved the Kerala High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the recent amendments made to the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Act, 2022, which became law after the President gave assent to it earlier this year.

The plea will be heard on Monday by a division bench headed by Chief Justice A.J. Desai.

The decision of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led state government to amend the act attracted much criticism both inside and outside the Assembly and after the amendment was passed, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan kept it pending. However, after the Vijayan government put pressure, he sent it to the President, who gave assent.

Chennithala, in his plea, said that before the amendment, the competent authority for complaints against the Chief Minister, a Member of the state Legislature, or office bearer of a political party was the Governor but after the amendment to Section 2 of the Act, the competent authority for a Minister or Secretary is the Chief Minister.

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The competent authority for a member of the state legislature is now the Speaker.

He also objected to the change in the eligibility of the Lok Ayukta from being a former judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a state high court to just a former high court judge.

“The amendment now introduced, the contingency of appointing a retired judge of the High Court, who had only a shorter tenure and who held the office as a judge of the High Court with perceived political philosophy cannot be avoided and thereby questioning the very significance of the office of the Lok Ayukta. Hence the provision for appointing retired judge as Lok Ayukta, other than retired chief Justice of the High Court is in fact and in reality, downgrading the office of the Lok Ayukta System,” his plea said.

The Congress leader also argued that the amendments are also against the independence of the judiciary

–IANS

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Man abducts, rapes, murders girl of neighbour's family in Delhi, dumps body in drain (Lead)

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) A three-and-a-half-year-old girl was abducted, raped and murdered by her neighbour in Delhi’s Kapashera area and her body dumped in a drain, police said on Friday.

Police said that at 8.51 p.m. on Wednesday, a police control room (PCR) call was received about the abduction of a minor girl in street No. 9, Kapashera and a team was dispatched to the spot.

The victim’s mother told police that around 6 p.m., her daughter was kidnapped by a neighbour named Anil.

“A massive search operation was launched to trace the girl and the accused. The team obtained CCTV footage from the cameras in the vicinity, and in one camera, at 7.05 p.m., the accused was seen with the girl going towards Ganda Nala. In the same camera, he was caught returning alone without the girl at around 7.25 p.m.,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Southwest, Rohit Meena said.

Accused Anil, 34, was traced and apprehended at about 11.55 p.m. the same day from a bus heading towards Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur. According to the official, he was interrogated and initially denied having played any role whatsoever in the kidnapping. But during sustained interrogation, he broke down and admitted to having killed and dumped the little girl in a marshy drain located at the border of Gurugram and Kapashera, he added.

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“Anil then led the police team to the said drain, where the search for the girl’s body was conducted in a vast expanse of marshy terrain, dense bushes, and heaps of garbage. After a long search operation lasting more than an hour in the dark, the girl’s body was finally found dumped in the drain,” the DCP said.

At that moment, the accused sensed an opportunity to escape. “He grabbed the loaded service revolver of a police officer, as he tried to escape from custody, and fired at the police team. The police fired in self-defence, hitting the accused. He was immediately rushed to the Indira Gandhi Hospital,” he said.

The crime and FSL teams were summoned to the spot.

“The dead body was examined by the FSL and crime team. The accused was arrested and is now in judicial custody,” the DCP said,

A post-mortem examination of the victim is being conducted by a medical board, the DCP said, adding that police have added Section 376 (Rape) of the Indian Penal Code in the FIR.

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–IANS

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Amid reports of hardships, police launch efforts to bring back home 3 Mizo women from Syria

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Aizawl, May 24 (IANS) The Mizoram Police have begun efforts to bring back home three women of the state from Syria, where they were sent in November 2022 and engaged as housemaids but are now facing serious hardships, officials said on Friday.

A Mizoram Police official said that the Indian Embassy in Syria had informed the state government that a meeting of officials of the Embassy and the Syrian’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was held on May 19 and that a legal notice had been served to the employers of the Mizo housemaids.

“Due to the volatile political situation in Syria, the progress of the rescue is being hampered. However, necessary procedures to repatriate the Mizo housemaids from Syria are at an advanced stage,” the official told the media.

Initially, the Syrian placement agency demanded a payment of $2,500 per housemaid for their early repatriation of Mizo housemaids as per the terms of the contract agreement. However, due to the intervention from the Indian Embassy and Syrian authorities, the placement agency has agreed to arrange replacements.

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The official said that the issues and hardships faced by three Mizo housemaids working aboard have been recently highlighted on several social media platforms.

Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma and Home Minister K. Sapdanga have taken this matter very seriously and are monitoring the cases.

“Under the guidance of the Chief Minister and Home Minister, Miss Lalkhumtiri, who had faced issues in Dubai, had also been brought home from that country on May 9. The state government would continue monitoring the situation and maintain communication with all relevant parties and committed to safe repatriation of the three Mizo girls back to Mizoram at the earliest possible time,” a Mizoram Police statement said.

–IANS

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Monks take to streets in Kolkata to protest against Mamata's remarks on spiritual bodies

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Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Hundreds of monks on Friday joined the ‘Sant Swaviman Yatra’ organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) to protest against the recent remarks by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee targeting certain prominent spiritual institutions.

At a public meeting earlier this month, Mamata Banerjee accused a section of the monks attached to the Ramakrishna Mission, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, and ISKCON of working on BJP’s behalf to influence the electorate to vote in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Kartik Maharaj, a monk associated with the Bharat Sevashram Sangha who was specifically targeted by the Chief Minister, was at the forefront of the protest march on Friday.

Speaking to mediapersons, Kartik Maharaj challenged the Chief Minister to prove her allegation that he did not allow Trinamool Congress polling agents to be present at the polling booths in Baharampur.

“You are the Chief Minister. You get reports from the police. So prove that I went to polling booths and asked the Trinamool agents to leave the premises,” Kartik Maharaj said.

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Besides sending a legal notice to the Chief Minister for her comments, Kartik Maharaj has also approached the Calcutta High Court seeking protection against a possible attack on his Ashram in Baharampur.

Kartik Maharaj also said that the monks have been forced to take to the streets since the ‘religion is at stake’ in West Bengal.

–IANS

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NIA arrests ex-terror convict in Bengaluru cafe blast case

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Bengaluru, May 24 (IANS) Three days after a massive crackdown was launched across four states in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case in Bengaluru, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested one more accused who is an ex-convict in a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror conspiracy case.

According to an official statement issued by the NIA, the arrested person has been identified as Shoaib Ahmed Mirza (35) alias Chhotu, a resident of Hubbali, Karnataka.

Mirza is the fifth accused to be arrested in connection with the low-intensity blast that rocked the Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru on March 1, injuring at least 10 persons.

The NIA investigation has revealed that Mirza was convicted earlier in a LeT terror conspiracy case, and was released from jail later. In 2018, he befriended and introduced accused Abdul Matheen Taha to an online handler suspected to be living abroad.

Mirza also provided an e-mail ID for encrypted communication between the handler and Taha, who was arrested on April 12 from his hideout in Kolkata along with co-accused Mussavir Hussain Shazib.

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The NIA has so far conducted extensive searches at 29 locations across India in connection with the case.

The suspected terrorists reportedly aimed to target techies and instill fear among software professionals in Bengaluru. They also believed that such an incident would harm India’s global image.

The probe revealed that Mussavir Shazid visited the cafe in Bengaluru on March 1 and planted a low-intensity improvised explosive device (IED) on its premises.

–IANS

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