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Have no PM ambitions, will like Opposition work together, says Nitish

Though he is being billed as a possible opposition PM face in 2024, the Bihar chief minister does not have appeal beyond his home state.

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Nitish Kumar

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said that he had no prime ministerial ambitions and was only working to bring the entire opposition together. Nitish was sworn in as chief minister of Bihar for a record eighth time on Wednesday after he dumped his four-year-old alliance with the BJP a day before and joined hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and other smaller parties of the Mahagathbandhan to form a new government in the state.

Ever since Nitish left the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), amid allegations of a Maharashtra-like plot by the BJP to oust him from his party Janata Dal (United) and topple his government, speculation is rife that he may be the Opposition’s prime ministerial face in 2024 general elections. When reporters asked him on Friday if he would be a possible PM candidate of the Opposition, Nitish dispelled such a possibility, saying, “I say this with

olded hands, I have no such thoughts… My work is to work for everyone. I will make an effort to see that all the opposition parties walk and work together. If they do, it will be good.”

After his swearing in, Nitish had in a veiled manner threw a gauntlet down at Prime Minister Narendra Modi without naming him, giving rise to speculations about him taking a shot at it. Political circles are abuzz with rumours that one year down the line Nitish may even appoint his deputy Tejaswi Yadav as chief minister of Bihar and move whole lock, stock and barrel to Delhi to bring the moribund Opposition together in a prelude to the parliamentary elections.

Political pundits have begun conjuring up all sorts of arithmetic and possible scenarios. The recent development, according to sources, have also made the Congress leadership sit up and listen. There is no doubt that this would have a significant impact as a challenge to the BJP given the emerging caste equations. But, as political observers put it, the billion dollar question is: Would Nitish be acceptable to all opposition parties?

Observers doubt that Congress would accept him as a leader to represent the entire Opposition. According to sources, Nitish took the step only after consulting with Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, though. He is also expected to arrive in the capital any day soon to meet Sonia and chalk out a strategy to move ahead. Sources further informed The Daily Guardian that the Congress is working on some options as well to accommodate Nitish in the party fold. He might be appointed as United Progressive Alliance (UPA) head or convenor. The grand old party indulging him in this manner means the Congress would be giving up on its prime ministerial candidate.

But the road ahead does not look as smooth for Nitish as it is being made out by political observers. Nitish no doubt has a clean image. But the downside is that he has not been able to steer his party JD(U) to electoral victory ever on his own. He won only 43 seats in the last assembly elections and was yet made the chief minister by his dominant NDA alliance partner BJP. On earlier occasion, he won the election in alliance with RJD only, which he dumped for the BJP.

Nitish, in other words, does not have the charisma or popular appeal to win elections in his home state of Bihar let alone in other states. It is doubtful if Nitish is made UPA convenor or chief he would help Congress to hit big in the Hindi hinterland. His biggest test before 2024 parliamentary elections would be assembly elections due this year and the next.

His real test, or problems, will begin with elections in states like Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, among others. If he aligns with the Congress-led UPA, it will cast a shadow over parties like AAP, TRS, Samajwadi Party and TMC ever coming together with the UPA. AAP under Arvind Kejriwal is steadily growing, and apart from Delhi and Punjab the party is making inroads in other states. AAP, perhaps, may not like the idea of aligning with the Congress.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is not in favour of the Congress, either, and is doing his own bit to unite non-Congress, non-BJP parties. Akhilesh Yadav would in every likelihood go solo in Uttar Pradesh in 2024 general elections. Similarly, TMC leader Mamata Banerjee, whose aversion to left parties is well known, is unlikely to align with Congress.

The problem with Nitish as a leader is that whatever appeal among the voters he has is confined to his home state only and it is a big question if he would be able to draw voters of other states to make a mark in 2024 parliamentary elections.

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Rajashthan CM Gehlot sides with Mallikarjun amid Congress President poll

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Gehlot

On October 2, 2022, Rajasthan’s Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, stated that veteran party leader Mallikarjun Kharge has the expertise to improve the Congress and will win the party’s presidential election handily, while opponent Shashi Tharoor is an “elite class” member.

“Kharge has a long political experience. He has a clean heart, he comsdses from the Dalit community and (Kharge contesting the election) is being welcomed everywhere,” he told reporters after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at the secretariat in Jaipur.

Gehlot, one of the proposers for Kharge, claimed that although Tharoor is a good man and has good ideas, he belongs to the elite class.

“Tharoor is a class apart; he is from the elite class but the kind of experience that is needed to strengthen the party at booth, block, and district levels, that is with Kharge and cannot be compared to Shashi Tharoor. Therefore, it will naturally be a one-sided contest for Kharge,” he said.

For the position of Congress president, Mr. Kharge and Mr. Tharoor are squarely in opposition.

Mr. Kharge, a Karnataka-born Dalit leader, is now the overwhelming favourite to become Congress’ president.

According to sources, Mr. Kharge has resigned as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

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Pune bridge demolished by controlled explosion

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Pune bridge demolished

A controlled implosion was used to destroy an ancient bridge built in the early 1990s in the Chandani Chowk neighbourhood of Pune, according to officials.

In the Chandani Chowk neighbourhood of the city, the bridge across the Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway (NH4) was destroyed at about 1 in the morning on Sunday.

After the demolition, a number of trucks and earthmover machines were put to use to bring down the hanging structures and lift the material away.

The planned demolition of the bridge generated a great deal of curiosity among the local people.

The bridge was demolished as part of a large-scale development project at Chandni Chowk that aims to improve the flow of traffic at the crucial intersection. The crossroads will eventually get a multi-level flyover, and work is already being done to that end.

The locals were extremely curious about the proposed removal of the bridge.

“The bridge was demolished at 1 am on Sunday through a controlled blast and everything was executed as per the plan. Now, we have pressed earthmover machines, forknails, and trucks to clear the debris from the spot,” said Chirag Chheda, co-owner of Edifice Engineering.

The bridge was demolished by a team from Edifice Engineering and NHAI officials. According to officials, this is the same business that destroyed the Supertech Twin Towers in Noida during the latter week of August of this year.

Due to the incident, all vehicular traffic in the region was stopped and rerouted.

When asked why some of the bridge’s support columns did not entirely collapse, one of Edifice’s chief engineers replied that the bomb had destroyed the concrete, leaving just the steel bars.

“Once the steel bars are removed using the machines, the remaining structure will also come down,” he said.

He continued by saying that more steel was used in building the bridge than they had anticipated.

Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, inspected the ongoing bridge construction at Chandani Chowk from the air on Friday.

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Ajay Bhadoo appointed as Deputy Election Commissioner of ECI

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Ajay Bhadoo

Ajay Bhadoo has been appointed as Deputy Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of India on Sunday by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. 

The Secretariat of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet released the press release and said, “Appointment of Ajay Bhadoo, IAS (GJ:1999), as Deputy Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India, from the date of assumption of the charge of the post, for an overall tenure of five years up to 24/07/2024 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.” 

Earlier in July 2020, Bhadoo was appointed as Joint Secretary to former President Ram Nath Kovind. 

Meanwhile, Bhadoo is a Gujarat batch IAS officer. He has also served as the Vadodara Municipal Commissioner. 

Moreover, in July 2018 he took charge of the Municipal Commissioner’s post. 

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UK minister plans to change immigration policy

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Suella Braverman, the country’s new interior minister who is of Indian descent, stated in an interview with The Sun on Sunday that the Liz Truss government in the UK hopes to keep its promise made during the 2019 election campaign to reduce net migration.

Braverman stated that Britain has a high number of low-skilled migrants and a large number of international students adding that the students more often brought dependents with them to UK thereby affecting the country’s growth.

“What we’ve got is too many low skilled workers coming into this country. We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents,” the interior minister said.

Suella Braverman continued, saying that the UK government will limit migration and reassess immigration policy because “those individuals are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low-skilled positions, and they’re not contributing to building our economy.”

In the year ending June 2021, net migration to the UK was 239,000, according to the UK’s office for national statistics. There have been more non-EU workers, particularly those from India, while there are fewer European Union workers in the UK as a result of Brexit. Therefore, a decrease in net migration to the UK may have an impact on Indian immigrants and students who want to study there.

In line with Suella Braverman’s remarks, the Guardian reported earlier this week that Liz Truss would alter immigration laws to address the serious labour shortage in the nation.

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Tamil Nadu: customs officers detain a man for carrying gold paste worth Rs 15 lakh in his underwear

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Gold bar

At the Trichy airport, customs officers detained a smuggler who was in possession of gold paste worth Rs 15 lakh. Tailored underwear was used to conceal the contraband. The interception revealed the defendant.

According to a report in India Today, officials intercepted a passenger on an Indigo flight from Singapore to Trichy after receiving a tip. When the officials investigated his undergarments, they discovered a packet that contained a paste after first being unable to uncover any gold.

A passenger flying on an Indigo from Singapore to Trichy was apprehended by authorities after they received a tip, according to reports. The officials first couldn’t find any gold, but when they searched his undergarments, they discovered a packet containing a paste.

Two layers of stitched-together fabric were used to cover the packet. Ripping off the underwear was followed by chemical treatment of the paste. The extraction produced 301 g of 24 carat gold weighing Rs 15.32 lakh. Further inquiries, according to officials, are underway.

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Sushil Modi takes a jibe at Akhilesh Yadav over the launch of 5G

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Sushil Modi

Former deputy chief minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi lashed out at Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav for slamming the launch of the fifth-generation (5G) telephony services.

“Akhilesh Yadav’s statement is no relation to 5G, at one time RJD chief Lalu Yadav said that what is IT (information technology). “Similarly, Akhilesh Yadav is an educated man, he should welcome 5G,” Sushil Kumar Modi said.

Meanwhile, Sushil Kumar Modi further added, “India is entering a club of few countries in the world in terms of 5G speed network. Yadav should first ask 40-50 crore youth of the country what is the importance of 5G.”

Sushil Kumar Modi further stated, “Does Akhilesh Yadav want to say that by closing 5G, that money (for launching 5G) should be spent on poverty? Today, the poor of the country also have internet connections and the internet is as much as important like roti, kapra, makaan, and fast-speed mobile internet is the need of the hour. That’s why the public is rejecting the leaders like Akhilesh Yadav and their parties.”

Earlier former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav criticized the 5G telephony services. 

Taking to Twitter CM Yadav slammed the BJP party and said that “People are already getting 5G under the BJP rule: G = garibi (poverty), G = ghotala (scam), G = ghapla (swindle), G = ghalmel (adulteration) and G = gorakhdhanda (unethical practices).”

Moreover, while addressing the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 conference PM Modi announced the start of operations of 5G services in chosen locations.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the fifth-generation (5G) telephony services on 1 October 2022. 

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