Ahead of Kerala assembly polls, NCP leader Mani C Kappan joins UDF - The Daily Guardian
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Ahead of Kerala assembly polls, NCP leader Mani C Kappan joins UDF

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Kottayam(Kerala) [India], February 14 (ANI): Ahead of assembly polls in Kerala, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mani C Kappan and the incumbent Pala legislator, joined United Democratic Front (UDF) on Sunday.
Kappan joined UDF during Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala’s ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’.
The NCP leader said he wanted to contest the upcoming Assembly elections from the sitting seat of Pala which the Left front has given to Kerala Congress headed by Jose K Mani, a new entrant in LDF.
“We had talked about it in LDF and I was offered Kuttanad, which I rejected. I wanted Pala, but Jose K Mani has already started working there. I have certain plans for the Pala constituency which I want to take forward. I am confident that I will win from Pala,” said Kappan.
He said that he won the last election from Pala with the help of the Left Democratic Front, especially because of the hard work of Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan and other leaders. “But since Jose K Mani joined LDF, they started avoiding me,” said the NCP leader.
He added that NCP chief Sharad Pawar and the national leadership of NCP do not want him to leave LDF. “But I have certain plans for Pala and therefore I switched,” he said.
Yesterday Kappan said he would join the ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yathra’ lead by Ramesh Chennithala, the opposition leader, along with seven NCP district leaders when the Yathra will reach Pala.
However, the NCP state president had said national leadership has completely rejected Kappan’s claims.
“There is no support from Sharad Pawar for the move made by Kappan. He does not enjoy any support. His stand is suicidal,” Peethambaran had said.
NCP leader Saseendran alleged that it should be suspected that Mani C Kappan had made an agreement with the UDF earlier. His decision was based on a pre-arranged script.
Saseendran had demanded that Kappan should resign as MLA, adding “His decision to leave LDF and to join UDF was an injustice to people who had made him MLA”.
NCP national leadership is expected to make the final decision on the matter. The NCP leader had registered a win in the Pala assembly by-polls by a margin of over 2,900 votes by defeating UDF candidate Advocate Jose Tom in September 2019. (ANI)

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India has multiple cultures, language; PM must respect all: Rahul Gandhi

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Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): Refuting Prime Minister Narendra Mondi’s claim that India has one culture, history and language, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the country has multiple cultures, history, and languages and urged Prime Minister to respect all of it.
“Prime Minister says India has one culture, one history and one language. Is Tamil history not Indian history or Tamil culture not Indian culture? India has multiple cultures, history and languages. Prime Minister must respect every language and culture,” Rahul said while addressing a rally in Tirunelveli.
Gandhi is touring poll-bound Tamil Nadu for the second day as part of his campaign for the April 6 assembly elections.
He also took to Twitter to slam the Central government. “GOI has turned noble professions like farming, education and healthcare into financial commodities for the benefit of a few cronies. We are fighting this without any anger, hatred or violence. And non-violence always wins,” he tweeted.
This comes ahead of the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the polls in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has joined hands with the Congress party.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray this time. (ANI

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Darjeeling MP asks justice for West Bengal BJP worker’s mother

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Darjeeling (West Bengal) [India], March 1 (ANI): Raju Bista, Member of Parliament from Darjeeling wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her for immediate intervention to ensure justice for BJP worker Gopal Majumdar’s mother.
“Those who have perpetrated such barbarity need to be dealt with in the most strictest of terms,” he wrote.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker in the state has alleged that workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) attacked his mother in North 24 Paraganas on February 27, in what appears to be another case of political violence in the poll-bound state.
BJP worker Gopal Majumdar said that three TMC workers entered his house and attacked his mother in Nimta.
Talking about the assault, Majumdar’s mother said: “They hit me on my head and neck and punched me. They hit me on my face too. I am scared, they asked me not to tell anyone about it. My whole body is in pain.”
An FIR has been registered in the case.
Political violence has been regularly making headlines in poll-bound West Bengal. The elections for the 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal will begin on March 27. The state is going to witness eight-phase Assembly polls this year. (ANI)

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Kerala Finance Minister criticises Nirmala Sitharaman over her state Budget, KIIFB remarks

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 1 (ANI): Reacting to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comment over Kerala Budget and Kerala infrastructure investment fund board (KIIFB), state Finance Minister TM Thomas Issac on Sunday said she should have realized that the dignity of the position eroded when she delivers such speech without understanding.
Thomas Issac wrote a Facebook post after Sitharaman in Kochi alleged the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala of giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
“Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should have realized that the dignity of the position she holds is being eroded when she automatically reads (without understanding) what someone has written. She was talking nonsense about KIIFB and the state budget. Not only did she not do her homework at all, but her remarks proved that she had no idea what was being said. The Union Minister should not regret for which I am saying openly that Shame on You,” Issac wrote on Facebook.
State Finance Minister also described KIIFB and said it is a system set up to mobilize resources outside the budget.
“KIIFB is a system set up to mobilize resources outside the budget. The CAG’s criticism was that KIIFB revenue and expenditure were not part of the budget. When the criticism reached Nirmala Sitharaman, that came to the fore. All I can say is that no matter who wrote this speech, the Union Finance Minister should not have been fooled like this. A quality and serious approach is expected from that position,” he said.
Union Finance Minister yesterday lashed out at Kerala government over the state budget and accused it for giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
“Kerala budget was presented and all the money is given to KIIFB. I do not know what budget they are making if all the money is given to one organisation,” the Finance Minister said during ‘Vijaya Yathra’ in Kochi. (ANI)

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Amid surge in Covid-19 cases, Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till March 31

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): As Tamil Nadu witnessing a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases across the state, the authorities on Sunday extended the lockdown till March 31.
District administrations have been asked to take all necessary measures to promote coronavirus appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
Tamil Nadu registered 486 new coronavirus cases and five deaths over the past 24 hours, the Health Department said yesterday.
According to the Health Ministry, India is all set to start the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination on Monday (March 1), 2021, for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
To ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination capacity, around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY and more than 600 private hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme will be utilised.
Other private hospitals empanelled under State Govts Health Insurance Scheme can also participate as COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs). (ANI)

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BUDGET SESSION OF PUNJAB ASSEMBLY BEGINS FROM TODAY

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CHANDIGARH: The budget session of the Punjab Legislative Assembly will begin from today, with the Governor’s address. The budget for the year 2021-22 will be presented on March 5. The session will last till March 10.

This session is likely to be very stormy as this is the last budget session of this government before the Punjab Assembly elections to be held next year. Keeping this in mind, the opposition has made full preparations to corner the government. There are many issues on which opposition parties are fully prepared to target the government, including issues related to farming and electricity rates.

According to the tentative programme of the session, the budget session will begin with the Governor’s address on Monday at 11:00 am. This will be followed by the obituary references at the next sitting of the House at 2:00 pm.

The motion of thanks on Governor’s address will be presented on March 2 followed by the start of discussion on the Governor’s address. It will continue on March 3 as well. The discussion will end on the same day with the reply of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on motion of thanks.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal will present the budget for the year 2021-22 on March 5, which will be debated on March 8 and the budget will be passed on the same day after the reply of the Finance Minister. According to the tentative programme, the legislative business will be held on 9 and 10 March. After this the budget session will conclude on March 10 and the house will adjourn sine-die.

Some changes may also take place in this tentative programme during the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the Legislative Assembly, as the final decision regarding the duration of the session is to be taken by this committee.

However, as opposition parties have made full preparations to target the government on various issues, the Congress Government is also fully prepared to counter the attacks of the Opposition.

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SAD to force Cong govt to explain why it had betrayed people

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The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it would force the Congress government to explain why it had betrayed all sections of society in its last budget session starting from today even as it asked Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar to explain why he was trying to befool the people by indulging in a sham protest against the Governor’s Address which had been prepared by his own government.

The SAD said there could not be a red carpet welcome for the Governor and a ‘gherao’ side by side by the same party, the SAD asked the Punjab Congress to explain which event it’s party legislators would attend.

Addressing a press conference here, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said be it farmers, khet mazdoor, youth, scheduled castes and backward castes, government employees or trade and industry, each and every section had been befooled by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. “The Chief Minister not only sent forms to every house promising in writing to fulfill the promises being made to the people but also took a holy vow in the name of the holy Gutka Sahab on the sacred land of Talwandi Sabo”.

Mr Bikram Majithia said “we will ask the Chief Minister to explain why he betrayed the annadaata by promising to waive off loans taken from nationalized and private banks as well as cooperative societies and Arhatiyas when he did not have any intention of fulfilling this promise”. He said this betrayal had indebted the peasantry even further. “Farmers did not pay their loan installments as they were confident of a loan waiver. The same farmers then faced persecution with recovery proceedings being launched against them”.

Mr Majithia said similarly the youth had been backstabbed with government jobs being abolished instead of being increased during the last four years. “The promised unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500 per month was also not given to them”. He said similarly lakhs of scheduled caste students suffered because the government did not release the SC scholarship fee. “The chief Minister even gave a clean chit to SC Welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharmsot who indulged in the SC Scholarship scam through chief secretary Vinnie Mahajan”.

The SAD leader said the chief secretary as well as Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta had also gone against the state’s interests by defending gangster Mukhtiar Ansari who was being housed in Punjab on trivial charges and not being repatriated to Uttar Pradesh. He said the Punjab government had even hired a lawyer for Rs 50 lakh in the Supreme Court to ensure Ansari was not deported to Uttar Pradesh where he was wanted for trial in several cases. “It is clear that all this is being done with a view to the 2022 polls to intimidate the opposition”. He said this had led to a serious impact on the law and order situation with even Congressmen becoming targets of gangsters as was seen in the case of the shooting of Congress leader Gurlal Bhalwan in Faridkot.

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