Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said he will not contest the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections himself, even as he announced that an alliance between his party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is now final. In a related development, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday made a scathing attack on Yadav for comparing Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Yadav said his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who broke away from the SP to form the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia will get “due honour” from his party. “Our alliance with the RLD is final. Seat-sharing is to be finalised,” he said. The RLD enjoys support among farmers of Western Uttar Pradesh and is on the same page with the SP on the issue of opposing the Centre’s three farm laws. The SP has already announced an alliance with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party. Yadav, who is an SP MP from Azamgarh and is regarded as the CM face of his party, said, “I will not be contesting the assembly election myself”. The SP supremo, who was a Member of Legislative Council when he served as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012-2017, did not give any reason for the decision.
However, later Yadav said a final decision on his contesting the polls will be taken by the party. On whether he has held any talks with the AIMIM or Mamata Banerjee’s TMC for the state polls, he said there have been no discussions with them. Terming his party’s tie up with the SBSP as a natural alliance, Yadav said people in eastern Uttar Pradesh have accepted it and it will ensure the BJP’s defeat. On the poll promises made by the SBSP to provide free electricity and RLD of providing over one crore jobs, Yadav said every party has its agenda.
“We all raise issues of farmers, employment, common man. Everyone is releasing their manifesto. If voted to power, our government will try to accommodate them and prepare a common minimum programme,” he said. Asked about the joining of Congress leaders and also of a Bharatiya Janata Party and Bahujan Samaj Party MLA in his party, he asserted, “The joining will continue. It shows that people are seeing the SP as an alternative to the BJP, which only spread lies and deceit people with promises.”
He said that people of the state have not forgotten the pain and treatment meted to them during the peak of Covid and added that maximum cases were lodged against his party workers during the pandemic for helping people. “SP workers were on the street during Covid peak. We provided all necessary help to people when government was missing from action and left people on their own to survive. Instead of helping, maximum number of cases were lodged against SP workers during the pandemic but it did not deter them,” he said.
Countering the “tall claims of BJP of helping people”, Yadav said, “why not a single case was filed against BJP workers during Covid? As our workers were out for help, cases were lodged against them.” He was asked about Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent remark as to where the SP supremo was during the Covid period.
Lashing out at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Yadav accused him of ruining the state. “By saying that it has fulfilled 90% promises of its ‘Sankalp Patra’ (manifesto), the BJP is only lying,” he charged. About the government’s move to provide tablets or smart phones to students, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, “What it was doing for the past over four-and-a-half years? This shows their intention.” The SP supremo said people are facing inflation and youth are unemployed.
People faced hardships during Covid peak and lost their near and dear ones for lack of treatment, non availability of beds, and oxygen and now they will think twice before voting for the BJP, he asserted. “The SP is the only party that can face BJP and stand tall before them in the interest of people. Farmers are also with the SP. This time there will be a change in the state and people of the state have made up their minds,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday made a scathing attack at Akhilesh Yadav for comparing Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who is known for uniting the princely states of India, and said that it shows the “Talibani mentality” that is dividing the country. “Samajwadi Party chief yesterday compared Jinnah to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. This is shameful. It’s Talibani mentality that believes in dividing. Sardar Patel united the country. Presently, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, work is underway to achieve ‘Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat’,” Adityanath said while addressing people in the state today.
On the occasion of the 146th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Yadav was addressing a gathering when he remarked that Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah studied in the same institute, where they became barristers and fought for India’s independence. “Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah studied in the same institute. They became barristers and fought for India’s freedom… It was Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who imposed a ban on an ideology (RSS),” Yadav had said.
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PAK ENVOY MEETS TALIBAN’S ACTING FM, DISCUSSES BILATERAL COOPERATION
KABUL: Pakistan’s envoy to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan met Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed bilateral cooperation between both countries.
“Pakistan Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan met with acting FM Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed bilateral cooperation, Khan said.
Pakistan has decided that wheat and emergency medicine provided by India can be transported from Wagah port in Pakistan on Afghan trucks to Afghanistan,” Tolo News reported.
Earlier, Pakistan’s envoy and the Taliban acting foreign minister met in the month of September where both sides discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation particularly facilitating humanitarian, economic and people-to-people exchange.
Pakistan, along with China were among the first countries that began engaging with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August this year.
The meeting came amid the Taliban’s repeated appeal for wider international recognition. Pakistan is among the very few which seem to have started engaging with the outfit. Other members of the international community are taking a wait and watch approach.
TLP expanding after release of its leader Saad Hussain Rizvi
Formerly banned organisation Tehreek-E-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is on a surge after the release of its leader Saad Hussain Rizvi and revoking of its ban by the Imran Khan government.
According to the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), there was a rather secret deal between TLP and the Imran Khan government reached on October 31 to end the latest round of protests. The deal was not made public and on November 7, Khan’s cabinet revoked the declaration of the TLP as a banned group. The TLP benefitted mainly from the divisions between the PML-Nawaz government and the military establishment deep state’, IFFRAS said, adding that Pakistan military establishment’s effort to prop up different religious groups to deteriorate the PML-Nawaz government permitted the TLP to increase greater political space. Earlier, Rizvi was released on the eve of his father, Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s death anniversary on November 19 who was the founder of TLP.
Further, the TLP capable of mobilising thousands of supporters, was born in the year 2015 out of a remonstration movement to the Barelvi movement.
US ready to support Ukraine, help Kiev with defence
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says Washington is concerned about the situation in Ukraine and is ready to support Kiev.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday, Austin said that the US is “very concerned” about the alleged buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border and will try to ensure that Kiev “has what it needs” to defend its “sovereign territory.” The Pentagon chief said he was not going to speculate on different scenarios pertaining to the alleged Russian aggression on its borders.
Over the past several weeks, Ukraine and some Western countries have expressed concern about the alleged increase in what they characterise as “aggressive actions” by Russia on their border. However, Russia has refuted the accusations by saying it is moving troops within its own territory and at its own discretion.
US President Joe Biden plans to discuss the issue of Ukraine, as well as other topics, during the upcoming video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, December 7.
Biden told reporters earlier this week, answering a question about the issue of Ukraine, that he expected a “long discussion” with the Russian President.
Russia has repeatedly said that it stands by its right to move armed forces freely within its territory. On November 23, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russia does not have any aggressive plans with regard to Ukraine. The Kremlin has also expressed concerns about Kiev having aggregated almost half of all its armed forces on the contact line with the Donbas region in the east of the country.
EXPLOSIONS HEARD INSIDE US BASE IN SYRIA
Explosions were heard on Sunday inside a US military base in Syria, state news agency SANA reported.
The blasts were heard in the al-Tanf area in southeastern Syria, Xinhua news agency reported. Back in late October, the US base of At Tanf came under a drone attack. The White House believes that the recent attack on its military base in Syria was “deliberate and coordinated” and the United States reserves the right to respond.
CHINA CREATES ATMOSPHERE THAT EMBOLDENS MILITARY TO SEIZE POWER IN AFRICA
As Western powers continue to retreat from Africa, China is busy creating an atmosphere that emboldens generals and military cliques to seize power in one of the largest continent in the world, said a media report.
In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Harvard University lecturer Christopher Rhodes said that “backsliding on the part of Western powers, the rise of autocrat-friendly China, have created an atmosphere in Africa that emboldens generals and military cliques to seize power.” Rhodes further wrote that the coup, which had been widely rumoured in Sudan but still managed to blindside the United States, remains a source of outrage for Sudanese citizens. But Washington is yet to take a clear stance on the issue, Rhodes said.
According to the lecturer, the reaction from the West has diverged widely from that of Sudanese citizens, who continue to reject military hegemony. The report says that American diplomats have signaled acceptance of the new arrangement and willingness to turn a blind eye to the continued military dominance of the transition government.
This brings focus to the breakdown of the anti-coup coalition that had formed for Africa – a breakdown that has led to military interventions reemerging as a leading method by which power is transferred on the continent, Rhodes added.
Noting that the fight for democracy and against military rule in Africa has seen significant setbacks, Rhodes said while African populations remain overwhelmingly committed to democracy and opposed to military governments, the lack of reliable international pro-democracy partners makes the struggle against military rule much more difficult.
But as the sustained anti-military protests in Sudan demonstrate, local populations are willing to continue the fight for democracy, even if they must go it alone, said the lecturer.
PROTEST IN COLOMBO AGAINST LYNCHING OF SRI LANKAN EXECUTIVE IN PAKISTAN
A protest was held outside Pakistan High Commission in Colombo on Sunday by a large crowd, including a group of monks, against the killing of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot city of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan executive of a garment factory was lynched and his body burnt by angry supporters of a hardline Islamist party that attacked the facility in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations on Friday.
A police official alleged that Kumara tore a poster of the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in which Quranic verses were inscribed and threw it in the dustbin. A mob enraged over the alleged blasphemy incident, started gathering outside the factory from adjoining areas, most of them activists and supporters of the TLP.
They dragged the Sri Lankan executive, who was in his 40s, from the factory and severely tortured him. After he succumbed to his wounds, the mob burnt his body before police reached the crime spot. Late on Friday, Punjab police said they have arrested 100 suspects, after identifying them through video footage that went viral on social media.
Expressing grief over the lynching of his country’s citizen in Pakistan, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha said that he was “shocked to see the brutal and fatal attack” on Priyantha Diyawadana by “extremist mobs in Pakistan”.
“My heart goes out to his wife and family”, Rajapaksha said in a tweet.
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