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Jagan govt reinstates sacked state election commissioner

Lokeswara Rao

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YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday has reinstated Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as the state election commissioner. A gazette notification was issued subsequently restoring the position of SEC to Ramesh Kumar.

The notification, which was signed by Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, said the reinstatement would be subject to the outcome of the state government’s plea in the Supreme Court against the high court ruling. On 10 April, Andhra Pradesh CM Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy had removed Ramesh Kumar from the post of SEC through an Ordinance.

Based on the petition filed by Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, the AP High Court has termed the Ordinance Illegal and unconstitutional. Later Andhra Pradesh’s government filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order. The apex court refused to permit any stay on the High Court orders. Many people in the ruling YSRCP expressed doubts whether the government would allow him to function as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.

 As per The Daily Guardian’s sources, the restoration would be only on papers. The government may not implement any orders from the State Election Commission.

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Clarify on what level decision was taken on not giving extra chance to UPSC aspirants: SC to Centre

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Centre to clarify at what level the decision was taken by the government regarding not giving extra chance to civil service aspirants affected by COVID-19.
A Bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar expressed displeasure that the affidavit has no information as to at what level the decision was taken and was also not pleased that the affidavit was signed by an Under-Secretary.
The Bench asked Additional Solicitor General SV Raju that it had seen the affidavit of government and would have preferred it to be filed by a higher official of the government.
“Affidavit says nothing about at whose level this decision has been taken. It should have been taken at the highest level. It is a policy decision and a one-time exemption. It’s a routine affidavit. Is this the way to do it? You (ASG) should present something that is presentable. File this properly”, the Bench while posting the matter for hearing tomorrow.
Senior advocate, CU Singh, appearing for aspirants, told the Bench that “no clarity had been given on this issue by the government. So, those who had not been able to prepare due to the circumstances, were forced to give it”.
The Centre has told the top court that no extra attempt for UPSC will be given to students who had their last attempt in October and those who could not appear due to COVID-19.
Earlier, the Court was informed that the proposal to give extra change to civil service aspirants affected by the COVID-19 is under active consideration by the government and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The Bench was hearing a petition seeking an extra attempt in the UPSC exams for those candidates who had their last attempt in the preliminary exam held in October 2020. It also sought an extra opportunity to students who could not appear for civil service exams due to COVID-19.
Petitioner had earlier submitted that the Court has directed the Centre to consider grant of an extra chance considering the difficulties of COVID-19.
On September 30, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government and the UPSC to consider granting an extra chance to candidates who otherwise have their last attempt in 2020, with the corresponding extension of the upper age-limit.
The Department of Personnel and Training on October 26 had informed the Supreme Court that the issue regarding grant of extra attempt to last chance candidates was under the consideration of the authorities. (ANI)

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Delhi Lt Governor visits hospital to meet cops injured in R-Day violence

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday visited Sushruta Trauma Centre to meet police personnel who were injured in the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26.
Protestors broke barricades to enter Delhi and indulged in vandalism across several parts of the national capital during their tractor rally organised to protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws on Tuesday.
Several public and private properties were damaged in acts of vandalism by the protestors, leaving many police personnel injured.
Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava on Wednesday said that 394 police personnel sustained injuries in the violence during farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day in Delhi.
Nineteen people have been arrested so far and over 25 criminal cases registered by Delhi Police in connection with the violence. Some of the police personnel are admitted to ICU wards due to their critical condition. (ANI)

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Amit Shah, Rajnath and other leaders pay tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): Union Home Affairs Minister, Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders paid tributes to Punjab Kesari and freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary on Thursday.
Union Home Minister remembered his work during the freedom struggle.
“Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai ji, a son of our Maa Bharati, who while bearing the cruelty and atrocities of the British rule, worked continuously for the freedom of the people. Lala ji’s sacrifice and the unrestrained struggle for the independence of the country still inspires patriotism and inspiration among the countrymen,” Shah tweeted (roughly translated from Hindi).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also remembered Punjab Kesari and said that he instilled a sense of national love within the countrymen.
“On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai, I remember and salute him. During the Indian freedom struggle, he instilled a sense of national love within the countrymen and encouraged the youth to come forward. His contribution will continue to inspire future generations of the country as well,” he tweeted.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla offered floral tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai at the Parliament.
“On the occasion of the birth anniversary of “Punjab Kesari” Lala Lajpat Rai ji, he paid a wreath in the Central Hall of Parliament today. Lala ji’s principles will always inspire us,” he tweeted.

Union Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal saluted Lala Lajpat Rai.
“Salute to him on the birth anniversary of Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai who sacrificed his life for the independence of the country. Their lives, ideals and sacrifices will always inspire all of us to work for the progress of the nation,” he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi also offered floral tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai and remembered his valour and supreme sacrifice.
“Offered floral tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai, today at the Parliament House. A firebrand nationalist leader, Lalaji’s valour and supreme sacrifice gave new life to India’s freedom struggle,” Joshi tweeted.
Born on January 28, 1865, Lala Lajpat Rai played a pivotal role in the Indian Independence movement. He was one of the three in the Lal Bal Pal trio namely Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal – social reformers and freedom fighters who helped India gain independence from the British rule. (ANI)

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16 Opposition parties to boycott Presidential address to Parliament, demand probe into R-Day violence

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said that 16 opposition political parties will be boycotting President Ram Nath Kovind’s address that will be delivered on Friday, the first day of the budget session of Parliament. The parties have demanded an impartial investigation into incidents of violence in Delhi during tractor rally and the Central government’s role in the events.
“We are issuing a statement from 16 political parties that we are boycotting President’s Address that is scheduled to be delivered at Parliament tomorrow. The major reason behind this decision is that the Farm Laws were passed forcibly in House, without Opposition,” Azad told ANI here.
The budget session of Parliament will begin on January 29 with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind. The Union Budget will be presented on February 1.
Leaders of the opposition parties have issued a joint statement demanding an impartial investigation into incidents of violence in Delhi during tractor rally and Centres role in the events.
“India’s farmers have been collectively fighting against the three farm laws arbitrarily imposed by the BJP Government that threaten the future of Indian agriculture which sustains over 60 per cent of India’s population and the livelihood of crores of farmers, sharecroppers and farm labour. Lakhs of farmers have been agitating at the gates of the national capital of Delhi braving biting cold and heavy rain for the last 64 days for their rights and justice. Over 155 farmers have lost their lives. The government remains unmoved and has responded with water cannons, tear gas and lathi charges,” the statement reads.
“Every effort has been made to discredit a legitimate mass movement through a government-sponsored disinformation campaign. The protest and the agitation have been largely peaceful. Unfortunately, there were few acts of violence on January 26 , 2021, in the National Capital of Delhi which was condemned universally and unequivocally. We also express our sadness over the injuries sustained by Delhi Police personnel while handling the difficult situation. But, we believe that an impartial investigation will reveal the Central Government’s nefarious role in orchestrating those events,” the statement added.
The statement said that the three farm Laws, are an assault on the rights of the States and violate the federal spirit of the Constitution.
“If not repealed, these Laws will effectively dismantle the National Food Security that rests upon – MSP government procurement and Public Distribution System ( PDS ). The farm bills were brought without any consultations with States and Farmer Unions and lacked national consensus, Parliamentary scrutiny was bypassed and the Laws were pushed through muzzling the Opposition, in brazen violation of Parliamentary rules, Practices and conventions. The very constitutional validity of these Laws remains in question. The Prime Minister and the BJP Government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response. Shocked by this insensitivity of the government, we reaffirm the collective demand for the repeal of the Anti Farmer Laws and in solidarity with the Indian Farmers, have decided to boycott the President’s address to both the Houses of Parliament,” the statement added. (ANI)

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Delhi Police sends notice to BKU leader Rakesh Tikait post tractor rally violence

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): Delhi Police has issued a notice to Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait asking him to explain as to why legal action should not be taken against him for breaching the agreement with police regarding the tractor rally on January 26.
Delhi Police has asked him to submit the response within three days.
“You are also directed to provide names of the perpetrators of such violent acts belonging to your organisation. You are directed to submit your response within three days,” the notice reads.
The police have also put up notice outside Tikait’s tent at the Ghazipur border, where farmers have been protesting against the newly enacted farm laws for over two months.
Tikait had on Wednesday distanced himself from the violence and Red Fort incident during farmers’ tractor rally on the Republic Day, stating that “those who created violence and unfurled flags at the fort will have to pay for their deeds.”
Delhi Police has issued notices to at least 20 farmer leaders on Thursday for breaching the agreement with police regarding the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day. The notice was served by the police to farmer leaders including Yogendra Yadav, Baldev Singh Sirsa and Balbir S Rajewal and asked them to give a reply within three days, informed Delhi Police.
The developments come a day after Delhi Police registered an FIR at Samaypur Badli police station against 37 farmer leaders including Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, Darshan Pal, Rakesh Tikait, Rajinder Singh, Balbir Singh Rajewal and Yogendra Yadav for Tuesday’s violence.
Police said their “preplanned objective of not following the mutually agreed route and the timing of the commencement of the so-called parade’ was to disrupt the Republic Day Parade and the protesters resorted to the above said acts, and their gathering was also in violation of the guidelines in view of COVID-19.”
Nineteen people have been so far arrested and over 25 criminal cases registered by Delhi Police in connection with the violence that broke out during the farmers’ tractor march on Tuesday, Police Commissioner (CP) SN Shrivastava had said on Wednesday adding that 394 police personnel sustained injuries in the violence and several of them are still admitted to hospitals.
Several public and private properties were damaged in acts of vandalism by the protestors. A total of 22 FIRs have been filed by the Delhi Police with one of them mentioning the incident at ITO where a farmer died after his tractor overturned.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

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Farmers’ agitation among core issues in Cong agenda in Parliament, likely to boycott President’s address

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): The Congress party has decided to go strong against the central government in the Budget Session commencing from Friday. Farmers’ agitation against the farm laws, hike in fuel prices and Chinese incursion will be on the agenda of the party this time.
At the same time, the party is likely to boycott the President’s address to the house as well.
The strategy has been finalised in the meeting of the ‘Parliament Strategy Group’ held on Wednesday. It was chaired by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi via video conferencing and attended by senior party leaders.
According to the sources, the party will go strong on the floor against the government on farmers agitation against the farm laws and will try to compel the government to repeal the laws as it is going to affect the agriculture sector badly and farmers are agitating for more than two months.
Party has also decided to reach out to the like-minded Opposition parties to Chalk out a joint strategy on the issues, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is in touch with the Opposition Leaders for this and will be doing a Virtual Meeting for this, sources said.
The virtual meeting of ‘Parliament Strategy Group’, which was attended by Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Deputy LoP Anand Sharma and other party leaders like P Chidambaram, Manish Tiwari, Gaurav Gogoi, Manickam Tagore and K Suresh, has also decided to reach out to opposition parties for the boycott of President’s address.
“Ghulam Nabi Azad has been tasked to initiate talks with the party’s stakeholders. Party’s strategy is clear that government must repeal the farm laws and should put up the stand on the current economic condition in the country including Chinese incursion at the northern borders and compromise with the national security in the WhatsApp chat leak case,” a leader present in the meeting told ANI.
The Congress party has called for a convention on the farm laws from Block to State level across the country. In the recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, three resolutions were passed including demand for Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into “shocking revelation endangering national security on WhatsApp chat leak” and demand to Central government for repealing of farm laws.
The Budget session of Parliament will begin on January 29 with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind. The Union Budget will be presented on February 1.
The first part of the session will continue till February 15. The second part of the session will be held from March 8 to April 8.
Rajya Sabha will function from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with Zero Hour and Question Hour.
Members of Parliament have been requested to undergo an RT-PCR test against COVID-19 before the start of the Budget session. (ANI)

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