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SC rejects BJP corporator’s plea seeking Leader of Opposition status in MCGM

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New Delhi [India], February 16 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator P Tukaram Shinde seeking the Leader of Opposition (LOP) status in Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and A S Bopanna, rejected the petition filed by BJP corporator Shinde.
“This is an everyday phenomenon in politics. Today, you may be friends, tomorrow, you may not be. The legal rights are not dependent on the relationship between the parties,” said the CJI.
Shinde had moved the Supreme Court seeking its direction for the LOP status in MCGM, following differences with Shiv Sena and the formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi.
Shinde had moved the Supreme Court against the September 2020 order of the Bombay High Court that had dismissed his plea to recognise him as the LOP in MCGM. (ANI)

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President Kovind condoles death of Malayali poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday condoled the death of acclaimed Malayali poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri, saying that he was an inspiration to many and his death has left a void that cannot be filled.
“Shri Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri was not only an extraordinary poet but also a teacher, priest, Veda scholar and an inspiration to many. His death leaves a great void that cannot be filled. Condolences to his family, friends, students and well-wishers,” President Kovind said in a tweet.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed anguish at the death of the renowned poet who passed away earlier in the day, saying that the poet’s contribution to the world of culture and literature will always be remembered.
“Anguished by the demise of Sri Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri. His pioneering contribution to the world of culture and literature will be remembered. His widely read works reflect compassion and sensitivity. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.
Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri, a Padmi Shri recipient, breathed his last at his residence in Thycaud due to old-age ailments at the age of 81 earlier on Thursday.
Known for his elegant style and ease with he handled modern poetry, Namboothiri carved a niche in contemporary Malayalam literature.
His famous literary works include ‘Swathantryathe Kurichoru Geetham,’ ‘Pranaya Geethangal,’ ‘Ujjayiniyile Raappakalukal,’ ‘Aranyakam,’ ‘Aparajitha,’ ”Bhoomigeethangal,’ and ‘Mukhamevide’, India Enna Vikaram’, ‘Asaahitheeyam,’ ‘Kavithayude DNA,’ and ‘Alakadalum Neyyambalukalum’.
He has received numerous awards for his works including Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Vayalar Award, Vallathol Award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and Odakkuzhal Award. (ANI)

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UP Legislative Council approves bill prohibiting religious conversion by fraud

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council on Thursday passed the ‘Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill, 2021’, which aims to curb religious conversions by fraudulent or any other undue means, including through marriage.
The Bill was passed in the Legislative Council by voice vote, a day after it got the nod in the state Assembly. House was adjourned for 10 minutes amid the uproar caused by Samajwadi Party MLCs.
The Bill seeks to replace the ordinance promulgated in November last year that provides for imprisonment up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 for violators and “love jihad”-related offences.
The Bill will become law after getting Governor Anandi Ben Patel’s assent. The Bill prohibits and provides for punishment for conversion by “misrepresentation, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means.”
Mohsin Raza, Minister of State for Minority Welfare in the Uttar Pradesh government, has extended his gratitude to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“The Bill will provide justice to the victims. The criminals who are engaged in religious conversions by fraud or any other undue means will be punished, now. This law is for all the people of the state, not just for any particular community,” he said. (ANI)

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If BJP, Congress, CPM, TMC can hold rally in Bengal, why can’t we? asks AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 25 (ANI): Hitting out at the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday said if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Congress, CPM and TMC can hold a rally in the poll-bound state then why cannot his party do the same.
“Model Code of Conduct has not come into effect now. If they are refusing to give us permission even before the Model Code of Conduct, how will the election be free and fair? Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and JP Nadda are holding rallies. If Congress, CPM, TMC can hold rallies, then why cannot we?” Owaisi told mediapersons here.
He further alleged that TMC practices hypocrisy as the party acts differently in Delhi and West Bengal.
“TMC MPs speak about freedom of expression, constitution, dissent in Parliament. But, they have two faces. They say one thing in Delhi and do just the opposite in Bengal. If I want to conduct a public meeting there, then why am I not being permitted? The secular, liberal people who clap when they listen to the speeches of TMC MPs will have to think. This clearly shows the doublespeak and hypocrisy of TMC,” said Owaisi.
Owaisi’s scheduled rally in Kolkata on Thursday has been cancelled after the police refused permission, party leader Zameerul Hasan said.
With this rally, Owaisi was to kickstart his party’s campaign ahead of Bengal Assembly polls. The rally was to take place in the Muslim-dominated Metiabruz area of Kolkata, which falls in the parliamentary constituency represented by Abhishek Banerjee, who is Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.
It is noteworthy to mention that West Bengal is a key state for the AIMIM as the party has stretched its wings in eastern India after bagging five seats in Bihar.
The Assembly election for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal is likely to take place in April-May. However, the Election Commission is yet to announce the final dates. (ANI)

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MP Congress bought Babulal Chaurasia, says Hindu Mahasabha VP

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Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): A day after “Godse supporter” Babulal Chaurasia joined the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Jaiveer Bhardwaj, National Vice-President, Hindu Mahasabha on Thursday alleged that the Congress has bought Chaurasia as it is on the verge of falling apart.
Congress on Wednesday welcomed Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha leader Babulal Chaurasia into the fold in presence of former state chief minister Kamal Nath in Gwalior, ahead of the Madhya Pradesh civic body elections.
Speaking to ANI, Bhardwaj said that Hindu Mahasabha had issued a show-cause notice to Chaurasia and later expelled him.
“Congress is on verge of falling apart. Hence, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nathji is hiring people from Hindu Mahasabha because none of their workers are left. He (Babulal Chaurasia) had taken oath to stay as a life-long member of the organisation. It’s on stamp paper. Congress bought him,” he said.
“I challenge Nath to a debate. I can prove Congress has bought him. 15 days ago we had given him a show-cause notice and we expelled him,” he added.
Lalji Sharma, Hindu Mahasabha leader, said only Congress party or Chaurasia can tell about the “deal for which he became the member of the party.”
“We can only say that he came to the Hindu Mahasabha himself. He was proud of the Hindu Mahasabha and promised to never leave the organisation. But now, he has joined Congress,” he said.
Babulal Chaurasia, who attended an event for the installation of an idol of Nathuram Godse in Gwalior in 2017, joined Congress in presence of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday.
“Hindu Mahasabha conspired against me to make me part of that event. I was at the event and they asked me to offer my prayers to all the pictures of great personalities around the hall. Then somebody gestured towards the Godse idol and without realising, I offered water to it. I was framed. They wanted to show that a former Congress member was supporting Godse. I lodged a strong protest after I realised what happened,” said the former Hindu Mahasabha leader.
He said he had been keeping himself away from Hindu Mahasabha’s programmes since the event, as his “consciousness did not allow” him to cater to the party’s ideology.
Congress has been a vocal critic of the Hindu Mahasabha, which had time and again tried to project Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “nationalist” and “patriotic” figure. (ANI)

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Political leaders in Kerala express grief on death of eminent poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): Several leaders, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday expressed grief over the death of acclaimed poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri who passed away earlier in the day.
The Malayali poet breathed his last at his residence in Thycaud due to old-age ailments at the age of 81.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan recalled the times he visited the Malayali poet to pay his respects and called him a poet who ‘modernized the cultural space and integrated it with a new age’.
“Vishnunarayan Namboothiri is a poet who has modernized the cultural space and integrated it with a new age. I have always had the affection of him a teacher at Brennan College, Thalassery. I remember coming to Thiruvananthapuram later and seeing him from time to time to pay my respects,” Vijayan said.
He added, “He is a poet who has taken Malayalam language and poetry to new heights. The demise of Vishnu Narayan Namboothiri is a great loss to the Malayalam language, Kerala’s culture and progressive values.”
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also offered his condolences and said that Namboothiri’s demise is a great loss to the literary world.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that the poet’s death the passing of a ‘colossus’.
“Mourning the passing of Malayalam poet and lyricist Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri today in Thiruvananthapuram at the age of 81. He had won the prestigious Ezhuthachan Puraskaram and been awarded the Padma Shri in 2014. A colossus is gone. Om Shanti,” Tharoor tweeted.
Known for his elegant style and ease with he handled modern poetry, Vishnunarayan Namboothiri carved a niche in contemporary Malayalam literature and received the Padma Shri, the Government of India’s fourth highest civilian honour in 2014.
His famous literary works include ‘Swathantryathe Kurichoru Geetham,’ ‘Pranaya Geethangal,’ ‘Ujjayiniyile Raappakalukal,’ ‘Aranyakam,’ ‘Aparajitha,’ ”Bhoomigeethangal,’ and ‘Mukhamevide’, India Enna Vikaram’, ‘Asaahitheeyam,’ ‘Kavithayude DNA,’ and ‘Alakadalum Neyyambalukalum’.
He has received numerous other awards for his works including Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Vayalar Award, Vallathol Award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and Odakkuzhal Award. (ANI)

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Dal Lake, Mathura’s Banke Bihari Temple among 12 sites selected under ‘Swachh Iconic Places’

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): Srinagar’s famous Dal Lake, Mathura’s Banke Bihari Temple, Agra Fort and Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh are among 12 iconic sites selected under Phase IV of “Swachh Iconic Places” (SIP).
Other sites include Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, Kalighat Temple in West Bengal, Rock Garden in Chandigarh, Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha.
From Rajasthan, three sites including Kumbhalgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort and Ramdevra in Jaisalmer have also been selected.

According to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, under the Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G), the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), the Ministry of Jal Shakti has announced the selection of the 12 iconic sites under Phase IV of SIP.
The initiative aims at enhancing the experience of both domestic and foreign visitors by improving the sanitation and cleanliness standards at and around the sites.

The objective of SIP is to achieve a distinctly higher level of sanitation/cleanliness at these places, especially on the peripheries and in approach areas.

The project is being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and the concerned State/UT governments. (ANI)

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