BJP’s Self Goal in Odisha Panchayat Polls
Despite the presence of party ‘bigwigs’ like Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and former Union ministers Jual Oram and Dilip Ray, BJP bring in Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav to campaign for party candidates in Odisha Panchayat Poll makes it clear that it doesn’t believe in its own strength to fight the polls in the state. When tension over the use of Mahanadi River is on rise, it makes no sense to bring in Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh there.
As Singh tours Odisha, BJD has been organising jal satyagrahas in Cuttack, Sambalpur and Sundargarh; while Congress has been crying foul on the issue, disapproving Singh’s visit. But Odisha’s BJP unit, expected to stand for the state has certainly rubbed salt on people’s wounds. Moreover, during all his public meetings in Odisha, Singh has been raking-up the river issue accusing Patnaik of politicizing the matter.
Nitish Kumar Talks To Opposition Parties for Presidential Nominee
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who sought for “maximum Opposition unity”, is learnt to have broached the idea of the non-NDA parties propping up a common candidate for the Presidential Election in July. In 2012, Nitish, despite being a part of the NDA then, had supported UPA’s Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee. The Bihar CM, who was in the national capital recently, is learnt to have shared his “concern” with leaders of NCP, CPM, CPI and INLD over the possibility of BJP propping up “somebody with RSS background” for the top job and is learnt to have emphasised on the need for non-NDA parties to back a common candidate.
Nitish called on INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, CPI leaders D Raja and Sudhakar Reddy and later on drove to CPM’s office, where he spoke to party general secretary Sitaram Yechury. He is trying to reach out NCP chief Sharad Pawar through Praful Patel.
Congress Demands Apology from Mamata Over Abdul Mannan
Demanding apology by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the eviction of Opposition leader Abdul Mannan from West Bengal Assembly last fortnight leading to his illness, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury has described Banerjee’s visit to ailing Mannan as a ‘drama’. Chowdhury also said that Banerjee’s visit to the hospital where Abdul Mannan has been admitted was a decision taken only after all-round criticism her government faced.
Mannan was taken ill and hospitalised on February 8 when he was evicted from the Assembly by the marshall during a scuffle between Congress MLAs and the security staff. Chowdhury has demanded that the chief minister tender an apology for the incident and threatened to ‘boycott’ Assembly proceedings. “This is her (Mamata’s) drama. She should have gone to see Mannan (da) on the day the incident happened. She decided to go only after people started criticising…” Chowdhury told reporters.
Punjab Police Arrests Nabha Jailbreak Mastermind
Punjab Police on February 12th arrested Gurpreet Sekhon, the mastermind behind the sensational Nabha jailbreak, from a house at Dhudike village in Moga district. Six inmates — Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Harminder Mintoo and five others — had escaped from the high security Nabha jail on November 27 last year triggering an ugly war of words among Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party over patronage to gangsters and deteriorating law and order situation in the state two months before the assembly polls.
Mintoo was arrested the next day from New Delhi railway station. Sekhon was hiding in the house of an NRI, Goldy alias Lakha Singh, and was armed with a 0.32 bore pistol when the sleuths swooped down on the house around 2 PM and nabbed him along with three aides.Two rifles and two Hyundai cars stolen from Ludhiana were recovered from them.
Karnataka Govt To File Review Petition Over SC/ST Promotion
The Karnataka government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court with regard to the latter’s decision to strike down ‘consequential seniority’ in promotions awarded for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC and ST) employees since 1978. The apex court order, which envisages fair treatment to general category government employees with regard to promotions, has a far-reaching impact on the state’s political landscape as it comes at a time when the Siddaramaiah government is leaving no stone unturned in appeasing the SC and ST vote banks ahead of the 2018 assembly polls.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru on February 11th, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “We are examining the apex court’s order. I have told the advocate general and legal experts to file a review petition and also explore other legal options. We will chalk out the future course of action after discussing with them.”
United Naga Council Vows To Continue Economic Blockade Amid Polls
The United Naga Council on February 7th said it would continue its fight against “land grabbing on the pretext of administrative convenience” in Manipur. The organisation’s statement indicates that it would not lift the three-month economic blockade in the state despite upcoming elections in March. UNC president Gaidon Kamei and publicity secretary Stephen Lamkang also demanded the release of its “political prisoners.” The economic blockade that has disrupted the transportation of essential items to Manipur was imposed by the UNC on November 1, 2016.
“An emergency Presidential Council of the United Naga Council was convened to consider the outcome of the tripartite meeting between the Centre, state and the United Naga Council on February 3,” the statement said. The UNC also accused the Manipur government of breaching an agreement to refrain from addressing the media. The UNC said Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh had incorrectly announced an end to their blockade.