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Opposition meet in Patna ends: 17 parties decide to contest 2024 Lok Sabha polls together, next meet in Shimla on July 10

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the meet fruitful at the joint presser and said it is the beginning of history.

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Opposition parties meet Patna

The meeting of like-minded opposition parties in Patna ended after a 4-hour deliberation between senior leaders from across the country with parties coming to the broad consensus of fighting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls together.

The 17 parties that attended the meet have taken the decision to fight the general elections due next year unitedly against the BJP.

The second leg of the meeting will take place in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, likely to happen on July 10-12, where the strategy will be discussed with deliverables. The Shimla meeting is likely chalk out a roadmap for contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the focus on the campaign.

Nitish Kumar, the Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader, who convened the meeting in Patna, in a joint press conference said it was a good meeting and announced the decision to contest elections together. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the common agenda for fighting the polls will be decided in the Shimla meet.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the meet fruitful at the joint presser and said it is the beginning of history.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the leaders had gathered to save the country from devastation and to revive democracy. He said he and former CM Mehbooba Mufti belong to Jammu and Kashmir where democracy has been murdered.

He even stressed on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s democracy remarks at the White House today, asking why can’t it be seen in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which was a part of the meeting with the attendance led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, distanced itself from the press conference. It’s decision to keep away from the presser is because AAP is yet to resolve its differences with the Congress over the Delhi ordinance promulgated by the Centre after a Supreme Court order that had given the AAP government control over officers.

Of the 17 parties at the meeting, including the Congress and AAP, only 12 have numbers in the Rajya Sabha. Of the 12, 11 have declared support to Kejriwal in his fight against the ordinance, while AAP claims the Congress has denied its support against the ordinance.

The AAP noted in a statement that despite many parties urging the Congress to denounce the ordinance, it had refused. The party reiterated that it would not be a part of the Opposition alliance if the Congress did not support it.

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Rahul Gandhi reacts to Hijab controversy, says what a person wears is their responsibility and nobody should decide what they wear

Rahul Gandhi said what a woman wears is her responsibility and it is her decision. He thought nobody should decide what they wear. His comments came after the Congress government in Karnataka allowed students to wear Hijab during competitive exams in October last year.

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Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that women’s choice of clothing including a hijab should be respected and one should not dictate what a person has to wear. Rahul Gandhi was interacting with female students at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

During the interaction a girl mentioned the hijab controversy in Karnataka and asked the Congress leader about his views on the same. He said what a woman wears is her responsibility and it is her decision. He thought nobody should decide what they wear. His comments came after the Congress government in Karnataka allowed students to wear Hijab during competitive exams in October last year.

The issue erupted in Januray 2022 when Muslim students at a government pre-university college in Karnataka’s Udupi were denied entry for wearing hijabs, citing a violation of the college’s uniform policy. The incident has sparked widespread protests and counter-protests across the state.

The then BJP government issued an order that made mandatory for students to wear uniforms in educational institutes. The order banned the wearing of hijabs in these settings. This decision was challenged in court, and on March 15, 2022 the decision was upheld by the Haryana High Court.

The court said wearing a hiujab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and as result it does not fall under the protection of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right to freely practice one’s religion.

In October 2022, The Supreme Court pronounced a split verdict on the petitions challenging The Karnataka High Court order which refused to overturn a ban on hijabs in educational institutions in the state. The Top court’s split verdict means the issue will be revisited by a larger bench for final decision.In December last year, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced that his government will withdraw the order banning hijab in schools and colleges in the state .   

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Rajya Sabha elections: Voting underway for 15 seats in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh

The list of 41 unopposed elected Rajya Sabha MPs includes former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Ashok Chavan, and union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan. The voting for the remaining seats – 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Karnataka, and 1 in Himachal Pradesh started at 9 am in the Upper House of the Parliament and the results will be announced later in the evening.

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Voting for 15 Rajya Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh is taking place on Tuesday, amid concerns about cross-voting by the Congress and Samajwadi Party MLAs. 41 of 56 Rajya Sabha have already been elected unopposed which leaves the three states to witness heated contests between BJP and the INDIA Bloc.

The list of 41 unopposed elected Rajya Sabha MPs includes former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Ashok Chavan, and union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan. The voting for the remaining seats – 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Karnataka, and 1 in Himachal Pradesh started at 9 am in the Upper House of the Parliament and the results will be announced later in the evening.

The term for Rajya Sabha MPs is 6 years and the elections take place after every 2 years for 33% of the seats. The Rajys Sabha has strength of 245 members. In Uttar Pradesh a heated contest between the SP and the BJP will be witnessed. 8 candidates are contesting from BJP, while the SP has fielded 3 candidates.

According to reports the BJP is likely to win 7 seats and the SP is likely to win 3 seats. But there are concerns that many MLAs may cross vote, especially after some of the SP MPs went missing from a dinner hosted by party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday. Currently the BJP has 252 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative assembly while the SP has 108 MLAs along with Congress 2 seats.

BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has 13 seats, NISHAD Party has 6 seats, RLD has 9 seats, SBSP has 6 seats, Jansatta Dal Loktantrik has 2 seats, and BSP has 1 seat. The BJP alliance and the SP-Congress alliance were negotiating with other parties to gather support for their candidates.

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PM Modi pays tribute to VD Savarkar on death anniversary, says India will remember his valiant spirit

Veer Sawarkar passed away in 1966 on February 26.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tribute to Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and said that India will never forget his unwavering dedication to the country’s freedom and unity.

Born at Bhagur on May 28, 1883, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, often known as Veer Savarkar, was raised there. Savarkar, an esteemed advocate of the Hindutva ideology, passed away in 1966.

Tributes to Veer Savarkar on his Punya Tithi, PM Modi wrote in a post on X. He also said, India will forever remember his valiant spirit and unwavering dedication to our nation’s freedom and integrity. His achievements motivate us to work toward our nation’s growth and prosperity, rhe PM added.

The national president of the BJP JP Nadda, on his officia X handle said, he pays his tribute to Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the great hero of the Indian freedom struggle, the founder of cultural nationalism, an embodiment of unparalleled sacrifice and bravery, on his death anniversary. He also said, millions of his compatriots will always find inspiration in his commitment to securing Mother India’s freedom and fostering cultural awareness in the community.

Meanwhile, following his graduation from Pune College in 1906, Savarkar pursued legal studies in the United Kingdom. He founded the Free India Society that same year.

Savarkar was certain that national education should be given, a revolutionary spirit should be fostered, and the principles of Swadeshi and a boycott of foreign products should all be part of the fight for the freedom of the Motherland.

He was detained in London in 1909 on suspicion of organizing an armed uprising against the Morley-Minto reform. After that, he was given two life terms in the Andaman cellular jail. Savarkar was freed from prison in 1924, but only if he would stay out of politics for five years. He did, however, keep pushing for other social reforms, such as the abolition of untouchability.

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