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After TDP, RLSP quitting NDA, now LJP takes pot shots at BJP

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is under strain with one coalition partner following the other in criticising the major party.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) have already quit the formation, as had Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). Kushwaha today joined Congress’ ‘Mahagatbandhan’.

In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena has often criticised BJP on various issues and also praised Congress president Rahul Gandhi on some occasions. After Congress ousting BJP from governments in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Shiv Sena even praised Rahul Gandhi and congratulated the voters of the three states for their “brave decision” of showing the door to the BJP.

In a sign of things to come, it is now Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) – the party of Ram Vilas Paswan who many call the ‘weather vane’ of Indian politics – to speak out against the BJP.

The LJP, which was previously with the Congress-led UPA and before that with previous NDA government, had re-joined the NDA ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and won six out of the seven seats it had contested. The party also got a ministerial berth in the state government when Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA last year.

At a time when BJP along with the rest of Sangh parivar’s Hundutva brigade is busy building up the Ram temple issue, Ram Vilas Paswan’s son and LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan said Ram Mandir issue is not on priority for LJP warned BJP that it should focus on development to avoid any further losses in elections.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Paswan said: “We have clearly said in the NDA meeting on December 10 that we should stick to our development agenda. Some people raising issues like the Ram temple (construction) and Bajrangbali (UP CM Yogi Adityanath had called Lord Hanuman a Dalit) only confuses people. The temple can be the agenda of one party but not of the NDA or government. Let us wait for the court’s order on it.”

At the same time, he had a word of appreciation for Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Paswan said there was a “definite change” in Congress president Rahul Gandhi and that he should be credited with the party’s victory in the recent state assembly elections.

“Congress party has won after a long time. You’ll have to give it to him. If you criticise someone, you should also appreciate them when they perform well. They chose issues well,” ANI quoted Paswan as saying. Paswan said while Congress raised issues of farmers and unemployment, “we stayed tangled in religion and temples”.

The LJP has also been at odds with the BJP over seat sharing for next year’s national polls in Bihar.

Ram Vilas Paswan’s son and LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan said in a series of tweets that there was no headway despite a number of meetings with the BJP leadership over the issue of seat-sharing in Bihar.

The LJP yesterday (Wednesday, Dec 19) pressed for finalisation of the coalition’s seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar by month-end while making it clear it will not agree for anything less than six Lok Sabha seats and one in Rajya Sabha.

The assertion was made by LJP’s state president Pashupati Kumar Paras, younger brother of the party chief and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, a day after the party’s parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan expressed dissatisfaction over no headway being made on the seat-sharing issue despite several meetings with the BJP leaders. Paras said the NDA has “undoubtedly” weakened in Bihar with exit of partners like Jitan Ram Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha.

“We met the BJP leaders several times over the seat sharing for the alliance, but even now there has been no concrete decision. Unless these decisions are made in time, it could have consequences,” Chirag Paswan tweeted yesterday.

“Following the exit of the TDP and the RLSP, the NDA is passing through trying times. In view of this, it is imperative that the BJP addresses the concerns of those still in the alliance in a timely and respectable manner,” Paswan tweeted in Hindi.

Paswan, at India Today Group’s Agenda Aaj Tak 2018, however, had said that this party will not quit the NDA like the TDP.

Meanwhile, said a report by India Today (IT), LJP leader Pashupati Paras said that the party wants Narendra Modi to become the prime minister again, demanding seven seats at the earliest. He added that the LJP was not consulted when Amit Shah and Nitish Kumar announced seat-sharing.

“Amit Shah should have asked all the parties of NDA in Bihar to come together and sit. There is trouble in NDA after [HAM’s Jitan Ram] Manjhi and Kushwaha quit,” he told IT.

Paras said that the LJP is setting December 31 as the deadline for the BJP to announce the seat-sharing agreement in NDA.

Chirag Paswan’s tweets have drawn the attention of Tejashwi Yadav and Upendra Kushwaha, who have invited him to join up. Mr Kushwaha said the time has come for him to show his worth by walking out of the alliance, as the BJP never cares for allies. Tejashwi Yadav said “Paswan-ji is most welcome in Mahagathbandhan fold”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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APCC President YS Sharmila spends night at Andhra Ratna Bhavan to escape house arrest

A video circulating on social media shows the Congress leader sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the party’s Vijaywada office. In another video, shared by party leader Manickam Tagore, other Congress leaders and workers are seen sleeping at the Congress office.

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Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president YS Sharmila had to spend the Wednesday night at the Congress Head office Andhra Ratna Bhavan as she feared that she might be put under house arrest. The APCC President led a Chalo Secretariat protest march on Thursday morning in support of the unemployed youth of the state in Vijaywada. Sharmila announced the protest march on Wednesday morning but the police did not give permission and started putting Congress leaders under house arrest.

A video circulating on social media shows the Congress leader sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the party’s Vijaywada office. In another video, shared by party leader Manickam Tagore, other Congress leaders and workers are seen sleeping at the Congress office. Sharmila avoided going to Congress MP KVP Ramachandra Rao’s house on Wednesday night where the police allegedly wanted to detain her.

Instead she chose to stay back in the Congress office. The police surrounded the Congress office on Thursday morning and many Congress leaders and YS Sharmila sat on a dharna and shouted slogans. The APCC president demanded that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government give orders to fill 23000 posts which he had promised to fill during his election campaign.

Addressing the protest meeting Sharmila said Elections are are just two months away and the chief minister has announced filling up 6000 posts. She said instead of holding a mega district selection committee for recruitment, he is doing a fraud. Sharmilla said the YSRCP rule is like dictatorship and anyone who protests is put under house arrest.

She said they have been surrounded by thousands of policemen. She added iron barricades have been put around them and they are being held hostage. She said those people who are raising their voices for the unemployed are being arrested. She said YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is a dictator who wants to stop them.

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Congress, Aam Aadmi Party finalise seat sharing alliance for 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi

During the seat sharing discussion the Congress is likely to contest from North Delhi, East Delhi and Chandni Chowk, while Aam Aadmi Party will contest from South, North West, New Delhi and West Delhi. The Congress is planning to field at least 1 dalit face in New Delhi. A general category face and a woman candidate will also be fielded by the party. According to reports the Congress is likely to give AAP 1 seat in Haryana and 2 seats in Gujarat.

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The Aam Aadmi Party and Congress finalised their seat-sharing alliance for the 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi on Thursday. Both the parties confirmed that they had settled for a four-three seat sharing formula, with AAP contesting four constituencies and Congress on three.

The seat sharing alliance was formed after many rounds of discussions this week. During the seat sharing discussion the Congress is likely to contest from North Delhi, East Delhi and Chandni Chowk, while Aam Aadmi Party will contest from South, North West, New Delhi and West Delhi.

The Congress is planning to field at least 1 dalit face in New Delhi. A general category face and a woman candidate will also be fielded by the party. According to reports the Congress is likely to give AAP 1 seat in Haryana and 2 seats in Gujarat.

The two seats for Aam Adami Party in Gujarat – Bhavnagar and Bharuch have been agreed upon to stave off Kejriwal’s demands in Haryana, Assam and Goa. The Aam Aadmi Party will give up its south Goa constituency for the Congress. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party has a sitting MP in Goa.The signs of an arrangement became clear when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal turned up at lunch hosted by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi on Sunday.

Earlier the Congress finalised its pact with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and has agreed to contest 17 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The Samajwadi Party will contest on 63 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The seat sharing pact was announced by the opposition alliance, which has been formed to defeat the BJP-led central government in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Samajwadi Party has announced three lists for the Lok Sabha elections and has named a total of 32 candidates including Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Yadav and don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Afzal Ansari.

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Sandeshkhali violence: BJP slams CM Mamata Banerjee, questions Rahul Gandhi’s silence

The BJP leader said that Mamata Banerjee is risking the honour of women in Bengal in order to save her political reputation.

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The alleged land grabbing and sexual harassment case in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal has triggered a major political battle among the ruling Trinamool Congress party and the opposition. BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is hiding something in the matter and is protecting Shahjahan Sheikh and his allies.  

The BJP leader said that Mamata Banerjee is risking the honour of women in Bengal in order to save her political reputation. Questioning why parties like CPI(M) and Congress are  silent on the issue, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that he heard that a woman leader of CPM visited the area but has not opposed the incident or made a public comment. He remarked that Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is also silent on the issue. 

Since last week, several women in the district have been protesting against TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh who is allegedly the mastermind behind the incident. Though the West Bengal police have arrested two TMC leaders, Shahjahan Sheikh is still absconding. The BJP leaders in the state claimed that the police administration has become the party office of the ruling party. 

Meanwhile, State BJP president Sukanta Mazumdar on Monday, said that the party would hold a 72-hour long protest in the coming days demanding the arrest of Sheikh Shahjahan amid the turmoil in West Bengal over the Sandeshkhali violence. He added that the probable day of protest is February 22. 

Slamming Mamata Banerjee for accusing BJP of instigating violence in the state, the BJP president said that the Chief Minister should be a little more sensitive towards the women in the state and refrain from making such statements. He added that the Trinamool Congress party was in a complete denial mode of any violence in the state initially. 

Reportedly, West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali area has been witnessing massive unrest for more than 10 days as women protestors are seeking justice against alleged atrocities committed by TMC leader Sheikh Shajahan and his aides.

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