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LJP meet on Bihar polls on Monday, party likely to continue in NDA in state

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NEW DELHI: The Lok Janshakti Party’s Bihar leadership is scheduled to meet on Monday to chart its strategy for the upcoming state polls. Sources said it was unlikely that LJP would walk out of NDA despite recent bad blood between the party and JD(U) led by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

On Sunday, party chief

Chirag Paswan

shot off another letter to Kumar, questioning the motive behind the state government’s overtures towards Dalits. “The Bihar government has taken a decision to provide a government job to one family member of any SC/ST who gets killed. Several people from SC/ST communities have talked to me and asked whether it will remain only as an announcement for the upcoming polls. They have lamented how several other promises made by the government have not been delivered,” Chirag said in his letter.

He also demanded that the state government give jobs within a month to family members of SCs/STs who were killed during the 15 years of Kumar’s government.

Meanwhile, party sources said LJP was in alliance with BJP at the Centre and in Bihar even when JD(U) had broken up with the saffron party. “We are with BJP and it’s up to it to decide its ally,” a source said, adding that the possibility of the party fielding candidates against JD(U) was remote.

There has been talk in political circles over LJP’s perceived opposition to Kumar leading the NDA in polls. The party even put out big ads earlier this week positioning Chirag as the one fighting for “Bihari pride”.

Chirag has taken potshots at Kumar on several issues in the past few months, particularly over migrant workers and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When Nitish Kumar first took charge of the state, he had promised that his government would ensure reverse migration. But after so many years, the situation has not changed at all. We are fighting to restore the pride of Bihar and its people and to accelerate development,” a party leader said.

Chirag has said his party will release its manifesto with the focus on ‘Bihar First, Bihari First’ the day elections are notified.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Maratha quota: Post SC stay, Maharashtra announces sops for community

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MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday took several measures to give relief to the agitating Marathas, including giving community members benefits meant for EWS, in the light of the Supreme Court staying the implementation of quota in jobs and education for the community.

According to an official statement, the Maharashtra Cabinet also decided to offer jobs in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to heirs of those who lost lives during the Maratha quota protests.

It said action will be taken on proposals in this regard within a month of their submission.

The government’s decisions came after the Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the implementation of the 2018 Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs.

This was followed by community members staging protests on the issue in several parts of the state.

The Maratha community members will get the benefits announced by the government on Tuesday till the Supreme Court vacates the stay on quota, the statement said.

The Maharashtra government on Monday filed an application before the larger bench of Supreme Court, seeking to vacate the apex court’s stay on implementing the quota, the statement said.

“The benefits meant for economically weaker section (EWS) will be given to those from socially and economically backward category (SEBC),” the statement said.

The government said the Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulkh Shishyavrutti Yojana, a scholarship scheme earlier meant for SEBC students, will now be made applicable to EWS students too.

“The state government has approved Rs 600 crore fund for the current fiscal. Provision will be made if there is a need for additional funds,” the statement said.

Similarly, the Panjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Maintenance Allowance Scheme meant for SEBC students will be applicable to the EWS students, the statement said.

“Rs 80 crore fund has been approved for the same. More funds will be made available if need be,” it added.

The government said substantial funds and manpower will be made available to the SARTHI institute.

The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) is a non-profit government company for research, policy advocacy, training etc. for socio-economic and education development of Maratha, Kunbi communities and families dependent of agriculture.

“SARTHI has demanded Rs 130 crore fund for the current financial year. Provision will be made if more funds are required,” the statement said.

The statement said financial assistance is being provided to unemployed youth through the Annasaheb Patil Financially Backward Development Corporation, and the capital for its has been increased by Rs 400 crore.

Speaking on the process of withdrawing cases against Maratha quota protesters, the state government said only 26 were pending and action on them will be taken in a month.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said the government moved the vacation application before the Supreme Court’s larger bench after holding discussions with ministers, opposition leaders, representatives of Maratha outfits and legal experts.

Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who accompanied Chavan during the press conference, said, “The chief minister and the cabinet has taken a decision that there will be no shortage of funds. These decisions will give relief to the community.”

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Opposition parties to take message against farm bills across country: Derek O’Brien

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NEW DELHI: Indicating that the opposition pressure on the government over the farm bills was far from over, TMC MP Derek O’Brien on Tuesday said his party along with other regional parties will spread the message of how these bills “cheat” farmers, across the country.

Briefing reporters hours after an overnight protest by eight suspended MPs came to an end, O’Brien said what happened in Rajya Sabha on Sunday was “undemocratic” and “against the idea of India”.

“Our basic rights as MPs were taken away. That was the last straw. What they did was a straight fascist methodology to demolish Indian democracy. They are trying to rewrite the idea of democracy. The bills were not scrutinised, they are anti-people and anti-farmer,” alleged O’Brien, who was among the eight MPs to be suspended.

While the eight MPs held a sit-in protest in Parliament premises, the opposition parties boycotted both the Houses over the issue.

“I’ve been in politics now with the AITC for about 17 years. I have never seen the very back of Indian democracy being broken like this. Now, let me come to the core issue. This is not about some puppet, Deputy Chairman sitting there or somebody sitting there. It’s a straight fascist, farmer bill’s politics. We have never, ever seen Parliament in this situation.

“We will not sit down and allow the country, its people and the farmers be cheated. Over the next two days, all regional political parties, I use the word regional loosely to mean parties with considerable presence in a region, will reach out to every town, every village to spread this message,” he said.

Speaking on the gesture of the deputy chairman Harivansh Singh carrying morning tea for the protesting MPs on Tuesday, the TMC leader indicated that it was just optics.

“The farmers want justice not tea. Is this child’s play? First you murder democracy and then you offer tea? If it was a personal visit, then why did he have two cameras with him?” asked O’Brien.

He also said that the opposition parties are set to meet on Wednesday at 11 am to strategise their next course of action in Parliament.

Replying to a question on the numbers that the government had in Rajya Sabha to pass the bills, O’Brien questioned the BJP why it needed to field five union ministers to defend what happened in Parliament on Sunday.

“Five union ministers used the government machinery to defend the murder of democracy,” he said.

The TMC MP also pointed out that while half a dozen bills were passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, four of the eight MPs had resolutions on motions against them.

“You can suspend us. You cannot silence us,” he asserted.

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Home Minister Amit Shah hails passing of J&K official languages bill

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NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday described the passing of the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages (Amendment) Bill by the Lok Sabha as a momentous day for the people of the Union Territory.

In a series of tweets, Shah also said under the legislation, special efforts will be made towards the development of major regional languages like ‘Gojri‘, ‘Pahari’ and ‘Punjabi’.

“A momentous day for the people of J&K as Jammu Kashmir Official Languages (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha. With this historic bill…Long-awaited dream of the people of J&K comes true!,” he said.

I thank PM @narendramodi ji for his commitment towards restoring the culture of Jammu and Kashmir through this bill… https://t.co/T8ucU4FVFK

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1600790419000

The home minister said Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi and English will now be the official languages of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Under this bill, special efforts will be made towards the development of major regional languages like ‘Gojri’, ‘Pahari’ and ‘Punjabi’,” he said.

Under this bill, special efforts will be made towards the development of major regional languages like ‘Gojri’, ‘Pa… https://t.co/hVeon7CwFL

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1600790418000

The home minister said along with this, the bill will also strengthen the existing institutional structure for the promotion and development of regional languages.

“I thank PM @narendramodi ji for his commitment towards restoring the culture of Jammu and Kashmir through this bill. I also want to assure our sisters and brothers of Jammu and Kashmir that the Modi govt will leave no stone unturned to bring back the glory of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

A momentous day for the people of J&K as Jammu Kashmir Official Languages (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha.… https://t.co/TdSM2E9wCW

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1600790418000

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the bill under which Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, will be the official languages in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said it was a demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the language they speak should be the official language.

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