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Thackeray Vs Thackeray: Shinde Faction Plans To Field Nihar Against Cousin Aaditya Thackeray

Shiv Sena (U) party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya is likely to face his cousin Nihar in the next assembly election from Worli in Mumbai if plans of chief minister Eknath Shinde’s Sena faction materialise. A practising lawyer, Nihar is the son of Uddhav’s eldest brother Bindumadhav, who died young in 1996 in a road accident. Aaditya has been on the offensive over the past few days, challenging Shinde to contest against him any time. “Let us face each other in Worli or Thane. The choice will be yours,” Aaditya has said repeatedly. His Sena (U) followers are taunting the chief minister for being ‘scared of a 32-year young’ as Shinde has not reacted to the provocation. However, plans to persuade Nihar to jump into the fray are now under discussion. Nihar was the first member of the family of Balasaheb Thackeray to support Shinde. He had said, “Shinde is the true representative of Balasaheb’s ideology.” The association became firmer when Nihar became part of the legal panel representing the Shinde faction in the Supreme Court and the Election Commission. As Uddhav is a member of the upper house, Aaditya’s Worli assembly constituency will become one of the most prestigious electoral contests in Maharashtra. The fight will become national news if two Thackerays take on each other.
Bhagwat

RSS ‘Clarifies’ Mohan Bhagwat’s Remark, Says No Slight To Brahmins

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reference to the learned section of society has been wrongly interpreted and it does not mean the Brahmin caste, the organisation has clarified. What Bhagwat had meant was ‘scholars,’ RSS has conveyed. Bhagwat was addressing a birth anniversary event of Sant Ravidas in Mumbai on February 5. He said the Sant had spent his life to accord dignity to work and not to caste. In the speech, Bhagwat had used the word ‘Pandit.’ Very soon, the speech report began making rounds of social media and the RSS had to ask news agency ANI to come out with a clarification as it had covered the event and reported it. At the same time, a statement has been issued by RSS leader Sunil Ambekar. Both have hastened to clarify that the meaning Bhagwat had in mind was ‘Vidvaan’ (scholar) and not Brahmins. Bhagwat’s ‘exact’ statement has been quoted by Ambekar as, “…Some Pandits speak of caste-based divides on (the) basis of Shastras, it’s a lie. It’s his exact statement…” Ambekar has emphasised.  The controversy has the backdrop of a whispering grievance that the RSS has been treating the Brahmin community unfairly although it was the anchor of the organisation in its fledgling years. In the Mumbai speech, Bhagwat had also said that we were misled by the caste superiority illusion which has to be discarded. These differences were exploited by others and outsiders ruled us, Bhagwat had observed.
Bommai

Maharashtra & Karnataka Compete To Woo People Of Border Areas

In a bid to match the Maharashtra government’s announcement to extend ‘cultural funding’ to the Marathi-speaking areas along the border with Karnataka, a provision of Rs 100 crore has been declared by Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai for the Border Area Development Authority. The BJP government in Karnataka is completing its five-year term this year and will be presenting its last budget on 10 February. In view of the ensuing election, Bommai has made the populist announcement. Although the tension prevailing over the border feud has subsided, Bommai’s counter-announcement could provide another provocation for the protagonists from the neighbouring states to take up cudgels again. He has stated that the amount would be provided for in the budget for expending in border areas for education, industry, infrastructure development and for promoting Kannada. Earlier, the Karnataka government had made a provision of Rs 25 crore for these areas. Maharashtra’s Marathi language minister Deepak Kesarkar had declared that financial provisions would be made by the state to create facilities for educational and cultural activities in the Marathi-speaking border areas.  Bommai’s announcement has come to counter this move, it is felt. The border dispute has been holding fire for several decades and is now before the Supreme Court. Both states have fielded top-notch attorneys to reinforce their claims. Though the situation has remained peaceful after initial skirmishes, the initiatives by both the states are considered potent.
Ajit Pawars

Ajit Pawar’s Revelations Raise Hackles, Congress Livid

Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar’s sensational disclosures about the victory of Congress rebel Satyajeet Tambe in the legislative council election for the Nashik graduate constituency and Uddhav Thackeray’s perceived failure to prevent the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra in June last year are likely to become a bone of contention within MVA. The revelations have angered Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole as Tambe defeated official MVA nominee Shubhangi Patil by a huge margin. Tambe had claimed that he had not received the required authorisation from the Congress in time and hence was forced to contest as an independent. Ajit had said that NCP president Sharad Pawar himself had advised his Congress counterpart Mallikarjun Kharge to field Tambe but things didn’t work out that way. Similarly, Ajit said that Sharad Pawar had alerted then chief minister Uddhav about the possible rift in the Shiv Sena but the latter had replied that he did not expect his MLAs to walk away from him. The dramatic change in Maharashtra occurred soon thereafter. So far Uddhav or the Sena (U) have kept mum about Ajit’s utterances. Patole has objected to both statements, saying that though the NCP was holding the home portfolio, the Uddhav government fell. The matters will be taken up in the next MVA meeting with the NCP, he announced.
Shinde-Fadnavis

Maharashtra Legislative Council Election Shocker For Shinde-Fadnavis And MVA

The severe jolt received by the ruling Shinde-Fadnavis alliance in the legislative council election in Maharashtra has generated shocks on both sides as each has lost a prestigious seat or two from its assured traditional area of influence. The ruling alliance lost both Vidarbha seats, Nagpur and Amaravati, which the BJP had been holding for a long time. Similarly, the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)lost the Raigad seat, which the BJP has won for the first time. The decision of Nashik seat victor Satyajeet Tambe about his future plans is yet to become public. Overall, the ruling alliance’s performance is considered dismal especially since deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is known to wield clout in Vidarbha area. The defeat of BJP’s Amaravati nominee Ranjit Patil, a confidant of Fadnavis, is intriguing since almost 6000 ballot papers bearing his name have been declared invalid in a battle he has lost by just over 3000 votes. The rules require that a voter has to indicate his or her first and subsequent preferences. As Patil’s was the only name marked, the votes were rejected. Rather than pleasing MVA, the outcome has sparked off a war of words within as Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole has decided to admonish the NCP for some of its leaders’ remarks in connection with the election in Nashik.
Narendra Modi

Modi To Visit Mumbai Second Time In Three Weeks, Why?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second Mumbai and third Maharashtra visit within 50 days is being planned to highlight the importance the BJP attaches to the city and the state in view of the elections scheduled in the near future. With this visit scheduled on February 10, Maharashtra will be the only state to boast four Vande Bharat trains, two of them just within the state. The other highlight of Modi’s upcoming visit will be the opening of the Dawoodi Bohra community’s Arabic Academy in Andheri East. The sect’s head, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, will be present on the occasion, a community official said. Modi’s acceptance to attend this event will endorse the BJP’s systematic efforts to reach out to various sections of the minority population. One Vande Bharat train that Modi will flag off will be on Mumbai-Solapur route, the other will link Mumbai with Shirdi on February 10. The Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat train will cover the 455 km distance within six and a half hours while the Mumbai-Shirdi Vande Bharat train will traverse the 340 km distance in five and a half hours. Already, two Vande Bharat trains ply in Maharashtra. The first started running between Mumbai and Gandhinagar. The second, linking Nagpur and Bilaspur, was shown a green flag by Modi in December.
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Kasba Peth Assembly By-Poll: Acid Test For BJP As MVA May Play Spoilsport

By-election to the Kasba Peth assembly constituency in Pune is proving to be a potential battleground among the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners while the BJP is yet to decide upon its candidate after the demise of its sitting MLA Mukta Tilak. The last date for filing of nominations is February 7. A traditional BJP stronghold, the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena (U) have claimed the right to contest, trying to junk the assertions made by the other MVA constituents. However, the two Congress parties are serious claimants as the Sena had always left this seat for the BJP under the two-party electoral adjustment. Sitting Pune BJP MP Girish Bapat had been winning the seat successively. It was won in 2019 by his party’s Mukta Tilak with a thumping margin. Her untimely demise has caused the by-election, which will be a major test of strength between the ruling Shinde-Fadnavis alliance and the MVA. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, too, has declared its intention to contest from Kasaba though it is not taken seriously. Internecine differences have surfaced over the probable candidature as each MVA party has at least half a dozen hopefuls. On the other hand, the BJP also is treading cautiously since it is determined to repeat its victory in the constituency. It will face a tough task to endorse a candidate, party leaders admit.
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Tit For Tat Politics In Maharashtra: Sena (U) Leader Anil Parab’s Unauthorised Office Demolished

Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray’s confidant Anil Parab’s Bandra (East) office demolition on Tuesday (Jan 31) has set off a verbal slugfest, joined by independent MLA Ravi Rana. Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had been pursuing the matter with Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) in whose jurisdiction the office is located. Somaiya was prevented by the police from visiting the site. The political atmosphere in the state will become murkier as Somaiya has warned to intensify similar campaigns against former ministers Nawab Malik, Aslam Shaikh and Hasan Mushrif. Parab later led a Sena (U) morcha to MHADA offices to protest against the demolition which he himself had started the previous night. Taking on Somaiya at a Press meet, Parab asked him about his allegations against some leaders like Narayan Rane who subsequently joined the BJP and Somaiya’s silence thereafter. In retaliation, Ravi Rana said his residence in Mumbai was attempted to be dismantled by the BMC under Parab’s instigation. The vocal MLA challenged Parab to speak about a new residence of Uddhav Thackeray alleging that there was some FSI theft. A civic action against actress Kangana Ranaut’s apartment, too, came up.
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Bageshwar Provides BJP-Baiters A Hefty Stick In Maharashtra, Utters Irreverent Remarks About Sant Tukaram

Self-proclaimed holiness Bageshwar Dham Baba Dhirendra Shastri has provided a hefty stick to the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra to kick the ruling BJP by making a ridiculous statement about Sant Tukaram, revered throughout the country for his egalitarian Bhakti philosophy. The spiritual-religious issue has turned political as all major parties have joined the chorus to embarrass Hindutva outfits. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have come down heavily against the BJP while the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has asked some stinging questions to deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. According to Baba’s utterances shown in a video clip that has gone viral, he has said,“Sant Tukaram’s wife used to beat him up daily. When asked, the Sant replied that had he been married to a loving wife, he would not have loved God. This wife was giving him that opportunity.” Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has demanded immediate action against Bageshwar for the comment while Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant has alleged that this is a BJP conspiracy to demean Maharashtra’s icons. Its object is to banish reformist thinking and re-establish Manu’s tenets. If people don’t wake up in time, they will be chained forever, he has warned. Sena (U) firebrand speaker Sushma Andhare has challenged Fadnavis to take action against the controversial god-man. “While Bageshwar is insulting our topmost saints, why are followers of Mohan Bhagwat silent,” she has asked.
Sena Bhavan

Sena (U) Attacks Modi Regime For Honouring Mulayam But Forgetting Savarkar & Thackeray

The Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has attacked the Modi government for conferring the Padma Vibhushan honour posthumously on Samajwadi Party leader and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ‘who had massacred Kar Sevaks’ in Ayodhya. Lashing out at the Union government for forgetting to honour Hindutva icons Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Balasaheb Thackeray with posthumous Bharat Ratna laurels, Sena (U) mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ has insinuated that the firing resorted to by the Mulayam Singh government killing Kar Sevaks had led to generating a wave of anger among the Hindus and finally politically benefitted the BJP in North India. “Is the honour bestowed upon Yadav for repaying this debt?” the edit has asked. Sena (U) MP and ‘Saamana’ Executive Editor Sanjay Raut said the government of Mulayam Singh had killed more than a hundred sadhus and sevaks, turning the Sarayu waters into a red pool. Afterwards, the Sangh Parivar outfits began calling him ‘Maulana Mulayam.’ They had also demanded to file murder charges against him. “The same Mulayam Singh has been selected for the second highest civil honour by a government claiming itself to be staunch Hindutvwadi,” Raut jeered. People should remember this lapse, he has advised in the edit. Raut alleged that honouring Mulayam and the late S M Krishna was a ploy to garner OBC and Vokkaliga votes, respectively, in the election
Prakash Ambedkar

Shocker: After Shaking Hands With Uddhav Thackeray, Prakash Ambedkar Warms Up To BJP

Republican leader Prakash Ambedkar keeps on shocking the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) by expressing his opinions right and left. His conditional willingness to go with the BJP has administered another jolt to the three-party coalition. Already under fire due to charges that he heads the BJP’s ‘B’ team, Ambedkar’s latest handshake with Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has generated many riddles in the state’s polity. On top of that, he has beckoned the BJP. Ambedkar told the media that the BJP would not be taboo for him ‘provided it burnt Manu Smruti.’ He also renewed his barbs against NCP president Sharad Pawar by charging that Pawar and BJP were hand in glove. Sena (U) MP Sanjay Raut and several NCP leaders had warned Ambedkar to be careful while talking about Pawar. However, he has not taken any cognisance of the disapproval. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole extricated his party from the simmering feud. He said Ambedkar has formed an alliance with the Sena (U) and MVA was not concerned with it. NCP leaders Jayant Patil and Sunil Tatkare have made it clear to Uddhav that the seat share for future elections will be limited to three MVP partners and if Ambedkar had to be accommodated, Uddhav will have to do it from his party’s quota. Ambedkar’s response to the developments is awaited with baited breath.
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Will Capt Amarinder Singh Replace Koshyari Or Will It Be Om Mathur?

The names of former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and former BJP national vice president Om Mathur are making the rounds of political grapevine as replacement for Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who has expressed willingness to step down.Though no formal or informal confirmation has been available about the successor to Koshyari, his departure is expected to be imminent as he himself has disclosed desire to retire. Frequent visits to the national capital by chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are considered significant against this backdrop. Koshyari has turned out to be the most controversial head of the state due to some of his decisions and statements. Within three years, he has sworn in three chief ministers, another record for Maharashtra. Capt Amarinder is considered more suitable for the post as Punjab and Maharashtra have a very long association, dating back to the 12th century when Sant Namdev travelled to Guman and constructed several verses, some of which have become an integral part of the Holy Granth Sahib. The Samadhi of Guru Gobind Singh is at Nanded in Maharashtra. A self-made politician, Singh is expected to handle the tricky political situation in the state which will go to the polls after a year. Om Mathur from Rajasthan is a BJP veteran, who was a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was a party vice president as well.
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Sharad Pawar Mastermind Of Plot To Arrest Fadnavis, Claims Controversial Lawyer Sadavarte

Controversial lawyer Gunaratna Sadavarte has alleged that NCP president Sharad Pawar was the mastermind behind the conspiracy to arrest the then leader of Opposition Devendra fadnavis. Sadavarte was arrested last year for leading a violent morcha to the residence of Sharad Pawar. He said, “I understood their design after my arrest.” Sadavarte described the details of his interrogation in police lock-up. More questions to him pertained to the RSS, the Right Wing, Nagpur and Fadnavis than the state transport employee strike for which he was arrested. The strikers had stormed Pawar’s house under Sadavarte’s leadership. The then government wanted to implicate the lawyer for the attack, he alleged. Fadnavis had made the grave charge while participating in a news channel event on Tuesday (Jan 24). The charge was refuted by former home minister Dilip Walse-Patil immediately. Sadavarte has reopened the issue with his allegations. Sadavarte said he possessed knowledge about a crucial meeting in which the conspiracy to trap Fadnavis was hatched, including its location. Some politicians and police officials were present, including then Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey. Claiming that a hard disc existed in a Mumbai police station containing sensitive information, Sadavarte demanded that certain footage from Kolhapur should be brought in so that the details about the conspiracy planning would become clear. The lawyer showered abuse on Pawar on some social issues as well.
Devendra

Uddhav Closed Door For Talks, Planned To Jail Me, Alleges Fadnavis

“The Uddhav Thackeray government had hatched a conspiracy to jail me,” Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said while making several sensational disclosures, inviting immediate refutation from the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders. Fadnavis also indicated that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s term had still two more years and he could remain in the post if he wished. But Koshyari himself had been expressing the desire to retire, nobody has asked him to step down, DCM said. Speaking at a tete-a-tete programme on a news channel, Fadnavis revealed that then commissioner of police Sanjay Pandey had been tasked to arrest him. “However, the police could not touch me since I had done nothing wrong,” he said. Fadnavis complained that Uddhav Thackeray had himself closed the doors of Matoshri for him. “We were together in government for five years from 2014. But after the 2019 election, Uddhav even refused to accept my telephone calls,” he told a questioner. Former home minister Dilip Walse-Patil denied the accusations. There was no plan to incarcerate Fadnavis, he said while taunting Fadnavis. Shiv Sena (U) leader Ambadas Danve also dismissed the charges and reminded Fadnavis that the present government had sent to custody leaders like Sanjay Raut and Anil Deshmukh while it was trying to send some more leaders including Anil Parab of his party and Hasan Mushrif of the NCP
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Thackeray Birth Anniversary Takes Off With Verbal-Twitter War, Both Sides Combative

Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray’s 97th birth anniversary celebrations have begun in Maharashtra with a verbal and twitter war between the two sides of his supporters, both claiming his rightful legacy. The battle will intensify, the indications suggest. The day started with a tweet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who praised Balasaheb’s contribution. It was followed by a tweet of MNS leader Raj Thackeray, who recalled his last meeting with Balasaheb. “Go, fight, Balasaheb told me,” Raj said in his message. He claimed that he has built up his party on the confidence reposed in him by Balasaheb. He has reiterated that he was unlike others, who had joined other parties after leaving the Sena. On the other hand, attacking the Shinde-BJP coalition, Sena (U) MP Arvind Sawant has appealed to people to demolish “the forces that have stabbed the Shiv Sena in the back and who are traitors to the interests of Maharashtra.” In a stinging retaliation, senior minister Deepak Kesarkar, a confidant of Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, has reminded the Sena (U) that Modi has fulfilled Balasaheb’s dream to integrate Kashmir with the rest of India. “There can’t be a greater insult to Balasaheb’s memory than embracing Congress leaders, who kept on abusing him, in Kashmir.” The sly reference is to Sena (U) MP Sanjay Raut walking the Bharat Jodo Yatra with Rahul Gandhi a couple of days ago in Jammu.
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What Will Happen To Uddhav Thackeray After Monday, Legal Imbroglio Deepens

The Shiv Sena established by Balasaheb Thackeray is undergoing an unexpected convulsion since his replacement was never imagined when the Sena’s constitution was drafted. The legal question now is: Will Uddhav continue to be the Sena ‘party chief’ (Paksh Pramukh) after Monday, 23 January 2023? Balasaheb died on 17 November 2012 and since then, the post of Shiv Sena Pramukh has remained unfilled. The party had argued that there was no question of his replacement as he was ‘one and only.’ Uddhav was ‘elected’ Shiv Sena Paksh Pramukh soon thereafter. The Eknath Shinde faction has argued that this new post has been created by Uddhav, who was elected for another five-year term to it in 2018. That period expires on January 23. Till now, there was no dispute about the post of Paksh Pramukh. However, after the split led by Shinde resulted in the two factions, the validity of Uddhav’s position has become a matter of legal wrangle. Now that the arguments of both sides are over before the Election Commission, they have been asked to file their written submissions. However, the moot question is: what about Uddhav after Monday? The Shinde faction has alleged that this change was carried out in 2018 without anyone’s knowledge. Uddhav’s lawyers have ridiculed this accusation. As the matter is sub judice, the EC’s verdict is awaited eagerly
modiji

Modi’s Call To Working Class Strategic, ‘Vikas’ Dominates His Speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Thursday (Jan 19) speech in Mumbai was dominated by his direct appeal to the labourers, hawkers and stall-owners, asking them to join the campaign to accelerate Mumbai’s development by bringing in a ‘triple engine’ government. The object of the clarion call was to attract the so-far untapped electors in view of the ensuing Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) towards the BJP and its ally, the Shiv Sena faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde. Significantly, the word ‘Vikas’ (development) figured 10 times in his 25-minute address at BKC grounds. Modi referred to the downtrodden sections time and again, making it clear that he was looking beyond the traditional vote bank of his party for the next civic election. Modi’s keenness to capture the BMC was evident since his party does not control any of the four metros in the country.  The Prime Minister lauded Maharashtra and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and remembered Balasaheb Thackeray. However, NCP leader Sharad Pawar was conspicuous by absence in the speech, which was applauded continuously with ‘Modi Modi’ slogans and drum beats. Modi’s emotional invocation to the working class for support speaks volumes about Mumbai’s changing demography since voting in upper class pockets is usually less while it is higher in blue collar localities.
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Parth Pawar and Sambhuraj Desai

BJP Elated Over More Chinks In Maha Vikas Aghadi Armour

While Mumbai and Maharashtra are celebrating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in the city on Thursday (Jan 19), the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has exposed more dissensions. A new tinge to its bickering has been provided by opposition leader Ajit Pawar’s son Parth, who called on senior minister Shambhuraj Desai, a close confidant of chief minister Eknath Shinde. Even before the dust created by rebellion of Congress MLC Sudhir Tambe and his son Satyajeet filing nomination for the legislative council seat in Nashik as an independent, the by-election for a Pune assembly seat is likely to deepen the discord. As MVA has had no candidate in Nashik, It has decided to support Shubhangi Patil, a new Sena (U) entrant. The Congress has suspended the Tambe father-son duo. In Pune, each MVA partner has claimed its right to contest the Kasaba Peth assembly by-election, caused by the demise of BJP MLA Mukta Tilak. Earlier a Congress stronghold, the BJP has been winning the seat since 1995. Still, the Congress has remained at the second position. However, given the changing scenario, NCP and Sena local leaders have started staking their party’s right to the seat in public statements. To add to the muddle, Parth Pawar’s call on Desai has given the BJP a new tool to hit out at the NCP, in particular the Pawar clan.
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Modi’s Mumbai visit, First After Shinde-Fadnavis Took Over, To Be Memorable

Preparations on unprecedented scale are underway for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mumbai visit on Thursday (Jan 19) during which he will flag off multiple projects worth around Rs 39,000 crore. Huge police deployment and major traffic restrictions will mark the seven-hour visit that is aimed at boosting the BJP’s electoral prospects in Maharashtra. Infrastructure will be the focus of the PM’s visit as his schedule is replete with various projects that will be helpful in making average Mumbaikar’s life better. Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis inspected the various arrangements accompanied by top police and civic officials to ensure that no glitch remains at the last moment. As this will be Modi’s first Mumbai visit after the installation of the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government, the BJP will exploit its mileage to the fullest extent with an eye on the BMC elections, due any time now. Strengthening the Metro network in Mumbai will be the highlight of Modi’s visit while various civic projects will also be launched by him. Modi, inter alia, will dedicate to the nation the Mumbai Metro Rail Lines 2A and 7. The commissioning of the two lines will connect Mumbai’s northernmost tip at Dahisar East with D.N. Nagar in Andheri (West) and Gundavali in Andheri East reducing the vehicular traffic load in the Western suburbs. Coincidentally, the foundation stone of the two lines was laid by Modi in 2015.
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TV Star Urfi Javed May Face Mob Lynching, Her Lawyer Warns Mumbai Police

The verbal combat between TV star Urfi Javed and BJP leader Chitra Wagh has taken a serious turn since a lawyer has written to the police that Urfi can be subjected to mob lynching. In a communication to the police by advocate Nitin Satpute, BJP’s Chitra Wagh has been instigating people over the attire of Urfi and Chitra’s followers are tarnishing her image. Moreover, Chitra has threatened to thrash Urfi publicly, the lawyer has said. Chitra and Urfi have been engaged in verbal duels day in and day out. Urfi has taunted Chitra repeatedly and occasionally dared her to take action. An oblique statement by Amruta, wife of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, is perceived as supporting Urfi. Still, the war of words between the two continues. Quoting Chitra’s previous statements, Satpute says in his complaint, “Chatra announced that she would present Urfi with a sari but warned that if Urfi’s behaviour did not change, she would smash the actress. Such provocative language can cause violent attacks against Urfi. Therefore, the authorities should initiate action against Chitra.” Wagh retorted, “I don’t care who has written to the police. I will not allow such a naked dance in Maharashtra.” Although Chitra has been extremely vocal about the issues concerning women, her stance against Urfi is not to the liking of the party bosses, who have distanced themselves from the controversy so far.
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Amit and Dheeraj Deshmukh

Congress Rattled By News That Vilasrao Deshmukh’s MLA Sons May Both Join BJP

The Congress party in Maharashtra is preparing to face a major jolt following the sensational disclosure that former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s two MLA sons, Amit and Dheeraj, are likely to join the BJP.  Deshmukh family’s generational foe and former minister, BJP MLA Sambhaji Nilangekar has leaked the possibility out at Latur, their home district. He warned that he would not allow their entry into the party. While Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole has dismissed the likelihood as a rumour, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan refused to comment on it. State BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule cryptically said, “Wait for the time and the place. The Congress is going to receive a solid blow.” Vilasrao was the face of the Congress party in Marathwada ever since his emergence in state politics in 1980. His rise was very fast with the blessings of another giant S B Chavan, former CM and Union home minister. Vilasrao had challenged the monopoly of veteran Shivajirao Nilangekar in Latur district. Sambhaji is his grandson, who has been engaged in establishing his hold in the district. Shivajirao and Chavan were bitter opponents of each other. For some time, Chavan’s son Ashok, former CM, is facing suspicion in the Congress owing to his absence at some crucial party meetings. At such a juncture, the news about Deshmukh siblings has rattled the Congress.
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Gautam Adani Meets Raj Thackeray Who In Turn Calls On Fadnavis Sending Out Multiple Signals

Business tycoon Gautam Adani’s call on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday (Jan 10) and a meeting between Raj and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis hours later the same night has sent multiple signals as the Adani group is entering various commercial activities around the state. Adani reached ‘Shivteerth’ at Shivaji Park and was closeted with Thackeray for half an hour. For some time,  Raj’s wife Sharmila and son Amit were present. Afterwards in the evening, Raj reached ‘Sagar,’ the official residence of Fadnavis. However, both have kept mum about the meetings. Adani has recently won a bid to redevelop Dharavi, the largest slum in perhaps the world. The multi-billion rupee project was held up since the erstwhile Thackeray government had revised the bid terms. The presence of the group in the state has been heatedly discussed since Adani Electricity has sought to enter the power supply sector around Mumbai’s periphery. The matter is under consideration of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). Adani’s political liaisoning in Maharashtra has increased over the past few months. Earlier, he had called on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar at Baramati. Adani was driven around by Pawar’s grandson, party MLA Rohit Pawar, who is emerging as a formidable player in the state polity. Adani had called on former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, too, recently.
Collage Maker-10-Jan-2023-06

PM’s Jan 19 Mumbai Visit Expected To Be A Game Changer

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled Mumbai tour on January 19 will prove to be a game changer, party rank and file feel since he is expected to make some major announcement during his first visit to the metropolis after the split in the Shiv Sena and the formation of the Shinde-Fadnavis government. According to the PM’s tentative schedule, he will dedicate two Metro routes – 2 A and 7 – to the nation. The state BJP is keen to organise a public meeting to be addressed by Modi but no final decision has been made so far. Another possible event during the visit will be the inauguration of a cancer hospital in Thane, the backyard of chief minister Eknath Shinde. Modi will either go there or open the hospital online; but the modalities are still being worked out. The Mumbai and state BJP units are in an upbeat mood since they are determined to win the first public test through the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election, likely to happen any time soon. The opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents are still looking in different directions but efforts are on to face the hustings together. Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are scheduled to visit Davos on January 15-19 to attend the World Economic Forum. However, if the PM confirms his plans to be in Mumbai, they will rework the schedule, according to party leaders.
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Pawar’s Two Grandsons Fight Cricket Body Election, MLA Rohit Pawar Winner

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s two grandsons fought out an election to the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), despite his efforts to bring them on the same page. The keen contest resulted in the victory of party MLA Rohit Pawar as MCA president. The loser, Abhishek Boke, is a grandson of Pawar’s sister while Rohit is a grandson of his elder brother, the late Appasaheb Pawar. MCA has been under Sharad Pawar’s control for decades. However, he took little interest in the MCA affairs though it has been operating from his home base, Pune. Initially it was handled by the late Dnyaneshwar Agashe and subsequently by Ajay Shirke. However, Pawar kept away from the MCA. Ever since the MCA election was announced, the atmosphere has been politically surcharged. Opposition leader Ajit Pawar was approached in a bid to arrive at a settlement so that the election could become unopposed. Ajit convened a meeting of about 40 voters but the efforts came to a naught as Boke declined to withdraw even after receiving suggestions to do so. Finally, polling was held on Sunday (Jan 8) and results announced late in the night. Several other members of the MCA body owe allegiance to the NCP as well.
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Don't Name And Shame Corrupt Officials, Say Maharashtra Govt Employees

The Maharashtra government has been presented with a bizarre demand by its employees’ organisation, which says that the identity of the officials caught red-handed while accepting bribes should be kept confidential until the case against them has been finally decided by the court of law. In a petition submitted by the organisation to chief minister Eknath Shinde, the reasoning behind the demand has been explained unreservedly. It says that government officials are under the scanner of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and caught often. After the action, their pictures and other information is provided by the ACB to the media. However, this needs to stop as the official is defamed even before judicial conviction, the organisation has complained. The petition has pointed out that in many cases, such officials are exonerated by courts. This has happened time and again. However, in the intervening period, the official and his or her family are subjected to infamy and social consequences. “Therefore, it is our demand that till the moment the official concerned is convicted by court, his or her picture or identity should not be disclosed,” the petition has stated. The most corrupt arm of the government is the revenue department Maharashtra; the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is the most corrupt civic body while Pune is the most corrupt district in the state, according to various findings.
Collage Maker-07-Jan-2023-12

L to R: Yogesh Kadam, Jaykumar Gore & Dhananjay Munde

Third MLA In Maharashtra Survives Near Fatal Accident In A Month, Yogesh Kadam Demands Enquiry

Shiv Sena (Shinde) group’s MLA Yogesh Kadam’s survival in a major road accident has flabbergasted political circles in Maharashtra as he is the third MLA to suffer such a highway mishap in a matter of a month. The first to be injured in such a smash-up was BJP MLA Jaykumar Gore. He was followed by controversial NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde. Both were immediately hospitalised and are recovering. Kadam is not hurt though his car driver and a police constable deployed for his protection have sustained minor bruises. All three MLAs were coming towards Mumbai. Kadam’s father, Ramdas, is a veteran Sena leader who has joined the camp of chief minister Eknath Shinde. A former minister, Ramadas has been a bitter critic of Uddhav Thackeray. His son Yogesh was elected to the assembly from Dapoli, an important tourist destination in the Konkan region, in 2019 on a Sena (Uddhav) ticket. Later, he deserted the organisation and started facing local opposition from the rival camp. Yogesh Kadam’s car was banged by a dumper on the Mumbai-Goa highway even though it was between two police vehicles escorting the MLA. The rear portion of the car has been badly damaged. Yogesh Kadam has raised grave suspicions about the incident, given the police cover under which he was travelling. He has decided to demand a thorough enquiry into the disaster.
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Flight Of Industry From Maharashtra Cause Of Youths Remaining Unmarried, Says Sharad Pawar

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has linked the flight of industry from Maharashtra with the increasing number of young men remaining unmarried in the state. Addressing a NCP function in Pune, Pawar said industrial units from the state were shifted outside while new industries wishing to start in the state were refused facilities and concessions. Consequently, unemployment was on the increase in Maharashtra, leading to many young men remaining single since they could not get married. Pawar’s observation has come against the backdrop of public protests by young men in a couple of districts of Maharashtra on account of their unemployment and the resultant lack of prospective brides coming their way. In Solapur district, youngsters had, Pawar said, the double-engine government at the Centre and in Maharashtra had been pursuing the same policy of leaving the populace to fend for itself despite rising prices. Tall claims and exaggerated promises were made by the ruling party before coming to power. However, as it is not possible to implement them, caste and religion are used for creating enmity in society, he alleged. Taking a dig at Pawar’s observation, BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “Sir, what you say is correct. Many unemployed men like Rahul (Gandhi) and Aaditya (Thackeray) can be cited as the best example to support your analysis.
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Ajit Pawar Blames A BJP ‘Mastermind,’ Without Naming Him

Opposition leader Ajit Pawar’s claim that a BJP ‘mastermind’ was behind the statewide agitation against him is the hot political topic now. His comment that “Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was Swarajya Rakshak and not Dharmaveer” is the focus of a BJP statewide agitation for the past three days. Pawar alleged at a media conference that the agitation was engineered by the BJP. “When I was speaking in the house, their mastermind was not present. Still, the protests against me are according to a plan.” Pawar claimed that various BJP leaders had been calling him up to tell that they were instructed to protest against him and send the clips to the party office. “Burn the picture of Ajit Pawar, hit it with shoes” they were instructed, he said. Certain names are being mentioned to pinpoint the so-called mastermind. Pawar’s assertion that he has been elected to the opposition leader’s post by NCP MLAs is also being debated since no major decision in that party is taken without the consent of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Pawar has been facing criticism that his stand vis a vis the Shinde-Fadnavis government is ‘mild.’ His detractors point out that he did not condemn the government when state NCP president Jayant Patil was suspended from the lower house. Pawar had invited snide remarks for not signing a no-confidence motion against assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar.
Collage Maker-03-Jan-2023-06

Urfi Javed’s Attire Latest Political Fight In Maharashtra

Small screen actor Urfi Javed’s attire is among the latest political battles being fought in Maharashtra. Charges are hurled against each other by women leaders from the opposing sides. Urfi, too, has jumped into the fray.  BJP’s Maharashtra Mahila Morcha (Women’s Front) chief Chitra Wagh has warned Urfi that the actress would be dealt with severely if she continues to offend ‘sensibilities of Maharashtra’ by appearing in public in objectionable attire. Shiv Sena (Uddhav) firebrand deputy leader Sushama Andhare has questioned Wagh’s right to order anyone about what to wear or not. Urfi has charged that Wagh was at the forefront of a campaign to demand the resignation of then minister Sanjay Rathod in connection with a woman’s death. However, Wagh has been silent since the Shinde-Fadnavis government was formed and Rathod included in it, Urfi has said. Ridiculing Wagh, she said, “Even I am going to join the BJP. Then Wagh will be friends with me.” Wagh says there is no reason to object to anyone’s dressing up to meet the needs of a job or profession. However, it is necessary to be socially conscious while appearing in public. Andhare has demanded to know why there is silence on a statement by Baba Ramdev, who had said at a public function in Thane that women look good even when not wearing anything.
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Ajit Pawar’s Comment On Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Puts Opposition In A Spot, Gives Tool To BJP To Hit

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar’s controversial observation about Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj appears to have caught the opposition in Maharashtra on a wrong foot since most of its prominent leaders have preferred to distance themselves from the furore so far.  Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis along with several BJP leaders, chief minister Eknath Shinde and Chhatrapati’s descendant, former MP Raje Sambhaji, is among those who have come against Pawar in strong terms. Fadnavis said Chhatrapati Sambhaji had protected nationalism and Hinduism. Despite Aurangazeb’s torture, Chhatrapati Sambhaji refused to convert and sacrificed his own life for Hindutva, Fadnavis said. Chhatrapati Sambhaji, son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was a ‘protector of freedom’ (Swarajya Rakshak) and not ‘a protector of religion’ (Dharma Rakshak), Pawar had said in the state assembly. The comment handed a powerful tool to the BJP while many in NCP are finding it inconvenient to express either way. The Shiv Sena (Uddhav) and the Congress also have kept themselves away from the controversy so far. In Pawar’s hometown Baramati, BJP protestors burned his effigy on Monday while demanding his immediate resignation as leader of the opposition. Police deployment around his bungalow, ‘Sahayog’ has been beefed up. Hindu Mahasangh leader Anand Dave has reminded Pawar that he had referred to Chhatrapati Sambhaji as ‘Dharmaveer’ and asked for his changed stand after losing power.
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BJP Leader Kirit Somaiya’s 2023 Resolve, Shall Expose Top MVA Leaders

BJP’s former MP Kirit Somaiya has threatened to refocus his guns against prominent leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in 2023. Somaiya has tweeted the names of the leaders on his radar. They belong to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav), the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). He had created a political storm in 2022 by repeatedly levelling serious allegations against many MVA top votaries about their real estate deals. The most prominent leader to face Somaiya’s attack will be former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his wife. They own 19 bungalows in neighbouring Raigad district, he has been telling the media. Uddhav’s right hand and former minister Anil Parab’s Sai Resort in Dapoli taluka of Ratnagiri district has been in the news concerning Somaiya’s complaint that it has been developed disregarding various regulations. NCP leader and former minister Hasan Mushrif  as well as Congress MLA and former minister Aslam Khan owns 49 filming studios in Mumbai’s Malwani area, according to Somiaya. Some of the structures are under the BMC lens. Former mayor Kishori Pednekar allegedly acquired a few Slum Rehabilitation scheme flats in central Mumbai, Somaiya has said. An enquiry by the BMC in this regard is underway. Large scale emergency purchases by the BMC during the Covid pandemic also figure in Somaiya’s hit list. In his tweet, he has warned, “Ghotalon ka hisab pura karenge” (Shall settle the score about frauds).
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Uddhav Sena Attacks Modi & Maharashtra Governments, Compliments Judiciary

The Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has mounted a blistering attack against the Modi and Shinde-Fadnavis governments while complimenting the judiciary ‘for foiling the attempts to oppress.’ The party has indicated that it will continue to take on the government in 2023. This is viewed as an attempt by Uddhav to recharge the party organisation for the coming combat, which will be fought politically and judicially. Also, it aims to blunt the various statements made by chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis at the conclusion of the state legislature’s winter session in Nagpur on Friday (Dec 30). Both had criticised Uddhav. He attended this important two-week session for just 46 minutes, Fadanvis had taunted. Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana,’ under its MP Sanjay Raut, has alleged in its Saturday (Dec 31) editorial that democratic values had been murdered in the year by intimidating government’s critics. The change of government in Maharashtra has been engineered illegally and unconstitutionally, it has remarked. Shinde and Fadnavis had charged in their assembly speeches that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government under Uddhav had hatched conspiracies to implicate them and other Shinde-faction and BJP leaders so as to throw them behind bars. “That is the reason we walked out,” Shinde had disclosed. Fadnavis had revealed that a DGP-level police official had been entrusted with the responsibility to jail him. The Sena will become more aggressive, the party has signaled.
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Chinks In Maha Vikas Aghadi Resurface, Ajit Pawar’s Role Becomes Talk Of The Town

Differences within the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) have come to the fore after a no-confidence motion against Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar has been submitted by MVA without the signature of opposition leader, NCP’s Ajit Pawar. Notice of the motion was given to the legislature secretariat on Thursday (Dec 29) with signatures of 39 MLAs belonging to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav), the NCP and the Congress. However, the absence of Pawar’s endorsement was noticed on the ultimate day of the state legislature’s winter session in Nagpur. Pawar said on Friday that he was not aware of the notice being sent to the legislature. Moreover, he was sceptical if the notice would fulfil legality. Narvekar was elected in July this year. Rules provide that at least a year has to elapse before any new motion can be brought about by the speaker. Sena MP Sanjay Raut glossed over the absence of Pawar’s signature by replying to a question that he was not aware if Pawar had signed the notice or not. However, former minister Bhaskar Jadhav said it was not imperative that every opposition member sign the notice. “Our unity will be seen when the matter comes up in the house,” he stated. As a no-trust motion against the speaker needs at least 14 days’ notice, it could come up only in the next session of the legislature, according to experts.
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Shinde Visits RSS Headquarters, Faces Uddhav Sena’s Attack

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s clear signal about his future plans indicated by his visit to RSS headquarters at Nagpur on December 29 has turned volatile since the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has criticised him with choicest words. Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis visited the Reshimbaug RSS complex. Shinde’s visit has assumed political overtones as it signifies his total alignment with the BJP. At Reshimbaug, Shinde paid respects to RSS founder Dr K B Hedgewar and second chief M S Golwalkar, known as Guruji. He said his party would be hand in hand with the BJP. This statement will force Maha Vikas Aghadi partners to rethink their strategy, especially in view of the BMC elections which are likely to take place in early 2023. Shinde recalled that he used to be a RSS worker in childhood. Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray said, “Shinde’s mentality is dirty. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat should check if Shinde had gone there to claim that complex.” His remark was in reference to Shinde faction’s efforts to acquire various Sena offices in Mumbai and elsewhere as its own. Uddhav’s caustic remark has the backdrop of a whispering campaign that the Shinde faction could attempt to take over Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party’s Dadar headquarters in the near future. Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “Let their father dare to touch Sena Bhavan, developed by Balasaheb. Such a talk can vitiate Maharashtra’s atmosphere.”
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Mumbai Belongs To Maharashtra, Not To Anyone’s Father, Say Shinde And Fadnavis In Unison

An otherwise cautious chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis known for his restraint were livid and said in the state legislature on Wednesday, “Mumbai belongs to only Maharashtra, not to anyone’s father.” Shinde said Marathi people are like a fire, none should mess with them. Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) constituents find this situation ripe to corner the BJP and Shinde. Some of them have been making statements laced with emotional appeals. The latest provocation is Karnataka minister Ashwath Narayan’s demand to declare Mumbai as a Union Territory. Shinde said several leading Kannadigas residing in Mumbai had called on him to protest against Karnataka’s stand, telling him that they had been in Maharashtra for a long time and would not support any atrocity against Marathi-speakers in Karnataka. He warned that Maharashtra would not be a mute spectator to any injustice by the Karnataka government in regard to Marathi-speaking people there. Shinde has been the focus of opposition tirade over the border dispute for his reticence after meeting Union home minister Amit Shah earlier this month in presence of Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai to defuse the situation. Similarly, the BJP in Maharashtra is already in a quandary due to inflammatory statements being made about the disputed Marathi-speaking areas in the neighbouring state, under BJP rule.
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Maharashtra Legislature Reaffirms Claims On Marathi-Speaking Areas, But State Opposition Leaders Not On The Same Page

Maharashtra legislature expectedly adopted a unanimous resolution on Tuesday to endorse afresh the state’s position that the disputed 865 towns and villages with a majority Marathi-speaking population in Karnataka belong to the state. However, unlike in Karnataka, political fissures surfaced at Nagpur later. Opposition members became agitated when chief minister Eknath Shinde said that the border dispute with the neighbour existed even when both states were under the Congress party rule. They charged that Shinde was trying to politicise the issue. On the other hand, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray’s demand that the disputed areas should be made a Union Territory was deflated by opposition leader Ajit Pawar, who warned that similar demands could arise about the Maharashtra areas like Jath claimed by Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai. Moreover, as the matter was before the Supreme Court, the feasibility of fulfilling the demand would have to be examined accordingly, he said. Pawar also did not attach any importance to Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut’s threat that he would make several ‘explosions’ soon, indirectly warning the Shinde-Fadnavis government. Pawar said, “Better ask those who made such statements. I have not said any such thing.” The unanimous resolution says that Marathi-speaking people in the disputed areas have been subjected to atrocities by the Karnataka government. It has reaffirmed Maharashtra’s resolve to fight the case before the Supreme Court by appointing best legal minds.
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Uddhav Attacks Shinde, Demands Union Territory Status To Disputed Marathi Speaking Areas

Former chief minister and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has demanded that the Centre should declare the disputed Marathi-speaking areas in Karnataka as a Union Territory. In his first major speech in the Maharashtra legislative council, Uddhav attacked his successor and former disciple, Eknath Shinde harshly. The Maharashtra legislature was to adopt a unanimous resolution on Monday (Dec 26) to buttress the state’s stand in regard to the border dispute with Karnataka. However, it was still being drafted, deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said. However, opposition leaders did not spare Shinde for his absence. They wondered how he could attend a function in Delhi rather than remaining in the house. Ridiculing him, Uddhav said it was intriguing that Shinde had not said a word about this dispute. “Nobody knows when he will be back. He can even reverse his flight and return to Delhi if a summons is received. Shinde is in Delhi though this serious issue is staring him in the eye,” Uddhav commented. Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut had threatened a couple of days ago to make major exposes against the Shinde-Fadnavis government. When quizzed, Uddhav said his side had ‘several bombs with their fuses removed. They are just to be ignited.’ Uddhav announced that he would show an old film, ‘Case for Justice’ prepared by the state government to establish that Marathi was being spoken in those areas for centuries.
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Border Dispute: Maharashtra Legislature Will Adopt Unanimous Resolution On Dec 26

Maharashtra legislature is expected to adopt a unanimous resolution on December 26 to reiterate the state’s claim over the Marathi-speaking areas now in Karnataka. Opposition leader Ajit Pawar has already hinted that his side will support such a gesture. The Karnataka assembly has passed its unanimous resolution to reject Maharashtra’s claims and stuck to its stand that what has happened many decades ago can’t be reversed. Maharashtra has approached the Supreme Court to stake its right over the disputed areas along the two-state border. The matter has been sub-judice for 18 years. State’s minister Shambhuraj Desai told the media that the resolution to be tabled in the assembly on December 26 will be much stronger than what has been passed by Karnataka assembly. He reiterated the state’s stand that the dispute should be resolved at the earliest and none in either state should face any violence. He alleged that Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai’s behaviour was contrary to what had been decided at a meeting convened by the Union home minister Amit Shah earlier this month. This disapproval will be conveyed to the Centre, Desai said. Desai and education minister Chandrakant Patil are members of a coordination committee which has been formed to handle the matter. Both were to visit Karnataka to meet Marathi-speaking people in Belagavi in mid-December but cancelled the tour following Bommai’s request.
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Maharashtra MLA Ravi Rana Receives Death Threat Calls, MP Wife Navneet Was Threatened Earlier

Independent MLA Ravi Rana has been receiving death threats on his mobile phone, according to a complaint lodged by his personal assistant with Amaravati police. Rana had made serious allegations against former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in the legislative assembly on Friday (Dec 23). He had said that Uddhav had tried to divert the focus of the investigation of a murder case. Complainant Vinod Guhe said that the threat calls have been received on Rana’s mobile phone. “If you utter a word against Uddhav Thackeray, you will be killed with a revolver and knife,” the caller has threatened the MLA, according to Guhe. At present, Rana is in Nagpur though the threat calls were received even earlier in Amaravati, Guhe has informed the police. The complaint has been filed as a precautionary measure. Rana’s wife Navneet, independent MP from Amaravati, had complained to Delhi police in May this year that she had been threatened by a caller that she would be killed if she entered Maharashtra. Ravi and Navneet Rana had announced their plans to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav’s Bandra residence ‘Matoshri’ in April. They were arrested by Mumbai police on various charges. Soon thereafter, Rana’s Mumbai residence had received legal notices from the BMC. Ever since, tension between the two antagonists has been palpable, surfacing time and again.
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After Aaditya, Father Uddhav Faces Serious Allegations, Probe Indicated

After serious allegations were levelled against Aaditya Thackeray in Maharashtra legislative assembly on Thursday (Dec 22), it was the turn of his father and former chief minister Uddhav to be the target of grave charges in the house on Friday. Independent MLA Ravi Rana demanded a special investigation team (SIT) probe against Uddhav by alleging that the former CM had ordered Amaravati police officials to investigate local businessman Umesh Kolhe’s murder earlier this year as a case of robbery. Rana said that Kolhe was killed for supporting Nupur Sharma, the BJP’s ousted spokesperson for her certain remarks. The killers had now been booked by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for murder. Minister Shambhuraj Desai said that due to the gravity of the matter, details will be sought from the state intelligence agency and placed before chief minister Eknath Shinde for a final decision. Ravi Rana and his wife, independent MP Navneet Rana, have been at loggerheads with Uddhav for a long time. Their attempt to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside his residence had become highly controversial. Later, both had demanded transfer of then Amaravati police commissioner Aarti Singh for shabbily handling the Kolhe case. Singh was transferred last week as demanded by the couple. The allegations against the Thackerays are viewed against the backdrop of opposition demand for Shinde’s resignation over the Nagpur land issue.
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Disha Salian Case Rocks Maharashtra Legislature, Wary Government Cautious

The high-voltage death case of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s deceased manager Disha Salian rocked both houses of Maharashtra legislature on Thursday (Dec 22). Attempts to corner each other by the ruling and opposition sides made the day’s proceedings stormy, leading too many angry exchanges. The opposition was extremely agitated when deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced in the assembly that the case will be handed over to a Special Investigation Team (SIT). Fadnavis was responding to repeated demands from treasury benches to reopen the case with which some prominent names have been connected. Shiv Sena (Uddhav) leader Aaditya Thackeray also is the focus of several allegations in regard to Salian’s death. Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) tried to turn the tables when deputy chairman Neelam Gorhe, a Sena (Uddhav) leader, directed the government to appoint a SIT to probe charges against Sena (Shinde) MP Rahul Shewale, who had levelled grave allegations against Aaditya in Delhi on December 21. Uddhav Sena member Maneesha Kayande and former minister Anil Parab raised the matter in the upper house concerning Shewale without naming him. They alleged that he had been harassing a woman who could not enter Mumbai because of him. Gorhe ordered that the matter should be entrusted to a SIT. Fadnavis later told the council that Gorhe’s directions would be examined by the government for further action. This is seen as a cautious approach by the government about the chair’s fiat.
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Border Dispute: Shinde Under Fire, Bommai Supported By Opposition

Whereas opposition parties in Maharashtra have been cornering the Shinde-Fadnavis government over the contentious border dispute with Karnataka, all political parties in the neighbouring state have joined hands to oppose Maharashtra’s demand for merger of Marathi-speaking areas with the state. Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai has floated the idea of adopting a unanimous resolution in the state assembly to assert his state’s territorial status. The opposition Congress and other parties have agreed to support the unity gesture. Incidentally, they have kept mum over the issue, allowing Bommai to articulate Karnataka’s oft-repeated stand. On the other hand, various opposition leaders in Maharashtra have criticised CM Eknath Shinde over the statements coming from across the state border and his alleged silence about the whole matter. Despite intervention by Union home minister Amit Shah, tension continues to rise between the two states since then. Maharashtra excise minister Shambhuraje Desai has threatened to rethink about Koyna dam water supply from the state to Karnataka during summer season. Shiv Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut has alleged that Shinde had been swallowing insults hurled at him by Bommai over the issue. No other state has humiliated Maharashtra like this, he commented. Leader of the opposition Ajit Pawar promised the government that it will receive opposition support to a similar resolution if it were moved in the Maharashtra assembly.
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Border Issue: Elements Stoking Unrest Identified, Warns Eknath Shinde, But Doesn’t Name

The Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has issued a tacit warning to ‘some’ political parties that the forces creating unrest in the state’s border areas by instigating demands for merger with neighbouring states had been identified by the police. They will be uncovered in the due course, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had indicated on December 18. The Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute has assumed a political hue even as an agitation was organised by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) at the border with Karnataka on Monday (Dec 19) to press for the merger of Marathi-speaking areas with the state. On the opening day of the state legislature’s winter session, opposition leader Ajit Pawar tried to corner the government over the chronic feud. In his impassioned retort, chief minister Eknath Shinde warned that the elements inciting village panchayat resolutions to demand merger with the neighbouring state have been identified. He, however, did not specify any details but reiterated that a bogus twitter handle in the name of his counterpart Basavaraj Bommai was used for fuelling the agitation. But former chief minister Ashok Chavan pointed out that the handle had been verified by Twitter as genuine. Moreover, even today, official Karnataka government decisions were uploaded on the handle, active since January 2015. If it was bogus, why was it not deleted, demanded Chavan.
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Maharashtra Winter Session Begins In Nagpur On Dec 19, Will Be Stormy

The winter session of the Maharashtra legislature beginning at Nagpur from December 19 will witness caustic exchanges between the ruling saffron alliance and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) over several issues, political, religious and emotional. As of now, the schedule has been finalised to continue the session till 29 December. However, prominent leaders from both sides are desirous of extending the duration to three weeks since Vidarbha region is going to be a lucrative battlefield in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2024. If the extension is agreed upon, the main grievance of Vidarbha that it has been neglected will be addressed effectively, they feel. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will be at the receiving end when MVA partners fire their salvos from the opening day. A remark by him about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has provided solid ammunition to the opposition. Another thorny issue will be the formation of a committee by the state government to consult and advise girls who have entered into interfaith marriages. The government’s decision to call back an award announced to the translator of alleged Naxal brain Kobad Ghandhy’s book ‘Fractured Freedom’ will also be challenged to corner the Shinde-Fadnavis government. The Nagpur police have received notices by organisers of about a hundred protest groups about their plans to stage demonstrations during the session. Security outside the bungalows of CM Eknath Shinde and Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis has been beefed up accordingly.
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Eknath Shinde Storms Konkan, Attempt To Snatch Public Support From Uddhav Sena

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has unequivocally stated that the proposed oil refinery near Rajapur in the Konkan region will materialise as it is the wish of the local people. He has asked the detractors of the project to cooperate and not obstruct. During his first Ratnagiri district visit as chief minister, Shinde made several announcements to lure the public opinion in the region, which has been traditionally supporting the Shiv Sena set up by Balasaheb Thackeray. He promised that when commissioned, the refinery will generate huge employment. Shinde did not lose the opportunity to castigate the Sena (Uddhav) during his public address. He said certain elements had been hindering industrial progress by creating opposition to the proposals originally introduced by themselves. In this connection, Shinde said the land acquisition for the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway was attempted to be stalled by such elements but he had convinced the land owners of the potential benefits and persuaded them to cooperate. The same will happen in case of the refinery, he was confident. Shinde announced a package of Rs 700 crore for taking up various developmental projects in the region. He said an autonomous corporation would be formed soon to take care of the needs of the Konkan. Development of tourism and coastal areas, preservation of historical forts and monuments will be among the steps he spelt out.
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Mumbai Will Reverberate With 2 Rival Morchas On Saturday, To Be Taken Out On Same Issue

The BJP will organise a protest march on Saturday ( Dec 17) in Mumbai to retaliate against a silent march by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). Both sides are planning to ensure huge turnouts for this first trial of strength on streets after the formation of the Shinde-Fadnavis government. The provocation for both the morchas will be the same – insult to great personalities of the past. Leaders of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav), the Congress and the NCP have directed their workers to bring maximum people by train, bus and private vehicles for the morcha. Former CM Uddhav Thackeray will be the main speaker. After some suspense, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis declared on Friday that permission for the MVA morcha will be issued. But they will have to maintain peace and order, he said. The MVA morcha will be taken out to express outrage against certain objectionable remarks about giants of the past by prominent people like Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. The BJP will try to hit back by taking out a protest march to condemn Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s statement that Dr B R Ambedkar was born in Maharashtra. BJP leader Ashish Shelar said this was an insult to the architect of the constitution as he was born at Mhow in today’s Madhya Pradesh.
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MVA Leaders Furious As Shinde-Fadnavis Govt Yet To Give Permission For Its Saturday Morcha

Leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) constituent parties have expressed chagrin over the Shinde-Fadnavis government’s delay to permit its protest march planned in Mumbai on Saturday (Dec 17 ). The permission is likely to be issued later tonight or on Friday, though under certain conditionalities. MVA leaders are uneasy since hectic preparations by the Shiv Sena (Uddhav), the NCP and the Congress to ensure a large turnout are underway but there is an air of uncertainty. Presence of Communist leader Prakash Reddy and JD(U) MLC Kapil Patil, however, has heightened opposition morale. Organisers of the morcha were planning to erect a dais opposite the Times of India building on busy D N Road for MVA leaders to address the audience. However, the police have not cleared the plan. Similarly, there are still some rough edges about the route of the silent march and discussions are underway to come to an understanding. Leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly, Ajit Pawar has declared that the morcha will take place under any circumstances and he himself will join it. After a MVA meeting to discuss the modalities of the morcha at Pawar’s residence, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said every party had a right to lodge its protest in a democratic manner and no government could stop it. 
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Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Descendant Criticises Pawar, Alleges Politicisation Of Rayat Shikshan Sanstha

Chaatrapati Shivaji Maharaja’s direct descendant Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale has now trained his guns against Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar over what he terms as political infiltration in the Rayat Shikshan Sanstha in rural Maharashtra.  Sent to the Rajya Sabha by the BJP despite his defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Bhosale has been in the news at present for leading various protest actions organised to condemn the recent objectionable statements about Chhatrapati Shivaji.  Rayat Shikshan Sanstha, popularly called just Rayat, is among the largest educational institutions with over 4.5 lakh students and 17000 employees. Headed by Pawar for a long time, there is no representative from the royal Bhosale family on its governing body although the family had donated land during Rayat’s initial years. Not just Bhosale, even Shiv Sena (Uddhav) leaders from Satara had criticised Rayat on this count. Pawar’s detractors had alleged that due to political influence, even the job of painting Rayat’s buildings had been awarded to a person from Baramati. Bhosale visited the agitating employees of Rayat at Satara for their various demands. Blaming the role of politicians in Rayat, Bhosale said the founder, Bhaurao Patil, had stated in writing that the president of Rayat should be the chief minister of the state. However, it is captured by politicians, leading to the sorry situation when academicians have to protest for their rights.
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Saturday Morcha In Mumbai To Flaunt MVA Unity, Yet To Get Police Nod

Ahead of the Maharashtra legislature’s winter session beginning in Nagpur on December 19, hectic preparations are on by various opposition parties to make a protest demonstration to be held in Mumbai on Saturday (Dec 17) successful so as to present a united face against the Shinde-Fadnavis government. In a rare gesture, the Communists and the Samajwadi Party have announced their support. So far, they have been keeping away from any faction of the Shiv Sena. Incidentally, former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will be spearheading the morcha as leader of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). Over the last two days a series of meetings were held to finalise the preparations. Controversial statements by top guns of the ruling alliance under Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis have provided fodder for the opposition cannon, which has been booming over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute to corner the saffron alliance. The attacks will be intensified at the winter session, expected to last till the end of the year. The Saturday morcha’s route in Mumbai will pass through the congested areas like Bhendi Bazar and Fort. An application has been filed with the city police for permission though a green signal is still awaited. Nonetheless, MVA is determined to ensure an impressive turnout.
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EC Defers Sena Symbol Row Hearing, Shinde-Fadnavis Regime Gets A Breather

The Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has received a breather since the Election Commission has postponed a hearing till January over the claims for ownership of the Shiv Sena election symbol, bow & arrow. The first hearing today was over within a few minutes since EC officials explained to both sides the procedure they will follow to ascertain the claim made by the Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray and the one under chief minister Eknath Shinde. Sena (Uddhav) MP Anil Desai told the media that the EC will take a call on whether to proceed on the material submitted to it so far or to ask for any supplementary information. The next hearing is likely to be held in the first week of January 2023. The EC’s decision to defer the hearing will enable the Shinde-Fadnavis government to face the ensuing winter session of the legislature more confidently. The session will be held in Nagpur later this month. Its schedule and other details will be decided at a meeting of the business advisory committee (BAC) to be held in Mumbai on December 13. The government is in an upbeat mood since Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Shinde near him in Nagpur and patted him on the back. The television clip has gone viral. To bolster its confidence, the EC’s decision will be helpful, the ruling coalition feels.
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Koshyari’s Placatory Letter To Shah, Opposition Questions Timing

Embattled Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s letter to Union home minister Amit Shah pleading his case has given rise to a fresh bout of political fracas. Already, protests like bandh have been held in many parts of the state. Koshyari’s letter dated December 6 has gone viral on December 12, prompting NCP MP Amol Kolhe to raise suspicions about the timing of the placatory communication. Already, Koshyari’s controversial statement is disowned by the BJP and incited some parties to organise protest actions, which continue even now. Koshyari had described Chhatrapati Shivaji as an icon of the past in a speech. Clarifying his position in the letter to Shah, the governor has stated, “I can’t imagine even in my dreams to insult any icon of the past. However, mentioning achievers of the present time does not mean disrespect towards the legends that existed here.” In a sly taunt directed at Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, the governor has pointed out that despite his advancing age, he has walked to visit historical forts like Raigad, Sinhgad, Shivneri and Pratapgad, identified with memories of Chhatrapati Shivaji. The taunt refers to Uddhav’s staying at home during the Covid outbreak and even later, rarely visiting Mantralaya. However, Kolhe has questioned the timing of the letter becoming public and asked, “If there is no intention to dishonor any giants of the past, why are statements derogatory to them made repeatedly?”

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Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!