280

Mayawati And Pawan Kalyan’s Party To Contest Lok Sabha Elections In Telengana And AP Together

New Delhi:  To expand its bases outside Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Mayawati and the Jana Sena Party led by actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha elections. The BSP and JSP reached at a seat-sharing arrangement for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the two parties will contest the polls together.

Announcing the poll-pact in Lucknow with the BSP chief by his side, Kalyan said his “wish and ardent desire” is to see Mayawati become the prime minister of the country after the Lok Sabha polls in April-May.

“We would like to see Mayawati as the prime minister of the country. This is our wish and ardent desire…We will make sure…that our wishes get fulfilled in the days to come,” said Kalyan addressing a press conference in the Uttar Pradesh capital.

279

Rahul Gandhi Says, Vadakkan Is Not A Big Leader On His Switching Side To The BJP

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi spoke a day after Congress’ Tom Vadakkan jumped ship and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when asked about what effect Vadakkan’s leaving the Congress would have on the party, Rahul Gandhi said, “Vadakkan? No, no Vadakkan is not a big leader.”

In a brief interaction with media persons, Rahul Gandhi downplayed Vadakkan’s leaving the party and sought to bring focus on the three issues that the party has been attacking the BJP and PM Modi on.

“The biggest issue is unemployment. Narendra Modi fail. The second big issue is that of corruption. You must have heard of Rafale. And the third issue is of farmers,” Rahul Gandhi said.

278

Kharge Once Again Turns Down Government’s Request To Attend A Meeting Of Lokpal Selection Panel

New Delhi: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has once again turned down the government’s request to attend a meeting of the Lokpal selection panel as a “special invitee”. Kharge said that he could not accept the Opposition being made voiceless on a critical matter.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kharge accused the government of using his “refusal” to attend the Lokpal selection panel meeting as an “excuse” for not appointing the country’s first anti-corruption ombudsman. He also hit out at the government for not amending the law to facilitate the participation of the Opposition in the selection process.

“Since 2014, the government has not made any attempt to amend the relevant provisions of the Lokpal Act to include the Leader of the Single Largest Party in the Opposition to be a member of the Selection Committee,” he wrote in the letter.

259

Fadnavis Says, Foot Over Bridge Collapsed In Mumbai Killing Six People Cleared During A Structural Audit

New Delhi: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the foot over bridge that collapsed in Mumbai killing six people was cleared during a structural audit. The foot over bridge is located near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of India’s busiest railway stations.

Fadnavis said he was told by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner that the bridge was constructed in 1980. “Structural audit of overbridges was ordered last year. The (BMC) commissioner told me that it was found to be fit during the audit. If the bridge collapses despite clearance, it raises questions on the audit,” Devendra Fadnavis said ordering a probe into the incident.

258

Some Permanent Members Of UNSC Consider Other Actions To Counter Beijing’s Stand On Masood Azhar

New Delhi: Some permanent members of the UN Security Council are considering “other actions” to counter Beijing’s persistent opposition to the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist even as China said that it needs more time to “study” the issue.

On Wednesday, China used a “technical hold” at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee to block the latest move spearheaded by France to list Azhar, whose group claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack of February 14. The hold is valid for six months and can be extended by three months. The other 14 members of the Security Council supported the listing.