505

YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy Unveils A ‘Backward Class Declaration’ At A Rally In Eluru

New Delhi: YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy unveiled a ‘Backward Class declaration’ at a rally in Eluru of West Godavari district with a heavy focus on freebies to woo the numerically strong community ahead of the assembly elections after chief minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu announced a slew of sops last month.

The freebies promised under the declaration include an ex-gratia of Rs 70 lakh to the families at times of death of their breadwinners under YSR Bheema Yojana, allocation of Rs 75,000 cr for welfare of 139 communities within the backward castes in the next five years, non-refundable financial assistance of Rs 75,000 for each BC woman in four instalments over a period of four years, 50 per cent of quota in nominated government posts for BCs, SCs, STs and Muslim minorities, zero interest loans for petty vendors, annual assistance of Rs 10,000 for each Nayee Bramhin family etc.

504

Yogi Adityanath Visits The Family Of Slain CRPF Constable Pankaj Tripathi Killed In Pulwama Attack

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited the family of slain CRPF constable Pankaj Tripathi in Maharajganj district’s Harpur Belhiya village to pay tribute to the constable. The CM assured Tripathi’s family that their demands would be fulfilled. Tripathi was one of the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel killed in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Adityanath spoke to family members and enquired when Tripathi had last come home. The constable’s father, Om Prakash Tripathi, said, “He (the chief minister) didn’t ask us about our demand and has not told us what we will be getting. We wrote our demands in a piece of paper and gave it to the chief minister. He kept it and told us that our demands will be met.”

407

Government Starts Diplomatic Outreach For Complete Isolation Of Pakistan For Supporting Terrorism

New Delhi: Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale is briefing envoys of key countries to brief them on Pakistan’s involvement in supporting terrorism.

The meeting is part of the government’s diplomatic outreach to work towards, what has been described by the government as “complete isolation” of Pakistan. Arun Jaitley also announced that the government would also take “all possible diplomatic steps to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan”. The minister said there is incontrovertible evidence of Pakistan having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident.

As the first step, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced after meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security that India is withdrawing the most favored nation trade status given to Pakistan.

406

India To Stop Exporting Tea To Pakistan In The Wake Of Escalating Tensions Between The Two Countries

New Delhi: India can stop exporting tea to Pakistan in the wake of escalating tensions between the two neighbours following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 45 paramilitary troopers. The exporters body is ready to back the Centre in case of any retaliatory measures, even at the cost of incurring losses.

Asked whether the Indian Tea Exporters’ Association (ITEA) was ready to stop shipments across the border to Pakistan if the government shuts the door on bilateral trade, ITEA chairman Anshuman Kanoria asserted: “Of course, we are ready. The nation and the security of our forces and fellow countrymen come first and commerce is secondary.”

405

BJP And Shiv Sena Start Face-To-Face Poll Negotiations After Weeks Of Informal Talks Over An Alliance

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena started face-to-face poll negotiations after weeks of informal talks over an alliance. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at his Bandra residence, Matoshree, to discuss a deal to share seats and power for the upcoming polls. After the meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, Fadnavis told media persons that the talks were “positive”.

“I met Uddhav Thackeray and our talks were positive. However, because of the attack in Pulwama, we cut short our meeting,” said the chief minister adding that the Sena was keen on resolving issues pertaining to farmers and citizens. “We can address these issues and take a decision on them soon,” Fadnavis said.