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Mayawati to back Congress in MP, Rajasthan to keep BJP out; SP too joins in

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New Delhi: Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will support the Congress and help it form the government in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in order to prevent BJP from returning to power in the two states. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party has won 1 seat in Madhya Pradesh, too, has offered his party’s support to the Congress to form a government in the state.

With the BSP’s and SP’s support, the Congress will cross the majority mark in both the states. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has won 114 seats, two short of the majority and in Rajasthan, it has won 100 seats, the exact half of the 200-member assembly. The BSP has won 2 seats in Madhya Pradesh and 6 in Rajasthan.

“We contested the elections to keep the BJP out of power. To keep the BJP out of power, we have agreed to support Congress in Madhya Pradesh and if need be in Rajasthan, even though we don’t agree with many of their policies,” Mayawati said at a press conference in New Delhi.

 

Late last night, the Congress had written to Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel asking her for an appointment to stake claim to form the government. A delegation led by state Congress chief Kamal Nath will meet the Governor today at noon.

When the final assembly elections results came in early on Wednesday morning, the Congress at 114 seats in the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh assembly needed 2 more seats to be able to stake claim to forming a government.

In Rajasthan, the Congress had won the election with 100 seats – the exact halfway mark of the 200-member assembly – in its kitty. Elections in Rajasthan were held on 199 seats after elections were postponed on one seat following the death of one candidate.

With BSP and SP supporting the Congress, the final tally in Madhya Pradesh stands at 117 seats for Congress, 109 seats for BJP, and 4 seats for others.


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National

Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman

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Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.

“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.

 

On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.

“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.

The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.

Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.

“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.

Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.

“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.

The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.

Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”

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Keep trying, truth can’t be extinguished: Rahul’s dig at PM

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Main Bhi Chowkidaar” campaign drew barbs from the opposition after BJP leaders rushed to add “chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the truth “cannot be extinguished”.

“You can keep trying Modi, but the truth cannot be extinguished. Every Indian is saying it. #ChowkidarChorHai P.S: Do force Sushma ji to add “Chowkidar” to her handle. It’s looking very bad,” he posted.

 

Minutes after PM Modi added “Chowkidar” to his twitter title, BJP leaders and ministers followed suit. From Union minister Arun Jaitley to party chief Amit Shah, and even foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, added “Chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.

Along with Congress, the leaders of other parties took a dig at PM Modi and his party.

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Priyanka draws inspiration from grandmother Indira to ‘be fearless’

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Prayagraj: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is in Uttar Pradesh campaigning for the party, is drawing inspiration from her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who taught her to be fearless.

“Sitting in the courtyard of Swaraj Bhawan, the room is visible where my grandmother was born,” she tweeted late on Sunday, while spending sometime in the 19th century mansion here. The ancestral home was owned by her great-great grandfather, Motilal Nehru.

The 47-year-old recalled how her grandmother often rocked her to sleep with the bedtime story of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl from medieval France, who believed God chose her to lead France to victory in its Hundred Years War with England. She succeeded and is honoured as the Maid of Orleans.

 

“I still have those words imprinted in my heart. Become fearless and all will be good,” she added.

Party president Rahul Gandhi appointed his younger sibling as the eastern in-charge of Uttar Pradesh on January 23.

The fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family still at the helm of the party is striving hard to win the Hindi heartland state.

Priyanka Gandhi has embarked on a Prayagraj to Varanasi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency) boat ride on the river Ganga, making small pit stops and meeting crowds on the banks.

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