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BJP's "Second Act Of Use And Throw": Sena Hits Out Over Power-Sharing

The Shiv Sena on Thursday again indicated that it had not given up its claim on the post of Maharashtra chief minister, saying that equal sharing of power must mean sharing of the top post too.

Adopting a harsh tone, it accused the BJP of enacting the "second act" of the "use and throw" policy while dealing with its ally.

After emerging victorious in the assembly elections, saffron allies Sena and BJP are locked in a dispute over the power-sharing formula for the new government.

Whatever was decided when the two parties stitched up alliance before the Lok Sabha elections should be implemented, the Sena mouthpiece Saamana said in an editorial.

"Maharashtra chief minister in that press conference (held after the two parties sealed the alliance) had said all government posts would be equally shared," it said.

"If the post of chief minister does not come under it, then we need to rewrite the syllabus of political science," the Sena said.

"The BJP, after the spectacular performance in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, parted ways with the Shiv Sena and is trying to enact a second act of `use and throw''," the editorial said.

"But we will not die out easily, because we have people's support," it said.

"Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the possibility of alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena materializing was bleak. Hence, whatever was decided to seal the deal, should be implemented, that is the only demand of the Shiv Sena," said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

"It is more important to follow the agreement between the two parties than playing the number game," said the Sena which has won 56 assembly seats against the BJP's 105.

"There is no need of any evidence to show what has been decided, but we are living in a time when people lie under oath," the Sena said.

It also took a swipe at BJP MLAs wearing saffron turbans when Devendra Fadnavis was elected leader of the party in the state legislature.

Do you agree with Shiv Sena's statement?

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Jailed Congress Leader DK Shivakumar Gets Bail In Money Laundering Case

DK Shivakumar, the Congress's troubleshooter in Karnataka, has been freed from Delhi's Tihar Jail on a Rs. 25 lakh bail bond. Mr Shivakumar, who faces allegations of money laundering running into crores of rupees, cannot leave the country, the Delhi High Court said today.

Justice Suresh Kait, while granting bail to Mr Shivakumar, said he is not a flight risk, according to news agency Press Trust of India. The judge said Mr Shivakumar cannot tamper with evidence as the documents are with the investigating agencies and there is no material to show he has influenced witnesses.

He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in September and sent to Tihar Jail, where another Congress leader P Chidambaram is lodged in a separate alleged corruption case.

The investigators alleged that Mr Shivakumar, 57, had not been paying taxes and made transactions worth crores of rupees.

Mr Shivakumar's 23-year-old daughter, Aisshwarya, was also questioned by the Enforcement Directorate days after he was arrested last month. The investigators said they wanted to ask her how her net worth grew from around Rs. 1 crore in 2013 to over Rs. 100 crore in 2018, and whether the financial transactions between her and her father involved unaccounted money.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her party colleague Ambika Soni went to Tihar Jail this morning to meet with Mr Shivakumar. His brother DK Suresh was also present during the meeting of the Congress leaders.

Mr Suresh told reporters that Mrs Gandhi assured Mr Shivakumar the party is with him and will stand in his support. Mrs Gandhi told him this is a case of "political vendetta" and other Congress leaders are also being targeted by the BJP government at the centre, Mr Suresh said.

"We have to fight them and come out of this," Mr Suresh said, quoting the Congress president, according to news agency Press Trust of India.

Mr Shivakumar made national headlines in 2017 when he agreed to accommodate 44 Congress legislators from Gujarat at a resort to prevent them from being poached by the BJP ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election.

Soon after, income tax officials came knocking on Mr Shivakumar's door. Several properties linked to the Congress leader were also raided in August 2017.

Do you think the decision to grant him the bail is right?

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Ayodhya Case: Daily Hearings In Supreme Court End, Verdict Reserved

The daily hearings in the decades old temple-mosque dispute in Ayodhya came to an end at the Supreme Court this afternoon after 40 days. The verdict in the case - which has dominated politics and the headlines for decades - is expected to come before November 17, when Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is leading the five-judge constitution bench hearing the case, is slated to retire.

The judges had been sticking to a strict timeline after attempts to sort out the case through mediation failed. Over the last weeks, they have extended the timing of the hearings and rebuked the advocates for spinning it out.

This morning, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, declaring "Enough is enough" after a lawyer asked the top court for more time for arguments, said they would finish the hearing by 5 pm. Justice Gogoi had earlier expressed concern that in the current schedule, there would hardly be time to write the judgment.

On the last day of hearing, there were dramatic moments as a senior lawyer tore up a map and relentless interruptions infuriated the judges.

Rajeev Dhavan, representing Muslim petitioners including the Sunni Waqf Board in the title suit, tore up a pictorial map showing the Ram Janmasthan after asking the court's permission. He said the map, forwarded by the Hindu petitioners, could not be submitted as evidence since the court had earlier refused to accept it.

Following the commotion it caused and interruptions from both sides, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi threatened to walk out.
The six-decade dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, which right-wing activists believe was the birthplace of Lord Ram. In December 1992, right-wing activists razed a 16th Century mosque which stood at the spot. The activists believed that the mosque was built by Mughal Emperor Babur after demolishing a temple that marked Lord Ram's birthplace. In the days that followed, 2,000 people died in riots across the country.

The five-judge Constitution bench began day-to-day hearings on August 6 after mediation proceedings by a court-appointed three-member team failed to find an amicable solution to the dispute.

The team --  comprising former Supreme Court judge FM Kalifulla, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu - told the court that "some parties" were not ready to sort out the issue through mediation. This morning, the team presented their final inputs on the issue to the court in a sealed cover.

The Muslim respondents have said that there was no claim for the title of the land in Ayodhya by Hindus until 1989. They asked for the restoration of the Babri Masjid as it stood before it was demolished in December 1992. The Hindus have contended that a mosque can be built anywhere, but there is only one birthplace of the Lord Ram.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among the three parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

A campaign for the Ram temple at Ayodhya had propelled the BJP into a major political force in the 1990s. Ahead of the coming national election, the temple issue again vaulted to the forefront. Right-wing groups pushed for fast-tracking the temple through an ordinance or executive order passed by the government. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi said no decision can be made until the judicial process is over.

Accusing the Congress for delaying a decision on the issue for 70 years, PM Modi said, "We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the Constitution... Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts".

Are you following the Ayodhya's court case hearing?

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No Bail For P Chidambaram; May Influence Witnesses, Says Delhi High Court

Former Union Minister P Chidamabaram might influence witnesses, the Delhi High Court said today, denying him bail in the INX media case. Mr Chidamabaram has been in Delhi's Tihar jail since last month after the Central Bureau of Investigation finished questioning him in the case.

P Chidambaram had argued that the allegations against him were not grave in nature and carry only up to 7 years' punishment.

The Central Bureau of Investigation -- which arrested him in the case in August -- contended that the "gravity of the offence has nothing to do with punishment provided... the gravity is to be judged by the impact the offence has on the society, economy, financial stability and integrity of the country".

In its order, the High Court said there is no chance of tampering of evidence, but there is a possibility that Mr Chidambaram can influence witnesses in the case.

P Chidambaram had signed off on a huge infusion of foreign funds into the firm as the finance minister in 2007. The agency has accused his son Karti Chidambaram of receiving kickbacks in the matter.

The INX Media was co-founded by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in the case involving the murder of Indrani's daughter Sheena Bora.

Indrani Mukerjea has turned approver in the case against the Chidambarams and the investigative agencies have based their case on her testimony.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in whose cabinet Mr Chidambaram was the finance minister, has questioned how he could be held responsible for a collective decision.

A dozen officers, including six secretaries to the government, examined and recommended the proposal. Mr Chidambaram, he said, approved the unanimous recommendation.

"If the Minister is liable for approving a recommendation, the whole system of government will collapse," he said.

Do you agree with Delhi High Court Decision?

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PM Narendra Modi, Imran Khan to face off at 74th UNGA session today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan are going to share the stage at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday. This would be the first time after abrogation of Article 370 that the two leaders would be sharing the same platform.

The 74th UNGA session will start around 9:00 pm IST on Friday. There will be 112 heads of state, nearly 48 heads of government and over 30 foreign ministers present during the General Debate at UN headquarters in New York.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir on August 5. This decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded ties with India and expelled the Indian ambassador.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.  However, New Delhi has asserted the abrogation of Article 370 was an 'internal matter' of India.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi boycotted Dr S Jaishankar's opening statement at the SAARC Council of foreign ministers, saying Pakistan will not engage with India until and unless it lifts the 'siege' in Kashmir.

However, Jaishankar, in a veiled attack on Pakistan stated, "Elimination of terrorism in all its forms is a "precondition" for fruitful cooperation in South Asia."

US on India-Pakistan spat over Kashmir

US President Donald Trump said he discussed Kashmir with the top leadership of India and Pakistan during his meetings with them and offered to help the two nuclear-armed neighbours with "arbitration or mediation".

"With respect to Pakistan and India, we talked about Kashmir. Whatever help I can be, I said, I offered, whether it's arbitration or mediation or whatever it has to be," Trump said in his opening remarks, offering to mediate for the fourth time.

Trump said he will "do whatever he can, because, they are at very serious odds right now and hopefully that will get better".

"You look at the two gentlemen heading those two countries, two good friends of mine. I said, fellows work it out, just work it out. Those are two nuclear countries, gotta work it out."

Do you think their face-off will settle down things?

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