1. Suspense Over UP CM Lingers Ahead of Announcement Today
There is still no clarity about who will be selected the chief minister of UP on Saturday, when an announcement is scheduled to be made in Lucknow.
However, the countdown for the closure of all mechanised abattoirs in the state has begun. The name of the CM-designate is to be announced at a meeting of the BJP legislature party in Lucknow and the nominee of PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will be sworn in as CM of the politically pivotal state on Sunday.
This will clear the way for promulgation of an ordinance to shut down mechanised abattoirs by midnight. A ban on mechanised abattoirs was the highlight of the BJP manifesto and Shah consistently referred to it in his stump speeches, promising that the saffron regime would promulgate an ordinance by midnight of the day it assumed office.
The BJP parliamentary board had on Sunday empowered Shah to select the chief minister of UP, an authorisation he is set to use in concert with Modi.
(Source: Times of India)
2. Trivendra Rawat to Be Uttarakhand CM
The BJP has picked Trivendra Singh Rawat as its chief minister candidate in Uttarakhand. Rawat was elected the BJP's legislature party leader by party MLAs on Friday. He will take oath on Saturday.
Rawat, 57, defeated the Congress's Hira Singh Bisht in the Doiwala constituency with a margin of over 24,000 votes. This was his third win from the constituency, where he has contested elections since 2002.
Rawat, a Thakur leader, was among the frontrunners for Uttarakhand CM's post in part due to his strong RSS roots. He was an RSS pracharak from 1983 to 2002 and held several important positions in the Sangh.
Rawat, who holds a masters degree in journalism, is also known for his proximity to BJP chief Amit Shah and the party's central leadership, which could have strengthened his chances at heading the state's executive.
3. Missing Delhi Clerics May Have Been Kidnapped by Militants in Pak: Officials
There are fears that two senior clerics from Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah, who have been reported missing in Pakistan, may have been taken into custody by intelligence agencies or kidnapped by a militant group.
The clerics – Asif Nizami, 82, and Nazim Ali Nizami, 66 – are members of the extended family of the Sajjada Nashin (hereditary administrator) of the shrine in Delhi. They were reported missing on Thursday after their families were unable to contact them in Pakistan, where they had gone for a pilgrimage.
There was official silence on the issue, but Pakistani law enforcement officials said the two men may either have been taken into custody by intelligence agencies or kidnapped by a militant group. No further details were immediately available.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
4. Cong Targets Goa Governor for Jaitley Call
The Congress on Friday demanded the dismissal of Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, accusing her of the "constitutional impropriety" of consulting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before inviting the BJP to form the government in the state.
It also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to punish Jaitley for allegedly advising the governor.
Despite the Congress being the largest party in Goa's hung Assembly, Sinha had asked the BJP to form the government after it handed her signatures of support from smaller parties and Independents.
Congress members created an uproar in the Rajya Sabha on the issue on Friday, disrupting business and forcing an adjournment during Zero Hour.
(Source: The Telegraph)
5. HC Sends Narada to CBI
Calcutta High Court on Friday handed the Narada payoffs case to the CBI, striking at the root of the political argument that election results render judicial processes redundant.
The order prompted the Mamata Banerjee government as well as the Trinamool Congress to vow to challenge it in the Supreme Court.
The division bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapobrata Chakraborty told the CBI to gather all case-related documents within 24 hours, conduct a preliminary probe within 72 hours and thereafter ascertain whether a fresh case needed to be filed.
The Narada case deals with tapes that show images resembling several prominent Trinamool leaders accepting cash from a man posing as an agent of a company keen to set up projects in Bengal.
(Source: The Telegraph)
6. NPA Crackdown: Govt Asks PSU Banks to Do Forensic Audit of Defaulters
The government and the Reserve Bank of India are close to finalising a number of changes in rules to reduce the proportion of bad loans in the banking sector, a pre-requisite to kick-starting the investment cycle and pushing growth.
The Finance Ministry sources told The Indian Express that the measures being finalised include tweaking the existing Joint Lenders Forum for faster resolution of NPAs (non-performing assets), a scheme for one-time settlement of bad debts and penal action for defaulters who have siphoned off loans taken for business purposes.
Sources said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a meeting with top RBI officials and bankers last week, and a roadmap is being worked out to deal with the issue of NPAs in near and medium term.
(Source: The Indian Express)
7. Don't Declare Gilgit-Baltistan as a Province, Separatists Warn Pak
Separatists on Friday opposed the Pakistan government’s move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.
In a joint statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik said, “Kashmir, Ladakh, Jammu, Azad Kashmir [Pakistan Occupied Kashmir] and Gilgit-Baltistan is a single entity.”
The separatists said since the political destiny of Jammu and Kashmir was yet to be decided any proposal to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as the fifth State of Pakistan was “unacceptable.”
Referring to Pakistan as “a prime party to the Kashmir issue”, the separatists said such a step may hamper the disputed status of Kashmir:
We hail the role of Pakistan regarding the issue in international fora. However, any deviation in its stance about Kashmir and its geographical entity is improper and will prove detrimental for the Kashmir cause.
(Source: The Hindu)
8. After Loss, Mayawati Returns to the Drawing Board
After a dismal showing in Uttar Pradesh elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party has wasted no time and is back to the drawing board to stitch together a rainbow coalition of castes with a special focus on the Other Backward Communities, which observers feel deserted it in large numbers.
The BSP had experimented with a Dalit-Muslim combination for the Assembly polls even as a number of leaders belonging to the backward castes jumped ship to join the BJP.
The party has re-organised its community-based bhaichara (brotherhood) committees and assigned duties to top leaders to increase presence among various castes.
(Source: The Hindu)
9. Calcutta HC Judge Rejects Apex Court's Warrant in Contempt Case
Amid high drama, Calcutta High Court Judge CS Karnan on Friday refused to accept the bailable warrant issued against him by the Supreme Court for contempt of court. A team of police officials, led by West Bengal Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha, went to Karnan’s residence today to serve the warrant.
According to a PTI report, Karnan “rejected” the warrant and handed over a note to the seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, which initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against him.
W Peter Ramesh, Justice Karnan’s lawyer and president of the Tamil Nadu High Court Advocates’ Association, said:
The DGP of West Bengal Police, other senior state police officers and a Superintendent of Police SP from Tamil Nadu, along with more than 20 police personnel, came to Justice Karnan’s residence today to hand him the warrant. However, he refused to accept it… Behind the letter, we, the counsels, have written that we are refusing the issuance of warrant.
(Source: The Indian Express)
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