February 1, 2023

congress: Election round-up: Sidhu’s advisor booked over alleged communal remarks; BSP, SP bring out lists of star campaigners | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A case was registered against Mohammad Mustafa on Sunday, a close aide of Punjab chief Congress Navjot Singh Sidhu, for alleged communal remarks while the BSP and SP declared their star campaigners.
Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya expressed confidence that the BJP will be able to ward of the opposition challenge despite many desertions.
Here is a look at the key political developments on Sunday in the run-up to polls in five states:
Uttar Pradesh
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has released its list of star campaigners for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, and it includes the names of its chief Mayawati and her brother Anand Kumar. Party general secretary Satish Misra, former MP Munquad Ali and former Uttar Pradesh minister Nakul Dubey, are also part of the list of 18 star campaigners.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, party chief Akhilesh Yadav and new entrant to the party Swami Prasad Maurya are among its 30 star campaigners for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly election. Other prominent names on the list are national vice-president Kiranmay Nanda, principal general secretary Ramgopal Yadav and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan.
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the desertion of OBC ministers and MLAs from the BJP will have no impact on the party’s poll prospects in Uttar Pradesh as all sections of society trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The deserters left to fulfil their “self-interest” and not for “any ideology”, the BJP leader said.
Former Punjab DGP Mohammad Mustafa was booked for alleged communal remarks at a public meeting in Malerkotla, police said on Sunday. Mustafa is a key aide of state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The FIR came a day after a video showing him making the alleged remarks began circulating on social media.
“An FIR has been lodged under IPC Section 153-A and Section 125 in The Representation of the People Act,” Malerkotla Senior Superintendent of Police, Ravjot Kaur Grewal said. The FIR has been lodged on complaint of a police officer in Malerkotla.
Mustafa is the husband of Punjab cabinet minister Razia Sultana who is the Congress candidate from Malerkotla assembly seat — a Muslim-majority district. Mustafa has denied the charge and said he never used the word “Hindu” in his speech.
Opposition Akali Dal and AAP have also attacked the Congress on the issue.
Meanwhile, Punjab minister Rana Gurjeet Singh launched an aggressive campaign for his son Rana Inder Partap Singh who is contesting the state assembly elections as an Independent candidate against the ruling Congress’s nominee.
Gen Bipin Rawat’s younger brother Col (retd) Vijay Rawat, who recently joined the BJP, said he is not contesting the upcoming assembly polls in Uttarakhand. Col Rawat said he was asked by party leaders to contest but he said “no” to them.
Asked what if they insist on fielding him, he said 99 per cent chances are that he would politely refuse. “I am not contesting the polls. I am interested only in serving the people of Uttarakhand,” he said.
Joining the BJP less than a month ahead of the state assembly polls had given rise to speculation in the media that he might be given a ticket by the party.
Congress veteran P Chidambaram said the Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) proposal of a pre-poll alliance for the next month’s Goa Assembly elections was not considered by his party as the Mamata Banerjee-led party “poached” Congress leaders in the state.
His statement comes three days after TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said that if the Congress fails to dislodge the BJP from power in Goa, then Chidambaram, who is Congress’ state election in-charge, should own up the responsibility and resign.
Talking to reporters, Chidambaram said there was a suggestion from the TMC for a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in Goa. “What I can say is that there was a suggestion from the TMC that we should form an alliance (in Goa). (But) Before and after that, certain incidents took place,” the senior Congress leader said.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday said the people of his state and he himself wanted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act to be lifted but added that it should be done with consent of the Centre. Underlining that national security is top priority, Singh said, “We are a border state and share an international border with Myanmar. I have to see the national interest as well.”
“It is not possible to do so without assessing the ground situation,” he added.
Ahead of the assembly election in the state, there has been a growing chorus for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA.
Talking about the law and order situation in the state, Singh said in the last five years, “no major unwanted incident has been reported and insurgency has come down by 90 per cent.”

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