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Ex-AAP leader Alka Lamba joins Congress

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After a month of quitting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), former Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba on Saturday joined the Congress in the presence of state in-charge, P.C. Chacko.

She met Chacko along with supporters and took primary membership of the party.

Alka Lamba tweeted that she has taken receipt of Rs 5 and officially became a Congress member. Lamba had met interim party President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.

Lamba quit the AAP on September 6 and had announced that she would join the Congress in the presence of Sonia Gandhi at her residence.

A former Delhi University President, Lamba had served in the Congress for 20 years before she quit the grand old party and joined the AAP and won the 2015 Assembly elections from Chandni Chowk.

On September 19, Lamba was disqualified from the Delhi Assembly by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on the grounds of defection.

She was scheduled to join the party on Friday but later she later said that the joining has shifted to Saturday.

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BJP promises 5 crore jobs in 5 years, houses for all by 2022

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on October 15 released its poll manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly election.

The party has promised a $1 trillion economy for the state with the creation of five crore jobs in the next five years and houses for all by 2022.

BJP Working President JP Nadda released the manifesto, or the ‘Sankalp Patra’, along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state party president Chandrakant Patil and Mumbai unit head Mangal Prabhat Lodha.

The manifesto has promised the creation of five crore jobs in the next five years, taking the state’s economy to $1 trillion. It has also assured houses for all by 2022.

One of the other key takeaways of the manifesto is setting up a separate maintenance department for the national and state highways, where repairs and other works are currently done by the road construction contractors.

While releasing the manifesto, Nadda lavished praise on Fadnavis, saying “the chief minister has changed the political culture of Maharashtra”.

Nadda said: “Today I can say with authority and confidence that Devendra Fadnavis has changed the political culture of Maharashtra. That gives me a lot of satisfaction. He has changed the image of Maharashtra. Five years back, Maharashtra was ridden with corruption and instability. The seat of the chief minister was like a musical chair.”

“Today I can say with authority that it is a corruption-free state, a state with good governance and has stability. After a long time, Maharashtra has seen a full-term chief minister,” Nadda added.

The Marathwada drinking water grid project worth Rs 16,000 crore has also found a place in the manifesto.

The BJP has promised to connect all 11 dams in the perennially parched Marathwada region and provide drinking water supply with the help of a closed pipeline.

It has also promised to invest Rs 5 lakh crore in several infrastructure projects in the state.

Maharashtra will head for polling on October 21, along with Haryana. Counting of votes in both states will happen on October 24.

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Omar Abdullah’s sister Safia detained in J&K over woman protest

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Sister of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Safia Abdullah, has been detained during a protest in Srinagar today. Safia Abdullah was taking part in a civil society protest in Srinagar, the first of its kind in the past 73 days since August 5 when Article 370 was made inoperable in Jammu and Kashmir.

Several Kashmiri women tried to organize a sit-in protest at Lal Chowk in Srinagar today.

The police however foiled the protest and detained them. Many of the detained women include former professors and academicians from the Kashmir valley.

This is the first time in the last 73 days that an all-woman civil society protest was held against the abrogation of Article 370, bifurcation of J&K state, and detention of political leaders.

More than 1,000 people, including former J&K chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah, have been detained or put under house arrest in Kashmir since August 5.

Normal life has been hit in the Valley due to a near-complete shutdown in the past two months. Market places, schools, and colleges largely remain shut or see thin attendance. However, the government has been claiming that the situation is “normal” and that the detentions are “purely for precaution”.

For much of the past 73 days, telephone and mobile connectivity remained suspended in Kashmir. These restrictions have been relaxed in the past few days but mobile internet remains suspended.

The Block Development Council (BDC) elections are scheduled for October 24 in Kashmir. All three major political parties—the Congress, the National Conference, and the People’s Democratic Party–have decided to boycott the elections to protest government action in Kashmir.

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Muslims are living in India because of the constitution, not Congress

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Ahead of the Maharashtra elections, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed Congress and asked it to stop pretending to be the savior of Indian Muslims.

“If for more than 70 years, the Muslims have continued living in India it is not because of your (Congress) grace, but due to the Constitution and the one above (God),” Owaisi said addressing an election rally for his party’s candidate from the Bhiwandi West seat on Monday.

In the same rally, Owaisi had also targeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and said when a ship sinks, the captain evacuates everyone safely but Gandhi is a captain who himself left on seeing Congress ship sink.

“When a ship sinks in the middle of a sea, the captain evacuates everyone safely but Gandhi is a captain who himself left after seeing the Congress sinking. Muslims are not alive due to Congress’ mercy on us for 70 years, rather we are alive because of the Constitution and by the grace of God,” said Owaisi.

The AIMIM leader, however, also slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the same rally, by stating that India never had been a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ nor will he and AIMIM let it become one.

“India is not a Hindu Rashtra and we will never let it become one, we are strongly against it,” Owaisi said in response to Bhagwat where the RSS chief referred to India as a country of Hindus.

Addressing a meeting of intellectuals in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, Bhagwat had said: “We are a country of Hindus. Hindu is not the name of a language, province or country but a culture, which is the legacy of all people living in India.”

Owaisi did not spare Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the anti-triple talaq law passed by his government too as he went ahead to add, “Our Prime Minister speaks a lot on the issue of Triple Talaq, I am in anguish because of one wife, while the ones who have none, they are happy.”

AIMIM is likely to contest on 44 out of the 288 seats in Maharashtra. The elections in the state will be held on October 21. The counting of votes is scheduled to begin on October 24.

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