UP minister, 3 BJP MLAs quit, it's Akhilesh Yadav’s gain

News Network
January 11, 2022

Lucknow/New Delhi: In a massive jolt to the BJP and Yogi Adityanath just before the Uttar Pradesh election, a minister and three MLAs quit and joined the party's main challenger, Akhilesh Yadav. Swami Prasad Maurya, a top minister and backward caste leader in the Yogi Adityanath government, posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

Soon after he went public, three more MLAs, Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati and Bhagwati Sagar announced their resignations.

Reports suggest Mr Maurya may take a few more ministers and MLAs with him.

"Despite a divergent ideology, I worked with dedication in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. But because of the grave oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen, I am resigning," Swami Prasad Maurya wrote in the stinging resignation letter.

He told reporters: "What impact my exit will have on the BJP will be obvious after the 2022 assembly election."

As his letter emerged on Twitter, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photograph with Mr Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party. "I warmly welcome Swami Prasad Maurya, a leader who fights for social justice and equality, and all his supporters. There will be a revolution in social justice. Chang is coming in 2022," Mr Yadav tweeted in Hindi.

On cue, Roshan Lal Verma, a three-time MLA, declared that he was leaving the BJP with Mr Maurya.

Keshav Prasad Maurya, Deputy Chief Minister, posted an appeal on Twitter: "I don't know why Swami Prasad Maurya quit but I appeal to him, don't quit but let us talk. Decisions taken in haste can backfire."

The exits in Lucknow began as Yogi Adityanath and top BJP leaders met in Delhi to discuss Uttar Pradesh election strategy.

Mr Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and multiple-term MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Mr Maurya is the BJP MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His daughter Sanghamitra is a BJP MP from UP.

Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state, votes from February 10 in seven rounds in an election widely seen as a semifinal of sorts before the national election of 2024. The results will be declared on March 10.

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News Network
May 12,2022

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New Delhi, May 12: Air India's new owner Tata Sons said on Thursday it would appoint Campbell Wilson, the head of Singapore Airlines' budget carrier Scoot, as its chief executive, subject to regulatory approvals.

New Zealand-born Wilson, 50, will step down from his current role on June 15, Singapore Airlines said.

Tata Sons completed its purchase of the previously state-owned Indian national carrier in January and has been searching for an executive to lead a major turnaround plan.

Wilson's appointment comes after Turkey's Ilker Ayci decided not take on the role of chief executive of Air India after the announcement of his appointment led to opposition in India over his previous political links.

Tata Sons said in a statement Air India's board approved the appointment of Wilson subject to requisite regulatory approvals.

The appointment of a foreign national as CEO of an airline in India requires government clearance before it can proceed.

Wilson will be replaced at Scoot by Leslie Thng, the current senior vice president, sales and marketing, at Singapore Airlines.

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News Network
May 20,2022

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None other than legendary MC Mary Kom had asked in 2019, 'who is Nikhat Zareen'? Cut to 2022, the Telangana boxer is a world champion.

Nikhat, daughter of former footballer Mohammad Jameel, clinched the coveted gold in flyweight (52kg) division with a facile 5-0 victory over Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in the Women's World Championship final in Istanbul on Thursday. With this win, Zareen, a 2019 Asian Championship bronze medallist, became only the fifth Indian boxer to be crowned world champion.

Three years ago, Nikhat was pleading for a "fair trial" against Mary Kom ahead of the Tokyo Olympics after being denied a chance to compete in the trials for this very tournament and today she stands as a champion.

As the flyweight world champion's name was called out on Thursday, Zareen jumped with joy, punching the air ecstatically.

She had finally done it. As the magnitude of the moment hit her, the tears began to roll down her cheeks. She had finally proven herself, shut down all her detractors.

Her slew of wins as a teenager had led people to hail her as a possible heir to the legendary MC Mary Kom's throne and her recent victories have consolidated the view.

But it hasn't been a pleasant journey for the 25-year-old as she had to battle with injury and her idol Mary Kom on and off the field in her formative years.

But she waited patiently in the wings to make the flyweight division, which has till now been dominated by the six-time champion, her own.

After the high of the junior world championship title a decade back, Zareen was dealt a major blow as she snapped her shoulder during a bout, forcing her out of the ring for nearly a year.

Still the plucky boxer was determined to establish herself at the elite level and she made a resounding comeback. Zareen picked up a bronze at the senior national championships and won the Belgrade International Championship in 2018.

The next year would turn out to be a rollercoaster for Nizamabad-based pugilist. She made her mark by winning the gold at the prestigious Strandja Memorial, Europe's oldest international boxing event, and a silver at the Thailand Open but couldn't get the better of Mary Kom, arguably the greatest woman boxer in history, in the India Open.

And ahead of the World Championship, she was refused a trial by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), which decided to go by Mary Kom's consistent performances while making the choice and the Manipuri claimed her eighth world medal.

When the federation decided to send Mary Kom for the Olympic qualifiers on the back of her bronze-winning show at the world championships, Zareen wrote to then Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju demanding a “fair chance.”

But a furious Mary Kom had asked 'Who is Nikhat Zareen'?

"I have been inspired by Mary Kom since I was a teenager. The best way I can do justice to this inspiration was to strive to be as great a boxer as her. And Mary Kom is too big a legend in sport to need to hide from the competition and not actually defend her Olympic qualification," she had said.

Zareen's request was heeded and a trial was announced much to Mary Kom's displeasure, who claimed she was always ready for a trial and was doing what the BFI said but the youngster had dragged her name everywhere.

The much-anticipated bout, however, turned out to be a one-sided affair as Zareen lost 1-9 to Mary Kom. And to top it, there was no customary handshake at the end and the senior pro also rebuffed an attempted hug from her younger rival, leaving her in tears.

But the distasteful episode could not deter Zareen from gunning for accolades.

With a bustling 2022, Zareen was right on the mark as she became the first Indian boxer to win two gold medals at the Strandja Memorial on the back of some impressive performances, including out-punching the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist in February.

She continued her stellar run, giving India its first gold in four years at the World Championship. She dominated all her bouts.

With Mary Kom in her twilight years, Zareen's win is quite assuring for Indian Boxing.

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News Network
May 15,2022

Udaipur, May 15: The Congress on Sunday announced wide-ranging organisational reforms to make the party battle-ready for the next round of assembly and Lok Sabha polls, stressing on wider representation to those under 50 years of age and enforcing 'one person, one post' and 'one family, one ticket' rules with riders.

In its Udaipur Declaration adopted after deliberations at the 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir', the Congress also decided to set up three new departments -- public insight, election management and national training.

The party announced enforcing the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule with exception to being made only when another family member has been working in the party for at least five years.

The party also decided that no person should hold one party position for more than five years to give opportunities to new people.

The party has also decided to provide 50 per cent representation to those below 50 years of age at all levels of the organisation.

The Congress president will set up an advisory group from among Congress Working Committee (CWC) members to deliberate on political challenges, the party announced.

In her concluding address, Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced that a task force will be set up to initiate the organisational reforms.

She said the Congress will launch a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' from Kanyakumari to Kashmir beginning on Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.

The party will also launch the second phase of its 'Jan Jagran Yatra' at the district level from June 15, she announced.

The Congress held the three-day conclave in Udaipur in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party for the past many years.

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