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‘Gun toting or pen wielding, have to defeat all forms of naxalism’: PM Modi

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Amid Third Front buzz, Mamata Banerjee to meet Naveen Patnaik tomorrow

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will meet her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar on March 23 amid discussions on the formation of a Third Front ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.Though Banerjee prefers to call the meeting “a courtesy call”, as she will visit Puri on Wednesday after reaching Bhubaneswar on Tuesday, Trinamool insiders believe that a discussion on an alliance of regional parties is also expected. Patnaik, ahead of the assembly polls in the state, is maintaining equidistance with both the Congress and BJP, like the Trinamool Congress.

To take the discussion on the Third Front ahead, former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy will meet Banerjee at her residence on March 24, Banerjee said ahead of her visit to Odisha. Trinamool leadership has made it clear that the party will keep an equidistant stand from both BJP and Congress and Banerjee will reach out to other like-minded parties.

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“The regional parties are very competent. Whenever regional parties meet, we discuss the federal structure of the country and various other issues. The central government creates policies while the implementing authority is the state,” Banerjee said.Recently, Banerjee held discussions with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, during SP’s two-day national executive meeting in Kolkata last weekend. Yadav had met Banerjee at her residence and discussed strategies for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Yadav had said that ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the regional parties are trying to create an alliance or Front and Banerjee is working towards it. Telangana CM KCR and the Bihar CM are also proactive about the alliance of regional parties, Yadav had said.

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Accusing ED of ‘spreading lies’, BRS leader Kavitha Kalvakuntla offers to submit mobiles

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Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader Kavitha Kalvakuntla on Tuesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for her third round of questioning in connection with the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy.Before entering the ED office on Tuesday, Kalvakuntla, the daughter of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, flashed some mobile phones kept in a transparent sheet to the media and said she was going to submit them to the ED.

She also wrote a letter to the federal agency stating that “these phones are submitted without prejudice to my right and contentions and larger contentions whether a woman’s phone can be intruded, in the teeth of her right to privacy”.

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She further alleged “glaring act of malice on the part of the agency when it has chosen to make insinuations” against her in its first charge sheet filed last year in which the ED alleged that certain phones (allegedly used by her) were destroyed.

Responding to this charge, she has said: “It is baffling to note as to how, why and under what such circumstances agency made such allegations when I was not even summoned or asked any questions whatsoever.”

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She said the accusations against her were “not only mala fide, misconceive but also prejudicial”. The BRS leader said she was submitting the phones to dispel any notion or adverse impression that the agency was allegedly trying to create.According to the letter, “deliberate leakage of the false accusation (by the ED) to the public has led to a political slugfest” wherein her political adversaries have been “flaunting the accusations, to accuse her of destroying the so-called evidence and causing great harm to her reputation and attempting to defame her and her political party”.Her letter added: “It is unfortunate that a premier agency like the Enforcement Directorate is becoming privy and party to these acts and sabotaging and sacrificing its sacrosanct duty of free and fair investigation at the altar of vested political interest”.

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The BRS leader was questioned for over nine hours during her second round of questioning on Monday. She has challenged the ED summons in the Supreme Court. Her petition is slated to come up for hearing on March 24.



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ED quizzes K Kavitha; Telangana Minister Talasani Yadav accuses Centre of misusing Central investigative agencies

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