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Big tax cuts may be coming for middle class in next Budget
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FM Sitharaman says govt will pay states' share of GST; 'compact will be honoured'
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4 Telangana Rape-Murder Accused Shot Dead By Cops, "Tried To Escape"
5% GST rate may be hiked to 6% as govt looks to increase revenue
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Unemployment rate falls to 7.48% in November; labour participation rate lowest since 2016
Nepal's Anjali Chand Scripts History, Claims Best T20I Bowling Figures
Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Cong alliance wins floor test in Maharashtra assembly
FASTag not mandatory until December 15
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RBI Files Application To Begin Bankruptcy Proceedings Against Dewan Housing
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4 Telangana Rape-Murder Accused Shot Dead By Cops, "Tried To Escape"

In a stunning twist to a crime that horrified the nation, all four men accused in the gang-rape and murder of a young veterinarian in Telangana were shot dead in the early hours of Friday by the police, who claim they were trying to escape during investigations at the spot where the woman's body was found.

The four men, Mohammed Arif (26), Jollu Shiva (20), Jollu Naveen (20) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), had been taken to the scene of the crime at 3 am for a reconstruction, the police said. They were at the spot near a bridge where the charred body of the woman was found, around 50 km from Hyderabad, when, the police claim, one of the men signalled to the others, possibly to escape.

The police claim they fired in self-defence after two of the men attacked them, snatched their weapons and fired.

"They were killed in crossfire. They tried to snatch weapons from the guards but were shot dead," Prakash Reddy, a deputy commissioner of police in Hyderabad, said, adding that the men died before any medical help could arrive.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said it will send a team led by a senior police officer to Telangana to investigate the matter. The team will give a report soon, the NHRC said.

A huge crowd gathered on the bridge overlooking the spot and flashed thumbs-up signs at the police; some showered flowers.

The four, arrested a day after the crime, had been in custody of the police since Wednesday.

All the four accused in the Telangana rape and murder have been killed in an encounter

On November 27, the men, all truck-drivers and cleaners, saw the 27-year-old woman park her scooter near a toll-booth on a busy highway. They allegedly deflated her scooter tyre and waited. When she returned from a dermatology appointment, they took her to a truck yard with the promise of fixing her scooter, gang-raped her, strangled her and burnt her body to destroy evidence, according to the police.

Amid spiralling outrage, the Telangana Law Department had approved a fast-track court to try the case.

The woman's father told news agency ANI: "It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police and the government for this. My daughter's soul must be at peace now."

The incident has been passionately debated for days and now the controversial shooting has divided opinion.

Locals showered rose petals on Hyderabad Police personnel.

Several celebrities and even politicians praised the police though there were many voices of caution.

A former police officer suggested public anger had left the police with little choice. "Although it's totally unprofessional, but I think this was what was expected. I knew something like this was going to happen," said Swaranjit Sen, a former Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh.

Lawyer Vrinda Grover denounced the police shooting and said an FIR must be filed. "This is absolutely unacceptable. We don't want this form of trigger happy justice. There must be an independent judicial enquiry into this 'encounter'. There must be accountability of the police," said Ms Grover.

In parliament, several MPs had called for quick trial and hanging of the accused. In some emotional statements, MPs called for lynching of the men for the horrific crime.

Do you think instant justice have been served in this case?

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Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Cong alliance wins floor test in Maharashtra assembly

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance won the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on Saturday.

Altogether 169 MLAs vote in favour of the motion of confidence, pro tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil informed the House.

Four MLAs abstained, he said.

Nobody voted against the motion as all the 105 MLAs had walked out of the 288-member House, boycotting the floor test, before head count of MLAs began.

In the October 21 Assembly elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats. The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress won 56, 54 and 44 seats respectively in the October 21 polls.

Does Maharashtra deserve a CM like Uddhav Thackeray?

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Devendra Fadnavis resigned as Chief Minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah met this morning, immediately after the Supreme Court ordered Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority tomorrow, sources say. Not long after that meeting, Devendra Fadnavis resigned as Chief Minister.

The two top leaders of the ruling BJP reportedly discussed the options after the Supreme Court order, whether Devendra Fadnavis should face the test of strength or whether he should quit.

The supreme Court had ordered the Fadnavis government to face a floor test "immediately", saying if it was delayed, "there is a possibility of horse-trading, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act to protect democratic values".

PM Modi and Amit Shah, who were at a function in parliament to mark the Constitution Day, met soon after to discuss the verdict.

Mr Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were sworn in on Saturday morning in a deeply controversial oath ceremony that suddenly flashed on TV screens a few minutes before 8 am.

To facilitate the unscheduled oath, a central government order revoking President's Rule in Maharashtra was issued at 5.47 am after PM Modi used a rare clause to approve it without consulting the cabinet.

The manner in which the government formation took place was challenged by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance in the Supreme Court. 

The BJP claimed it had handed the Governor a letter of support from 170 MLAs before being invited to form government.

After joining hands with the BJP, Ajit Pawar had claimed the support of all 54 MLAs of his party NCP, but his uncle Sharad Pawar had contested it.

Over the past three days, however, NCP MLAs who had gone "missing" returned, some of them accusing Ajit Pawar of misleading them.

Yesterday, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine paraded their MLAs at a five-star hotel in Mumbai and said, "We have 162."

Do you think its a tactical move by BJP and NCP to remove Shiv Sena from power?

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Devendra Fadnavis Takes Over As Chief Minister, SC would declare its decision tomorrow

The Devendra Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar duo took charge in Maharashtra today and won another day to rally numbers as the Supreme Court, after an 80-minute hearing, said it would declare its decision tomorrow on a petition challenging the surprise government formation by the BJP on Saturday morning. The centre argued that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited Devendra Fadnavis to form government in Maharashtra based on a letter showing the support of 170 MLAs, including all 54 of Ajit Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). On the other hand, the rival group of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress submitted documents claiming the support of 154 MLAs and called for an "immediate" test of strength in the Maharashtra assembly.

Here are the top 10 updates on the Maharashtra case in Supreme Court:

1. The Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP have challenged the manner in which Mr Fadnavis was sworn in along with NCP's Ajit Pawar as his deputy at 7.50 am on Saturday after President's Rule was revoked at 5.47 am; Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly used a special rule that allows such decisions without a cabinet meet. The rapid developments took place hours after the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress announced an alliance with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister.

2. "We have 170 MLAs. The Governor saw the support of 170 MLAs. It is not a forged letter. The (BJP) was called and it took oath," said former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, representing Mr Fadnavis and the BJP. The BJP, which has 105 MLAs in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, needs 40 more to reach the majority-mark of 145.

3. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Governor's office, said Ajit Pawar had submitted signatures of all 54 NCP MLAs on Friday, and it was after this letter that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had invited Devendra Fadnavis to form government. The governor, he said, couldn't go for any roving inquiry and he had no reason to doubt the letter.

4. Appearing for BJP MLAs and two Independents, Mukul Rohatgi claimed that the Governor's decision cannot be subject to a judicial review. "My pre-poll partner (Sena) is not willing to join me. NCP through Ajit Pawar, the NCP legislature party leader, supports me. One Pawar is here.What's in the family, we are not concerned," Mr Rohatgi said.

5. Kapil Sibal, representing the rival alliance, called the BJP government formation "fraud of democracy" and called for an immediate floor test. "What's the national emergency to revoke President rule? Why did these things happen between 7 PM and 5.47 am?  Can't Governor wait for 24 hours," he questioned. He remarked, on Ajit Pawar, that "the jockey has run away but the horse are here together".

6. Mukul Rohatgi argued that the government must be given time to take a floor test and a speaker has to be elected after an interim speaker administers oath to the new MLAs. But the NCP's lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued against it, saying Ajit Pawar would try to issue a whip for the election of a Speaker and that would be illegal since he is no longer the chief of the legislature party.

7. The Supreme Court held a special Sunday hearing on the petition and asked the centre to produce the letter from Devendra Fadnavis claiming majority and that of the Governor inviting him to form government.

8. Ajit Pawar's party chief and uncle Sharad Pawar insists he went rogue and submitted a letter with signatures collected from MLAs for the Sena-led alliance, with a cover letter that claimed support to the BJP. 

9. In their petition, the three parties have claimed that the Governor was "duty bound" to study the claim of Mr Fadnavis before inviting him to form government. This was especially the case when the Sena, NCP and the Congress expressed their intention to stake claim to form the government, they said.

10. In 2018, after the Supreme Court ordered a trust vote, the BJP's BS Yediyurappa, who had taken oath as the Chief Minister, stepped down saying he didn't have the numbers.

Do you agree with Supreme Courts Decison?

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Union Minister Ramdas Athawale suggested BJP and Shiv Sena to end the political uncertainty in Maharashtra

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Monday suggested a power-sharing deal between the BJP and Shiv Sena to end the political uncertainty in Maharashtra. Both parties will get a chance to occupy the chief minister's post under the proposed agreement that has already been discussed with Sena leader Sanjay Raut, he said.

"I talked to Sanjay Rautji about a compromise. I suggested a formula of three years' chief ministership for the BJP and two years for the Shiv Sena, to which he said that the Shiv Sena could think about it if the BJP agrees. I will discuss this with the BJP now," news agency ANI quoted the Union Minister -- who also heads the Republican Party of India -- as saying.

The proposal came hours after Mr Athawale expressed confidence that the BJP and the Shiv Sena would bridge their differences to form the government in Maharashtra again. "I told Amit bhai (BJP chief Amit Shah) that if he mediates, we will find a way out of this problem. To this, he replied: 'Don't worry, everything will be fine. The BJP and the Shiv Sena will come together to form the government'," he said.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena, who have been allies for 35 years now, unofficially parted ways after tussling over government formation in Maharashtra for weeks. While the Shiv Sena claims that its estranged ally had promised it a 50:50 deal with half the cabinet positions and a turn at the Chief Minister's post, Amit Shah has denied giving any such assurance.

Breaking his silence on the matter last week, Amit Shah accused the Shiv Sena of making unacceptable post-poll demands. "Before the elections, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I had said many times in public that Devendra Fadnavis will be the Chief Minister if the alliance wins. Nobody objected back then. Now they have come up with new demands that are not acceptable to us," he said in an interview with ANI last week.

The Shiv Sena is currently in talks with the Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party to cobble up an alliance that would give them a shot at forming the government in Maharashtra. Mr Pawar had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the likely coalition this evening amid efforts to put together a common minimum programme. "There are some more issues to be sorted out," he said after the meeting.

Maharashtra is currently under President's Rule.

Do you think BJP and Shiv Sena will come together to form the government?

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