The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (CPI-M) has approved the decision to expel Ritabrata Banerjee, Rajya Sabha MP and former general secretary of the Student Federation of India, the party’s youth wing.The decision to expel Mr. Banerjee was taken by the West Bengal State Secretariat last Wednesday and the decision was eventually approved by the Polit Bureau, party’s highest decision-making body, a statement issued on Friday by Surjya Kanta Mishra, the State secretary of Bengal CPI-M, said. The one page statement said the party has tried “repeatedly” to “rectify” Mr. Banerjee but the attempts failed and thus he was expelled. “Instead of rectifying himself, he went on to tarnish party’s image,” Mr Mishra said in his statement. Mr Banerjee, who has a huge following among students and the youth, joined the CPI-M in 1996 as a student leader and was elected as a Rajya Sabha member in 2014. Following his expulsion on Friday, political circles in Bengal are rife with speculation about his next move. Mr Banerjee, however, refused to indicate if he would be joining any of the CPI-M’s rivals. Inquiry panelQuoting a report submitted by the commission of inquiry against Mr Banerjee, Mr. Mishra added that the State Committee approved of “punitive measures” against the former on August 7-8 and the Central Committee was “informed.”“But in an interview on September 11 to a television channel, Mr. Banerjee publicly denigrated the party. On basis of this [the interview] the State Secretariat decided to expel him,” Mr Mishra said.“CPI-M’s Polit Bureau has approved the decision,” Mr. Mishra said on Friday and added that the State Secretariat expelled Mr. Banerjee from the primary membership on basis of “Article 19  of party constitution.” Mr Banerjee was warned by the party in February for activities affecting the CPI-M’s internal rules and regulations. Eventually he was suspended in June by the West Bengal State Committee and a three-member probe commission, headed by Polit Bureau member Md. Salim, was formed. The commission gave its report indicating that Mr Banerjee was “guilty” of the allegations raised against him. He was chargesheeted by the party, Mr Mishra noted. Mr Banerjee challenged the charge sheet and the party by targeting the top brass including Prakash Karat and his wife Brinda. He also targeted Mr Salim and described the commission as a “kangaroo commission.”
The Additional CEO of Akola Zila Parishad has opted for voluntary retirement citing “threats and pressure” from the Minister of State for Home Ranjeet Patil, who is also the guardian minister of the district.“On February 12, the guardian minister had organised a ‘Janata Darbar’ in Akola. During this programme, the guardian minister spoke to me in unparliamentary and abusive language publicly. He also pressurised me to accept some tenders. I told him that accepting tenders, without following proper procedure, will be illegal but he got angry on me,” Subhash Pawar has said in his letter to Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Water Resources Department of Maharashtra government.Mr. Pawar has also alleged in his letter that the minister also threatened him during the programme.“The guardian minister threatened that he would see how to implicate me in some scandals since he is the minister of state for home. He also asked me as to why do I work as a government servant. I never experienced such treatment from anyone during my 25 years long service. My tenure as a government servant is spotless. This entire episode has increased my mental stress which is why I don’t intend to continue in the service anymore,” Mr. Pawar has said in his letter seeking voluntary retirement. Mr. Patil did not respond to calls from The Hindu.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton admitted on Saturday that greed almost cost him dearly before he clinched a landmark pole during qualifying for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.The three-times Formula One champion pipped team mate Valtteri Bottas to first place on the grid to secure his 66th career pole – one more than his childhood hero Ayrton Senna and two off record-holder Michael Schumacher.It was touch and go at one stage as Hamilton trailed his team mate after running wide on turn 16, with Bottas appearing destined for pole.”The lap before was very good until the last corner,” Hamilton told journalists in the post-qualifying press conference. “(It was) so weird that, just before going into it, I thought, ‘don’t be greedy’.”Of course, I was greedy and locked up.”A red flag prompted by Daniel Ricciardo’s collision late on in his Red Bull left Hamilton with enough time to attempt to overhaul Bottas, and in a gutsy shootout, he eventually pipped the Finn to top spot by 0.434 of a second.”It was do or die,” Hamilton added. “If ever there was a time to be perfect, that was the time.”In qualifying, sometimes you don’t extract it, but it was a perfect lap.”All weekend we’ve not been able to (get our tyres up to temperature) in one lap, but others have, so I had to give it everything,” he continued. “I could see (Bottas) was on a great lap, as well.”The British driver dominated the practice sessions on Baku’s street circuit last year before clipping the barriers during qualifying and starting the race 10th on the grid, ultimately finishing fifth.advertisementHowever, his strong showing on Saturday – coupled with an underwhelming fourth-placed qualification by rival Sebastian Vettel, of Ferrari – opens the door for Hamilton to win his fourth Grand Prix of the season.Hamilton currently sits second in the drivers’ championship standings, but cut Vettel’s lead to 12 points after winning the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this month and could overhaul him in Sunday’s race.