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Lok Sabha elections 2019: 17% polling till 11 am on final voting day; clashes in West Bengal

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Nearly 17% voters cast their votes in the first four hours of polling in the final round of the seven-phase elections, which began on April 11, for electing the 17th Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi is among the 59 parliamentary seats voting across 7 states.

At 11 am, the Election Commission website put the overall voting figure at 17.01 per cent, with Jharkhand reporting highest turnout of 23.86% and Punjab lowest of 10.40%.

The PM , as he did in all the earlier phases too, tweeted an appeal in the morning, urging voters to come out and vote in huge numbers. “Your one vote will shape India’s development trajectory in the years to come. I also hope first time voters vote enthusiastically,” he wrote.

West Bengal, which has witnessed high-decibel campaign and also violence during voting, witnessed clashes on Sunday too with Trinamool and BJP blaming each other for violence. Crude bombs were hurled at two places in Gilaberia area in Deganga of North 24 Parganas district under Barasat constituency and in Raidighi of South 24 Parganas district under Mathurapur constituency came in as voters queued up in polling booths.

There were allegations that BJP supporters were beaten up and its camp office vandalised allegedly by TMC workers in Kultoli in Jaynagar Lok Sabha . Sayantan Basu, the BJP’s candidate for Basirhat constituency, alleged rigging in several areas and said police was doing nothing to stop it.

BJP candidate in Diamond Harbour constituency, Nilanjan Roy, alleged that his car was vandalised in front of police in Budge Budge area.

“Bike-borne goons came and vandalised by car. We have informed the EC and police super about the incident. The EC has failed to utilise the police and security forces. The poll panel has become a mute spectator. I had told the police that trouble would take place here on polling day,” said Roy.

Mala Roy, the TMC’s candidate in Kolkata South constituency, alleged that central force personnel did not allow her to enter booth number 72 in a polling station in Mudiali under her constituency. Roy said she went after learning that polling was stopped for 45 minutes. She said she will lodge a complaint with the poll watchdog.

Early morning queues were seen at several polling booths in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was among the early voters and batted for shorter poll schedules: “Elections should not be held over such a long duration, there was a long gap between each phase of voting. I will write to leaders of all parties to build a consensus on this.”

Among the early voters were BJP’s Yogi Adityanath, Sushil Kumar Modi, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rahul Sinha; Congress’s Pawan Kumar Bansal, Trinamool’s Abhishek Banerjee and cricketer Harbhajan Singh.

More than two months of official campaigning for the 2019 general elections ended on Friday. The Election Commission of India (ECI) had announced the schedule on March 10.

Three states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal — had constituencies scheduled for polling in each of the seven phases in the elections. In addition to these states, Sunday’s polling will include all PCs in the northern states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Three PCs in Jharkhand are also scheduled to vote.

Of the 59 setas where voting will take place, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 33 in the 2014 elections. Its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won an additional seven seats. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had won just five of these seats.

Varanasi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the BJP’s candidate, will be voting in Sunday’s phase. Gorakhpur, a seat that was held by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath for a long time, and which the BJP lost in a by-poll, will also vote. West Bengal, which has nine PCs voting in the final phase, has seen large-scale poll-related violence in these elections. The ECI cited this as a reason to cut short the campaign period in the state by a day. To be sure, opposition parties have questioned the impartiality of the ECI over the manner in which this decision was taken.

Among the northern states, the BJP is running the government in Himachal Pradesh, while the Congress is in power in Punjab. In Madhya Pradesh, eight PCs in the agriculturally prosperous Malwa region are voting in the last phase. Considered to be a BJP stronghold, it has seen rural unrest and agitations against the previous BJP government in the state.

BIHAR
ArrahRajkumar Singh, BJP
BuxarAshwini Kumar Choubey, BJP
SasaramChhedi Paswan, BJP
KarakatUpendra Kushwaha, RLSP
JahanabadArun Kumar, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party
NalandaKaushalendra Kumar, JD(U)
Patna SahibShatrughan Sinha, BJP (now with Congress)
PatliputraRam Kripal Yadav, BJP
PUNJAB
Amritsar:Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Congress
Anandpur SahibPrem Singh Chandumajra, SAD
BathindaHarsimrat Kaur, SAD
Faridkot (SC)Sadhu Singh, AAP
Fatehgarh Sahib (SC)Harinder Singh Khalsa, AAP
FerozepurSher Singh Ghubaya, SAD
GurdaspurSunil Jakhar, Congress
Hoshiarpur (SC)Vijay Sampla, BJP
Jalandhar (SC)Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Congress
Khadoor SahibRanjit Singh Brahmpura, SAD (SAD-Taksali)
LudhianaRavneet Singh Bittu, Congress
PatialaDharamvira Gandhi, AAP
SangrurBhagwant Mann, AAP
CHANDIGARH
ChandigarhKirron Kher, BJP
HIMACHAL PRADESH
KangraShanta Kumar, BJP
HamirpurAnurag Thakur, BJP
MandiRamswaroop Sharma, BJP
ShimlaVirender Kashyap, BJP
JHARKHAND
GoddaNishikant Dubey, BJP
DumkaShibu Soren, JMM
RajmahalVijay Hansdak, JM

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Delhi continues to sizzle today as IMD predicts 46 degree Celsius

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Delhi and its nearby areas such as Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad and Ghaziabad continue to experience heat wave on Tuesday, with India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting the maximum temperature at 46 degree Celsius.

However, the weather forecasting agency predicted that tomorrow (June 12), the capital will be hit by thunderstorm or dust storm.

Besides, the heatwave in many parts with a severe heatwave in isolated pockets over East Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are also predicted.

“Heat wave to severe heat wave in isolated pockets over Uttar Pradesh; heat wave in isolated pockets over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema and Tamilnadu,” the IMD stated in its all India weather warning bulletin.

Gale winds speed reaching 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph very likely to prevail over East-Central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea; 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph over Lakshadweep area, Kerala, Karnataka and south Maharashtra coasts, it added.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into these areas.

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Cyclone Vayu to turn into severe storm today, may bring heavy rain to southern coast

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A deep depression formed over the Arabian Sea, around 760 km south-southwest of Mumbai, on Monday afternoon, which is likely to bring heavy to very heavy rain in parts of Kerala, coastal and south interior Karnataka, Konkan region, Goa and the Lakshadweep islands, a bulletin of the India Meteorological Department stated Monday.

The system will intensify into a cyclonic storm by Tuesday afternoon and a severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of up to 115 kmph in the next 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned.

“The deep depression is currently away from the coast and travelling north-northwestwards. It is being closely monitored by IMD and might make landfall in Gujarat, but even if it does not, it is close enough to the landmass that the impact of cyclone will be felt along the Western coast,” said Dr K Sathi Devi, a scientist at the IMD.

Under the influence of the low-pressure system, monsoon advancement will be delayed once it intensifies into a cyclonic storm, she said.

Monsoon hit Kerala on Saturday after a week-long delay.

“When such an intense low-pressure system forms, it pulls in all the moisture-bearing winds towards it, changing the course of the monsoons. Because of the changes in the wind directions, most of the rain from the southwest monsoon will be over the oceans and some areas in the western coast,” Devi said.

The cyclone is likely to be named on Tuesday as it develops into a storm.

Monsoon activity in the southern peninsula will pick up once the low-pressure system moves towards the Gujarat coast. “The cyclonic storm forming over the Arabian Sea will bring heavy rainfall to the Western coastal areas. But, it has affected the progress of monsoon, which was delayed anyway this year. By now, it should have reached Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The monsoon rains in the interior of the peninsula should pick up after about 48 hours when the cyclonic storm moves towards Gujarat,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president, meteorology and climate change at Skymet.

Skymet has reiterated that farmers in southern peninsula and central India should delay sowing for Kharif crops.

The wind speeds will also increase over the next three days. This will result in rough seas along and off the coast of Kerala, Karnataka, south Maharashtra, and south Gujarat.

The IMD has advised fishermen to not venture into Arabian Sea and asked those in deep-sea areas to return to the coast. The rain brought on by the low-pressure system is unlikely to offer any respite from the heatwave to severe heatwave conditions over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, southern parts of Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

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2-year-old Punjab boy, stuck for 110 hours in borewell, dies after being pulled out

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A two-year-old child, who had fallen into a 150-foot-deep unused borewell in Punjab’s Sangrur, has been declared dead. He was pulled out of the borewell on Tuesday morning after a rescue operation of over 110 hours.

Fatehvir Singh was rushed to PGI Chandigarh where doctors declared him dead.

The child was rescued around 5:30 am by National Disaster Response Force personnel. “Fatehvir has been pulled out of the borewell and he is being taken to hospital in an ambulance,” Sagrur Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said.

A team of doctors had been stationed at the site of the accident to provide medical assistance along with an ambulance equipped with a ventilator..

The toddler was stuck in the seven-inch wide borewell at a depth of 125 feet. The only child of his parents who had turned two on Monday, he fell into the borewell in a field when he was playing in Bhagwanpura village around 4 pm on Thursday.

The borewell was covered with a cloth and the boy accidentally stepped on it. His mother tried to rescue him, but failed, officials said.

A massive rescue operation was launched to bring the child safely out of the borewell. Officials managed to supply oxygen but no food or water could be provided to him. A parallel borewell of 36 inches in diameter was dug to rescue the child.

On Monday, there was anger among people against the district administration and the state government over the delay in rescuing Fatehvir.

A large number of people had assembled around the accident site and several of them raised slogans against the government. Villagers had also held protest and blocked the Sunam-Mansa road.

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