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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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NDMC budget plans smart public service delivery

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Smart roads, dedicated toilets for third gender, public e-charging stations, drinking water fountains, sewage treatment plants, setting up of an Integrated Command and Control Centre and not imposing any new tax for the next financial year, are among the plans listed by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) in its annual budget presented today.

NDMC chairman Dharmendra presented a budget with a moderate surplus of Rs 136.18 crore in the current financial year and Rs 172.47 crore for financial year 2021- 22, claiming its commitment to a “well governed and financially sustainable municipal body”.

“NDMC has not proposed any new tax for the next financial year in spite of a number of reliefs granted this year. In parallel, NDMC reported completion of major projects like Integrated Command and Control Centre this year and a series of projects for the next financial year focusing on uninterrupted power supply, other civic services and strengthening its internal governance,” Dharmendra said in his budget speech.

“In the pandemic scenario the NDMC budget is focused on uninterrupted, techenabled, smart, reliable, strong, swasth, swachh, futuristic and caring public service delivery.

New Delhi Municipal Council has prepared a budget which conveys our commitment to make NDMC a national pride and global benchmark as a resilient, inclusive, responsive, sustainable and future ready urban local body,” he claimed.

The NDMC chairman pointed out that the financial year 2020-21 commenced in an unprecedented manner with a complete national lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, which subsequently intensified followed by phase-wise unlocking process.

“I can say with confidence that NDMC has been successful in ensuring all municipal services in an uninterrupted manner befitting its leading persona among national local bodies. NDMC has taken its response and learning from Covid-19 challenge as a take-off point for its future development strategy to make NDMC a shockproof city.”

Dharmendra presented the financial projection of the total receipts of the budget estimates 2021-22 of Rs 4,299 crore against Rs 3,645.25 crore provided in revised estimates 2020-21.The actual receipts in 2019-20 were Rs 3,648.39 crore.

The budget estimates 2021- 22 for revenue receipts is Rs 3590.81 crore against Rs 3143.25 crore provided in revised estimates 2020-21 and actual of Rs 3,308.63 crore in 2019-20.

The budget estimates 2021- 22 for capital receipts are Rs 708.19 crore against Rs 502 crore provided in resived estimates 2020-21 and actual of Rs 339.75 crore in 2019-20.

“The next phase of setting up of Integrated Command and Control Centre includes four important modules on property tax, estate management, workshop management and asset management. While the first two will significantly bring in ease of doing business for the citizens, the other two will add to the efficiency and accountability in NDMC,” Dharmendra said.

“The concept plan for development work at KG Marg and Barakhamba Road will be developed and work will be taken up in FY 2021- 22. Concept plan for development work at Mandi House circle has been prepared and this too will be taken up in 2021-22,” he said.

Standard NDMC kiosks, smart public toilet units for women, dedicated toilets for third gender, modular rainwater harvesting pits, development of “happiness areas”, smart fountains, drinking water fountains, sewer treatment plants, making NDMC buildings safe for seismic effect, are among the proposals listed in the budget.

On the proposal for public e-charging station, the NDMC chairman said, “Under phase-I, out of 100 locations for EV charging station, 55 have already been installed.

Under phase two, out of 45 locations for EV charging station, 17 have been installed. In nine locations installation work has been completed and would be commissioned shortly. For remaining 19 locations (including 6 plaza locations) the work is in progress.”

“NDMC proposes to install 5MW capacity Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) as a pilot to meet the peak load demand and improvement of power factor. Battery energy storage helps balance the fluctuations in supply resulting from the variability of renewable energy generation sources in the network,” he said.

“Resurfacing of 19 roads earlier and 23 additional roads has been completed including lanes and by-lanes wherever resurfacing was due. Tender for 2 small electric road sweeping machines on hiring basis has been invited and the work would be awarded in this FY 2020-21,” he added.

The preparation of basketball, volleyball and other playing courts in NDMC schools, re-development of a school of Lodhi Colony into a “school of excellence”, establishing a 50-bed Ayush hospital with research centre, setting up of organic waste convertor, setting up of activity centres in all primary wing, introduction of bag-less preprimary and primary classrooms, science parks in NDMC and Navyug schools, are among the plans listed by the NDMC for health and education sector.

source: The Statesman

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Donald Trump impeached for second time, Senate likely to hold trial after his departure

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US President Donald Trump was impeached for the second time indicting President a week before he leaves office for inciting a riot.

Unlike Trump’s first impeachment, which proceeded with almost no GOP support, Wednesday’s effort attracted 10 Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 party leader in the House. The Senate now appears likely to hold a trial after Trump’s departure, an unprecedented scenario that could end with lawmakers barring him from holding the presidency again, reported The Washington Post.

As per the report, the final vote was 232-197.

The impeachment was laid against Trump for inciting “revolt” in a speech to his followers on January 7 following which a mob stormed the Capitol, leading to the death of the five.

The US Vice President Mike Pence had, on Tuesday evening, rejected the move by The Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to remove Trump.

The House is still dominated by the Republicans and the action is likely to trigger a trial in the Senate, although it was unclear whether enough time or political appetite is still there expel Trump.

“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The House has passed a resolution formally calling on Pence to act with the final vote being 223-205 in the favour.

Meanwhile, in what could be a further indicator of Trump losing his iron grip on his party, at least four Republicans, including a member of the House leadership, said they would vote for his second impeachment – a prospect no president before Trump has faced.

Last Wednesday, violence had broken out at the White House after the supporters of President Donald Trump entered the building in anger over his election defeat.

The protesters, who were reportedly the supporters of Donald Trump, swarmed the US Capitol putting it on lockdown as Vice President Mike Pence rebuffed the president’s demand to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

source: The Statesman

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AAP marks Lohri by burning copies of farm laws in Punjab

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday burnt copies of the Centre’s controversial agriculture laws while celebrating the festival of Lohri, which the party dedicated to the martyrs of farmers’ movement, across Punjab.

In a statement, AAP state president and Member of Parliament (MP) from Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann said farmers were working day and night against the “black laws” of the Central government and were getting martyred during agitation.

He said that so far more than 65 of farmers were martyred in the agitation. “In this moment of farmers’ crisis, all AAP workers have decided to dedicate this year’s Lohri, to farmers who were martyred in the movement,” said Mann. The MP said that the party workers saluted the spirit and courage of the farmers by burning more than eight lakh copies of the agriculture black in every village, locality and cities of every district of Punjab, at more than 16,000 places.

Mann said these black laws were not laws, but warrants of death for ‘annadatas’ (farmers). He said that on one side, sons of the farmers of Punjab were getting martyred while fighting the enemies on the border of the country and on the other hand, farmers were getting martyred by agitating against the dictator ruler of their own country.

“The ruler of the country (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is immersed in the ego of power. Due to his arrogance, he is not listening to the legitimate demands of farmers, who have been struggling on the roads for months, risking their lives in this severe cold. He is forcing them to struggle on the roads in this harsh weather,” he added.

Mann said the Central government should not play with the feelings of the farmers and repeal the black laws immediately. He further expressed sorrow over the decision of the Supreme Court, saying that it was very unfortunate that even the apex court could not understand the problems of the farmers properly and the farmers could not get justice from the court. He said that it had been more than a month and a half, since our farmers were sitting in severe cold against the Modiled Central government.

“More than 65 of our farmer brothers who were agitating have lost their lives. But, the Modi government and BJP leaders are giving mental pain to the farmers and hurting their self-esteem by making false statements and allegations against them,” said Mann. The AAP leader said that the Modi government was taking away the Constitutional rights of common people of the country and was attacking the democratic structure of India in violation of the dignity of the constitution.

source: The Statesman

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