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Another setback to Congress in Gujarat as party MLA quits

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Gandhinagar, March 6 (IANS) Ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ in Gujarat, the party’s state unit faced another setback with the resignation of Manavadar constituency MLA, Arvind Ladani, from the grand old party.

The fresh jolt to the Congress came just two days after the departure of former Gujarat unit party president, Arjun Modhwadia.

Ladani submitted his resignation to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Shankar Chaudhary on Wednesday.

He is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after announcing his exit from the primary membership of the Congress.

Ladani, who embarked on his political journey as the Sarpanch of Kodvav village in 1989, has held various local leadership roles. He had secured victory in the 2022 Assembly elections against BJP’s Jawahar Chavda.

The resignation marks a continuing trend of the leaders of the grand old party switching to the BJP, reducing the Congress’ strength in the Assembly from 17 in 2022 to now 13.

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–IANS

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65 more refugees from Bangladesh take shelter in Mizoram

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Aizawl, May 20 (IANS) At least 65 more refugees, including 27 women and 24 children, entered Mizoram’s southern Lawngtlai district from Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) during the past two days, officials said on Monday.

Officials said that the fresh refugees came to Mizoram after troubles following the conflict between the Bangladesh Army and armed ethnic outfits in the mountainous areas of the southeast region of the neighbouring country.

The refugees have taken shelter at Vathuampui village and the villagers are providing them with food.

With this, the number of refugees from CHT in the state has risen to 1,433.

On May 10, 127 refugees from CHT entered Mizoram and took shelter in 6 villages.

The newcomers belong to the Bawm and Pang communities of tribals who called themselves the Kuki-Chin.

Refugees from CHT first fled to Mizoram in November 2022 after an armed confrontation started between the Bangladesh Army and the ethnic armed outfits, who are fighting for a separate state for the tribal people in the CHT.

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Meanwhile, after the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, over 34,350 people from the Chin state of the neighbouring country fled to Mizoram and are now staying in all 11 districts of the state.

Mizoram shares a 510 km and 318 km unfenced border with Myanmar and Bangladesh, respectively

–IANS

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Three persons rescued after fire breaks out at showroom in Karol Bagh

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Three men were rescued after a fire broke out at a garment store in Delhi’s Karol Bagh area on Monday evening, a fire department official said.

Director of Delhi Fire Service (DFS), Atul Garg, said that a call regarding the blaze at a clothing showroom on Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh was received at 5:28 p.m.

Initially, three occupants were seen stuck on the top floor of the building.

“They were taken out of the building with the help of the public using a ladder,” said a senior official.

“Around 15 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. While no one is reportedly stuck inside, a search is being carried out to ensure the safety of the occupants,” a police officer said.

–IANS

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TN health officials directed to prepare for medical emergencies amid forecast of heavy rain

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Chennai, May 20 (IANS) The Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH) in Tamil Nadu on Monday issued a circular to the district health officials to stay prepared for any medical emergencies after the weather department warned of continuous rain in the state and the arrival of southwest monsoon in Kerala on May 31.

The DPH directed the district medical officials that the southwest monsoon would bring moderate to heavy rain in various parts of Tamil Nadu due to a cyclonic circulation.

The circular also instructed the concerned authorities to make available an adequate number of health officials round the clock in view of the weather department’s forecast.

Rapid Medical Response Teams (RMRT) should also be made available in the vulnerable areas, which must consist of doctors, staff nurses, village health nurses, and health inspectors.

The state health department has also directed the district medical officers to store adequate quantities of medicines required for any emergency situation.

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The department urged the officials to provide on-the-spot medical care for minor ailments like fever, minor injuries, and skin diseases.

The circular also called upon the district medical officials to make available ambulance fleets with adequate fuel for any emergency situation.

–IANS

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60.09 per cent voting in fifth phase of LS polls, Baramulla turnout touches pre-turmoil levels (Lead)

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New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Voting in the crucial fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, spanning 49 seats in 8 states/UTs, ended on Friday with an estimated 60.09 per cent polling, spanning from a high of 74.65 per cent in West Bengal (7 seats) to a low of 54.29 per cent in Maharashtra (13 seats), though the Bollywood brigade and top business honchos were out in full force to set an example for the electorate.

The figures for the other states/UTs, as of 11.30 p.m., were 69.62 per cent for Ladakh (1 seat), 67.59 per cent in Odisha (5 seats as well as 35 Assembly seats), 63.07 per cent in Jharkhand (3 seats), 57.79 per cent in Uttar Pradesh (14 seats), 56.73 per cent in J&K (1 seat), and 54.85 per cent in Bihar.

The voting percentage “shall continue to be updated by the field level officers as polling parties keep returning and will be available PC wise (along with respective AC segments) live at VTR App, as was the case in the earlier phases,” the Election Commission said.

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It also said that the “data displayed here are as per the information being filled in the systems by the field officers. This is an approximate trend, as data from some polling stations (PS) takes time and this trend does not include Postal Ballot. The final account of votes recorded for each PS is shared in Form 17 C with all polling agents at the close of polls”.

Baramulla, witnessing a multi-cornered contest, saw a multitude of enthusiastic voters, and the turnout, provisionally pegged at 56.73 per cent, was the highest since 1984 in the pre-insurgency era, and the 46.65 per cent recorded in 1996, as per the EC.

Election officials of the UT said that it could touch 59 per cent.

Around 9 crore voters, braving the heat in several parts of the country, headed for the polling booths through the day after polls opened at 7 a.m. to decide the fates of 695 candidates.

However, the Election Commission rued that constituencies in cities like Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, and Lucknow continued the trend of urban apathy as noticed in the 2019 polls. On the other hand, voters and leaders also complained of the slow pace of polling which deterred some voters.

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However, in Mumbai, Bollywood and, to a lesser extent, television stars turned up to exercise their franchise, including Amitabh Bachchan, who showed up with wife Jaya, Deepika-Ranveer, Sanjay Dutt, Kajol, Tabu, and Shah Rukh Khan, who happily posed for the shutterbugs with his wife Gauri and son Aryan.

Most of the stars were happy to simply flash their inked index finger, but some, notably Dharmendra, Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, and Rajkummar Rao gave statements to the media, urging Mumbaikars to vote.

Top industrialists and corporate leaders, including Ratan Tata, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, accompanied by daughter Ananya Birla, also cast their vote.

The fifth phase may have been the smallest in number but contained a large number of high-profile seats from where top Union Ministers, including Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Piyush Goyal (Mumbai North) and Smriti Irani (Amethi) and leaders of national and regional parties, including Rahul Gandhi (Raebareli), Omar Abdullah (Baramulla), and Chirag Paswan (Hajipur) were contesting.

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Other key contests were in Kalyan where Shiv Sena’s Shrikant Shinde, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, is in the fray, UP’s Kaiserganj, where sitting BJP MP and former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh stood aside for his son Karan Bhushan Singh.

In Bihar’s Saran, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s daughter Rohini Acharya is facing BJP candidate and former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, while in West Bengal’s Hooghly, Trinamool Congress candidate and actress Rachna Banerjee is up against actress-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee of the BJP.

With the end of the fifth phase, polling has been completed in 428 Lok Sabha seats across 25 states/UTs with Maharashtra and Ladakh joining those where the poll process has concluded.

The next and penultimate phase, comprising 58 seats, is slated to be held on May 25, with Haryana and Delhi joining in for a single-phase polling.

–IANS

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605 complaints in Gurugram resolved after being received on C-Vigil app

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Gurugram, May 21 (IANS) The Gurugram district administration has resolved 605 online complaints related to the Lok Sabha elections in the district which were lodged on the C-VIGIL app, a top poll officer said.

District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav said that the C-VIGIL app is one of the major mobile apps of the Election Commission, on which any citizen can make a complaint regarding a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in an election.

“As of now, 654 complaints have been received on this app, of which 605 have been settled. Whereas 49 complaints were not found related to the Model Code of Conduct,” he added.

He said that 22 teams have been formed in the district to follow the MCC.

Of these, seven teams are working in the Sohna Assembly constituency and five teams each in Gurgaon, Badshahpur and Pataudi constituencies.

Whenever any complaint is received on C-VIGIL, it is immediately sent from the control room to the flying squad teams of that area.

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According to instructions of the Election Commission, a complaint is required to be resolved within 100 minutes.

“On average, every complaint is being resolved in Gurugram in 83 minutes. The toll-free number ‘1950’ was activated in the Gurugram Secretariat only after the elections were announced by the Election Commission. As many as 6,725 calls have been received on this number since March,” Yadav added.

Most of these complaints were regarding making voter cards and inquiring about polling booths and voter identity cards, he said.

He added that of the 6,725 nearly 6,591 queries were resolved satisfactorily, while 134 calls were found not related to Gurugram district.

–IANS

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