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Bengal Assembly bypolls: Brisk polling continues amid reports of violence

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Bengal Assembly bypolls: Brisk polling continues amid reports of violence

Kolkata, July 10 (IANS) Brisk polling was continuing in four Assembly constituencies in West Bengal on Wednesday amid reports of stray incidents of violence and election malpractices surfacing from different pockets.

The complaints have mainly surfaced from Ranaghat-Dakshin constituency in Nadia district and Bagda in North 24 Parganas.

Till 11 a.m. as many as 26 complaints of such election malpractices have been registered with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), West Bengal, out of which 20 are from Ranaghat-Dakshin alone.

However, the polling process was more or less peaceful in the remaining two constituencies of Raiganj in North Dinajpur district and Maniktala in Kolkata.

In the first four hours, the average polling percentage in these four Assembly constituencies was reported at 23.45, with Raiganj being the highest at 25.98, followed by Ranaghat-Dakshin at 23.32, Bagda at 22.63 and Maniktala the lowest at 21.89.

At Bagda, BJP candidate Binay Kumar Biswas faced massive protest from Trinamool Congress activists after he reached a polling booth in the constituency. The ruling party activists surrounded him and started shouting go-back slogans.

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“I went to this booth after receiving complaints of booth-jamming. After I reached there the ruling party activists aggressively heckled me, and it was clear what was going on there. I have informed the electoral officers about the entire development,” Biswas told media persons.

At Bagda again, controversies flared as the Trinamool Congress candidate Madhuparna Thakur was spotted moving around in an SUV with the sticker of ‘Government of India’ pasted on the windshield of the vehicle. She was accompanied by her mother and Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Mamata Bala Thakur.

However, as the BJP sought the attention of the CEO’s office in the matter, the sticker was covered by pasting white paper on it.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought a detailed report on the complaints of firing in Purnanagar under the Ranaghat-Dakshin constituency. The district police of Nadia have started an SDPO-level probe into the matter.

–IANS

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Union budget puts a brake on Kerala's development: CM Vijayan

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Union budget puts a brake on Kerala's development: CM Vijayan

Union budget puts a brake on Kerala's development: CM Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram, July 23 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam clearly puts a brake on the state’s development plans.

“I will not complain about giving more to some states, but, I will definitely speak when states like Kerala have not been considered and such a thing should not have happened as it puts a brake on the state’s foray into the future,” he said in his response to the first budget of the third Narendra Modi government.

“This is certainly a challenge to the people of Kerala. Now we will go in-depth into the budget papers and then we will again approach the Centre after trying to arrive at a consensus here,” Vijayan added.

Top leaders of the opposition Congress echoed similar views of Kerala being sidelined in the Budget.

State Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal, ahead of the Budget preparations, had personally called on Union Finance Minister Sitharaman and submitted a memorandum requesting a special package of Rs 24,000 crore, but what has upset all here is that even the word Kerala does not figure in the Budget.

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Vijayan also pointed out that an AIIMS in the state has been a long-standing demand and that too is not there.

But actor turned Union Minister Suresh Gopi, who won a stellar victory from Thrissur to open the BJP’s account in the state, was unfazed and when the media asked him about the state, he shot back: “Why are there no youths, women, or the fisheries sector in Kerala.”

“You (media), please read the budget and then speak,” he said. “You just take it from me… on my first visit to Kozhikode after being sworn in, I have assured that an AIIMS is coming to Kerala and you take it from me, it will come,” Gopi added.

Balagopal, however, took potshots on the Budget and said when the BJP opened its account in the Lok Sabha from Kerala, in the Budget, Kerala’s account has been closed.

–IANS

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FM announces financial aid to Assam, Sikkim for flood management

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FM announces financial aid to Assam, Sikkim for flood management

FM announces financial aid to Assam, Sikkim for flood management

Guwahati, July 23 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech on Tuesday announced providing financial assistance for flood management and related projects in Assam and Sikkim.

While presenting her seventh straight budget in the Lok Sabha, she said that Assam grapples with floods every year from the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries, originating outside India.

“We will provide assistance to Assam for flood management and related projects,” she announced.

Announcing financial assistance for Sikkim, the Finance Minister said that recently Sikkim witnessed devastating flash floods and landslides that wreaked havoc across the state.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma thanked the Union Finance Minister for proposing special assistance to the state to meet the challenges posed by recurring floods.

Reacting to the Union budget, the Chief Minister in his statement on social media said: “We are extremely grateful for the special assistance Assam will receive under this budget to help meet the challenges posed by floods.”

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FM Sitharaman while presenting the budget in the Lok Sabha proposed assistance to the flood-affected states like Bihar, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim with flood management and development support, including financial backing for flood control projects.

–IANS

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NCPCR slaps notice to Netflix for showing smutty content accessible by kids

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NCPCR slaps notice to Netflix for showing smutty content accessible by kids

NCPCR slaps notice to Netflix for showing smutty content accessible by kids

Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) Adopting a tough stance, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has slapped a notice on the OTT platform Netflix for allegedly showcasing adult content that is accessible by kids, on Tuesday.

NCPCR has served the notices to Netflix India Vice-President (Content) Monika Shergil and Policy Head Ambika Khurana, directing them to appear before it in person on July 29 in Delhi.

The notice was served following a complaint lodged by former journalist Uday Mahurkar of Save Culture, Save Bharat Foundation (SCSBF) with the NCPCR.

As per the complaint by SCSBF, Netflix is illegally showcasing the most horrendous pornographic content on its platform, which is easily accessible to minors.

The NCPCR had already sent a letter to Netflix on June 10 to take the necessary steps and submit an Action Taken Report within 10 days, but that was not complied with.

It has pointed out that “the unrestricted accessibility of explicit content on Netflix to minors” constitutes an offence under the POCSO Act, 2012, Section 11.

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The relevant section states: “A person is said to commit sexual harassment upon a child when such person, with sexual intent, shows any object to a child in any form or media for pornographic purposes.”

The NCPCR has warned that failure to comply with the notice could attract legal consequences, and directed the top officials to appear before it on July 29.

–IANS

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President Droupadi Murmu to visit Maharashtra on July 28

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President Droupadi Murmu to visit Maharashtra on July 28

President Droupadi Murmu to visit Maharashtra on July 28

Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) President Droupadi Murmu will visit Maharashtra from July 28 to 30.

She will visit Pune, Kolhapur, Mumbai, Nanded and Latur during her visit.

Among various programmes, she will attend the function to celebrate the Centenary Year of the Maharashtra Legislative Council on July 29 in Mumbai.

Her programmes planned for July 28 include a visit to the Mahalaxmi temple at Kolhapur, the inauguration of the mineral water plant at Savitri Mahila Audyogik Sahakari Sanstha and the extension building of Shobhatai Kore Warana Mahila Sahakari Patsanstha (credit society).

On July 29, the President will attend the 21st Convocation Ceremony of Symbiosis International Deemed University at Pune and later attend the Centenary year function of the Maharashtra Legislative Council at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.

On July 30, she will inaugurate the Buddha Vihar at Udgir in Latur district and visit Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib at Nanded.

On the same day, she will fly back to Delhi.

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–IANS

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Maha: War of words erupts between Ajit Pawar & Girish Mahajan over development funds

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Maha: War of words erupts between Ajit Pawar & Girish Mahajan over development funds

Maha: War of words erupts between Ajit Pawar & Girish Mahajan over development funds

Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who also holds the Finance portfolio, and Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan on Tuesday at the Cabinet meeting were reportedly engaged in a war of words over the allocation of development funds.

The verbal duel between the two leaders shocked the other cabinet members as it took place in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Girish Mahajan demanded additional funds for his department for the 25/15 scheme (the projects suggested by the elected representatives under this scheme are implemented mainly in rural areas) from the Finance Department headed by Ajit Pawar.

However, Pawar got agitated and reportedly asked Mahajan, “Where will we get the money, what land parcels the government should sell now to mobilise the funds?”

Mahajan also replied to Pawar and insisted that the funds need to be mobilised for the implementation of the 25/15 scheme in the run-up to the upcoming Assembly election.

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He referred to the proposal seeking the Cabinet’s approval for the allocation of crores of rupees for a monument in the Sinnar constituency in Nashik district represented by an NCP legislator.

“If your (Pawar) stand is not to spend or demand additional funds for want of money then why the money is being allocated for the Sinnar monument?” asked Mahajan.

In the recently presented state budget, Pawar announced a slew of welfare schemes worth almost Rs 1 lakh crore which has put an additional burden on the state exchequer.

The Finance Department has hinted that the state government may have to raise loans for the implementation of those schemes.

–IANS

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