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Brothers in arms: Pawan Kalyan’s swearing-in makes Chiranjeevi proud

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Brothers in arms: Pawan Kalyan’s swearing-in makes Chiranjeevi proud

Vijayawada, June 12 (IANS) It was a moment Jana Sena leader and actor Konidala Pawan Kalyan had been waiting for years.

Taking oath as a minister in the presence of his elder brother and megastar Konidala Chiranjeevi in front of thousands of people was a big achievement for the actor-politician.

‘Power star’, as Pawan Kalyan is popularly known in film circles, was the first minister to take oath after Nara Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

There were loud cheers from his fans and supporters as the Jana Sena leader took oath.

Chiranjeevi, who was seated with superstar Rajinikanth and actor-politician N. Balakrishna on the adjacent dais, was seen clapping while his wife Konidala Lezhneva, who was present in one of the VIP galleries, was delighted.

Chiranjeevi, whose political tryst ended in a disaster 15 years ago, was proud to see his younger brother taking oath, and the centre stage of Andhra Pradesh politics.

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chandrababu Naidu, and Governor Abdul Nazeer, Pawan Kalyan headed to the adjacent dais to take the blessings of Chiranjeevi by touching his feet, as the megastar hugged his brother to congratulate him.

Pawan Kalyan, after the completion of the swearing-in, went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to meet his elder brother. The PM obliged and held the hands of the siblings and raised them in a show of bonhomie.

Pawan Kalyan in a way gifted his win to Chiranjeevi. The victory came after his hard work of the last 10 years and the big setback of 2019 when he lost both the Assembly seats he contested.

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Jana Sena, which had fought the elections in alliance with the BSP and the Left parties, could win just one seat in the 175-member Assembly and even the lone MLA had later defected to the ruling YSR Congress Party.

This time, Jana Sena changed its strategy to strike an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). By winning all 21 Assembly and both Lok Sabha seats it contested, Jana Sena had a 100 per cent strike rate in the polls.

Pawan Kalyan was elected from the Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada district with a margin of 70,000 votes to finally make it to the Assembly.

The Jana Sena led by Pawan achieved what the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Chiranjeevi could not in 2008.

The superstar had launched PRP amid much fanfare in 2008 when it was compared to legendary actor N. T. Rama Rao’s political plunge with the formation of TDP in 1982, which changed the course of Andhra Pradesh politics.

Pawan Kalyan was then the leader of the youth wing of PRP. The duo along with their brother and actor Naga Babu and other family members had actively campaigned during the 2009 elections. However, the party came a cropper, winning just 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly of united Andhra Pradesh.

Chiranjeevi himself suffered defeat from Palakollu in his home district of West Godavari, but was elected from Tirupati.

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The death of then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009, a few months after retaining power, and the subsequent developments altered the political scene in the state.

In 2011, Chiranjeevi merged PRP with Congress and the latter rewarded him with nomination to the Rajya Sabha and induction into the Union Cabinet as Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge).

The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 triggered huge public anger against the Congress in the Andhra and Rayalaseema region as the party drew a blank in simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The elections also saw the two brothers in rival camps. While Chiranjeevi was leading the Congress campaign, Pawan Kalyan had vowed to finish off the party which ‘divided’ the state. He did not contest the elections but campaigned for the TDP-BJP alliance, which stormed to power in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.

After the Congress’ complete rout, Chiranjeevi distanced himself from politics and started focusing on films once again. However, Pawan Kalyan was determined to play a long innings.

The Jana Sena leader later parted ways with both the BJP and TDP for failing to deliver on the promise to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

The maverick star vowed to continue his fight for new-age politics and took up campaigns on some major public issues. He, however, came under criticism from rivals for being a part-time politician. Unfazed by this criticism, he continued his efforts.

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After the disaster of 2019, he revived the alliance with the BJP. He became active about two years ago and started working to bring together the TDP and the BJP, which had snapped ties in 2018 on the issue of special category status.

This time, he vowed to end the ‘misrule’ of YSRCP and took the initiative to align with the TDP. He finally succeeded in bringing the BJP on board and even sacrificed a few seats to avoid a split of anti-incumbency votes.

He made it clear to his supporters that he is not in a hurry and that he remained committed to bringing about a change and achieving his goal of new-age politics.

As someone who does not fear defeat, the ‘Power Star’ was determined to carry on his fight. The actor-politician, who connects well with people, especially the youth, started gaining acceptance.

His strategy paid rich dividends not only for the Jana Sena, but also for the alliance which stormed to power with a landslide victory.

Pawan, who made his film debut in 1996 with ‘Akkada Ammayi, Ikkada Abbayi’ and has a string of hits under his belt, is seen as a person yearning for some higher purpose in life.

He admitted on several occasions that sometimes, he used to feel completely out of place in the movies.

Now with his entry into the Assembly and as the Deputy Chief Minister, he is set to play a new real-life role.

–IANS

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SI paper leak: ‘Illegal’ house of accused razed in Rajasthan

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SI paper leak: ‘Illegal’ house of accused razed in Rajasthan

SI paper leak: ‘Illegal’ house of accused razed in Rajasthan

Jaipur, July 22 (IANS) The Rajasthan government on Monday demolished the ‘illegally’ constructed house of an accused involved in the Sub Inspector (SI) recruitment paper leak in Churu.

Officials said that the accused, Vivek Bhambhu, had ‘illegally’ constructed permanent structures on two plots in Poonia Colony of Churu.

“The JCB and tractor of the Municipal Council reached street number 11 of Poonia Colony, where the accused had made illegal construction on plot numbers 114 and 115 without the permission of the council. These constructions were demolished with the help of JCB,” DSP Sunil Kumar Jhajharia said.

He said that the house was built on the boundary of the Municipal Council illegally without permission. “That is why the house was demolished,” he said.

–IANS

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Action demanded about wild elephant found buried inside Assam oil refinery

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Action demanded about wild elephant found buried inside Assam oil refinery

Action demanded about wild elephant found buried inside Assam oil refinery

Guwahati, July 22 (IANS) Northeastern region’s leading biodiversity conservation organisation, ‘Aaranyak’ and a few organisations in Assam on Monday demanded legal action against the alleged illegal disposal of elephant carcass inside Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) campus in Golaghat district.

Member of the Steering Committee of the government’s Project Elephant Bibhuti P Lahkar also in a letter to Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav demanded proper inquiry into the illegal disposal of elephant carcasses inside the NRL campus.

The Assam Forest Department exhumed the carcass of the elephant on July 19 and later, a post-mortem was carried out.

A case under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 was registered by the Forest Department after the NRL buried the carcass of the wild elephant without informing the Forest Department.

‘Aaranyak’, a member of the State Board of Wildlife, Assam and former member of the National Board of Wildlife, expressed its deep concern and outrage about the July 18 incident involving the death of a female wild elephant inside the Numaligarh Oil Refinery campus in Golaghat district of Assam.

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“This tragic event is a stark reminder of the ongoing threats faced by elephants in their natural habitat, particularly in the Golaghat district, which is part of a critical elephant corridor,” ‘Aaranyak’ said in a statement.

It said that reports indicate that the elephant died due to suspected electrocution after coming into contact with an exposed power cable within the Butterfly Park adjacent to the refinery, set up by the government under the provisions made in the historic Assam Accord signed on August 15, 1985.

‘Aaranyak’ said: “What is even more shocking is that the refinery authorities buried the elephant without notifying the forest department, in gross violation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as amended in 2022.

The biodiversity protection body said that the elephants are classified as Schedule I animals under the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act 2022, and recognized as endangered species, besides the National Heritage Animal in the country, deserve the highest level of protection and respect.”

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This incident raises serious questions about the operational protocols of the NRL, its intention and its commitment towards the welfare of wildlife, it said.

Various students and wildlife-related organisations in Golaghat district also demanded a probe and legal action against those responsible for the death and illegal burial of the elephant.

On July 12, Assam Water Resources and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pijush Hazarika requested the state’s Environment and Forest Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary to take measures to prevent elephant deaths hit by trains.

Hazarika’s request to Patowary comes four days after an adult wild elephant died after being hit by a speeding train in Assam’s Morigaon district on July 9.

Officials said the mishap took place in the Jagiroad area on the outskirts of Guwahati city.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials said that the area was not an elephant corridor, so there were no speed restrictions.

–IANS

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Maha: Countering Maratha stir, OBC groups launch long march from Jalna

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Maha: Countering Maratha stir, OBC groups launch long march from Jalna

Maha: Countering Maratha stir, OBC groups launch long march from Jalna

Jalna (Maharashtra), July 22 (IANS) In apparent counter to the hunger strike launched by Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil for Maratha quotas, the OBCs’ resistance groups led by Laxman Hake launched its own awareness march to ensure the community’s quotas are not diluted, here on Monday.

Prof Hake along with a large number of followers, started the ‘Arakshan Bachao OBC Jan Akrosh Yatra’ march from Ambad village in Jalna, carrying banners, and posters while raising slogans.

This will come barely three days before the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) President Prakash Ambedkar and his team launch a separate ‘Save Reservations Yatra’ on July 25, starting from Mumbai, going to Pune, Kolhapur, and after passing several districts terminate in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar.

The OBCs’ procession will traverse through several districts including Ahmednagar, Parbhani, Beed, Hingoli, Washim, Buldhana, and Chhatrapati Sambhajinar with hundreds of OBC members likely to join en route.

It may be recalled that from July 20, Jarange-Patil launched his 6th indefinite hunger strike in a year from his native Antarwali-Sarati village (Jalna) and has threatened to announce his next phase of the programme in August if the state government doesn’t concede to the demands of the Marathas.

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The demands comprise the inclusion of reservation for Marathas as ‘Kunbis’ a sub-caste under the OBC category, giving OBC Kunbi certificates to those who seek it, and a formal notification for the ‘sage-soyare’ (bloodline) which would entire more people to get reservation.

Visibly irked by the OBCs’ march today, Jarange-Patil warned that he would launch an agitation outside the Nashik (Yeola) home of Nationalist Congress Party Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, and also contest all the 288 seats in the October Assembly elections while slamming both the government and opposition parties for letting them down despite giving assurances.

“We have no hope from the ruling MahaYuti or the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi. We shall work to defeat all their candidates who have worked against the interests of the Marathas, and also put up our nominees for elections in all the 288 seats,” Jarange-Patil said on July 20 in what was construed as a shift of gear from a limited social cause to a larger political platform.

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–IANS

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Nipah virus alert sounded in Rajasthan

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Nipah virus alert sounded in Rajasthan

Nipah virus alert sounded in Rajasthan

Jaipur, July 22 (IANS) Nipah virus alert has been issued in Rajasthan after the detection of the dreadful virus in Kerala which has claimed a life, the officials said on Monday.

Director of Health Directorate Dr. Ravi Prakash Mathur issued an order alerting all the medical college principals, CMHO and PMOs and instructing them to detect the suspected patients coming to the hospital and to share their information.

Doctors have said that patients complain of severe headaches and fever. “Its symptoms can become severe over time. The risk of brain infection or encephalitis can increase due to this virus attack,” the doctors said.

Instructions have also been passed to keep an eye on the passengers travelling from Kerala.

The administration has also alerted the hotel operators to monitor the tourists coming from Kerala.

–IANS

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Punjab CM seeks special package for state

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Punjab CM seeks special package for state

Punjab CM seeks special package for state

Chandigarh, July 22 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday sought a special package for the holistic development of the state from the 16th Finance Commission, currently on a visit to the state.

The Chief Minister, while welcoming the commission members, including Chairman Arvind Panagariya, said due to the immense contribution of Punjab in making the country self-sufficient in food production, the state should be given a special economic package. He said Punjabis have already carved a niche for themselves in every country across the globe and the package will further give impetus to economic growth of the state.

Mann expressed hope that the Finance Commission would give a sympathetic view to the genuine demands of the state and generously allot funds to Punjab.

He sought funds of Rs 132,247 crore from the Finance Commission to give impetus to the development of the state. He said this includes development funds of Rs 75,000 crore, Rs 17,950 crore for agriculture and paddy diversification, Rs 5,025 crore for stubble burning, Rs 8,846 crore for tackling narco-terrorism and drug abuse, besides Rs 6,000 crore for industry revitalisation.

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Mann said apart from this, Rs 9,426 crore should be given for urban local bodies and Rs 10,000 crore for rural local bodies. He said with improved sustainability and self-sufficiency, the state has been doing everything in its power to mobilize resources. In the last two years alone, major heads of state’s Own Tax Revenue have witnessed impressive growth by surpassing national growth rates, he said, adding that the GST revenue has gone up by 33 per cent and excise alone has gone up by more than 50 per cent.

He said this has been possible with robust administration and honest governance, which the state government has provided from day one. The Chief Minister said the state government is also reviewing various expenditure items and looking at rationalising unproductive expenditure. He said through solarisation, the state government intends to rationalise power subsidies in the long term and improve the reliability of power infrastructure.

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Mann said Punjab’s problems are not new and have a legacy nature, adding many of these problems came into existence due to ill-advised political decisions of previous governments just before the election. Citing examples, the Chief Minister said that a CCL loan of Rs 30,584 crore that was taken in March 2017 or substantial untargeted subsidies given right before elections in 2021 has ruptured the state’s economy.

He said that “the repercussions of these actions are still being felt today, as we strive to achieve financial consolidation amidst these inherited challenges”. Mann said the state government “is making concerted efforts for carving out Rangla Punjab for which support of the people of the state is a must”.

–IANS

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