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Constituency watch: TMC at advantage in minority-dominated Uluberia

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Kolkata, April 25 (IANS) The ruling Trinamool Congress is in an advantageous situation at Uluberia constituency in Kolkata-adjacent Howrah District, where minority voters traditionally determine the fate of candidates.

After being a Red bastion and giving CPI(M) ten-consecutive victories from 1971 to 2004, Uluberia turned into a virtual fortress of the Trinamool Congress since the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Of the three principal candidates from Uluberia, the candidates of the Trinamool Congress and the Congress come from the minority community.

The Trinamool Congress has re-nominated its two-time winning candidate Sajda Ahmed, the widow of the two-time party MP from the same constituency, late Sultan Ahmed.

What is making Sajda Ahmed confident of her victory this time as well are the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls.

In 2019, Sajda Ahmed had won by a margin of over two lakh votes and again in the 2021 Assembly polls, Trinamool Congress candidates got elected from all the seven Assembly constituencies under the Uluberia Lok Sabha.

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If past winning margins are a source of confidence for Sajda Ahmed, the unremitting increase in the vote share of the BJP since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls is giving a sense of poise to the party’s candidate Arun Uday Pal Chaudhury.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP candidate Ranjit Kishore Mahanty finished in third position, bagging 11.56 per cent of the votes polled then. However, in the 2018 bye-elections at Uluberia, where Sajda Ahmed got elected for the first time, BJP’s Anupam Mallik finished in the second position, improving the vote share to 23.29 per cent.

Again in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP candidate and actor-turned-politician Joy Banerjee further improved his party’s vote share to 36.58 per cent.

Analysts are of the opinion that this uninterrupted increase in vote share is a clear indication of the consolidation of Hindu votes in favour of the saffron camp at Uluberia.

Another positive point for the BJP candidate is that he has his roots in Uluberia.

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In fact, Chaudhury, in his campaign is focussing on this roots theory to woo the electorate.

However, Sajda Ahmed is not giving much importance to this theory. According to her, the people of Uluberia will vote again keeping in mind the development activities undertaken by the state government under the leadership of Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee.

Also in the poll-fray is the Left Front-supported Congress candidate Azahar Mollick, the state Youth Congress President and AICC member.

The main focus of his campaign is how the “clandestine understanding” between the BJP and Trinamool Congress is aiding the state’s ruling party to establish a “reign of terror and corruption.”

Uluberia is basically a rural Lok Sabha constituency with voter strength of around 16 lakh. Farming is the principal means of livelihood in the region.

–IANS

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Mamata Banerjee not to attend INDIA bloc's June 1 meeting

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Kolkata, May 27 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that she will not be able to attend the crucial meeting of the opposition INDIA bloc, convened by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, in New Delhi on June 1.

Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, cited two reasons behind her inability to attend the meeting.

“First of all, on June 1, there will be the final and seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls for nine constituencies in West Bengal. Secondly, because of Cyclone Remal, many people have been displaced and are currently residing in temporary shelters. I will have to supervise that as well. These two factors are important for me and hence I will be staying back on June 1,” she said while addressing an election meeting in Kolkata Uttar Lok Sabha constituency for party candidate and sitting MP Sudip Bandopadhyay.

However, Banerjee did not make it clear whether she would send a representative for the meeting.

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In her speech at the election meeting, she again launched a scathing attack against both the Congress and the CPI-M.

“These two parties have the only aim in West Bengal. That is to benefit the BJP by dividing the opposition votes,” she claimed.

–IANS

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TN: Police ‘requests’ tribals to surrender unlicensed country-made guns voluntarily

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Chennai, May 27 (IANS) Tirupattur Police in Tamil Nadu has “requested” the tribals of Jawadhu Hills to surrender their country-made guns voluntarily and in return get a general amnesty.

Police have communicated to the village heads of Jawadhu Hills to surrender the guns at a common place like temples so that the identity of those in procession of the guns is not revealed.

The Tirupattur Superintendent of Police Albert John told IANS that recently during a routine vehicle checkup, police seized some unlicensed guns leading to the convening of a meeting of the village elders and asking them to surrender these guns.

Police said that there are 177 licensed guns in the district which were surrendered in the local police stations in the district due to the Lok Sabha elections.

The natives of Pudur Nadu, Nellivasal Nadu and Pungampattu Nadu in Jawadhu Hills have had a tradition of keeping illegal arms since pre-independence days. This was for hunting as also for protecting themselves against theft and to deliver the hill and forest produce to the local markets and safely return back to the villages.

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Police said that there is no requirement for such illegal and unlicensed country-made guns for the villagers and hence “requested” them to surrender these unlicensed guns.

–IANS

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Patna law student dies after brutal assault by over dozen masked men

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Patna May 27 (IANS) A law student in Patna died after he was brutally beaten up by over a dozen masked assailants outside his examination centre on Monday evening, police said.

The deceased was identified as Harsh Raj, a student of BN College.

He had gone to a law college in the Sultanganj area for an exam and was intercepted by the assailants just outside the examination centre when he came out. The assailants fled from the scene after thrashing him.

The victim was admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) where he succumbed due to multiple injuries.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was involved in a heated exchange of words with some persons a few days ago, and this could be the reason for the deadly attack. However, the police said they are investigating the matter.

“A student named Harsh Raj, who had gone for an exam in a law college located in the Sultanganj police station area, was lynched by more than one dozen masked criminals. The body has been sent to the PMCH for post-mortem. The matter is being investigated. Nearby CCTV footage is being examined,” ASP, Patna City, Sharat R.S. said.

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Harsh Raj was a resident of Vaishali and was doing his graduation in the state capital.

–IANS

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Number of heatstroke patients rise to 3,622 in Rajasthan

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Jaipur, May 28 (IANS) The number of heatstroke patients in Rajasthan increased from 2809 to 3622 on Monday as the state continued to witness intense heatwave conditions. The death toll, however, remained unchanged at one, health officials confirmed.

On Monday, Phalodi was the hottest in the state at 49.4 degrees Celsius — 6.3 degrees above normal — while Jaipur recorded a maximum temperature of 46.4 degrees Celsius — 0.8 degrees higher than Sunday.

Kota registered a maximum temperature of 48.2 degrees Celsius and a minimum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius — 5 degrees above normal.

Almost all cities in the state registered a temperature of over 45 degrees Celsius. Ajmer recorded a maximum temperature of 46.3 degrees Celsius, Bhilwara (47.4), Bharatpur (48.2), Alwar (46.2), Pilani (48.5), Chittorgarh (47), Barmer (49.3), Jaisalmer (48.7), Jodhpur (47.4), Bikaner (48.2), Churu (48), Sri Ganganagar (48.3), and Dholpur recorded a maximum temperature of 48.1 degrees Celsius.

Meteorological Department officials said that there will be no respite from soaring mercury on Tuesday in the state.

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There is a strong possibility that the ongoing intense heatwave conditions will continue for the next 2-3 days. However, the temperature will start coming down from May 29 onwards and in the first week of June, the maximum temperature will stay normal, said R.S. Sharma, Director, India Meteorological Department, Jaipur.

–IANS

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Gujarat Police busts mass marriage racket, arrests organiser

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Ahmedabad, May 27 (IANS) Gujarat Police has busted a mass marriage racket in Ahmedabad and also arrested the organiser of the event who has cheated 113 couples for Rs 24 lakh.

Police said that they have arrested the organiser near the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in Vastral. He has been identified as Prakash Parmar.

Police said that the Hindu Jan Vikas Seva Sangh Trust used to organise caste mass marriage programs and had promised to marry 113 couples and provide them with business facilities.

“Each couple was charged Rs 22,000 for registration. However, after the event, the promised business facilities were not provided to the couples, leading to widespread frustration and anger among the victims,” police said.

Police said that the family members of the affected couples realising they had been duped, filed a complaint at the Amraiwadi police station against Prakash Parmar.

Parmar had also set up an office in front of Bhartinagar Amraiwadi Post Office to lend credibility to the event.

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Police said that further investigation into the case is underway.

–IANS

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