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Gujarat targets 13,000 polling stations to boost female participation

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Ahmedabad, April 8 (IANS) The Gujarat election authorities are set to dispatch over 20.3 million invitation letters to approximately 13,000 polling stations. This initiative, spearheaded by the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, P. Bharti, aims to bridge the gender gap in voter turnout observed during the previous elections, officials shared.

The state’s electoral body has identified polling stations where the voter turnout disparity between men and women exceeded 10%, and the overall turnout was below 50% in the last assembly elections. To address this, a comprehensive Turnout Implementation Plan (TIP) has been implemented, with designated nodal officers at both the village and city levels working to ensure increased female voter engagement.

As part of this initiative, ‘election schools’ will be established across the state to deliberate on the causes of low voter turnout and to pledge for greater participation in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. These sessions, led by community leaders and social activists, aim to inspire families to vote collectively.

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–IANS

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No proposal to monetise 25,000 acres around Bengaluru, says Siddaramaiah govt

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Bengaluru, June 21 (IANS) The Karnataka government on Thursday denied reports it was considering monetising 25,000 acres of land around Bengaluru to fund its guarantee schemes, saying there was no such proposal.

“At the outset, there is no proposal to monetise 25,000 acres of land around Bengaluru as suggested in the news reports. It is the fundamental responsibility of the government to optimise resource mobilisation without putting undue burden on the citizens. Our state has greater potential to raise additional non-tax revenues from sectors such as mining, advertisements in urban areas, naming rights, etc. Better tax compliance is also another measure that is being explored. Some of the recommendations also include a limited extent of monetisation of non-strategic assets, but that does not have to mean disposal or outright sale of government lands,” a government statement said.

There are several creative and intelligent ways to raise resources without selling government land and raising taxes, it added.

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“The idle land parcels of the state government and other government entities, which are prone to encroachment, would be developed to generate a continuous stream of revenue to the state without selling these lands. Instead of an outright sale of public lands, innovative value-capture financing methods would be employed to generate revenue to the state which does not involve the outright sale of public assets. The various successful value capture financing methods deployed in other states and countries would be carefully studied and the best methods would be adopted in the state,” the statement said.

It also said that the focus of the global consultant is on the rapid development of large industrial townships and urban amenities by tapping private investments. The Finance Department is looking into all the measures and any proposal to raise resources will be in the public domain once it is properly fleshed out. There is no reason for anyone to jump to hasty conclusions based on preliminary ideas that are on the table,” the statement added.

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–IANS

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BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab appointed LS Pro-tem Speaker, Congress cries foul

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New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Seven-time Parliamentarian Bhartrihari Mahtab was on Thursday appointed the Pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha by President Droupadi Murmu, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Thursday.

Mahtab will remain as Pro-tem Speaker until the new Lok Sabha Speaker is elected.

In a post on X, Union Minister Rijiju said: “President Droupadi Murmu has appointed Lok Sabha MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as Pro-tem Speaker under Article 95(1) of the Constitution. He will perform the duties of the Speaker till the election of the Speaker in the Lok Sabha is held.”

Reacting to the development, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal said it is another attempt to destroy the Parliamentary norms as Bhartruhari Mahtab has been appointed the Pro-tem Speaker instead of the senior-most MP, Kodikunnil Suresh from Kerala, who is an eight-term Parliamentarian.

Venugopal added that it is an undisputed norm that the senior-most MP presides over the proceedings of the Parliament House before the Speaker is duly elected.

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“It is a matter of immense pride for our party that K. Suresh, a leader from the marginalised section of the society, has achieved the feat of being an eight-term MP.

“The government should explain why it chose to overlook K Suresh, what was the factor that disqualified him from this post? Are there deeper issues influencing this decision, perhaps beyond just merit and seniority.” Venugopal asked in a post on X.

Under Article 99 of the Constitution, the President has appointed Lok Sabha MPs Kodikunnil Suresh, T.R. Baalu, Radha Mohan Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste, and Sudip Bandyopadhyay to assist the Pro-tem Speaker in the oath-taking of the newly-elected MPs.

–IANS

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Killing of 2 terrorists in Baramulla major success for security forces: Army

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Srinagar, June 21 (IANS) The killing of two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday is a major success for the security forces, the Army said in a statement.

The Army said on Thursday that over the past few weeks, there has been constant information regarding the movement of a terrorist group in the Sopore-Rafiabad area of Baramulla district.

“On June 19, 2024, specific intelligence was received through J&K Police that two terrorists were holed up in a house in Hadipura village of Rafiabad area. Consequently, the Indian Army, J&K Police, and the CRPF launched a joint operation, swiftly cordoning off the area,” the Army added.

“Following standard procedures, civilians were safely evacuated from adjacent houses, and the area was secured. The target house was thoroughly cordoned off and on the search being commenced, terrorists opened fire on the security forces. In the ensuing firefight, two terrorists were neutralised.”

The slain terrorists have been identified as Usman and Umar, both of Pakistani origin and associated with the LeT.

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Usman has been active in the Kashmir Valley since 2020.

Significant quantities of weapons and ammunition have been recovered after the operation.

“Elimination of these terrorists marks another major success for the security forces. Over the past few months, the security forces have maintained a high operational tempo, resulting in some major achievements. The success is also attributed to the complete cooperation of the Kashmiri people,” the statement said.

“Security forces will continue to make sustained efforts to maintain peace and stability in Kashmir.”

–IANS

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Three IPS officers who allegedly targeted TDP leaders transferred

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Amaravati, June 21 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday transferred three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers who faced allegations of targeting Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, including party President N. Chandrababu Naidu, during the YSR Congress Party’s rule.

A week after assuming office as the Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu shunted out the three officials, who had become controversial for allegedly favouring the then ruling party.

Kasi Reddy V. R. N. Reddy, Director General, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), P. V. Sunil Kumar, Director General, AP State Disaster Response Force and Fire Services, and Y. Rishanth Reddy, Superintendent of Police, Counter Intelligence (CI) Cell, have been transferred.

V. R. N. Reddy, who was removed as Director General of Police (DGP) by the Election Commission of India a few days before the May 13 elections following complaints by the TDP, has been posted as Commissioner, Printing, Stationery and Stores Purchase, which is considered a loop line post.

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The two other officers were not given any new postings.

Sunil Kumar has been directed to report to the General Administration Department (GAD), while Rishanth Reddy has been directed to report to the DGP office. The latter was also relieved from the full additional charge as SP (Red Sanders) Task Force.

V.R.N. Reddy was appointed DGP by the previous government in 2022. He was then serving as the DGP (Intelligence).

The Election Commission of India had ordered his transfer as DGP a week before the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state after TDP leaders lodged several complaints and raised the issue of lapses in security arrangements during the Prime Minister’s public meeting at Chilakaluripet.

In a letter to the ECI, the TDP had also suspected the involvement of V.R.N. Reddy in the alleged tapping of the mobile phone of party General Secretary and Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh, using the suspected Pegasus software.

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Sunil Kumar, a 1993 batch IPS officer, was the Chief of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) before he was posted as DG, State Disaster Response Force and Fire Services.

It was during his tenure that the CID registered cases against Chandrababu Naidu and other TDP leaders. These include cases relating to alleged insider trading of lands in Amaravati, the Inner Ring Road scam, and the SSC question paper leakage scam.

TDP had lodged a complaint with the ECI against Rishanth Reddy, calling him a hardcore supporter of the YSRCP.

The TDP had alleged that Rishanth Reddy was given the additional post of SP (Red Sanders) Task Force deliberately to put blocks to the opposition parties by checking their vehicles in the guise of checking red sander smuggling.

Before being appointed SP, Counter Intelligence (CI) Cell, Rishanth Reddy was SP, Chittoor. While serving in the post, he had booked Chandrababu Naidu and other party leaders for allegedly fomenting violence in Rayalaseema during a visit to irrigation project sites.

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–IANS

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Manipur Guv asks DGP, Security Advisor to take prompt action against perpetrators of violence

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Imphal, June 21 (IANS) Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey on Thursday directed the Director General of Police and the Security Advisor to the state government to initiate prompt action against anyone involved in violence and take the necessary security measures in Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal, Churachandpur, and all the valley districts.

Security Advisor to the Manipur government, Kuldiep Singh, and state Director General of Police Rajiv Singh separately met the Governor and apprised her of the prevailing situation of the state and the action taken by the security forces to deal with the situation.

Raj Bhavan sources said that the Governor reviewed the prevailing security situation with the two officials.

The DGP briefed the Governor about the recent incidents in the Jiribam district and follow-up actions taken up by the state police with Central forces. He also informed her about the security measures taken to stop any eventuality at any point in time and at any part of the State.

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The Governor directed the DGP to take up appropriate security measures to ensure the safety and security of the people and property in the state. She also asked the DGP to take up the appropriate scale of security coverage along the two national highways (NH 2 and NH 37) so as to enable free passage of petroleum products and other goods-laden vehicles, the sources said.

Uikey further asked the DGP to extend all possible help to the displaced people in Jiribam, which witnessed a wave of violence after the killing of 59-year-old farmer Soibam Saratkumar Singh on June 6. The Jiribam violence led to around 900 tribals belonging to the Kuki and Hmar communities taking shelter at the homes of relatives and friends in two villages in the Cachar district of southern Assam, while around 1,000 people, mostly belonging to the Meitei community, are now sheltered in seven relief camps in Jiribam.

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A Raj Bhavan official said that the Security Advisor apprised the Governor about the security measures taken up in the state, especially in Jiribam. He informed the Governor that adequate security forces composed of state and Central security forces have been deployed at many vulnerable places including the interior areas of the district.

The DGP and the Security Advisor, who, along with Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi, attended the review meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Monday, earlier apprised Chief Minister N. Biren Singh about the meeting.

–IANS

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