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J&K’s ‘Battle Royale’ to be fought in Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat

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J&K’s ‘Battle Royale’ to be fought in Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat

Srinagar, March 18 (IANS) As the battlelines start becoming clear in the five Lok Sabha seats in J&K, the most interesting to watch is going to be the south Kashmir Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.

This is the only Lok Sabha constituency in J&K that is spread over both the Jammu division and Kashmir with the most diverse mix of communities and voter affinities.

The constituency includes the two districts of Kashmir, including Anantnag and Kulgam, and two districts in Jammu division, including Rajouri and Poonch. The voter mix is as diverse as the topography of the constituency.

Spread over the plains of Anantnag district known as the rice bowl of Kashmir to the limits of the Valley’s mountains in Pahalgam hill station, Kokernag, mountainous terrain of Kulgam and the rugged, tough and challenging borderlines of Poonch and Rajouri districts, the constituency is running close to the Line of Control (LoC).

The constituency has a varied class of voters, including the Kashmiri speaking Muslims of Anantnag and Kulgam with influential Gujjari speaking Muslims of Pahalgam, higher reaches of Kokernag right up to Daksum and the foothills of Kulgam district.

The two districts of Rajouri and Poonch with a very large number of Gujjar and Pahari communities will finally decide the winner and loser in this constituency.

The reach and popularity of the fighting candidates is undoubtedly not going to be universal in this varied mixture of voters and communities.

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There is hardly a single leader of any political party that can safely be picked up as the winner in this constituency despite the influence of the National Conference (NC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Congress and the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Each of these parties has an appreciable presence in this constituency, but none with such a presence that would make victory a foregone conclusion.

It is under this background that the NC has decided to put forth its most powerful Gujjar/Bakarwal leader, Mian Altaf Ahmed into the arena.

Mian Altaf Ahmed is not just the political leader of the Gujjar/Bakarwal communities in the four districts of this constituency, he is also the most respected religious leader of this community.

For the last four generations, spread over Mian Altaf’s great grandfather down to his father, late Mian Bashir Ahmad, reverently called the ‘Baba Sahib’ (The great father), Mian Altaf sits on a legacy of lethal power against his opponents. Each year on the annual Urs at his ancestral seat in Wangat village of north Kashmir Ganderbal district, thousands of Gujjars/Bakarwals from every nook and corner of Poonch and Rajouri districts and other parts of the UT converge to pay obeisance at the shrine.

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The ‘Nazrana’ (Devotional offerings) offered at the Wangat shrine includes cash, cattle, sheep and goats whose value runs into crores of Rupees each year. The devotees come to the ‘Peer’ every year at Wangat.

Very cleverly, the NC has decided to send Mount to Moses by fielding Mian Altaf Ahmed. Instead of Moses coming to the Mount as do the Gujjars/Bakarwals in thousands each year to Wangat shrine. The party is definite to announce Mian Altaf’s candidature for the constituency any time soon.

Sources close to Mian Altaf told IANS that his consent has already been sought and after the request was made to him by both Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, the Mian had no option other than consent.

With the NC fielding Mian Altaf Ahmed, the BJP is now seriously considering the choice of his opponent. One big advantage the BJP has in Poonch and Rajouri districts is the recent announcement of ST status for the Pahari community.

Statistics show that the Pahari community has over three lakh voters in these two districts. The Paharis are committed to vote for the BJP as their 70-year long demand was fulfilled by the BJP government at the centre.

Among Gujjars and Hindus living in these two districts of Poonch and Rajouri, the BJP also has supporters whose votes would definitely favour the BJP candidate.

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Given the fact that any reconciliation between the NC and the PDP is now out of the question, Kashmiri speaking Muslim voters in Anantnag and Kulgam would surely cut into each other in this constituency as the PDP is likely fielding a powerful candidate to avenge its disgrace by the NC.

The NC dumped the PAGD without even asking the PDP chief, Mehbooba Mufti. Sources close to her indicate that despite maintaining a low outward resistance, Mehbooba Mufti will not take the left-handed compliment of NC sitting down.

Ghulam Nabi Azad does not have any formidable presence in this constituency, but together with the Congress, Azad can play the spoilsport for the PDP and the NC.

Given these permutations and combinations, much will now depend on who the BJP chooses to field in this constituency.

The ‘Battle Royale’ is decidedly going to be between NC’s Mian Altaf Ahmad and the BJP.

With the scale heavily loaded in favour of the senior Gujjar/Bakarwal leader, the BJP will have to field a formidable stalwart to take the legal mixture of politics and religion represented by the Mian head on.

In a nutshell, the most interesting electoral battle in J&K is going to be fought in the south Kashmir Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency.

–IANS

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'No need to panic': K'taka minister to industry leaders after govt withholds job quota bill

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'No need to panic': K'taka minister to industry leaders after govt withholds job quota bill

'No need to panic': K'taka minister to industry leaders after govt withholds job quota bill

Bengaluru, July 18 (IANS) Karnataka’s Minister for Large and Medium Industries M.B. Patil has justified the Congress government’s decision to withhold the introduction of the bill providing reservation of jobs in the private sector for Kannadigas and assured industry leaders that they “need not to panic”.

Patil took to social media platform X on Wednesday and stated that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has taken due cognisance and the bill is “withheld until further consultations and due diligence”.

“The government is committed to further creation of jobs, and furthermore for Kannadigas, however in a more amicable manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, state IT & BT Minister Priyank Kharge slammed Andhra Pradesh HRD Minister Nara Lokesh’s call for NASSCOM members to relocate businesses to Vizag from Bengaluru in the backdrop of the proposed bill.

“Karnataka has always excelled in the most of the sectors due to our consistent relationships and consultative approach with industry leaders, advisory bodies, and consortiums in drafting policies and schemes. As with previous initiatives, this draft bill will include recommendations from our industry partners,” the IT Minister said in a post on X.

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“Our goal is to develop a global workforce using local talent, while also encouraging global investments and creating employment opportunities,” he said.

“By the way, wouldn’t you also like to ensure that every company invested in Andhra Pradesh employs deserving, trained and skilled individuals from Andhra Pradesh?” Priyank Kharge asked Lokesh.

“Dear NASSCOM members, be rest assured, we will not do anything that will not withstand legal scrutiny. This is your government and as always we are just a call away,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Congress-led Karnataka government the bill is still in the preparation stage. The proposed bill has faced stiff opposition from industry bodies and business tycoons.

“The draft bill intended to provide reservations for Kannadigas in private sector companies, industries, and enterprises is still in the preparation stage,” the Chief Minister wrote on X.

He further said that a comprehensive discussion will be held in the next Cabinet meeting to make a final decision.

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–IANS

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Bengal govt sets up panel to review new criminal laws, Guv questions move

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Bengal govt sets up panel to review new criminal laws, Guv questions move

Bengal govt sets up panel to review new criminal laws, Guv questions move

Kolkata, July 18 (IANS) With the West Bengal government issuing a notification on Wednesday evening regarding the formation of a seven-member committee to review the three new criminal laws, Governor C.V. Ananda Bose immediately raised questions on the objectives of the panel.

“The state government is pleased hereby to constitute a committee for reviewing the said criminal laws, i.e. Bharatiya Nyaya Sanita, 2023 (BNS), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 (BSA),” read the notification released by the state government.

The office of the Governor, within an hour, sought a report from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the objectives of the committee.

In the statement, Governor Bose also reminded the Chief Minister that West Bengal cannot be a “banana republic”.

“The West Bengal Governor has called upon Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to furnish an immediate report on the objectives of the committee for the review of the amended CRPC, IPC and Evidence Act. Governor wants specific report on whether the West Bengal government, has responded to the proposal on time when asked for by Govt of India,” the Governor’s office said.

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–IANS

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Assam Rifles chief briefs Manipur Governor about security situation, preparedness

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Assam Rifles chief briefs Manipur Governor about security situation, preparedness

Assam Rifles chief briefs Manipur Governor about security situation, preparedness

Imphal, July 17 (IANS) Assam Rifles Director General Lt. Gen. Pradeep Chandran Nair on Wednesday briefed Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey about the prevailing security situation in the state.

A Raj Bhavan official said that Lt Gen Nair, accompanied by the force’s Inspector General, South, Major Gen. Ravroop Singh, informed her about the deployment of Assam Rifles personnel in the state in the wake of the ethnic conflict which has been continuing since May last year.

They also explained in detail about the preparedness of the force to face any eventualities at any point in time in the state, the Raj Bhavan official said.

The Governor often holds meetings with top officials, including Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi, the state government’s Chief Security Advisor Kuldiep Singh, and Director General of Police Rajiv Singh to review the prevailing situation in the state.

The ethnic strife-devastated Manipur still witnesses incidents of violence. A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan was killed and three other security personnel got injured when suspected militants ambushed a joint patrol party in Jiribam district earlier this week. The three injured include a CRPF jawan and two Manipur Police personnel.

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Jiribam witnessed a wave of violence after the killing of 59-year-old farmer Soibam Saratkumar Singh on June 6, leading to 900 tribals belonging to the Kuki and Hmar communities taking shelter at the homes of relatives and friends in two villages in 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.

–IANS

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Haryana CM opens Asia's largest apple market in Pinjore

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Haryana CM opens Asia's largest apple market in Pinjore

Haryana CM opens Asia's largest apple market in Pinjore

Chandigarh, July 17 (IANS) Haryana Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini on Wednesday inaugurated the first phase of Asia’s largest modern apple, fruit, and vegetable market in Pinjore in Panchkula district.

To boost business in the modern apple, fruit, and vegetable market, he also announced the reduction of market fees from one per cent to 0.5 per cent. Besides, he also announced the expansion of the Haryana Mukhyamantri Kisan Evam Khetihar Mazdoor Jiwan Suraksha Yojana, 2013, increasing the upper age limit from 65 years to 75 years.

The Chief Minister said previously no compensation was provided for accidents caused by lightning strikes on farmers and farm labourers. Now, such accidents will also be covered under this scheme.

He also said under the Atal Kisan Mazdoor Canteen Scheme the government has decided to open 100 canteens in the state to provide subsidised meals at Rs 10 per plate throughout the year to farmers and labourers. So far, 48 canteens have been made operational and other canteens will also be opened soon.

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Regarding the Vivadon Ka Samadhan policy, he announced no compound interest will be charged from all plot holders in the market yard and all outstanding amounts will be calculated at simple interest only. Additionally, no penal interest will be charged if the instalment is paid within 20 days of the due date. He also announced the abolition of HRDF on all fruits and vegetables and extended the Vivadon Ka Samadhan scheme till September 30.

Earlier, the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone for the construction of a new grain market at Sagga village in Karnal district, costing Rs 8.99 crore, and the special repair works of the Babain grain market in Kurukshetra district, costing Rs 6.69 crore, to maintain various basic facilities. He also announced a grant of Rs 5 crore for various development works in the Kalka Assembly constituency.

Saini said the modern apple, fruit, and vegetable market in Pinjore will be the largest modern market in Asia. Spread over 78 acres, the construction of this market will cost Rs 220 crore. The first phase has been constructed over 10 acres at a cost of Rs 14.66 crore. The second phase is in progress and will be completed by December 31.

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He said that the establishment of this market will benefit the fruit and vegetable farmers and traders of Haryana, as well as the apple growers and traders from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

–IANS

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3-yr-old undergoes successful liver transplant at Hyderabad’s Osmania Hospital

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3-yr-old undergoes successful liver transplant at Hyderabad’s Osmania Hospital

3-yr-old undergoes successful liver transplant at Hyderabad’s Osmania Hospital

Hyderabad, July 17 (IANS) Doctors at the Osmania General Hospital, the oldest government-run hospital in Hyderabad, have successfully performed a liver transplant on a three-year-old boy.

Modugu Chohan Aditya of Khammam district was suffering from congenital biliary atresia and liver failure.

An advanced liver donor transplant procedure was performed successfully on July 3 by Madhusudan and his team of surgical gastroenterology and liver transplantation at the Osmania General Hospital.

According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, the child’s mother Amla donated a part of her liver to her son. Both the mother and child were discharged on July 16.

So far, 30 cases of liver transplant, including 8 paediatric liver transplant cases, have been successfully performed at the Osmania General Hospital.

Established in 1910, Osmania Hospital is the oldest hospital and one of the biggest government-run healthcare facilities in Telangana.

–IANS

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