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LS polls: PM Modi to campaign in Jharkhand, Bengal today



New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will campaign in Jharkhand and West Bengal on Tuesday for the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

The Prime Minister will hold a public meeting in Jharkhand’s Dumka at 12:15 p.m., followed by another two in West Bengal’s Barasat at 2:30 p.m. and Jadavpur at 4:00 p.m.

Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to offer floral tributes at the statue of Subhas Chandra Bose in Kolkata Uttar at 5:55 p.m. and then begin a roadshow. After the roadshow, he will offer floral tributes at the statue of Swami Vivekananda at 7:00 p.m.

Major political developments that will unfold across the country on Tuesday:

* Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold public meetings in Odisha’s Chandbali at 12:30 p.m., Jajpur at 2:15 p.m., and Puri at 4:00 p.m.

* BJP President J.P. Nadda will address public meetings in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur at 11:00 a.m., Mandi at 1:15 p.m., and Rohru at 3:15 p.m.

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* INDIA bloc partners Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav will address ‘Parivartan Sankalp Sabhas’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Rudrapur (Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency) at 3:15 p.m. and Gangapur (Varanasi) at 5:10 p.m.

* Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will address election rallies in Pipiganj, Gorakhpur at 11:10 a.m. and Mirzapur at 1:00 p.m. From there, he will go to Bihar to hold public meetings in Fatuha (Patna) at 3:10 p.m., Bhojpur at 4:30 p.m. and Patliputra at 6:00 p.m.

* Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav will address an election rally at 1 p.m. in Uttar Pradesh’s Dohrighat (Mau) for the INDIA bloc candidate from the Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency.

* Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad will address a public meeting in the Chauri Chaura Assembly constituency of the Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency.

* Gujarat Congress President Shaktisinh Gohil will address a press conference at 12 noon at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

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World's first Asian King vulture conservation centre in UP




Maharajganj (Uttar Pradesh), June 20 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh will soon have the world’s first conservation and breeding centre for Asian king vultures in Maharajganj.

The facility aims to improve the population of the species, which has been listed as critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list since 2007.

S.K. Sharma, the principal chief conservator of forest and the head of Uttar Pradesh’s forest force, said, “This is the world’s first centre for breeding and conservation of Asian king vulture, also called red-headed vulture. It is now ready for formal inauguration.”

“At the moment, we have a pair of male and female vultures. Three more females, who are in the aviary, will gradually get their male counterparts. The aviary is 20-feet by 30-feet,” said Durgesh Nandan, the scientific officer at the centre.

The centre is named Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre, where 24×7 monitoring of the vultures is being done.

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Among its staff include a scientific officer and a biologist.

“They (vultures) make one partner in their entire life and lay one egg in a year. Hence, their monitoring is our highest priority,” Nandan added.

Asian king vultures are endangered due to a loss of their habitats and the excessive use of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in domestic animals, which becomes poisonous for vultures, say experts.

The birds at the centre are fed twice a week and each has a diet of around three kilos of meat at a time.

The centre aims to ensure the good health of growing vultures and provide them with a pair. Once a female lays an egg, the pair will be left free in their natural environment.

“We are ensuring that their natural environment is replicated here so that when the birds are left in forests, they do not face any trouble,” said Nandan.

Only the keeper is allowed entry into the enclosure, which is under strict CCTV monitoring.

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In Uttar Pradesh, the red-headed vultures are rarely seen.

In 2023, they were spotted in Chitrakoot.

The first vulture brought to this centre was on December 30, 2022. Later, another was brought. After two males, the centre also plans to get two female vultures.

Other vulture conservation and breeding centres in the country have long-billed and white-backed vultures, said officials.



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Class 10 student kills aunt for declining indecent proposal




Bengaluru, June 20 (IANS) A minor boy — student of Class 10 — has been apprehended in Karnataka for allegedly killing his aunt after she declined his indecent proposal, the police said on Wednesday.

The incident took place at a village near Uppinangady town in Dakshina Kannada district.

According to police, a 37-year-old woman was found dead on Sunday night at her residence under suspicious circumstances.

The accused minor boy who was at her home on Sunday, allegedly made sexual advances when the woman was sleeping. However, the woman — his maternal aunt — resisted and scolded him, and also asked him to behave properly.

Confessing his crime, the accused told the police that, fearing that she would tell others about his act, the Class 10 student smothered her to death using a pillow after sometime when she went back to sleep.

After killing her, he informed his father that the woman had suffered a heart attack and died.

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The police, however, had suspicions about the boy since the woman’s body was spotted.

His father also informed the police about scratches on the accused’s back.

When the police questioned him, he confessed to having used a pillow to smother his aunt to death, saying he must have received the scratches while the woman was trying to push him away to escape.



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Once ridiculed as 'part-time' politician, Pawan Kalyan takes centre stage in Andhra politics




Amaravati, June 20 (IANS) From being ridiculed by his critics as a “non-serious” and “part-time” politician till a couple of years ago to now Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, it’s quite an achievement for actor-politician Konidela Pawan Kalyan.

The Jana Sena leader, who assumed office on Wednesday, has come a long way since floating the party a decade ago despite the political disaster experienced by his more famous elder brother Chiranjeevi.

Though he made a modest beginning as a campaigner for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and its ally Bharatiya Jana Party (BJP) in 2014 and had a disastrous electoral debut five years later, Pawan Kalyan stayed the course, determined to carve a niche for himself.

He, however, had to face bitter attacks from YSRCP leaders on his personal life. YSRCP President and former Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, at every public meeting, targeted the actor-politician over his three marriages, always referred to him as the “foster son” of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and called him a “non-resident politician” and a “package star”.

“Power star”, as Pawan Kalyan is popularly known in film circles, has finally tasted victory and power. After succeeding in his mission to end the “destructive rule” of the YSRCP, he appears set to play a big role in the changed political environment.

As the number two in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the actor-politician is expected to have a major say in the decision-making. He has been entrusted with key portfolios like Panchayati Raj, Rural Development & Rural Water Supply, Environment and Forest, and Science and Technology.

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Over the last decade, he has shown keen interest in subjects like rural development and the environment.

As Chandrababu Naidu’s deputy, Pawan Kalyan will not only be looking for an active role in government but may also capitalise on this to strengthen his party, which put up an incredible show in recent elections to win all 21 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats it contested. After the 2019 disaster when he lost both the seats he contested, Pawan Kalyan was elected from the Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada.

His Jana Sena, which has three ministers in the Cabinet including him, is the second biggest party in the 175-member Assembly after the TDP, which won a whopping 135 seats.

Many from his party had criticised Pawan Kalyan for not bargaining for more seats. He, however, was realistic and admitted the limited bargaining power of his party. “If we had a few seats in the Assembly, we could have bargained,” was his response.

In 2019, the Jana Sena had won a single seat and the lone MLA had also deserted the party. Pawan Kalyan also sacrificed a few more seats to bring the BJP on board in a grand alliance to ensure that anti-incumbency votes are not divided. His initiative to ally with the TDP and later convince the BJP leadership to join them proved a game changer as the YSRCP, which had 151 seats in the previous Assembly, bit the dust.

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As the YSRCP’s tally dropped to just 11 in the Assembly, the Jana Sena will be looking to expand in areas beyond certain pockets of south coastal Andhra.

Political analysts say Pawan Kalyan has got a platform from where he can build his party into a major force.

“His achievement is phenomenal. Perhaps there is no other party which achieved a 100 per cent success rate while contesting more than 20 seats,” said analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

He believes that going forward, Pawan Kalyan’s role will be significant. He may use his good offices with the BJP leadership to take up state-specific pending issues with the Centre. He, however, said it would be too early to predict if he would expand the party beyond the limited pockets where Kapus (the community to which Pawan Kalyan belongs) are in sizable numbers.

“Any serious attempt to expand the Jana Sena in other parts of the state may put him in direct conflict with Chandrababu Naidu’s son Lokesh whom the TDP considers as the future Chief Minister,” he said.

Lokesh is the TDP General Secretary and a key minister in Naidu’s Cabinet. Naidu, who is already 74, will be looking to groom his son as his successor.

Unlike elder brother Chiranjeevi who wound up his Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) within a couple of years of its launch, Pawan Kalyan never feared defeat. Though he began his political career as the leader of the PRP’s youth wing in 2008, he was not happy with the party’s merger with Congress in 2011. After launching the Jana Sena Party in March 2014, he supported the NDA in the elections held the same year as he was angry with Congress for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh, and shared the dais with then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu.

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Pawan Kalyan later distanced himself from both the BJP and the TDP for going back on the promise to accord special category status. In 2019, he had an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties. However, the Jana Sena could win just one Assembly seat and drew a blank in Lok Sabha polls. After the disaster of 2019, he re-joined hands with the BJP and in September last year, announced an alliance with the TDP. Aware of his strengths and weaknesses, the 52-year-old was cautious not to repeat past mistakes and this was the reason he did not bargain hard for seats. Seen as a youth icon, he crafted the image of a fighter. In tune with his screen image of an angry young man, Pawan Kalyan displayed aggression during the showdown with the Jagan government on a few occasions while taking up people’s issues.



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Balasore clash: Curfew relaxed by four hours on Thursday




Bhubaneswar, June 20 (IANS) A four-hour relaxation in curfew on Thursday has been allowed in Odisha’s Balasore town where a clash between two groups was witnessed a few days ago, following which a curfew was imposed.

An official said the decision was taken after the town gradually began limping towards normalcy.

The curfew was clamped in the Balasore municipality area following a clash in the city on Monday.

Speaking to the mediapersons after a high-level meeting on Wednesday, Balasore Collector Ashish Thakare said: “Curfew will be eased tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. We will allow the opening of different commercial establishments so that people can do their daily needs without any difficulties.

“A proposal has been sent to the Home Department to ease the ban on the Internet for emergency services like banking operations. As a matter of precaution, the schools, anganwadi centers and colleges will remain closed for at least the next two days.”

Balasore District Superintendent of Police, Sagarika Nath, said that a heavy deployment of police personnel has been made to tackle any incidents of violence.

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She said that Border Security Force personnel would be deployed for confidence-building exercises in the sensitive areas of Balasore town.

As many as 10 FIRs have been registered while 35 people were arrested in connection with the violence.

Several others have also been detained for violating curfew.

As per the sources, some residents after noticing blood flowing in a nearby drain, appealed to the administration to stop the alleged slaughtering of animals as several religious places are located in close vicinity.

The residents later blocked the Chandipur-Balasore main road as the local administration allegedly failed to address their concerns.

Upon being informed, police and other officials of district administration reached the spot and tried to placate a group of protesters.

Meanwhile, the situation soon flared up after the opposite group resorted to stone pelting.



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No pressure to change SPP in Darshan fan murder case, says Siddaramaiah (Lead)




Bengaluru, June 20 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday asserted that there is no pressure on him to change the special public prosecutor (SPP) in the Renukaswamy murder case involving actor Darshan, his girlfriend, and his 15 associates.

“There is no pressure on me to change the SPP by any minister and MLAs. I wouldn’t care if anyone tries to put pressure,” he told reporters here on the alleged pressure to change SPP Prasanna Kumar.

Siddaramaiah termed the news of changing the SPP as false and far from the truth.

“We will do exactly what the law says. The police are given a free hand and directed to carry out investigations as per the law. There is no proposal to change the SPP,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, Home Minister G. Parameshwara again emphasised that there is no intention to weaken the case against Kannada superstar Darshan in the fan murder case.

Darshan, his ‘partner’ and co-star Pavithra Gowda, and 15 others have been arrested on charges of murdering Renukaswamy (33), a resident of Chitradurga. The probe so far revealed that Renukaswamy was a big fan of Darshan and had sent derogatory messages to Pavithra Gowda on social media. He was allegedly kidnapped, brought to Bengaluru, kept in a shed, and brutally tortured to death.

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Asked if the police were mulling to replace the SPP, Parameshwara said: “We are investigating the matter without succumbing to any pressure. If there is a need to change the SPP, there must be a valid reason. The decision to change the SPP won’t be made without a reason.”

“We will take proper legal advice and act accordingly. As far as I know, there is no proposal to change the SPP,” he said. However, he also said that in case the SPP is replaced, it should not be viewed as a wrong move.

Prasanna Kumar has represented the prosecution for agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) before and secured convictions. He also represented the prosecution in Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar’s case and various bomb blast cases.

Asked about Darshan’s reported confession to the crime, Parameshwara said he was not aware of it.

“I don’t know about the internal aspects of the probe. The media often gets news before I do. This is a serious matter and actions will be taken without any hesitation,” he said.

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Sources claimed on Wednesday that Darshan has reportedly admitted to his involvement in the murder case as per the remand copy submitted to the 24th ACMM court. As per the remand copy, Darshan gave Rs 30 lakh to Pradosh, an accused in the case, to manage the police and lawyers, and to pay those who disposed of the body. The police have reportedly seized the money from Pradosh’s residence.

Replying to a question about the disappearance of actor Darshan’s manager Mallikarjun for the past one and a half years, Parameshwara said the police would verify the matter.

“The SIT will decide if it wants a probe into this. If they seek permission from the government, we will grant it,” he said. About the suicide case of Sridhar, one of Darshan’s employees, Parameshwara said the matter will be probed if a connection with the actor in this matter is established.



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