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Maha MLA takes MP wife on bike ride to cast vote in Amravati



Amravati (Maharashtra), April 26 (IANS) Actress-turned-politician BJP candidate for Amravati (SC) Lok Sabha constituency, Navneet Kaur-Rana knows how to grab eyeballs, not just inside dark cinemas but also in broad daylight.

As the much-awaited E-day dawned, Navneet, 38 – sporting a dazzling golden-orange sari with small designs – decided to do something different while stepping out to vote on Friday morning.

In the 39 degrees Celsius fiery heat, she discarded her cool comfy car and hopped onto her independent MLA husband Ravi Gangadhar Rana’s Bullet motorcycle as a pillion rider to cast her vote, but minus the protective helmets.

With her husband acting as the ‘driver’, Navneet happily perched pillion behind him while her retinue of supporters and excited media crews followed suit on their own motorcycles, and she indulged in some straight talk, unmindful of the blazing sun.

Navneet grabbed a media person’s mike and delivered homilies asking people to step out and vote, how each vote would be an endorsement for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and exuded supreme confidence that she would win the LS elections for the second consecutive time with a three-lakh vote margin.

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“I have taken the blessings of Lord Hanuman and recited Hanuman Chalisa before stepping out of home… I am certain that Bajrangbali will shower his blessings on me, and provide me with another opportunity to serve the people of my constituency,” said Navneet with a grin.

Attired in a casual white kurta-pyjama, MLA Ravi gingerly negotiated the sparse oncoming traffic of vehicles, the occasional tractor or a JCB, had to slow down a couple of times as the couple’s motorcycle glided off some sharp speed-breakers, but keeping his full concentration on the road.

In full form, the radiant Navneet got carried away a couple of times to raise her right arm plus mike to make some point and peppered her interaction invoking Hindu gods aplenty, besides praising PM Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other state or Central leaders.

When the couple reached the polling station, they got off and entered the polling booth, voted in turn, displayed their inked fingers and stepped out to mingle with the ordinary voters.

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The Mumbai-born daughter of an ex-armyman of Punjabi roots, Navneet (Kaur) has a passion for life on the fast lane and has been seen zooming around on the roads several times in the past.

In June 2023, she had gone for a farm visit just ahead of the rains and in Patur taluka, drove a dazed farmer’s tractor for some distance in the barren farmland being readied for the first Kharif season crop.

Soon after her acrimonious face-off with ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray heading the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Mumbai, Navneet made several reels and posted them on social media.

Clad in salwar-kameez or kurtas in black, raging reds or stark saffron hues, a ‘sairat’ (plucky or carefree) Navneet could be seen zipping around on her motorcycle, hailed Lord Hanuman and other gods, or mouthed small messages for the youth and youngsters – whose crucial support could sail her through in these elections.

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(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at



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Polling underway in Bengal's 8 LS seats, Trinamool leader dies in clashes




Kolkata, May 25 (IANS) A local Trinamool Congress leader in Mahishadal in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district died in clashes as polling was underway in eight Lok Sabha in the state on Saturday.

As per the latest information from the district police, clashes broke out between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in Mahishadal, which falls under the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency, early Saturday morning. A local-level Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Moibul (42) died.

While the Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought an action-taken report on the matter, a political slugfest has broken out over the tragic event. While Trinamool Congress has blamed BJP activists for the murder, the latter has claimed that internal rivalry in the ruling party was the main reason behind the tragedy.

Stray incidences of poll-related tension have started surfacing mainly from the East Midnapore district since the first hours of the polls.

Reports of clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters also surfaced from Moyna, also under the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency.

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Tension erupted at Haldia under Tamluk, as the BJP candidate from that constituency and the former judge of Calcutta High Court Abhijit Gangopadhyay reached a polling booth there. Trinamool Congress supporters blocked his way and started shouting slogans, following which there was a heated exchange of words between the Trinamool Congress and BJP workers. However, the situation could not flare up because of the timely intervention of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel.

At Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency in West Midnapore district, the BJP candidate and the actor-turned-politician Hiran Chatterjee actively moved from one polling booth to another boosting the confidence of the polling agents and party workers. At a place, he was seen picking up one of his booth agents from the latter’s residence and escorting him up to the polling booth.



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J&K: Enthusiastic voters line up in Anantnag-Rajouri LS constituency as voting starts




Anantnag, May 25 (IANS) Enthusiastic voters came out early Saturday morning to exercise their franchise in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency.

Voters were seen forming small queues since the morning as poll authorities said a large voter turnout is expected in the constituency.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, only a 9 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Anantnag while Rajouri and Poonch polled 72 per cent votes.

These statistics cannot be taken as the baseline to determine Saturday’s voter turnout in this constituency since after delimitation two districts of Jammu division, Poonch and Rajouri, were added to Valley’s Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency while Pulwama district was deleted from this constituency and was made a part of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

South Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam and parts of Shopian have been the worst militancy-affected districts in the Valley.

Extensive security arrangements with the deployment of large numbers of CAPFs and the local police have been made in the constituency to provide a safe, free and fearless environment to the voters.

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The Election Commission has set up 2,338 polling stations for 18,36,576 voters, including 9,33,647 male, 9,02,902 female, and 27 third-gender voters. The voter list also includes 17,967 persons with disabilities and 540 individuals over the age of 100.

There are 25,000 migrant voters in the constituency for whom special polling stations have been set up in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi.

For uninterrupted communication with polling staff at remote booths, satellite phones and wireless sets have been provided.

As many as 19 polling stations are located along the Line of Control (LoC), where additional security deployment has been made.

There are 20 candidates in the fray in this constituency. The main contest is, however, between Mian Altaf Ahmad, senior Gujjar/Baksrwal leader of the National Conference (NC), Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister and president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Zafar Iqbal Manhas of J&K Apni Party.

The BJP has unofficially supported the Apni Party candidate and has not fielded any candidate in this constituency.

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Pahari community living in Poonch and Rajouri districts form a significant number of voters in the constituency. The community was recently given ST status by the government.

In addition to the Pahari community, Gujjar/Bakarwal community also form a significant part of the constituency’s electorate.

Mian Altaf Ahmad of the NC has a predominant influence among the Gujjar/Bakarwal community which cuts across party lines since the Mian is considered to be the religious leader of this community.

Voting started at 7 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m.



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Delhi L-G, AAP accuse each other of hatching conspiracy to trouble voters




New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Delhi Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena and AAP leaders late on Friday accused each other of hatching a conspiracy to trouble voters and vitiate the polling process in the national capital, where voting started on Saturday morning.

In a post on X, AAP Minister Atishi said, “Information has been received that the Delhi Lt Governor today (Friday) ordered Delhi Police to slow down voting in areas where there are a large number of INDIA bloc voters so that people face difficulty in casting their votes. Any such attempt by the administration to make the BJP win is illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional. And I hope the Election Commission will take cognizance of this, and stop any such attempt.”

Replying to the post, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “This is shocking. EC should ensure smooth voting in Delhi.”

Later, the Lt Governor’s office issued a statement, saying: “Information has been received that on the orders of Arvind Kejriwal, who is out on interim bail till June 1, power and water minister Atishi Marlena has instructed the power companies and Delhi Jal Board to deliberately cut power supply and stop water supply tonight (May 24) and throughout the day tomorrow (May 25) so that the people of Delhi are troubled.”

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“The LG has directed that these orders of Kejriwal should not be followed. Information has also been received that Kejriwal is doing this so that he can habitually confuse and cheat the people of Delhi by blaming the Central government,” it stated.

In a post on X at 12.27 a.m. Saturday, the Lt Governor called Atishi’s statement unwarranted and false.

“You have made it a habit, Kejriwal sahab, to keep crying irrespective of the situation you may be in. I have taken a stern view of this unwarranted & false statement on the eve of election against a constitutional authority by a Minister, endorsed by you,” Saxena wrote.



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Polling for 14 LS seats begins in UP; Maneka Gandhi, Nirahua in fray




Lucknow, May 25 (IANS) Voting for 14 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh started at 7 a.m. on Saturday in the sixth and penultimate round of elections.

The Lok Sabha seats in the state on which polling is underway are Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi.

According to the Election Commission, 2.70 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Sant Kabir Nagar has the highest number of 20.71 lakh voters, while the Allahabad (Prayagraj) constituency has the lowest 18.25 lakh registered voters.

Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said that in all, 14 constituencies, including two reserved seats of Lalganj and Machhlishahr, there are 1.43 crore male voters, 1.27 crore female voters and 1,256 third gender voters.

A total of 162 candidates, including 16 women, are contesting in this phase with a maximum of 26 contestants from Pratapgarh and a minimum of six from the Domariyaganj seat.

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The key candidates in this phase include Maneka Gandhi in Sultanpur, who is seeking her ninth term in the Lok Sabha. She is contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Ram Bhual Nishad and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Udraj Verma.

In Allahabad, Neeraj Tripathi, son of former West Bengal governor Kesari Nath Tripathi, is the BJP candidate competing against Ujjawal Raman Singh of the Congress. Singh is the son of Reoti Raman Singh, who represented the seat from 2004 to 2014.

In Azamgarh, incumbent MP Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua is seeking to retain his seat for the BJP, facing off against Samajwadi Party’s Dharmendra Yadav, who lost to Nirahua in the 2022 by-poll.

The seat was previously held by Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in the 2019 elections.

Jaunpur will see former Maharashtra minister Kripa Shankar Singh of the BJP competing with Samajwadi Party candidate Babu Singh Khushwaha and the incumbent MP Shyam Singh Yadav of the BSP.

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In Bhadohi, Lalitesh Pati Tripathi of the Trinamool Congress is in the race, while in Ambedkar Nagar, BJP’s Ritesh Pandey is up against former minister Lalji Verma of the Samajwadi Party.

In Sant Kabir Nagar, BJP incumbent Praveen Nishad is contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Pappu Nishad.

Meanwhile, police have made elaborate security arrangements for the sixth phase of polling taking place in the state.

DGP Prashant Kumar said, “To ensure successful conduct of voting, 8,840 inspectors/officers, 68,191 head constables/constables, 48,091 home guards, 49 companies of PAC, and 229 companies of Central Armed Police Force (BSF/ITBP/CRPF/CISF/ SSB/RPF) have been deployed. Additionally, 18,862 village guards and 443 PRD personnel have been mobilized as force multipliers.”



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Polling for all 10 Lok Sabha seats begins in Haryana




Chandigarh, May 25 (IANS) Polling started across all the 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana amid tight security on Saturday morning in the sixth and penultimate phase of the general elections.

Electors across the state could be seen reaching polling stations even before voting started at 7 a.m. The voting will be held till 6 p.m.

A total of 2,00,76,786 voters, comprising 94 lakh women, will decide the fate of 223 candidates, after weeks of heated campaign barbs.

“There has been no report of any delay in starting the poll process,” an electoral officer told IANS here.

The main contest is between the Congress and the state-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The polling will see some high-profile contestants in key battles. Among them are two-time Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is contesting his first Lok Sabha election from Karnal, Congress leader Deepender Hooda from Rohtak, and Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh from Gurugram, against whom the Congress has pitted actor Raj Babbar, and Krishan Pal Gurjar.

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Besides the Lok Sabha polls, there is a bypoll for the Karnal Assembly seat, the seat vacated by Khattar, where Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini, the outgoing Lok Sabha MP from Kurukshetra, is among the nine candidates in the fray. Saini had replaced Khattar as the Chief Minister in March.

Votes will be counted on June 4.

“Police are on high alert for any anti-social elements spreading rumours on social media. Strict action will be taken against offenders, who will face severe legal consequences,” said Director General of Police Shatrujeet Kapur.

Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal has appealed to the voters to exercise their franchise and ensure their participation in the biggest festival of the country.

A total of 20,031 polling stations have been set up in the state. These include 19,812 permanent and 219 auxiliary polling stations. As many as 5,470 polling stations have been set up in urban areas and 14,342 polling stations in rural areas.

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Agarwal said that 176 model polling stations have been established. There are 99 polling stations which will be operated entirely by women staff. Besides, 96 polling stations are manned by youth staff and 71 polling stations by persons with disability.

All basic facilities and necessary arrangements have been put in place in view of the heat wave.

He said that apart from the returning officers, more than 96,000 officers and employees (except security forces) will be on duty in the polling stations.

Also, flying squads, observers along with micro observers will be present at different polling stations.

In 2019, the BJP won all 10 constituencies, with a vote share of 58 per cent, improving its tally from 2014 when it managed to win seven out of the eight constituencies it had contested.

However, the BJP’s vote share slipped to 22 per cent in the Assembly polls in October 2019.



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