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Mallikarjun Kharge targets PM Modi over '400 paar' slogan

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Bhubaneswar, May 17 (IANS) Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday picked holes in the BJP’s claims of winning more than 400 seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, saying the ruling party will not even cross the 200-seat mark.

“PM Modi is raising the slogan of ‘400 paar’ everywhere, but from where will they get so many seats? The BJP doesn’t have any presence in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. Its chances are 50-50 in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik used to get more seats here, but now the Congress is leading in Odisha as well,” Kharge said during a presser here on Thursday.

He also claimed that the BJP can never form government at the Centre as it is losing in many states.

“I think they can’t get more than 200 seats. Our alliance has the numbers to stop them and keep them away from power,” Kharge claimed.

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The Congress President also said that PM Modi never fulfilled his promises to provide two crore jobs or doubling of farmers’ income, adding that the Prime Minister’s ‘guarantees’ only mean a hike in the prices of petrol, diesel, fertilisers, etc.

Kharge later addressed a public gathering at Phulbani in Kandhamal district where he accused the BJP of trying to snatch the rights of Dalits, backward-class people, tribals, and minorities by destroying the Constitution.

Kharge also lashed out at the BJD government in Odisha for failing to fulfil its promise to provide irrigation facilities to 35 per cent of agricultural land in every block of the state.

Assembly and Lok Sabha elections are being held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases from May 13 to June 1. The results will be out on June 4.

–IANS

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Goa Governor greets people on the eve of Statehood Day

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Panaji, May 29 (IANS) Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said on Wednesday that the tourism sector is one of the main drivers of the economy of the state which has become a world-famous tourist destination because of its extraordinary beauty.

Extending his greetings on the eve of Goa Statehood Day (May 30), Pillai said, “Achieving statehood in 1987 was a milestone in the journey to maintain Goa’s distinct heritage. The tourism sector is one of the main drivers of the Goan economy.

“Goa is renowned the world over as a top tourist destination. It is endowed with rich flora and fauna. Besides, the state also has a vibrant culture and heritage. Further, the people of Goa are friendly and peace-loving. This combined with Goa’s extraordinary beauty has made it a world-famous tourist destination.”

“On this joyous occasion, let us pay tributes to the countless Goans who have worked tirelessly to shape the state’s destiny. I would like to tell them that the people of Goa will forever remain grateful to them and continue to acknowledge and recognise their struggle for achieving statehood,” he added.

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The Governor also said that over the years, Goa has transformed into a vibrant and progressive state, contributing significantly to the socio-economic fabric of the nation.

“The resilience and hard work of the people of Goa have turned challenges into opportunities, making it a shining example of development and prosperity,” Pillai said.

The Governor also urged the people of Goa to work with renewed vision, cooperation, and commitment to make Goa the most modern and progressive state in India, and thereby contribute to the national mainstream in every possible way.

–IANS

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Delhi locality's 52.9 degrees C temperature reading likely due to error, IMD checking data

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday that the maximum temperature of 52.9 degrees Celsius recorded by Delhi’s Mungeshpur locality’s Automatic Weather Station (AWS) is likely to be an error and is being examined as it is close to eight degrees Celsius higher than the maximum temperature recorded in other parts of the national capital.

“The maximum temperature in Delhi-NCR varied from 45.2 degrees to 49.1 degrees Celsius in different parts of the city, Mungeshpur reported 52.9°C as an outlier compared to other stations. It could be due to an error in the sensor or the local factor. IMD is examining the data and sensors,” an IMD statement read.

Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju earlier posted on X that the temperatures were not official.

“Temperature of 52.3 degrees Celsius in Delhi is very unlikely. Our senior officials in IMD have been asked to verify the news report. The official position will be stated soon,” Kiren Rijiju wrote.

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IMD DG M. Mahapatra said the temperature looked abnormal when compared with all other stations. A team has been sent to the AWS to check the data.

The reading of the Safdarjung centre is considered the official temperature of Delhi which stood at 46.8 degrees Celsius.

AWSes are automatic weather stations where the observations are made and transmitted automatically. No other AWS, including Pragati Maidan, IGNOU, Ayanagar, Pitampura, Najafgarh, on Wednesday reported 50+ temperature.

“Maximum temperature of today, i.e. 29th May, 2024 has fallen over Delhi at many places compared to yesterday. It has rained at many places in Delhi resulting in further fall of temperature. Heat wave conditions will reduce during next 2-3 days due to gradual fall in temperature in association with approaching western disturbance, rainfall/thunderstorm and southwesterly wind blowing from Arabian Sea to northwest India,” according to an IMD statement.

–IANS

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'Hamar Kashi, Hamar Vikas' organised at Varanasi's NaMo ghat; over 1,500 artists participate

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) A one-of-its kind ‘Hamar Kashi, Hamar Vikas’ was organised at Varanasi’s NaMo ghat on Wednesday to motivate the locals and seek their participation and contribution in the ‘Viksit Kashi’ dream and also in the shared vision for developed India.

More than 1,500 participants, including more than 50 senior artists, art faculty, art students, professionals, first-time voters, women, and general attendees, came together to show their support for the initiative.

The workshop with the theme “Hamar Kashai Hamar Vikas” saw senior artists painting on easels and canvases, art faculty and students working on long-running canvas.

The event also featured a diverse array of folk artists from Varanasi, including dancers, musicians, potters, and sculptors, who showcased their unique talents.

Their art not only captured the essence of Viksit Kashi but also promoted the “Vocal for Local” initiative, highlighting the rich cultural heritage and local craftsmanship of the region.

The participants, enamoured with the vibrant program, pledged to contribute to the vision of Viksit Kashi through their artistic skills.

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Many of the participants spoke to IANS and shed light on the importance and the reason behind such a workshop.

Harsh Vardhan Sharma, a retired professor from Jammu said that the event provided a platform to the artists to showcase their vision of Viksit Bharat and how they could enthuse and encourage the younger lot and instil in them a curiosity and desire to work towards ‘Viksit Kashi and Viksit Bharat’.

“Many local artistes participated in the workshop and shared their experience of changes and transformation of their city by drawing painting on the canvas,” he said.

Claiming that he has been a regular visitor to Varanasi for the past 35 years, he said that never before he saw the city shining bright with such cleanliness and hygiene and credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation for the same.

“Earlier, Indians looked at the Western world with awe and astonishment, but today, the global powers are looking up to Bharat. This is just the beginning of Bharat’s rise,” he said.

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Adwait Gannayak, one of the organisers said that more than 7,000 artistes are likely to accumulate to showcase their vision of Viksit Bharat via their artworks.

He said that the purpose behind the event was to combine the strengths of traditional and contemporary artists and create a framework for robust growth, and added that Kashi will become the key centre of Vishwaguru, the role that the country has envisaged for itself and set to achieve in the near future.

The lively ambience at Namo Ghat and the active participation of artists and attendees indeed made for an impactful event on the journey towards Viksit Kashi.

–IANS

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Shut down temporary Trinamool, CPI-M offices near polling station, orders Calcutta HC

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Kolkata, May 29 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the immediate closure of temporary party offices of both the Trinamool Congress and the CPI-M, located within 200 metres radius of a polling station under Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district.

Jadavpur is among the nine Lok Sabha constituencies in the state that will be going for polls in the seventh and last phase of the 2024 elections on June 1.

A vacation bench of Justice Rai Chattopadhyay gave this direction following a complaint by BJP leader Dhiman Kundu, which argued that since these temporary party offices are located within 200 metres radius of a polling station at Dinabandhu Andrews College in Garia area in southern Kolkata, there is every possibility of the polling process being influenced on the polling day.

During the hearing, Justice Chattopadhyay initially observed that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should immediately initiate the process to demolish these party offices. However, its counsel informed the court that the poll panel does not have the authority to demolish any construction and only the District Magistrate could do that.

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Thereafter, Justice Chattopadhyay ordered the closure of the two party offices and that this be done 48 hours before polling day.

–IANS

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Maha Congress leaders to tour drought-hit regions, submit report to govt

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Mumbai, May 29 (IANS) With massive water scarcity hitting large parts of the state, the Maharashtra Congress leaders will embark on an inspection tour of the worst-hit regions from Friday and submit ground reports to the government, state Congress chief Nana Patole said here on Wednesday.

Patole said that the drought situation in the state is so severe that in many parts people don’t have even drinking water for the past two-three weeks with nearly 75 per cent of the state facing alarming water shortages.

“The MahaYuti government is not concerned with the people’s problems despite the critical situation. Accordingly, Congress leaders shall go on a tour of all the seriously affected areas from May 31, assess the actual ground situation, and submit reports to the respective divisional commissioners,” Patole told mediapersons.

Adding to the drinking water woes is the problem of insufficient fodder for livestock that has hit the farming community owing to the government’s apathy and corruption, Patole claimed.

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“The tanker mafia is flourishing. The government says the water tankers are fitted with GPS, but the GPS is removed and fitted to motorcycles, and water doesn’t reach the targeted regions or the suffering masses,” Patole contended.

Challenging the government’s claims that the drought relief was hampered due to the model code of conduct, he pointed out that it can still be done after obtaining permission from the Election Commission of India.

Top Congress leaders will start the drought impact tours in different parts of the state, meet the people, the farmers, and other affected sections, and prepare detailed reports of the respective regions, which would be followed up by another tour in early June, he said.

Patole would helm the tours in the Marathwada region, Balasaheb Thorat in North Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan in Western Maharashtra, Vijay Wadettiwar and Yashomati Thakur in Vidarbha, while M. Arif Naseem Khan will tour the coastal Konkan region.

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–IANS

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