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Mallikarjun Kharge writes to PM Modi, seeks to explain 'Nyay Patra' in person

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New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, claiming the latter has been misinformed on the Congress’ Nyay Patra (manifesto) for the Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress chief also said that he would like to meet the Prime Minister in person and explain the party manifesto to him so that he doesn’t make any ‘false’ statements in the future.

“I am neither shocked nor surprised by your language or your speeches over the last few days. It was expected that you and other leaders from your party would start speaking in this manner after you saw the performance of the BJP in the first phase of the elections.

“The Congress has been talking about the poor and their rights (Nyay). We are aware that you and your government do not have any concern for the poor. Your ‘suit-boot ki sarkaar’ works for the corporates whose taxes you reduced, while the salaried class pays higher taxes. The poor pay GST but the rich corporate claim GST refunds,” Kharge wrote in the letter.

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It continued: “That is why when we talk of inequality between rich and poor, you are purposely equating it with Hindu-Muslim. Our manifesto is for the poor whether they are Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Sikhs. Do not try to divide the nation like your former allies. The Congress has always served to empower the poor and you have ruled to snatch the earnings and wealth of the poor. The lakhs of crores of corporate loans that your government has written off since 2014 is transfer of wealth from poor to rich. No farmer’s loan was waived by you.”

The Congress President also claimed that the Centre has repeatedly turned away from the atrocities that the poor and backward women face in the country.

“Today, you talk about their ‘mangalsutra’. Isn’t your govt responsible for the atrocities against women in Manipur, atrocities against Dalit girls, garlanding of rapists? When the farmers are committing suicides under your government, how are you protecting their wives and children?

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“Please read about the ‘Nari Nyay’ we will be implementing when we come to power,” he added.

“I would be more than happy to meet you in person to explain our Nyay Patra so that as the Prime Minister, you don’t make statements that are false,” Kharge concluded.

–IANS

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Seven newborns die in Delhi hospital fire (Ld)

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Seven newly born babies died after a fire broke out in a baby care centre in Delhi’s Shahdara, police said on Sunday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary said that on Saturday at around 11:30 p.m. a police control room (PCR) call regarding a fire at Baby Care NewBorn Hospital was received at Vivek Vihar police station, following which a police team rushed to the spot.

Upon reaching the spot, the fire was found in the hospital and its adjacent building.

“In the hospital, there were 12 newborn babies admitted and one was already dead before the fire incident. All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital, for treatment,” said the DCP.

The DCP said that fire tenders also reached the spot and doused the flames.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five newly born babies are undergoing treatment.

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“All 7 dead bodies have been further shifted to GTB Hospital for postmortem. Appropriate legal action is being taken against the owner of the hospital namely Naveen Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar, Delhi,” said the DCP.

–IANS

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UP: Teen detained for killing his 50-year-old rapist

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Muzaffarnagar (UP), May 26 (IANS) A 15-year-old boy has been detained for allegedly killing a man of 50, who had raped him multiple times in a village in Muzaffarnagar.

The body of the man was found in his home on May 20, and the teenager was detained on Saturday after a police probe.

The boy has been charged with murder. A case under IPC section 302 (murder) was filed after the man’s family filed a police complaint.

The boy has been sent to a juvenile facility.

SP (Rural) Aditya Bansal said: “Weeks ago, the deceased had sodomised the minor and recorded an obscene video clip.”

“The boy was being blackmailed and repeatedly sexually harassed. On Monday, the man forced the boy to come to his home after threatening to upload the video online. As he was being harassed, the boy picked up a sharp object lying next to him and attacked the man’s head and throat,” he added.

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–IANS

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Fire breaks out at baby care centre in Delhi, 11 infants rescued

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) At least 11 newborn babies were rescued after a fire broke out at a baby care centre in Delhi’s Vivek Vihar area, a fire department official said, adding that the rescue operation is underway.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) chief Atul Garg said that a fire call from a baby care centre, near IIT, Block B in Vivek Vihar has been received.

“A total of nine fire tenders rushed to the site. Rescue operation going on and so far 11 newborn babies rescued,” said Garg.

–IANS

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Massive fire at Rajkot amusement park leaves 35 dead; 'extremely distressed’, says PM Modi (2nd Ld)

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) At least 35 people, including 12 children, were reportedly killed in a massive fire at an amusement and theme park in Gujarat’s Rajkot city on Saturday.

The fire broke out at ‘TRP’ — an amusement and theme park — when it was teeming with children, causing chaos and panic.

It is suspected that the fire might have started due to a short circuit.

A Fire Department official said: “The reason for the fire has yet to be ascertained. The attempts to douse the fire are underway. We are facing difficulty in the firefighting operation because the temporary structure has collapsed and also due to the wind velocity.”

Rajkot District Collector Prabhav Joshi said: “The firefighters managed to control the fire, but fumes are still emanating from the debris, and we fear more people could be trapped beneath.”

Sources said the owner of the amusement park has been arrested.

The place was inundated with crowds because of the weekend. The intensity of the fire was so fierce that smoke was seen billowing from the shopping mall from a long distance.

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The state government has announced a compensation package of Rs 4 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for every injured person.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel expressed his condolences and assured swift action.

In a post on X, he said: “The state government will provide Rs 4 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured. In this regard, a Special Investigation Team has been formed and assigned to investigate the incident.

“Instructions have been given to the Municipal Corporation and the administration for immediate rescue and relief operations in the fire incident in the game zone in Rajkot. It has been instructed to prioritise arrangements for immediate treatment of the injured.”

Expressing grief over the tragic incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on X: “Extremely distressed by the fire mishap in Rajkot. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their loved ones. Prayers for the injured. The local administration is working to provide all possible assistance to those affected.”

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“The fire tragedy in Rajkot has saddened us all. In my telephone conversation with him a short while ago, Gujarat CM Bhupendrabhai Patel Ji told me about the efforts underway to ensure all possible assistance is provided to those who have been affected,” the Prime Minister said in another post.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said: “I am deeply saddened by the accident that happened in the game zone of Rajkot (Gujarat). I have spoken to the Chief Minister Shri @Bhupendrapbjp ji and got information regarding this accident.

“The administration is making every possible effort for relief and rescue work and is providing treatment to the injured. I express my deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones in this tragic accident and wish for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

Mourning the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a post on X: “The news of the death of many people including innocent children due to a massive fire in the gaming zone of a mall in Rajkot, Gujarat, is very painful. I express my deepest condolences to all the bereaved families. I hope that all the injured recover as soon as possible.”

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–IANS

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Over 61 per cent voting in LS polls' 6th phase, enthusiastic J&K voters set another record (Lead)

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Over 61 per cent turnout was recorded in 58 seats in 8 states/UTs that went to polls on Saturday in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, ranging from 79.47 per cent in West Bengal (8 seats) to 54.03 per cent in UP (14 seats), while J&K’s Anantnag-Rajouri seat logged an impressive 54.30 per cent – the highest in several decades, the Election Commission said.

The approximate turnout, as of 11.45 p.m., was 61.20 per cent, the poll panel said.

“The same shall continue to be updated by the field level officers as polling parties keep returning and will be available PC wise (along with respective AC segments) live at VTR App, as was the case in earlier phases,” it said in a statement.

The EC noted that “in spite of hot weather in certain parts of the country, voters were undeterred in their enthusiasm as they were seen queuing up patiently to cast their votes across the country”, and a large number of voters were still in the queue at some polling stations at the prescribed time of closing of the poll.

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The turnout in other states/UTs was 69.56 per cent in Odisha (6 LS seats and 42 Assembly seats), 63.76 per cent in Jharkhand (4 seats), 60.4 per cent in Haryana (10 seats), 57.67 per cent in Delhi (7 seats), and 54.03 per cent in UP (14 seats).

A total of 889 candidates were in the electoral fray, including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Odisha’s Sambalpur, former Union Maneka Gandhi from UP’s Sultanpur, former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangophadhyay from West Bengal’s Tamluk, industrialist Naveen Jindal from Haryana’s Kurukshetra (all BJP), Kumari Selja from Haryana’s Sirsa, Deepender Singh Hooda from Haryana’s Rohtak, J.P. Agarwal from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk (all Congress), PDP President and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti (Anantnag-Rajouri), and actor-politician Deepak Adhikari Dev from West Bengal’s Ghatal (Trinamool Congress).

Other prominent contests included Union Minister Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj making her electoral debut from New Delhi against Aam Aadmi Party’s Somnath Bharti, Congress’ Raj Babbar taking on Union Minister and sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh in Gurgaon, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav against sitting BJP MP Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirhua’ in Azamgarh.

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In Delhi, President Droupadi Murmu, CJI D.Y Chandrachud, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, CEC Rajiv Kumar and ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, cricketer Kapil Dev, and actress Chitrangda Singh were among those who cast their votes.

Polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, where elections were deferred from the third phase on May 7, in Jammu and Kashmir was completely peaceful, with enthusiastic voters taking the turnout to the highest in many decades. The other two seats of the Kashmir Valley – Srinagar (38.49 per cent), and Baramulla (59.1 per cent) – also recorded turnouts which were highest in many decades.

With this phase, Delhi, Haryana, and J&K joined the 25 states/UTs where polling has already been concluded in the earlier phases and the number of parliamentary seats where the fate of the candidates has been sealed in the EVMs reached 486.

Polling for the remaining 57 seats, in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha, as well as Punjab, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh, will be held on June 1.

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–IANS

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