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Members of the divided YSR family hit campaign trail in Kadapa

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Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh), April 30 (IANS) The YSR family, which has seen a vertical split along political lines, has hit the campaign trail in the family stronghold of Kadapa.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s wife YS Bharati and his sister YS Sharmila Reddy’s husband Anil Kumar joined the campaign for their spouses.

While entrepreneur Bharati is reaching out to voters in Pulivendula Assembly constituency, where YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is seeking re-election for a third-consecutive term, Anil Kumar is canvassing in Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency in support of his wife and state Congress President Sharmila Reddy.

Sharmila Reddy is taking on her cousin and sitting MP from Kadapa, YS Avinash Reddy of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

Unlike in the past, when the entire YSR family used to stand united, the family is split right down the middle now.

Sharmila Reddy’s campaign is being backed by her cousin YS Suneetha Reddy, daughter of former minister YS Vivekananda Reddy, who was murdered just before the 2019 elections. The poll battle centres around allegations against Avinash Reddy over his alleged involvement in Vivekananda Reddy’s murder.

With the CBI naming Avinash as an accused in the case, Sharmila and Suneetha have vowed to stop him from entering Parliament again.

They are also training their guns on Jagan Mohan Reddy for fielding Avinash once again despite him being an accused in the case.

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The home district of the YSR family is witnessing a no-holds-barred fight between the siblings.

Sharmila Reddy has been accusing her brother of shielding a murder accused and promoting politics of murder.

On the other hand, Jagan Mohan Reddy has accused the Opposition of involving his two sisters in orchestrating conspiracies against him.

At a rally in Pulivendula, Jagan accused them of playing into the hands of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Certain remarks by Jagan on Sharmila wearing a yellow saree (the colour of the TDP’s flag) while meeting Naidu triggered a storm as she questioned if he should have commented on sister’s attire in front of thousands of people.

One key figure missing from this acrimonious fight between the siblings is their mother YS Vijayamma. She along with Sharmila was active in backing Jagan when he was in jail in a Disproportionate Assets case.

Vijayamma as the honorary president of YSRCP had also campaigned actively for the party in 2014 and 2019 elections. She resigned from the post in 2022 to stand with her daughter.

The cracks appeared in the YSR family in 2020 after the CBI took up investigation into the murder of Vivekananda Reddy, following direction of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on a petition by Suneetha Reddy, who raised suspicions about the role of some relatives.

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Fighting for justice for the last five years, Suneetha is now publicly posing some embarrassing questions to Jagan. She wants to know why he withdrew the petition for a CBI enquiry after becoming the Chief Minister.

The CBI claimed that there was a conspiracy to kill Vivekananda Reddy as he was not in favour of YSRCP fielding Avinash Reddy as the candidate from Kadapa Lok Sabha seat. Vivekananda Reddy reportedly wanted Jagan Mohan Reddy to field Sharmila or mother Vijayamma as the party candidate.

Avinash Reddy, who was elected from Kadapa in 2014 and 2019, denied his involvement in his uncle’s murder.

Jagan has given a clean chit to Avinash Reddy. “He has done nothing wrong and that’s why I have given him a ticket once again,” the Chief Minister told a public meeting in Pulivendula.

The YSRCP chief also remarked that God and people of Pulivendula know who orchestrated the murder.

“People are witnessing who sent my two sisters to discredit us and who is backing them. What’s even more surprising is that the murderer unabashedly confesses to the crime and openly discusses it with the public, with supporters rallying behind him. You all bear witness to this,” he said.

Though he did not name anybody, it is believed that he is pointing fingers at the TDP, which was ruling the state when Vivekananda Reddy was murdered.

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With Jagan locked in a tight fight against the TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance and campaigning across the state, his wife chipped in to campaign for him in Pulivendula.

Bharati said that people were happy with the benefits of various schemes launched by the Jagan Reddy Government.

“They say schools are good, they are getting pensions and quality healthcare services. Wherever I am going people are saying only one thing. Jagan sir should win again,” she said and exuded confidence that her husband would retain the Pulivendula seat with a huge majority.

Bharati is also confident that the YSRCP will form the government once again.

Meanwhile, as Sharmila Reddy is busy campaigning for Congress candidates in other parts of the state, her husband Anil Kumar has reached Kadapa to help her.

Anil Kumar is an evangelist and he held meetings with pastors and some other Christian leaders in a bid to mobilise support of the minorities.

Political analysts say Anil Kumar, who has a good bond with several Dalit Christian groups, may make a dent in YSRCP’s vote bank. Anil Kumar told a gathering that those who do wrong have to undergo punishment.

Anil Kumar admitted that he is sad over what has been happening in the family for the last few years but vowed to continue his support for a just cause.

–IANS

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First trial run of Sangaldan-Reasi train on USBRL successfully completed

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Jammu, June 16 (IANS) The first trial train successfully ran from Sangaldan to Reasi in J&K on Sunday, completing the rail link between the Valley and the rest of the country, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced.

“1st trial train has successfully run from Sangaldan to Reasi including crossing the Chenab Bridge. All construction works for the USBRL are nearly finished, with only tunnel No.1 remaining partially incomplete”, he said in a post on X.

Once work on tunnel 1 on this rail track is completed, the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link (USBRL) will become functional and make the dream of connecting the Valley with the rest of the country possible.

The 48.1-km-long Banihal-Sangaldan section of the USBRL was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20 this year and includes the 359 m (1,178 ft) high Chenab Bridge, which is the tallest railway bridge in the world, and higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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The total project cost in 2022 was Rs 28,000 crore.

Once operationalised, the USBRL will provide an all-weather surface rail link from the Valley to other parts of the country. The running of the train between the Valley and other parts of the country will provide cheaper transport facilities for the horticultural produce of Kashmir including apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, almonds etc. The industrial problem of bringing in the raw materials and transporting the finished products from the Valley will also become cheap and easily accessible.

–IANS

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BJP conspiring against Delhiites to create water crisis, alleges Atishi

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Delhi Water Minister Atishi on Sunday alleged that the BJP is conspiring against Delhiites and the party is responsible for the water crisis in the national capital.

She said that the conspiracy is three-fold.

First, the BJP is not allowing the Haryana government to release Delhi’s share of Yamuna water.

Second, she questioned BJP leaders for posing before the broken water pipelines, adding that the South Delhi Rising Mains — the main pipeline that carries water from Sonia Vihar WTP to South Delhi — was deliberately damaged to disrupt the supply of drinking water.

Third, she alleged that none other than supporters of former BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri vandalised the office of Delhi Jal Board in Chattarpur, disturbing law and order of the area.

“We have complained to the Delhi police and I have myself sent the video (of the incident) to DCP of South Delhi. We will await to see if an FIR is filed against former BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri by the Delhi Police. Will Delhi Police take cognizance of this video and file FIR against BJP goons?” Atishi questioned in a press conference held on Sunday.

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Earlier in the day, Atishi urged the city’s Police Commissioner to deploy police personnel to patrol and protect major water pipelines in the national capital for the next 15 days.

She said that the Delhi Jal Board ground patrolling team reported a major leakage in South Delhi Rising Mains since several large 375 mm bolts and one 12 inch bolt had been cut from the pipeline, causing the leakage.

“The fact that several large bolts had been cut seems to indicate foul play and sabotage.Our maintenance team worked for six hours continuously and repaired the leakage, but this meant that we had to stop pumping of water for six hours and 20 MGD of water was not pumped during that time. As a consequence, a further 25 per cent of water shortage will be experienced in south Delhi,” said Atishi, in a letter posted on X.

–IANS

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Union Home Minister directs security forces to ensure safe, smooth, incident-free Amarnath Yatra

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday urged security forces and the J&K administration to ensure a smooth, safe, and incident-free Amarnath Yatra this year.

The Union Home Minister chaired a high-level security review meeting here in the national capital, attended by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, NSA Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, IB Director Tapan Deka, Army chief, Gen Manoj Pande, Army chief-designate Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, J&K Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo, J&K DGP, R.R.Swain, CRPF DGP, Anish Dayal Singh, J&K’s ADGP, Law & Order, Vijay Kumar, IGP Jammu, Anand Jain, and senior army and intelligence officers.

Amit Shah advised the security forces that all needed measures should be taken to ensure a smooth, safe and incident-free Yatra that begins on June 29 and will end on August 19. He directed the security forces to maintain 24×7 vigil and surveillance on the national highway and other roads and streets which are used by the Yatris to reach the Valley.

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He also advised the security forces to ensure that the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage and Shiv Khori temple pilgrimage take place without any hassles or inconvenience to the pilgrims.

He also directed the security forces to crush terrorism in the Jammu division and also ensure that it was wiped out from the Kashmir Valley at all costs. He assured all support in terms of resources and manpower to the security forces in their fight against terrorism.

–IANS

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Bengal BJP leader's relative apologises again for his derogatory comments on Amit Malviya

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Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) Santanu Sinha, an RSS associate in West Bengal having family links with BJP’s former national secretary Rahul Sinha, on Sunday issued a second letter of apology to BJP’s Information Technology Cell chief and the co-in-charge of the party’s state unit in West Bengal, Amit Malviya, over derogatory comments that he made in a Facebook post.

On June 8, Malviya’s counsel served a legal notice to Sinha on June 8 asking the latter to be asked to tender a public apology and also remove the slanderous social post within three days from the receipt of the legal notice, failing which Malviya will initiate legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, against him.

Since then, Sinha, a self-proclaimed president of an organisation in the name and style of Hindu Samhati, had forwarded two apology letters to Malviya.

In the letter, Sinha said that he repented from “the depth of his soul” for the development arising out of the “misinterpretation of my post which has harmed and hampered the reputation of Malviya as a person and BJP as a political party”.

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“I so express my apology to your client as a person and to BJP as the political party for the harassment and dishonour caused by the misinterpretation of my post,” the letter dated June 16 read.

In his last letter, Sinha also reminded that he had already posted another article on the same social media on June 10. He has clarified the original and actual meaning of that controversial post against which the legal notice was issued to him.

–IANS

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Additional central forces deployed in Manipur's violence-hit Jiribam district, relief material distributed

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Imphal, June 16 (IANS) As tension still prevails in Manipur’s mixed-population Jiribam district, additional CRPF troopers have been deployed in the interior areas of its Borobekra subdivision to maintain peace and tranquillity, officials said on Sunday.

The Borobekra subdivision of Jiribam, adjoining southern Assam, had been badly affected after the killing of 59-year-old farmer Soibam Saratkumar Singh on June 6.

Around 900 tribals belonging to the Kuki and Hmar communities took shelter at the homes of relatives and friends in two villages – Haokippunji and Hmarkhawlienin – in the Cachar district of southern Assam, after violence broke out.

The Jiribam district administration on Sunday distributed cooking gas cylinders and other necessary items in the seven relief camps, where around 1,000 people, mostly belonging to the Meitei community, have taken shelter after the violence.

Officials in Imphal said that the district health officials have been providing healthcare services round the clock to the villagers.

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The Education Department has also started lessons from Classes one to eight for around 100 children taking shelter in the camps at the Bidyanagar Multipurpose Sports Complex in the district headquarters. A headmaster and 23 teachers were posted in the temporary school. Textbooks and notebooks have already been provided to the students.

Similar temporary schools will also be set up in nearby relief camps as and when necessary.

Movement of goods trucks and LPG-carrying vehicles has commenced along the Imphal-Jiribam National Highway (NH-37) from Saturday under the protection of a CRPF convoy.

Tension still prevails in Jiribam, inhabited by Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis, Muslims and non-Manipuris, where a wave of violence broke out after the killing of Saratkumar Singh, who belonged to the Meitei community. A senior police official said that two police checkposts, a forest beat office, and at least 100 houses were set afire in Jiribam by attackers on June 7 and 8.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has demanded an immediate end to the ethnic crisis in Jiribam, which has led to the displacement of about 1,600 people. A meeting of the state unit’s Political Affairs Committee, chaired by state chief K. Meghachandra Singh, was held at Congress Bhawan on Saturday and resolved to appeal to the Central and state governments to control the situation in Jiribam district immediately, a Congress leader said on Sunday.

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–IANS

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