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'Monday Showdown': 96 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs in the fourth phase of polling

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New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Advancing to its midpoint, India’s electoral festival will, in its fourth phase on Monday, encompass 96 Lok Sabha constituencies across 10 states and a UT, spanning the heartland of Maharashtra to West Bengal’s industrial and cultural hubs, and the verdant mountains of Jammu and Kashmir to the varied topography of Andhra Pradesh.

Along with the parliamentary seats, elections will be held simultaneously to the Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh (all 175 seats), and Odisha (28 seats out of 147). While in Andhra, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy faces the determined TDP-JSP-BJP coalition trying to wrest the state back from his YSRCP, in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is trying to win the 6th consecutive election for his BJD against a combative BJP.

While voting in the parliamentary elections will continue in Uttar Pradesh (13 seats), Bihar (5), West Bengal (8), Maharashtra (11), Madhya Pradesh (8), and Jammu and Kashmir (1), the electoral process will kick off in Andhra Pradesh (all 25 seats), Telangana (all 17), Odisha (4), and Jharkhand (4).

A total of 17.7 crore electors (8.97 crore male, 8.73 crore female) will head to 1.92 lakh polling stations on Monday to decide the electoral fortune of 1,717 candidates in the fray.

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Prominent among them are Union Ministers Arjun Munda (Khunti-ST, Jharkhand), Nityanand Rai (Ujiarpur, Bihar), and Ajay Mishra Teni (Kheri, Uttar Pradesh), Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress, who faces former cricketer Yusuf Pathan (Trinamool Congress) in West Bengal’s Baharampur, and filmstar-turned politician Shatrughan Singh of the Trinamool in West Bengal’s Asansol.

Other key battlegrounds include Hyderabad, which is witnessing a significant showdown between the BJP’s Madhavi Latha and sitting MP Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM, West Bengal’s Krishnanagar, where expelled Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra faces the BJP’s Amrita Roy, Bihar’s Begusarai, where Union Minister Giriraj Singh competes against CPI candidate Awadhesh Rai, and Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj, where Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav challenges sitting BJP MP Subrat Pathak.

Janata Dal-United leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Lalan Singh) faces RJD leader Anita Devi in Bihar’s Munger in what is being rated as another interesting fight, while National Conference’s Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi challenges PDP’s Waheed Para in Srinagar, and cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad (Trinamool) takes on BJP’s Dilip Ghosh in West Bengal’s Bardhaman-Durgapur.

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In Mahashtra’s Beed, BJP’s Pankaja Munde, fielded in place of sitting MP and younger sister Pritam Munde, faces NCP-SP’s candidate Bajrang Sonawane, Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Y.S. Sharmila takes on cousin and sitting MP Avinash Reddy in Kadapa and her BJP counterpart D. Purandeshwari will contest from the state’s Rajahmundry, and in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, veteran tribal leader and former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria (Congress) takes on BJP’s Anita Chouhan, the wife of state Minister Nagar Singh Chouhan.

Another key contest will be Maharashtra’s Raver, where sitting MP Raksha Khadse — daughter-in-law of veteran leader Eknath Khadse, who is set to soon rejoin the BJP — faces an acid test to win for the third time, as she faces industrialist and NCP-SP nominee, Shriram Patil, and in the state’s Jalna, Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, expecting a win for the sixth consecutive term, is pitted against Congress’ Kalyanrao Kale.

As per an IMD forecast, there is no significant concern regarding hot weather conditions for the polling in this phase. Poll authorities have ensured assured minimum facilities like drinking water, sheds for shade from the sun, toilets, ramps, volunteers, and wheelchairs to ensure that every voter, including the elderly and persons with disabilities, can cast their vote with ease.

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With this phase, elections to decide 379 MPs will be over and also conclude in Madhya Pradesh, as well as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The first three phases have already decided the fate of 284 MPs concluded for all constituencies in several states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Karnataka, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, as well as the UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

The upcoming phases will continue to shape the political landscape which will now move northwards too, with the fifth phase (49 seats) on May 20, followed by the sixth on May 25 (58 seats), and the final phase on June 1 (57 seats). Counting will take place on June 4.

–IANS

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Wanted 'lady don' arrested by Delhi Police

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) A 22-year-old alleged ‘lady don’, also a member of Deepak Agrola and Karamveer Kaala gang, was arrested from Fatehpur area in the national capital, said a Delhi Police’s Special Cell official on Tuesday.

The accused was identified as Kaili Tanwar, a resident of Ghaziabad district in Uttar Pradesh and was also carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on her head.

According to police, specific input was received regarding one Kaili Tanwar, who was wanted in a murder case in Loni police station and living in the area of village Mandi, was going to be near the bus stand in Fatehpur, Delhi.

“On the basis of the above said information she was apprehended from the Fatehpur area on Monday,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Amit Kaushik.

During interrogation, she disclosed her involvement in the murder case and subsequently was arrested in Kalandra under section 41.1 (ba) Cr.P.C. and produced before the court.

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The officer said that an old rivalry between two groups in Loni led to the murder.

“The accused of this murder belongs to Deepak Agrola and Karamveer Kaala gang. UP Police had declared a reward of 25,000/- on the arrest of Kaili,” said the officer.

“Earlier on May 3, Md. Faijan a.k.a Nanhe, who was also wanted in the same case was also arrested by the team of Special Cell after a brief exchange of fire,” the DCP added.

–IANS

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Six youths hurt in Mumbai's Dharavi slum fire

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Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) At least six persons were hurt in a major fire that broke out in a slum tenement in Mumbai’s Dharavi on Tuesday, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Disaster Control officials said.

The fire was noticed around 3.50 a.m. when the occupants of the structure in Ashok Mills Compound were fast asleep.

The fire was confined to the electrical writing and fittings, garment stocks, some machinery and office records in the ground-plus-3 and ground-plus-4 storied commercial structures.

A Mumbai Fire Brigade team rushed to the spot in minutes and after a four-hour-long battle, managed to douse the flames.

The injured victims were rushed to the BMC’s Sion Hospital nearby.

They are Salman Khan, 26, Manoj, 25 – both with 8-10 percent burns, Amjad, 22 and

Sallauddin, 28, and Saidul Rehman, 26, all with 35-50 percent burns.

One victim Rafiq Ahmed, 26, who suffered some hand injuries, was treated and discharged, and the cause of the conflagration is being probed.

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–IANS

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Bomb threat for IndiGo flight at Delhi airport turns out to be hoax (Ld)

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) An IndiGo flight bound for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh received a bomb threat at Delhi airport on Tuesday morning, which later turned out to be a hoax, police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Usha Rangnani said that at around 5 a.m., information was received regarding a paper found in the lavatory of an Indigo flight scheduled to depart for Varanasi, with the word ‘bomb@5.30’ written on it.”

“Following the standard security protocols, a thorough inspection was conducted, and no suspicious items were found,” said the DCP.

According to airline officials, IndiGo flight 6E2211 operating from Delhi to Varanasi with 176 passengers onboard, had received a specific bomb threat at the airport.

The threat call was received at around 5.40 a.m., said officials.

“All necessary protocols were followed and the aircraft was taken to a remote bay as per guidelines by airport security agencies.

All passengers were safely evacuated via the emergency exits,” said an airline official.

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In a similar incident on May 16, a tissue paper, with the word “bomb” written on it, was found in the Air India flight AI819 lavatory at Delhi airport, prompting security agencies to conduct an inspection, but it turned out to be a hoax.

–IANS

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Two injured as DTC buses crash in southwest Delhi

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Two people sustained injuries after a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus hit another stationary bus in southwest Delhi’s Nauroji Nagar on Tuesday morning, police said.

Sharing the details, police said that information was received on Tuesday morning at Safdarjung Enclave police station regarding an accident at Nauroji Nagar bus stand on Outer Ring Road between two DTC buses.

Upon reaching the spot, it was revealed that a DTC electric bus driven by Akash was picking up passengers from the Nauroji Nagar bus stand when another DTC bus driven by Chandveer hit it from the rear side.

“Two persons namely Mukesh Kumar and Shamshula, both residents of Durga Park, West Sagarpur, received minor injuries and are undergoing treatment at AIIMS Trauma Centre,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Rohit Meena.

“Legal action is being taken in the matter,” the DCP added.

–IANS

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No feasibility study needed for solar rooftop connections up to 10 kW in TN

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Chennai, May 28 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has directed the state power utility TANGEDCO not to conduct a technical feasibility study for solar rooftop proposals of up to 10 kilowatts.

The regulatory commission in the state in an order dated May 23, has directed the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to exempt consumers using solar rooftops of up to 10 kilowatt power based on Rule 7(A) of Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2004.

The TNERC came out with the directive after TANGEDCO ordered an exemption on solar rooftops with a capacity of up to only 3 kilowatts.

The directive was required after several households complained that there was a delay in installing rooftop solar systems in households by the TANGEDCO.

The regulatory commission also directed TANGEDCO that the sanction power of the Grid Interactive Solar Photovoltaic Power System capacity of up to 10 kW should be delegated to the lower-level field officers.

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While TANGEDCO has to conduct the study and produce the feasibility report for a solar rooftop project in households within a fortnight, consumers told IANS that there has been an inordinate delay.

Meenakshi Sundaram, a retired College professor, who wanted to install a solar rooftop connection of 8 kW, told IANS that there has been a long delay from Tangedco and several consumers like her were dejected.

–IANS

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