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Polling for all 20 LS constituencies underway in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, April 26 (IANS) Friday morning dawned in Kerala with people having an important task for the day as the state goes to the polls to elect 20 new Lok Sabha members.

At several polling booths, voters were seen queuing up before the official start of polling at 7 a.m. and all those who stand in the queue by 6 p.m. will be allowed to cast their votes.

Among those who were spotted in the queue even before the polling began included Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan at his booth in Ernakulam, BJP candidate and superstar Suresh Gopi (at Trissur) and his entire family and his Left opponent V.S. Sunil Kumar of the CPI.

After casting his vote Satheesan said this is a “do or die or battle for the country and hence all should cast their votes”.

Veteran Indian Union Muslim League legislator P.K. Kunhalikutty after casting his vote said the result will have a “far-reaching impact on the future of our country”.

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Congress legislator and party candidate at the Vadakara LS constituency was among the early voters at Palakkad.

In all, there are 25,177 polling booths and 181 auxiliary booths. Of these, 2,776 are model polling booths and 555 polling booths will be manned by all-women teams.

Youths are managing 100 booths while 10 are being managed by physically-challenged poll officials.

In the fray are 194 candidates belonging to the three political fronts which include the ruling CPI(M)-led Left, the Congress-led UDF and the BJP-led NDA besides a string of Independent candidates and a few other parties.

There are 2,77,49,159 voters in the state, including 1,43,33,499 women, 1,34,15,293 men and 367 transgenders.

Though the BJP-led NDA is fighting it out at all the 20 seats, the real triangular poll battle is at Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.

At the 2019 polls, the Congress-led UDF won 19 seats while the Left won one.

–IANS

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Voting begins for penultimate phase of Lok Sabha polls

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Voting began at 7 a.m. on Saturday for the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha polls with over 11 crore voters in 58 seats across eight states/UTs eligible to seal the fate of the 889 candidates in the fray.

Polling is being held in all the 10 seats in Haryana and seven constituencies in Delhi, eight seats in Bihar, four in Jharkhand, six in Odisha, 14 in UP, and eight seats in West Bengal, apart from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, where the election was deferred from the third phase on May 7.

Voting for 42 seats of the Odisha Assembly is also being held in the state’s third phase of simultaneous polling.

Among the prominent BJP candidates in this phase are Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Odisha’s Sambalpur, former Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar from Karnal, late Union Minister Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj making her electoral debut from New Delhi, former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi from UP’s Sultanpur, and former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangophadhyay from West Bengal’s Tamluk.

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Kumari Selja from Haryana’s Sirsa, Raj Babbar from Gurgaon, former JNUSU chief Kanhaiya Kumar from North East Delhi (all Congress), PDP President and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti from Anantnag-Rajouri, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav from UP’s Azamgarh and actor-politician Deepak ‘Dev’ Adhikari of the Trinamool Congress from West Bengal’s Ghatal are also in the fray.

The Election Commission said that 11.4 lakh polling officials have been deployed to facilitate voting by 11.13 crore voters – 5.84 crore male, 5.29 crore female and 5,120 third-gender – across 1.14 lakh polling stations.

In view of the soaring temperatures, the poll panel said that CEOs and state machinery concerned have been directed to take adequate measures to manage the adverse impact of hot weather or rainfall wherever predicted, while assured minimum facilities like shade, water, toilets, volunteers, and wheelchairs have been arranged.

The Election Commission has called upon voters to turn out in greater numbers, with the electorate of urban centres like Delhi, Gurugram, and Faridabad especially reminded about their right and duty to vote and break the trend of urban apathy.

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With this phase, Delhi, Haryana, and J&K will join the 25 states/UTs where polling has already been concluded in the earlier five phases and contests will be over in 486 constituencies.

–IANS

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Army man attacked by group of five in Karnataka's Tumakuru

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Tumakuru, May 25 (IANS) The Karnataka Police on Friday registered a case against five individuals for attacking a soldier of the Indian Army with a beer bottle at a village under the Koratagere police station limits here.

The injured soldier, Govindaraju (30), is admitted to Koratagere government hospital.

Govindaraju, posted in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, had returned to his hometown in Rayawara village on vacation

According to the police, the incident occurred at Bhyrenahalli while Govindaraju was returning home after visiting someone in the village.

A group of five individuals stood in the road, blocking Govindaraju’s path. When he asked them to allow him to pass through, the group enraged and started abusing him. Later, one of them smashed Govindaraju’s head with a beer bottle. Others in the group also attacked him.

The accused individuals have been identified as Bharath, Puneeth, Gourishankar, Shiva, and Dileep.

Following the soldier’s complaint, the Koratagere police have filed a case against the accused individuals and launched a hunt to apprehend them.

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The Koratagere Assembly constituency is represented by Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara.

–IANS

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Delhi cops pose as NGO workers in Assam to nab man absconding for 16 years

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) A man, who had been on the run for 16 years for allegedly attacking his wife with a knife, was arrested from a forest area in southern Assam. The arrest was made by a team of the Delhi Police Crime Branch, which posed as NGO volunteers to prevent any potential complications, an official said.

The accused, identified as Noor Mohammad, was wanted in an attempt to murder case.

Noor Mohammad, who was separated from his wife, had attacked her face and head with a sharp-edged “dao” during an altercation, resulting in serious injuries. Sensing the gravity of the situation, he fled, leaving her in a critical condition.

“The police team had been gathering information about Noor Mohammad, who was wanted in an attempted murder case by the Najafgarh police since 2008. They discovered he was in Assam and reached Mankachar, South Salmara, near the Bangladesh border,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Amit Goel.

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Due to the remote and forested area, there was a high risk of the team’s cover being blown. “To mitigate this, the team posed as members of an NGO assisting woodcutters and conducted a detailed survey of the area for three consecutive days. Their relentless efforts paid off, and they successfully identified and apprehended Noor Mohammad,” said the DCP.

Noor Mohammad told police that he came to Delhi in 1997 in search of livelihood. He started working with a scrap dealer in the Bhogal area of Delhi and married Muniza in 2000.

However, after a few years of marriage, they separated due to matrimonial disputes. After allegedly committing the crime, Noor Mohammad escaped from Delhi and relocated to Assam, choosing a different location from his native place to hide.

“He had been working as a woodcutter in a nearby forest area and was living there with his second wife and children,” the DCP said.

–IANS

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LS polls: Over 25L voters to decide fate of 23 candidates in Gurgaon constituency

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Gurugram, May 24 (IANS) The sixth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections will see voters in all 10 Parliamentary constituencies in Haryana exercising their franchise on Saturday (May 25). In the Gurgaon LS seat, a total of 25,33,958 voters will decide the fate of 23 candidates who are in the fray.

Campaigning ended on Thursday at 6 p.m. after which the Gurugram district administration imposed Section 144 which restricts the gathering of five or more persons.

Candidates from five major parties including five-time sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh of the BJP, Raj Babbar from Congress, singer-rapper Rahul Yadav — popularly known as Fazilpuria — of Jannayak Janta Party, Vijay Kumar from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Sohrab Khan from the Indian National Lok Dal are contesting from Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat.

In nine Assembly segments of the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency, over 2,000 polling booths have been set up.

Of the total number of voters, 13,51,239 are male while 12,2,641 are female. The number of third-gender voters in the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency is 78.

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Voting time on May 25 has been fixed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Arrangements have also been made to ensure that people above 85 years of age and people with disabilities can cast their vote from home.

Rao Inderjit Singh represented the Gurgaon LS constituency three times in a row — in 2009, 2014 and in 2019.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, he won the seat with a margin of 3,86,256 votes.

Rao Inderjit Singh got 8,81,546 votes. He defeated Congress candidate Captain Ajay Singh who got 4,95,290 votes. BSP candidate Chaudhary Rais Ahmad stood third with 26,756 votes in the constituency.

Meanwhile, over 10,000 security personnel, including those from the paramilitary forces, will be deployed during the polling.

–IANS

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Rajasthan govt orders audit of deaths 'caused by heatwaves'

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Jaipur, May 25 (IANS) The Rajasthan government on Friday ordered an audit of deaths “caused by heatwaves” in the state and constituted a committee for it.

Additional Chief Secretary of the Health Department Shubhra Singh instructed officials during a meeting that heat stroke as the cause of death should only be reported after an investigation by the audit committee.

“Deaths being reported in medical institutions should be investigated by the audit committee as per protocol. Only after the investigation, deaths due to heat stroke should be reported on the IHIP portal,” she said.

Singh also refuted reports which claimed a woman and her son died due to heat stroke in Pali.

She said that the family of Samandar Singh, who allegedly died due to heat stroke, denied postmortem following his death. He had no symptoms of heat stroke.

“Similarly, Samandar Singh’s 80-year-old mother Raju Kanwar was a heart patient. She was admitted to the government hospital in Sadri on May 23 after difficulty in breathing and chest pain and died during treatment on May 24. The medical team said that the cause of death was heart failure. Her death was also not found to be due to heat stroke,” Singh added.

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She directed officials of the Health Department to work with sensitivity and ensure the availability of coolers, fans, ACs and water facilities in hospitals.

All arrangements should be made in three days else strict action will be taken against concerned officials, she said.

–IANS

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