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Profile: Confident of securing people’s mandate in battleground Hamirpur: Anurag Thakur

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Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh), May 13 (IANS) Exuding confidence, four-time MP Anurag Thakur believes that he will secure the people’s mandate in his battleground Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh easily and in the country too, owing to overwhelming public support and love for him and the BJP.

Since his maiden electoral victory in the May 2008 parliamentary bypoll at the young age of 34, Thakur served the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) as its president for four-consecutive terms since 2000.

In 2019, Thakur, a strategist and youth icon who had served the BJP’s youth wing as its President for seven years, won the Lok Sabha polls by a record margin of 3.87 lakh votes, with a vote share of 69 per cent.

The Congress last won this seat in 1996. Now, Hamirpur is the BJP’s bastion from where Thakur’s father and two-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was elected thrice as an MP.

Traditionally, this Lok Sabha seat has been with the BJP since 1998, when Suresh Chandel was elected as the MP. He was caught in a sting operation after the cash-for-query scandal in Parliament in 2005.

In 2007, Dhumal became the MP from Hamirpur but later resigned to take over as the chief minister. This necessitated the bypoll and since 2008 Thakur has been the MP from this seat for four-consecutive terms.

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This parliamentary constituency has a significantly high literacy rate wherein people evaluate development while casting their vote, Thakur believes.

Banking on the ‘Modi factor’, Thakur, at a public meeting said, “The Modi government has ensured all-round development of the country as the people gave Modi a chance. If the Modi government scores a hat-trick, the country will become the third-largest economic power in the world.”

In every parliamentary election in the state, which witnesses a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP, Hamirpur has been witnessing more aggressive campaigning as compared to the other three Lok Sabha constituencies — Shimla (Reserved), Kangra and Mandi.

In his political pitch, it is always Thakur’s father Dhumal who plays an important role by devoting the maximum time and energy in campaigning.

Dhumal has an amazing rapport, a senior BJP leader admitted to IANS.

Also playing on the back foot on the political pitch is Thakur’s elder brother Arun Dhumal, who is the Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman.

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An astute tactician, Arun has perfected the art of influencing people. Currently, he’s busy in the IPL season that lasts till May 26.

Party leaders tell IANS that whenever he gets time from his busy schedule in Delhi, Thakur devotes time to his constituency that is spread over 17 Assembly seats.

Out of these 17 Assembly seats, the BJP has 11 Legislators and the Congress holds the remaining six seats.

According to a post on Thakur’s website, he has an impressive Parliament attendance record of 85 per cent, with participation in 72 debates and a staggering 612 pertinent questions raised. All of which are the highest among young MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, Thakur’s attendance in Parliament increased to 92 per cent. He also participated in 46 debates and the total number of questions raised by him was 287.

The outgoing Union minister takes credit for the introduction of new trains and extension of rail links to Himachal, building premier technical institutes and a central university and extension and maintenance of national highways in the state.

Thakur’s dedication to cricket, led him to create modern infrastructure in the small hill state. He is credited with developing stadia, including the world-class showpiece stadium in Dharamsala, and one cricket academy in the state capital.

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The Rs 100-crore stadium in Dharamsala first figured on the international cricket map in 2005 when it hosted a warm-up tie between the touring Pakistani team and the Board President’s XI.

Thakur’s cricketing journey as a player began at the age of 14. He led the Punjab U-16 team that won the All India Vijay Merchant Trophy. Later, he captained the Punjab U-19 and North Zone U-19 team that won the All India Championship.

At the age of 25, Thakur, who believes ‘Abki baar 400 paar’, was elected the HPCA president, the youngest to head a state cricket association affiliated with the BCCI.

During the poll campaigns, he’s often seen playing cricket with locals and playing hide-and-seek outdoors with the children.

Polling for all four Himachal Pradesh Lok Sabha seats will be held on June 1. The results will be out on June 4, as in the rest of the country.

(Vishal Gulati can be reached at gulatiians@gmail.com)

–IANS

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National

Rajkot fire tragedy: Seven members of same family among victims

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) The fire at Rajkot’s TRP Mall, which has claimed 35 lives so far, has left seven members of the same family either dead or missing.

Seven family members of Virendrasinh’s family fell victim to the fire. He tried to save his family from the blaze but also fell victim to the tragedy while five of his family members are still missing.

Virendrasinh, a native of Sanganwa, had come to the gaming zone with his wife, son, and brother-in-law’s children.

Eyewitnesses said that when the fire broke out, Virendrasinh initially found himself in a safe area, but his children were trapped. Desperate to rescue them, he became a victim himself. Two members of his family have been hospitalised, while the search for the remaining five continues.”

The intensity of the fire was so severe that many bodies could not be recognised, necessitating DNA tests to confirm the identities.

Despite ongoing efforts, many people remain missing. Blood samples from the relatives of the missing have been collected, and the bodies will be handed over to the families once the DNA results are available.

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Sources said that the investigations have revealed that the TRP Gamezone had been operating illegally in a residential area for four years without the necessary No Objection Certificate (NOC).

The amusement park was set up in a flimsy shed-like structure to bypass regulatory approvals. Despite this, the facility continued to attract visitors.

–IANS

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Army chief gets one month extension in service

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) India’s Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj C. Pande, who was due to retire at the end of the month, has been given a one-month extension of service, the Defence Ministry announced on Sunday.

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet on Sunday approved the extension for Gen Pande for a period of one month, beyond his normal age of superannuation (May 31, 2024), that is up to June 30, 2024, under Rule 16 A (4) of the Army Rules, 1954, the Ministry said.

Commissioned in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers) in December 1982, Gen Pande was appointed the army chief on April 30, 2022. He was serving as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff when he was elevated to the top post.

–IANS

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Bangladesh national detained from village near LoC in Jammu

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Jammu, May 26 (IANS) A purportedly mentally challenged Bangladesh national was detained near the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K’s Jammu district on Sunday, officials said.

Officials said that the Bangladesh national, disclosing his name as Taffajjal Bablu, 36, was detained from a village near the LoC in the Pallanwalla area of Akhnoor in Jammu district.

“He claimed to belong to the Alupotti Natore area in Bangladesh. A Bangladesh currency note, 3 SIM cards, a student card, some bills and a pocket diary were recovered from him. His mental condition is being determined, through psychiatric examination, before any further action is taken in the matter,” an official said.

–IANS

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J&K Police constable involved in drug trade sacked

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Jammu, May 26 (IANS) A police constable in J&K’s Reasi district was dismissed from service on Sunday for being involved in the drug trade, officials said.

Selection grade police constable Tariq Hussain Shah was booked last year under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

SSP Reasi, Mohita Sharma ordered the dismissal, officials said.

“He was dismissed for prolonged unauthorised absence from duties and for being an accused in drug trafficking. He was booked under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act at Jammu’s Bakshi Nagar police station last year,” an official said.

“The SSP said in the order that charges of violations of police rules and regulations, absenteeism, grave misconduct, indiscipline, and negligence were proved against the constable making him unfit to serve the department. The stern departmental action of dismissal has been taken after the delinquent cop did not pay heed to series of signals, attendance notices and show cause notices which were served upon him,” the official added.

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After the present DGP R.R.Swain took over the command of the J&K Police, instances of misconduct, indiscipline, corruption, or rudeness to the public which have been brought to his notice have received prompt attention and action.

–IANS

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Doctors save 18-month-old girl who ingested mosquito repellent

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Doctors at a hospital in Hyderabad saved an 18-month-old girl who accidentally ingested a mosquito repellent. The girl from Bhilai was airlifted to Hyderabad after her condition deteriorated.

After struggling to breathe, she was initially taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a hospital in Raipur, where she was placed on a ventilator. As her lungs began to fail, and she couldn’t breathe properly despite full ventilator support, the hospital in Raipur contacted KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur in Hyderabad.

A specialised team of six, including two intensivists, a perfusionist and a cardiac surgeon, flew to Raipur.

Upon examination, they diagnosed severe chemical pneumonitis caused by hydrocarbons in the insecticide.

As the ventilator was ineffective in oxygenating her body and her heart was failing severely, the medical team decided to use ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) to support her breathing and stabilise her condition.

The girl received one of the rarest and most complex treatments, involving the insertion of a cannula near her neck to bypass her heart and lung to save her life.

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After the procedure, the baby was transported via road ambulance to Raipur Airport and then transported via charter air ambulance to Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

From there, she was taken to KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur.

She was on VA-ECMO for nine days, showing gradual improvement. Then, she spent another five or six days on a ventilator.

Afterward, she was placed on high-flow oxygen, and eventually low-flow oxygen.

During this period, an infection was treated with antibiotics.

After 18 days of treatment, the baby fully recovered, became active, and was discharged last week in good health with a normal neurological outcome.

“The treatment provided significant support to her heart and lungs. The advanced facilities at KIMS Cuddles Kondapur, combined with the expertise of a highly skilled medical team, made it possible to transport her to ECMO from Raipur and treat her successfully. Experienced cardiac and vascular surgeons ensured precise blood vessel cannulation,” said Dr. Parag Dekate, Clinical Director of Pediatrics and Head Of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur.

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–IANS

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