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Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi to begin LS poll campaign in UP from Wednesday

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Lucknow, April 16 (IANS) The Congress is finally preparing to campaign in Uttar Pradesh when the electioneering for the first phase is coming to a close on Wednesday.

According to party sources, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will campaign in west Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

While Rahul Gandhi, along with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, will address media persons in Ghaziabad, Priyanka Gandhi will hold a roadshow at Saharanpur in favour of Congress candidate Imran Masood.

“Rahul Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav will, on Wednesday, address the joint press conference at Ghaziabad. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will hold a road show at Saharanpur on the same day,” said a senior Congress leader.

Saharanpur goes to polls in the first phase on April 19 while the voting in Ghaziabad is scheduled for the second phase on April 26.

The Congress and the SP are contesting the Lok Sabha polls as partners of the opposition INDIA bloc. The Congress is contesting 17 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and the SP 62. One seat, Bhadohi, has been left for the Trinamool Congress.

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The Congress and the Samajwadi Party have held coordination meetings to ensure that the alliance percolates down to the grassroots level.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav began campaigning from Pilibhit on April 12 but the Gandhis have not yet begun their campaign in the state.

–IANS

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J&K L-G congratulates people on high voter turnout in Baramulla LS seat

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Srinagar, May 20 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha congratulated the people and stakeholders on the high voter turnout in the Baramulla Parliamentary constituency on Monday.

The Lt. Governor tweeted: “High voter turnout, over 58 per cent in Baramulla Parliamentary constituency, is encouraging and shows the people’s determination and unwavering faith in democracy. I congratulate and thank the people of Baramulla for joining the Maha Kumbh of our democracy in large numbers.”

“I appreciate the hard work of all the stakeholders to ensure free, fair, accessible, inclusive & peaceful conduct of voting. I am happy to see young voters expressing and celebrating their unshakable faith in democratic values. Hope this positive trend will continue in the next phase.”

–IANS

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Five youths drown in the Ganga in Bihar's Begusarai

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Patna May 20 (IANS) Five youths drowned in the Ganga in Bihar’s Begusarai district on Monday after entering the river for a bath, police said.

The five, who included two brothers, and others related to them, had gone for the ‘mundan’ (ritual head-shaving of the child of Raju Kumar at Simaria Ganga Ghat under Chakia police station in the district.

During the ritual, six entered the river to take a bath without realising its depth. All went into deep water due to which they started drowning. One of them managed to swim out but the others drowned. They were identified as Rohit Kumar, 21, Babu Saheb, 17, Ajay Kumar, 18, Om Mishra,17, and Kartavya Kumar, 20.

All the bodies were recovered by an SDRF team and sent for a postmortem examination.

The victims are residents of Barauni city of Begusarai and there is mourning in the entire area due to their deaths.

–IANS

ALSO READ:  Polling underway for four Bengal LS seats amid incidents of violence

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Chandigarh LS seat Cong candidate bats for anti-defection law for local bodies

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Chandigarh, May 20 (IANS) Congress leader and INDIA bloc candidate from Chandigarh, Manish Tewari, on Monday, said local bodies, including the Municipal Corporations, would be brought under the anti-defection law to ensure the “opportunistic migratory birds do not sabotage the popular mandate”.

Replying to a question during an informal interaction with the media here on a promise to bring local bodies under the anti-defection laws, Tewari said the local bodies need this law the most, as in several instances, the opportunistic elected representatives switch sides as there is no deterrent against such subversion and betrayal.

He pointed out that Chandigarh proved to be the worst example of how a popular mandate was stolen in broad daylight.

He said had it not been for the Supreme Court’s intervention, the opportunists would have been in control of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

In the same context, he said, that is why he has been insisting that a vote for Sanjay Tandon of the BJP would be a vote for Anil Masih.

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Tewari said relevant provisions of Schedule 10 of the Constitution will be amended to make provisions of anti-defection law applicable to municipal bodies.

He said the local municipal bodies are the most important institutions of grassroots governance where this law is needed as much as in the legislative bodies like the Assemblies and the Parliament.

Chandigarh will go to the polls for the lone Parliamentary seat on June 1.

–IANS

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Gujarat govt readies for monsoon with disaster management strategy

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Gandhinagar, May 20 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Secretary Raj Kumar on Monday presided over a review meeting to assess the state’s preparedness to tackle natural calamities during the monsoon season.

Fifteen National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 11 State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) companies have been kept on standby, officials said at the meeting, adding that mock drills and training for disaster volunteers will be conducted at various locations across the state.

The Chief Secretary emphasised the “importance of proactive measures to prevent any loss of life” and stated that the “administration must be fully prepared well in advance to mitigate any potential damage”.

Kumar also met representatives from all the state departments, central security agencies, and the three branches of the armed forces, alongside officials from various central government departments to review and discuss pre-monsoon preparedness.

Kumar highlighted “the need to train disaster volunteers in the rural areas and to review preparations in regions that have historically experienced heavy rainfall”.

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He also stressed the “importance of inspecting and evacuating old and unsafe buildings in the urban areas to prevent casualties”.

Instructions were given to conduct mock drills and to gather water level details of the major dams such as Sardar Sarovar and Ukai in advance.

During the meeting, the Chief Secretary said the more prepared the state is, the more effective the relief and rescue operations will be, minimising the potential damage.

He also urged all the departments to have updated disaster management plans as he emphasised effective coordination between the state and Central government offices and security agencies.

The state will have 15 NDRF and 11 SDRF teams available for deployment as needed. These teams will have sufficient boats, life jackets, and advanced communication facilities. Officials shared that the Chief Secretary also called for checking facilities at the shelter homes and ensuring proper information exchange between taluka and village levels.

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An official from the meteorological department provided detailed information on the upcoming monsoon, predicting its onset around May 31 in Kerala, indicating an earlier-than-usual arrival in Gujarat. The weather department will provide weekly updates on rainfall.

–IANS

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'Earlier I was 'Lady Singham', but now I have become a 'BJP agent?' Swati Maliwal hits back at AAP leaders

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal said on Monday that until she filed a complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s former PS Bhibav Kumar, she was the ‘Lady Singham’ and today she has become a ‘BJP agent’.

“Since yesterday, Delhi ministers are spreading lies that an FIR has been filed against me for corruption, hence I did all this on the instructions of the BJP. The FIR was lodged eight years ago in 2016, after which both the CM and the L-G appointed me as the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women twice. The case was completely fake on which the high court put a stay for 1.5 years,” Maliwal wrote in a detailed post on X.

In 2016, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed a charge sheet against Maliwal, accusing her of making unlawful appointments in the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and alleging that she showed favouritism towards AAP workers.

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“According to them, until I filed a complaint against Bibhav Kumar, I was ‘Lady Singham’ and today I have become a BJP agent,” Maliwal asked.

“The entire troll army was deployed against me just because I spoke the truth. Everyone in the party is being called and told to send Swati’s personal video if they have one, as it has to be leaked. They’re putting my relatives’ lives in danger by tweeting their details, including their car numbers,” she alleged.

“Well, lies don’t last long. But in the intoxication of power and in the passion to bring someone down, it should not happen that when the truth comes out, you are not able to look even your family in the eye. I will take you to court for every lie you spread,” she wrote.

Last week, Maliwal filed an FIR against Bibhav Kumar for allegedly assaulting her when she had gone to meet Arvind Kejriwal at his residence in Delhi’s Civil Lines area on May 13. The police have taken Kumar into custody.

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–IANS

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