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Shiv Sena-UBT's Anant Geete files nomination from Raigad

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Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) Shiv Sena-UBT leader and former Union Minister Anant Geete on Monday filed his nomination from the Raigad constituency in Maharashtra’s Konkan region.

He is pitted against the sitting MP and NCP nominee Sunil Tatkare.

Incidentally, Tatkare, the nominee of the undivided NCP, had defeated Geete in 2019 when the latter was the nominee of the undivided Shiv Sena.

In the 2014 elections, Geete won, riding on the Modi wave, defeating Tatkare.

Geete is supported by the Congress, the NCP-SP, the Peasants and Workers Party and other smaller and like-minded parties. He is banking on the support from the politically influential Kunbi community and also from the Muslim voters.

On the other hand, Tatkare enjoys support from BJP and Shiv Sena. He is approaching voters on the development works carried out by him in the last five years in the constituency and also with an appeal to vote for Narendra Modi to become the Prime Minister for the third time. Thanks to intervention by BJP’s senior leadership, a few party leaders, who had initially raised objections against Tatkare’s nomination, have started working for him.

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–IANS

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PM Modi to address women in Varanasi today

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Varanasi, May 21 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with 25,000 women at Kashi’s Sampurnanand Sanskrit University ground on Tuesday.

He will address an election rally in Prayagraj too.

Kashi region BJP Spokesperson Navaratan Rathi said: “There are 1,909 booths in Varanasi Lok Sabha and 10 women from each booth have been invited for Prime Minister Modi’s interaction with women. All preparations for the event have been completed.”

Doctors, engineers, lawyers, professors, chartered accountants, and teachers have also been invited to the programme that will start around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, he added.

BJP’s state unit secretary and Mahila Morcha in-charge Archana Mishra said: “Our enthusiastic participation at his Kashi roadshow on May 13 made the Prime Minister very happy and that is why he is coming here again to share his happiness with us.”

She said BJP’s women wing members have gone door-to-door in Varanasi to invite women for the Tuesday event.

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Lok Sabha coordinator and MLC Ashwini Tyagi said: “Prime Minister has done many things for the upliftment of women during his 10 years in office. It was because of him that 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies under the Nari Shakti Vandan Act could become possible.”

After the event, Prime Minister Modi will spend the night at the BLW guest house in Varanasi.

The Prime Minister will address a meeting at the Government Polytechnic Ground on Wednesday (May 22), said Basti Superintendent of Police, Gopal Krishna Chowdhury.

He said that members of SPG security had already reached Basti and inspected the rally venue and added that no flying zone had been declared in nearby areas.

He said from May 20 to May 22, flying drones or balloons in the region have been banned due to security reasons.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Anupriya Patel, too, would share the stage with Prime Minister Modi.

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–IANS

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65 more refugees from Bangladesh take shelter in Mizoram

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Aizawl, May 20 (IANS) At least 65 more refugees, including 27 women and 24 children, entered Mizoram’s southern Lawngtlai district from Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) during the past two days, officials said on Monday.

Officials said that the fresh refugees came to Mizoram after troubles following the conflict between the Bangladesh Army and armed ethnic outfits in the mountainous areas of the southeast region of the neighbouring country.

The refugees have taken shelter at Vathuampui village and the villagers are providing them with food.

With this, the number of refugees from CHT in the state has risen to 1,433.

On May 10, 127 refugees from CHT entered Mizoram and took shelter in 6 villages.

The newcomers belong to the Bawm and Pang communities of tribals who called themselves the Kuki-Chin.

Refugees from CHT first fled to Mizoram in November 2022 after an armed confrontation started between the Bangladesh Army and the ethnic armed outfits, who are fighting for a separate state for the tribal people in the CHT.

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Meanwhile, after the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, over 34,350 people from the Chin state of the neighbouring country fled to Mizoram and are now staying in all 11 districts of the state.

Mizoram shares a 510 km and 318 km unfenced border with Myanmar and Bangladesh, respectively

–IANS

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Three persons rescued after fire breaks out at showroom in Karol Bagh

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Three men were rescued after a fire broke out at a garment store in Delhi’s Karol Bagh area on Monday evening, a fire department official said.

Director of Delhi Fire Service (DFS), Atul Garg, said that a call regarding the blaze at a clothing showroom on Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh was received at 5:28 p.m.

Initially, three occupants were seen stuck on the top floor of the building.

“They were taken out of the building with the help of the public using a ladder,” said a senior official.

“Around 15 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. While no one is reportedly stuck inside, a search is being carried out to ensure the safety of the occupants,” a police officer said.

–IANS

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TN health officials directed to prepare for medical emergencies amid forecast of heavy rain

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Chennai, May 20 (IANS) The Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH) in Tamil Nadu on Monday issued a circular to the district health officials to stay prepared for any medical emergencies after the weather department warned of continuous rain in the state and the arrival of southwest monsoon in Kerala on May 31.

The DPH directed the district medical officials that the southwest monsoon would bring moderate to heavy rain in various parts of Tamil Nadu due to a cyclonic circulation.

The circular also instructed the concerned authorities to make available an adequate number of health officials round the clock in view of the weather department’s forecast.

Rapid Medical Response Teams (RMRT) should also be made available in the vulnerable areas, which must consist of doctors, staff nurses, village health nurses, and health inspectors.

The state health department has also directed the district medical officers to store adequate quantities of medicines required for any emergency situation.

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The department urged the officials to provide on-the-spot medical care for minor ailments like fever, minor injuries, and skin diseases.

The circular also called upon the district medical officials to make available ambulance fleets with adequate fuel for any emergency situation.

–IANS

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60.09 per cent voting in fifth phase of LS polls, Baramulla turnout touches pre-turmoil levels (Lead)

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New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Voting in the crucial fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, spanning 49 seats in 8 states/UTs, ended on Friday with an estimated 60.09 per cent polling, spanning from a high of 74.65 per cent in West Bengal (7 seats) to a low of 54.29 per cent in Maharashtra (13 seats), though the Bollywood brigade and top business honchos were out in full force to set an example for the electorate.

The figures for the other states/UTs, as of 11.30 p.m., were 69.62 per cent for Ladakh (1 seat), 67.59 per cent in Odisha (5 seats as well as 35 Assembly seats), 63.07 per cent in Jharkhand (3 seats), 57.79 per cent in Uttar Pradesh (14 seats), 56.73 per cent in J&K (1 seat), and 54.85 per cent in Bihar.

The voting percentage “shall continue to be updated by the field level officers as polling parties keep returning and will be available PC wise (along with respective AC segments) live at VTR App, as was the case in the earlier phases,” the Election Commission said.

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It also said that the “data displayed here are as per the information being filled in the systems by the field officers. This is an approximate trend, as data from some polling stations (PS) takes time and this trend does not include Postal Ballot. The final account of votes recorded for each PS is shared in Form 17 C with all polling agents at the close of polls”.

Baramulla, witnessing a multi-cornered contest, saw a multitude of enthusiastic voters, and the turnout, provisionally pegged at 56.73 per cent, was the highest since 1984 in the pre-insurgency era, and the 46.65 per cent recorded in 1996, as per the EC.

Election officials of the UT said that it could touch 59 per cent.

Around 9 crore voters, braving the heat in several parts of the country, headed for the polling booths through the day after polls opened at 7 a.m. to decide the fates of 695 candidates.

However, the Election Commission rued that constituencies in cities like Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, and Lucknow continued the trend of urban apathy as noticed in the 2019 polls. On the other hand, voters and leaders also complained of the slow pace of polling which deterred some voters.

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However, in Mumbai, Bollywood and, to a lesser extent, television stars turned up to exercise their franchise, including Amitabh Bachchan, who showed up with wife Jaya, Deepika-Ranveer, Sanjay Dutt, Kajol, Tabu, and Shah Rukh Khan, who happily posed for the shutterbugs with his wife Gauri and son Aryan.

Most of the stars were happy to simply flash their inked index finger, but some, notably Dharmendra, Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, and Rajkummar Rao gave statements to the media, urging Mumbaikars to vote.

Top industrialists and corporate leaders, including Ratan Tata, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, accompanied by daughter Ananya Birla, also cast their vote.

The fifth phase may have been the smallest in number but contained a large number of high-profile seats from where top Union Ministers, including Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Piyush Goyal (Mumbai North) and Smriti Irani (Amethi) and leaders of national and regional parties, including Rahul Gandhi (Raebareli), Omar Abdullah (Baramulla), and Chirag Paswan (Hajipur) were contesting.

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Other key contests were in Kalyan where Shiv Sena’s Shrikant Shinde, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, is in the fray, UP’s Kaiserganj, where sitting BJP MP and former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh stood aside for his son Karan Bhushan Singh.

In Bihar’s Saran, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s daughter Rohini Acharya is facing BJP candidate and former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, while in West Bengal’s Hooghly, Trinamool Congress candidate and actress Rachna Banerjee is up against actress-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee of the BJP.

With the end of the fifth phase, polling has been completed in 428 Lok Sabha seats across 25 states/UTs with Maharashtra and Ladakh joining those where the poll process has concluded.

The next and penultimate phase, comprising 58 seats, is slated to be held on May 25, with Haryana and Delhi joining in for a single-phase polling.

–IANS

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