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Top psephologist says PM Modi's connect with women to propel NDA to '400 paar'

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Eminent psephologist, stock market analyst and former World Bank economist Surjit Bhalla predicts that the BJP will get between 321 to 341 seats in the upcoming general elections, but the big news will be the party opening its account in Tamil Nadu with 5-10 because of the Sanatana Dharma controversy.

Bhalla’s analysis is based on a study of the state elections that have taken place from 2019 up to the present and it has shown that the BJP, bucking incumbency, has gained 5 per cent additional vote share over the years. The analysis has been presented in detail in Bhalla’s just-published book, ‘How We Vote’ (Juggernaut).

If the party holds on to this gain, it will touch 334 seats; if its vote share growth drops to 3 per cent, then the total will be 321, but if it rises to 7 per cent, the BJP will nudge at 341, which would mean “400 paar for the NDA”.

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Bhalla, who’s been studying elections since 1985, pinpointed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity among women, “including Muslim women, who will vote for the BJP in the privacy of the polling booth”, as the principal reason for the BJP’s unassailable position.

He pointed out, quoting analyses from his book, that in a general election no issue is bigger to voters than how they perceive their personal gains under a particular government.

Even the Opposition’s favourite plank — sharp rise in unemployment — does not stand up to data collated by Bhalla. He said the rate for the 18-29 age group, which is most affected by unemployment, has actually come down from 14.8 per cent in 2019 to 10.2 per cent today. Even in the majority, voters who are in the 30-64 age group, unemployment is down from 1 per cent to 0.6 per cent.

Returning to how PM Modi’s biggest asset is his ability to sense the pulse of the nation while shaping his government’s development agenda, Bhalla asked: “What prevented our rulers in the 60 years before 2014 to make the end to open defecation a priority for the national government?”

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He said the elites making policies in ministries before 2014 had no idea that the majority of the women in the country did not have any safe access to toilets — that they had to wake up at odd hours to complete their morning ablutions to ensure their safety and privacy, before the men got up.

Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi just talked about the reality that only 15 per cent of development funds reach the intended beneficiaries, with politicians, officials and middlemen cornering the rest. What PM Modi has done is use technology to ensure that at least 90 per cent of the funds reach the people they are meant for.

The Food Security Act was legislated by the UPA government, but it is PM Modi who has implemented it on the ground and the beneficiaries are now voting for him.

Bhalla concluded by stating confidently that PM Modi’s vision of a Viksit Bharat by 2047 is eminently achievable — “if not earlier than 2047” — if we maintain an average GDP growth rate of 6 per cent per annum.

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And, as he put it (pointing to the last line in his book, borrowed from Bill Clinton), “It’s the economy, stupid!” There’s no economic argument that is working against PM Modi today.

–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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Rajkot fire: CM Bhupendra Patel conducts on-site inspection

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Sunday conducted an on-site visit to assess the aftermath of the devastating fire at TRP Gamezone in Rajkot, which claimed 35 lives.

Chief Minister also visited the Rajkot AIIMS and other hospitals to check on the injured and interacted with victims and their families.

He also met the families of those who lost their lives, offered condolences and assured them full support.

At Rajkot’s Hirasar Airport, Chief Minister Patel held a high-level review meeting to discuss the relief and rescue operations. He directed a thorough investigation and insisted on strict punitive action against those responsible.

A 100-bed burn ward has been set up at PDU Medical College in Rajkot to treat burn victims. Additional doctors and paramedical staff have also been deployed to ensure no lapse in medical care. Expert surgeons and trained nurses from Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Morbi, Junagadh, and Bhavnagar have also been deployed in Rajkot.

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At least 20 ambulances have also been put into service to enhance transportation facilities for quick intensive care.

Air ambulance services have also been put into service to transport DNA samples of the deceased and their family members’ referral samples to the Gandhinagar Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for urgent identification.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been formed to probe the incident which will be headed by Additional Director General of Police Subhash Trivedi.

The SIT has been asked to furnish the preliminary report to the state government within three days.

Rajkot City Police has ordered the closure of all game zones in the city as a precautionary measure as the inspections for fire safety and other security measures are ongoing.

Administration has said that immediate punitive action will be taken against game zones operating without a Fire No Objection Certificate (NOC) or any other necessary permissions, and they will be shut down.

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–IANS

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KTR accuses Telangana govt of Rs 1,000 crore scam in rice procurement

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) working president K. T. Rama Rao has accused the Congress-led Telangana government of Rs 1,000 crore paddy lifting and rice procurement scam.

He demanded Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy and civil supplies minister Uttam Kumar Reddy to clear themselves of the allegations. He challenged them to initiate a judicial inquiry with a sitting judge

He accused CM Revanth Reddy and minister Uttam Kumar Reddy of being implicated in the scam in the civil supply department.

Addressing a news conference at BRS central office, Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, KTR accused the Congress party of looting the government exchequer.

He claimed that the civil supplies department, under the supervision of Uttam Kumar Reddy and Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, awarded tenders to four companies to lift paddy from rice millers in the state. He accused both the Chief Minister and the minister of constituting a committee, issuing guidelines, and calling for tenders — all on January 25 itself.

“The government showed no urgency in fulfilling electoral promises, but it swiftly awarded these tenders dubiously in one day with jet speed,” the BRS leader remarked. He alleged that the Congress government was looting government funds in the name of global tenders for 35 lakh metric tons of paddy.

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He noted that local rice millers were ready to purchase the same paddy for Rs 2,100 per quintal, but the government sold it at prices ranging from Rs 1,885 to 2,007 per quintal to companies like Kendriya Bhandar, LG Industries, Hindustan Company, and NACAF, who secured the tenders by quoting lower rates.

KTR further accused these four companies of blackmailing local rice millers, demanding Rs 2,230 per quintal, which is Rs 200 more than their tendered rates, leading to Rs 800 crore scam. He pointed out that according to the tender agreement, these companies had no right to demand money instead of paddy from the rice millers.

He stated that these companies failed to lift the paddy within the stipulated 90-day period, which ended on May 23, and they sought an extension from the government, which is under positive consideration. He accused the government of trying to extend the period to fleece more money from the millers instead of taking action against the companies for violating tender conditions.

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KTR demanded that the government release a white paper detailing how much paddy had been lifted and address the allegations of money collection from millers instead of paddy. He criticised the government for its silence on this multi-crore scam for over two weeks. KTR also faulted the government policy for tendering fine and raw paddy at the same price.

He criticised the government for purchasing fine rice at Rs 15 more per kilogram than the market price. He noted that the BRS government, under KCR, had introduced fine rice for school and hostel students as a humane initiative, but the Congress government was exploiting this noble cause for corruption. Even today, new fine rice with 10 per cent broken rice is priced at around Rs 42 per kilogram in the market, while the government is paying Rs 57 per kilogram to companies.

He highlighted that the same four companies involved in the dubious paddy lifting tenders were also awarded tenders for buying fine rice, raising public doubts. These companies quoted the nearly same rate in tenders, blatantly rigging the process, KTR said.

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KTR reminded that the erstwhile government used procured paddy for fine rice supply, securing better quality fine rice at just Rs 35 per kilogram. He accused the government under Revanth Reddy and Uttam Kumar Reddy of engaging in a Rs 300 crore scam in fine rice procurement by procuring 2.20 lakh metric tons. He demanded the immediate cancellation of tender awarding letters for fine rice procurement from these shady companies.

KTR urged the BJP and its leaders to show their commitment by involving central agencies and the FCI to investigate this scam. He reminded that the FCI always monitors paddy procurement and minimum support price transactions as per the Food Security Act. The central government’s silence also raised suspicions of collusion with the Congress government in this paddy scam.

If the Congress and BJP fail to clarify their roles in this thousand-crore paddy and fine rice scam, KTR warned that they would seek judicial intervention.

–IANS

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Smartphone theft, smuggling gang busted in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Hyderabad Police have busted an international smartphone theft and smuggling gang and apprehended 31 accused including a Sudanese national.

The sleuths of Commissioner’s Task Force, South, East and South-East Zone Teams along with local police seized 713 smartphones, an autorickshaw, two computers and one laptop, total worth Rs 2 crore.

According to S. Rashmi Perumal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Commissioner’s Task Force, Hyderabad, a spate of mobile phone snatchings has been seen in recent days in the process of which robberies, extortions and even a murder have taken place. While investigating this, it was discovered that a major criminal network has been operating in the city involving cell phone theft offenders, host of receivers of these stolen cell phones (both national and international) who are in the business of unlawful transport of these cell phones out of the country to sell them for illegal profits.

Police found that several stolen cell phones are being dismantled in niche markets, their IMEI numbers being changed and the resultant components such as mobile screens, cameras, and speakers are subsequently being used as replacement parts for existing damaged mobiles received from customers at a fraction of price in comparison to original company rates. A few weeks back, a similar major network of stolen cell phone racket was busted by the Task Force and several persons were arrested.

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In the latest case, the Task Force arrested 15 offenders/snatchers, nine receivers and four mobile phone technicians who were unlocking stolen handsets and tampering with their IMEI numbers.

An international end receiver of stolen mobiles has also been arrested. He is identified as Mohamed Musa Hassan Gamaralanbia (26), who is into the phone accessories business. The Sudanese national was residing in the Nanal Nagar area in Hyderabad.

The foreign national was illegally exporting the cell phones via sea route.

The seized mobile phones relate to 27 cases booked at various police stations in Hyderabad. The accused cell phone offenders were committing thefts/extortion of cell phones in crowded areas like buses/bus stations, wine shops and public meetings.

All the accused (except one Sudanese national) are natives of Hyderabad and are common friends. With desires to lead a lavish life and finding their earnings insufficient, they collectively hatched a plan to commit theft/snatching of cell phones and further sell these stolen cell phones to receivers to earn money illegally.

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The DCP has advised citizens to be vigilant when moving in crowded places and to report any snatching/theft incidents to the police at the earliest. She also cautioned mobile shop owners in the city to refrain from purchasing/selling of stolen cell phones or engaging in illegal activities such as tampering with IMEI numbers as strict legal action will be taken against them.

–IANS

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Purvanchal will punish those who blocked development in region with a motive: PM Modi

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing back-to-back rallies in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, hit out at INDIA bloc for their appeasement politics and for prioritising vote bank over developmental works.

Addressing a public gathering in Bansgaon, PM Modi said that Samajwadi Party kept the Purvanchal region backward as part of a conspiracy.

He said: “Purvanchal will punish such people again and again. It will never allow such people to set foot in the region.”

PM went on to ask the people of Purvanchal to make sure that those who have opposed the Ram temple, should not get a single seat in Purvanchal.

Prime Minister also spoke about the 2012 manifesto of Samajwadi Party and asked first-time voters whether they were aware of its religion-driven reservation.

“SP had clearly written in its manifesto that the reservation that was given to Dalits would be diverted to Muslims. This is against the spirit of the Constitution but the INDIA bloc people didn’t care about it,” PM Modi told the gathering.

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Addressing the rally, the PM said further: “Do you want Congress that works for commission? They want foreign deals so that they can get commission like Bofors. Many countries wanted to buy arms from India but Congress created obstacles. Now UP will soon start making BrahMos.”

He added that people in Pakistan are praying that INDIA bloc comes to power and are appealing for vote jihad. “They want to take the country back. They say they will reimpose Article 370 in Kashmir and scrap CAA. They are implementing the agenda of anti-national forces,” he said.

He reminded people of the development done by the BJP government in Purvanchal—from making expressways to a new AIIMS.

“This is just the trailer, so imagine what will happen in the next five years,” he concluded.

–IANS

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