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Unfortunate that alliance did not happen, says Atishi on AAP going solo in Assam



Guwahati, April 8 (IANS) AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atishi said on Monday that it was unfortunate that an opposition alliance could not be formed in Assam and the party was contesting two Lok Sabha seats alone in the state.

Atishi was in Dibrugarh to campaign for AAP candidate Manoj Dhanwar here. She is scheduled to attend a roadshow in the town.

Although AAP is a constituent of the opposition INDIA bloc, the party has independently fielded candidates for two Lok Sabha seats — Dibrugarh and Sonitpur.

The Delhi Minister told the media, “Opposition parties are fighting polls in other parts of the country by forging alliances but it is unfortunate that it did not work in Assam.”

She also asserted that the people of Assam have showered blessings on the Aam Aadmi Party in earlier polls in the state.

“We have done well in the Guwahati local body polls. We are hopeful that the party will come up with good results in two Lok Sabha seats — Dinrugarh and Sonitpur,” Atishi said.

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The Delhi Minister will campaign in Tezpur on Tuesday, said an AAP leader.

Notably, AAP had announced candidates for three Lok Sabha seats in Assam — Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Sonitpur. Later, the party pulled out its candidate from the Guwahati seat and appealed to the Congress party to do the same in Dibrugarh and Sonitpur. However, the Congress turned down AAP’s offer.

In Dibrugarh Assam Jatiya Parishad’s leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi is contesting as a united opposition candidate and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is the BJP’s candidate.

The Congress has fielded Premlal Ganju in the Sonitpur Lok Sabha seat.



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POCSO case: Victim's brother moves K'taka HC seeking Yediyurappa’s arrest, govt appoints SPP (Ld)




Bengaluru, June 13 (IANS) In a setback to former Chief Minister and BJP Parliamentary Board member B.S. Yediyurappa, a writ petition was submitted in the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday seeking his arrest in a POCSO case lodged against him in Bengaluru before the Lok Sabha elections.

Taking the matter seriously, the Congress government has appointed special public prosecutor (SPP) Ashok N. Nayak to represent the prosecution in the case. According to sources, the Congress government has decided to initiate legal action against Yediyurappa.

The victim’s brother filed the writ petition before the high court, claiming that the police did not take any action though it has been months since the complaint was filed against the veteran BJP leader.

The victim’s mother, who passed away on May 26, had filed a case against Yediyurappa in March this year under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, alleging harassment of her daughter when she went to the former CM’s residence seeking help in a 2015 case of assault.

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The petitioner claimed that the CCTV footage from Yediyurappa’s residence was not seized, and neither was a notice served to the BJP leader under Section 41A, which is a basic step in a POCSO case.

Meanwhile, Yediyurappa had also approached the high court seeking quashing of the POCSO case against him.

He submitted in his petition that he did not indulge in any unlawful act, and alleged that the complainant had a habit of filing complaints.

“I had attended the interrogation after the FIR was lodged. The police had collected voice samples but did not record my statement,” Yediyurappa claimed.

In March, the victim’s mother had filed complaints against 53 persons, including senior police officers, politicians, and bureaucrats.

Commenting on the case, Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara said on Wednesday that the investigation is going on and the police are gathering more evidence.

Earlier, the Congress government in Karnataka handed over the case to the special wing of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

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Kuwait fire tragedy: Around 40 Indians killed, says MEA; Jaishankar speaks to Kuwaiti FM




New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Wednesday spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya about the fire tragedy in Kuwait City in which around 40 Indians are feared to have died.

According to reports by Kuwaiti media, the fire broke out in a six-floor building that was crammed with migrant workers in the city’s al-Mangaf area.

EAM Jaishankar, in a post on X, said: @Spoke to Kuwaiti FM Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the fire tragedy in Kuwait. Apprised of the efforts made by Kuwaiti authorities in that regard. Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed.”

S. Jaishankhar said that he urged the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister for the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost their lives.

“He emphasized that those injured were getting the requisite medical attention. We will review the situation after MoS Kirtivardhan Singh reaches Kuwait tomorrow,” he added.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Wednesday chaired a review meeting on the fire tragedy in Kuwait at his residence.

PM Modi also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of deceased Indian nationals from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The Prime Minister expressed his deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident and extended condolences to the families of the deceased. He also wished speedy recovery for those injured.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) said: “In an unfortunate and tragic fire incident in a Labour housing facility in Mangaf area of Kuwait, around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured. The Embassy is ascertaining the full details from the concerned Kuwaiti authorities and the company. We offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved families.”

The EAM statement mentioned that those injured are presently admitted to five government hospitals in Kuwait and receiving proper medical care and attention. According to hospital authorities, most of the admitted patients are stable.

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The EAM statement further said: “Following the incident, Ambassador of India in Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, immediately visited the location of the incident and also the hospitals to ascertain the welfare of the Indian nationals. The Embassy continues to coordinate with local authorities to assist Indian nationals who have been injured in this unfortunate incident and extend all possible support. The Embassy is receiving full cooperation from the Kuwaiti authorities.”

The statement also said that the Indian Embassy in Kuwait continues to remain in touch with local authorities to provide relief to those affected.

“The Embassy has established a helpline +965-65505246 (WhatsApp and regular call) for family members to get in touch. Regular updates are being provided through the helpline,” the EAM said.

The fire broke out while the workers were asleep, and some residents had to jump from the building in an attempt to survive, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas reported, citing witnesses.

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Kuwait’s Emir Meshal Al Ahmad has ordered investigations to determine the cause of the blaze and bring to account those found responsible, Kuna said.



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Bihar hospitals see surge in cases of heat-related illnesses




Patna, June 13 (IANS) Hospitals in Bihar seeing a surge in cases of heat-related illnesses as the state continues to reel under high temperatures and humidity.

Cases of heat stroke, diarrhoea, stomach ache and headache saw a significant rise in recent days, paramedics said on Wednesday. Around 400 such patients visited the sub-divisional hospital in Patna’s Masaurhi on Wednesday. A similar trend was seen in other government and private hospitals in the state capital.

“Majority of the patients who are coming to the hospital are suffering from heat stroke. We have advised them to avoid going out in the scorching sun and consume liquids, easily digestible and vitamin-rich foods. A heatwave ward has been permanently set up in our hospital,” said Dr Sanjita Rani, incharge of Masaudhi sub-divisional hospital.

The situation in PMCH, NMCH, IGIMS, AIIMS Patna, Kurji Holy Family and other hospitals in the capital city remained the same. Several other parts of the state also reported a significant surge in heat-related illnesses.

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In view of the scorching heat, Patna’s District Magistrate (DM) S. Kapil Ashok on Wednesday ordered the closure of all schools and coaching institutions till June 15.

The maximum temperature in Patna remained between 43 and 46 degrees Celsius during the last few days.

“In the light of the weather department’s forecast, there is a possibility of students falling ill due to the heat wave. Thus, all the educational institutions and coaching institutes of the district will remain closed from June 13 to June 15,” the Patna DM said in an order issued on Wednesday. The DM said coaching institutes can conduct their classes through online modes during the period.

“The Met Department has issued a heat wave alert in Bihar for the next 48 hours. There is a red alert in the districts of North West, South West and South Central Bihar, while there is a yellow alert in other districts. In this season, there is a need to follow the instructions given by the Disaster Management Department regarding protection from heat,” said Anand Shankar, Meteorologist at the Patna Meteorological Centre.

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Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed all DMs and civil surgeons to ensure adequate arrangements of medicines in hospitals of their respective districts. He also directed the power distribution companies to ensure electricity supply round the clock in the state.

Besides heat-related illnesses, administration during the month of June also remains on alert for Chamki fever (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) which led to the death of several children in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining districts in 2019.

As per studies, Chamki Fever remains at its peak from June 9 to 21.

“The Health Department is fully alert and special precautions are being taken till June 21. ASHA workers have been directed to visit door-to-door in their areas every day. Special attention is being paid to weak children. It is advised to immediately consult a doctor if any child’s health deteriorates,” said Dr Satish Kumar, Vector Borne Disease Control Officer-cum-ACMO of Muzaffarpur.



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NCP decides to nominate Sunetra Pawar for June 25 Rajya Sabha bypoll




Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday decided to nominate party chief and Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra Pawar for the Rajya Sabha bypoll to be held on June 25.

Sunetra Pawar’s name was finalised at a meeting convened by Ajit Pawar with the party ministers at his official residence in Mumbai.

Incidentally, Sunetra Pawar lost to her sister-in-law and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule from Baramati in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Sunetra Pawar will file her nomination on Thursday, the last date for filing nominations.

With her nomination, the party has taken a conscious decision to rehabilitate her ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections likely to be held in October this year.

The party’s move is aimed to checkmate NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his party MP Supriya Sule in Baramati in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

While Ajit Pawar is likely to contest from Baramati in the Assembly elections, the NCP (SP) is promoting Yogendra Pawar, his nephew, against the NCP chief.

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At Wednesday’s meeting, NCP Working President Praful Patel proposed Sunetra Pawar’s name and asked the ministers to express their views.

Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde supported Patel’s proposal, saying that it would boost the morale of the party cadres, especially in Baramati following the defeat of Sunetra Pawar in the general elections.

However, senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who was an aspirant for a Rajya Sabha nomination, said that while he has no objections to Sunetra Pawar’s nomination, why was a parliamentary board meeting not called to recommend her name?



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669 candidates, including 238 women, file nominations for Nagaland civic polls




Kohima, June 12 (IANS) As many as 669 candidates, including 238 women, have filed their nominations for the much-expected urban local body (ULB) elections in Nagaland to be held on June 26, officials said on Wednesday.

After more than 20 years, elections for the three municipal councils and 36 town councils will be held in the state amid the vote boycott call given by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO).

Officials in the State Election Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday that the scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on Thursday with June 20 as the last date for withdrawing candidatures.

Importantly, the upcoming local body polls are the first-ever municipal elections in the state to be held with 33 per cent reservation for women.

The government took initiatives several times in the past to hold the ULB polls, but objections from the tribal bodies and civil society organisations against the reservation for women and the tax on land and properties had held back the polls.

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The elections were finally announced following the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Municipal elections in Nagaland were last held in 2004, and the terms of the civic bodies ended in 2009-10.

Meanwhile, ENPO, the influential Naga body, has already announced to boycott the June 26 civic polls, and urged the people of the six eastern Nagaland districts to abstain from voting.

Governor La Ganesan, the state government, the State Election Commission, and various other authorities have separately appealed to the ENPO and the people of eastern Nagaland to participate in the polls scheduled on June 26.

The SEC also severed a show-cause notice to the ENPO, but the Naga body remains firm on its decision.

The Lok Sabha polls for the lone seat in Nagaland were held on April 19 amid a call by the ENPO to the people of the six districts to abstain from voting over its demand for a separate state.

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The people in the six districts, which have over four lakh voters, remained indoors on April 19, responding to the ENPO’s call to press for its statehood demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’.

Since 2010, the ENPO has been demanding a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’, or a separate state, comprising six eastern Nagaland districts — Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator, and Tuensang, inhabited by seven backward tribes — Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung.



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