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Voting for eight Lok Sabha seats begins in UP

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Lucknow, April 26 (IANS) Polling for the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections began on Friday in Uttar Pradesh’s eight parliamentary constituencies.

The seats where polling is underway include Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura and Amroha.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance will be on test in the eight Lok Sabha constituencies in West Uttar Pradesh in the second phase of the Lok Sabha election.

The BJP-RLD alliance is striving for total dominance in the region that has been its stronghold while the SP-Congress have moved in its legion of leaders and cadres to breach the saffron fort.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won seven of these seats — Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh and Mathura. The Bahujan Samaj Party managed to win the Amroha seat.

The BJP has fortified its position in the 2024 Lok Sabha election by allying with the RLD that wields political influence over Jats. Among the eight seats, the BJP has allotted Baghpat to the RLD.

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To regain lost ground, the SP has tied up with the Congress and the alliance is working on the Muslim-OBC formula.

The SP has fielded candidates on Meerut, Baghpat, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Aligarh seats, leaving Amroha, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad and Mathura to the Congress.

The BSP has decided to go solo and fielded upper caste, Muslim and OBC candidates on the eight seats.

The key candidates in the second phase include former Union minister Mahesh Sharma (BJP), who is seeking a third term from Gautam Buddha Nagar, ‘Ramayan’ fame actor Arun Govil (BJP) in Meerut, and actress Hema Malini, who is seeking a third term on the BJP ticket from Mathura.

Other key contestants include former Uttar Pradesh minister Atul Garg (BJP) in Ghaziabad, former mayor Sunita Verma (SP) in Meerut seat and sitting MP Danish Ali (Congress) in Amroha.

–IANS

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Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple priest backs PM Modi's divine assertion

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 26 (IANS) As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that he’s not merely a biological entity but divinely sent stirs a significant public discourse, the priest of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple has now voiced support for the PM’s statement.

Going even further, Pushpanjali Swami Parameswara Brahmananda suggested that PM Modi existed contemporaneously with Lord Krishna and played a role in governance during that era.

Swami Parameswara Brahmananda is the highest spiritual authority of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.

Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple is among the richest Hindu temple in the world with assets worth Rs 1,20,000 crore.

Pushpanjali Swami Parameswara Brahmananda’s fresh remarks came while responding to PM Modi’s recent statement that he was convinced that God had sent him and that the energy he had was bestowed upon him by God.

“PM Modi is a contemporary of Lord Krishna. This is his new birth to complete the unfinished work in his previous birth,” Swami Parameswara Brahmanada told IANS.

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He also said that India would emerge as a superpower and there was nothing wrong with the statement of the Prime Minister.

Swami Parameswara Brahmananda in an article in a historical book on the Pournamikkavu temple here mentioned that PM Modi was a contemporary of Lord Krishna.

–IANS

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BRS, BJP running false propaganda on paddy procurement: Telangana minister

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Telangana Minister for Civil Supplies Uttam Kumar Reddy on Sunday alleged that BRS and BJP are running false propaganda against the government on the issue of paddy procurement from farmers.

He said the opposition parties are spreading lies and misinformation against the Congress government.

Addressing a press conference, he claimed that there is no truth in the corruption allegations and criticism by the opposition parties.

He said that the Congress will not remain silent over irresponsible allegations against the government.

The Congress leader said BRS working president K. T. Rama Rao and BJP floor leader in Assembly Maheshwar Reddy speak whatever they want

Reacting strongly to Rama Rao’s allegations, the minister said levelling baseless allegations against an honest person like him is highly improper.

Earlier, the BRS leader had claimed Rs.1,000 crore scam in procurement of paddy and fine variety rice by the government.

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Uttam Kumar Reddy clarified that the government has not procured even one grain of fine-variety rice. If somebody is ready to sell fine rice at Rs 42 per kg, the government will immediately procure it, he said on Rama Rao’s allegations.

If the conditions laid down in the tenders are accepted, the government will procure any quantity of paddy, he added.

He alleged that BRS and BJP are speaking on behalf of defaulter ricer millers.

He said on one hand the opposition parties are criticising the government for not taking action against ricer millers, while on the other they are saying that millers are being put to difficulties.

Slamming BJP leader Maheshwar Reddy, Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that he bought the floor leader’s post by sending money to Delhi.

He said that Maheshwar Reddy is trying to overtake Kishan Reddy. He wants to move ahead in the party.

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Under the BRS government, the fine variety of paddy was fetched at Rs1,700 per quintal but now farmers are getting Rs 2,400. He claimed that after Congress came to power, farmers earned an additional income of Rs 1,100 crore.

Stating that not even one rupee was spent on fine variety rice, Uttam Kumar Reddy said a tender was called for procurement of fine rice but was later cancelled.

He said the previous government had pushed the Civil Supplies Department into Rs 58,000 crore debts. Under the BRS rule, the Civil Supplies Corporation had raised the debts of Rs 11,000 crore

Uttam Kumar Reddy claimed that compared to the previous government, the Congress government started paddy procurement early.

“The government took a revolutionary step to procure wet paddy at MSP. Ours is the only government which procured paddy soaked in unseasonal rains,” he said.

–IANS

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Bring change in country by electing Cong-INDIA govt, says Priyanka Gandhi in Chandigarh

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Chandigarh, May 26 (IANS) Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday appealed to the electorates in Chandigarh to bring change in the country and also in their lives by electing the Congress-INDIA government.

Addressing a public rally in support of INDIA bloc candidate Manish Tewari here, Priyanka Gandhi, countered the BJP’s charges that the Congress is anti-Hindu, saying the philosophy of the Congress is based on the teachings of the Bhagwadgita which teaches truth, love, harmony and non-violence.

She pointed out how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has only exploited the religious sentiments of people coupled with fake promises like depositing Rs 15 lakh in every Indian’s bank account, or providing two crore jobs every year and doubling the income of farmers.

Alleging that PM Modi has lowered the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister, she said no Prime Minister, irrespective of which party he or she belonged to, had talked the way PM Modi is talking.

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She said, despite being in Opposition, leaders like her felt ashamed of what PM Modi is saying. “After all he is everybody’s Prime Minister,” she told a large crowd.

The Congress General Secretary said PM Modi always avoids talking about the pressing issues like unemployment, inflation and farmers’ plight.

She pointed out that unemployment is at its highest in the last 45 years with 70 crore jobless people in the country.

She referred to various guarantees of the Congress. She said every poor family would receive Rs 8,500 every month. She also announced that every fresh graduate will get a one-year apprenticeship with an assured income of Rs 1 lakh for that period.

–IANS

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Agnipath scheme guarantees 100 per cent employment, says Anurag Thakur

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Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh), May 26 (IANS) Targeting Congress for “misleading” the country’s youth by spreading false propaganda on the Agnipath scheme, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Youth and Sports Anurag Thakur said on Sunday that the game-changing initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government guarantees 100 per cent employment.

“Every Congress leader is misleading the youth by lying about the scheme which guarantees 100 per cent employment,” Anurag Thakur said while campaigning in Hamirpur constituency which goes to polls on June 1.

Asserting that the scheme gives India’s youth an opportunity to serve the country by joining the Armed Forces, Thakur mentioned that it is a win-win situation for all as youngsters exiting after four years will not only get a service fund package but also jobs in various Public Sector Undertakings.

“All BJP-ruled state governments have provided 10-20 per cent reservation in the state police for these young comrades. Reservations has also been made in the Central government’s paramilitary forces. Not only that, they have been given many concessions in selection. Congress should stop misleading the youth and should not play with their future,” the Union Minister said.

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed that the Agnipath scheme has been brought against the will of armed forces and if the INDIA bloc is voted to power, the party will discard it immediately.

“Rahul Gandhi will go to Italy or Bangkok but the Agniveers will continue to serve the country. It is PM Modi who named islands after 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees, cleared One Rank-One Pension scheme, gave the latest arms and ammunition to our forces, got Rafale fighters, built INS Vikrant and Brahmos missiles… What did the Congress do for 40 years except for encouraging corruption and getting kickbacks in defence deals?” the BJP leader questioned.

–IANS

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Priyanka, I will raise voice of Himachal in Delhi, says Rahul Gandhi

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Nahan (Himachal Pradesh), May 26 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday appealed to the people of Himachal Pradesh to vote for the victory of all four Congress Lok Sabha candidates, while promising them that he and his sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi will “be the voice” of the hill state in the national capital.

“Priyanka and I are your soldiers in Delhi, and we will raise the voice of Himachal Pradesh in the capital,” he said at a public meeting in Sirmaur district for the party’s Shimla Lok Sabha seat candidate.

Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narender Modi for failing to provide aid to Himachal Pradesh following the last monsoon season’s disaster, which affected over 22,000 families. He said the Union government has yet to release Rs 9,000 crore relief funds to the state.

Additionally, he accused PM Modi of colluding with big business, resulting in unfair prices for apple growers in Himachal. Gandhi charged the Prime Minister with “serving the interests of 20-25 wealthy individuals of the country” and “focused on making 22 people in the country millionaires”, alleging that Rs 16 lakh crore in loans for these individuals has been waived off over the past decade.

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Gandhi criticised the media for ignoring issues like apple prices, and problems of farmers and labourers. He said the BJP government has devastated millions of small businesses through demonetisation and the mismanagement of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation. “Dreams of a select few are being fulfilled while the rest of the country looks on,” he said.

Congress state in-charge Rajiv Shukla, state party unit President Pratibha Singh, Congress candidate from Shimla Vinod Sultanpuri, Industries Minister Harshvardhan Chauhan, MLA Ajay Solanki and party officials and workers were present.

–IANS

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