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Monday,01-March-2021

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17 JD-U MLAs in touch, says RJD; JD-U denies claim

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The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Wednesday claimed that 17 MLAs of the ruling JD-U were in touch with them to topple the Nitish Kumar government and to join the opposition party in Bihar. The Janata Dal-United, however, strongly denied the RJD claim.

Addressing the media, RJD leader Shyam Rajak said: “Many JD-U MLAs are upset with the BJP’s style of functioning. The JD-U MLAs are upset over the manner in which the BJP is dominating the ruling alliance and taking swift decisions. The JD-U leaders do not want to allow the BJP to dominate their party; so, 17 MLAs of their MLAs are in constant touch with the RJD.”

A former Minister, Razak claimed that the RJD would induct only those MLAs who are staunch supporters of socialism and secularism.

However, JD-U spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan strongly denied any such thing, retorting that the RJD should instead worry about keeping its won unity intact.

During the Bihar Assembly elections held in November, the National Democratic Alliance won 125 seats while the opposition Grand Alliance led by the RJD managed to get 110 seats.

As BJP and JD-U leaders in Bihar maintained that all was well between the two National Democratic Alliance allies, six of the seven JD-U MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh had recently joined the BJP.

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Top priority to Jewar airport: Yogi Adityanath

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Monday that his government has accorded top priority to the development of the Jewar International Airport in Noida.

He said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the speed, transparency and execution as per the schedule of this project has demonstrated the new work culture of the state. It has been decided to increase the number of airstrips from two to six at this airport, he informed.

The Chief Minister also appreciated the work of the Zurich Airport International AG, a developer selected for Jewar airport, and assured their representatives of all possible help to be provided by the government.

Adityanath was reviewing the progress of the project on Monday on the occasion of the signing of the ‘state support agreement’ between Yamuna International Airport Private Limited and Noida International Airport Limited, constituted by Zurich Airport International AG, the chosen developer for Jewar airport.

The Chief Minister recalled that the Jewar airport project was lying pending with the previous governments for almost 30 years.

“We decided in March 2017 itself that this project would be completed on priority in the interest of the country and the state,” he said.

In 2017, Lucknow and Varanasi had the only operational airports in the state. In just three years, five more airports, including in Gorakhpur, Hindon, Agra, Prayagraj and now Bareilly, have become operational.

There were only two international airports in the country’s largest state (Lucknow and Varanasi), but now there will be five international airports with the addition of Jewar, Kushinagar and Ayodhya to the list.

The Chief Minister said that he was of the view that good connectivity expedites the development process. “The process of operationalisation of 21 airports and seven runways is underway. The effort is to make Uttar Pradesh soar in the field of civil aviation,” he stated.

Reviewing the displacement and subsequent rehabilitation of the families affected by the construction of Jewar airport, the Chief Minister said that dialogue should be established with these families and they should have a better displacement mechanism.

He directed the concerned officials to address this issue within one week, saying that the process of allotment of plots to the displaced population should be conducted with complete transparency.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra begins poll campaign in Assam

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrived here on Monday to campaign for the party in Assam, where the Congress-led seven-party alliance will take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led three-party coalition.

Priyanka soon after her arrival offered prayers at the famous Kamakhya Devi Temple, which was rebuilt in 1565 by Koch king Naranarayana and is one of the 51 holy and venerated sites in India.

Assam Congress Media Department Chairperson Bobbeeta Sharma said that during her Assam tour, Priyanka would hold interactions with party office bearers and diverse groups of people of the poll-bound Assam and address public meetings in Tezpur on Tuesday.

The Congress leader would launch a statewide campaign for the unemployed youths and hold interaction with tea garden women workers and Self-Help Group members.

Former Congress President and Lok Sabha member Rahul Gandhi on February 14 visited the state and addressed a public gathering in eastern Assam’s Sivasagar.

The Congress, which was in power in the state for 15 years (2001-2016) until the BJP-led alliance came to power in Assam in 2016, had formed the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) with three Left parties — CPI(M), CPI and CPI(ML) — as well as the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Anchalik Gana Morcha, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), three regional parties having a political base among the Muslims and indigenous people, respectively.

The BPF on Sunday joined the Congress-led grand alliance a day after snapping its ties with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP, after the Bodoland Territorial Council polls in December last year, had forged an alliance with new ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) after discarding incumbent partner BPF.

The BJP has decided to fight the polls in western Assam’s tribal dominated Bodoland area in alliance with new ally UPPL besides Asom Gana Parishad.

The elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly will be held in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6. The results will be declared on May 2.

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu takes home-grown jab in Chennai

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After Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has also announced that he has received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at a government hospital in Chennai, kicking off an expansion of the country’s immunisation campaign that began in mid-January with healthcare workers.

“I took my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Government Medical College, Chennai today. I will be taking the 2nd dose after 28 days,” the Vice President said on Monday in a tweet.

The Vice President, 71, appealed to the people to come forward and receive the vaccine to defeat the deadly virus which has infected over 1,11,12,241 people and claimed the lives of 1,57,157 people so far.

“I appeal all the eligible people to get themselves vaccinated proactively and join in the fight against novel coronavirus,” Naidu tweeted.

The Vice President took the first jab of the Covid vaccine after Prime Minister Modi– the first prominent leader to take a Covid vaccine shot on Monday, as nationwide vaccination of persons above 60 and those over 45 with illnesses began.

The Prime Minister’s vaccination at Delhi’s AIIMS hospital featured symbols from states that will vote later this month as he wore a scarf from Assam and nurses from Kerala and Puducherry — Rosamma Anil and P Niveda– administered him the vaccine. Niveda administered the vaccine while Rosamma was assisting her.

India, which has reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world after the United States, has so far vaccinated more than 12 million health and front-line workers.

The country is now expanding its vaccination drive beyond healthcare and front-line workers, offering the shots to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk.

Those now eligible to be vaccinated include people over 60, as well as those over 45 who have ailments such as heart disease or diabetes that make coronavirus infections more dangerous.

The shots will be given for free at government hospitals and will also be sold at over 10,000 private hospitals at a price not more than Rs 250 per shot.

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