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Monday,27-September-2021

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COVID-19: Election Commission defers Rajya Sabha elections

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The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday announced deferment of March 26 biennial polls to 18 seats in the Rajya Sabha in view of the current state of lockdown in many parts of the country on account of novel coronavirus threat.

The EC took the decision based on feedback regarding restrictions imposed in 32 states in the backdrop of COVID-19 disease which has claimed 10 deaths and infection to over 500 people across the country.

The biennial elections for 18 seats from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan were to be conducted on March 26 and the date before which election was to be completed as earlier announced by the commission was March 30.

The States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan have issued orders of lockdown to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

“Commission has reviewed in detail the matter. The prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency indicates the need for avoidance of possibilities of gatherings of any nature, which expose all concerned to possible health hazard.

“The poll process in the above said elections would necessarily include the gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support officials and members of respective Legislative Assemblies on the poll day, which may not be suitable in view of the prevailing unforeseen situation and related advisories in the country,” the EC said.

Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 specifies that the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient, may extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it under section 30 or sub-section (1) of section 39; and accordingly, the Election Commission has deferred the poll and extended the period of the Rajya Sabha election.

The list of contesting candidates, already published for the said elections by the respective Returning Officers shall remain valid for the purposes of remaining activities, as prescribed under the said notification, the EC said

“Fresh date of poll and counting for the said biennial elections shall be announced in due course after reviewing the prevailing situation,” it said.

On March 11, World Health Organization declared Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 a global pandemic. Ministry of Health and Family Affairs and Department of Personnel and Training have issued various guidelines and instructions to monitor and contain the transmisSion of COVID-19.

The Centre on March 22 asked all the state governments to take all measures to break the chain of transmission which includes suspension of all train services, sub urban rail services, closure of all activities except essential services such as hospitals, telecom, medicine shops and provision stores till March 31.

Election Commission had declared polls to 55 Rajya Sabha seats on February 25. Another bypoll was announced later to fill the vacancy caused by resignation of BJP MP Birender Singh. Polling for all seats was scheduled for March 26.

After 37 candidates were elected unopposed and nomination papers of a TMC candidate for a West Bengal seat was rejected due to technical reasons, polls to 18 seats, “four each in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two in Jharkhand and one each in Manipur and Meghalaya” are now due.

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Centre-states review situation in Left-wing extremism affected areas

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Amit-Shah

The Centre on Sunday held a high-level meeting with the states affected by Left-wing extremism (LWE) to review the situation.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the review meeting with the chief ministers and police chiefs of these states in the national capital.

Chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, Telangana CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren, Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik were present in the meeting held at Vigyan Bhawan here. The Chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal did not attend the review meeting.

Sources said that Shah talked about the need to formulate a new strategy to take decisive actions against these ultras.

The meeting is being held in two sessions. In the first session operational strategy to effective domination in the affected districts was discussed and states were asked to extend cooperation in anti-Maoist operations. In the second session, discussion on the execution of the developmental schemes in all affected states was being held.

It is learnt that in the meeting it was flagged that some states are not cooperating with the Centre in the fight against LWE due to their local issues. “Centre has sought more cooperation from the states to fight against the ultras in a calibrated manner,” sources said.

Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik requested the Union government to consider four laning of road NH 326 from Jeypore to Motu via Malkangiri, providing railway network in LWE affected districts, which are not part of it, providing mobile connectivity to areas of southern and western parts of states and providing banking facilities in these districts.

Sources claimed that Maharashtra Chief Minister Thackeray demanded additional central assistance for these districts for strengthening the policing network and to carry out development works.

It is further learnt that in the second session, the progress of the various infrastructural developmental schemes such as road requirement and connectivity, and also of aspirational districts programmes in the LWE affected districts were being discussed.

Chief Ministers and police chiefs of 10 affected states — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Kerala were invited for the review meeting, but a few of them did not attend it for different reasons.

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Priyanka to be in Lucknow from Monday to take stock of poll preps

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Congress General Secretary In charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be in Lucknow for a week from Monday evening to take stock of poll preparations in the state.

The Congress leaders say she will be meeting state leaders and also important party workers in Lucknow during her week long tour.

She will have scheduled meetings with the manifesto committee and with the election committee to assess the party’s poll preparedness in the state, sources said.

Priyanka Gandhi is likely to participate in one of the training programmes being organised by the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.

The Congress in Uttar Pradesh will take out a ‘Congress Pratigya Yatra’ with the tagline — ‘Hum Vachan Nibhayenge’, ahead of the Assembly elections, due early next year.

Priyanka has said that the yatra would cover a distance of 12,000 kilometres and will pass through all major villages and towns to connect with the masses.

The date of the yatra is yet to be decided, though sources said it was likely to begin on the Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.

The party is readying the first list of candidates in October, months ahead of the elections. For this, the the Congress in Uttar Pradesh has extended the last date for applications for the Assembly polls. In a letter sent to all party units, UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said that applications form from prospective candidates will now be received till October 10.

Earlier, the last date for submitting applications was September 25. Each candidate was asked to deposit a sum of Rs 11,000 with the form.

Party sources said that the reason for extending the date was that the number of applications received so far was ‘unsatisfactory’.

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5,000 youth writing on contribution of unsung heroes: Modi in ‘Mann Ki Baat’

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Narendra-Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday said that about 5,000 amateur young writers were working on the contribution of unsung heroes and urged citizens to contribute in the work.

He said, “Over 5,000 amateur writers are working towards promulgating the lives of Unsung Heroes who have contributed to India’s growth and Independence story. I urge more such people to come forward and share such stories of courage with us.”

He said the youth of our country have decided that they will bring the history of the unsung freedom fighters to the forefront and urged every citizen to contribute towards the same.

The Prime Minister emphasized on Khadi ahead of the Gandhi Jayanti and said that new innovative techniques will be adopted in the agri sector as the day coincides with All Bahadur Shastri’s birth anniversary.

He also said, “September is an important month, a month when we celebrate World River Day. A day to remember the contribution of our rivers that selflessly provide us with water, I urge the people across the country to mark a ‘river festival’ at least once a year.”

He also said the special ‘E-auction’ of gifts that he has received was underway and the proceeds from that would be dedicated to the ‘Namami Gange’ project.

Modi mentioned how people’s initiative had helped the Naga river in Tamil Nadu, which had dried up. But due to the initiatives of the rural women and the active public participation, the river was brought to life, and to this day there is plenty of water in the river.

He also said that in the western parts of India, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan, there is scarcity of water and people suffer droughts. In Gujarat, at the beginning of the rainy season people celebrate ‘Jal-Jilani Ekadashi’ which is similar to what we call today ‘Catch the Rain’.

The Prime Minister mentioned the courage and enthusiasm of a group of differently-abled people about their journey to the Siachen glacier. “This reflects our nation’s ‘Can Do’ attitude and that disability is not the end to achieving your goals.”

He said a few days ago, in the inaccessible area of Siachen, the team of 8 differently-abled people made a world record by waving the Indian flag on the ‘Kumar Post’ situated at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet.

The Prime Minister hailed the contribution of more than 350 teachers who have joined the service of going from village to village and ensuring handicapped children get admission in school during the pandemic.

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