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Sunday,16-May-2021

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Panchayat poll results: BJP faces setback in Varanasi, Ayodhya

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While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in most districts in the Panchayat elections, reports coming in from Varanasi and Ayodhya — the two districts crucial for the party politics in Uttar Pradesh — are not exactly encouraging.

There are 40 Zila Panchayat seats in Varanasi and the Samajwadi Party has won 15 seats while the BJP could win only 8 seats.

The BSP has won five seats while Apna Dal has won three seats and the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party has won one seat. Three seats have been won by independents.

Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency and maximum development work has taken place here in the past seven years.

In Ayodhya, the Samajwadi Party has won 24 of the 40 Zila Panchayat seats while the BJP could win only six seats. On the remaining 10 seats, the BSP has won five and independents also got five.

Varanasi and Ayodhya have been the focal point of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s development policies and the two cities are being developed as the hub of religious tourism.

The BJP spokesmen refused to comment on the results saying that they would introspect on the reasons for the party’s unexpected performance.

A senior party functionary, however, said that the results were a result of anger prevailing among the cadres and also the number of rebel candidates.

“Cadres have been complaining for long that their grievances are not being addressed in the districts where officials call the shots. This is a warning signal for us and we need to set things right before the Assembly polls next year,” he said.

The functionary, who did not wish to be named, also blamed the local ministers in Varanasi for the party’s poor performance.

“They have not been connecting to party workers. This lack of connect between leaders and workers is responsible for the party’s performance,” he added.

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Amit Shah talks to 4 CMs about preparedness on cyclone Tauktae

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday chaired a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Union Territory of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli to assess preparedness to deal with the cyclonic storm “Tauktae”.

He took stock of the measures and the plans by the states and UTs, as well as Central Ministries along with agencies concerned to deal with the cyclone, and the situation arising out of it.

National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “Tauktae” (pronounced as Tau’Te) over east central Arabian Sea is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.

The cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) around May 18 early morning.

“Tauktae” moved nearly northwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday over east central Arabian Sea near latitude 15.0 degree North and longitude 72.7 degree East, about 130 km west-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 450 km south of Mumbai, 700 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 840 km southeast of Karachi (Pakistan),” the IMD said.

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Harsh Vardhan to hold video meet with 4 CMs on Covid

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will be holding a meeting with Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat on Covid-19 situation and progress on vaccination drive in these states later on Saturday.

Harsh Vardhan will hold a meet with the Health Ministers of these four states through video conference at 3 p.m.

The Union Minister will review current Covid situation and progress of vaccination drive being run in their respective states to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus which so far has infected 2,43,72,907 people across the country, including 36,73,802 active cases and 2,66,207 deaths.

In a tweet, the Minister informed about his meeting on Covid-19 situation and vaccination drive in these states.

Uttar Pradesh is on top with 13,85,855 Covid cases reported so far in the state followed by Andhra Pradesh (11,75,843), Gujarat (6,09,031) and Madhya Pradesh (6,05,423).

The Health Minister will hold the meeting hours after attending a high-level virtual meeting on Covid-19 situation in the country chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the past 23 days India’s daily Covid tally has plateaued over the three-lakh-mark and over 3,000 casualties for 17 days.

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Six-time Congress MP R.L. Bhatia passes away at 100

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Six-time Congress MP and two-time Governor R.L. Bhatia passed away in Amritsar on Saturday, his family members said.

Former Minister of State for External Affairs, Bhatia was 100 years old. He represented the Amritsar parliamentary constituency six times from 1972, and was the Governor of Kerala from 2004 to 2008 and of Bihar from 2008 to 2009.

He was admitted to Fortis Hospital a day earlier after he complained of uneasiness.

Known for his impeccable image, Bhatia would have turned 101 on July 3.

MP Manish Tewari paid a visit to Bhatia at his residence in December last year to enquire about his well being along with Amritsar MP Gurjeet Aujla.

In a tweet after the meeting, Tewari wrote, “Spent some wonderful time in his company, marvelling at his memory and recollection of events, even at this age!”

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