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Tuesday,15-June-2021

National News

President Ram Nath Kovind urges people to follow discipline amid corona crisis

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President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday urged people to follow discipline and maintain physical distance to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said this on the occasion of Asaadh Poornima while inaugurating the Dharma Chakra Day from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“We are in the midst of a virulent pandemic that has overwhelmed the entire humanity. Perhaps no part of the world remains untouched by this calamity that adversely affects every individual. We have to follow certain discipline and maintain physical distance,” the President said.

Delivering his address on the occasion to emphasise the teachings of Lord Buddha and the eightfold path shown by him, Kovind said, “The world has suffered much this year, and I sincerely wish that this sacred day heralds a new ray of hope and grants a glimpse of happiness.

“I also pray that it lights the lamp of wisdom in the heart of everyone,” President Kovind said.

Union Minister of Culture Prahlad Patel, Minister of State (MoS) for Minorities Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Member of Parliament Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also addressed the opening ceremony of the event.

This day is also aptly observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus. President Kovind said the Buddha’s cure for human suffering remains as relevant today as it was over two and half millennia ago.

He said there is no doubt that the urgency of abiding by the values that the Buddha preached is eternal. “Today, as the pandemic ravages human lives and economies across the globe, the Buddha’s message serves like a beacon.” He advised people to shun greed, hatred, violence, jealousy and many other vices to find happiness.

The President said, “In India, we see Buddhism as a fresh expression of the sublime truth. In modern times, two exceptionally great Indians — Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar — found inspiration in the words of the Buddha and went on to shape the destiny of the nation.”

Following in their footsteps, the President suggested that we should strive to hear the call of Buddha to respond to his invitation to walk the Noble Path. “Contrast this message with the hankering of an unrepentant mankind indulging in the same old violence and degradation of nature,” the President said and added, “We all know that the moment the virulence of coronavirus slows down and we have a far more serious challenge of climate change before us.”

Expressing his happiness to host the Asadh Purnima celebration in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President said it is part of our civilizational journey for the welfare of the universe since time immemorial. “The day is also known as Guru Purnima. Hindus and Jains also celebrate it as a mark of reverence for their spiritual teachers. This day is an unbroken link to India’s eternal pursuit of wisdom without dogma.”

On Asadh Purnima, some 2,500 years ago, the Word of Wisdom was spoken out by the Buddha for the first time. On attaining enlightenment, the Buddha spent five weeks in a state beyond description and then he started sharing with people the nectar he had discovered.

National News

Final phase of Uttar Pradesh zila panchayat polls this month

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The State Election Commission has informed the Panchayati Raj Department that it is ready to conduct zila panchayat polls between June 15 and July 3.

Additional chief secretary (Panchayati Raj) Manoj Singh issued the notification to this effect on Monday on behalf of the governor.

Sources said the department would soon seek inputs from the Panchayati raj directorate before issuing a notification.

The Zila panchayat chairpersons for 75 districts will be elected by 3,050 members in various districts.

Jaunpur has maximum 83 wards followed by Sitapur and Lakhimpur Kheri which have 79 and 72 wards, respectively.

Gorakhpur, the home turf of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, has 68 wards.

A formal notification for zila panchayat polls would be issued on Tuesday after which observers will be appointed.

The elections for zila panchayat chairpersons are a major prestige issue for all political parties, especially the BJP which has decided to field its functionaries in majority of the zila panchayat wards. The ruling party faces a stiff challenge from the Samajwadi Party.

The BJP seeks to maximize its footprint in rural parts of the state in order to counter the smaller, regional parties, SP and BSP, ahead of the state assembly elections next year.

The issue is said to be at the core of hectic activities in the BJP camp during the recent visits by party’s national general secretary (organization), B.L. Santhosh, and national vice-president, Radha Mohan Singh.

Both, SP and the BJP have opened back-channel negotiations with independent candidates who have won in a significant number of wards. Their support to candidates backed by various parties will hold significance in zila panchayat elections.

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National News

Priyanka Gandhi demands CBI enquiry into UP scribe’s death

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath demanding a CBI enquiry into the death of a TV journalist based in Uttar Pradesh who had been found dead under mysterious circumstances in Pratapgarh district.

She in the letter wrote, “The law and order has collapsed and liquor mafia from Aligarh to Pratapgarh have been found indulged in spurious liquor trade, hundreds have died, and those journalists who had been exposing them are attacked.”

She also demanded financial assistance to the victim’s family.

Just a day before his death, Sulabh Srivastava, who worked for a TV channel, wrote to the Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday saying he felt threatened following his recent reportage of liquor mafias in the district.

Seeking protection, Srivastava had said he had been informed by sources that the liquor mafia was angry with him after the publication of his report and wanted to harm him or his family.

The Pratapgarh police has said that the journalist died in a ‘motorcycle accident’.

“Srivastava was returning on his motorcycle after media coverage, at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. He fell from his motorcycle near a brick kiln. Some labourers lifted him from the road and then used his phone to call his friends.

“He was taken to the district hospital where the doctors declared him dead,” the Pratapgarh police said in a statement.

The police also added that the initial probe revealed that Srivastava fell after his “bike collided with a handpump on the road”.

The police also added that they are probing other angles in the matter.

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National News

Uttar Pradesh ministers to camp in districts in a damage control exercise

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In a major damage control exercise, all ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh have been asked to reach out to people ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in the state.

The ministers have been asked to camp in development blocks in districts under their charge in June and July 2021, connect with party workers at the grassroots level, obtain feedback about government schemes, attend International Yoga Day programmes there on June 21 and join the booth level workers in listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Maan Ki Baat” programme at booths on June 27.

The directives were communicated to them at a meeting of the council of ministers, chaired by Yogi Adityanath.

UP BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh, who was present at the meeting, briefed the ministers about the details of the outreach programme.

The ministers have also been asked to review the preparations for the speculated third wave and visit the families of those who may have died of Covid-19. He said ministers would take feedback whether the government relief had reached them.

The exercise is also being seen as a move to muster support for the BJP in the upcoming zila panchayat elections.

According to UP minister Siddhartha Nath Singh, “Minister in charges will camp at the blocks in districts under their charge in June and July 2021. The ministers will try to cover most of the blocks in the districts under their charge and will cover about two blocks every day. The ministers will visit ration shops, PHCs (primary health centres), CHCs (community health centres) and hospitals, attend plantation drives, along with making spot visits, and reviewing implementation of development schemes.”

Singh said ministers have been asked to hold organisational meetings in smaller groups, keeping in view the Covid protocol. He said there would also be programmes, especially plantation drives from June 23 to July 6.

During the meeting, minister for medical education Suresh Khanna and minister for health Jai Pratap Singh made a presentation on the state government’s Covid management.

Animal husbandry minister Chaudhary Laxmi Narain spoke about the arrangements made at the cow shelters in the state.

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