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Thursday,25-February-2021

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Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency left calls polling in 1st phase a farce

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Reiterating its demand to hold repoll in 464 of the 1,679 polling stations in the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency, the CPI-M led Left Front opposition on Sunday demanded free and fair polling in the Tripura East seat which goes to the polls in the second phase on April 18.

The Left parties would hold a sit-in here on Tuesday in support of their demands.

“Do not turn the Lok Sabha polls in the Tripura East seat on April 18 into a farce as was done in the Tripura West constituency on April 11,” Left Front convenor Bijan Dhar told Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti on Sunday.

Dhar, who led a five-member delegation to the CEO to submit their memorandum, said even Taranikanti confessed that he had received over 800 complaints during the first phase of polling which were being scrutinised by the Returning Officer of the Tripura West seat along with other poll related documents and electronic devises which documented the balloting.

Dhar, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) central committee member, said: “Since the first parliamentary elections in the country in 1952, Tripura had never witnessed such farcical and violent polling as was witnessed by the people of the state on April 11.

“The traditional festive milieu was completely missing during the first phase of polling, as the BJP workers and their hoodlums intimidated, prevented and attacked thousands of voters, including innocent BJP supporters, on the polling day and even few days before the voting.”

“Even during the Congress rule (before 1978 and 1988-1993), the people of Tripura never witnessed such a mockery of polling. The BJP workers and their goons drove out Left and other parties’ polling agents from hundreds of polling stations and prevented thousands of opposition supporters from casting their votes.”

Demanding the effective deployment of central paramilitary forces and state forces for the second phase of polling, the Left leaders said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and in Tripura kept the security forces out of poll duties to facilitate rigging by its party workers.

The Left delegation to the CEO, which included state CPI-M Secretary Gautam Das and leaders from the Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Communist Party of India, demanded adequate deployment of central paramilitary forces in all the 1,645 polling stations in the Tripura East constituency, which is reserved for the tribals.

The delegation also alleged that on April 11, state Agriculture Minister Pranajit Singh Roy and several other BJP MLAs freely roamed around many polling areas and indulged in electoral malpractices.

Rubbishing the allegations, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said in a media briefing that CPI-M candidate Shankar Prasad Datta had instigated the police to arrest and torture saffron party members in Barjala, near here, on Saturday.

“The opposition parties, especially the CPI-M, have got a clear message of their impending defeat. That’s why they are trying to deteriorate the law and order situation in the state,” Bhattacharjee said.

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Tejashwi Yadav raises Sitamarhi encounter in Assembly, hits out at govt

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The Bihar government is on the back foot after an encounter with the liquor mafia in Sitamarhi district on Wednesday claimed the life of a sub-inspector while a guard sustained grievous injuries.

Leader of Opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav raised this incident in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday. He said that the law and order situation in Bihar is in a bad shape. This is the reason why police officers are getting killed in broad daylight.

“Transfers and postings would be done for only those police officers who used to give “RCP tax” (Bribe) to top bosses in the Nitish Kumar government,” Tejashwi said.

The encounter took place in Sitamarhi’s Kunwari village under Majorganj police station on Wednesday afternoon when a police team headed by Dinesh Ram reached the village. The criminals, upon seeing the police team, opened fired at them. Ram sustained fatal bullet injuries while guard Lal Babu Paswan also sustained gunshot injuries and is battling for his life in hospital. A criminal identified as Ranjan Singh was also killed in retaliatory firing.

“On Thursday, an inspector rank officer was involved in manhandling a MLA of CPI (ML). I have not heard about or witnessed any such incident where a police officer is manhandling a legislator,” Tejashwi said.

“The alleged officer is a SHO of Secretariat police station and he was also involved in a ruckus outside my residence as well,” Tejashwi said.

After this incident came to the knowledge of the House, Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha directed the concerned officers to check the CCTV footage.

“If the officer is guilty, he will be punished under Breach of Privilege Act,” Sinha said.

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North East will be India’s growth hub: Amit Shah

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has identified the Northeast region as India’s “Growth Hub”.

Addressing a gathering in Nagaon district’s Batadrava Than, Shah said the Modi government has already started work to make the region as the growth engine of India.

“To take the Northeast development in a mission mode, the Prime Minister had visited the region 35 times in the past five years. The Congress leaders and ministers visited Assam only during the election time,” the senior BJP leader said.

“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship, a new era of development has started in Assam and the Northeast region. Entire Northeast region is transforming. Northeast India will emerge as the highest contributor in the GDP of India,” said Shah.

Urging the people to reinstall the BJP government for the second time, Shah promised that his party’s vision is to make Assam an infiltration free, flood free, corruption free, violence free, agitation free and number one state in India.

“A satellite based survey has been conducted and plans are afoot to permanently resolve the flood problem and to undertake many projects to develop tourism and other infrastructures,” he said.

The Batadrava Than in central Assam’s Nagaon district is the birthplace of social reformer Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva, who was a 15th-16th century Assamese saint, scholar, poet, playwright, social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in Assam’s cultural and religious history.

Shah on Thursday launched the work of a state-funded Rs 188-crore project for the beautification of Batadrava Than.

Saying that the Centre and state double engine governments of the BJP have undertaken a large number of steps for the all round development of Assam and protection of Assamese culture and traditions. He said the NDA government has awarded late famous singer and composer Bhupen Hazarika with Bharat Ratna; and the Padma Bhushan award posthumously to former Assam Chief Minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi.

“Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh represented Assam, the Congress ruled Assam for 15 years (2001-2016) but did nothing for the betterment of Assam and its people.

“The BJP-led NDA government has constructed over 20,000 km road, bridges, airports, railway projects, approved a lot of gas and oil based projects, mega health institutions including AIIMS and many educational institutions,” he pointed out.

The Home Minister said that the BJP government in Assam, to protect and promote the traditions and culture of Assam had provided Rs 2.5 lakh each to 8,000 “Namghars” (traditional Vaishnavite monasteries of Assam) under the Assam ‘Darshan’ programme.

“Namghars”, literally meaning Prayer House, introduced by Srimanta Sankardeva, are places for congregational worship associated with the entire Assamese community and the Ekasarana sect of Hinduism, in particular, which is native to Assam.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state’s Finance, Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also addressed the gatherings.

Later in the day, Shah will visit the hill district of Karbi Anglong where he will address another public meeting at Dengaon and is expected to meet surrendered extremists.

Earlier, Shah visited Assam on February 11 and January 23, and addressed several public rallies.

On February 11, with an eye on the Assembly polls in Assam and West Bengal, he met influential Koch-Rajbongshi leader ‘Maharaj’ Ananta Rai and spent about an hour at his residence in western Assam’s Chirang district.

The Koch-Rajbongshi community habitats in Assam and West Bengal and claims to have over 18.5 lakh votes in the two states.

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All students of classes 9, 10, 11 declared pass: Tamil Nadu CM

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced that students of Classes 9, 10 and 11 will be declared passed without writing their annual/board exams for the academic year 2020-21.

Announcing this in the Assembly, Palaniswami said considering the extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic situation and going by the views of the education experts and appeals of the parents, students of 9, 10 and 11 classes will be declared as all pass without them writing the annual school or board exams.

He also said the government will announce the detailed norms for calculating the marks for the students for the academic year 2020-21.

Palaniswami said the schools were closed due to the pandemic and the students learnt through the Kalvi TV channel and online. Their study portions were also reduced.

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