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.
PM Narendra Modi’s visit to his village Nimo, comforts 1962 war veteran
In a quaint little village with tall poplars swinging gently in the summer bloom against the bare lofty mountains, 1962 war veteran Tsering Tashi giggles with exuberance over the thought that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited his village just a week ago.
“I did not know that he, the Prime Minister of India, was right here in my village, talking to soldiers. Got to know after he left,” Tashi laughs.
Tashi quickly adds, “His visit to Nimo was really required. It has boosted the morale of our soldiers. He could not have gone to the forward posts but it was very good that he gave a speech here. It uplifted the spirits of the soldiers. I think the Army is happy too.”
The Prime Minister’s visit to Nimo, after India lost 20 soldiers, including a Colonel on June 15 during a violent clash with Chinese troops, has a deep significance for the 80-year-old Tashi.
Even 58 years after India’s defeat in the 1962 war with China, the regret and grief has not faded from the Havildar’s voice as he recalls how India lost the war and territory to the Chinese.
Describing the then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai’s approach to India, prior to the 1962 war, “Muh mein Ram Ram, bhagal mein chhuri” (stabbing someone in the back), Tashi drifts into the memory lane when he had joined the Army in 1959 as a young soldier.
“The war began at night around 1 a.m. (October 20, 1962). Both India and China used to have military posts near DBO (Daulat Beg Oldi), one of the world’s highest airstrip at an altitude of over 16,600 feet.
“We used to patrol on foot; the Chinese on horses. Our vehicles could not reach our posts but theirs did. They had outnumbered us. We were very few.
“There were only two units of Army at the time — one was at Chushul and the other at DBO. So we airlifted our soldiers of Jat regiment from Pathankot, direct to the DBO airstrip,” Tashi recalls.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had assaulted Indian military posts in Chip Chap valley, Galwan valley and Pangong lake and other numerous small posts. The Chip Chap river flows to the south of Daulat Beg Oldi from east to west.
In October, winter is in full swing in Ladakh, and extremely harsh at high altitude areas like DBO. The temperature dips to freezing point.
“Our troops got no time to acclimatize but they chose to fight. Their hands froze; they lost their limbs. So we had to retreat,” the war veteran says with a lump in his throat. He repeatedly mentions how the soldiers died in the cold.
As his wrinkles droop at the memory of that night, he remembers that the Army lost another 20 to 30 men at the nearby post. “They (People’s Liberation Army) took some of our soldiers prisoners of war too. One of them, however, escaped; don’t know how he came back,” he says.
Around 2 a.m., Tashi went from DBO in a Shaktiman truck to bring more soldiers for support.
“I got 30 to 40 soldiers. But our vehicle got stuck in the snow in a frozen stream. Perhaps, our lives got saved because our vehicle got stuck. Once, we were able to move, it was already morning. Since we could see because of the morning light, our commandant was able to move us up the ridge a little bit. I was the guide. But by that time we got there, the PLA troops had occupied our side. So we had to withdraw,” the ex-serviceman says.
Tashi remembers the martyrdom of Major Shaitan Singh, of the Kumaon Regiment, who had been instrumental in holding on to the Rezang La Ridge, which was important to prevent the airstrip from falling into the Chinese hands.
The 1962 war veteran, who retired from the Ladakh Scouts regiment of the Indian Army in 1975, however, brightens up at the mention of the 1971 war with Pakistan. “That is when we were able to regain Turtuk, Dhothang, Tyakshi and Chalunka of Chorbat valley,” he says with a certain smugness.
By that time, he adds smilingly, “We had got new arms and weapons, the strength of our units had been hugely increased. We took their top strategic posts; both Pakistani Army and civilians had to flee.”
China, Tashi believes, cannot defeat India now.
“India is very strong. During our time, India was like dust on the ground but now its touching the skies. Now whatever our soldiers ask for, it is immediately fulfilled on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.”
Priyanka Gandhi demands CBI probe in Vikas Dubey case
After the arrest of Vikas Dubey in Ujjain, the Congress has upped its ante on the Yogi Government, party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday demanded a CBI inquiry into the whole case.
Priyanka Gandhi said in order to reveal the nexus between the criminal and the higher ups, an inquiry by the CBI was necessary.
In her tweets in Hindi Priyanka said, “After the heinous murders in Kanpur, the promptness with which the Uttar government should have acted, proved to be a total failure.”
“Despite the alert, he reached Ujjain which shows the laxity in the security apparatus and also hints at the connivance.
She further tweeted, “The ‘no action’ on a three-month-old letter and the name of Vikas not being in the list of notorious criminals suggests that the connections are far reaching.
“The UP government should conduct a CBI inquiry into the matter and reveal all the facts and the protection-connections.”
According to the police, Vikas Dubey reached the temple at Ujjain around 8 a.m. and then informed the security men about his identity and asked them to inform the police.
Dubey has been on the run for almost a week, ever since the ambush and killing of eight police personnel in Kanpur. As police searched for him in Haryana, Delhi, a close watch was kept on the Indo-Nepal border.
A photograph that has gone viral, shows Dubey sitting comfortably on a sofa inside the temple complex.
Uttar Pradesh Police officially confirmed the arrest of Vikas Dubey. Madhya Pradesh Home minister Narottam Mishra tried to take the credit for the gangster’s arrest. Speaking to the media minutes after Dubey was whisked away to an unidentified location for medical examination and questioning, Mishra said: “Hamari police kisi ko nahin chhodti hai. Hamare jaanbaaz police jawanon ne usey dhar dabocha (Our police never lets any criminal go scott free. They have nabbed him).”
Yogi Adityanath government approves new start-up policy
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has approved the UP-Start-up Policy 2020 to promote fledgling units in various areas including agriculture, health, power, education, tourism and transport.
The policy was approved by the state cabinet, late on Wednesday evening.
The aim of the policy would be to ensure that UP is ranked within the first three states in the Centre’s start-up rankings, create 100 incubators with, at least, one in each district, create an ecosystem to promote at least 10,000 start-ups, set up state of the art excellence centres and create the largest incubator in the country in Lucknow.
The policy will be valid for five years and will provide direct employment to 50,000 people and indirect employment to 1 lakh.
According to a government spokesperson, “At present, the UP Information Technology and Start-up Policy, 2017 is in place.
“However, there are more than 1,800 start-up units registered with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under the Centre and since there is no holistic policy for start-ups, it was decided to create an ecosystem for promotion of start-ups which would require a new policy.”
The state government is already providing start-ups with a subsidy and has started a Rs 1,000 crore fund to promote new entrants in the field.
An online portal has also been launched for incubation and promotion of start-ups.
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