Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], February 9 (ANI): Polling for the first phase of the Gram Panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh for 2,723 sarpanch and 20,157 ward member positions in 12 districts began on Tuesday.
As per M Prabhakar, Presiding Officer, the voting started at 6:30 am today and will continue till 3:30 pm. The counting of votes will take place from 4 pm.
With the polls taking place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, arrangements have been made to ensure smooth functioning and social distancing.
“Staff has been trained to conduct elections with safety protocols amid the pandemic. If anyone is found positive for the virus, they will still be allowed to vote while following standard operating procedures,” said Dhyanchand, district sub-collector of Vijayawada.
“In the Vijayawada division, there are 14 mandals and 2,642 polling stations. All polling stations are functioning properly and all arrangements have been taken care of,” he told ANI.
Earlier on Saturday, Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar held a review of polling arrangements and preparedness for gram panchayat polls at the Kadapa district collector’s office.
The SEC, while speaking to media here, said, “Conducting elections at the appropriate time is a constitutional right. I am conducting elections accordingly.”
The gram panchayat elections will be held in four phases across the state. The final phase of the elections will be held on February 21. (ANI)
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Husband stranded in Saudi Arabia, Hyderabad woman urges MEA’s help to bring him back
Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 7 (ANI): A woman in Hyderabad has written to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) requesting the safe return of her husband who has been stranded in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to ANI, Nafees Begum, the wife of Hassan Pasha, who is stuck in Saudi Arabia, said that her husband was first employed as a spray painter at a workshop at Markaz Fahad in Medina.
“After working for 10 years, he was offered a partnership by his employer Fahad Al Harbi and asked for a share in his profit. My husband used to pay Farah Al Harbi 3,500 to 4,000 Saudi Riyal monthly. After three years, his employer decided to give the workshop on lease to Hassan Pasha and the employer asked for 5,500 Saudi Riyal per month as rent,” claimed Nafees Begum.
“Five years into the partnership, he was able to pay for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, the workshop was demolished by municipal authorities. His employer asked him to go back to India and come back again on a new visa. The owner said he would provide and has taken signatures for the same,” she added.
Days before he was scheduled to leave Saudi Arabia, Nafees Begum claimed Pasha got to know that his employer had filed a case against him.
The employer said he has duped him for 15,000 Saudi Riyal and he (Hassan Pasha) has been placed on the travel ban list, Nafees Begum said.
She requested the MEA to look into the issue and take the necessary steps to bring his husband back to India.
“My husband doesn’t have any money now and is also unable to pay us. I am a mother of three children and belong to a poor family. I request the Government of India to please look into this issue and bring him back to India,” Nafees Begum said.
Sarwarunnisa, the mother of Hassan Pasha, said she has been facing health issues and doesn’t have any money to get any medical treatment.
“Amid my health issues, my son is stuck in Saudi Arabia. I request the Government of India to please bring him back to India safely,” she said. (ANI)
Bengal relied on Mamata for change but she broke people’s trust, says PM Modi
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 7 (ANI): Launching a scathing attack on Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that West Bengal relied on her for ushering in a change, however, she broke the trust and insulted people of the state.
Addressing his first rally at Brigade Parade Ground after the announcement of the West Bengal Assembly poll schedule, the Prime Minister said there are TMC, Left and Congress on one side and people of West Bengal on the other side.
“Bengal relied on Mamata didi for change. But didi and her cadre broke this trust. These people broke the trust of Bengal. These people insulted Bengal and tortured the sisters and daughters here. But these people could not break the hope and courage of the people in the state,” he said.
“The dream of ‘Sonar Bangla’ will be fulfilled. I have come here today to assure you of Bengal’s development, to increase investment here, to protect Bengal’s culture and to bring change,” he added.
“In this Assembly elections, there are TMC, Left and Congress, and their anti-Bengal attitude on one side. On the other side, there are people of Bengal,” PM Modi said further.
The Prime Minister started his speech with slogans of Vande Matram and Bharat Mata ki Jai.
“I have had the privilege of addressing hundreds of rallies in political life, but in such a long tenure I have never been blessed with such a mass of people. During my helicopter ride, I saw people rushing towards Brigade Ground,” he said.
“This land of Bengal has given energy to our values. This land of Bengal given a new life in the freedom movement of India. This land of Bengal increased India’s pride in the science of knowledge,” he said.
“This Brigade Parade Ground has been witness to many great leaders and also witnessed those who have disrupted West Bengal’s progress. People of Bengal never left their hopes for change. Kolkata and Bengal are very important places of inspiration for India. The slogan ‘Brigade Chalo’ has been echoed many times in the Brigade Ground in the past decades. This ground has seen many patriots,” he added.
Attacking the TMC further, PM Modi said the Brigade Parade Ground has also seen the policies and conspiracies of those who put the land of Bengal round the clock and strike in a bandh.
“This ground has also been a witness to the stalling development of Bengal. This ground has also seen the policies and conspiracies of those who put the land of Bengal round the clock and strike in a bandh,” he said.
West Bengal will witness Assembly election in eight phases starting from March 27 and polling for the last phase will take place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
After winning 3 seats in the 2016 Assembly election in West Bengal, the BJP made deep inroads in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats and reducing TMC’s tally to 22. Out of the total 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, Congress won two seats, the Left drew a blank. (ANI)
Uttarakhand CM holds meeting ahead of ‘Baat kam, Kaam zyada’ programme
Bhararisain (Uttarakhand) [India], March 7 (ANI): Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday held a meeting with all district heads of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to plan the upcoming ‘Baat kam, Kaam zyada’ (Talk less, work more) programme.
According to the Uttarakhand government Information Department, the programme will be held on March 18 to showcase four years of the party’s work in the state, which has reflected the ‘Baat kam, Kaam zyada’ attitude.
Trivendra Singh Rawat’s government was voted into power in 2017. (ANI)
J-K officials organise roadshow in Bhubaneswar to promote tourism
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 7 (ANI): Tourism officials from Jammu and Kashmir, along with the Boat House association organised on Saturday a road-show in Bhubaneswar in an attempt to promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir after the COVID-19.
“The tourism sector opened in July last year because the government made sincere and effective measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. We took inputs from local tourism stakeholders and authorities from other states and made SOPs and instructions,” said Anil Salim, Deputy director of J-K Tourism department.
He added, “Special precautions at hotels, tourist hotspots, and airports had been made. Staff and personnel have also been trained so that tourists feel safe and comfortable.”
He further said that such roadshows would take place in other parts of the country as well, including Bengaluru and Indore, so that people are made aware of Jammu and Kashmir as attractive tourist destination.
“The main goal of this roadshow is to tell more people that ‘Kashmir is paradise’ and we have houseboats, a unique type of accommodation. People will enjoy this ‘heaven on earth’. There are facilities for everyone – from 5-star hotel to middle-class accommodations,” Abdul Hamid Wangnoo, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Boat owners association. (ANI)
Delhi reports 286 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours
New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): Delhi reported 286 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative count of cases in the national capital to 6,41,101 on Sunday.
According to the Delhi government, the total number of recoveries in the national capital rose to 6,28,377 with 260 new recoveries in the last 24 hours.
Witnessing two new fatalities in the last 24 hours, Delhi’s COVID-19 death toll reached 10,921. The case fatality rate stands at 1.70 per cent.
A total of 91,614 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. The cumulative positivity rate of COVID-19 in Delhi stands at 5 per cent, the government said.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country saw a slight increase in the last 24 hours with 18,711 new cases, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Sunday.
As many as 100 deaths were also reported, taking the death toll to 1,57,756.
The total number of positive cases in the country now stands at 1,12,10,799, including 1,84,523 active cases and 1,08,68,520 recoveries.
India is currently in the midst of the second phase of the vaccination drive, with as many as 2,09,22,344 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines administered so far. (ANI)
PM Modi has time for rally in Kolkata but not for protesting farmers: Sharad Pawar
Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], March 7 (ANI): Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his public rally in poll-bound West Bengal, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the Prime Minister has time to go to Kolkata but has no time to visit farmers in Delhi who have been protesting against farm laws since November last year.
Pawar alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is spreading “communal poison” in the country.
“The Centre’s responsibility is to establish brotherhood, but BJP spreading communal poison in the country. Farmers have been protesting for 100 days, PM has time to go to Kolkata, rally against the West Bengal government, but no time to visit farmers in Delhi,” Pawar said while addressing a state-level party workers’ meet at the Harmu ground, Ranchi along with the national office bearers of the Party.
Pawar’s comment comes in the light of PM Modi’s rally at Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata, today.
The NCP chief alleged that the Central government is using central agencies to suppress the voices of Opposition in the states, where BJP is not in power.
“The Central government in a way that they use CBI, ED and other agencies to suppress Opposition voices in the states where they are not in the power. All the ministers of the central government are busy campaigning in poll-bound states and the government is misusing the agencies in those states too,” he said. (ANI)
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