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Ballot papers for 2019 Lok Sabha polls :17 political parties to approach EC

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Chief Election Commissioner of India O.P. Rawat

New Delhi, Aug 2: Seventeen political parties have approached the Election Commission, demanding that 2019 general elections should be conducted on ballot paper.

Prominent political parties have called for the replacement of EVMs with ballot paper and expressed concerns about the non-transparent nature of the EVMs, which store the vote in the form of electronic charges that can be manipulated using the right software and access to the EVMs themselves.

The 17 parties include the Congress, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s BSP, Sharad Pawar’s NCP, Lalu Yadav’s RJD, IUML, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, YSR, south parties DMK, HD Kumaraswamy’s JDS, Kerala Congress Mani, Left parties CPI and CPM andBanerjee’s Trinamool Congress. Parties have alleged that EVMs had been tampered and demanded the reintroduction of the ballot paper voting system.

Mamata Banerjee had stated, “EVMs can be tampered with, so let’s go back to the old system,” Mamata said here in an informal interaction with media.

In June, Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat had ruled out any possibility of bringing back ballot papers for elections and claimed that EVMs were being made a ‘scapegoat’ as the machines cannot speak and “political parties needed to blame someone or something for their defeat”.

The TMC was part of the 13-party delegation meeting the Election Commission to demand that upcoming polls be held with 50 per cent use of paper trail of EVM voting and ballot paper.

India

India-Pak troops exchange fire along international border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba

No one was injured in the firing which started around 11.45 pm on Saturday in Mangu Chak Border Outpost (BOP) area of Ghagwal secto

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Indian Army Kashmir

Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire for nearly 30 minutes after the Border Security Force (BSF) picked up suspicious movement along the International Border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Sunday.

No one was injured in the firing which started around 11.45 pm on Saturday in Mangu Chak Border Outpost (BOP) area of Ghagwal sector, the officials said.

They said BSF troops deployed at BOP Mangu Chak observed movement of three to four persons near Pakistani post Pir Bunker and opened fire after they were seen moving towards this side under the cover of darkness.

Pakistani Rangers retaliated and the exchange of small arms firing between the two sides continued for about half-an-hour, the officials said, adding the suspiciously moving persons returned to Pakistani side amid the firing.

A BSF official confirmed the incident and said a massive search operation was launched early this morning to sanitise the area.

The search operation is on but no incriminating material has been recovered so far, the official said.

There has been spurt in airdropping of weapons by drones and smuggling of narcotics along the IB and Line of Control (LoC) amid frequent ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir over the past few weeks.

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Cities

To avoid overcrowding Railways to run 6 more local trains, 2 ladies special

At present 500 special suburban services are being operated by Western Railway for essential services staff

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Mumbai Local Train

In order to maintain social distancing and to avoid overcrowding, Western Railway has taken the decision to increase the number of daily special suburban services by adding 6 more services including two Ladies Special trains from Monday.

500 special suburban services were being operated by Western Railway for Essential Services Staff as notified by the Government of Maharashtra. To this, 6 more trains are being added in order to bring flexibility in transportation.

According to an official press release, the increased 6 services have been added between Virar- Churchgate sector. Out of the 6 services, 3 services will be in UP direction from Virar on Slow line and 3 services will be in the DOWN direction towards Virar on Slow line. The 2 Ladies Special services will be run during the morning and evening peak hours between Virar and Churchgate stations in both UP and DOWN directions.

It’s worth mentioning that after complete closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown since March 23, 2020, Western Railway on the request of Govt of Maharashtra had commenced the selected services of special suburban trains from June 15 on the Mumbai Suburban section. The services were gradually increased for the convenience of passengers.

The latest increase was implemented from 21st September 2020, when the total services were increased from 350 to 500 by adding 150 more services over Western Railway’s suburban section. Considering the present scenario of the pandemic, the special suburban trains are regularly sanitized & cleaned to upkeep proper hygiene.

All commuters as permitted by the Maharashtra government, are requested by Western Railway to follow social distancing norms and wear a mask while travelling in special trains.

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India

Mann ki Baat: PM says new agri Bills to help farmers sell produce

Modi also paid tributes to great leaders of the country and specially mentioned Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. “Shaheed Bhagat Singh epitomised courage and teamwork,” he said.

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Hailing the contribution of Indian farmers in Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that they would benefit too from the new agriculture-related Bills once these become laws.

He pointed out-growers had benefited after fruits and vegetables were taken off the ambit of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act in 2014 and now other farmers would benefit too.

They would be able to send their produce wherever they want and also get a good price, the Prime Minister added while addressing the nation in the 69th edition of his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

Earlier, farmers could not sell their produce because of strict laws wherein they were challenged for selling their farm produce outside APMCs.

The new Bills passed by Parliament this month are opposed by different farmer unions and opposition parties.

He also referred to farmers in Haryana, Gujarat and other states for doing well or themselves.

The Prime Minister said: “Had we followed the essence of Bapu’s (Mahatma Gandhi) economic philosophy, we would not need to work for building an Atmanirbhar Bharat now. It would have happened much earlier.”

Modi also paid tributes to great leaders of the country and specially mentioned Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. “Shaheed Bhagat Singh epitomised courage and teamwork,” he said.

The Prime Minister also emphasised the special bonding within a family and how storytelling can be a catalyst. He also interacted with a group of storytellers from Bengaluru.

“As a family, set aside some time for storytelling. This will be a wonderful experience. Highlight stories relating to great women and men who have made India proud.”

He appealed the Indians to wear face masks and follow two-feet distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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