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BJP sweeps UP in historic mandate, Congress wins Punjab

BJP-ruled Goa, however, appeared headed for a hung assembly, with both the Congress and the BJP claiming they will form the government in the coastal state.

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Election

New Delhi, March 11 : The BJP swept to an unprecedented two-thirds majority in Uttar Pradesh and bagged Uttarakhand too and was neck and neck with the Congress in Goa and Manipur in the country’s biggest mandate since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress returned to power in Punjab after a 10-year gap.

A euphoric Bharatiya Janata Party called it a “historic” verdict that would make a major impact on Indian politics even as the Congress admitted it was stunned by the scale of the verdict in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

From being the third largest group in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, the BJP, powered by an aggressive campaign spearheaded by Modi, catapulted to winning a whopping 324 seats — a never-before showing by any party in the country’s most populous state.

The victory left the ruling Samajwadi Party and its ally Congress punctured with just 55 seats while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was left a pathetic 19 seats. While Samajwadi Party leader and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav promptly resigned, BSP leader Mayawati attributed the rout to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which she said were manipulated.

“The historic mandate given to the BJP will give a new direction to Indian politics. It will end the politics of caste, dynasty (parivarvaad) and appeasement,” BJP President Amit Shah said. The BJP, he added, would form governments in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.

The Congress suffered an equally humiliating defeat in neighbouring Uttarakhand too. The BJP ousted it from power, winning 57 of the 70 seats, some of the victors being disgruntled Congress veterans who had joined the saffron outfit.

The Congress was left with just 11 legislators, with outgoing Chief Minister Harish Rawat losing both the seats he contested, one narrowly, to his BJP opponents.

“It is a monumental setback. We are disappointed with Uttar Pradesh,” Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said. Added Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit: “Our party is looking confused.”

But other party leaders rushed to defend Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, saying he alone must not be blamed for the rout in Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress, having become in recent decades an also-ran, aligned with the Samajwadi Party just before the staggered assembly election.

BJP-ruled Goa, however, appeared headed for a hung assembly, with both the Congress and the BJP claiming they will form the government in the coastal state.

The Congress inched towards becoming the single largest party in the 40-member house winning 18 seats while the BJP had netted 14. The balance of power now lay in the hands of smaller parties including Goa Forward and the MGP. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was routed.

With 26 winners, the Congress also led the BJP (22 winners) in the troubled northeastern state of Manipur that it rules. But with both groups falling short of a majority in the 60-member house, smaller parties will play a key role in government formation.

The Congress had plenty to celebrate in Punjab where it returned to power comfortably after a decade in the opposition, crushing both the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine as well as the AAP that was confident of winning in the border state.

Led by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who turned 75 on Saturday, the Congress won as many as 77 of the 117 seats, leaving the AAP with just 22 seats but as the main opposition in the assembly. The Akals and BJP had just 18 seats, with as many as 10 ministers worsted in the battle.

Prime Minister Modi telephoned Amarinder Singh to congratulate him. The AAP, which had invested heavily in Punjab, licked its wounds, its leaders saying they would introspect to know what went wrong.

In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP’s success rate enveloped both urban and rural areas and appeared to demolish traditional caste equations. BJP candidates won in all major cities including Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur and Varanasi, Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency.

While the Congress fared not so badly in Rae Bareli, it took a drubbing in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat.

BJP leader Yogi Adityanath told IANS: “Good work done by the Modi government and (BJP President) Amit Shah’s strategy has paid dividends.”

Disaster

‘Situation going out of control’: SC seeks Covid report from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the infections in these states are “going out of control” and asked them to submit a status report within two days.

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Coronavirus India

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a status report from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Assam on steps taken to control the spread of coronavirus infection, news agency PTI reported. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the infections in these states are “going out of control” and asked them to submit a status report within two days.

“Things have worsened in Delhi especially in November. You file a status report on what steps have been taken,”the court told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who was appearing for the Delhi government. The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said that all efforts shall be made by the Centre and the states to mitigate the situation and to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

While fresh cases of coronavirus infections continue to decline — or remain stagnant — in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even Himachal Pradesh have been seeing a significant rise in active cases.

Amid the surge in a few states, the Centre on Sunday dispatched high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to help them tackle the spread of the disease. A few days ago, similar teams were sent to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh as well.

Part of the reason for the surge in cases in these states could be attributed to low adherence of physical distancing norms during the festival season, especially since it came after a prolonged phase of relative stability, which could have given rise to complacency amongst the public.

On Monday, India’s COVID-19 caseload went past 91 lakh with 44,059 coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 85,62,641. The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the thirteenth consecutive day. There are 4,43,486 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date which comprises 4.85 per cent of the total caseload.

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Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi passes away

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tarun gogoi

Former Assam Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi passed away Monday. He was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction.

The three-time chief minister of Assam, Gogoi had a political career spanning over 50 years in which he assumed varied positions within the Congress party, central government as well as Assam’s state administration.

Born on April 1, 1936 into an ethnic Assamese Tai-Ahom family at Rangajan Tea Estate located in erstwhile Sivasagar district, now Jorhat district of Assam.His father, Dr Kamaleshwar Gogoi was a medical practitioner at the tea estate while his mother, Usha Gogoi, was known for her collection of poetry –– Hiyar Samahar.

Gogoi did his primary education at the No.26 Rangajan Nimna Buniyadi Vidyalaya before moving to Jorhat Madrassa School, Bholaguri High School located near Badulipar Tea Estate and finally Jorhat Government High School from where he passed the HSLC Examination. Completing his graduation from Jagannath Barooah College, he did his LLB from Gauhati University, Assam.

With his first stint as member of Parliament starting in 1971, he went on to be elected to the Lok Sabha a total of six times. He also served as the joint secretary of All India congress Committee in 1976 and president of Assam’s Pradesh Congress Committee from 1986-91.

During Narasimha Rao’s tenure (1991-95) as the Prime Minister, Gogoi served in the Union cabinet as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Food and Food Processing Industry.

Gogoi led the Congress to a record three consecutive electoral victories in Assam in 2001, 2006 and 2011, and served as the chief minister of the state for 15 years (2001-2016), thus becoming the longest-serving chief minister of the state.

In 2016 Assembly elections in Assam, though the BJP along with its allies defeated the Congress government, Gogoi managed to win from Titabar Assembly constituency.

In August this year, Gogoi was admitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 and was discharged after recovery. However, he was again rushed to GMCH on November 2 with post-COVID complications and was on non-invasive ventilation (NIV). He was put on invasive ventilation on Saturday night as his condition deteriorated.

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PM Modi inaugurates Multi Storeyed flats for Members of Parliament

17th Lok Sabha has already taken many historical decisions

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Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Multi Storeyed flats for Members of Parliament through video conference, today. These flats are located at Dr B D Marg in New Delhi. Eight old bungalows, which were more than 80 years old, have been redeveloped to construct 76 flats.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said Green Building norms have been incorporated in this Multi Storeyed flats for the Members of Parliament. He hoped that these new flats will keep all the residents and the MPs safe and sound.

He said accommodation for the Members of Parliament has been a long standing problem but it is now solved. He said decades old problems don’t end by avoiding them, but by finding solutions. He listed many such projects in Delhi which were incomplete for many years were taken up by this government and finished before the scheduled time.

He said during the time of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the discussion of Ambedkar National Memorial started, it was built by this government after a long wait of 23 years. He said, the new building of the Central Information Commission, the War Memorial near India Gate and the National Police Memorial were built by this government which were pending for a long time.

The Prime Minister remarked that all the MPs have taken care of both the products and the process in the productivity of Parliament and have attained a new height in this direction. He praised the Lok Sabha Speaker for his stewardship of the house in a productive and procedurally sound way.

He expressed happiness that Parliament proceedings continued even during the pandemic, with new regulations and several precautionary measures. He added that both houses worked even on weekends for ensuring smooth proceedings in the Monsoon Session.

He said as the age of 16-18 years is very important for the youth, we have completed the term of the 16th Lok Sabha with the 2019 election and this period has been historically significant for the progress and development of the country. He added that the term of the 17th Lok Sabha has started in 2019 and the decisions taken during this period in this Lok Sabha already, the Lok Sabha has undertaken some historic decisions.

He expressed confidence that the next (18th) Lok Sabha will also play a very important role in taking the country forward into the new decade.

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