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Development answer to UP’s problems, says Modi; attacks Mulayam, Mayawati

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Allahabad, June 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said development was the panacea for all ills afflicting Uttar Pradesh and appealed to the voters to bring the BJP to power in the state in the 2017 assembly elections.

Setting the stage for Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign in the crucial state, Modi said he will strive to do in five years in Uttar Pradesh what could not be done in the past 50 years.

Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The BJP currently has 71 MPs from the state.

Modi, an MP from Varanasi, said: “We have to move only on development. The work that the previous governments could not do in the past 50 years, I will try to do in five years.”

He said the state was afflicted by nepotism, corruption, communalism and casteism.

“People are being troubled by the poison of communalism. Development is the answer to all the ills,” he said.

Speaking at a well-attended rally on the conclusion of the two-day BJP executive meeting here, the Prime Minister accused the ruling Samajwadi Party and opposition Bahujan Samaj Party of entering into a “contractual arrangement” in Uttar Pradesh.

Both Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati make allegations against each other when in opposition but do not take action when they are in power in the state, the Prime Minister said.

“There is an interesting contract in UP. There is a collusion between Mulayam Singh and Mayawati (about coming to power every five years),” Modi said.

“Till the time this five-five year loot ends, UP will not progress. Please give me a chance to pay back. Give me a chance. If we do anything for personal gains in the next five years, you can kick us out,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said his government had taken several steps to curb corruption and saved leak of Rs 15,000 crore in cooking gas subsidy.

“Uttar Pradesh gets one lakh crore rupees from the government of India. I do not know whether it reaches you,” he said.

He said if BJP returned to power in the state, every penny will be utilised properly.

“We can transform the future of the youth with the available resources also. Hence, I want your blessings.”

Modi also referred to central government’s decision to abolish interviews for Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ posts and said he had urged the state governments to follow suit.

Modi, who drew rapturous applause from the gathering on some of his remarks, said a new ‘yagya’ was starting in Uttar Pradesh which will see the “end of nepotism, casteism and dishonesty”.

Taking potshots at the Akhilesh Yadav government over law and order in the state, Modi said Uttar Pradesh has to be saved from “lawlessness” on the streets.

Modi said of about 18,000 unelectrified villages in the country, 1,529 were in Uttar Pradesh. “Of these, 1,352 have already been electrified (by BJP-led central government),” he said.

The prime minister talked about steps taken by his government for farmers, saying the crop insurance scheme had low premium.

Talking about his government’s achievements in the past two years, he said the speed of road construction had picked up and there had been the highest production of coal, urea and electricity.

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Goa returnees: Oppn demands white paper on state’s preparedness

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Vijai Sardesai

Panaji, May 26 : The opposition in Goa on Tuesday demanded a white paper on the preparedness of the state machinery to handle an expected influx of large number of stuck non-resident Goans and others into the coastal state.

A memorandum submitted to Chief Secretary Parimal Rai by a delegation of opposition MLAs led by former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai demanded a customised SOP for Goa to allow stranded natives to be given priority to return as well as free quarantine facilities for seafarer, who have already returned or are expected to come back in the coming weeks.

“In the white paper we have demanded to know the state’s preparedness to handle stranded persons who are expected to return to Goa. It should detail the critical health infrastructure got ready in the state, including availability of ventilators and PPE, ICU facilities etc,” Sardesai, an MLA of the Goa Forward Party, told reporters at the state Secretariat.

Sardesai said that it was unfair that seafarers and other Goans expected to return were expected to stay in paid quarantine facilities, while persons not of Goan origins and allowed access to the coastal state were allowed to stay in home quarantine.

“The government claims this is as per the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines. We have demanded that the state government formulate an SOP specific to Goa,” Sardesai said.

“There should be no discrimination. Currently, Goan seafarers have to compulsorily stay in paid quarantine facilities according to the standard SOP, while non-Goans visiting Goa are being given the option of home quarantine. This is unfair,” Sardesai said.

Goa currently has 48 active coronavirus cases.

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Biden emerges from quarantine on Memorial Day

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Biden told reporters, adding: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”

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Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, May 26 : Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden has made his first public appearance at a Memorial Day event after more than two months in quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the media reported on Tuesday.

Wearing a black face mask, the former Vice President accompanied by his wife Jill, on Monday presented a wreath of white roses at Delaware’s War Memorial Plaza, before observing a moment of silence to commemorate the military personnel who fought in World War Two and the Korean War, reports the BBC.

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Biden told reporters, adding: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”

Biden last made a public appearance about 10 weeks ago.

Shortly before defeating his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in primary elections in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, the presidential nominee was forced to self-isolate because of the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony as part of Memorial Day commemorations on Monday.

The President visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and then the historic Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

Trump, who has been reluctant to wear a face mask but said recently he would do so “where it’s appropriate”, appeared without any face coverings at both events on Monday.

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Court mulls moving Netanyahu’s trial to new location

Netanyahu, who denies wrongdoing, faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in all the cases, as well as bribery in one of them.

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Netanyahu Israel

Jerusalem, May 26 : Officials were considering moving the corruption trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the Jerusalem District Court to a different location due to the turmoil caused by having to secure the site for the premier, it was reported.

Netanyahu was required to attend the opening hearing of his trial on Sunday, which involved a major security operation and the closure of roads in the area around the courthouse.

The court was not able hear any other cases at the time, The Times of Israel reported on Monday citing the Hebrew language Channel 12 as saying.

In a meeting on Monday, the court officials reviewed the events of the previous day and in the coming weeks the administration, together with Jerusalem District Court President Aharon Farkash and the three judges presiding over the trial, will decided whether to relocate for the rest of the proceedings, the Channel 12 report said.

Netanyahu on Sunday became the first serving Israeli premier to stand trial.

The Prime Minister, who was sworn back into office as head of a rare national unity government last week, will be allowed to skip the next hearing, which will take place on July 19, with the judges saying he would not have to return to court until the evidence stage, said The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu, who denies wrongdoing, faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in all the cases, as well as bribery in one of them.

Before entering the courtroom on Sunday, he told the media that the cases against him were fabricated and part of an attempted “political coup” to oust him from power.

According to Israeli law, a Prime Minister charged with a crime is not required to resign.

Even if he is convicted, Netanyahu will not be required to resign unless and until any appeals are exhausted, reports the BBC.

Under the unity government deal with former political rival Benny Gantz, a new role of “alternate prime minister” was created, which means when the two men switch positions in 18 months’ time.

Netanyahu will still occupy a prime ministerial office and stay on as Gantz’s deputy.

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