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Priyanka wows crowds in Lucknow along with Rahul, Scindia

“Aa gayi badlaav ki aandhi, Rahul sung Priyanka Gandhi” (The storm is coming, Rahul along with Priyanka Gandhi), was a favourite slogan among the supporters, many of whom wore caps and T-shirts with Priyanka’s picture embossed on them.

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Lucknow, Feb 11 : Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was cheered by thousands as she rode in an open truck here on Monday along with her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on her first visit to Uttar Pradesh after becoming the Congress General Secretary East UP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Security personnel had a tough time holding back enthusiastic crowds as the convoy, which included other party leaders including state unit President Raj Babbar and General Secretary West Uttar Pradesh Jyotiraditya Scindia, wound its way amid full-throated slogans hailing Priyanka Gandhi and lampooning Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At one point at Burlington crossing, Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Scindia and the other leaders had to lower their heads and eventually dismount from the truck to escape dangerously low hanging electric wires. They shifted to a car before returning to the truck.

“Aa gayi badlaav ki aandhi, Rahul sung Priyanka Gandhi” (The storm is coming, Rahul along with Priyanka Gandhi), was a favourite slogan among the supporters, many of whom wore caps and T-shirts with Priyanka’s picture embossed on them.

Many hurled flower garlands at Priyanka Gandhi, who, constantly waving at the crowds, occasionally threw back the flowers to the crowds. Hundreds of activists carried the Congress party flags.

The winding route from the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to the Congress office at Mall Avenue, almost 25 km long, was replete with hoardings and banners. Posters of Priyanka, a few comparing her with Hindu goddess Durga, were plastered everywhere.

The Congress office had been painted afresh and decorated with hundreds of kilos of marigold and other flowers.

On Monday, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra, now embroiled in investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, urged people to ensure her safety.

Priyanka Gandhi, who opened her Twitter account on Monday, said a day earlier that she wanted to “build a new future, new politics”.

“I have hope that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders. Come, let’s build a new future, new politics with me.”

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Cloudy, foggy Saturday morning in Delhi

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delhi fog
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New Delhi, Feb 16: Delhiites on Saturday witnessed a cloudy and foggy morning with the minimum temperature recorded at 13 degrees Celsius, two notch above the season’s average.

“The sky will remain partly cloudy throughout the day,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 19 degrees Celsius. The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 93 per cent while visibility was at 600 metres.

The Indian Railways said as many as 13 Delhi-bound trains were delayed due to fog and low visibility in several parts of northern India.

The overall air quality of the city remained in the ‘poor’ category with the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 225 as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting.

On Friday, the maximum temperature settled two notches below the average at 22 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was recorded at 11.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average.

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Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express

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Train 18

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off the indigenous Train 18, renamed Vande Bharat Express, from the New Delhi railway station to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in the backdrop of the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir which killed 45 troopers.

A sombre Modi told a gathering at the station that he was “grateful to designers and engineers behind Vande Bharat Express” which set off at 11.20 a.m.

The train will clock 160 km per hour — the fastest on the Indian rail network.

The Prime Minister said with “our sincerity and hard work in the last four and half years, we have tried to improve the railways”.

Earlier, Modi inspected the coaches and the engine cabin of the Vande Bharat Express along with senior railway officials.

The flagging off was delayed by over 80 minutes as Modi presided over a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi and members of the Railway Board were on board the train on its inaugural journey.

Bookings on the Vande Bharat Express opened on Friday. All the seats of were booked within four hours.

The train, which will start replacing Shatabdi Express trains, will run between Delhi and Varanasi.

The train has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.

The gleaming blue-nosed train comes fitted with world class amenities on board like high-speed on-board WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that automatically adjusts the temperature.

The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments with 52 seats each and trailer coaches with 78 seats each.

The executive class will have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.

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Manjhi dares Modi to bring 420 chopped heads of terrorists

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Jitan Ram Manjhi

Patna, Feb 15 (IANS) Former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring 420 chopped heads of terrorists to silent the boiling anger of Indians.

“Until the government led by Modi bring 420 chopped heads of terrorists, the boiling anger of people will not be silent,” he told the media here, reacting to Thursday’s terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir which left 45 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel dead and 38 injured.

Demanding why the government did not take any action, Manjhi said: “A country is not run merely by ‘jumlebazi’, the government has to do something concrete on the ground.”

He further said that the Modi government has so far failed to curb terror activities and this was reflected in what happened in Pulwama.

Manjhi said he shared the pain and grief of the families of those martyred.

Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav said that before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party had claimed to bring 10 chopped heads in revenge of one Indian killed but after winning, Modi went to Pakistan to eat biryani.

Yadav said he and his party – the Rashtriya Janata Dal – are with the families of the martyred CRPF personnel.

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