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Neutrality of CAPFs should not be compromised

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MP Nathanael
Former IG, CRPF
THE death of four young men at a polling booth in Sitalkuchi area of Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of polling in West Bengal on April 10 has led to allegations that the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were responsible for the incident. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of using the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) that comprise the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the CISF to intimidate the voters to vote for the candidates of a particular party.

Bengal polls: BJP moves Election Commission against Mamata Banerjee's statement on Sitalkuchi incident

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BJP moves ECI against Mamata Banerjee's statement on Sitalkuchi incident
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has approached the Election Commission of India stating that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee violated the Model Code of Conduct with a statement on Sitalkuchi incident during a rally. The party alleged that Banerjee's statement amounts to incite mutiny in the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) deployed in the state. The party demanded action against her by the Election Commission.
The BJP claimed that at a public meeting in Nadia district, the CM appealed to the CAPF personnel "not to shoot on the orders of the BJP. They are today but will not remain tomorrow."

COVID-19: 'Tout' demands Rs 60,000 for hospital bed in MP as state's situation worsens

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COVID-19: 'Tout' demands Rs 60,000 for hospital bed in MP as state's situation worsens
In the audio clip, a voice can be heard asking an unidentified member of the patient's family to pay Rs 60,000 for securing a bed in the hospital of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College.
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By PTI
INDORE: An audio clip of a suspected tout demanding Rs 60,000 from family members of a COVID-19 patient for securing a bed in the state-run Super Speciality Hospital here in Madhya Pradesh has gone viral, prompting the management to seek a probe by the police.
In the audio clip, a voice can be heard asking an unidentified member of the patient's family to pay Rs 60,000 for securing a bed in the hospital of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College.

CEC, EC test positive for COVID-19, working from home

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Updated:
April 20, 2021 10:34 IST
The development comes at a time when the ECI is short of one Election Commissioner and while the West Bengal Assembly elections are ongoing.
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Sushil Chandra assumes charge as Chief Election Commissioner, in New Delhi on April 13, 2021.   | Photo Credit:
ANI
The development comes at a time when the ECI is short of one Election Commissioner and while the West Bengal Assembly elections are ongoing.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner (EC) Rajiv Kumar have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been working from home, according to Election Commission of India (ECI) officials.

2 top officials of India's election commission test COVID-19 positive


2 top officials of India’s election commission test COVID-19 positive
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Two top officials of the Election Commission of India (ECI), chief election commissioner, Sushil Chandra and election commissioner Rajiv Kumar have tested COVID-19 positive, officials said Tuesday.
“Chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra and election commissioner Rajiv Kumar have tested positive for COVID-19 and were working from home,’’ an ECI official said.
The development comes at a time when the ECI is short of one commissioner.
Chandra was elevated from the election commissioner rank to the top position of the poll panel following the retirement of former chief election commissioner Sunil Arora on April 13.

Tirupati bypoll most dubious, undemocratic in AP: TDP

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Tirupati bypoll most dubious, undemocratic in AP: TDP
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Tirupati bypoll most dubious, undemocratic in AP: TDP. Image Source: IANS News
Tirupati/New Delhi, April 20 : In a 22-page letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the recently held Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll will go down in the history of Andhra Pradesh elections as 'most dubious and undemocratic'.
"The by-election to Tirupati Parliamentary constituency held on April 17 would go down in the history of elections in AP as the most dubious and undemocratic election held," wrote Naidu on Monday.

BJD won't hold rallies, meets in poll-bound Pipili: Naveen | Bhubaneswar News


Chief minister Naveen Patnaik addresses a rally through video-conference in Pipili before Cong candidate’s death upended plans
BHUBANESWAR: Chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that his party will not hold any rally for the Pipili byelection, which has been rescheduled to May 13, following the death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj to avoid putting people’s life at risk of Covid-19
Day after Rahul Gandhi suspended his rallies in West Bengal owing to the pandemic and Trinamool Congress announced that CM Mamata Banerjee won’t hold more rallies in Kolkata, Naveen tweeted, “Every life is precious and I always consider people of #Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious #COVID19 situation amidst surge in cases in the country, @bjd_odisha has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings in Pipili bypoll.”

TMC urges Bengal CEO to club last three phases of polls amid Covid crisis


The TMC, which had been seeking
a merger of the last three phases of assembly elections, shot off a letter to Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab on Tuesday, urging him to consider the party's request amid the steep hike in COVID-19 cases.
Chief Minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee, during her rallies on Monday, had also implored the Election Commission to re-think its decision to stick to the original poll schedule.
The letter, undersigned by TMC leaders Derek O Brien, Sukendu Sekhar Roy, Pratima Mondol, and Purnendu Bose, highlighted the High Court order that directed the CEO to take urgent measures to avert a "deadly disaster that is staring at our faces" and said that "no prejudice would be caused if the three phases are clubbed into one".

Top news of the day — April 20, 2021

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Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the United States public health body has asked its citizens to avoid all travel to India. Issuing a Level 4 advisory, which is the highest available, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said: "Because of the current situation in India, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to India."
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) on Monday told schools that the ICSE Class 10 examinations had been cancelled due to the rising COVID-19 cases.
The Supreme Court Tuesday granted interim stay on the Allahabad High Court order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions till April 26 in five cities amid surge in COVID-19 cases. “There shall be an interim stay on the order of the high court,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said while hearing the state government's plea against the order passed on Monday.

Tirupati bypoll: HC accepts BJP's petition for repoll

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court has accepted a petition filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking a repoll for the Tirupati (SC) Lok Sabha constituency, the elections for which were held on April 17.
The petitioner K. Ratna Prabha, who was the party’s candidate for the byelection, wanted the election be countermanded in view of ‘fraudulent polling’ and ‘booth capturing’.
In the petition, she wanted the respondent, represented by the Centre, the State and the Election Commission of India, to conduct repolling. Despite overwhelming proof of illegal activities and fake votes, it is shocking that the respondents did not take any steps to curb the illegal activities and chose to remain silent on the petitioner’s representations, Ms. Ratna Prabha observed in her petition.

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021: Rahul Gandhi calls off rallies over Covid rise

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Rahul Gandhi on Sunday suspended his election campaign in Bengal a few days after Congress president Sonia Gandhi wondered if political rallies should be cancelled in the wake of the menacing rise in Covid-19 infections.
Late on Sunday night, the Trinamul Congress said chief minister Mamata Banerjee would restrict her campaign in Calcutta to one day on April 26.
“Mamata Banerjee will not campaign in Kolkata anymore. Only one ‘symbolic’ meeting on the last day of campaigning in the city on April 26. Slashes time for all her election rallies in all districts. Restricted to just 30 minutes,” Trinamul leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien tweeted on Sunday night.

West Bengal Assembly elections 2021: Dirty politics of demonising one group at play, says Sikh leader

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The attempt to demonise one community to secure the votes of another is dirty politics, the head of the highest temporal body of Sikhs said in Calcutta on Sunday.
Giani Harpreet Singh, the jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar, also said Bengal elections would decide the future course of India’s politics.
“The hate-filled campaign against one particular community to polarise the votes of another community is dirty politics, something that should be avoided…. It is a loss for the country and humanity,” Singh told
The Telegraph on the sidelines of a Gurmat Samagam (religious gathering) at Gurdwara Behala.
Without naming any political party, Singh said the Bengal elections would decide the future politics of India. “In the land I come from, all eyes are on Bengal. The election of Bengal will decide the political future of India. It will decide if federalism crumbles or continues to thrive in India,” he said.

West Bengal elections 2021: BJP plans to wrap up 4 rallies of PM in a day before next phase

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›West Bengal elections 2021: BJP plans to wrap up 4 rallies of PM in a day before next phase
West Bengal elections 2021: BJP plans to wrap up 4 rallies of PM in a day before next phase
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West Bengal elections 2021: BJP plans to wrap up 4 rallies of PM in a day before next phaseBy
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The party has also made changes in Modi’s upcoming rally programme. Earlier, the prime minister was to visit on April 21 and April 24 to address two rallies on each day.
Agencies
The party has also made changes in Modi’s upcoming rally programme. Earlier, the prime minister was to visit on April 21 and April 24 to address two rallies on each day.

In the Footsteps of Rahul Gandhi: India's Bengal State Chief Ditches Campaigning Amid COVID Surge

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Supreme Court Dismisses Trinamool Congress Leader's Plea For 100% VVPAT Verification

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Supreme Court Dismisses Trinamool Congress Leader's Plea For 100% VVPAT Verification
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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by Trinamool Congress Leader Gopal Seth seeking 100% verification of votes with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in Electronic Voting Machines.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that the Court did not want to interfere in the middle of the election process.
Seth approached the Supreme Court challenging the refusal of the Calcutta High Court to entertain his plea.
Advocate Pjiush Roy, appearing for Seth, argued before the bench that "free and fair election was a right of the people".

Odisha bypolls | BJD not to hold public rallies, announces Naveen Patnaik

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Odisha bypolls | BJD not to hold public rallies, announces Naveen Patnaik
Updated:
Updated:
April 19, 2021 17:37 IST
The Pipili bypoll which was scheduled to be held on April 17, was postponed following death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj in COVID-19
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Naveen Patnaik. File photo
 
The Pipili bypoll which was scheduled to be held on April 17, was postponed following death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj in COVID-19
A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suspended all his rallies in West Bengal, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that his party would not hold any public rallies or campaign meetings for the ensuing Pipili bypoll.

Covid surge: BJD will not hold public rallies in Odisha's Pipili Assembly by-poll

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Covid surge: BJD will not hold public rallies in Odisha's Pipili Assembly by-poll
ANI |
Updated: Apr 19, 2021 17:39 IST
New Delhi [India], April 19 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik on Monday informed that the party has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings in the by-election of Pipili Assembly constituency on May 13.
Taking to Twitter, Patnaik said, "Every life is precious and I always consider people of Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious COVID-19 situation amidst a surge in cases in the country, BJD Odisha has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings in Pipili by-poll."

HC issues notices to Centre, MP govt on COVID-19 petition

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HC issues notices to Centre, MP govt on COVID-19 petition
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Last Updated: Apr 19, 2021, 06:38 PM IST
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Shortage of medical oxygen and medicines, black marketing of anti-viral drug Remdesivir, insufficient infrastructure in hospitals, dead bodies waiting for their turn for hours for last rites in crematoriums in Jabalpur and other parts of Madhya Pradesh are some of the points that PC Paliwal, a lawyer and one of the petitioners, sought to draw the high court's attention.
PTI
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday issued notices to the Union and MP governments on a petition seeking direction to "prosecute and punish" the persons responsible for the coronavirus spread in the central Indian state.

TMC, BJP blame game over spiralling Covid-19 cases - The Hindu BusinessLine

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TMC, BJP blame game over spiralling Covid-19 cases
April 19, 2021
Mamata Banerjee   -  PTI×
Mamata reiterates her demand on clubbing phases 6,7 and 8 into one or two phases
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition, BJP were embroiled in a war-of-words blaming each other even as Covid-19 cases spiralled in the State.
Active cases in West Bengal, as on April 18 was touching the 50,000-mark with 18 out of every 100 samples testing positive.
The West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, has ruled out the immediate possibility of a lockdown; while blaming the massive rallies being organised by the BJP and a long-drawn eight-phase elections with entry of outsiders in the State as a reason for spurt in infections.

BJD won't hold rallies in bypoll-bound Pipili: Naveen Patnaik | Bhubaneswar News


BHUBANESWAR: Chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that his party will not hold any rally for the Pipili byelection, which has been rescheduled to May 13, following the death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj to avoid putting people’s life at risk of Covid-19.
Day after Rahul Gandhi suspended his rallies in West Bengal owing to the pandemic and Trinamool Congress announced that CM Mamata Banerjee won’t hold more rallies in Kolkata, Naveen tweeted, “Every life is precious and I always consider people of #Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious #COVID19 situation amidst surge in cases in the country, @bjd_odisha has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings in Pipili bypoll.”

Bogus voting: Atchannaidu challenges YSRCP leaders to take oath in Tirumala

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‘Thousands of persons were brought from neighbouring districts to cast bogus votes in Tirupati bypoll’
TDP State president and former Minister K. Atchannaidu has challenged the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) leadership to take an oath at the temple of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala that the YSRCP has not indulged in bogus voting in the Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll and the TDP will accept defeat.
Addressing a media conference here on Monday, he sought that the DGP, Nellore Collector and Returning Officer, Peddireddy Ramchanadra Reddy, Chevireddy Bhaskara Reddy and the Chief Minister should take an oath in Tirumala on the issue. He recalled that at the time of election notification, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had claimed that the YSRCP candidate would win with over 5 lakh majority. After the TDP leaders started campaigning in Tirupati, the party gained tremendous support.

Battleground Bengal: Why Mamata Banerjee's Warning To Central Forces On Poll Duty Has Sinister Implications And Needs To Be Called Out

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Battleground Bengal: Why Mamata Banerjee’s Warning To Central Forces On Poll Duty Has Sinister Implications And Needs To Be Called Out
by Jaideep Mazumdar - Apr 19, 2021 01:57 PM
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee
Snapshot
The EC should also assure the CAPF personnel deployed on poll duty in Bengal that they would be provided immunity from any cases and action by Bengal police.
Otherwise, the purpose of deploying CAPF personnel to ensure free and fair polls in Bengal will be defeated.
Ever since the start of the campaign for the ongoing Assembly polls in Bengal, Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee has been relentlessly targeting the Election Commission (EC) and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) deployed on poll duty in the state.

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