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Top takeaways from Gujarat civic polls as BJP registers impressive win, AAP beats Congress in Surat | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The BJP registered an impressive victory in the Gujarat municipal elections, counting for which is still underway. It is a relief for the ruling party before the 2022 assembly elections. In all, the party the state has so far won 449 of the total 576 seats, Congress 44, AAP 19, BSP 3 and one independent candidate in state civic polls.
The performance of the Congress, which had improved its tally in the 2017 state polls, has deteriorated. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP not just opened its account in Surat but also emerged as the second-largest party in the city.
These are the highlights of the municipal election results:
Pro-incumbency for BJP
The results are a major shot in the arm for the BJP and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani as they come about 20 months before the state assembly elections. The outcome proves there is a pro-incumbency mood for the Vijay Rupani government.
It should be a pleasant development for the BJP as the party’s performance had slumped in the 2017 assembly elections as compared to the 2012 polls. In 2012, the BJP had won 115 seats in the 182-member assembly. However, the tally declined to 99 in the 2017 elections.
The municipal election results should bring cheers for the BJP which has won six consecutive assembly elections since 1995.
The municipal election results should bring cheers for the BJP which has won six consecutive assembly elections since 1995.
No impact of farmers’ protest
The municipal election results in Gujarat could be compared with those in the recently-held polls in Punjab. Led by chief minister Amarinder Singh, the Congress registered a resounding victory in Punjab by winning six municipal corporations (Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda, Batala, Kapurthala and Abohar) and emerging as the single largest party in Moga.
Amarinder Singh got the advantage of pro-incumbency mood of the voters and the ongoing farmers’ protest against the three central farm laws. The majority of the agitating farmers are from Punjab.
Singh’s Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani too got the benefit of pro-incumbency mood. However, it is clear that unlike Punjab, there is no impact of the farmers’ agitation in Gujarat.
Setback for Congress
If the Gujarat municipal election results are a boost for the BJP, conversely they are a major dampener for the principal rival Congress.
Led by Rahul Gandhi, who was declared the Congress president in the midst of the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, the party emerged as a principal challenger of the ruling BJP.
The Congress’s tally rose from 61 in 2012 to 77 in 2017. The party’s vote share also jumped from 38.95 per cent in 2012 to 41.4 per cent in 2017, an increase of 2.45 per cent.
The Congress’s position seems to have deteriorated and it would have to cover a lot of ground in the next assembly polls.
Emergence of AAP in Surat
As per the results announced so far, the BJP has won 126 out of 145 seats in Ahmedabad, 68 out of 72 seats in Rajkot, 50 out of 64 seats in Jamnagar, 44 out of 52 seats in Bhavnagar, 65 out of 72 seats in Vadodara and 92 out of 111 seats in Surat.
The Congress has won 14 seats in Ahmedabad, 4 in Rajkot, 11 in Jamnagar, 8 in Bhavnagar and 7 in Vadodara. By bagging 19 seats in Surat so far, AAP has emerged as the second largest party and is ahead of Congress.
Buoyed over the results in Surat, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal has decided to visit Gujarat and hold a roadshow in Surat on February 26.
AAP has become the BJP’s main challenger in Surat. It may try to expand its base in other parts of Gujarat for the next assembly elections.
The results in Surat are a reflection of the 2020 Delhi assembly results. Surat, like Delhi, has migrant labourers in plenty due to the diamond-cutting and polishing industries. They seem to have supported Kejriwal in Surat as well.
Secondly, the migrant labourers had suffered the most during the lockdown period from March 25 last year in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. They apparently have voted against the BJP in Gujarat municipal elections.



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Centre asks 5 states to expedite Covid vaccination of healthcare workers | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry on Tuesday asked Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh to expedite the vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers so as to confer immunity in the shortest possible time-frame in the wake of a rising trend of Covid-19 cases and positively rate in some districts.
In a letter to the Maharashtra government, additional secretary in the health ministry Manohar Agnani said a rising trend of Covid-19 cases and the positivity rate has been observed in six districts — Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai and Suburban, Amravati, Thane and Akola — over the past few days.
Similarly, in a letter to the Madhya Pradesh government, he said a surge in the number of cases and the positivity rate has been observed in three districts — Indore, Bhopal and Betul.
In Punjab, Agnani said an increase in the number of cases and the positivity rate has been observed in three districts — SBS Nagar, Kapurthala and Sri Muktsar Sahib — while the same has been witnessed in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir and Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh.
“Hence, it is advised that the vaccination of HCWs and FLWs in these districts is expedited so as to confer immunity in the shortest possible time-frame, as they are also involved in containment, surveillance and management of Covid-19 cases.
“You are requested to kindly direct the district officials concerned to immediately undertake measures for the maximum coverage of HCWs and FLWs with the Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest,” the letter stated.



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India reminds rich nations of their unfulfilled climate action promises, urges countries to integrate low-carbon development in their Covid-19 recovery measures | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Reminding the rich nations of their unfulfilled promises, India on Tuesday said the idea of climate action should not be to move the climate ambition goalpost to 2050 and it’s important for developed countries to fulfil their pre-2020 commitments and extend support to developing ones.
“Climate action needs to go hand-in-hand with the framework for financial, technical and capacity-building support to countries that need it,” said environment minister Prakash Javadekar while addressing open debate on climate-related risk to international peace and security through video-conference at the UN Security Council.
Javadekar emphasized that while the commitment by developed countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action in developing countries has been central to the climate accords since 2009, the delivery on this commitment has been elusive.
He also urged all countries to integrate “low-carbon development in their Covid-19 rescue and recovery measures and long-term mitigation strategies” that are scheduled to be announced by them at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, the UK in November.
Javadekar’s remarks assume significance in view of growing demand by the global community to bring India on board for announcing its net-zero (carbon neutrality) goal at a time when the biggest current polluter China and the third-largest emitter European Union have already committed to it. The biggest historical polluter and second-largest current emitter, the US, has, however, not yet joined the net-zero league.
The minister in his speech emphasized the roles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement negotiated under the Framework for addressing the issues of climate and said it was important to ensure that no parallel tracks for climate negotiations were created brushing aside the fundamentally agreed principle while discussing the issue of securitization of climate.
He noted that of the 16 countries that had submitted their updated climate action plans – called nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – to the UNFCCC secretariat by October 2020, none have framed climate change as a risk to peace and stability.
Underlining India’s track record, the minister told the participants including UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK prime minister Boris Johnson and the US special presidential climate envoy John Kerry that India is the only country on track among the G20 nations to meet its climate change mitigation commitments.
“We are not only meeting our Paris Agreement targets but will also exceed them. India currently has the fastest-growing solar energy programme in the world. We have expanded access to clean cooking fuel to over 80 million households. This is among the largest clean energy drives globally,” he said.
The minister also listed other actions which India has already been working on. It includes the country’s recent commitments of installing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030, elimination of single-use plastic, 100% railway electrification, and creation of an additional carbon sink by restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land.
Javadekar in his speech also brought into focus the gender dimensions while referring to impacts of climate change and its associated security risks.
“Women and girls experience the interplay between climate change and peace and security in direct and profound ways… As the primary caregivers, women are often living on the frontlines of climate change and have distinct knowledge and experience to contribute to building effective adaptation strategies,” he said while noting that there is an urgent need to promote and support the meaningful participation of women and marginalized groups in national-level climate change policy and planning processes.



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Surge in Maharashtra & Kerala not linked to new strains, says ICMR DG | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Even as some states witness a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases, the scientific evidence so far do not suggest any link between mutant variants of coronavirus detected in the country and the rise in cases, government officials said.
India has detected two new variants of the virus– N440 K and E484Q – in Maharashtra and Kerala and these are being monitored and studied closely. “There is no direct relation between the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and some other states with the mutant virus strains N440K and E484Q of COVID-19,” Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Dr Balram Bhargava said.
India has so far sequenced a total of 3,500 variants of coronavirus and 187 individuals were detected with the UK strain, six with the South African strain and one had Brazilian strain of the virus.
“We would like to underline the fact that we do not see attribution of mutant strains to the upsurge of the infection being seen in some districts. But this is a work in progress. We will continue to watch the situation with full responsibility,” Niti Aayog member health Dr V K Paul said.
The government said the mutants were being tracked through genome sequencing and advised strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour as majority of the population, particularly in smaller cities and districts, remains vulnerable.
Bhargava said two new virus strains have been detected in other countries too and are not specific to India. Moreover, they have been found earlier in some states in India as well. The E484Q strain was earlier detected in four sequences in Maharashtra in as early as March and July 2020. The N440K mutation has been reported on 13 different occasions between May and September 2020 in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
“The current upsurge in Maharashtra cannot be attributed to the currently discussed point mutations,” Bhargava added.
The comments come in the wake of concerns that the spike in Maharashtra and some other states could be because of new strains of coronavirus seen to be harder to control with higher transmissibility.
The two new variants are apart from the three different mutant strains already detected in India including those from the UK, Brazil and South African.
“The behaviour of mutations is being constantly and closely watched in the country and when we are doing sequencing, we are not just looking for these strains, but also looking for any abnormal shift in the virus character. We have been watching the mutants,” Dr Paul said.
Meanwhile, the Centre has also deputed specialized teams to states including Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and J&K to assess the reason for increasing daily new cases. The Central teams have also been advised to suggest measures to state government in order to control the spread in these states.
Currently, Maharashtra and Kerala account for 75% of the country’s total acive caseload of 1.47 lakh.



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Farmers observe ‘Pagdi Sambhal Divas’ to protest farm laws: 10 key developments | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Further intensifying their agitation, the farmers on Tuesday observed ‘Pagdi Sambhal Divas’ at the Delhi borders in protest against the three central farm laws. The event, organised by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), was inspired by the ‘Pagdi Sambhal Lehar’ of 1906.
Here are the key developments of the day:
1. Donning traditional turbans and singing songs of the peasant movement, protesting farmers marked day-long ‘Pagdi Sambhal Divas’. “At that time also, the government had passed three anti-farmer laws against which the peasant movement started and it was successful. The unity of the farmers proves that this movement will also be successful,” an SKM statement said, referring to ‘Pagdi Sambhal Lehar of 1906. Once turban used to be pride of the farmer, but the government has forced farmers to use turban for hanging, farmer leaders said, adding that the day was observed to “express their self-respect”, he said.
At the Singhu border, cultural programmes were held, which were attended by the family members of the revolutionary Bhagat Singh, including his nephew Abhay Sandhu. At Tikri border, several farmers, largely from Karnataka and Telangana, arrived to join the movement. “The government repeatedly rejects this movement by calling it a movement of a particular area, rather this movement belongs to the farmers across the country,” the SKM statement said. ‘Pagdi Sambhal Divas’ was also observed in Nandurbar in Maharashtra, and Bhiwani in Haryana.
2. Social activist Yogendra Yadav said if ‘mandis’ are closed due to the centre’s new agri-marketing laws the farmers of Punjab and Haryana will be ruined as the government would no longer procure their crops. Addressing a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ organised by United Kisan Morcha in Rajasthan’s Sikar district in support of the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the farm laws, Yadav exuded confidence that these legislation will be repealed. Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait and former MLA Amra Ram also attended the ‘mahapanchayat’. Yadav said the government will not procure farmers’ crops if ‘mandis’ are closed due to the three agri laws enacted by the centre. If that happens, the farmers of Punjab and Haryana will be devastated. He said 450 farmer organisations have come together against the farm laws.
3. Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha called for replicating the success stories of innovative and progressive farmers from across the country in the union territory through transmission of ideas and knowledge sharing. The LG termed the innovative farmers as key change-makers in agricultural development and a motivating force for the whole farming community. He urged them to disseminate their technical know-how for further emulation by farmers to multiply their income. Sinha said the success stories of innovative and progressive farmers from across the country should be replicated in J&K through transmission of ideas and knowledge sharing for transforming agriculture and allied sectors as well as for realising the goal of doubling farmers’ income. He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a two-day-long innovative farmers’ conference on ‘farmers-led innovations for enhancing farm Income’ at SKUAST Jammu, organised to harness first-hand experiences of innovative farmers.
4. Refuting opposition charge that abolition of Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act has worked against farmers of Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar said in fact the farm reforms have benefitted the cultivators which could be understood from the fact that the state has made highest ever 35.59 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of paddy procurement in the current season. Replying to a debate on the motion of thanks on the Governor’s address to the joint session of the state legislature on Friday, the chief minister said the state government made elaborate arrangements for paddy purchase and even extended the duration of the procurement from the farmers and asserted that no farmer is left from whom paddy has to be procured now. Bihar had done away with the APMC Act way back in 2006 and also ended the mandi system. Kumar has supported the centre’s three new farm laws having similar contents. Dismissing the opposition charge that the over one-and-a-half decade back agriculture reforms in Bihar have worked against the farmers who have been forced to sell their grain at a much lower price than the MSP, Kumar reeled out figures to count the virtues of the farm legislations for the state. Kumar said categorically that the government will make no more paddy procurement in the current season as traders/ middlemen who had bought the grain from the cultivators before the procurement process were trying to sell it in the name of farmers and this would not be allowed at any cost.
5. Five farmers from each Uttar Pradesh village will fast for eight hours daily and send messages to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking withdrawal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee for MSP, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (RKMS) president VM Singh said. The RKMS had withdrawn its support from the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three contentious central laws following the violence in Delhi on Republic Day. It joined 21 other farmer outfits on Sunday to form the Uttar Pradesh Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (UPKMM). “Five farmers from each village in Uttar Pradesh will observe a fast from 9 am to 5 pm. At 3 pm, these farmers will record two-minute messages, introducing themselves to Prime Minister Modi and sharing their grievances on the new farm laws, which will be uploaded on our website,” Singh said at a press conference here. “This will continue till the time farmers from each and every village get the decided MSP for their wheat crop,” he added. Majority of farmers in the country are small and marginal, and they cannot afford to come to Delhi to join the protest, but with this method, they can stay in their villages, tend to their animals and also take part in the agitation, VM Singh said. There are 65,000 panchayats in Uttar Pradesh, and even if 20,000 villages from among them take part in the movement, one lakh messages would be sent to the prime minister every day, the farmer leader claimed.
6. The Supreme Court-appointed panel on three new farm laws held consultations with representatives of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC) to take their views on the legislations that were enacted in September last year. The Supreme Court had on January 12 stayed the implementation of the three contentious farm laws for two months and asked the committee to submit a report after consulting the stakeholders. Thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s borders for nearly three months now seeking repeal of the new legislations and a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) system. “The Supreme Court appointed Committee on recently enacted Farm Acts held its interaction from NASC complex, Pusa, New Delhi today with the office bearers of All lndia Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC),” the panel said in a statement. The committee members requested the participating office bearers of AIKCC to give their detailed views on the three laws – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. “All the participating office bearers of All lndia Kisan Coordination Committee gave their detailed views, suggestions and submissions on the above mentioned three Farm Acts, before the committee,” the statement said. The three-member committee is holding consultations with stakeholders both online and in person. Ashok Gulati, Pramod Joshi and Anil Ghanwat are the members of the panel.
7. In a blow to the Delhi police, a court in the national capital granted bail to climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested in connection with allegedly being involved in sharing a “toolkit” on social media related to the farmers” protest, terming evidence produced by police as “scanty and sketchy”. The court said there is nothing on record to establish any direct link between Ravi and pro-Khalistan activists of ‘Poetic Justice Foundation’ (PJF) and also there is not even an iota of evidence connecting the perpetrators of the violence on January 26 with the PJF or her. Further, it observed that there is nothing on record to suggest that the activist subscribed to any secessionist idea and there is absolutely no link established on record between her and banned outfit ‘Sikhs For Justice’. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana, who granted relief to Ravi on a personal bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties of like amount, noted that the accused had “absolutely no criminal antecedents”. “Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence available on record, I do not find any palpable reasons to breach the general rule of ‘ Bail’ against a 22 years old young lady, with absolutely blemish free criminal antecedents and having firm roots in the society, and send her to jail,” the judge said.
8. Farmers blocked the Jammu-Pathankot highway in Jammu for several hours in protest against the arrest of their leader and another man in connection with the Republic Day violence in Delhi, officials said. The protesters, mostly Sikhs including the family members of the arrested men, blocked the highway near Digiana Ashram, alleging that the two are being falsely implicated in the case as they are leading the ongoing farmers’ agitation in Jammu and Kashmir. However, they dispersed after senior civil and police officers led by an additional deputy commissioner visited them and sought some time, the officials said. Jammu and Kashmir United Kisan Front Chairman Mohinder Singh (45), a resident of Chatha area of Jammu city, and Mandeep Singh (23), a resident of Gole Gujral, Jammu, were arrested by Delhi Police on Monday night. The Delhi Police said they were “active participants” and “key conspirators” in the violence at the historic Red Fort during the farmers’ tractor parade on January 26. However, the protestors said they were “singled out and implicated” in the case because they worked for the welfare of farmers in Jammu and Kashmir.
9. A Delhi court sent actor-activist Deep Sidhu to judicial custody for 14 days in connection with the Red Fort violence on Republic Day during farmers’ tractor parade against the centre’s three new farm laws. Sidhu was produced before metropolitan magistrate Samarjeet Kaur on the expiry of his seven-day police custody in the case. The court had earlier sent Sidhu to police custody after the police alleged he was one of the main instigators of the violent incidents at the Red Fort. Tens of thousands of protesting farmers clashed with the police in the national capital on January 26 during a tractor parade to highlight their demands. Many of them driving tractors reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, where a religious flag was also hoisted. Over 500 police personnel were injured and one protestor died.
10. Lakha Sidhana, who is wanted in connection with the violence in Delhi on Republic Day, attended a public meeting in Punjab’s Bathinda in support of the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the centre’s farm laws. A video clip showed him seated on the dais. The gangster-turned-activist had given a call for the public meeting in Bathinda’s Mehraj village last week. There was speculation whether Sidhana would take part in the public meeting as he is wanted by the Delhi Police for his alleged role in the violence that broke out during a tractor parade called by farmer unions on January 26 demanding the repeal of the agri-marketing laws.
(With agency inputs)



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Kolkata: BJP leader Rakesh Singh arrested in drug seizure case | India News – Times of India

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KOLKATA: The police on Tuesday night arrested BJP leader Rakesh Singh from Galsi area of West Bengal’s Purba Bardhaman district in connection with his alleged involvement in a drug seizure case, a senior officer said.
His two sons were also arrested by the Kolkata Police’s narcotics section for stopping its personnel from entering the residence of the BJP state committee member in the port area of the city, he said.
Pamela Goswami, state secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), was arrested along with a friend and her personal security guard from south Kolkata’s New Alipore area on February 19 after seizing around 90 gm of cocaine from her car. Goswami then alleged that it was a conspiracy of Singh.
The Kolkata police served a notice to Singh asking him to appear before investigators at Kolkata Police headquarters Lalbazar during the day in connection with the case. However, he said that he is travelling to Delhi for some work and appear before the police on February 26.
The BJP leader is being brought to Kolkata, the officer said.



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Mathura will break ego and arrogance of BJP: Priyanka Gandhi | India News – Times of India

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AGRA: In the temple town of Mathura, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra invoked Lord Krishna to slam the BJP-led NDA government and said, “Lord Krishna will demolish this government’s ego as it has lost all its wisdom.”
Targeting the Prime Minister, Priyanka said, “While Modi has time to reach every nook and corner of the country, he has no time to meet the farmers sitting on Delhi borders for the past 90 days.” Addressing farmers at a kisan mahapanchayat in Mathura, a stronghold of the Jat community, she said, “This government has an inflated ego but this Krishnabhoomi is known for breaking the arrogance of the most powerful.”
“Lord Krishna had broken the arrogance of Indra (the god of rain) and had lifted the Govardhan mountain on his fingertip to save the people here. This BJP government has also become arrogant and will not survive the wrath of the farmers who keep the nation alive,” she said, adding that “when ego of a politician becomes more important, they lose touch with people”.
Priyanka, who began her speech with chants of “Banke Bihari Maharaj Ki Jai”, “Giriraj Maharaj Ki Jai” and “Yamuna Maiya ki Jai”, quoted a verse from prominent Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar to explain the government’s “arrogant stand” on the farm laws. “Jab nash manuj par chhata hai, pehle vivek mar jata hai (when the end of a man is nigh, he loses his conscience first),” she said.
Dubbing the PM “arrogant and cowardly”, she said, “He should take the responsibility and accept people’s verdict. He starts accusing the previous governments if anyone raises questions on his decisions or policies.”
Taking a jibe at the government’s pro-private sector stand, Vadra urged the farmers to “keep Govardhan hill safe, otherwise the PM would sell this too”. She alleged that “loans of Rs 8 lakh crore of his millionaire friends had been waived during his tenure.
Interacting with the media, after offering puja at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, Gandhi said that the PM has distanced himself from the public after being in power for seven years. “The PM’s duty is to listen to people’s grievances and try to resolve them,” she said, adding that it is a big sin to call farmers terrorists and traitors”.



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Union home minister Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi suspected of toppling the Puducherry government: Trichy MP Thirunavukkarasar | India News – Times of India

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TRICHY: Trichy MP Su Thirunavukkarasar, on Tuesday, said the fall of Congress government in Puducherry is a murder of democracy by making MLA’s resign and orchestrating a drama to prove majority.
He also pointed out that everyone is suspecting Union home minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of toppling the elected government.
The BJP could capitalize on the difference within the Congress party to topple the government in Puducherry. DMK MP from Arakkonam S Jagathrakshakan cannot be blamed for it, he said while answering questions on the suspected role of Jagathrakshakan in toppling the government to strengthen DMK in Puducherry.
Answering questions on the commencement of the Cauvery – Vaigai – Gundar river link project he said, ‘I will raise my voice in the Parliament against the Karnataka government for opposing Cauvery – Vaigai – Gundar river link project.”
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami laid the foundation stone for the commencement of the first phase of the river linking project on Sunday.
Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa was quick to oppose the development by saying that they won’t allow Tamil Nadu to go ahead with the project.
The MP, who was in Pudukottai, said the project aims to utilize excess water from the Cauvery river and Karnataka must not oppose it.
He added that EPS failed to implement the project over the last four years but laid the foundation stone now with an aim to woo voters ahead of the assembly election.
Commenting on the interim budget, Thirunavukkarasar said this budget is only for the remaining period of the government till the assembly election. New schemes announced during the budget can only be viewed as an attempt to gain votes.



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Covid-19: Next phase of vaccination to start very soon, says govt | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Even as many are eagerly waiting to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the government said it will “very soon” start inoculating a larger population of those above 50 years and those younger but with severe co-morbidities.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination will start “very soon” with larger participation from the private sector.
The private sector is already working very closely with the government in delivering healthcare. Out of over 10,000 hospitals currently involved in administering Covid vaccine, around 2,000 are from the private sector, Bhushan said. He also underlined the private sector participation in other public health schemes such as the free health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and the Central government Health Scheme (CGHS) – both of which have many private hospitals including big healthcare chains enrolled for providing services.
TOI reported on Monday that the government plans to rope in the private sector in a major way with 40-50% of the total sessions in the third phase likely to be in private sectors.
The government is aiming up to 50,000 sessions each day to cover larger population of around 27 crore in the next round which is likely to start early March.



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Janhvi Kapoor treats fans to stunning pictures in neon green ensemble – Times of India

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Raising fashion goals, Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor on Tuesday treated fans to stunning pictures in a neon green ensemble. The actress hopped on to Instagram and shared snaps from a recent photo-shoot.

In the pictures, the actor is seen striking a candid pose, while she looks off the camera. With her luscious locks open, the actor personified beauty in a designer mini neon dress that had an attached flair at the back. The dress had an accentuated sweetheart neckline which hugged her figure towards the waist. Kapoor looked breathtakingly beautiful as she flaunted her toned legs, sporting a pair of pencil heels. The neon green dress highly complemented the actor’s perfectly toned body.

Celebrity followers including Vaani Kapoor and more than 1.4 million fans liked the post within 48 minutes of being posted. Scores of fans chimed into the comments section as they left red heart and fire emoticons.

Of late, the ‘Dhadak’ actor has been quite active on social media and keeps on updating fans on her activities by posting pictures and videos.

Earlier on Monday, Kapoor shared the first song ‘Panghat’ from Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma‘s upcoming film ‘Roohi’ featuring herself in the titular role. The peppy number features Janhvi in a never-seen-before avatar as she shows off her killer dance moves with Rajkumar and Varun adding the perfect amount of goofiness with their hilarious antics.

The film marks the first-ever collaboration of Rajkummar and Janhvi. Rajkummar and Varun have earlier shared screen space in the 2015 release ‘Dolly Ki Doli’.

‘Roohi’, which is the first major Bollywood release post lockdown, was set to hit the cinemas in the first week of June last year, but the film had to be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.



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