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News at Nine

2100 HRS
22.04.2019
THE HEADLINES :
  • All set for voting in 116 Parliamentary constituencies under third phase of general elections tomorrow.
  • Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitches for a strong and decisive government at the Centre after Lok Sabha polls.
  • CPM approaches Election Commission saying the Prime Minister  violated Model Code of Conduct by allegedly invoking armed forces in campaigning.
  • Sri Lanka decides to impose national emergency from midnight; death toll from attacks on churches and hotels goes up to 290.
  • And, in IPL Cricket, match between Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals underway in Jaipur.

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All arrangements are in place for voting in 116 Parliamentary constituencies under the third phase of general elections tomorrow. These constituencies are spread over 13 States and two Union Territories.
Voting will take place for all 26 constituencies in Gujarat and 20 in Kerala; 14 each in Maharashtra and Karnataka; 10 in Uttar Pradesh; seven in Chhattisgarh; six in Odisha; five each in Bihar and West Bengal; four in Assam; two in Goa; one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura.
In Gujarat, 371 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats while 45 candidates are contesting the by-polls in four assembly seats. More from correspondent:

"More than 51 thousand polling stations have been set up in Gujarat, out of which 910 are all women sakhi polling stations while 182 polling stations will be operated by Divyangs. Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided in tomorrow are BJP President Amit Shah from prestigious Gandhinagar seat. Former Union Ministers Mansukh Vasava from Bharuch, while Mohan Kundariya is contesting from Rajkot seat. From Congress party, former Union Minister Bharatsinh Solanki is contesting from Anand, while Dr. Tushar Chaudhary is contesting from Bardoli Seat. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."

Our Kerala correspondent has filed this report on polling in the state:
   
In Kerala 227 candidates including 23 women will fight it out for the 20 Lok Sabha seats tomorrow. Polling will take place from 7 am to 6 pm.  Among the prominent candidates whose fate will be sealed include, Congress President Rahul Gandhi who is seeking election from Wayanad , Union Minister KJ Alphonse from Ernakulam, Shashi Tharoor of UDF from Thiruvananthapuram, NDA candidate K  Rajasekharan from  Thiruvananthapuram, actor and BJP leader Suresh Gopi from Thrissur and K Surendran from Pathanamthitta. All security arrangements are in place to ensure peaceful polling and additional security arrangements are made for sensitive booth. Shamila AIR News Thiruvananthapuram."

In Maharashtra, 249 candidates, including 19 women are contesting. High-profile seats going to the polls are Baramati from where  NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule is  seeking re-election. Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil’s son Dr. Sujay Vikhe-Patil is contesting on a BJP ticket from Ahmednagar.
In Uttar Pradesh, the important constituencies going to polls in this phase include Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Bareilly and Pilibhit. More from our correspondent who is covering election in Bareilly:

"There are 120 candidates including 14 women in the fray whose political fate will be decided by more than 1 crore 78 lakh voters. Key contestants in this phase include Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, Union Minister Santosh Gangawar, Jaya Prada and Varun Gandhi of BJP, SP leader Ajam Khan and  Shivpal Yadav of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party. Inter state and inter district boundaries have been sealed and intensive checking by security forces is under way for free and fair election. MS Yadav, AIR News, Bareilly." 

In Bihar, political fate of 32 candidates, including five women will be decided in this phase. A report:
   
"In Madhepura, Sharad Yadav of RJD , Dinesh Chandra Yadav of JD( U) and Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of Jan Adhikar Party are in a triangular contest. Ranjit Ranjan of Congress from Supaul is seeking re-election. In Khagaria Mehboob Ali Kaiser of LJP is in direct contest with Chief of Vikas Sheel Insaan Party Mukesh Sahni. In bordering constituency Araria there is direct contest between Safaraz Alam of RJD and Pradeep Singh of BJP. Ramprit Mandal of JD(U) and Gulab Yadav of RJD are in the fray in Jhanjharpur constituency. Polling time at Simri Bakhtiyarpur, Alaluli and Beldaur in Khagaria Parliamentary Constituency is  from 7 am to 4 pm. In remaining areas polling will be up to 6 pm. With K K Lal's report from Khagaria, Anita Ananad for AIR News."

Meanwhile, notification for the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls was issued today.
Today was also the last date for withdrawal of nominations for the fifth phase.
Campaigning for the remaining phases is gaining momentum. Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed public meetings in Maharashtra. Addressing an election rally in Nandurbar in north Maharashtra, Mr Modi asked the people to vote for a strong government at the Centre under his leadership. Mr Modi said taking decisive decisions becomes easier if there is a strong government. He pledged that Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana will be extended to all farmers. He assured tribals that reservation given to them will not be fiddled with. He added that their land will not be touched.
Addressing a rally at Udaipur in Rajasthan this evening, Mr  Modi said the NDA Government has shown that running an honest government is possible in the country. He said his government has taken decisive action against terrorism. Mr Modi said the previous UPA government pressured banks to give loan to millionaires, but his government provided loans to the poor, tribals and youth under the MUDRA scheme.
On the other hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the Central government tried to stop development work initiated by Congress government in his constituency Amethi. Addressing public rallies in Amethi, Raebareli and Barabanki, Mr Gandhi said if Congress comes to power at the Centre, 72 thousand rupees will credited to bank accounts of the poorest 5 crore women in the country.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also said that BJP governments at the Center and Uttar Pradesh have stopped the works initiated by his government. He was speaking at a public rally in Kheeri district. He said Congress is worried about its own future.

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CPI(M) approached the Election Commission today, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was violating the Model Code of Conduct by reportedly invoking the armed forces in election campaign. Party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has written to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, drawing his attention to poll panel guidelines in this regard. The party referred to Mr Modi's speech in Gujarat yesterday and his earlier remarks in election rallies.

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 A Congress delegation also approached the Election Commission over the issue. Talking to reporters after their meeting, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party has requested the Commission to take action in the matter. Mr Singvhi said, the delegation also drew the attention of poll panel towards reported assault on its Odisha Unit Chief  Niranjan Patnaik, and sought action in the matter.
Another leader Kapil Sibal said, the delegation raised the issue of alleged sloganeering by BJP leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in favour of her party at polling booth after casting her vote. He said it is a violation of the Commission's direction, and that the party has submitted a video in this regard.

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Congress has fielded Yogesh Shukla from Allahabad Parliamentary constituency and Chandresh Upadhyay from Domariyaganj seat in Uttar Pradesh. The party has also given ticket to Bhal Chand Yadav from Sant Kabir Nagar, replacing Pravez Khan.

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The Sri Lankan government has decided to impose emergency from midnight, a day after the bomb attacks hit churches and hotels. The number of people killed in the serial blasts has soared to 290, with more than 500 people injured. Eight Indian nationals are among the 31 foreigners killed in terrorist attacks. 
The decision to impose emergency in the country was taken at a meeting of the National Security Council to ensure public security. The meeting also decided to declare a national day of mourning tomorrow.
The Sri Lankan government has sought international help to probe foreign support to the terror attacks. The government said that a local religious group National Tawheed Jamaath is behind the attack. Addressing a press conference, Cabinet Minister and Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the international support behind the attacks is being investigated. The minister said there were inputs from international intelligence agencies earlier warning of such suicide attacks and expressed regret that it could not be avoided.
Twenty-four local suspects have been arrested across the country in the connection with the bombings.

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Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu has said that it is high time the world took concerted action to deal with terrorism by alienating those aiding, abetting and encouraging terror as a state policy. He was addressing the 54th Convocation of Bangalore University in Bengaluru today. He noted that mere condemnation and compensation will not suffice and called for rooting out terror in all its forms by going to the root cause. Expressing anguish over the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, he said India stands in solidarity with the Sri Lankan Government and its people.

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India has said that it will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on its citizens are brought to justice. In this connection, India shared with China all evidence of terrorist activities of Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, it is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee and other authorized bodies of the UN to take a decision on the listing of Azhar as a global proscribed terrorist.

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In Jammu & Kashmir, a Pakistani terrorist and a local driver were arrested by security forces in Pattan area of Baramulla district today. Security sources said that a joint team of Army, Police  and CRPF stopped a car which skipped a check point along the Srinagar-Baramulla Highway, and apprehended the suspected persons.

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi today filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, expressing regret over his remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale judgment which the apex court had said was incorrectly attributed to it.
In the affidavit, the Congress President said he had made the remark in the heat of political campaigning, which has been misused by his opponents.
Last Monday, the Court had directed Mr Gandhi to give his explanation by today. The apex court had sought Mr Gandhi's explanation on a petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi who had sought criminal contempt action against the Congress President for his remark. The top court is scheduled to hear the matter tomorrow.

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Senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said Congress President Rahul Gandhi's credibility has taken a beating. She was addressing mediapersons in New Delhi after Mr Gandhi expressed regret in the Supreme Court over his remarks in connection with the Rafale aircraft judgment of the apex court.

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In IPL Cricket, Rajasthan Royals were 150 for 2 in 15 overs against Delhi Capitals in Jaipur a short-while ago. Earlier, Delhi won the toss and opted to bowl. Tomorrow, Sun Risers Hyderabad will face Chennai Super Kings in Chennai.

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Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and World No. 1 Bajrang Punia will spearhead India's campaign at the Asian Wrestling Championships starting in Xi'an, China tomorrow. Besides Sakshi and Bajrang, Vinesh Phogat would also be vying for top honours during the mega-event.

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The News Services Division of All India Radio, in its weekly bilingual live phone-in programme “PUBLIC SPEAK”,  will bring you a discussion tonight on “Global Warming and Climate Change.” (वैश्विक तापमान में वृद्धि और जलवायु परिवर्तन). This can be heard on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 9.30 p.m.

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