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Bihar

BJP suffers shock defeats in Gorakhpur, Phulpur LS bye-elections

Samajwadi Party candidates backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party have inflicted shock defeats on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the March 11 bye-elections to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, about a year ahead of the 2019 General Elections.

 
Samajwadi Party workers celebrate their victory in UP LS bye-elections
Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have inflicted shock defeats on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the March 11 bye-elections to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, about a year ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
 
What made the loss even more humiliating for the BJP, which is in power at the Centre as well as in Uttar Pradesh, was the fact that the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats were held by its leaders Yogi Adityanath and Keshav Prasad Maurya, who had resigned after taking over as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively, of Uttar Pradesh.
 
The bye-election results have come a year after the BJP had scored a resounding win in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, held in February-March 2017, in which it won 312 seats in the 403-member House. Its allies Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party won nine and four seats, respectively.
 
The Samajwadi Party (SP), which was then ruling the state, could manage only 47 seats, while its ally Congress ended up with a single-digit tally of just 7.
 
The Bahujan Samaj Party of former Chief Minister Mayawadi picked up 19 seats and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) one. The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal secured one seat and independents three seats.
 
As counting of votes was taken up in the bye-elections today, Samajwadi Party candidate Praveen Nishad won the Gorakhpur seat, defeating his BJP rival Upendra Shukla by a margin of 21,881 votes. In Phulpur, Nagendra Singh Patel of the SP prevailed by a margin of more than 59,000 votes over Kaushalendra Singh Patel of the BJP.
 
The BJP ended up on the losing side in Bihar, too, where its candidate Pradeep Kumar Singh lost to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nominee Sarfaraz Alam in the bye-election for the Araria Lok Sabha seat by a margin of more than 57,000 votes. 
 
The vacancy in Araria was caused by the death of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Mohammad Taslimuddin in September last year.
 
In bye-elections for Assembly seats in Bihar, the BJP's Rinki Rani Pandey won the Bhabua seat by a margin of more than 15,000 votes while the RJD's Kumar Krishna Mohan defeated Aviram Sharma of the Janata Dal (United) by a margin of more than 35,000 votes in Jahanabad. The two seats had fallen vacant due to the deaths of RJD MLA Mudrika Singh Yadav and BJP MLA Anand Bhusan Pandey, respectively.
 
In Bihar, the bye-elections were the first electoral test for the RJD and Bihar's ruling Janata Dal (United) after the collapse of their grand alliance, which also included the Congress. JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar continued to be the Chief Minister of the state after forging an aliance with the BJP.
 
Adityanath said the party accepted the people's verdict in Uttar Pradesh and would work on ironing out the flaws. "There are lessons for us in the results," he said.
 
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Gorakhpur was considered to be the Chief Minister's bastion, with Adityanath having won the seat for five consecutive terms from 1998 onwards. Before that, his mentor Mahant Avedyanath had won the seat for three consecutive terms from 1989 to 1998, the first time as a candidate of the Hindu Mahasabha and then twice as a candidate of the BJP.
 
Adityanath, 45, is the head of the Gorakhnath Mutt in Gorakhpur, which has a huge following in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and other parts. 
 
Phulpur, which was the constituency of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was won by the BJP for the first time in 2014. After Nehru passed away in 1964, the seat was won by his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit in a bye-election that year and retained by her in 1967. V P Singh, who served as Prime Minister in 1989-90, had won the seat as a Congress candidate in 1971.
 
Samajwadi Party leader and former state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav thanked the people of Uttar Pradesh for the victory as well as BSP leader Mayawati for her support. Mr. Yadav met Ms. Mayawati to convey his gratitude to her and her party.
 
Ms. Mayawati's decision to back the Samajwadi Party nominee in the bye-elections caught the BJP unawares. Adityanath called their understanding as the coming together of "a snake and a mongoose", but it was the Opposition which had the last laugh today. The arrangement between the two parties has given rise to speculation about a grand alliance by the Opposition parties against the BJP and its allies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BJP, on its part, tried to explain the defeat by saying that the low turnout of voters -- 49% in Gorakhpur and 38% in Phulpur -- was a factor. The party's leaders also said they did not anticipate the understanding between the SP and the BSP and could not respond to the new situation in the short time available to it. The results suggest that the BSP was able to transfer its votes to the SP candidate.
 
The Congress candidates -- Sureetha Kareem in Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra in Phulpur Lok Sabha -- ended up losing their deposits.
 
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JD (U)-led "grand alliance" heads for handsome win in Bihar Assembly elections

The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, was headed for a handsome victory on Sunday as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.

 
Grand Alliance heads towards big win in Bihar Assembly elections
 
The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, was headed for a handsome victory today as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
 
As counting trends became available for 230 of the 243 seats, the JD (U) and its allies were ahead in 125, past the half-way mark for a simple majority, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had established leads in 96. Others accounted for nine seats.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants.
 
The elections were seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5, and more than 56.80 percent voting was registered.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful across the state and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
A total of 67063004 electors, including 31282535 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections and there were, in all, 3450 candidates, including 272 women, in the fray.
 
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The Election Commission had set up 65349 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a freee and fair poll.
 
Counting of votes began at 8 am today amidst tight security at 39 centres across the state and al the results are expected to be in by this evening. 
 
All counting centres are situated in the district headquarters. There are two counting centres separated by a common road in Saharsa distict and one each in the 37 other districts.
 
The Election Commission ensured 24x7 three-tier security at all counting centres, with the inner cordon being manned by personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all counting centres.
 
The commission also deployed an observer each in all 243 constituencies to oversee the counting process.
  
Exit polls had produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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Nitish Kumar returns as Chief Minister of Bihar

Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth time in Patna on Sunday evening, two days after his loyalist-turned-political foe Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned from the position hours before a trust vote in the state legislative assembly on Friday.

 
Nitish Kumar takes oath as Chief Minister of Bihar
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth time here this evening, two days after his loyalist-turned-political foe Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned from the position hours before a trust vote in the state legislative assembly here on Friday.
 
Mr Kumar, 63, and 22 Ministers, including three women, were administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi at a ceremony that began around 5 pm today.
 
The ministers are : Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Ramai Ram, Damodar Raut, Narendra Narayan Yadav, P.K. Shahi, Shyam Rajak, Awadesh Kushwaha, Lesie Singh, Dulal Chand Goswami, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, Shrawan Kumar, Ramlashan Ram Raman, Ramdhani Singh, Jai Kumar Singh, Manoj Kumar Singh, Javed Iqbal Ansari, Bima Bharti, Ranju Geeta, Baidyanath Sahni, Vinod Singh Yadav and Naushad Alam.
 
Of them, 20 had resigned from the Manjhi government while the other two --  P K Shahi and Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh -- had been removed by the former chief minister.
 
Mr Kumar has returned as Chief Minister nine months after he had stepped down on May 17 last year, taking moral responsibility for the defeat suffered by his party in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
His return ended about two weeks of political uncertainty in the state following a bitter power struggle between him and Mr Manjhi.
 
Mr Manjhi finally met Mr Tripathi and handed in his papers on Friday morning. Shortly thereafter, Mr Kumar had called on the Governor and staked his claim to form the next government. Mr Tripathi had invited him to form the new government and asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly within three weeks.
 
Mr Manjhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Miister Akhilesh Yadav, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala were among those who attended the ceremony.
 
Mr Manjhi's resignation came after it became clear that he did not have the numbers to win a trust vote in the 243-member assembly even though the  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has a score to settle with Mr Kumar, had thrown its weight behind him.
 
Mr Kumar has been claiming that he has the support of 130 MLAs in the House, including 99 of his own party, 24 from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and five of the Congress.
 
Ahead of his meeting with the Governor, Mr Kumar, a former Union Minister, had promised on Friday to provide good governance if given another chance to serve the people of Bihar and apologised to them for his decision to resign on May 17 last year after his party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
 
Mr Kumar's party had ended up with just two of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its erstwhile partner in the state, won as many as 22.
 
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, an ally of the BJP, got five seats. The Congress won two seats, the NCP one, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) four and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party won three.
 
On June 16, 2013, the JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after it became increasingly clear at that stage that Mr Narendra Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
 
Mr Manjhi, who was the Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Backward and Economically Backward Classes Welfare, was handpicked by Mr Kumar to succeed him on May 19 last year.
 
"I assure the people of Bihar that if I get an opportunity again I will serve them in the same spirit I did for eight and a half years earlier. Good governance was and will remain my priority," Mr Kumar told journalists on Friday.
 
"I also apologise for my decision to quit. I will never take an emotional decision again. Now I am ready to lead from the front," he said.
 
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The JD (U) has 115 members in the assembly, and most of them back Mr Kumar. The BJP has 88 members and the support of three independents.
 
Mr Kumar had staked claim to form the next government two weeks ago after the JD (U) removed Mr Manjhi as the leader of its legislature party and elected him to the position to enable him to return as Chief Minister. Mr Manjhi had refused to oblige and was expelled from the party. He then decided to seek a trust vote, banking on the support of the BJP.
 
Mr Kumar said Mr Manjhi had decided to quit after all the efforts made by the BJP to wean away MLAs from the JD (U) had failed.
 
Mr Manjhi, however, told journalists that he had decided to quit to protect MLAs supporting him, saying they had received death threats in the past few days. 
 
Mr Kumar has a degree in electrical engineering from the Bihar College of Engineering, Patna, now the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Patna. He joined politics after a brief stint in the Bihar State Electricity Board.
 
At the Centre, Mr Kumar has handled the portfolios of Railways and Agriculture.
 
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Polling underway for 41 seats in final phase of LS elections

Polling was underway on Monday amidst tight security in 41 constituencies spread over three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal -- in the ninth and final phase of elections to the 16th Lok Sabha.

 
Ninth phase of 16th LS polls underway
Polling was underway today amidst tight security in 41 constituencies spread over three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal -- in the ninth and final phase of elections to the 16th Lok Sabha.
 
Thousands of voters turned out to exercise their franchise in these constituencies and long queues of voters  were seen at many polling stations despite the sweltering heat,
 
All eyes were, however, on Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the second constituency from which BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is trying to make his maiden entry into the Lok Sabha. His main rivals in Varanasi are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal and local Congress leader Ajay Rai.
 
Mr Modi is also in the fray from Vadodara in Gujarat, where polling was held on April 30.
 
Around 1.6 million people are eligible to cast their votes in Varanasi in what is clearly the keenest contest of the 2014 elections. There were long queues of voters outside polling stations in most areas of the city.
 
The authorities have deployed around 45,000 security personnel to ensure free and fair polls in the constituency. More than 12,000 polling booths were put under surveillance with CCTV cameras and proceedings at more than 300 polling stations were being videographed.
 
The Election Commission has deployed Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar as a special observer for the constituency following complaints of bias against the local election officials by the BJP. Several senior police officers of Uttar Pradesh are also camping in the city.
 
The constituencies that voted today included 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 17 in West Bengal and six in Bihar. They have a total of 66.13 million voters and there were 606 candidates in the fray.
 
The first phase of polling in the long drawn out election process was held on April 7. Counting of votes for all constituencies will be taken up on May 16 and all results are expected by that evening. Two members in the 545-member Lok Sabha are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community.
 
Other prominent candidates in the fray in Uttar Pradesh include Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo and former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav from Azamgarh and UP Legislative Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey from Doomariaganj.
 
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Union Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh is contesting from Kushinagar and popular Bhojpuri film actor Ravi Kishan from Jaunpur, both on the Congress ticket. Veteran BJP leader Kalraj Mishra is contesting the Deoria seat. Quami Ekta Dal (QED) leader Mukhtar Ansari, who withdrew from the contest in Varanasi and later announced his support for the Congress, is in the contest from Ghosi.
 
In Bihar, the prominent candidates include well-known Hindi filmmaker Prakash Jha, who is trying his luck yet again, this time as a Janata Dal (United) candidate, and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
 
In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has fielded former Union Ministers Sudip Bandopadhyay, Dinesh Trivedi in Barrackpore and Sougata Roy in Dum Dum and actors Dipak Adhikari (Dev) from Ghatal and Tapas Paul in Krishinagar.
 
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has put up Ms Subhashini Ali against Mr Trivedi in Barrackpore, while the BJP has fielded well-known magician P C Sorcar (Junior) in Barasat. West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury is the party's candidate in Berhampore.
 
The TMC had won 14 of the 17 seats that went to the polls today in West Bengal in the 2009 elections, while the CPI, SUCI and Congress had won one each. The TMC and the Congress were in an alliance then. The CPI (M) had not won a single seat from these in 2009.
 
There are a total of 328 candidates, including 18 women, in the 18 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, which have a total electorate of 31.6 million voters.
 
In Bihar, more than 8.8 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the six constituences which have a total of 90 candidates in the fray.
 
The 17 constituencies that went to the polls in West Bengal have a total electorate of  25.61 million and 188 candidates in the fray.
 
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Five killed, 83 injured in serial blasts near Modi's rally venue in Patna

At least five people were killed and as many as 83 others suffered injuries in a series of low-intensity blasts that occurred near the Gandhi Maidan in Patna shortly before Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed a huge rally there on Sunday afternoon.

Serial blasts rock Patna; 5 killed, over 80 injured
At least five people were killed and as many as 83 others suffered injuries in a series of low-intensity blasts that occurred near the Gandhi Maidan here shortly before Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed a huge rally there this afternoon.
 
In all, there were seven blasts, including one in a toilet on platform number 10 at the Patna railway station, about two and a half kilometres from the ground. The other six explosions occurred around the Gandhi Maidan, the venue of the rally, which was attended by thousands of people.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told newspersons that one person suffered injuries in the first blast at the railway station and his condition was stated to be critical.
 
He said the other five blasts occurred around the Gandhi Maidan within the space of 15-20 minutes.
 
Mr Kumar said that, in all, 83 people were taken to the Patna Medical College Hospital, where 38 were admitted for treatment while the rest were discharged after first-aid. He said the condition of a few of the injured was serious.
 
Police sources said four unexploded bombs were found later and had been defused by bomb disposal squads. One policemen suffered injuries while defusing a bomb.
 
Mr Kumar said the police were questioning some suspects and had gathered valuable clues. He said he was confident the police would find those responsible for the blasts. 
 
He said there were no intelligence inputs about the possibility of such blasts. According to him, the police had made elaborate arrangements for Mr Modi's rally and it was a matter of serious concern that such an incident had occurred.
 
He said that the way in which the serial blasts were carried out indicated that somebody had planned to vitiate the atmosphere in the state.
 
The Chief Minister announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the blasts. He said the state government would meet the medical expenses of those injured in the explosions.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and called for urgent steps to identify and ake action against those responsibility. He also appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm.
 
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Dr Singh spoke to Mr Kumar to enquire about the situation and called for immediate and firm action against those responsible.
 
He also assured the Chief Minister of all assistance from the Centre in the investigations.
 
Mr Kumar held a meeting with senior state government and police officials to take stock of the situation.
 
In Delhi, Union Minister of State for Home R P N Singh told journalists that the explosions were caused by crude devices.
 
Condemning the blasts, he said teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) had been rushed to Patna to probe the incident.
 
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs was in continuous touch with the Bihar government in this regard.
 
The rally continued, with none of the speakers, including Mr Modi making any reference to it. However, towards the end, Mr Modi did urge people to return home from the meeting in a peaceful manner.
 
Later, he condoled the loss of lives in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
"Blasts in Patna are deeply saddening & unfortunate. Condolences with families of deceased & prayers with injured. I appeal for peace & calm," he said.
 
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Modi surname: Case filed against Rahul in Bihar

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A case was filed against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a Bihar court for his reported statement that "all thieves have Modi as their surnames".
 
A BJP leader Manoj Modi on Wednesday filed the case in the Chief Judicial Magistrate's (CJM) court in Purnea district.
 
The petitioner's lawyer Delip Kumar Deepak said his client Manoj Modi was deeply hurt by Gandhi's statement.
 
Last week Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi also filed a defamation case against Gandhi for the same reported statement.
 
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had filed the case in the CJM court in Patna under Section 500 of the IPC. "Rahul defames and hurts the sentiments of everyone who has the Modi surname," he had said.
 
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People have decided to change chowkidar: Rahul

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said voters have made up their mind to "change their 'chowkidar' this time" as he has proved he is "not fit for the job".
 
"The chowkidar has exposed himself and people have realised he is not fit for the job," Gandhi said at an election rally in Bihar's Supaul parliamentary constituency.
 
"PM Narendra Modi has been trying hard but the people of the country will not allow him to become PM again," he added.
 
"Now people know the reality and truth of the chowkidar. And the chowkidar is afraid of that truth. Chowkidar has realised that his place will be in jail whenever a probe is conducted in the Rafale case," Rahul said.
 
He appealed to people to support Congress candidate from Supaul seat Ranjeet Ranjan.
 
Gandhi reiterated that only rich people keep a chowkidar not the poor including farmers, workers and labourers. 
 
The Congress president said if his party is voted to power this time, it along with allies would provide annual income of Rs 72,000 to 5 crore poor people and 35 per cent reservation to women in government jobs.
 
He also promised to provide employment to 22 lakh youths annually. "These are not mere promises. After coming to power in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the Congress has fulfilled its promise of waiving farmers' loans".
 
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Poll code breach: Case lodged against Sidhu in Bihar

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A case was lodged against cricketer-turned-politician and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday for violating the Model Code of Conduct in Bihar's Katihar district, police said.
 
According to district police officials, a first information report (FIR) was lodged against Sidhu at Barsoi Police Station in Katihar based on the statement of a local magistrate.
 
The case was lodged in connection with Sidhu's allegedly objectionable appeal to Muslims to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls while campaigning in Barsoi in Katihar parliamentary constituency. 
 
Earlier in the day, Bihar BJP leaders had said they would make a complaint to the Election Commission against Sidhu.
 
Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC) Amit Kumar Pandey, who is the district's nodal officer for Model Code of Conduct, took cognizance of Sidhu's statement and asked the local administration to submit a CD of his speech at an election rally.
 
Pandey said if it was established that Sidhu made the appeal for votes on the basis of religion, the Election Commission would take appropriate action against him. 
 
While canvassing support for veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Tariq Anwar, Sidhu urged Muslims to vote en bloc and defeat Modi. 
 
Katihar is part of backward Seemanchal region having sizeable Muslim population, and their support or opposition could decide the outcome of polls. 
 
Sidhu reportedly said: "Do not consider yourself as being in minority. You constitute the majority here. You are about 64 percent. Do not fall into the trap laid by people like (Asaduddin) Owaisi (chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen). They have been propped up by the BJP.
 
"Recognise your strength and vote en bloc to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
 
Katigar will go to polls on April 18 in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections. 
 
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Shatrughan Sinha ends suspense, joins Congress

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Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday ended the suspense over his political future and joined the Congress here with the hope it will provide him with the opportunity to serve people, society, and the nation.
 
The former Bharatiya Janata Party MP joined Congress at the party headquarters in the presence of Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala.
 
He earlier tweeted: "It's with a heavy heart and immense pain that I finally bid adieu to my old party, for reasons best known to all of us, on April 6, which also happens to be the Sansthapna Diwas (Foundation Day) of the BJP.
 
"I don't hold any ill will for our people as they were like my family and I was groomed in this party with the guidance and blessings of the stalwarts like Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh, late and great PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and of course, our friend philosopher, ultimate leader, guru and guide L.K. Advani."
 
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Opposition speaks Pakistan's language on terror: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the opposition, accusing them of "speaking the language of Pakistan" on terror while his government had cracked down on terrorist activities and ensured security in the country.
 
The Prime Minister addressed two election rallies in Bihar's Jamui and Gaya Lok Sabha seats for candidates of allied parties.
 
At a rally in Gaya, from where Janata Dal-United's Vijay Manjhi is contesting, he alleged that the opposition are helping terrorists "who are in trouble from the 'chowkidar'".
 
"Earlier, bomb blasts were a daily affair but now it has ended after people voted us to power. Every vote matters as it helped to end daily bomb blasts," Modi said.
 
He also said that in last five years, several schemes and development projects were initiated and promised people that if they voted for the National Democratic Alliance, he would do what was left.
 
"You have given me chance to serve and work for development... if you are happy with my work, then give me another chance to complete the remaining work," he said.
 
He also questioned former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's demand to go back to the old title of 'Prime Minister' in the state. "How it is possible that there will be two PMs in one country," he asked, adding that opposition leaders were silent over the demand.
 
Modi attacked the Congress for insulting the Indian Constitution's prime architect B. R. Ambedkar while his BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government honoured him.
 
"Congress has always insulted Ambedkar. But the NDA government is doing everything to respect and honour him," he said at the rally in Jamui constituency from where ally Lok Janshakti Party's Chirag Paswan, the son of party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, is contesting.
 
Those who consider Ambedkar as an icon and legendary would never support the Congress, Modi added. 
 
Accusing the Congress of creating confusion over reservation by spreading lies, he said: "No one can end reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, not even Modi. Opposition leaders are spreading lies on it."
 
The Prime Minister also sought to clarify that the 10 percent reservation for economically weaker sections, brought in by his government, has nothing to do with ending reservation at all.
 
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Four injured after train derails in Bihar

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Four people were injured on Sunday after at least 13 coaches of the Chapra-Surat Tapti Ganga Express train derailed in Bihar, officials said.
 
The train that runs between Bihar and Gujarat derailed near Gautam Sthan railway station, a railway official said.
 
Rescue and relief operations were on, the official added.
 
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Maoists blow up house of ex-Bihar lawmaker in Gaya

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Armed Maoists destroyed a former Bihar Legislative Council member's house in Gaya district. No one hurt was hurt, police said on Thursday.
 
The Maoist attack on Anuj Kumar Singh's Bodhibigha residence came late on Wednesday. The insurgents used dynamite for the explosion.
 
According to a police official, the banned Left wing activists had beaten up a close relative of Singh before ordering him to vacate the house.
 
"The house was badly damaged," Dharmendra Kumar, police official at Dumaria police station said.
 
Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Rajeev Mishra also confirmed the incident and said a search operation has been launched. 
 
The attack comes days ahead of the Lok Sabha poll in which Bihar will vote in all the seven phases polling between April 11 and May 19.
 
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CPI fields Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai

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The Communist Party of India (CPI) has decided to field former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar from the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.
 
"Kanhaiya will be the CPI candidate from Begusarai," said State CPI Secretary Satyanarayan Singh here on Sunday. 
 
Kanhaiya Kumar will be the Left parties' joint candidate and take on Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh in Begusarai.
 
Singh said the party had decided last week to field the former student leader in the Lok Sabha elections. "We wanted a secular democratic alliance to defeat the BJP," he said.
 
The announcement has come two days after the Grand Alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and other parties did not allocate Begusarai to the CPI. 
 
The RJD is set to field Tanweer Hasan who lost to Bhola Singh of the BJP in 2014.
 
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Kanhaiya Kumar said his fight will be against Giriraj Singh, not the RJD. 
 
"People of Begusarai will defeat Giriraj Singh and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will be defeated across Bihar as the people have made up their minds to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
 
He also called Giriraj Singh Pakistan's 'Visa Minister' for his repeated threats of sending the critics of Modi and the BJP to Pakistan. "The people of Begusarai have decided not to support any hardliner. The BJP has been spreading hatred across the country," he said.
 
He also vowed to work to minimise division of anti-NDA votes in Bihar and other states.
 
Kanhaiya Kumar, 32, was arrested in February 2016 and accused of sedition for allegedly doing nothing to prevent the raising of anti-India slogans on the JNU campus.
 
The JNUSU President for 2015-16, he was then pursuing doctorate from the School of International Studies and was affiliated to the All India Students Federation (AISF). 
 
Kanhaiya Kumar belongs to a Bhumihar family in Begusarai.
 
IANS
 

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NDA names candidates for 39 LS seats in Bihar

Bihar's ruling National Democratic Alliance on Saturday announced candidates for 39 out of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Union Ministers Ramvilas Pasvan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Kripal Yadav at a rally in Patna, on March 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Union Ministers Ramvilas Pasvan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Kripal Yadav at a rally in Patna, on March 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Bihar's ruling NDA on Saturday announced candidates for 39 out of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
 
The lone seat for which a candidate was not announced was Khagaria.
 
The announcement was made at a joint press conference addressed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state-in-charge Bhupinder Yadav here in the presence of leaders from the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
 
The BJP has dropped actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha from his Patna Sahib seat and instead fielded Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in his place.
 
Sinha won the seat in 2014.
 
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan will not contest from Hajipur seat. The party has fielded Paswan's younger brother Pasupati Kumar Paras, a Bihar Minister and state LJP president, in his place.
 
Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag will contest from Jamui, while another brother Ram Chandra Paswan is being fielded from the Samastipur seat that he won in 2014.
 
The BJP has shifted its firebrand leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh from Nawada to Begusarai. Nawada went to the LJP under the seat sharing formula.
 
"All the Union Ministers from BJP including Radha Mohan Singh from Motihari, Ram Kirpal Yadav from Patliputra, Ashwani Choubey from Buxar, R. K. Singh from Ara, were given tickets," Yadav said.
 
Only one Muslim candidate figures in the NDA list. The JD-U has fielded Mahmood Ashraf from Kishanganj.
 
The NDA had earlier officially announced the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections.
 
According to the agreement, the JD-U and BJP will contest 17 seats each and the LJP the rest of the six seats.
 
The JD-U is contesting Valmikinagar, Sitamarhi, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea, Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Gopalganj, Banka, Munger, Nalanda, Gaya, Jehanabad, Siwan and Karakat parliamentary seats.
 
The BJP is contesting West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Madhubani, Araria, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Ujiyarpur, Begusarai, Sasaram, Aurangabad, Buxar, Ara, Patna Saheb and Patliputra constituencies.
 
The LJP is contesting the Vaishali, Hajipur, Jamui, Khagaria, Samastipur and Nawada seats.
 
The BJP has ceded to the JD-U five seats -- Valmikinagar, Gaya, Siwan, Gopalganj and Jhanjharpur -- that it won in 2014. 
 
The BJP-led NDA won 31 of the 40 seats in the state in 2014. Of this, the BJP won 22 seats, the LJP six and the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) three. 
 
The RLSP has joined the Opposition Grand Alliance this time.
 
The JD-U, not part of the NDA then, had contested the 2014 elections on its own and won only two seats -- Purnea and Nawada.
 
IANS
 

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Grand Alliance announces seat sharing in Bihar

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The Grand Alliance on Friday announced a seat sharing pact in Bihar under which the RJD will contest 20 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats and the Congress 9 while smaller parties will be in contention in the remaining constituencies.
 
The announcement was made at a press conference here. 
 
According to the agreement, the RLSP will put up candidates in 5 seats, HAM and VIP in 3 each and the RJD will give one seat out of its quota to the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML).
 
No seats were given to the CPI and CPI-M, making it clear that former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, who is contesting from Begusarai, will not be supported by the Grand Alliance. 
 
The four constituencies going to polls in the first phase will see the HAM contesting in Gaya and Aurangabad, the RJD in Nawada and the RLSP in Jamui, RJD state President Ramchandra Purbe told the media.
 
HAM chief and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi will contest from Gaya (reserved) and Upendra Prasad from Aurangabad. 
 
The RJD has fielded Vibha Devi from Nawada and the RLSP Bhudeo Choudhary from Jamui. 
 
In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA won 31 seats, out of which the BJP alone bagged 22. The JD-U contested alone then and won only Purnea and Nawada seats. 
 
The RJD won 4 seats, the Congress 2 and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 1. But NCP's Tariq Anwar has rejoined the Congress. 
 
IANS
 

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NDA announces Bihar seat-sharing pact

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The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar officially announced the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections here on Sunday.
 
The announcement was made at a joint press conference, addressed by BJP state President Nityanand Rai, LJP state President Pashupati Kumar Paras and JD-U state President Vashishth Narain Singh, at the JD-U office.
 
According to the agreement, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest 17 seats each and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), led by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the remaining six seats.
 
Singh said the JD-U will contest Valmikinagar, Sitamarhi, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea, Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Gopalganj, Banka, Munger, Nalanda, Gaya, Jehanabad, Siwan and Karakat parliamentary seats.
 
The BJP will field candidates in West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Madhubani, Araria, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Ujiyarpur, Begusarai, Sasaram, Aurangabad, Buxar, Ara, Patna Saheb and Patliputra constituencies.
 
The LJP will contest Vaishali, Hajipur, Jamui, Khagaria, Samastipur and Nawada seats.
 
The BJP has ceded to the JD-U five seats -- Valmikinagar, Gaya, Siwan, Gopalganj and Jhanjharpur -- that it won in 2014. 
 
The BJP-led NDA won 31 of the 40 seats in the state in 2014. Of this, BJP won 22 seats, LJP 6 and the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) 3. The RLSP has joined the Opposition Grand Alliance this time.
 
The JD-U, not part of the NDA then, had contested the 2014 elections on its own and could win only 2 seats -- Purnea and Nawada.
 
The names of NDA candidates will be announced in two-three days.
 
IANS
 

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BHEL commissions 250 MW thermal power plant in Bihar

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned a 250 MW coal-based thermal power plant (TPP) in Bihar.
 
The unit has been commissioned at the greenfield 4x250 MW Nabinagar Thermal Power Project, being set up by Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL), a joint venture of NTPC Limited and the Indian Railways, a press release from the company said.
 
This is the third 250 MW unit commissioned by BHEL at Nabinagar TPP, located at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district of Bihar. The first two units are already under commercial operation and the fourth unit is in an advanced stage of execution.
 
The orders for Steam Generator (SG) and Turbine Generator (TG) packages for setting up of four units of 250 MW coal based thermal plant were placed on BHEL. The company’s scope of work encompassed design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of Steam Turbines, Generators and Boilers, along with associated Auxiliaries and Electricals, besides state-of-the-art Controls & Instrumentation (C&I) and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs).
 
The key equipment for the project has been manufactured by BHEL at its Haridwar, Tiruchirapalli, Ranipet, Hyderabad and Bengaluru works, while the construction of the plant has been undertaken by the company's Power Sector - Eastern Region, the release added.
 
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Modi unveils development projects in Bihar and Jharkhand

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a slew of development projects in the areas of infrastructure, connectivity, energy security and healthcare at functions in Barauni and Hazaribagh during a day's visit to Bihar and Jharkhand today.
 
At Barauni in Bihar, Modi inaugurated or laid the foundation stones of projects worth Rs. 33,000 crore at a function at which Bihar Governor Laljee Tandon, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs Ramvilas Paswan were present.
 
He laid the foundation stone of the Patna Metro Rail Project that will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 13,365 crore. It will have two corridors -- Danapur to Mithapur and Patna Railway Station to New ISBT and is likely to be completed in five years. The project will ease the public transport in Patna and adjoining areas.
 
He also inaugurated the Phulpur to Patna stretch of the Jagdishpur-Varanasi natural gas pipeline, a project initiated by him in July 2015. “It will ensure the supply of gas to the local industries and to the revived Barauni Fertilizer factory besides marking the start of piped gas supply in Patna. A gas-based ecosystem will create employment opportunities for the youth in the area,” he added. 
 
“The Government is committed for the overall development of Eastern India and Bihar. Under Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Yojana, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Patna, Ranchi and Jamshedpur are being connected by gas pipeline,” he said. 
 
Modi also inaugurated the Patna City Gas Distribution project which will provide piped gas supply in the city and adjoining areas.
 
“The NDA government’s vision of development is on two lines, infrastructure development and upliftment of the marginalized sections of society who have been struggling to avail basic amenities for over 70 years,” he said.
 
”It is a historic day for Bihar in terms of health care infrastructure development. New medical colleges will now be coming up in Chapra and Purnia while Medical colleges in Gaya and Bhagalpur are being upgraded. He added that AIIMS has come up in Patna while work is on to set up another AIIM in the state to meet the healthcare needs of the people,” he added.
 
He inaugurated the first phase of River Front Development in Patna and also laid the foundation Stone for the Karmalichak Sewerage Network spanning 96.54 kilometres.  Works related to Sewage Treatment Plants at Barh, Sultanganj and Naugachia were kicked off by the Prime Minister. He also laid the Foundation Stone for 22 AMRUT projects at various locations.
 
Referring to the pain, anger and grief in the country after the terror attack in Pulwama, he said, “I feel the same fire in my heart that’s burning inside you.” He paid tributes to martyr Constable Sanjay Kumar Sinha from Patna and Ratan Kumar Thakur from Bhagalpur who laid down their lives for the country and said the entire nation stood with the family of martyrs in this hour of grief. 
 
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He laid the foundation stone of the 9 MMT AVU of the Barauni Refinery Expansion Project. Another one was for the augmentation of the Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur LPG pipeline from Durgapur to Muzaffarpur and Patna besides the ATF Hydrotreating Unit (INDJET) at Barauni Refinery. These projects will significantly augment the availability of energy in the city and the region.
 
The Ammonia-Urea Fertilizer Complex at Barauni foundation stone was laid by Modi during this visit to boost fertilizer production.
 
He also inaugurated the electrification of railway lines on the following sectors: Barauni-Kumedpur, Muzaffarpur-Raxaul, Fatuha-Islampur,· Biharsharif-Daniawan and flagged off the Ranchi-Patna AC Weekly Express train.
 
Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Raghuvar Das and  Union Minister Jayant Sinha were among those present at the function at Hazaribagh.
 
Addressing the gathering, Modi said “I pay homage to Vijay Soreng, the brave son of Jharkhand who laid his life for the nation. At every step we will have to take care of the families of martyrs."
 
He inaugurated the Medical Colleges at Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamu. The foundation stone of these colleges were laid by him in 2017. The new Medical colleges are built at a cost of Rs 885 crore. Each college campus is made disabled friendly. The modern medical facilities will benefit 1.5 crores people of 11 districts of Jharkhand. 
 
"It is this land of Jharkhand that witnessed the launch of Ayushman Bharat Yojana that has benefitted lakhs of people across India including thousands from Jharkhand. And constant efforts are being made to improve the health infrastructure of the state," he said.
 
He laid the foundation stone for four 500-bedded hospitals at Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamu and Jamshedpur.
 
Modi said that health and safe drinking water are inseperable. And the water projects unveiled in Jharkhand will ensure good health of its people. He inaugurated four Rural Water Supply Schemes in Ramgarh and Hazaribagh districts. He laid the foundation stone for an additional six Rural Water Supply Schemes in these two districts along with foundation stone for water supply schemes in areas inhabited by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. He also laid the foundation stone for Urban Water Supply Scheme in Hazaribagh. To be set up at a cost of Rs 500 crore, this project will supply safe drinking water to 56,000 households of Hazaribagh.
 
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Sahibganj Sewerage Treatment Plant, and the Madhusudan Ghat, under the Namami Gange initiative.
 
Modi distributed cheques to select beneficiaries to mark the launch of DBT scheme for farmers to purchase mobile phones under e-NAM. He said “the scheme will benefit 27 lakh farmers. With the help of a smartphone they would not only get weather information but information of crop prices, government schemes and new methods of farming also."
 
The Prime Minister e-inaugurated a Women's Engineering College at Ramgarh. He noted that it is the first such college in Eastern India and only the third in India where only women will study engineering.  
 
Foundation stone for the Centre for Tribal Studies, Acharya VinobaBhave University, Hazaribagh was also laid by the Prime Minister. He said that the institute will help in garnering and spreading the knowledge on tribal ways and culture. He said that sabka saath sabka vikas entails empowerment of all sections of the society including the poor, women, youth and tribals. And the colleges for women and tribals are efforts in this direction.
 
The Prime Minister distributed packed milk to select schoolchildren to mark the launch of Kanha Milk Scheme for students in government schools. The students will get 200 ml of milk everyday which will help in fighting malnourishment. “I hope each child will realise her full potential and make the nation proud," he said.
 
Modi reiterated that his government is making efforts to preserve and promote the memories of tribal heroes of the country's freedom struggle in museums and memorials. The Birsamunda Museum of Jharkhand is one such example, he added.
 
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Cabinet clears Patna Metro Rail Project comprising two corridors

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The Union Cabinet has approved the Patna Metro Rail Project, which will have two corridors, Danapur to Mithapur and Patna Railway Station-New ISBT, at an estimated cost of Rs.13365.77 crore to be completed in five years.
 
The Danapur Cantonment-Mithapur corridor will pass through the heart of the city and connect densely populated areas such as Raza Bazar, Secretariat, High Court, Law University and Railway Station. 
 
The Patna Junction-ISBT corridor will connect Gandhi Maidan, PMCH, Patna University, Rajendra Nagar, Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Transport Nagar and ISBT.
 
The Metro will provide eco-friendly and sustainable public transport facility to residents, commuters, industrial workers, visitors and travellers, an official press release said.
 
The length of the Danapur-Mithapur corridor is 16.94 km, which is mostly underground (11.20 km) and partly elevated (5.48 km) and comprises 11 stations (3 elevated and 8 underground).
 
The length of the Patna Station-New ISBT corridor is 14.45 km, which is mostly elevated (9.9 km) and partly underground (4.55 km) and comprising 12 stations (9 elevated and 3 underground).
 
The existing population of 26.23 lakh of Patna agglomeration area is expected to be benefitted by Patna Metro Rail Project directly and indirectly.
 
The approved corridors will be having multimodal Integration with Railway Stations and ISBT Station and will have feeder network of bus, Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT), the release said.
 
The project will have non-fare box revenue from rental and advertisement as well as Value Capture Financing (VCF) through the mechanism of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Transfer of Development Rights (TDK).
 
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Congress will waive farm loans if voted to power at Centre: Rahul Gandhi

 
Gandhi criticises farmers’ scheme introduced in Interim Budget
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday that his party would waive farms loans all over the country, just as its governments had done in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, if it is voted to power at the Centre in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Addressing a huge rally at the Gandhi Maidan here -- the party's first in the city in years -- the Congress President also promised that it would accord the status of a Central University to Patna University and create more jobs for the youth through food processing and other units across the state.
 
Gandhi hit out Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing them of only looking after the interests of crony capitalists.
 
He alleged that, while the government had written off loans worth thousands of crores of industrialists, all that it had done for the farmers was the announcement of an income support scheme under which they would get Rs. 6000 per year which worked out to just Rs. 17 a day for a family. For a family of five, it worked out to just Rs. 3.50 a day, he pointed out.
 
He said this was an insult to the country's farmers and said they would give a befitting response to Modi and the BJP in the coming elections.
 
Gandhi said he was confident that the Congress and its allies in the Mahagathbandhan, including the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), would win the elections at the Centre and soon after that in Bihar. "We will together remove the BJP and Nitish Kumar from power in Bihar soon," he declared.
 
He said his confidence stemmed from the "fact that the BJP at the Centre and Nitish Kumar had not kept their promises" made by them to the people in the run-up to the last elections.
 
He said farmers in the country paid huge amounts as premium for crop insurance schemes but got nothing when they filed claims and found that the schemes had only benefited the insurance companies owned by the top industrialists.
 
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He went on to refer to the demonetisation and the problems it had caused for small traders, farmers, the lower income groups and others. He also spoke about the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and alleged that jobs which could have come to India's youth had been lost because the 36 aircraft India was buying would be made in France. Under the contract envisaged by the previous Congress-led UPA government, 108 of the 126 aircraft would have been made in India, he pointed out. Also, a lucrative offset contract had been given to industrialist Anil Ambani, whose company is debt-ridden and has no previous experience in the aircraft manufacturing sector, he said.
 
The Congress said the BJP government had done nothing for the youth of the country in areas such as education and jobs. He said Bihar, where the ancient Nalanda University was located, was known as a centre of education but its youth were now forced to go out of the state for education and in search of jobs.
 
He said many Bihari youth trying to eke out a living were forced to leave states like Gujarat and Maharashtra.
 
He also reiterated his party's promise of a Minimum Income Guarantee for the country's poor if the Congress were elected to power in the next Lok Sabha elections.
 
He asserted that the Congress was determined to play "on the front foot". 
 
"With (RJD leader) Tejashwi Yadav in Bihar, we will play on the front foot and hit the ball for a six," he said.
 
He went on to praise Tejashwi Yadav who works hard and does not lie to the people. "All of us will work together with dignity, love and unitedly," he added.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel were amongst those present at the rally.
 
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7 dead, 30 injured as 11 coaches of Seemanchal Express derail in Bihar

At least seven passengers died and 30 others suffered injuries when eleven coaches of the 12487 Seemanchal Express from Jogbani in Bihar to Anand Vihar in Delhi derailed near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar in the early hours of Sunday.

 
11 coaches of Seemanchal Express derail near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar
At least seven passengers died and 30 others suffered injuries when eleven coaches of the 12487 Seemanchal Express from Jogbani in Bihar to Anand Vihar in Delhi derailed near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar in the early hours of today.
 
Of the injured passengers, three had suffered grievous injuries while the othes had received minor injuries in the mishap, which occurred at 3.58 am near Sahadai Buzurg station in Sonpur Division of East Central Railway, when most passengers were asleep, an official press release said.
 
The release said the derailment had affected the 11 coaches of the train. Three coaches had fully overturned, it said.
 
The affected coaches include one air-conditioned coach, two general IInd class coaches, three sleeper class coaches and three SLR coaches.
 
All the injured passengers have been moved to nearby hospitals, District Hospitals and Railway Hospital.
 
"Adequate number of doctors are available at site. Ambulances have been pressed into service. All medical expenses of the injured passengers will be borne by Railways," the release said.
 
Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav, senior Railway Board officials, ECR General Manager and the Divisional Railway Manager, Sonpur had rushed to the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
The release said the Railways had also rushed Self-Propelled Accident Relief Train and Medical Equipment (SPARME) and Accident Relief Trains (ARTs) to the site.
 
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as well as personnel of ECR, the district administration, police and other emergency services, including doctors, were also rushed to the site.
 
Ambulances were pressed into service to ferry the injured to hospitals. Cranes were deployed to help lift the derailed coaches from the tracks.
 
Adequate free catering arrangements have been made at the accident site, Patna, Hajipur and at hospitals for passengers. Commercial officers with teams are deployed at Hajipur and Danapur to take care of the passengers.
 
Arrangements for refunds to the passengers who do not continue their journey have been ensured at different stations.
 
The rescue operation is complete and efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section. The derailment had disrupted the movement of trains on the route temporarily.
 
Railway sources said, prima facie, the cause of the mishap appeared to be a fractured rail at a crossing on the Barauni end of the station yard.
 
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal expressed profound grief over the loss of innocent lives in the accident and wished speedy recovery for the injured.
 
He ordered an inquiry into the accident by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (Eastern Circle), Latif Khan.
 
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh each to the next-of-kin of the deceased, Rs. 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs. 50,000 to those with simple injuries.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
Sonpur 06158221645 
Hajipur 06224272230 
Barauni 06279232222
Patna  0612 2202290/91/92
 
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Six dead, several injured as nine coaches of Seemanchal Express derail in Bihar

At least six passengers died and several others suffered injuries when nine coaches of the 12487 Seemanchal Express from Jogbani in Bihar to Anand Vihar in Delhi derailed near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar in the early hours of Sunday.

 
Nine coaches of Seemanchal Express derail near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar
At least six passengers died and several others suffered injuries when nine coaches of the  12487 Seemanchal Express from Jogbani in Bihar to Anand Vihar in Delhi derailed near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar in the early hours of today.
 
East Coast Railway (ECR) spokesman Rajesh Kumar told NetIndian over the telephone that  six bodies had been pulled out of the affected coaches. 
 
The mishap occurred at around 3.58 am, when most of the passengers were fast asleep.
 
The injured have been rushed to nearby hospitals, and an exact count of their numbers was not immediately available.
 
According to him, the affected coaches include one air-conditioned coach, two general IInd class coaches, three sleeper class coaches and three SLR coaches.
 
Rail traffic on the section has been disrupted and will take some time for resumption.
 
"Our immediate focus is on rescue and relief operations, to save lives," he said.
 
Senior railway officials, along with an accident relief train and medical teams as well as personnel of the district administration and police, have rushed to the site to oversee rescue and relief operations, he said.
 
Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also reached the  spot and are helping to pull out the victims from the affected coaches.
 
An NDRF official said most of the passengers trapped in the affected coaches had been extricated. A "confirmatory search" was being conducted to ensure that no one was still trapped in any of the coaches, he said.
 
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal is in touch with members of the Railway Board and with the General Manager of the ECR and is monitoring the rescue and relief operations.
 
He expressed profound grief over the loss of innocent lives in the accident and wished speedy recovery for the injured.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
Sonpur 06158221645 
Hajipur 06224272230 
Barauni 06279232222
Patna  0612 2202290/91/92
 
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Nine coaches of Seemanchal Express derail in Bihar

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Nine coaches of the 12487 Seemanchal Express from Jogbani in Bihar to Anand Vihar in Delhi derailed near Sahadai Buzurg in Bihar in the early hours of today.
 
Senior railway officials, along with an accident relief train and medical teams, have rushed to the site to oversee rescue and relief operations, official sources said. 
 
A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is also on its way to the scene of the mishap, which occurred around 3.55 am.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
Sonpur 06158221645 
Hajipur 06224272230 
Barauni 06279232222
 
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Gadkari to Inaugurate and lay foundation stones of road and river projects in Bihar on Wednesday

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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of several road projects and river development works in Bihar tomorrow. 
 
He will be accompanied by Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radhamohan Singh and others, an official press release said.
 
Gadkari will lay foundation stone for work of widening of 69 km section of National Highway (NH)-28A from Piprakothi to Motihari and Raxaul (including ICP Link road) with a cost of Rs 333.60 crore. He will also inaugurate the widening to 2-lane and strengthening with paved shoulders of 40 km section of NH-28B from Chhapra to Misrauli with a cost of Rs 171.40 crore, the release said.
 
The Minister will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of four national highway projects worth Rs 353.71 crore at Bagaha, Pashchim Champaran in Bihar. These include widening to 2-lane and strengthening of 24 km road from Misrauli to Parsauni with a cost of Rs 93.84 crore, widening and strengthening of 37 km road from Manuvapul to Yagnapatti-Navalpur-Raywal Chowk with a cost of Rs 128.90 crore under CRF, and construction of road overbridge (ROB) at 91 km and 94 km with the cost of Rs 131.97 crore.
 
Gadkari will also initiate the development of 300 km long river route from Hajipur to Triveni Ghat at a cost of Rs 12.9 crore under dredging work in river Gandak for facilitating water transport. This will help in generating cargo transport capacity of 11.6 MT in the next five years, the release said.
 
There will be RO-RO terminals at Vaishali, Kalyanpur, Betia and Bagaha. The project will provide cargo connectivity from river Ganga and transport facility up to Nepal by waterway, it added.
 
NNN
 

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'Accidental Prime Minister': Case filed against Anupam Kher, others in Bihar

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A case has been filed against actor Anupam Kher and others associated with upcoming film 'Accidental Prime Minister' in a Bihar court on Wednesday for damaging the image of some top people.
 
Lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed the case in Muzaffarpur's Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court. The court has admitted the case and fixed January 8 to hear the case in Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate court.
 
Ojha in his petition complained that Anupam Kher and Akshay Khanna, who have played the role of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his press advisor Sanjaya Baru in the film, have damaged the image of both of them. "It hurt me and many others," he said.
 
In his complaint, Ojha said others who have played the role of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra also damaged their image. He has also complained against the film director and producer.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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