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Madhya Pradesh

Kamal Nath to be new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Thursday chosen as the leader of the state Congress legislature party, paving the way for his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, after party President Rahul Gandhi decided on his name over the other aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia after their meeting during which a decision on the new Chief  Minister of Madhya Pradesh was taken, in New Delhi on December 13, 2018.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia after their meeting during which a decision on the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was taken, in New Delhi on December 13, 2018.
Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Thursday chosen as the leader of the state Congress legislature party, paving the way for his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after party President Rahul Gandhi decided on his name over the other aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia.
 
Heralding Congress rule in the state after 15 years, Kamal Nath, who flew in here from Delhi, was formally elected the leader of the legislature party at a late night meeting here.
 
"Rahul Gandhi has chosen Kamal Nath as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister," party observer A.K. Antony said at the legislature party meeting.
 
Kamal Nath told the gathering that he would fulfil all the promises made in the party's manifesto.
 
"I assure every voter of Madhya Pradesh that we will fulfil our promises. The people have stood with the truth," he said. 
 
He thanked the party workers for effectively taking the message to people in the Assembly elections. 
 
Later, talking to reporters, Kamal Nath said he would meet the state Governor Anandiben Patel on Friday morning to decide on the day and time of his swearing-in.
 
"I shall strive to be true to the trust that the people of Madhya Pradesh have reposed in me," he said. 
 
Kamal Nath was accompanied at the meeting by Scindia. Both Kamal Nath and Scindia flew to Bhopal late in the evening after four-hour-long consultations with Gandhi. 
 
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An apparent reason for Congress President Rahul Gandhi choosing Kamal Nath over Scindia as Chief Minster is the nature of verdict in the state where the party is short of majority by two seats.
 
The Congress won 114 seats, two seats short of majority, in a tight contest, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished a close second with 109 seats in the 230-member House. 
 
The party is dependent on the Independents to cross the half-way mark even as the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have extended the support of their three MLAs. Kamal Nath is seen as someone who can deftly manage allies and supporting parties. 
 
The decision came two days after the election results were declared in Madhya Pradesh. 
 
Kamal Nath, a former Union Minister, was appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief only seven months back and immersed himself in preparations for the Assembly polls in the state where the BJP had been in power for 15 years. 
 
He is the senior-most member of the Lok Sabha, having won nine elections.
 
Although the Congress is also poised to form governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, no decision has yet been taken on the Chief Ministers in the two states. 
 
IANS

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Polling begins for Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram Assembly elections

Polling began amidst tight security on Wednesday morning to choose new legislative assemblies in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram -- two of five states where crucial elections are being held just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
MP Assembly Elections: 5 cr voters to decide fate of state as polling begins
Polling began amidst tight security this morning to choose new legislative assemblies in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram -- two of five states where crucial elections are being held just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and the Congress is making a strong bid to return to power after a gap of 15 years.
 
In Mizoram, the Congress is looking for a third successive term in the face of a stiff challenge from the Mizo National Front.
 
Polling began at 7 a.m in three constituencies of Maoist-affected Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh amid tight security, while in the remaining 227 of the 230 Assembly seats polling began at 8 a.m.
 
The polling will end in the three constituencies -- Baihar, Lanji and Paraswada -- at 3 p.m, while it will continue till 5 p.m in all the other constituencies.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, though the contest is mainly between the BJP and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are also in the fray. 
 
Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded candidates in all 230 seats, while the Congress is contesting in 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for the Sharad Yadav-led Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
 
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting in 51 seats. There are 1,102 independent candidates.
 
In the last polls, of the 230 seats, the BJP won 165, Congress 58, BSP four and Independents three. 
 
Over five crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh -- 2,63,01,300 men, 2,41,30,390 women and 1,389 of the third gender -- are eligible to vote in today's polls.
 
In Mizoram, polling began at 7 a.m. for all 40 seats in the Assembly and will end at 4 p.m.
 
According to senior police officials, around 11,100 security personnel comprising central paramilitary and state security forces have been deployed across the state to ensure smooth polling and prevent any untoward incident.
 
In all 768,181 voters, including 393,685 women, would decide the electoral fate of the 209 candidates in the state, of whom 15 are women. In 2013, only six women had contested and none were successful. 
 
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Besides the two national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many regional and local parties have fielded candidates in most of the 40 assembly constituencies. They include the main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Meghalaya-based National People's Party (NPP). 
 
However, the main contest is likely to be between the ruling Congress and the MNF. Both the parties have fielded 40 candidates each. 
 
The BJP, which is trying to make inroads in the state, has fielded candidates in 39 constituencies. 
 
Except for 10 years -- 1998-2003 and 2003-2008 -- the Congress has been in power in Mizoram since it became a full-fledged state in 1987. 
 
Counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram will be taken up on December 11 along with Chhattisgarh, where polling was held on  November 12 and 20, and Rajasthan and Telangana, where voting will be held on December 7.
 
The term of the Assembly in Chhattisgarh is due to expire on January 5, 2019; Madhya Pradesh on January 7, 2019; Rajasthan on January 20, 2019 and Mizoram on December 15, 2018.
 
In Telangana, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) decided to go in for early polls and, accordingly, the Governor of the State had dissolved the Assembly with immediate effect on September 6, 2018, nearly nine months before its term was to end.
 
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Ten dead, 18 injured in stampede at Kamtanath Pahad temple at Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh

Ten pilgrims were killed and at least 18 others suffered injuries in a stampede at the Kamtanath Pahad temple in Chitrakoot in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh in the early hours of Monday, officials said.
 
Ten killed in stampede at Kamtanath Pahad temple at Chitrakoot in MP
Ten pilgrims were killed and at least 18 others suffered injuries in a stampede at the Kamtanath Pahad temple in Chitrakoot in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh in the early hours of today, officials said.
 
Inspector General of Police (Rewa Range) Pawan Shrivastav told NetIndian over the telephone that the victims included six women and four men. 
 
He said six of those injured had been discharged after first aid while the rest were undergoing treatment for injuries. None of them was in a serious condition, he said.
 
District Magistrate and Collector Mohan Lal said the incident occurred around 4.45 am today.
 
Thousands of pilgrims had gathered at the temple, located about 80 km from Satna district headquarters on the border between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for the five-km "parikrama" (circumambulation) of the Kamadgiri hill on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya.
 
Details of the circumstances leading to the incident were not clear, but Mr Shrivastav said one of the pilgrims, a woman, appeared to have stumbled and fallen and before people realised it, some more people fell and several others following them, all at a brisk space in a cramped section of the "parikrama" trampled upon them.
 
Many of the devotes, especially women, were performing "Shayana Pradakshinam" --- in which they lie down and roll on the path -- for worship when the incident occurred, sources said.
 
The district authorities have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, they said.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed his grief at the loss of lives in the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed, Rs 50,000 for those with serious injuries and Rs 10,000 for those who have suffered minor injuries.
 
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India aim to consolidate WTC lead against Bangladesh in Indore

Indian skipper Virat Kohli during a practice session ahead of the 1st Test match against Bangladesh, at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, on November 12, 2019. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Indian skipper Virat Kohli during a practice session ahead of the 1st Test match against Bangladesh, at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, on November 12, 2019. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
After thumping South Africa in the three-Test series, India will aim to maintain their supremacy in the ongoing World Test Championship and extend their lead when they take on Bangladesh in the first Test of the two-match series beginning Thursday at the Holkar Stadium here.
 
India have won each of their first five Tests in the World Test Championship so far and have played according to their No 1 ranking in the red-ball cricket. They sit pretty at the top of the points table with 240 points.
 
The two Tests against the ninth-ranked Bangladesh team will provide yet another opportunity for the new opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal to establish themselves further. The duo aggregated 829 runs between them in three Tests against the Proteas last month.
 
Skipper Virat Kohli, who is back with the team after taking a brief break from cricket, remains the biggest threat for the visitors. Kohli had scored a double ton against Faf du Plessis' men last month and will look to cash in on the innings he would be playing against the Bangla Tigers.
 
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara too are in good form and thus it would be an uphill task for Bangladeshi bowlers to put pressure on the Indian batters. The hosts are likely to persist with Wriddhiman Saha over Rishabh Pant with the wicket-keeping duties.
 
For Bangladesh, who will be without the services of their experienced duo of Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, the two Test matches will provide an opportunity to test the young players.
 
The visitors, who came out with a remarkable performance in the T20I series, would seek inspiration from their new skipper Mominul Haque, who was their standout batsman last year, with 673 runs from 15 innings, including four hundreds.
 
A huge amount of responsibility would lie on the shoulders of Mushfiqur Rahim who is one of the senior members of the team and would act as glue for the batsman.
 
The pitch is expected to offer significant assistance to the slower bowlers as the game progresses and thus first innings would hold the key for both the teams.
 
Squads
 
India: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Jadeja, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant.
 
Bangladesh: Mominul Haque (C), Al-Amin Hossain, Imrul Kayes, Shadman Islam, Saif Hassan, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehedy Hasan, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasam, Mustafizur Rahman, Ebadat Hossain
 
IANS

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Toilet wall collapses in MP, 2 kids dead, inquiry ordered

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Two tribal children died when a wall of a toilet constructed under the Swacch Bharat Mission collapsed in Rathkheda village of Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. A three-member committee has been formed to inquire into the irregularities in the construction of the toilet.
 
The deceased children have been identified as Raja (7) and Prince (6).
 
A resident of Rathkheda, Kotwar Ram Singh, said that the village has been declared ODF (open defecation free) but the toilets constructed in the villages are not usable, hence the villagers defecate in the open only.
 
Assistant Secretary of the village Shashikant Dhakar said, "The toilet which collapsed was not constructed during my tenure. I took charge only this year."
 
Congress MLA from Pohari Suresh Rathkheda, who hails from Rathkheda itself, accused the BJP and said, "It was a BJP government in the state for the last 15 years and the MLA of the village was also from the BJP. Now it is my party's government and I will ask the officials to probe the matter and take action against the guilty."
 
He also promised financial help to the family of the deceased children.
 
The CEO Zila Panchayat H P Verma said, "A three-member committee has been formed to probe the quality of construction of the material used to build the toilet. Action will be taken against the guilty after the inquiry report is submitted by the committee."
 
IANS
 

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Fire at Indore hotel, 6 saved

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A massive fire broke out at a hotel in Madhya Pradesh's Indore on Monday, said police. Six people, who were trapped inside, were rescued by the fire brigade and rescue teams.
 
"The incident happened at Golden Gate hotel in Vijay Nagar area. Most parts of the hotel are made of wood.
 
"Eight teams of fire tenders rushed to the spot. Six people were present in the hotel when incident happened. All the people trapped were rescued," said Harish Motwani, CSP, Vijay Nagar.
 
Police informed that the rescued have been shifted to a hospital.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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MP honey-trap case: Video of ex-CM goes viral

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In the Madhya Pradesh sex scandal, two more videos -- one of a former Chief Minister and another of a close aide of a right-wing leader -- have surfaced, creating a flutter in the political circles.
 
Both the videos have gone viral on social media. In one of the videos, a former Chief Minister is purportedly seen in a compromising position with a young girl in a hotel room.
 
In another video, an elderly aide of a right-wing organisation is seen with a young girl, apparently shot in a pre-planned manner.
 
IANS does not authenticate the veracity of the videos.
 
Thousands of clips, containing sex chats and videos of officers in compromising positions, have been seized by the special investigation team (SIT) probing the biggest sex scandal of the state in recent times.
 
Meanwhile, five accused women were taken to Bhopal from Indore amid tight security by the SIT for questioning, the police said. One of the accused was taken to Sagar. She was interrogated at a farm house, which she visited frequently.
 
The SIT also carried with it the seized gadgets, including pen-drives and laptops, of the alleged honey-trap-cum-extortion ring, a source said.
 
One man was also arrested along with five women by the SIT.
 
The sex scandal came to light when an Indore-based engineer complained to the police about blackmailing by a woman, who allegedly threatened to make objectionable videos viral.
 
SIT sources said the seized video and audio clips clearly indicate a nexus between bureaucrats, senior politicians and some businessmen.
 
More revelations are likely to come to light as the investigation progresses, according to the sources.
 
IANS
 

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Four of family found dead in Indore waterpark

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Four members of a family were found dead in a rest room of a water park in Indore, police said on Friday.
 
According to the police, the victims have been identified as Abhishek Saxena (45), his wife Priti (42), and their children Aaditya (14), and Ananya (14).
 
The family had checked into the hotel, situated in Khudel village, on Wednesday.
 
Since their room was shut till Thursday evening, the resort staff knocked on the door but their was no response. Following this, the park's managment broke the door open and found the four victims.
 
"Prima facie it appears to be suicide, further investigation is underway," Khudel station incharge Rupesh Dube said.
 
The bodies have been sent for post mortem, the police added.
 
IANS
 

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MiG 21 crashes near Gwalior in MP, no casualties

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A MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday after taking off from the airfield on a training sortie. There were no casualties in the incident, said the Indian Air Force (IAF).
 
Sources said, the crash occurred around 10 a.m. "It was a twin-seater trainer jet with two pilots -- a Group Captain and a Squadron Leader. Both ejected safely before the crash. The reason behind the crash is not known yet," an IAF spokesperson told IANS.
 
A Court of Inquiry has been instituted by the IAF to ascertain the cause of the crash.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Women's colleges in MP to have police posts

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Police posts will come up at women's colleges across Madhya Pradesh to ensure the safety of students and teachers, it was announced on Sunday.
 
The decision, taken by the Higher Education Department, is being communicated to the Superintendents of Police in all districts.
 
In the letter, the Department has asked the police to identify educational institutions for women and areas where women work for setting up police posts there and arranging patrols by women constables.
 
It has also asked to set up committees of students to suggest security measures.
 
The authorities have also sought CCTVs be set up at the entrance and exit gates and common areas of women's colleges. The institutions have also been asked to compile a list of any serious incidents in the last two years and the action taken against the perpetrators and give it to the District Collector and Superintendent of Police concerned.
 
The letter has also directed the women's colleges and hostels to get the antecedents of their employees checked, while the college principals have been asked to furnish the security measures to the Department in a prescribed format.
 
IANS

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SC notice to Centre on plea over Sardar Sarovar dam

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Narmada Control Authority on a plea filed by persons affected by submergence in Sardar Sarovar Dam.
 
A bench of Justices N. V. Ramana and Ajay Rastogi asked them to file response and listed the matter for further hearing on September 26 to decide the question of rehabilitation before submergence as well as the water level to be maintained in the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat.
 
The petitioners said they are affected by submergence in Sardar Sarovar due to direction given by the Narmada Control Authority contrary to Narmada Tribunal's Award (NWDTA) and earlier judgments of the Supreme Court, wherein it is mandated that no submergence should take place without rehabilitation.
 
Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for petitioners, submitted before the Supreme Court that Sardar Sarovar being an inter-state project, terms and conditions of the award are binding on the states -- Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
 
The stipulation that no submergence should take place till complete resettlement and rehabilitation is done, is not only a mandatory condition in the said award, but was also affirmed by the Supreme Court judgements in 2000 and 2005. He also added that in those judgements, the Supreme Court held that even temporary submergence cannot take place till resettlement and rehabilitation is complete.
 
After the last order in February, 2017, the complete resettlement and rehabilitation should have been done but it did not happen. The counsel said that due to the illegal decision, water started rising in the reservoir and was raised to reach the full reservoir level of 138.68 meter on September 17.
 
The petitioners told the court that 178 villages have been affected causing the human calamity of the worst kind. The said decision was, in fact, a cruel and inhuman way to compel people to vacate under threat of submergence.
 
IANS
 
 

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SC says Collegium has taken decision on Justice Kureshi

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The Supreme Court on Monday said that the Collegium has taken a decision on the issue related to the elevation of Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said that the decision of the Collegium will be uploaded on the apex court's website soon.
 
The court was hearing Gujarat High Court Advocates Association's petition challenging the delay in the elevation of Justice Kureshi.
 
The apex court had on August 28 said it had received a communication from the Ministry of Law and Justice on the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Kureshi.
 
Senior advocate F. S. Nariman, appearing for the association, had said the Union Government should act as "distinguished communicator" on the recommendation made by the Collegium. On May 10, the Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice Gogoi had recommended Justice Kureshi, currently the senior-most judge in the Gujarat High Court, as the most suitable candidate to be appointed as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
 
Disregarding the recommendation, the Centre notified the appointment of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as the acting Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court last month after Justice Sanjay Kumar Seth retired on June 9.
 
The association has requested the court to direct the Centre to implement the Collegium's resolution of May 10.
 
IANS
 

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46,000 families affected by heavy rain in western MP

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Over 46,000 people from Mandsaur and Neemuch districts were shifted to safer places by late Sunday night as heavy rain continued to lash the western region of Madhya Pradesh, a government spokesperson said.
 
The two neighbouring districts in western Madhya Pradesh have received incessant rain since last few days and lives have been completely disrupted. The met office has warned of extremely heavy rainfall till Monday morning.
 
"More than 45,000 people have been rescued from 100 to 125 villages in Mandsaur. Some of these villages have been fully vacated while there has been partial evacuation in others," said Manoj Path joint director of public relations in a message late Sunday evening.
 
Besides 32,000 families in the catchment area of Indira Sagar and Sardar Sarovar dams are at risk of being inundated with the water rising alarmingly in the two dams. Civil society organisations have appealed to the government of Madhya Pradesh to help rescue the affected families in the Narmada valley.
 
Nisarpur near Barwani, which was meant to rehabilitate the project-affected families, is under submergence with the rain fury continuing unabated. The previous BJP government had apparently grossly underestimated the area to be submerged. The government had in an affidavit claimed before the Supreme Court that it would have completed the evacuation of all.
 
The BJP would launch state-wide agitation from September 22 if the farmers' who have lost their crops were not compensated by then, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Sunday evening.
 
He said the Congress government in the state should reach out to the people affected by the heavy downpour.
 
Chouhan said the chief minister has not been visible in the state that has seen unprecedented rain over the past five weeks. Chouhan said he was donating one month's salary as MLA for the people affected by the floods
 
Meanwhile, rescue operations are on in full swing, said a state government official from Neemuch.
 
"We are keeping a close watch on the situation," he added. Nearly 2,300 people were evacuated from the flooded Rampura town in Neemuch district after an alarming rise in the backwater level of Gandhi Sagar Dam in Mandsaur, he said.
 
Rescuers kept a vigil during the night before, bringing the flood-hit people to relief camps on Sunday, he said. Mandsaur received 218 mm rain while Manasa town in Neemuch got 243 mm rain in 24 hours ending Sunday morning, as per the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) office here.
 
Mandsaur district received a total of 1,927.8 mm rain from June 1 till date, against average rainfall of 742.1 mm, the meteorological department said. Neemuch got a  total of 1,569.7 mm rain so far this monsoon against the average of 706.9 mm, said the met department. 
 
After heavy rains, 19 sluice gates of Gandhi Sagar Dam were opened and 4.93 lakh cusec water was being discharged, the dam project's sub-divisional officer N P Dev said.
 
The released water was gushing downstream to flood parts of Rajasthan. There is no let likely from rain fury in the two districts till Monday evening. Extremely heavy rainfall is forecast in parts of Mandsaur, Neemuch, Agar Malwa and Alirajpur regions till Monday. Heavy rainfall might occur at a few places in 10 districts including Indore. Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at most places in around 31 districts of MP including Bhopal by morning.
 
Intermittent showers on Sunday lashed several parts of Madhya Pradesh, which has so far received 33 per cent more rain than the season's average, the IMD said. The monsoon has weakened a bit in eastern Madhya Pradesh but is active in western parts of the state, IMD Bhopal office's senior meteorologist G D Mishra said.
 
IANS

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Gauba chairs NCMC meeting to review flood situation in MP, Rajasthan

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The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba met here today to review the prevailing flood situation in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
 
Gauba took stock of the current situation, preparedness, rescue and relief operations and directed that immediate assistance, as sought by the states, be provided to meet the crisis.
 
Both the States informed the NCMC that extremely heavy rainfall and the consequent discharge of water from the Gandhi Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh and other reservoirs in the two states had caused flooding in the upstream as well as downstream areas.
 
Action to evacuate and rescue people and livestock were taken by the states and no loss of life has been reported. Adequate teams of the NDRF and the Army have also been deployed and are engaged in rescue work.
 
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated that while there has been very heavy rainfall in these States over the past few days, the intensity is likely to decline from tomorrow.
 
Senior officials of the Ministries of Home and Defence, as well as those from IMD, NDRF and Central Water Commission,  attended the meeting. Chief Secretaries and other senior officers from the State Governments participated in the meeting through video conference.
 
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12 die in boat mishap in Bhopal lake

Twelve people drowned as two boats, interlinked with ropes, capsized during the Ganapati idol immersion at the Khatlapura Ghat of the lower lake here in the early hours of today.
Search and rescue operations underway after a boat capsized in a lake during the Ganapati idol immersion in Bhopal on September 13, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Search and rescue operations underway after a boat capsized in a lake during the Ganapati idol immersion in Bhopal on September 13, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Twelve people drowned as two boats, interlinked with ropes, capsized during the Ganapati idol immersion at the Khatlapura Ghat of the lower lake here in the early hours of today.
 
Of the 23 people on board, seven swam to safety and three persons were missing, said Irshad Wali, Bhopal (City) Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police.
 
The mishap occurred at about 4.30 am near the newly renovated state police headquarters that also houses the State Disaster Rescue Force (SDRF).
 
Eleven victims have been identified as Parvez Khan (15), Rohit Maurya (30), Karan (16), Harsh(20), Sunny Thackeray (22), Rahul Verma (30), Vicky (28), Vishal (22), Arjun Sharma(18), Rahul Mishra (20) and Karan (26).
 
According to eyewitnesses, one boat began to tilt dangerously while the idol was being pushed into the lake and people jumped on the other boat causing the disaster.
 
A short video of the tragedy shows it took just about 40 seconds for the lives to be lost. No one was wearing a life jacket. The boatmen too jumped to safety instead of saving others.
 
The victims were residents of 100 quarters of Piplani, BHEL township. State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams, divers and police teams are searching for the missing persons through heavy rain.
 
Chief Minister Kamal Nath ordered a magisterial inquiry, which was notified by Bhopal district collector Tarun Pithode. The authorities have registered an FIR against two boatmen -- Akash Batham and Changu Batham -- on a report filed by Nirmal Kumar Das.
 
The Chief Minister also announced Rs 11 lakh aid to the victims' kin. In an earlier announcement, the Chief Minister had announced Rs 4 lakh for the families of each deceased.
 
On the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) demand for a higher aid, Kamal Nath said he could not go by the BJP's assessment. The municipal corporation of Bhopal has also announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh each for the victims' families.
 
Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the negligence must not go unpunished. He said the assistance of Rs 4 lakh was a paltry amount and should be raised immediately to Rs 25 lakh and a job be offered to one family member of the victims, and wondered why the people were not equipped with life-jackets.
 
Bhopal BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya backed Chouhan's demand for raising the amount to Rs 25 lakh.
 
On March 21, 2016, when Chouhan was the Chief Minister he had ordered a financial aid of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of five victims of a boat tragedy in the same lake. He had also asked officials to frame guidelines to prevent recurrence of such accidents.
 
The guidelines were neither announced nor followed.
 
In that case, 10 youths had reportedly gone to the lake for a party when their boat capsized. While five of them swam to safety, others were drowned. The lessons of the tragedy have been lost both on revellers and administration.
 
The major lapse on the part of administration and organisers of the procession was that a 21-foot idol was not supposed to be immersed at the Khatlapura ghat where the tragedy occurred.
 
The administration had not provided for a motorboat or searchlight, to be pressed into service during an emergency. They had also not deputed divers or set up a disaster management booth at the spot.
 
Among the victims was 15-year-old Parvez Khan, a non-Hindu, who had regularly been installing an idol and participating in the festivities for some time. Parvez lost his father Saeed Khan when he was 12.
 
IANS
 

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11 dead as boat capsizes during Ganpati immersion in Bhopal

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Eleven persons drowned when a boat capsized during the immersion of Ganapati idols here in Madhya Pradesh early on Friday, police said.
 
The accident occurred around 4.30 a.m. at Khatlapura Ghat of lower lake near the newly renovated state police headquarters and the State Disaster Rescue Team (SDRF).
 
Police said according to preliminary information, there were 19 people in the boat. Five people were rescued and three people are missing.
 
The accident occurred when a heavy idol of Ganesha tilted in the boat in mid-waters.
 
According to eyewitnesses, two boats were interlinked, carrying 23 people. All people were aged 27-28 years. No one was wearing a life jacket. As one boat overturned, people from it tried jumping on to the other, making it lose its balance.
 
Those killed were residents of 100 quarters of Piplani, BHEL township. The Municipal Corporation said the rescue operation is being handled by its divers.
 
State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) personnel, divers and police teams are continuing the search for the missing persons through heavy rain.
 
Chief Minister Kamal Nath has announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the next-of-kin of each of the dead and ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
 
Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has raised the negligence issue and wondered why the processionists were not equipped with life jackets. He was also not satisfied with the compensation.
 
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Amid rift in MP Congress, Scindia to meet Sonia on Thursday

Jyotiraditya Scindia (File photo: IANS)
Jyotiraditya Scindia (File photo: IANS)
Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi will meet party General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday on the sidelines of the meeting of all the general secretaries, state in-charges and state chiefs called to discuss the plans for the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, party leaders said here on Wednesday.
 
According to a senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named, Scindia was earlier summoned to meet Gandhi on Monday over the infighting in Madhya Pradesh for the post of the state unit chief, but that did not happen.
 
"The issue of the leadership crisis in the state is likely to be discussed between the two leaders on Thursday during the meeting," he said.
 
He also said that Gandhi will also ask Scindia to present his case in detail in the next few days.
 
The Congress has called the meeting of all the general secretaries, state in-charges, state unit chiefs, secretaries and frontal organisation chiefs to discuss the party's plans for the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
Kamal Nath had met Gandhi on Saturday evening and said that he had a discussion over the state issue.
 
"She expressed her concern over the discipline issue in the party in Madhya Pradesh," the Chief Minister had said.
 
The crisis in the Madhya Pradesh Congress snowballed into a full-fledged war between the Scindia faction and the rest. Many of the Scindia supporters have openly vented their anger against Kamal Nath and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh.
 
According to party leaders, Gandhi is taking feedback from the party leaders over the new state Congress chief. The party leaders said that the decision on the new state Congress head will be decided in the next 10-15 days.
 
On Friday, miffed over the infighting and many party leaders openly speaking to the media demanding that Scindia be made the state unit chief, Gandhi had sought a report from state in-charge Deepak Babaria over the issue.
 
Speculations are rife that Digvijaya Singh has been opposing Scindia's candidature as state unit head. Late last year, Scindia was in the race for Chief Minister when the party won the Assembly election defeating the BJP. However, then Congress President Rahul Gandhi named long-time Congress loyalist Nath for the top post.
 
IANS
 

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Sonia meets Kamal Nath, voices concern over infighting

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Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, here on Saturday, met Madhya Pradsh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and expressed concern over the infighting.
 
Kamal Nath, who landed here on Saturday morning, arrived at Sonia Gandhi's residence in the evening. The meeting lasted for over an hour.
 
Speaking to media, Kamal Nath, also the MP state party chief, said, "I met Sonia Gandhi and she expressed her concern over indiscipline in the party in MP."
 
The remarks come as a full-fledged war rages between the Jyotiraditya Scindia faction and the rest. Many Scindia supporters are openly venting their anger against Kamal Nath and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh.
 
This is Kamal Nath's second meeting with Sonia Gandhi in the last 10 days. On August 30, during his meeting with the UPA chairperson Kamal Nath said the party needed a new state unit chief after the Lok Sabha polls. Denying any differences with Scindia, he said, "It's wrong to say Scindia is angry."
 
According to party leaders, Sonia Gandhi is collecting feedback from the Congress leaders over the new state party chief and a decision is likely in 10-15 days.
 
Miffed over the infighting and many leaders demanding through the media that Scindia be made the state party chief, Sonia Gandhi on Friday sought a report in 10 days from state in-charge Deepak Babaria.
 
Followers of senior party leaders have launched a rancorous fight to grab the state party chief's post. Several party leaders recently wrote to Sonia Gandhi that Scindia be made the state chief.
 
According to speculations, Digvijaya Singh is opposed to Scindia's elevation to the post of state party chief.
 
Scindia was in the race for the MP chief ministership after the Congress returned to power ousting the BJP government. But then Congress chief Rahul Gandhi named long-time Congress loyalist Kamal Nath to the post.
 
Scindia was earlier this year handed over the responsibility of UP West ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Last month, Sonia Gandhi made him chairman of the screening committee for Maharastra, where the Assembly polls are scheduled later this year.
 
However, the Congress infighting is refusing to be subdued.
 
IANS
 

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Jyotiraditya Scindia: Leader who has put Congress on notice

Jyotiraditya Scindia (File photo: IANS)
Jyotiraditya Scindia (File photo: IANS)
The Congress high command is on tenterhooks as the ongoing power struggle between Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya  Singh over the selection of a new state party president threatens the very existence of the party in the state.
 
A rebellion has broken out in the state party ranks and sources told IANS that chances of Scindia leaving the grand old party cannot be discounted if he doesn't get the post himself or for a leader of his choice.
 
When Congress came to power in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years, Scindia was confident of being called in to helm the new government. But state Congress chief Kamal Nath prevailed over the party leadership, which made him the Chief Minister. 
 
A dejected Scindia was left licking his wounds. But now with the Congress looking for a new state party president, Scindia sees a chance for himself. Only that Kamal Nath wants his man in that seat.
 
Scindia has met Sonia Gandhi twice in this regard. Following his last meeting with the interim Congress chief, Kamal Nath was called to Delhi.
 
Meanwhile pro-Scindia factions -- including Datia district Congress president Ashok Dangi and Morena district chief Rakesh Mavai -- are openly threatening a revolt if Scindia is overlooked in the state party chief's selection. 
 
"Some state Congress leaders are finding it hard to digest Scindia's popularity and conspiring to keep him out of Madhya Pradesh," said Dangi. 
 
State Congress leaders are holding protests and posters have cropped up across MP demanding Scindia as Madhya Pradesh PCC chief. In all these posters, Scindia's photo overwhelms miniature images of Sonia and Rahul.
 
Though state Congress spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya has gone on record to claim that the party is going through a phase of intense dissatisfaction and imbalance, this unilateral rebellion by district party chiefs against the Congress high command is unimaginable without the backing of a leader (read Scindia).
 
The infighting within the MP Congress is not new. What's new though is the intensity of the rebellion that Scindia has mounted on the top Congress leadership. Though he says he has left it to the 'high-command' to decide upon the PCC chief's name, and will accept whatever its "decision", the reality is something else.
 
"If he is ignored, Scindia might leave the Congress and nothing can be said about what will happen then," a close Scindia aide told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
 
Sources say that out of Congress' 114 MLAs in MP, 25 are Scindia loyalists, and at least 15 of them will leave the party if he resigns. This will only destabilise the state's Congress government, which has a wafer-thin majority over the BJP.
 
Chances of Scindia's switch to the BJP also cannot be denied because his family shares a long and close association with the saffron party. From his grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia to aunts Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje Scindia -- all have been BJP leaders. 
 
Reports of Jyotiraditya Scindia having met BJP President Amit Shah in Delhi recently are already doing the rounds.
 
Congress' MP unit secretary Vikas Yadav said the party has only "used and thrown" Scindia. "He is pushed forward when there are elections, but ignored when it's time to recognise his contribution," he said.
 
Political analyst Shiv Anurag Pateria said: "The RSS and the BJP believe that the challenge posed by Congress between Gwalior-Chambal and Malwa will be over if Scindia joins the BJP." 
 
But the question remains, if snubbed by 10 Janpath, would Scindia make his way to 6 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg?
 
IANS

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Former Madhya Pradesh CM Babulal Gaur passes away

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Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Babulal Gaur died early on Wednesday at a hospital here following a prolonged illness. He was 89.
 
He was admitted to the hospital after his blood pressure dropped.
 
"Shri Babulal Gaurji served people for decades. From Jana Sangh days, he worked constantly to strengthen our party. As Minister and CM of Madhya Pradesh he undertook many efforts to transform the state. 
 
"Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Air compressor causes death of 6-year-old boy

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A six-year-old boy died inside a factory when its premises were being cleaned with an air compressor.
 
According to the police, the incident happened on Sunday when the child, Kanha, was playing with his sister inside the factory premises. 
 
Sanjay Shukla, the SHO of Bhanwarkuan police station, said: " A labourer, Amar, was cleaning the dust accumulated over the gunny bags kept inside the factory with the help of an air compressor when the high pressure air from it filled the mouth of the child. After some time the child complained of stomach ache. He was taken to the M Y Hospital where he died."
 
According to police, Amar is absconding and they are searching for him. Amar originally hails from Odisha.
 
The distraught family is unable to comprehend the situation and is seeking the truth in the case. 
 
IANS
 

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Congress says its Madhya Pradesh MLAs not on sale, gets two from BJP

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Two BJP MLAs on Wednesday cross-voted in favour of the ruling Congress to help pass a Bill on prevention of mob lynching in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The House was adjourned sine die after the bill was passed.
 
Embarrassed Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava said he will discuss the issue later. Wednesday's developments bring to an end the speculation over the survival of Kamal Nath government, especially in the wake of developments in Karnataka. 
 
The two BJP legislators -- Sharad Kol of Beohari and Narayan Tripathi of Maihar -- are reportedly joining the Congress. Tripathi, who has been elected from Maihar several times, is a known party-hopper and has been in the Samajwadi Party and the Congress earlier. Kol of Shahdol has also been in the Congress earlier. 
 
A triumphant Congress later expressed hope there will more arrivals from the BJP. "Some more BJP MLAs are in touch with (Chief Minister) Kamal Nath. Let us wait and watch," said a party leader.
 
Kamal Nath had earlier challenged the Opposition to try and buy out the ruling party legislators in this state. Responding to Bhargava's boast: "We can bring down the government the moment the No 1 and 2 leaders give a go-ahead", he retorted: "Your No 1 and 2 have the wisdom not to give you the go-ahead." 
 
"Everyone knows about the skills of your No 1 and No 2. Our government will complete five years. If you are so sure, why don't you bring a no-confidence motion right away?"
 
"Instead of this everyday clamour of keeping the minority government at its mercy, the opposition should hold a no-trust vote right away. We are prepared for it, here and now. Is the Opposition ready?" he asked.
 
While discussing a calling attention motion on Medicity brought by Congress members Rajyvardhan Singh Dattigaon, Kunal Chaudhary and Vinay Saxena, Kamal Nath said that the BJP has been making such claims right from the day his government took office. "Let me make it clear the Opposition's claims are bogus and our MLAs are not for sale." 
 
Amid thumping of desks by the ruling coalition members, he said that this government is here for five years and Madhya Pradesh will create history by setting up new benchmarks of development bringing prosperity to every class.
 
Making first-person remarks for a long time, Kamal Nath said that that he had maintained certain probity in his political life and tried to set an example. He said no one has raised questions or made any allegations in his 45 years of political life.
 
"I have been an MP for 40 years and was a Minister of several departments at the Centre. I have always tried to keep my political life clean. As a minister, I have always protected the interests of people of Madhya Pradesh."
 
The Chief Minister said that as Union Commerce Minister, he took care of the interests of farmers in the WTO and did not compromise. 
 
As Minister of Urban Development, he had given Madhya Pradesh the highest amount of money for the development of the cities, he said. "It is a record. When I was the Environment Minister, I made available the funds for the development of the Bhopal lake and benefitted the state by changing the transport rules while being Transport Minister. It was appreciated even by the then Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan."
 
"When I was questioned about the decision to sell the airplane of the state government, I felt great pain and sorrow," he said, adding that the decision was not his. 
 
"It was the government of Shivraj Singh. His cabinet had decided it. We just implemented that decision."
 
Kamal Nath said that Chouhan has this habit of making allegations but he was not used to hearing such accusations. "I haven't done anything to be questioned by people. It hurts if someone blames me needlessly.
 
"I do not resort to television and media politics. I do not have the passion to show face and print photos. If any section of the state is in crisis, then I try to resolve the issue immediately and bring relief. This, I believe, is true sensitivity to people."
 
IANS
 

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Man lynched in Madhya Pradesh for 'stealing peacocks'

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A 58-year-old man was beaten to death by a mob in Madhya Pradesh's Neemuch district on suspicion of stealing peacocks, police said on Saturday. Nine people have been arrested in connection with the case.
 
Police also said that they have recovered four peacock carcasses following the incident in Lasuriya Aatri village on Friday night.
 
Kukdeshwar police station's Inspector Anuradha Grewal told IANS that the mob thrashed three people for stealing peacocks, leading to the death of one of them -- Heera Lal -- on way to the hospital.
 
According to the police officer, the peacock carcasses were recovered from the three people, while nine of the 10 accused in the lynching had been arrested.
 
In recent days, three people were beaten in Neemuch and their motorcycle set ablaze after accusations they had stolen a goat. Police have arrested eight people in this connection.
 
Concerned at the rising incidence of mob violence in the state, Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Saturday said that his government is looking at bringing an anti-lynching law.
 
IANS
 

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Raj Thackeray holds meeting with Sonia in Delhi

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Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray met UPA Chairperson and senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi here on Monday.
 
According to Congress leaders, Thackeray met Gandhi at her residence here and their meeting lasted for over 30 minutes.
 
Party leaders described the meeting as a courtesy call.
 
The meeting assumes significance as Assembly elections in Maharashtra are scheduled later this year.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Special court grants bail to Akash Vijayvargiya

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Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya, who was arrested for assaulting a civic official in Indore with a cricket bat, was granted bail by a special court on Saturday.
 
Additional Sessions Judge Suresh Singh granted bail to Vijayvargiya, son of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, in two cases -- assault and leading a protest without permission, district court prosecution public relation officer (PRO) Yogesh Tiwari said.
 
Granting bail, the court asked the MLA to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 50,000 in the assault case and Rs 20,000 in the other case. 
 
Seeking bail for their clients, Vijayvargiya's lawyers said according to a Supreme Court order, the offences which do not invite jail term of 7 years were bailable from police stations.
 
They contended that the MLA has been framed falsely. He has been falsely implicated with an aim to sully his image, they argued.
 
Opposing the bail plea, district prosecution officer Rajendra Upadhyaya said the MLA's act was pre-meditated and was unbecoming of a lawmaker. He countered the defence argument that it was an emotional outburst.
 
People have elected him to make laws not to take the law into his own hands in a public place, Upadhyaya said. "Bail to him will send a wrong signal to the society," he contended.
 
The prosecution said that, in fact, Parliament had made sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty)of IPC under which Vijayvargiya has been accused, non-bailable in 2005.
 
Besides, the MLA has been accused under sections 294 (abusing), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting), 148 (armed with deadly weapons) and 427 (causing damage to property) of IPC.
 
He was booked on Wednesday on different counts. Later Vijayvargiya was charged under two more sections 332 and 427 of IPC.
 
In another case for which he was officially arrested in judicial custody on Thursday, Akash has been charged under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC. He had led and organised a protest against power cuts on June 4 without taking the permission from the authorities.
 
On Thursday, the Indore sessions court refused to hear his bail plea, saying it had no jurisdiction and he should approach the special court set up in Bhopal to hear the cases against MPs and MLAs.
 
On a notification of the Supreme Court, special courts have been set up in several states for a speedy hearing of cases against legislators.
 
IANS
 

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