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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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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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MLA attacks civic official with cricket bat, arrested

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Akash Vijayvargiya, an MLA from the Indore III constituency and son of BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who thrashed a civic official with a cricket bat in full public view here on Wednesday morning, was arrested and produced in the district court.
 
Akash Vijayvargiya beat the municipal corporation zonal officer Dhirendra Bayas with a cricket bat. Bayas' colleague Asit Khare along with the Municipal Commissioner Ashish Singh have also filed complaints against the MLA. 
 
A case has been registered against him under sections 353, 294, 506, 147, 148 for obstruction, assault and rioting and obstructing government work. Akash was presented in the court of magistrate Gaurav Garg. 
 
The MLA was put through a medical examination in the government hospital before arrest. His supporters created noisy scenes before the court.
 
Eyewitnesses said a team of the municipal corporation officials had reached the Ganji Compound area to pull down some dilapidated houses declared dangerous by the corporation. 
 
The residents had been alerted about the plan to pull down the houses that could collapse during the rain.
 
The municipal authorities said the MLA was told about the risk faced by the residents of the houses which were sought to be demolished. The MLA had claimed the houses were not dilapidated.
 
The residents had reportedly informed the MLA about the possible action by Indore Municipal Corporation. They had also threatened the corporation officials to leave the area in five minutes or prepare for dire consequences. They stoned the machinery that was brought to pull down the houses.
 
There were altercations between the corporation officials and the legislator. 
 
The goons accompanying the legislator had apparently informed the media about the possible misadventure before assaulting the corporation staff. During the entire incident, the media cameras remained focused on the MLA and recorded the entire incident. 
 
A video of the incident also went viral on the social media.
 
Akash Vijayvargiya came from behind the official who was talking on the phone and started hitting him. The police force deployed there remained mute witnesses. The public tried to snatch the bat from the MLA. 
 
The MLA continued to hit the official before the police finally rescued him. 
 
Later, Vijayvargiya reached the MG Road Police Station along with his supporters. 
 
Another local BJP MLA Ramesh Maindola and his supporters also reached the police station 
 
The MLA and his cohorts were unrepentant over the incident. Akash Vijayvargiya, while boasting of the episode told journalists that "in the BJP, we've been taught, pehle aavedan, phir nivedan aur phir danadan. (first request and then attack)".
 
"I am an elected representative. It is my responsibility to sort out the issues between the residents and the authorities. I was making every effort. But the civic body officials were indulging in hooliganism and weren't listening to the people," Akash said.
 
"I was very angry. I don't remember what all I did. Let's see what happens," he added. He said there were no women members in the team of the civic body officials who went to the residential building during the anti-encroachment drive. He also alleged that the officers dragged the women residents and verbally abused one of them.
 
An FIR has been registered against Vijayvargiya and he has been booked for assault and obstructing public servants from performing their duties. 
 
The police have also taken the statements of the two civic body officials.
 
Home Minister Bala Bachhan said: "You see, this is the real face and character of the BJP. They can't control their public representative. This is their conspiracy. We will take strict action against them."
 
Maindola, a close supporter of Kailash Vijayvargiya demanded police investigation against the municipal corporation authorities. All employees stopped work as soon as the news about the incident spread to the other offices of the municipal corporation.
 
After the dispute, the employees' leader, Umakant Kale, stopped the work of all the departments.
 
A brief meeting was held in the corporation amid a huge ruckus. The councillors supporting the BJP forced the meeting to end. 
 
The Congress councillors have remained silent over the episode.
 
IANS
 
 

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8-year-old's rape and murder stuns Bhopal

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Amid the ongoing furore over a child's rape and brutal killing in Aligarh, a similar incident was reported from Bhopal, where the body of an eight-year-old girl was recovered from a drain in Kamla Nagar area on Sunday.
 
Police said an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), a head constable and four constables have been suspended for ill-treating the victim's parents when they went to lodge a complaint. 
 
According to the police, the minor, a resident of Mandwa Basti in Kamla Nagar Police Station area, left her home on Saturday evening to fetch some grocery. When she did not return till late night, her parents, who work as labourers, reached the police to lodge a report but they refused.
 
The police got active only after receiving a call from the area's corporator around 11 p.m. The girl's body was recovered from a drain on Sunday morning. The post-mortem report revealed the child was strangled to death after the rape. 
 
Public Relations Minister P. C. Sharma who visited the hospital after the incident admitted the child's life could have been saved had the police acted promptly.
 
Additional Superintendent of Police, Akhil Patel said the police personnel have been suspended for not taking immediate action on the complaint. 
 
State Home Minister Bala Bachchan said a suspect who lived near the victim's house has been identified. But since he was absconding, his family members have been detained. All out efforts are being made to arrest him. 
 
This is the second such incident in Madhya Pradesh in two days. Another minor girl was raped and killed in Ujjain on Friday. The accused was arrested on Saturday.
 
Newly-elected MP Pragya Thakur visited the victim's family and expressed grief over the tragedy. She also demanded strict action against the accused.
 
Chief Minister Kamal Nath has assured quick action and all help to the family.
 
IANS
 

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Madhya Pradesh farmers begin 3-day stir, supplies affected

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Milk and vegetable supplies in Madhya Pradesh are likely to be affected with farmers in the state holding a three-day protest to press the Kamal Nath government to fulfil its loan waiver promise.
 
Madhya Pradesh's Congress government had promised to waive farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh ahead of the Assembly elections. 
 
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) state chief Anil Yadav said the promise was yet to be fulfilled, as many farmers were still getting notices from banks threatening to declare them defaulters. 
 
The farmers are also asking for implementation of the Swaminathan panel recommendations and minimum support price (MSP) for their produce.
 
Protesters said supplies were disrupted in Dewas, Dhar, Ujjain and Rajgarh on the first day of the stir on Wednesday. 
 
State Agriculture Minister Sachin Yadav met the protesting farmers on Tuesday evening, but failed to persuade them to end the demonstration. BKU leaders insisted that they wanted to meet the Chief Minister to discuss their demands. 
 
IANS
 

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BJP hands crushing defeat to Congress in MP

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The Congress humiliation is complete. Madhya Pradesh joined the other heartland states in bowing to the Modi brand of "nationalism" by handing all but one of the 29 Lok Sabha seats to the BJP. Barring Chhindwara that returned the sole Congress candidate Nakul Nath, the BJP swept all including the Guna seat.
 
The Congress had won the two seats of Chhindwara and Guna in 2014. In the next year's bye-election, Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria wrested back the Ratlam-Jhabua seat to take the tally to three.
 
It will be the first time that Lok Sabha will be without a member from the Scindia family from erstwhile Gwalior state. Even more humiliating for the Scindias is the defeat of a scion at the hands of a former worker of the Congress and old fan of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Krishnapal Yadav. 
 
Scindia was projected as a popular choice as a youthful Chief ministerial candidate in the run-up to the assembly elections last year. He failed to vindicate that tag. 
 
Kantilal Bhuria, the former Union Minister who had won a bye-election in 2015 to raise the Congress tally to 3 out of 29, seems to have lost his hold on the constituency. This would be Bhuria's second defeat in his career.
 
Kamal Nath, who retained the PCC chief's post even after becoming the chief minister, is now being accused of focusing on personal interest. Kamal Nath now makes a debut in the assembly. But the BJP is already baying for his blood. The state BJP chief who just retained his Jabalpur Lok Sabha seat has already demanded Kamal Nath's resignation on moral grounds. 
 
There are murmurs within the Congress too on why Kamal Nath was allowed to retain two posts. But given the frictions in the Congress, it would be hard to believe the results would be any different particularly after the Modi undercurrent swept all states.
 
Chhindwara had remained loyal to the Congress bastion even during the earlier sweep that was witnessed 42 years ago. In the elections held in 1977 to mark the end of the Emergency, the undivided Madhya Pradesh had returned 39 Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) candidates while Congress had to be content with only Chhindwara. The winner for the Congress in that poll was Gargi Shankar Mishra. 
 
After the carving out of Chhattisgarh, which got 11 of the 40 seats from the mother-state, the sole Madhya Pradesh seat going to Congress out of 29 is Chhindwara. With an improved performance over 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has tossed up quite a few questions about the Congress' strategy and its execution in Madhya Pradesh. Nakul, son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has defeated his BJP rival Nattanshah Kawreti in Chhindwara.
 
The Congress owes its supporters an explanation for frittering away in less than six months the advantage of returning to power after 15 years. Chief Minister Kamal Nath showed a lot of restraint to turn an unruly organisation into a fighting unit. But he has apparently fallen short of expectations in an election that was fought on emotive issues rather than political logic and public issues. The current election will be remembered for polarisation, acrimony and unprecedented tension.
 
The complete failure of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi to make an impact in the state may have surprised even the BJP supporters. Rahul Gandhi had made seven trips to the state and Priyanka one over the past two months.
 
The Congress had many chinks in its armour. It was said the Congress had won the assembly elections in spite of itself because factionalism was rampant when it squared up against a considerably weakened BJP -- thanks to Shivraj Singh's inept third stint. 
 
Now the even the ruling party members privately concede the Congress markedly benefited from the BJP's incumbency. Many faces of the BJP had put off the voter. The strategy to replace most of the old hands, including some sitting MPs, seems to have worked wonders for the BJP. But many pollsters say the candidates of the party did not matter this time around. It was just brand Modi that counted.
 
IANS
 

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BJP spokesperson calls Gandhi 'father of the nation of Pakistan', suspended

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The BJP on Friday suspended party spokesperson from Madhya Pradesh Anil Soumitra from its primary membership for calling Mahatma Gandhi the "father of the nation of Pakistan".
 
In a Facebook post earlier in the day, Soumitra wrote: Mahatma Gandhi was the father of the nation, but of Pakistan. India has had crores of sons like him, some worthy, some unworthy."
 
Quizzed about the post, Soumitra told reporters: "Nobody known or unknown has the honour of being the father of India. So Mahatma Gandhi could be the father of the nation, but of Pakistan. Everyone is proud to be the son of the Indian motherland." 
 
Soumitra's remark came a day after BJP candidate from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya told reporters during a road show in Agar-Malwa: "Nathuram Godse was a patriot, is a patriot and will remain a patriot. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within. Such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections." 
 
She later apologised for her "personal remarks". "I respect Mahatma Gandhi, his contribution to the country cannot be forgotten. If my statement has hurt anyone, I apologise for it. My intention was not to hurt anyone, I was misquoted," she said.
 
IANS
 

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Pragya calls Godse 'deshbhakt', BJP seeks public apology as Congress attacks

BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday kicked up a major row by describing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "deshbhakt" (patriot), a comment which her party immediately condemned and asked her to apologise for her remark.
Pragya Singh Thakur  (Photo: IANS)
Pragya Singh Thakur (Photo: IANS)
BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday kicked up a major row by describing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "deshbhakt" (patriot), a comment which her party immediately condemned and asked her to apologise for her remark.
 
In response, Thakur only said: "Apne sangathan BJP mein nishtha rakhti hun, uski karyakarta hum aur party ki line meri line hai (I have faith in my organisation BJP, am its worker and the party's line is my line." 
 
The comment by Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, provided fodder to the Opposition Congress to target the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
"Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within. Such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections," Thakur told reporters in Bhopal.
 
She was commenting on the recent remarks of actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) president Kamal Haasan who called Godse the first Hindu terrorist of Independent India. "The first terrorist post-Independence was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu. It started from there. He killed Mahatma Gandhi," Haasan had said.
 
Unhappy over Thakur's controversial comment, the BJP immediately condemned it.
 
"We completely disagree with the statement she has made with regard to Mahatma Gandhi and we strongly condemn it. The BJP will ask her why she made such a statement. It would be proper for her to tender a public apology for this objectionable statement," BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao told reporters at the party headquarters in Delhi.
 
BJP media cell in-charge for Madhya Pradesh Lokendra Parashar said: "The BJP does not agree with her statement. The party will find out about the circumstances in which she made this statement. One who killed Mahatma Gandhi can't be a patriot."
 
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Slamming the BJP for Thakur's comment, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala called it an "insult to the country" and said "India's soul is under attack from the successors of Nathuram Godse, the BJP ruling dispensation."
 
He said the "BJP leaders are describing the murderer of the Father of the Nation as a true nationalist. This is an insult to the country and an attack on Gandhi's ideology."
 
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who is pitted against Thakur in Bhopal, termed her comment as "sedition" and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
 
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, asked: "If the killer of the father of the nation is a patriot does that make Gandhi an anti-national?"
 
It is not the first controversy that Thakur has been embroiled in. She had earlier said that Maharashtra ATS officer Hemant Karkare, who had interrogated her in the Malegaon case and was later killed during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, had died due to her "curse."
 
Thakur had also said that she was happy for her role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Her comments had earned her a 72-hour-long ban on campaigning ahead of polling for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat on May 12.
 
Following this, the BJP had to keep restraining her and insulate her from direct media interactions. 
 
IANS
 

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Will never insult Modi's parents in return, says Rahul

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
Citing the attacks on the Nehru-Gandhi family by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 campaign, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday vowed that he will not insult the BJP leader's parents in return.
 
"Narendra Modi talks of hatred, insults my father (late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi), speaks about my grandmother (late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi), my great-grandfather (former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru) but I will, all my life, will never speak about his family or his parents. I will die but never insult his mother or father," he said at rallies for party candidates in Neemuch area of Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, Tarana in Ujjain and Khandwa parliamentary constituencies.
 
"I am not a member of the RSS or the BJP, but of the Congress. They (Modi and the BJP) may send as much hate and anger they want my way, but I will answer it with love. I will embrace him warmly. We will defeat Modi with love. We defeated him in and the BJP Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh with love," he said.
 
On former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's questioning of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government's farmer loans waiver, Gandhi again cited how Chouhan's own brother and relatives had benefitted from it.
 
"Congress has waived loans of everyone, we treat everyone with love... be it someone from the BJP or the Congress, everyone eligible has had their loans waived. 
 
"If Narendra Modi has a 56-inch chest, we have a 56-inch heart," he said.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi mocks Modi's 'cloud cover' remark

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Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his 'cloud cover' theory on the Balakot air strike, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday asked Modi if all planes go out of the radar screen when it rains in India.
 
Addressing an election rally here, Gandhi said: "Modi says that air force officials said that the weather was bad to carry out the air strike in Balakot. Modiji told the officers that the weather was favourable as clouds would not allow the (Pakistani) radar to spot our planes. Modiji, please tell us, when there is rain and storm in India, do all the planes go out of the radar screen?"
 
The Congress President also accused the Modi government of doing injustice to the people and said Congress' NYAY scheme will cure this injustice.
 
"Five crore families will be benefited under the scheme. Demonetization and GST have destroyed the economy, NYAY will improve it.
 
"Thousands of industries were shut due to demonetization and the GST, unemployment also rose. But as soon as people will get the money under the scheme, economy will improve."
 
IANS
 

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Priyanka stops her cavalcade to wish pro-Modi supporters

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Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday took BJP supporters by surprise: she shook hands with them as they raised pro-Modi slogans.
 
The Congress leader, who had arrived in the city to hold a five km-long road show for the party's candidate Pankaj Sanghvi, was leaving the airport when some BJP supporters raised pro-Modi slogans.
 
The Congress general secretary, who is party in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh, then stopped her cavalcade and stepped out of her black Tata Safari SUV and went among the BJP supporters.
 
She shook hands with them and said 'aap apni jagah aur mai apni jagah (you are where you are and I am where I am). All the Best'.
 
The BJP supporters who were taken by surprise at the simplicity of the Congress leader wished her all the best.
 
The Congress leader then kicked off her road show from Raj Mohalla area of the city accompanied by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
 
The Congress leader earlier in the day also broke security protocol during a public meeting in Ratlam Lok Sabha constituency when she jumped off wooden fencing and got closer to the women party supporters to posed for selfies with them.
 
IANS
 

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Stray dogs kill minor boy in Bhopal

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A six-year-old boy was attacked and killed by stray dogs while he was playing near his house in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal, police said.
 
The incident took place on Friday evening when the child was playing near his house in Sangam Colony. When he did not return home, his mother got worried and went out to search for him and found that stray dogs were clawing at him.
 
While the mother was trying to save the boy, she also got injured but was successful in shooing away the dogs. 
 
But the child was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
 
Awadhpuri Police Station in-charge M. L. Bhati told reporters that police is taking strict action on the complaint of the victim's family. 
 
IANS
 

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