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Bhopal

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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IndiGo adds Bhopal and Jabalpur as new destinations

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo has announced plans to introduce non-stop flights on the Bhopal-Hyderabad and Jabalpur-Hyderabad routes with effect from January 2019.
 
A press release from the airline said it would also introduce a fourth daily return flight between Hyderabad and Tirupati.
 
Bhopal and Jabalpur will be the airline's 65th and 66th destinations and the third city in Madhya Pradesh after Indore that it will fly to.
 
Mr William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to announce Bhopal and Jabalpur as our 65th and 66th destinations effective January 2019. We will operate daily non-stop flights from Bhopal and Jabalpur to connect these cities with Hyderabad. We will also be introducing a 4th daily return flight between Hyderabad and Tirupati.” 
 
“IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers...," he added.
 
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Assembly polls: Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram witness 75% polling

 
MP Assembly Elections: 5 cr voters to decide fate of state as polling begins
More than 75 percent of the electors in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram voted amidst tight security today to choose new legislative assemblies in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram -- two of the five states where crucial elections are being held just months of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
Election Commission of India (ECI) officials said in New Delhi that 75% polling was recorded till 6 pm in 227 of the 230 constituencies as compared to 72.13% in the 2013 Assembly elections.
 
In the three Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected constituencies of Baihar, Lalji and Paraswada, where polling was held from 7 am to 3 pm, the percentage of polling was reported as 78%, 79% and 80.06%, respectively.
 
The officials said that Mizoram recorded 75% voting by the close of polling at 5 pm. The state had recorded 83.41% polling in 2013.
 
The final voting figures in both states could go up slightly after information from all the polling booths in all the constituencies become available, they said. 
 
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, 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. 
 
According to senior police officials, around 11,100 security personnel comprising central paramilitary and state security forces were deployed across the state to ensure smooth polling and prevent any untoward incident.
 
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. 
 
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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.
 
IANS adds:
 
Officials said the highlight of the day in Mizoram was that over 10,000 elederly voters exrcised their franchise with a 108-year old man, 106-year old woman on wheel chair and 103-year-old man coming out to vote. 
 
In the case of Madhya Pradesh, violence was reported in a few places in Bhind district. 
 
Two persons were arrested in a firing incident near an election booth in Bhind, police said. 
 
Several Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioned, which were replaced by the poll panel officials. The Election Commission also announced that Rs 10 lakh each would be paid to its officials who died during the voting exercise. 
 
The highlight of the day in Madhya Pradesh was the voting by a 101-year-old woman, who exercised her franchise in Agar Malwa district.
 
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Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram to vote on Wednesday

Madhya Pradesh will vote on Wednesday to either give the BJP a fourth successive term in power notwithstanding anti-incumbency or give a chance to the challenger Congress to break the saffron party's monopoly over power for the last 15 years.

Polling officials checking Electronic Voting Machines on the eve of Mizoram Assembly elections, at a distribution centre at Pachhunga University College in Aizawl, Mizoram on November 27, 2018.
Polling officials checking Electronic Voting Machines on the eve of Mizoram Assembly elections, at a distribution centre at Pachhunga University College in Aizawl, Mizoram on November 27, 2018.
Madhya Pradesh will vote on Wednesday to either give the BJP a fourth successive term in power notwithstanding anti-incumbency or give a chance to the challenger Congress to break the saffron party's monopoly over power for the last 15 years.
 
Similarly, voters in Mizoram will also exercise their franchise on Wednesday to elect a new Assembly in which the Congress is striving for a third successive term against a stiff challenge from the Mizo National Front headed by former Chief Minister Zoramthanga. 
 
Mizoram, one of the four states where the Congress is in power at present besides Punjab and the Union Territory of Puducherry and part of a coalition in Karnataka, is the last remaining bastion for Congress in the northeast.
 
The campaign has been high decibel, often marked by bitter personal attacks, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi leading the charge of their parties. 
 
In Madhya Pradesh, the contest is mainly between the BJP and Congress though the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party are also in the fray. 
 
Apart from Modi's appeal, the BJP is banking on the image of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and its organisational structure. Party President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley campaigned in the state. 
 
The Congress put up a spirited fight by raising issues concerning people and putting up a united fight by keeping the issue of leadership at bay. 
 
Rahul Gandhi sought to rejuvenate the state unit by appointing Kamal Nath as the party chief in April this year and naming Jyotiraditya Scindia, MP, as the campaign chief. 
 
Congress leaders have sought to highlight the problems of farmers, the poor, middle class and youths in their rallies holding, especially holding demonetisation and GST as the reasons for the agrarian distress and traders' plight. 
 
Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi and his government on issues of corruption and promises made in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and by Shivraj Chauhan in the 2013 elections. He has promised a farm loan waiver within 10 days of Congress coming power. 
 
National issues issues like surgical strike, construction of Ram temple, caste and dynasty were raised with the campaign barely revolving around the issue the development. 
 
Modi attacked the Congress on corruption, dynasty politics and several other issues and gave accounts of the achievements of the state and his own government.
 
Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded candidates for all 230 seats while the Congress is contesting in 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for Sharad Yadav-led LJD.
 
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting 51 seats. There are 1,102 independent candidates.
 
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The keenly watched constituency will be Budhni, the home turf of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The Congress has pitted former Union minister and former Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arun Yadav against him. 
 
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 comprising the third gender -- will decide the fate of the candidates. 
 
In Mizoram, the fight is largely between the Congress and the Mizo National Front though the BJP is also seeking to make its presence felt. The BJP has made deep inroads in the northeast since the Modi government came to power at the Centre in 2014 and its performance in the Christian majority state will be keenly watched. 
 
In the battle for supremacy in the election to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of the Congress is seeking a hat-trick. He claims there is no incumbency against his government.
 
A total of 209 candidates are in the fray in Mizoram. 
 
The Congress has fielded 40 candidates while the BJP and MNF are contesting in 39 and 40 constituencies, respectively.
 
The Chief Minister is contesting from two seats -- Serchhip and Champhai South. The Congress has been in power since Mizoram became a full-fledged state in 1987, except for 10 years from 1998 to 2008. 
 
Around 7.7 lakh voters will decide the fate of 209 candidates.
 
Counting of votes in both the states, along with three other states -- Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana -- will be held on December 11.
 
IANS
 

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Chouhan's son files defamation case, Rahul says he got confused

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's son Kartikey on Tuesday filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi who linked his name to the Panama papers, but the Congress President clarified he got "confused" due to "scams" in BJP state governments and was referring to the son of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh.
 
Gandhi's faux pas during a rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh on Monday has become a political issue with Chouhan and BJP leaders commenting on it. 
 
The Congress President told reporters during an informal interaction in Indore on Tuesday that he had made allegations against the son of the Chief Minister in relation to the Panama papers, but it actually related to the alleged charges against the son of the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister. 
 
"So many scams have taken place in BJP state governments that I got confused. The name of son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is not there in Panama papers. But Vyapam and e-tendering scams have taken place in his rule," Gandhi said. 
 
Panama Papers refers to the leak of millions of files from the database of the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm Mossak Fonseca that helped in setting up off-shore entities. 
 
Kartikey on Tuesday filed a defamation case against Gandhi in a special court in Bhopal. His lawyer Shirish Shrivastava told reporters that case has been filed because Rahul Gandhi has attempted to defame Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his son during his remarks at a rally in Jabhua. He alleged that it was part of a plan and Gandhi wanted to reap political benefit from his remarks. 
 
Shrivastava said that Chouhan and his son have nothing to do with the Panama papers leak case. He said media clippings and a video of Gandhi's remarks have been submitted with the complaint. 
 
Addressing the rally, Gandhi had said that the name of Chouhan's son is there in the Panama papers leaks. He had said that a Prime Minister of Pakistan lost his post on this issue "but nothing happened here despite name of son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister being there". 
 
Chouhan told reporters on Tuesday that Gandhi would not have made the comments without giving it a thought.
 
"Rahul Gandhi is not a small or a street-level leader. Hence the remarks would not have been made without thought," he said. 
 
Asked about Rahul Gandhi accepting his mistake and if the matter of defamation will be pursued, he said if Rahul Gandhi accepts the mistake publicly only then would they think about it. 
 
IANS
 

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Cabinet approves Bhopal Metro Rail Project comprising two corridors

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved implementation of the Bhopal Metro Rail Project comprising two corridors of total length 27.87 km which will connect major public nodes and city cluster areas of Bhopal.
 
The corridors are Karond Circle to AIIMS (14.99 km) and Bhadbhada Square to Ratnagiri Tiraha (12.88 km), an official press release said.
 
The Karond-AIIMS corridor will be mostly elevated and partly underground (at Bhopal Railway Station & Bus Station) with 16 stations (14 elevated and two underground).
 
The Bhadbhada-Ratnagiri Tiraha corridor has 14 stations and the entire line is elevated.
 
The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 6941.40 crore. It will be completed in four years.
 
The population of 23 lakh of Bhopal agglomeration area is expected to be benefitted by Bhopal Metro Rail Project directly and indirectly. The corridors will be having multi-modal integration with railway stations and BRTS Stations and will have feeder network of bus, Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT). 
 
The project will have non-fare box revenue from rental and advertisement as well as Value Capture Financing (VCF) through the mechanism of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Transfer of Development Rights (TDR).
 
The Karond-AIIMS corridor will pass through the heart of the city and connect densely populated areas with Bus Station, Railway Stations and AIIMS. The Bhadbhada-Ratnagiri corridor will connect upcoming Smart City's Area Based Development (ABD) with BFIEL and surrounding industrial areas. 
 
A special purpose vehicle (SPV), namely Madhya Pradesh Metro Rail Co Ltd. (MPMRCL), has been constituted for implementation of the project. The financing of Bhopal Metro Rail Project will be partly from the Centre and the State on an equal equity basis and partly as a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
 
DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH, in consortium with Louis Berger SAS and Geodata Engineering S.p.A has been appointed as General Consultant (GC) for the project. The tenders for first civil work package have been invited and work will start soon, the release added.
 
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ADB to provide $150 million loan for Global Skills Park in Madhya Pradesh

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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $150 million loan agreement here today to establish a Global Skills Park (GSP) in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The GSP will be the first Multi-Skills Park in India and will enhance the quality of Technical and Vocational Education And Training (TVET) System in the State and create a more skilled workforce, an official press release said.
 
The signatories to the Madhya Pradesh Skills Development Project were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Fund Bank and ADB), Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.
 
Mr Khare said that the project would help improve the quality and relevance of the State’s TVET programs and help impart advanced job-ready skills training of international standards that can meet the employment needs of the State’s emerging sectors.
 
Mr. Yokoyama said that the project would engage international TVET partners to support advanced training at the GSP who will bring global best practices in TVET management, training infrastructure, industry cooperation, and quality assurance.
 
The new GSP campus, which will be established in Bhopal will consist of core Advanced Training Institutes including the Centre for Occupational Skills Acquisition and the Center for Advanced Agricultural Training as well as other support services focusing on entrepreneurship, training of trainers, and skill-related research. The campus will have training facilities focusing on skills for manufacturing, service, and advanced agricultural jobs, benefitting about 20,000 trainees and trainers. 
 
The project will also help in modernizing 10 industrial training institutes across the state by renovating training infrastructure and upgrading skills courses to align with industry and market needs, the release added.
 
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Will waive farm loans within 10 days of coming to power: Rahul

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
Wooing farmers in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, party President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday promised to waive farm loans within 10 days of coming to power.
 
The Congress chief also said that once his party comes to power at the Centre, changes would be made to GST to reduce rates on items. 
 
"You remember that the Congress has waived the farm loans worth Rs 70,000 crore. You saw how we waived the farm loan of farmers in the state within 10 days after coming to power in Karnataka," Gandhi said addressing a public meeting here.
 
"If voted to power, we shall waive the farm loans of farmers within 10 days," he said.
 
Gandhi also said that he could never even think of lying and making false promises to people like depositing Rs 15 lakh in every account. 
 
He also said that the Congress after coming to power in the state would change the Gabbar Singh Tax to real GST.
 
"As soon as we come to power, we will change the 'Gabbar Singh Tax' into the real GST. We will implement one tax at lowest rates," he said, adding that the government would use its power to generate employment in the state," Gandhi said, who is on a two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh, where the elections are slated later this year.
 
Earlier in the day he visited the Kamta Nath temple, dedicated to Lord Ram, which is located in the forested hills of Kamadgiri and performed 'puja'. Gandhi had earlier also made a visit to the state on September 17 and held a road show in the state capital Bhopal. 
 
He also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi government over the Rafale fighter jet deal and dared him to break his silence in any of his public rallies. 
 
"The UPA government started the talks for 126 Rafale fighter jets from France. The UPA government gave the contract to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) so that the youths of the country would have got employment," he said. 
 
Slamming the Prime Minister, Gandhi said, "The UPA government negotiated the deal to buy per Rafale aircarft for Rs 526 crore. But then our Prime Minister, who is a chowkidaar (watchman) goes to France and changes the contract. He removes HAL and gives it to his friend who has a debt of Rs 45,000 crore to banks and who has not built a single aircraft in his life."
 
"And few days ago, even the former French President (Francois Hollande) said that the name of the Indian private firm was not taken by French government or the company which manufactures Rafale. But it was said to us by the Indian government and their Prime Minister that the contract needs to be given to the private firm," he alleged.
 
"The watchman let the theft of Rs 30,000 crore happen. The watchman is thief," he thundered. 
 
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Slamming the Prime Minister for his silence over the Rafale deal, Gandhi dared him to speak up why the offset contract was not given to HAL, why the deal was not discussed with the Defence Minister and why the ex-French President was now accusing him as a thief?
 
Gandhi also accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of speaking "untruth" on the Rafale deal issue. 
 
"In Parliament, the defence minister said the price of Rafale fighter plane cannot be disclosed due to secret pact. I met the French president (Emmanuel Macron), who said there is no such pact and the price can be disclosed," he said. 
 
Gandhi said that the prime minister spoke for one-and-a-half hours in Parliament but he did not speak on the Rafale issue. 
 
He also accused Modi of disregarding the hard work of people of India from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15 when he said "he changed the country in last four years".
 
The Congress chief also charged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of helping fugitive businessman, Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India for defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore escape from the country.
 
"Mallya escapes from country with Rs 9,000 crore. And before escaping the country he meet Finance Minister in Parliament and says to him that I am going to London," he said.
 
"But the Finance Minister did not inform the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate and let Mallya escape from country. And Modi also remains silent on that," he added. 
 
IANS
 

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Congress throwing muck, conspiring to topple me: Modi

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Amid a raging row over Rafale, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Congress of throwing muck and indulging in a campaign of slander and lies against him and of trying to form an "international alliance" to oust him.
 
He also slammed the main opposition party saying it has become so weak that it has to beg small parties to forge an alliance in the coming elections. 
 
"What has happened to the 125-year-old Congress? We have decided to fight elections on the issue of development, but they want to fight the election by breaking the society. They want to capture power through mischief. They want to use a handful of people to spread falsehood and storm of lies to capture power," he said, without referring directly to the Rafale jets deal on which the Congress has raised several questions. 
 
"Best wishes for their new path. But we are following the path of strong organisation," Modi said, addressing the 'Karyakarta Mahakumbh' in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. 
 
The Prime Minister said the Congress was not succeeding in getting allies and even if they get one, "I don't see them succeeding". 
 
"So they are trying to forge an alliance internationally. Now will a foreign country decide who will be the country's Prime Minister? After losing power, you have lost your balance," he said. 
 
Modi said that there should have been something left in the grand old party "but nothing is left there. Now Congress has become a burden. And saving the country from the Congress is the democratic duty of the people." 
 
He said it was time for the opposition to change itself. 
 
"I came to politics in 2001. Before that I was a working for the Sangh (RSS). But since then you used all your power to abuse me. You left no stone unturned to defame me. But the more you threw muck on me, the lotus blossomed more and more. And the people have rejected your claims repeatedly.
 
"The more muck they (Congress) throw, more lotuses will bloom, in every booth, every block, every village, every city and every corner of the country."
 
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The Prime Minister's stinging attack comes in the wake of Congress President Rahul Gandhi's sharp offensive against Modi, calling him a thief over the Rafale fighter deal after the former French President Francois Hollande's comment that the Indian government had pushed a private firm as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation. 
 
Modi echoed his ministers and party leaders to allege that Rahul Gandhi was in conspiracy with Pakistan to topple him. 
 
He alleged that the Congress had not done any introspection even after its shattering defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections because of the "arrogance" that the Prime Minister's post was reserved for the "family". 
 
"This alliance is due to the fear of defeat. It is not for the betterment of the country. 
 
"They have had so much arrogance that they would not have gone to smaller parties for alliances. But such is the condition that they have to beg for alliances now. If they would have done some introspection, then this condition of going and hugging, getting photographs clicked with leaders of parties, and begging for alliance would not have come.
 
"If destruction is written in their fate, then there is no need for us to cry."
 
He said the country was taking its place on global platforms. "The world is accepting India's iron will. I have come to tell you that elections are ahead and don't worry as our mantra of winning election is with us. We don't fight election with money and muscle power. But we win elections with people's power." 
 
Accusing the Congress of doing vote-bank politics, Modi said they did not support the cause of triple talaq. 
 
"Triple talaq is not accepted in many Islamic countries. But due to their vote bank politics here, even though their leader is a woman (Sonia Gandhi), they remained silent on the issue of supporting it."
 
IANS
 

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BJP committed to deport illegal migrants: Amit Shah

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is committed to rid the country of illegal migrants, party President Amit Shah said on Tuesday.
 
Speaking here at the party's 'Karyakarta Mahakumbh' ahead of the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and other states, Shah mentioned the National Register of Citizens in Assam in which over 40 lakh individuals were found to be "illegal". 
 
He said the Congress raised a lot of noise on the possible deportation of the migrants but "the BJP has decided that it will force them out". 
 
Shah urged the party members to create "strong winds" in favour of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh which can eventually turn into a "tsunami" in the general elections next year. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Rahul Gandhi kicks off MP poll campaign

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi arrived here on Monday for a roadshow as part of his election campaign in Madhya Pradesh.
 
He was received at the Bhopal's Raja Bhoj Airport by Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath, Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and other party leaders.
 
He started the roadshow from Lalghati Chowk in an open bus near the airport. He will pass through old city areas before reaching BHEL Dussehra Maidan. The roadshow will cover around 18 km. He will address party workers at 4 p.m.
 
Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are due this year along with Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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MP waterfall accident: 45 rescued, 6 missing

 
45 stranded people rescued from Sultangarh waterfalls in MP
 
 
After around 50 people were stranded at the Sultangarh waterfall in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district, police on Thursday said.  Around 45 people have been rescued while six are still missing.
 
The picnickers were stuck after the waterfall swelled suddenly on Wednesday. Thirty four people, who were standing on the river rocks got stuck, while 15 were washed away.
 
"The overnight rescue, which continued till 3 a.m. on Thursday managed to salvage 45 of those stranded on Independence Day. A missing report of six has been filed in Gwalior," Superintendent of Police Rajesh Hingarkar told IANS.
 
The rescue teams, including the Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), were sent several hours after the incident. 
 
The operation was stalled further till midnight due to heavy flow of water. It was only after the water receded that those stranded were taken out with the help of thick ropes.
 
The Indian Air Force also saved five lives but the IAF helicopter could not continue its operation due to darkness. 
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has thanked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman for their help.
 
IANS
 

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Six die as car falls into MP reservoir

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Six youths were killed when the car they were travelling in fell into a reservoir in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh, police said on Monday.
 
The incident took place on Sunday when the driver of the speeding car lost control over it. The youths were on their way to Kolar from Bhopal for a picnic.
 
The car could be taken out only on Monday after the water level in the reservoir subsided, Sehore Superintendent of Police Rajesh Chandel said.
 
IANS
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 
 
 
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Monsoon arrives in MP, heavy rains likely

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The monsoon has entered Madhya Pradesh covering Dhar, Alirajpur, Burhanpur, Barwani, Khargone, Jhabua and Khandwa districts and has brought heavy rains to the state capital, bringing down the mercury by a few notches.
 
The monsoon entered the state from the southwest side, the Met office said. In the past 24 hours, Indore has received 8.6 mm of rain, while Dhar 14.2 mm, Damoh 30 mm and Gwalior 3.8 mm.
 
The weather office has predicted heavy rains for Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Barwani and scattered rains at all other places with thunderstorms and lightning. Humidity was unusually high on Tuesday. 
 
A cyclonic circulation had developed over south Gujarat and Konkan region while a trough was extending from Gujarat to southwest Rajasthan. 
 
Bhopal recorded a maximum of 35.5 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 24.6 degree Celsius. Indore's maximum was 32.4 degree Celsius while it recorded a minimum temperature of 23.2 degree Celsius. Gwalior was at a high of 43 and a minimum of 24; and Jabalpur 36.8 and minimum 27.9 degrees Celsius.
 
IANS
 
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12 killed in MP road accident

 
13 dead in road mishap in MP's Morena
 
 
Twelve persons, including seven women, were killed early on Thursday when a jeep collided with a tractor in Madhya Pradesh's Morena district, police said.
 
The accident occurred when the jeep carrying members of a family to a funeral collided with the sand-laden truck on Ambah road. 
 
Eight others were injured, two of whom were said to be in critical condition.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Scientists unveil genome of India's national bird

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After a two-year-long effort, a team of researchers from IISER-Bhopal has been able to sequence the genome of India's national bird, the peacock (Pavo cristatus).

Knowledge of the genome can provide insight into the genetic reasons that enable peacocks to have ornate feathers and fly despite their weight -- two characteristics that have been puzzling scientists.

The researchers have made their findings publicly available on the research pre-print server bioRXiv (pronounced bio archive). They also hope to soon publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

The study revealed that the entire peacock genome consists of 1.1 billion base pairs (base pairs are units of DNA) and codes for a total of 15,970 genes. When these genes were compared with those of closely-related birds like chicken and turkey, the researchers found that up to 99 genes in peacocks are strikingly different.

Most of these "different" genes are involved in the early embryonic development or in providing immunity to the bird. These genes could also be the reason behind the "unusual size and structure of peacock feathers and its higher longevity", said lead researcher Vineet K. Sharma, an associate professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, IISER.

Guojie Zhang, one of the organisers of the B10K project, an initiative to sequence the genomes of all existing bird species by the year 2020, called the discovery of the 99 "different" genes "very exciting".

"It offers many candidate genes for understanding the unique feathers in peacocks. It could be interesting to see how these genes and their specific mutations control the morphology in peacocks," he said.

Peacocks live for 25 years, much longer than other closely-related birds such as the chicken, which live for 7-8 years, and the turkey, which lives for about 10 years. It is possible that the immunity-related genes unique to peacock help them ward off diseases much better than other birds and consequently have a longer life.

Peacocks also have a peculiar system of selecting sexual partners. Interestingly it's not the peacocks who choose, but the peahens. Studies have shown that, in making their choice, peahens are guided by the state of a peacocks feathers -- the number of eyespots, the iridescence of the feathers and even the manner in which the male displays its feathers.

A lot of studies have investigated the correlation between the number of eyespots and its suitability for a female partner. And it appears that, when the number of eyespots falls below a critical number, mating chances of a peacock fall too. Convinced with this line of study, Sharma said, the "eyespots are actually a measure of bird's immuno-competence".

Though more research may be required to prove this beyond doubt, it is likely that the feathers that make the bird seemingly unwieldy may actually be helping in better natural selection.

The sequence information also allowed the researchers to look at peacock's evolutionary history. The peacock population suffered at least two "bottlenecks" or population crashes, one around four million years ago, and the other 450,000 years ago. The reasons for these bottlenecks are, however, not clear.

"The study is an important first step to look at the evolution of peacock genome," said Zhang. The researchers have used the "short reads technology" for sequencing which does not produce a good genome assembly. "After this, the authors might want to improve their genome assembly so they could obtain more new insights on why the peacock is so different from other bird species," he added.

Going ahead, the IISER Bhopal team would work on experiments that elucidate the exact functional role of these genes to improve our understanding of "genotype-phenotype correlations for peacocks", said Shubham Jaiswal, another researcher associated with the study.

"We are also going to use the genome sequence data to derive the complete chromosomes for this species," he added.

This study has created the perfect opportunity to get a deeper understanding of our national bird. It has the potential to inform researchers studying various aspects of peacock's life and create better conservation strategies.

Immediate benefits aside, studies like this "help us to understand why birds are so different from other vertebrate species, such as, what makes them fly, why they have beaks but not tooth, why they have colourful feathers, why peacocks have elongated tails and eye spots on feathers, why penguins lost the ability to fly but can dive in the sea, why the hummingbirds are so tiny but ostriches so big in body size," said Zhang.

"Such genome-based forays into understanding birds have the potential to completely change our view of how birds evolve," he added.

IANS/ Mongabay .com

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A.P. Express coaches catch fire, none injured

 
Andhra Pradesh AC Superfast Express catches fire
 
 
At least two coaches of the A.P. Express caught fire near Birlanagar in Madhya Pradesh on Monday, officials said. No one was injured.
 
According to a Railway Ministry official, the fire was detected in the B-6 coach around 11.50 a.m. The fire then spread to the B-7 coach, Ved Prakash, a Railway Ministry spokesperson, told IANS.
 
Following the fire, the guard stopped the train and shifted the passengers of the B-6 and B-7 coaches to other coaches. The train then reached Gwalior, he said.
 
The train was on its way from Vishakapatnam to Hazrat Nizamuddin, the official said. An inquiry has been ordered into the accident.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Cabinet nod establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Bhopal

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The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) in Bhopal as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. 
 
The estimated cumulative cost of the project is Rs. 179.54 crore in the first three years. This includes non-recurring expenditure of Rs. 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs. 51 crore, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Cabinet also approved the proposal to create three Joint Secretary-level posts, which include one post of Director of the Institute and two posts of Professors.
 
The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation, it said.
 
The Institute will have nine Departments/Centres and will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post-graduate and M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation. Within a span of five years, the student intake of the institute in various courses is expected to be over 400.
 
The Government of Madhya Pradesh has allocated five acres of land in Bhopal for setting up of this Institute. The Institute will be established in three years in two phases. Within two years, the civil and electrical work of the institute will be completed. Simultaneously, during the construction of building, the Institute will run in a suitable rented building in Bhopal to conduct certificate/diploma courses and also OPD services. Subsequently, the Institute will provide complete set of rehabilitation services for persons with mental illness and conduct courses upto Master's degree and M.Phil.
 
NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation.  It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation and also help the Government to develop models for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness, the release added.
 
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Minor sexually assaulted, burnt alive in MP

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A minor girl was gang-raped and burnt alive in Khurai in Madhya Pradesh by her relative and his friend, following which one person was arrested, police said on Friday.
 
Additional Superintendent of Police Vikramjit Singh said the victim was sexually assaulted by her cousin and his friend in Jujharpur village in Bandri police station area when she was alone in her house on Thursday night. She was burnt alive after she resisted.
 
He said Ravinder has been arrested while Bharat is absconding. The accused were booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.
 
Home Minister Bhupender Singh, in whose Assembly segment the village falls, met the bereaved family and announced Rs 2 lakh aid.
 
IANS
 
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Four army trucks burnt in fire on goods train

 
Military vehicles burnt in fire on goods train in MP
 
 
Four army trucks were burnt to ashes in a fire on a goods train, which was also carrying ammunition and explosives, on Thursday on the Bhopal-Nagpur stretch in Madhya Pradesh, officials said.
 
The fire broke out while the train, on way from Bengaluru to Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad, was near Maramjhiri station between Betul and Itarsi junctions, an official said, adding the reasons for the blaze were yet to be ascertained.
 
Operations on the stretch were affected following the fire.
 
Betul District Collector Shashank Mishra told mediapersons that the fire, which swept across four bogies on which the trucks were being transported, had now been controlled, and while the trucks had been destroyed, the ammunition and explosives were safe. A decision on the forward movement of the train would be taken after consultations, he added. 
 
Government Railway Police Inspector Hemraj Kumre said that his team reached the spot on coming to know of the blaze and spent many hours dousing it.
 
Mishra, Superintendent of Police Saket Prakash Pandey and other senior officials have reached the spot, along with senior railway officials.
 
IANS
 
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Independent MLA joins BJP in Madhya Pradesh

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Independent MLA Dinesh Rai has joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh in the presence of state BJP President Rakesh Singh.
 
Rai, who represents Seoni constituency, joined the party on Thursday night.
 
The MLA said: "Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has done a lot for my constituency. So I joined the party."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Seven killed as bus overturns in Mandsaur district of MP

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At least seven people were killed and 26 others injured on Sunday when a bus overturned after the driver lost control of the vehicle in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district.
 
According to the injured, the vehicle was carrying more people than it could accommodate and the driver's recklessness led to the accident.
 
District Superintendent of Police Manoj Singh said: "The private bus was travelling towards Bhanupura from Mandsaur. The injured people have been hospitalised for treatment."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Coaches of passenger train derail in MP, no information of casualties

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Four coaches of a passenger train derailed in Madhya Pradesh's Katni district on Saturday night but there was no information about casualties, a railway official said.
 
The coaches of the 51675 Chopan Express, running between Katni and Chopan towns, derailed between the Piparia and Kaman stations in Katni, West Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Gunjan Gupta told IANS.
 
The incident occurred at 10.20 p.m., she said, adding further details were awaited.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Narrow escape for passersby after truck-jeep collision

 
Narrow escape for passersby after truck-jeep collision in MP
A major mishap was averted when a group of men in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar town had a narrow escape after a speeding truck collided with a jeep on Wednesday. 
 
The Madhya Pradesh Police took both the vehicles under custody and an investigation is underway. 
 
ANI
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Congress retains Chitrakoot Assembly seat in MP bye-election

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The Congress today retained the Chitrakoot seat in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly when its candidate Neelanshu Chaturvedi defeated the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Shankar Dayal Tripathi by a margin of 14,133 votes.
 
Mr. Chaturvedi secured 66,810 votes against 52,677 votes got by his rival when votes were counted in the bye-election for the seat today, Returning Officer A P Dwivedi said.
 
The seat had fallen vacant due to the  death on May 29 of Congress MLA Prem Singh, who had won the seat in the 2013 assembly elections by a margin of 10,970 votes. The seat has traditionally been a Congress stronghold.
 
The victory has come as a major morale booster for the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for 14 years. 
 
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