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Punjab

Congress wrests Gurdaspur in Punjab from BJP, its ally IUML retains Vengara in Kerala

In a morale booster for the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has wrested the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat from the BJP by a huge margin and its ally, the IUML, retained the Vengara Assembly seat in Kerala in bye-elections held on October 11.

 
Congress' Sunil Jakhar wins Gurdaspur LS bye-election
In a morale booster ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has wrested the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha  seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a huge margin and its ally, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), retained the Vengara Assembly seat in Kerala in bye-elections held on October 11.
 
Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar drubbed Mr. Swaran Singh Salaria of the BJP by a record margin of 1,93,219 votes in Gurdaspur.
 
In Vengara, Mr. K. N. A. Khader, the candidate of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), who is a member of the IUML, won from Vengara, defeating his nearest rival, P. P. Basheer of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), by a margin of 23,310 votes in the October 11 bye-election.
 
Counting of votes was taken up in both constituencies this morning, and the results were out by noon.
 
Gurdaspur had fallen vacant following the death on April 27 of well-known Hindi film actor Vinod Khanna, who represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha as a candidate of the ruling BJP.
 
Mr. Jakhar polled 4,99,752 votes against the 3,06,553 votes secured by Mr. Salaria. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Suresh Khajuria got just 23,579 votes.
 
Considering the fact that Mr. Khanna had won the seat by an impressive margin of 1.35 lakh votes in 2014, the bye-election ended up being a cakewalk for Mr. Jakhar, 63, the Congress Punjab unit chief and son of late Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar.
 
In between, in March this year, the Congress won a resounding victory in the elections to the Punjab Legislative Assembly and its leader Amarinder Singh returned as Chief Minister of the state. The bye-election had turned into a battle of prestige for both sides.
 
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had ended up on the losing side in all the nine Assembly segments in Gurdaspur. Mr. Jakhar has managed to turn this around, winning from all the nine segments this time.
 
Gurdaspur was considered a Congress stronghold for long years, with its candidate Sukhbuns Kaur Bhinder winning the seat five times in a row from 1980 to 1996 before the BJP brought in Khanna, a top Bollywood actor, as its candidate in 1998. The actor-turned politician was re-elected from the seat in 1999, 2004 and then in 2014. In 2009, former Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa by a thin margin of 8,359 votes.
 
Mr. Jakhar described the bye-election result as a "referendum" on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's government at the Centre and said the people of the constituency had sent a "strong message of resentment" over its policies.
 
"Congratulations to @sunilkjakhar ji for his impressive win in #Gurdaspur bypoll, it's a victory for @INCPunjab policies & development agenda," Mr. Amarinder Singh on microblogging site Twitter.
 
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"Assure people of #Gurdaspur that every single promise made by @sunilkjakhar will be fulfilled and all development works will be fast-tracked," he added.
 
Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu said, "This is a beautiful Diwali gift, packed with a red ribbon, for our would-be party president Rahul Gandhi."
 
In Vengara, Mr. Khader polled 65,227 votes against 41,917 secured by Mr. Basheer, a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the main constituent of the ruling LDF in the state.
 
Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) candidadte K. C. Naseer ended up third with 8,648 votes while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee K. Janachandran  Master, finished fourth with 5,728 votes in the results announced today.
 
The bye-election in Vengara was necessitated by the resignation of IUML leader P. K. Kunhalikutty, who was elected to the Lok Sabha on April 12 from the Malappuram seat that fell vacant following the death of former Union Minister E. Ahamed.
 
While the UDF celebrated the victory, the LDF drew satisfaction from the fact that they had reduced the IUML candidate's victory margin from 38,057 votes in the 2016 Assembly elections, when Mr. Kunhalikutty had won, to 23,310 votes in this bye-election.
 
Today's results have come just three days after the Congress swept the municipal elections in Nanded-Waghala in Maharashtra, considered a stronghold of the party. The party won 67 of the 81 seats, while the BJP won four and its ally Shiv Sena got just one.
 
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29 killed, 250 injured in violence after Panchkula court convicts Dera Sacha Sauda chief in rape case

At least 29 people were killed and more than 250 others suffered injuries as thousands of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went on the rampage after he was convicted in a rape case by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana on Friday.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
At least 29 people were killed and more than 250 others suffered injuries as thousands of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went on the rampage after he was convicted in a rape case by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana today.
 
The quantum of punishment for the 50-year-old self-styled godman will be pronounced on August 28. Meanwhile, he was taken into judicial custody and flown in a helicopter from Panchkula to Rohtak, where he was lodged in a special jail.
 
Police officials said 28 people had died in Panchkula, which bore the brunt of today's violence, several of them in police firing. There were clashes between Ram Rahim's supporters and the police in Sirsa, where the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters are located.
 
One person died and four people suffered injuries in police firing in Sirsa, where the situation remained tense, with large numbers of Ram Rahim's followers gathered inside the Dera headquarters.
 
The officials said the police had been able to clear the mobs off the streets in all other towns in Haryana.
 
About 60 policemen also suffered injuries in today's incidents, including two senior superintendents of police and one deputy superintendent of police, they said.
 
In Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who returned during the day from a visit to Kyrgyz Republic, spoke to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and discussed the situation with them. Mr. Rajnath Singh assured them of all necessary assistance from the Centre.
 
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said he had talked to the Chief Secretary of Haryana who had told him that the situation was being brought under control. "The situation is tense but under control," he said, adding that the Centre was monitoring the situation continuously.
 
Thousands of Singh's supporters had gathered at different points in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana and Punjab and violence erupted shortly after news of his conviction came.
 
 
29 dead as Dera followers bring Panchkula to its knees
In Panchkula, scores of vehicles, including fire tenders, outdoor broadcast vans of television news channels and two-wheelers were set ablaze. The mobs also attacked some government property. Police used teargas, lathi-charges, pellet guns and finally resorted to firing to disperse the mobs.
 
A former follower of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had accused him of repeatedly raping her inside the Dera campus near Sirsa in Haryana in 1999. The first information report in the case had been filed in 2002.
 
The mobs targetted media vehicles and attacked some journalists reporting from the scene.
 
Incidents of violence were also reported from various other places in Haryana as well as Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.
 
In Delhi, some buses in Jahangirpuri and other localities and two coaches of a train parked in the railway yard at Anand Vihar were partially burnt after they were set on fire by miscreants. Police said reinforcements had been rushed to all affected and patrolling had been stepped up all across the city. The situation was under control, they added.
 
Though thousands of policemen had been deployed in Panchkula and elsewhere in Haryana to prevent any untoward incident, they were unable cope with the wave of violence that started after the verdict was pronounced. Police used teargas shells to try and disperse the mobs. Curfew was imposed in some towns of Punjab.
 
Television pictures showed ambulances bringing scores of injured persons to the government hospital there.
 
The Railways had, as a precautionary measure, cancelled some 300 mail, express and passenger trains passing through  Haryana in the past few days.
 
The Centre had sent several companies of central armed police forces to Haryana at the request of the state government and the Army's assistance had been sought at some places.
 
Mr. Khattar urged people to stay calm and maintain peace. He said strict action would be taken against those who disturb the peace and took law into their own hands.
 
In Gurgaon, near here, the police staged a flag march which passed through Kherki Daula, IMT Manesar, Bilaspur, sohna, Bhondsi and Badshapur as a precautionary measure.
 
"A close watch is being kept on the anti-social elements and miscreants who try to take advantages of such situation," a press release from Gurgaon Police said.
 
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the "instances of violences" were "deeply distressing". He said he strongly condemned the violence and urged everyone to maintain peace.
 
"The instances of violence today are deeply distressing. I strongly condemn the violence & urge everyone to maintain peace," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"The law & order situation is being closely monitored. I reviewed the situation with the NSA & Home Secretary," he said.
 
"Urged officials to work round the clock to restore normalcy and provide all possible assistance that is required," he added.
 
In Delhi, the police has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning the assembly of five or more persons, as a precautionary measure in 11 districts, including New Delhi.
 
"Adequate police arrangements in place & Law & Order situation under control. Officers with reserve force on rounds to maintain peace," the Commissioner of Police said on Twitter.
 
"Appeal to all to maintain peace & order. #DelhiPolice on full alert. Strict legal action will be taken against miscreants for any violation," he added.
 
Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded the resignation of Mr. Khattar and urged the Prime Minister to put the interests and safety of Indians before his party's interests.
 
Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed grave concern and shock at the violence.
 
Ms. Gandhi spoke to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh about the situation. She urged the Governments of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh to ensure the safety and security of citizens. She also appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
 
"Violence & brutality have no place in our society. Condemn the rampage and lawlessness in Haryana & appeal to restore peace and tranquility," Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.
 
Mr. Amarinder Singh appealed to the people of Punjab to maintain peace and harmony. "We won't allow anyone to disturb the peace and tranquility of our state," he added.
 
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Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.

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Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Punjab, Goa go to the polls to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa went to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.

 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
Punjab and Goa went to the polls today to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers were steadily increasing as the day progressed. 
 
Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, will end at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states have single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females. There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader is also contesting the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala, where his opponent is former Army chief Gen J J Singh, a candidate of the SAD.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, is contesting from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Punjab: AAP lawmaker attacked by mining mafia, Amarinder seeks report

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator Amarjit Singh Sandoa was injured on Thursday after he and his security personnel were attacked by sand mafia goons in Punjab's Ropar district.
 
Taking serious note of the incident, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought a detailed report from the Deputy Commissioner of Rupnagar (Ropar) on the incident.
 
Sandoa was attacked near Baihara village when he had gone to see an illegal sand mining site.
 
When Sandoa, the AAP legislator from Ropar, objected to the illegal activity, the goons attacked him and his security personnel. The attack was video recorded by the media accompanying Sandoa.
 
Hit on the chest by a stone, Sandoa was admitted to a hospital in Anandpur Sahib and later referred to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.
 
However, the other side claimed that the legislator was demanding money from them and had enacted the drama.
 
The Punjab Police arrested three people allegedly involved in the attack on Sandoa.
 
Seeking a report on the incident, Amarinder Singh "made it clear that lawlessness would not be tolerated in the state under any circumstances and asked the DC to ensure a free and fair probe to ascertain the facts of the matter," a spokesman for the chief minister said here. 
 
"The Chief Minister asked the DGP to crack down on the remaining suspects and ensure their immediate arrest," he said.
 
The two PSOs (personal security officers) attached to the MLA have also come under the Chief Minister's scanner for evidently failing to protect him.
 
"They have been transferred to the Police Lines and the Chief Minister has directed the DGP to investigate their role in the entire episode," the spokesman said.
 
Besides Sandoa, his gunman Head Constable Sukhdeep Singh was also injured in the attack.
 
The spokesman disclosed that three relatives of Ajwinder Singh of village Baihara had been arrested.
 
"Ajwinder and another accused, Bachittar Singh of village Bhauwal, had fled after the incident and were expected to be arrested soon," he added.
 
Those arrested had been identified as Jaswinder Singh Goldy, Manjit Singh and Amarjit Singh, all residents of village Baihara. 
 
Meanwhile, AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Lok Insaf Party leader Simarjit Singh Bains alleged that the sand mafia goons had the backing of the ruling Congress leadership in Punjab and were openly assaulting lawmakers and officials who were objecting to their illegal activities.
 
Bains demanded that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh should resign as his government had failed to enforce law and order.
 
IANS
 
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Seven killed as SUV rams into truck near Amritsar

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At least seven people were killed on Monday when the sports utility vehicle (SUV) they were travelling in rammed into a truck near Punjab's Amritsar city, police said.
 
The victims included one child and three women.
 
Eight passengers in the SUV were returning to Delhi after a pilgrimage trip from Himachal Pradesh and the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
 
The accident took place near Khalchian village on the National Highway connecting Amritsar and Delhi.
 
The police said that a three-year-old child survived but was hospitalised in Amritsar with serious injuries.
 
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Rains bring relief to Punjab, Haryana

(Photo: IANS)
(Photo: IANS)
Rainfall in parts of Punjab and Haryana on Sunday brought relief from the heat wave and dusty conditions prevailing over the region in the past few days.
 
At many places, the maximum temperature hovered in the 23-25 degrees mark, making the weather quite pleasant.
 
Chandigarh and its surrounding areas were lashed by rain since Saturday evening.
 
The maximum temperature in the capital city of Punjab and Haryana was 29.4, nine degrees below the average on Saturday.
 
The city and nearby areas continued to get intermittent rain on Sunday and the skies remained overcast.
 
"Chandigarh saw such a bad weather in the past over one week. First there was a heat wave followed by two days of very dusty weather. The rain has brought so much relief," Manju Malhotra, a homemaker in Panchkula town, said.
 
All flights to and from the Chandigarh airport were cancelled on Thursday and Friday due to dusty conditions. Hundreds of passengers were affected by the flight disruption. Flight operation resumed on Saturday.
 
The Met Department has forecast light to moderate rainfall in several areas of both states till Monday.
 
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BJP chief meets top SAD leaders in Chandigarh

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BJP President Amit Shah arrived here on Thursday afternoon and held a closed-door meeting with the top Shiromani Akali Dal leadership.
 
Shah met Akali Dal patron and five-time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and party President Sukhbir Singh Badal.
 
The meeting was held as part of Shah's initiative to connect with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJPs) allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Shah had met NDA ally and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackerey in Mumbai on Wednesday.
 
Sukhbir Badal's wife, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is the Union Minister for Food Processing in the Narendra Modi government.
 
The alliance of the two parties did not do too well in the Punjab Assembly elections early last year. They also did not fare well in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May 2014 despite a clear Modi wave in most other states in north India.
 
The Akali Dal-BJP alliance in Punjab, which has been there for over three decades, was relegated to the third spot in the 2017 Assembly polls.
 
New entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) got 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly and became the principal opposition party.
 
The Congress, which was out of power in Punjab for a decade (2007-2017), during which period the Akali Dal-BJP alliance ruled Punjab, got 77 seats in the Assembly (the Congress tally increased to 78 after win in Shahkot by-election last month, giving the party a two third majority in the house).
 
Out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, the Akali Dal-BJP combine holds five (four Akali Dal; one of BJP), while the Congress has four seats and AAP another four.
 
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Congress wins Punjab's Shahkot by huge margin

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The ruling Congress won the Shahkot Assembly bye-election on Thursday by a huge margin of over 38,800 votes, wresting the Shiromani Akali Dal stronghold after more than 20 years.
 
Congress' Hardev Singh Ladi Sherowalia got 82,745 votes against the 43,944 votes polled by his Akali Dal rival Naib Singh Koha.
 
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Punjab Assembly bye-election: Congress leads in Akali Dal stronghold

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The ruling Congress built a formidable lead of over 16,000 votes in the Shiromani Akali Dal stronghold of Shahkot in Punjab after seven rounds of counting in the by-election to the Assembly seat on Thursday.
 
Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi Sherowalia was leading over his Shiromani Akali Dal rival Naib Singh Kohar after the first few rounds of counting.
 
Ladi received over 34,000 votes while Kohar got only around 18,000 votes.
 
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Rattan Singh was trailing far behind. He got just over 1,100 votes.
 
The seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Akali Dal legislator Ajit Singh Kohar in February. 
 
Kohar, a former minister, was elected five times from this seat. His son Naib Singh Kohar was fielded by the Akali Dal.
 
The Shahkot seat remained a stronghold of the Akali Dal for over two decades in the past.
 
There were 12 candidates in the fray this time. A total of 76 per cent voting was reported on May 28.
 
Punjab has a Congress government since March 2017.
 
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Budding Punjabi singer found shot dead

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A budding Punjabi singer Navjot Singh was found shot dead in Dera Bassi area of Punjab, around 15 km from here, following which police launched an investigation on Monday to catch the culprits.
 
Navjot's body was found in a pool of blood with five gunshot wounds near a factory plot past midnight on Sunday. His Nissan Micra car was found parked nearby.
 
He was shot in the chest from close range. A murder case was registered against unidentified persons.
 
The police ruled out robbery as the reason for the killing since nothing had been taken away from his person. Since he was a struggling artiste, extortion by gangsters was also ruled out.
 
The singer, aged around 22, was living in a rented apartment in S.A.S. Nagar, adjoining Chandigarh. 
 
He had called up his mother minutes before he was killed and told her that he was returning home in Behra village. The family began searching for him when he did not return home.
 
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Voting begins for assembly seat bypoll in Punjab

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Voting began for the Shahkot assembly seat bye-election in Punjab on Monday.
 
The voting began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 6 p.m., election department officials said here.
 
With the prevailing heat wave in Punjab, voters started queuing up early in the day to caste their votes.
 
Chief Electoral Officer S. Karuna Raju said that 1,72,676 voters will decide the fate of 12 candidates in this constituency.
 
The main contest is between the ruling Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), making it a three-cornered contest.
 
Over 1,000 security personnel, including Punjab Police and Border Security Force (BSF), have been stationed in the constituency for smooth conduct of the voting.
 
The seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Akali Dal legislator Ajit Singh Kohar in February this year.
 
Kohar, a former minister, was elected five times from this seat. His son Naib Singh Kohar has been fielded by the Akali Dal this time.Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi had lost to Kohar by nearly 5,000 votes in the assembly elections in February last year.
 
The AAP has fielded Rattan SinghAas its candidate.The Congress came back to power in the state in March last year after a gap of a decade.
 
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IPL 2018: Chennai outplay Punjab by five wickets

Chennai Super Kings knocked out Kings XI Punjab from the play-offs race of the Indian Premier League (IPL), outplaying them in the last league match by five wickets here on Sunday.
 
In order to qualify for the play-offs, Punjab had to win this game by 53 runs or more but the visitors failed in doing so and thus got knocked out of the play-offs.
 
With this result, Rajasthan Royals became the fourth team to progress to the next stage with 14 points. Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai are the other three teams.
 
Chennai put Punjab  in to bat first and their bowlers did a fantastic job to bundle out the visitors for 153. After that, Suresh Raina (61 not out), who played sensibly throughout the innings, and Deepak Chahar (39) along with other batters helped Chennai to complete the chase in 19.1 overs.
 
Chennai got off to a bad start, losing opener Ambati Rayudu (1) in the second over.
 
After adding 24 runs to the total with new batsman Suresh Raina (61 not out), opener Faf du Plesis (14) also departed in the fifth over. In the same over, Sam Billings (0) was also sent packing by Ankit Rajpoot.
 
After five overs, Chennai were reeling at 27/3. Harbhajan Singh was sent up the order. The move also paid little as the off-spinner scored 19 runs in 22 balls which included two boundaries and one six. But in the 11th over, Harbhajan was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin
 
New batsman Deepak Chahar (39) and Raina then joined hands and forged a crucial 56-run partnership to steady the Chennai innings.
 
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But just when things seemed good in the middle, Chahar was sent back to the pavilion by Ashwin in the 17th over when scoreboard was reading 114.
 
Unperturbed by the fall of wickets, Raina kept on playing sensibly and completed his half century.
 
New batsman and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16 not out) then joined Raina in the middle and completed the proceedings with ease.
 
Earlier, a quickfire lower order cameo by Karun Nair helped Kings XI Punjab post a modest 153.
 
Coming in to bat when Punjab were in a spot of a bother at 76/4 in the 12th over, Nair plundered 54 runs off 26 balls to breathe life into the innings. The right-hander produced an exciting display of power hitting, smashing three boundaries and five towering sixes.
 
The Chennai bowlers came out all guns blazing at their adopted home ground to bundle out the visitors for a modest total.
 
Lungi Ngidi was the wrecker-in-chief for the yellow brigade with stunning figures of 4/10 from his four overs.
 
Brief scores:
 
Kings XI Punjab: 153 all out in 19.4 overs (Karun Nair 54, Manoj Tiwary 35; Lungi Ngidi 4/10) vs Chennai Super Kings:159/5 (Suresh Raina 61 not out; Ankit Rajpoot 2/19)
 
 
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IPL: Nair's quickfire half-century lifts Punjab to 153 vs Chennai

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A quickfire lower order cameo by Karun Nair helped Kings XI Punjab post a modest 153 against Chennai Super Kings in the last league encounter of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Coming into bat when Punjab were in a spot of bother at 76/4 in the 12th over, Nair plundered 54 runs off 26 balls to breathe life into the innings. The right-hander produced an exciting display of power hitting, smashing three boundaries and five towering sixes. 
 
The Chennai bowlers came out all guns blazing at their adopted home ground to bundle out the visitors for a modest total. 
 
Lungi Ngidi was the wrecker-in-chief for the yellow brigade with stunning figures of 4/10 from his four overs.
 
Put in to bat, the visitors were off to a disastrous start as Chennai pacers Ngidi and Deepak Chahar shattered Punjab's top order.
 
While Ngidi sent back Punjab openers Lokesh Rahul (7) and Chris Gayle (0), Chahar dismissed the dangerous Aaron Finch (4) which left Punjab reeling at 16/3 after the first four overs.
 
Manoj Tiwary (35 off 30) and David Miller (24 off 22) then showed some resistance, putting on a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket.
 
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However, just when the partnership was settling down, Ravindra Jadeja sent back Tiwary, who was caught behind by Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 12th over.
 
All-rounder Dwayne Bravo too, joined the party as a perfect yorker from him dismantled Miller's stump in the 13th over with Punjab's score reading 80/5.
 
Karun Nair then showed terrific fight down the order, hitting some lusty blows. However, he lacked support from the other end as Punjab again lost three wickets of Axar Patel (14), Ravichandran Ashwin (0) and Andrew Tye (0) in quick succession.
 
It was South African paceman Ngidi again who scalped the wickets of Ashwin and Tye while Shardul Thakur got the better of Patel.
 
Just when the visitors reached the 150-run mark, Bravo applied the brakes on a dangerous looking Nair's innings. Nair's knock was laced with three boundaries and five hits into the stands.
 
Thakur then performed the last rites as he dismissed tailender Ankit Rajpoot (2) to wrap up Ashwin's men for 153.
 
Brief scores: 
 
Kings XI Punjab: 153 all out in 19.4 overs (Karun Nair 54, Manoj Tiwary 35; Lungi Ngidi 4/10) vs Chennai Super Kings.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai opts to field first against Punjab

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Chennai Super Kings' skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to field against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the last league game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
 
The visitors have made couple of changes in their playing XI as Yuvraj Singh and Marcus Stoinis have been replaced by David Miller and Karun Nair.
 
On the other hand, Chennai made one change as Faf du Plessis came in for Shane Watson.
 
Teams:
 
Chennai Super Kings- Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (Captain/Wicket-keeper), Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi
 
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul (Wicket-keeper), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, David Miller, Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (Captain), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Mumbai edge past Punjab to keep play-offs hope alive

 
Mumbai Indians kept their play-offs hopes alive as they edged past Kings XI Punjab by three runs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Wednesday.
 
After a brilliant batting display, Mumbai bowlers managed to restrict Punjab to 183/5 to bag two crucial points.
 
With this victory, Mumbai are now sitting at the fourth spot in  the league table with 12 points while Punjab slipped to sixth spot.
 
Chasing 187, openers Lokesh Rahul (94) and Chris Gayle (18) provided a steady start for Punjab, scoring 34 runs in four overs. But Gayle was sent back in the same over by pacer Mitchell McClenaghan.
 
Aaron Finch (46) and Rahul then forged a crucial 111-run partnership. The duo slammed Punjab bowlers all around the park and also played some beautifully crafted shots.
 
But just when things seemed good in the middle, Finch was dismissed by pacer Jasprit Bumrah in the 17th over. His 35-ball knock was laced with three boundaries and one six.
 
New batsman Marcus Stoinis (1) also failed and got dismissed in the same over.
 
While trying to match the increasing run rate, in-form Rahul was also dismissed by Bumrah in the 19th over. His 60-ball innings was laced with 10 boundaries and three sixes.
 
Middle-order batsmen Axar Patel (10 not out), Yuvraj Singh (1) and Manoj Tiwary (4 not out) tried to reach the target but failed.
 
For Mumbai, Bumrah scalped three wickets while McClenaghan took two wickets.
 
Earlier, West Indian power-hitter Keiron Pollard finally found his groove with a fiery 50 to bail Mumbai Indians out of trouble and help them post a challenging 186/8.
 
Pollard struck a 23-ball 50, containing five boundaries and three sixes, and, more importantly was engaged in a 65-run fifth wicket stand with Krunal Pandya (32 off 23 balls; 4x1, 6x2) to steady Mumbai's start that saw Punjab pacer Andrew Tye (4/16) striking thrice in the powerplay.
 
Put in to bat, Mumbai were off to a flying start with the in-form Suryakumar Yadav (27 from 15 balls; 4x3, 6x2) and Evin Lewis (9) putting on 37 runs in the first three overs before Australian Andrew Tye's triple strikes reduced the hosts to 59/3 in no time.
 
Continuing his glorious run with the bat, Suryakumar started off in his customary style before breaking loose as he smacked rookie pacer Ankit Rajpoot for two fours and as many sixes to milk 21 runs off the second over of the innings before Tye was employed into the attack.
 
Tye struck on the very first ball of his spell with a well-disguised knuckle ball that broke through the defences of Lewis before removing Yadav and wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan (20 off 12; 4x1, 6x2) off consecutive deliveries in his second over.
 
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During his brief stay, Ishan also meted out some special treatment to India discard Mohit Sharma, clobbering the right-arm pacer for a boundary and two massive sixes before being dismissed.
 
Mumbai's woes were compounded in the 9th over when a short-pitched delivery from Rajpoot cut short skipper Rohit Sharma's (6) stay in the middle.
 
Tottering at 71/4 after eight overs, Mumbai's hopes were pinned on Pollard and Krunal Pandya.
 
Coming back, the right-left duo of Pollard and Krunal sent the visiting bowlers on a leather hunt as they resurrected the innings with a quick-fire 65-run stand.
 
While Krunal took Aussie Marcus Stoinis to the cleaners twice before striking a boundary off consecutive deliveries, Pollard deposited left-arm spinner Axar Patel for a massive six before belting Rajpoot for two fours and a six.
 
Stoinis, however, bounced back in his next over to dismiss Krunal with a deceptive slower bouncer, ending in a simple top edge to the hands of Rajpoot at short fine before being hit for two boundaries and a six by Pollard as the West Indian completed his 22-ball fifty.
 
With Pollard going all guns blazing, Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin brought himself back into the attack and the ploy worked immediately in the form of the big-hitting Caribbean batsman's wicket.
 
Ashwin struck once again with the wicket of Ben Cutting (4) before Tye came back to end Hardik Pandya's (9) short stay and complete his four-wicket haul.
 
IANS
 
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Manoj Sinha flags off Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express

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Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha flagged off the 22551/22552 Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express (Weekly) through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan here today.
 
Member Traffic, Railway Board, Mohammad Jamshed, Member Traction, Railway Board, Ghanshyam Singh and other senior officials of Railways were present on the occasion.
 
Speaking on  the occasion, Mr Sinha said Indian Railways have been making many efforts for providing connectivity all over the country and giving access to the countrymen along with making travel easy and comfortable. This Antyodaya Train will make it easy to commute for those travelling from Bihar to Punjab thus providing connectivity to the people of Bihar. The train is fully equipped with good facilities like Bio-toilets, mobile charging, and so on, he added.
 
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IPL: Punjab opt to field first against Mumbai

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Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and opted to field first against Mumbai Indians in a crunch Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
Humiliated by 10 wickets in their previous outing by Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab brought back the experienced Yuvraj Singh and Manoj Tiwary in place of the misfiring duo of Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair.
 
On the other hand, the hosts made just one change by including Kieron Pollard in place of Jean-Paul Duminy.
 
Teams:
Mumbai Indians: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (Captain), Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah.
 
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul (WK), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (Captain), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Navjot Singh Sidhu acquitted in 30-year-old road rage case

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In a big relief to former cricketer and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted him of culpable homicide charges in a 30-year-old road rage case for which he was awarded a three-year jail term.
 
A bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul acquitted Sidhu of culpable homicide not amounting to murder charges, but convicted him for causing simple injury and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 without any jail term.
 
The court also acquitted the other accused, his cousin Rupinder Singh Sandhu, of all charges.
 
The incident dates back to December 27, 1988 when Sidhu and his cousin had beaten up Gurnam Singh and two others in what was described as a road rage case. Gurnam Singh later died.
 
On April 12 this year, the Punjab government supported the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court convicting the minister. It told the apex court that the 65-year-old victim had died after a fist blow from the cricketer-turned-politician.
 
The state had said there was no evidence at all to suggest that Gurnam Singh died due to cardiac arrest and not brain haemorrhage.
 
In 1999, the trial court in Patiala had acquitted Sidhu and his cousin saying the medical report stated that the death was due to a heart attack.
 
The High Court in December 2006 had overturned the lower court's decision. It had said that Gurnam Singh did not die of cardiac arrest but due to the injury on his temporal lobe. Sidhu was awarded three years in jail for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
 
The apex court in 2007 stayed the conviction after counsel appearing for Sidhu had contended that the findings of the High Court were based on opinions and not medical evidence.
 
Sidhu's lawyer had argued that there were deficiencies in the medical evidence and the prosecution witnesses had given different statements on oath before the trial court.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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IPL: Bangalore trounce Punjab by 10 wickets

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Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) kept their slim hopes of making to the play-offs alive after hammering Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Holkar stadium here on Monday.
 
After the thumping win, the Virat Kohli-led side have 10 points in their kitty and victories in their remaining two games could possibly help them advance to the top four.
 
Bangalore completely dominated their opponents as after bundling Punjab on a paltry 88 runs, the openers guided their side home without throwing a wicket.
 
Chasing a meagre 89-run target, Bangalore openers Kohli and Parthiv Patel remained unbeaten on 48 and 40 runs, respectively, to register a comfortable win.
 
While Kohli's knock came off 28 balls, containing six fours and couple of sixes, Parthiv faced 22 deliveries, smashing seven boundaries.
 
The pair cautiously put nine runs for Bangalore in the first over. They, however, switched gears from the next over, accumulating 25 runs off the subsequent couple of overs, with the visitor's scorecard reading 36/0.
 
They soon took their side past the 50-run mark in 4.5 overs as each of the Punjab bowlers struggled to get a breakthrough.
 
Later, riding on some lusty hits by the openers, Bangalore hunted down the target in just 8.1 overs with 10 wickets in hand.
 
Earlier, Bangalore put up a spirited show on the field to bundle out Kings XI Punjab for a paltry 88 -- the second lowest total of the tournament this season.
 
Pacer Umesh Yadav (3/23) starred with the ball and was well complemented by the fielders effecting three run-outs as only three of the Punjab batsmen could manage to reach double figures on a flat track.
 
Put in to bat, the hosts squandered a decent 36-run opening start from Lokesh Rahul (21 off 15 balls; 6x3) and Chris Gayle (18 off 14, 4x4) before losing both the openers in the fifth over of the innings.
 
Umesh could have got RCB a dream start had stumper Parthiv held on to Gayle's nick in the very first over, but the bowler had the last laugh when he dismissed both the openers in the fifth over off similar deliveries.
 
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While Rahul was caught by Colin de Grandhomme at deep square leg, Gayle went out off a top edge caught by Mohammed Siraj at the same position two balls later.
 
Siraj immediately joined the party with the wicket of No.3 Karun Nair (1) brilliantly caught by skipper Kohli at slip before Australians Aaron Finch (26) and Marcus Stonis (2) joined forces.
 
But the tourists were in no mood to let the Aussies settle down as leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal broke through the defence of Stoinis.
 
Finch curbed his natural instincts for a patient knock but found the going tough against the disciplined RCB bowlers before eventually losing his wicket to off-spinner Moeen Ali.
 
Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (0) departed the very next ball, thanks to a brilliant throw from Pawan Negi as the home side tottered at 78/7 after 12 overs.
 
Coming back for his final over, Umesh removed Andrew Tye for a duck before RCB effected two more run outs of tailenders Mohit Sharma (3) and Ankit Rajpoot (1) to end Punjab's innings in 15.1 overs.
 
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 92/0 (Virat Kohli 48 not out, Partiv Patel 40 not out) beat Kings XI Punjab 88 (Aaron Finch 26, Lokesh Rahul 21, Umesh Yadav 3/23) by 10 wickets.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Disciplined RCB bowl out Punjab for 88

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday put up a spirited show on the field to bundle out Kings XI Punjab for a paltry 88 -- the second lowest total of this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
Pacer Umesh Yadav (3/23) starred with the ball and was well complemented by the fielders effecting three run-outs as only three of the Punjab batsmen could manage to reach double figures on a flat track at the Holkar Stadium here on Monday.
 
Put in to bat, the hosts squandered a decent 36-run opening start from Lokesh Rahul (21 off 15 balls; 6x3) and Chris Gayle (18 off 14, 4x4) before losing both the openers in the fifth over of the innings.
 
Umesh could have got RCB a dream start had stumper Parthiv Patel held on to Gayle's nick in the very first over, but the bowler had the last laugh when he dismissed both the openers in the fifth over off similar deliveries.
 
While Rahul was caught by Colin de Grandhomme at deep square leg, Gayle went out off a top edge caught by Mohammed Siraj at the same position two balls later.
 
Siraj immediately joined the party with the wicket of No.3 Karun Nair (1) brilliantly caught by skipper Virat Kohli at slip before Australians Aaron Finch (26) and Marcus Stonis (2) joined forces.
 
But the tourists were in no mood to let the Aussies settle down as leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal broke through the defence of Stoinis.
 
Finch curbed his natural instincts for a patient knock but found the going tough against the disciplined RCB bowlers before eventually losing his wicket to off-spinner Moeen Ali.
 
Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (0) departed the very next ball, thanks to a brilliant throw from Pawan Negi as the home side tottered at 78/7 after 12 overs.
 
Coming back for his final over, Umesh removed Andrew Tye for a duck before RCB effected two more run outs of tailenders Mohit Sharma (3) and Ankit Rajpoot (1) to end Punjab's innings in 15.1 overs.
 
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 88 (Aaron Finch 26, Lokesh Rahul 21; Umesh Yadav 3/23) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore. 
 
IANS
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After heat wave, dust storm follows in Punjab, Haryana

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Heat wave conditions continued to prevail in most parts of Haryana and Punjab on Saturday with the mercury soaring to 45 degrees in Hisar town in Haryana.
 
However, Chandigarh and its surrounding areas and some parts of Haryana and Punjab were hit by a dust storm on Saturday evening followed by light rain, giving relief from the sweltering weather.
 
The day temperatures at most places in both states were in the 40-45 degrees Celsius mark.
 
Narnaul town in Haryana sizzled at 44.5 degrees, while Bhiwani saw a high of 44 degrees. Chandigarh recorded a high of 40.6 degrees.The maximum temperatures were two to five degrees above average, Met Department officials said here.
 
Amritsar city in Punjab recorded 40.1 degrees, while Patiala and Ludhiana recorded 40.6 and 41.6 degrees, respectively.
 
The Met Department said heat wave conditions would prevail over the region in the coming days. Some places are likely to witness thunderstorms on May 13.
 
IANS
 
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Kolkata register convincing 31-run win against Punjab

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Kolkata Knight Riders outbatted Kings XI Punjab in a high-scoring affair, registering a 31-run victory here on Saturday to stay in the hunt for the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs.
 
Determined to end their two-match losing streak, Kolkata posted this edition's highest total of 245/6, thanks to opening batsman Sunil Narine's 75 off 36 and skipper Dinesh Karthik's 50 not out off 23.
 
West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell, who scored a brisk 31 off 14, took two wickets in two balls, while Narine removed the dangerous Lokesh Rahul (66 off 29) as Kolkata poured cold water on Punjab's ambitious run-chase. 
 
Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (45 off 22) and Aaron Finch (34 off 20) tried their best but Kolkata's huge total was way out of reach, with Punjab managing 214/8.
 
The win at the Holkar Stadium saw Kolkata move to the fourth spot having 12 points from 12 matches. Kings XI remained third with 12 points from 11 games.
 
In the match, Kolkata gathered the early momentum, with Narine setting the stage for a big score, his whirlwind innings studded with nine fours and four sixes.
 
KKR were given a good start by opener Chris Lynn 27 (17b; 2x4, 2x6) and Narine with the visitors racing to 59/1 after six overs.
 
Lynn looked tentative from the outset, almost chopping the ball onto his stumps in only the second and third ball of the match off Mohit Sharma. On both occasions, the ball went to the fine leg boundary.
 
The dashing Australian was removed by the brilliant Tye to bring Robin Uthappa (24; 17b; 2x4, 1x6) to the crease.
 
Along with Narine, the pair helped KKR to 106/1 after 10 overs. Narine was severe with Barinder Sran (1/48) in the 11th over, hitting him for two sixes and a four.
 
The West Indian mystery spinner-turned-batsman brought up his second fifty of the season in 26 balls and looked set for a hundred. 
 
But medium pacer Andrew Tye had other plans as he sent both Narine and Uthappa back in the hunt in one over. While Narine nicked behind a brilliantly executed short delivery, Uthappa mistimed a slower one to Mohit Sharma who snaffled a good catch at backward point.
 
Russell was promoted to No. 4 to keep the onslaught going and together with Karthik, the duo took the bowlers to the cleaners in a 76-run fourth wicket partnership off just 31 balls. While 19 runs came off Axar Patel's 15th over, off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was taken for 21 runs in the next.
 
Tye took Russell's wicket to break the quickfire partnership as Karthik also fell to Sran but the damage was already done. In between, Nitish Rana also chipped (11) before Mohit Sharma (1/40) took his wicket.
 
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KKR never let their foot off the gas and scored 139 runs in the last 10 overs. In the final over, 17 runs came off Barinder Sran (1/48) as Shubman Gill remained unbeaten on 16 off 8 balls alongwith Javon Searles (6), making his IPL debut.
 
For the hosts, purple cap holder Australian pacer Tye (4/41) was by far the pick of the bowlers.
 
During the chase, Punjab looked on course riding Rahul's 29-ball 66 (2x4, 7x6) but Narine (1/44) got the better of him. Russell (3/41) dismissed compatriot Chris Gayle (21; 17b; 2x4, 1x6) and Mayank Agarwal (0) in the fourth and fifth ball of the sixth over when they were cruising at 57/0.
 
Karun Nair failed to aid Punjab, scoring three runs before being dismissed by Russell, with the northern outfit at 79/3.
 
Few overs later, Rahul, who was going hammer and tong, was bowled by Narine as he missed the ball, which then hit his legs before rolling on to the stump, as Punjab lost theiur fourth wicket for 93 runs in nine overs.
 
Later, Australian opener Aaron Finch (34; 20; 3x6) tried to stage a comeback but Javon Searles (1/52) took his wicket.
 
Kings XI could never recover from thereon, succumbing to their second defeat on the trot.
 
Skipper Ashwin played a good-looking 22-ball 45 cameo but it was too little too late.
 
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders: 245/6 in 20 overs (Sunil Narine 75, Dinesh Karthik 50; Andrew Tye 4/41) beat Kings XI Punjab: 214/8 in 20 overs (Lokesh Rahul 66, Ravichandran Ashwin 45; Andre Russell 3/41, Prasidh Krishna 2/31).
 
IANS
 
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Kings XI Punjab elect to field against KKR

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Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and elected to field first against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in a crunch Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Saturday.
 
Kings XI lost their last game to Rajasthan Royals by 15 runs while KKR were hammered by Mumbai Indians by 102 runs.
 
For Punjab, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch and Barinder Sran have returned, meaning Akashdeep Nath, Marcus Stoinis and Manoj Tiwary have been dropped.
 
In KKR team, medium pacer Javon Searles has replaced Tom Curran.
 
Teams:
 
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul (wicket-keeper), Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Karun Nair, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
 
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper/captain), Andre Russell, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Rajasthan defeat Punjab to keep play-off hopes alive

An impressive show by Rajasthan Royals' bowlers kept the side alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as they defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 15 runs at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Tuesday.
 
It was the hosts' bowlers who helped their side defend a moderate 158 run total against the third-placed Punjab side.
 
Despite hunting a chaseable total, seven of the Punjab batsman did not even touch double digits and it was only their opener Lokesh Rahul, who single handedly fought till the last ball of the match, slamming an unbeaten 95 off 70 balls, laced with 11 fours and couple of sixes.
 
Punjab were off to a poor start as off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham struck twice in the second over to pack back a dangerous Chris Gayle (1) and skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (0) with the visitors managing to reach just 14 runs.
 
Punjab's situation worsened further as Jofra Archer dismissed an in-form Karun Nair (3) to leave the visitors reeling at 17/4.
 
Akshdeep Nath (9) then joined Rahul to add 26 runs for the fourth wicket, taking Punjab to 45 runs. However, just when the combination was settling down, Ish Sodhi struck to make the damage bigger after sending back Akshdeep in the ninth over.
 
Manoj Tiwary and Rahul then tried to repair the damage but once again their effort went in vain as Tiwary gave an easy catch to Ajinkya Rahane off a Ben Stokes delivery in the 12th over.
 
Despite wickets falling at regular intervals, Rahul kept one end secured but lacked support from others.
 
Incoming batter Axar Patel (9), too, failed to show some fight and departed in the 14th over after adding 15 runs with the opener to take his side to 81 runs.
 
Meanwhile, Rahul bought up his fourth fifty of the season in the same over.
 
With the issue going to the final over with Punjab needing 32 runs, Marcus Stoinis (11) departed while trying to go for the maximum off a Jaydev Unadkat over.
 
Rahul tried his best to to take his side home, smashing 14 runs of the final over, which was however, not good enough as the visitors could only manage to reach 143 runs losing seven wickets.
 
For the hosts, Gowtham emerged with impressive figures of 2/12 off his three overs while Archer, Unadkat, Stokes and Sodhi bagged a wicket each.
 
Earlier, Punjab's Andrew Tye (4/34) came with a clinical bowling show to restrict Rajasthan Royals to 158/8.
 
Rajasthan would not have even crossed the 100-run mark but for a blistering 58-ball 82 by opener Jos Buttler that propelled them to a moderate total.
 
Opting to bat first, Rajasthan were off to a quick start, accumulating 35 runs in the first three overs.
 
Tye drew first blood for Punjab as his knuckle ball played the trick to dismiss opener Rahane (9) in the fourth over.
 
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Buttler, however, continued to fully utilise the powerplay to take his side past the 50-run mark in five overs.
 
Stoinis gave the second blow to the hosts when Gowtham (8) misread a slower delivery and gave an easy catch to Manoj Tiwary at long on in the seventh over.
 
With two wickets down, in-form Sanju Samson (22) joined Butler to forge a 53-run partnership for the third wicket, but departed in the 15th over off a Mujeeb ur Rahman delivery with the Rajasthan scorecard reading 117/3.
 
Buttler was then accompanied by Stokes (14) and the duo shared a 15-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
 
Mujeeb struck again in the 17th over to pack back a good looking Buttler, whose knock was laced with nine boundaries and a six.
 
After his fall, no other Rajasthan batsman could offer any sort of resistance as the hosts lost their next four wickets of Stokes, Stuart Binny (11), Archer (0) and Unadkat (0) with the addition of just 26 runs.
 
Of the last four wickets, Tye was involved in dismissing three of the Rajasthan batters.
 
Other than Tye, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb bagged a couple of wickets conceding 21 runs in four overs while Stoinis chipped in with one wicket.
 
Brioef Scores: Rajasthan Royals 158/8 (Jos Buttler 82, Sanju Samson 22; Andrew Tye 4/34) beat Kings XI Punjab (Lokesh Rahul 95 not out, Marcus Stoinis 11; Krishnappa Gowtham 2/12)
 
IANS
 
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