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Uttar Pradesh

Dust storm on Sunday night leaves 23 dead in Uttar Pradesh

Dust storms, hail and lightning have claimed as many as 23 lives in the last 12 hours in Uttar Pradesh, an official said on Monday.

A dust storm lashing Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on May 13, 2018.(Photo: IANS)
A dust storm lashing Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on May 13, 2018.(Photo: IANS)
Dust storms, hail and lightning have claimed as many as 23 lives in the last 12 hours in Uttar Pradesh, an official said on Monday.
 
The storm hit Etawah, Banda, Auriyya, Meerut, Kanpur rural, Kannauj, Farukkhabad and Orai districts.
 
Late on Sunday, gusty winds, followed by dust storm, had brought life to a standstill in many parts of the state. Many houses were razed to the ground, hoardings and trees uprooted and power outages reported from various cities and towns.
 
The relief commissioner's office, although, has confirmed only 18 deaths besides two dozen injuries in Sunday's dust storm. 
 
District officials have been asked by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to ensure prompt relief, a government spokesman said. 
 
Due to the uprooting of trees, vehicular traffic on the busy G.T. road near Orai was disrupted for more than four hours. 
 
A woman standing under a tree in Kannauj was killed as it fell on her while two persons have been reported dead from Barabanki. 
 
Three deaths, including a child have been reported from Bulandshahr due to a wall collapse.
 
Five persons have been reported dead in Kasganj and one in the temple town of Vrindavan. Two persons died in Saharanpur after being struck with lightning. 
 
One person died in Muzaffarnagar as he was hit by a tree branch when he was driving a bike. 
 
One person was killed in Ghaziabad's Lalkuan area after a tree fell on a car and a six-year-old died in Hapur after falling in a tube well tank due to the squall. 
 
A passerby was hit by a hoarding brought down by winds near the Stellar Jeevan Society in Noida and died while one woman was killed in Aligarh.
 
While one died in Sambhal, two persons were killed in Banjariya village when two minarets of a mosque were ripped off by high velocity winds and they fell on a house. One person was killed in Budayun.
 
IANS
 
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BJP suffers shock defeats in Gorakhpur, Phulpur LS bye-elections

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

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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that one of the two Defence Industrial Corridors announced in this year's Budget would be established in Uttar Pradesh with likely investments of up to Rs. 20,000 crore which would help in the development of the state, especially the Bundelkhand region.

 
Modi praises Yogi for bringing positivity in Uttar Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said one of the two Defence Industrial Corridors announced in this year's Budget would be established in Uttar Pradesh with likely investments of up to Rs. 20,000 crore which would help in the development of the state, especially the Bundelkhand region.
 
Delivering the inaugural address at the Uttar Pradesh Investors' Summit 2018 here, he said the corridor -- which will cover Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot -- would provide jobs to nearly 2.5 lakh people.
 
Mr. Modi said that the organisation of such a major event in Uttar Pradesh, with the participation of so many investors, was indicative of the change that has come about in the state. He congratulated the State and its Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for establishing itself on the path of development and prosperity in such a short timeframe.
 
He said the State is blessed with an abundance of resources and capabilities. He noted its strengths in agriculture. He complimented Yogi Adityanath for changing the negative atmosphere in the State, to one of positivity and hope. He said the State is making appropriate policies for various sectors. He said the State Government is serious about fulfilling the promises made to farmers, women and youth.
 
He said the State is working on a “One District, One Product” scheme. He said the Union Government’s schemes such as Skill India Mission, Stand Up India, Start Up India and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, will prove useful in implementing the “One District, One Product” scheme.
 
He said the Union Government’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Scheme would help reduce wastage in the agriculture sector. He said the State had immense potential in ethanol production, due to large sugarcane cultivation.
 
The Prime Minister said that the Kumbh Mela to be organized next year at Prayag, would be the largest such event of its kind in the world.
 
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Mr. Modi referred to the many strengths and attractions of Uttar Pradesh -- the chikan work of Lucknow, jari and zardosi of Varanasi, brassware of Moradabad, glassware of Firozabad, pethas of Agra and the perfumes of Kannauj; its places of tourist importance such as Agra, Ayodhya, Mathura; its mighty rivers Ganga and Yamuna; and its educational institutions like IIT Kanpur, IIM Lucknow and Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
 
He pointed out that it was the number one state in production of foodgrains, sugarcane, milk and potatoes; number two in vegetables and number three in fruits; and among the top states in the small scale industries sector.
 
He stressed the need for the state to develop a better work culture and a business culture and introduce investment-friendly policies to take full advantage of its enormous potential.
 
Mr. Modi referred to the many projects under implementation, including plans for two new international airports at Khushinagar and Jhevar in the state, new airports at Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Bareily, Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Moradabad, Aligarh and Azamgarh, and so on.
 
He said that when the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors as well as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial corridor, all of which will pass through Uttar Pradesh, are completed, they will give a major boost to the state's economy.
 
Similarly, work was on on the Haldia-Varanasi national waterway and for metro rail projects in Meerut, Kanpur and Varanasi, and all these projects would help create a world class transport infrastructure in the state, he said.
 
Stating that Gujarat was the first state to host investor summits, a trend that has now spread to all the states, he stressed the importance of setting up a monitoring mechanism to ensure that MoUs are translated into projects on the ground.
 
Finland, the Netherlands, Japan, Czech Republic, Thailand, Slovakia and Mauritius are the partner countries at the two-day summit.
 
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the valedictory session of the summit tomorrow.
 
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Modi performs ‘Swachhta Shramdaan’ in Varanasi, visits ‘Pashudhan Arogya Mela’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday performed ‘shramdaan’ for the construction of a twin pit toilet at Shahanshahpur village in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.

 
Governance is not about vote banks: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today performed ‘shramdaan’ for the construction of a twin pit toilet at Shahanshahpur village in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.
 
Mr. Modi, who was on a two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, interacted with the people, who have resolved to make the village open-defecation-free (ODF). He appreciated their initiative of naming the toilet "Izzat Ghar."
 
Mr Modi also visited a ‘Pashudhan Arogya Mela’ organised at the village. He was briefed on various health and medical activities being performed at the premises. These included surgeries on cattle, ultrasonography, and so on.
 
Addressing a gathering on the occasion, the Prime Minister congratulated Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the State Government for the successful setting up of the Pashudhan Arogya Mela. This is a new effort which would benefit the animal husbandry sector in the State, he said.
 
The increase in milk productivity will lead to economic benefit for the people. Cooperatives can help consolidate the gains in the dairy sector, as has been the case in other parts of the country.
 
Describing the well-being of people as the priority for governance, the Prime Minister reiterated the pledge to double farm incomes by 2022. He noted that soil health cards are benefiting farmers significantly. “Each one of us should resolve to make a positive contribution by 2022, to achieve the India that our freedom fighters dreamt of,” he added.
 
Mr. Modi said the feeling of "cleanliness being our responsibility" needs to be inculcated among all. He said this would go a long way towards ensuring wellness, and protecting the health of the poor. He said Swachhta is like a prayer for him and cleanliness a way to serve the poor.
 
On the first day of his Varanasi visit yesterday, Mr Modi visited the historic Tulsi Manas temple in the evening. He released a postal stamp on “Ramayana,” on this occasion.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said stamps have a special place in society. “They are a wonderful way to preserve our history,” he added. The Prime Minister also spoke of how the life and ideals of Lord Rama continue to inspire everyone. He later visited the Durga Mata Temple and Durga Kund.
 
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Six coaches of Utkal Express derail near Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh

Six coaches of the 18477 Utkal Express, from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, derailed at Khatauli, about 25 km from Muzzafarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, this evening.
 
The mishap occurred around 5.46 pm today, railway sources said, adding that details of casualties were not immediately available.
 
Television pictures from the scene showed that one of the coaches had climbed on to the top of another coach, and one of its ends had crashed into a building on the side of the track.
 
Gas cutters were being used to cut through the mangled steel to pull out those trapped inside the coaches. 
 
"Our focus right now is on rescue and relief operations. Officers and staff from the nearby railway stations have reached the spot," Ministry of Railways spokesman Anil Saxena told journalists in New Delhi.
 
Khatauli is located on the Meerut-Saharanpur section of the Delhi Division of Northern Railway.
 
"We have geared up our rescue and relief machinery. Senior officials of Delhi Division have rushed to the accident site. Staff and officers from the nearby stations have already reached there," Mr. Saxena said.
 
He said personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would also reach the site soon.
 
The train had left Puri yesterday and was due to reach Haridwar at 9 pm today, they said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on micro-blogging site Twitter that he was personally monitoring the situation and had instructed senior officers to reach the spot immediately and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations. He said medical vans had been rushed to the site of the accident.
 
"Have instructed Chairman Rly Board, Member Traffic to oversee rescue and relief operations. I am personally monitoring situation," he said. "Instructed General Manager, other senior officers to ensure all possible help to the people."
 
"In close touch with @CMOfficeUP , State Government officials, district administration to coordinate rescue and relief operations," he said.
 
Mr. Prabhu said he had instructed the Member, Engineering of the Railway Board, the Director General, Health and other senior officers to rush to the scene.
 
"Have ordered inquiry into the unfortunate accident to ascertain the cause. Strict action will be taken against any lapse," he added.
 
Mr. Prabhu said Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan were on their way to the scene of the accident.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told journalists that two State Ministers -- Satish Mahana and Suresh Rana -- have also left for the spot.
 
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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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Two dead, six injured as Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Muri Express derails in UP

At least two passengers died and five others suffered injuries when nine coaches of the 18101 Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Muri Express derailed on Monday afternoon near Sirathu, about 70 km from Allahabad, in Uttar Pradesh, official sources said.

 
2 dead, 5 injured as Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Muri Express derails near Allahabad
 
 
At least two passengers died and six others suffered injuries when nine coaches of the 18101 Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Muri Express derailed this afternoon near Sirathu, about 60 km from Allahabad, in Uttar Pradesh, official sources said.
 
Those killed in the mishap included a man, Govind Kumar (30), and a woman, Mohini Shetty, North-Central Railway (NCR) officials said.
 
One of the injured had suffered grievous injuries, while the other five received minor injuries, the sources said.
 
The accident occurred between Sirathu and Athsarai stations in Kaushambi district on the Allahabad-Kanpur section of North-Cental Railways (NCR)
 
Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for each of the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
Senior railway officials, including the General Manager of NCR and the Divisional Railway Manager of Allahabad division had left for the scene of the mishap, which occurred around 2 pm.
 
Locally available officials of the railways, police and district administration had launched rescue and relief efforts as soon as news of the mishap was received.
 
The affected coaches included one general coach, four second class sleeper coaches (S3-6), a pantry car, two 3AC coaches and one 2AC coach, they said. One of the coaches is reported to have overturned in the impact of the crash.
 
Medical and accident relief trains had been despatched to the spot from Allahabad.
 
The derailment had disrupted traffic on the main Howrah-Delhi route and efforts were on to restore the affected line at the earliest, the sources added.
 
Mr Prabhu directed Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal and Member Engineering V K Gupta to leave for the site immediately. He also directed the railway administration to effectively undertake rescue and relief operations and provide best medical care and all assistance to the injured. 
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers for information and assistance: Allahabad -0532-1072, 035-23662/23763, Kanpur – 0512-2322015, Jammu -01912480116, Tata Nagar- 0657-2290324, 2290382, New Delhi – 011-23962389, 23342954, 23341074, 1072, Delhi Main -011-23962389.
 
Stranded passengers of the affected trains are being cleared through special train and by deploying buses. They were also provided with drinking water and snacks. 
 
An inquiry will be by Commissioner Railway Safety, to ascertain the cause of the accident, an official press release added.
 
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IAF's Mirage-2000 lands on Yamuna Expressway as part of emergency drill

An Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 on Thursday landed on the Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway near Mathura as part of the IAF's plans to use national highways for emergency landings by fighter aicraft.

 
IAF fighter aircraft lands on Yamuna Expressway near Mathura
 
 
An Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage-2000 today successfully landed on the Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway near Mathura as part of the IAF's plans to use national highways for emergency landings by fighter aicraft.
 
"This capability was demonstrated by IAF on May 21, 2015 by a Mirage-2000 aircraft which got airborne from one of the IAF bases in Central India," a press release from the Air Force said.
 
"All facilities like make shift Air Traffic Control, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties and other requirements were set up by IAF personnel from Air Force Station Agra," it said.
 
The IAF had, in coordination with the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police of Agra and Mathura tied up all the necessary arrangements for activation of the selected stretch.
 
"The aircraft made a practice approach on the highway, coming down to a height of 100 mtrs before landing off the next approach. The operations were conducted with active support from the government of Uttar Pradesh, Yamuna Expressway Authority, Toll authorities of JP Infratech and Civil Police," the release said.
 
"The IAF has plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future," it added.
 
The 165 km Yamuna Expressway stretching 165 kms., which connects Delhi and Agra, is a six-lane controlled expressway.
 
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Polling underway for 41 seats in final phase of LS elections

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

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

Bharatiya Janata Party Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Tuesday played the caste card as as his party and the Congress got involved in a bitter all-out war over a remark about "neech rajniti" made against him by Congress campaigner Priyanka Vadra.

 
No alliance can save 'mother-son' govt: Modi
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today played the caste card as as his party and the Congress got involved in a bitter all-out war over a remark about "neech rajniti" made against him by Congress campaigner Priyanka Vadra.
 
Addressing public meetings in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Modi hit out at the Congress for denigrating him for his humble origins, while the Congress and other rivals of the BJP accused him of deliberately misinterpreting Ms Vadra's statement to make a naked appeal for votes from the backward classes.
 
It all started with Mr Modi storming into Amethi, the constituency of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, in Uttar Pradesh yesterday in the last 90 minutes of campaigning there ahead of tomorrow's polling.
 
There, Mr Modi, 63, launched his fiercest attack on the Congress and the Gandhi family. Among other things, he spoke about an incident of the early 1980s in which former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the late father of Mr Rahul Gandhi, allegedly insulted then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister T Anjaiah.
 
Mr Rajiv Gandhi's daughter and Rahul's sister Priyanka Vadra reacted sharply to Mr Modi's remarks yesterday evening.
 
"They have insulted my martyred father on the soil of Amethi. People of Amethi will never forgive them for this act. Workers in Amethi will reply to their 'neech rajniti' (low-level politics). There will be reply from each of the polling booths," she said.
 
Mr Modi hit back at Ms Vadra this morning in a series of tweets on Twitter. "As I belong to a socially backward caste, they consider my politics to be of a low level," he said.
 
"Some people may not understand this, but the country has reached the present heights because of the sacrifice and hard work of the lower castes," he said.
 
"This 'low-level politics' will free India of 60 years of misgovernance and vote-bank politics, wipe the tears of crores of Indians," he said.
 
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Mr Modi went on to build on this theme in public meetings that he addressed at various places in Uttar Pradesh, evoking criticism from rival parties that the BJP was playing the caste card in the final stages of the campaign in a desperate effort to garner as many votes and seats as possible.
 
He asked the crowd at Domariyaganj, "Is it a crime to be born in a backward caste. Did I insult anyone despite being born in a backward caste?"
 
"We do not want anything. We just want a right to live with dignity. What is the crime we have committed? Just because we belong to the lower strata, does it mean we can be abused like this? You want to hang me hang me but do not insult my fellow Indians who were born in lower castes,” he said
 
"I have sold tea, not the country," he said, referring to his humble beginning as a tea vendor.
 
Union Minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal came down heavily on Mr Modi, accusing him of deliberately misinterpreting facts in a desperate effort to get votes.
 
Mr Sibal and other Congress leaders pointed out that Ms Vadra had, at no stage, made any reference to Mr Modi's caste. They said Mr Modi was also aware of this but was deliberately giving a "caste spin" to the campaign.
 
"He knows what he is saying. He knows that he is misinterpreting. He does it purposely. That is the way he is. He will never take the facts at their face value,” Mr Sibal said.
 
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Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "Nobody knows which caste Mr Modi belongs to. It is he himself who has disclosed that he belongs to OBC (Other Backward Classes). He is doing this kind of politics. Now he has come down to this level."
 
BJP leaders defended Mr Modi, saying Ms Vadra should not have used the expression "neech" (low) in view of the negative connotations it had as far as caste was concerned.
 
"She doesn't understand the impact it can have, the negative impact it can have, especially at the time when this country is trying to extricate itself out of caste politics," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
 
In the evening, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati attacked Mr Modi for his "desperate attempt to get the votes of the backward classes in Uttar Pradesh".
 
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Modi files papers from Varanasi; vows to clean up Ganga, serve weavers

BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday filed his nomination papers for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and vowed to turn it into the spiritual capital of the world, clean up the mighty Ganga river and put its famed weavers back on the road to prosperity.

 
Modi files his nomination papers from Varanasi
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today filed his nomination papers for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections from  Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and vowed to turn it into the spiritual capital of the world, clean up the mighty Ganga river and put its famed weavers back on the road to prosperity.
 
"Mother Ganga has called me to Varanasi. I don't think anyone has sent me here nor have I come here. Like a child returning to his mother's arms, I have come here to Ganga," he told mediapersons outside the district collectorate before filing his papers.
 
Mr Modi's main rivals in Varanasi are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and local Congress leader Ajay Rai.
 
Well-known classical vocalist Channulal Mishra, retired Allahabad High Court judge Giridhar Malaviya, a boatman Virbhadra Nishad and Ashok, a weaver, were among those who signed Mr Modi's nomination papers as proposers.
 
Senior BJP leaders Amit Shah, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Mr Modi is also contesting for a seat in the Lok Sabha from Vadodara in Gujarat, where his main rival is senior Congress leader Madhusudhan Mistry. 
 
Vadodara will go to the polls on April 30, while Varanasi will vote on May 12 in the final round of the nine-phase elections.
 
“The Modi wave in the country has turned into a tsunami after Mr Modi filed  his papers from here today and it will wipe out all other parties such as the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh,” Mr Shah, one of Mr Modi’s closest confidants, told reporters later.
 
Earlier, Mr Modi, 63, arrived in Varanasi this morning to a resounding welcome by thousands of his party's supporters who lined up both sides of the streets on his route to the collectorate. On the way, he paid tributes at the statues of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the renowned educationist, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister. Incidentally, Mr Giridhar Malaviya is a grandson of Madan Mohan Malaviya.
 
Mr Modi, who has been the Chief Minister of Gujarat since late 2001, told reporters that he had been able to change the fortunes of kite makers, who are mainly Muslims, in his state by modernising the industry and introducing new technology and marketing tools and was confident he would be able to achieve similar changes for the weaver community of Varanasi, again made up largely of Muslims.
 
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He also spoke about his success in cleaning up the Sabarmati river that flows through Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat, and building a modern waterfront there, and hoped to develop the Ganga in Varanasi in similar fashion.
 
"Varanasi is the cradle of India’s glorious culture, a confluence of tradition, history, culture and harmony. This is the blessed land of the Sankat Mochan temple. The spiritual power of this land is exceptional. It drew people from all over the world, who came to this land in search of peace and Moksha. It was in Sarnath, that Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining Enlightenment. Varanasi is the birthplace of the venerable Sant Ravidas. It was in Benaras that Mahatma Kabir was born, lived and shared his wisdom. Mirza Ghalib described Benaras as ‘Kaba-E-Hindustan’ and ‘Chirag-E-Dair’ or the light of the world.  When Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya had to select a place to set up a centre of learning, it was not a surprise that he chose Benaras. No mention of Varanasi is complete without remembering (shehnai player) Ustad Bismillah Khan, arguably the greatest symbol of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb. Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahab’s love for Varanasi is legendary," Mr Modi said in his blog today before he reached Varanasi.
 
"We envision Varanasi as a World Heritage Site that is able to draw both devotees and those who wish to understand and absorb India’s culture. This means creating state-of-the-art tourist and infrastructure facilities for Varanasi. And it is my firm belief that once we are able to give the required impetus to tourism, it will not only bring more tourists but also enhance the livelihood of the poorest of the poor. More tourists means more income for those associated with temples, those who are living on the Ghats, those who ride the ferries on the Ganga…the entire town and surrounding areas will receive a much needed facelift," he said.
 
"Ganga is the lifeline of Varanasi and is at the core of our identity- She is our Mother. Unfortunately, governments have not been able to devote the attention that should have been given to Ganga. The condition of the Ganga in several parts of UP is pitiable. We can’t let this go on anymore! Need of the hour is to work towards cleaning the Ganga and restoring it to its previous glory. In 1986 the Government of the day brought the Ganga Action Plan but it merely remained a plan, the action was missing. Budgets were allocated but the money was never used for the intended purpose. The condition of the Varuna too is similar. Now is the time for urgent action to solve this anomaly!
 
"And when I talk about my commitment to clean the Ganga, it is not a mere promise. When I took over as CM in 2001 the condition of Sabarmati was similar. It was better known for hosting circuses and children playing cricket. Switch to 2014 and things are very different! We have brought water from the Narmada and now water flows through the Sabarmati. A world class Sabarmati River Front was created, which has emerged as a popular recreation and cultural spot in Ahmedabad. With the blessings of Baba Bholenath, this is what we intend to replicate in Varanasi.
 
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"It is not only the Ganga that has become the victim of sheer negligence. We are firm in our commitment to address the issues of cleanliness in Varanasi so that we can give the citizens of Varanasi a clean and green city. We will focus on solid waste management right from collecting the waste to treating it. Similarly, the poor waste disposal practices over the years have not served the people of Varanasi well. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that such occurrences are history within a very short period of time. Within a fixed timeframe, the problems of solid waste management, sewer and chemical waste will be successfully mitigated," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the weavers of Varanasi had suffered due to apathy of the governments in Delhi and Lucknow.
 
"It is my firm resolve to infuse this sector with latest technology and qualitative value addition so that the weavers of Varanasi become our pride at the world level. From ensuring that they get quality raw material to better marketing of their products, it is my resolve to ensure that they stand on their own feet with pride and their future generations have a bright future," he added.
 
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Priyanka says pained by attacks on husband, vows to fight back harder

Congress President Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Vadra on Tuesday hit back at the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party for maligning her husband Robert Vadra as part of a political attack on her family and declared that she would not be deterred by such attempts and would fight back with stronger resolve.

 
Feel sad about my husband, family being humiliated: Priyanka
Congress President Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Vadra today hit back at the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for maligning her husband Robert Vadra as part of a political attack on her family and declared that she would not be deterred by such attempts and would fight back with stronger resolve.
 
Addressing a meeting in Rae Bareli, her mother's constituency, Ms Vadra said she was saddened by the kind of discourse in the country during the campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
 
She said the elections should have been about development, about the needs of the people of the country, what political parties plan to do for them and how, about jobs for the youth and how the country would be taken forward.
 
Instead of debates on such issues, she said the people were being misled by baseless allegations against the Congress and her family.
 
"Lots of things are being said, harsh words are being used, my family is being maligned, my husband is being maligned," she said.
 
"I am saddened, not because my family is being maligned, not because my husband is being maligned and the truth does not come out," she said.
 
"Not because everyday I have to tell my children that the truth will emerge one day, because I have learnt from (former Prime Minister) Indira Gandhi that the truth will come out," she said. "Your mind becomes stronger. No matter how much they try to push us down, we will come back stronger," she said. 
 
"The more they try to malign me, the harder I will fight back," she declared.
 
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Ms Vadra said the elections were also about preserving India's pluralist democracy, its composite culture and its development.
 
"In these elections, vote for the country, for your children's future, for the India of Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, a country in which Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians live together," she said.
 
Ms Vadra, who has been managing the campaign of Ms Gandhi in Rae Bareli and her brother and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, recalled the love and affection that the people of the region had showered on her family.
 
"This country is known for its generosity, its great sons have been known for their generosity. My mother was not born in this country, but you made her one of your own. You know how well she has represented you in Parliament," she said.
 
She accused the opposition of making people and communities fight each other. "They talk about taking one community forward, about leaving the other behind," she said.
 
This was the first time that Ms Vadra has responded in this manner to the allegations levelled against her family by the BJP, though she did not name the party at any point.
 
"There has been a political attack against my family. They have used my husband to make a political attack on my family. This has been going on for two years, and I feel very strongly about it," she told reporters later.
 
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Sonia Gandhi files nomination from Rae Bareli for LS elections

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term in the Lok Sabha, filed her nomination papers for the coming general elections from her family bastion of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

Sonia Gandhi files nomination from Rae Bareli
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term in the Lok Sabha, filed her nomination papers for the coming general elections from her family bastion of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh today.
 
Ms Gandhi, 67, had been elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1999 from Amethi, which is now held by her son and Congress President Rahul Gandhi since 2004. She was elected from Rae Bareli in 2004 and 2009.
 
"The people of Amethi have always accepted me with a lot of love, and I hope they will elect me again," she told reporters after filing her nomination at the district collectorate, with her son by her side.
 
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer Ajay Agarwal against her from Rae Bareli,while the Samajwadi Party has, in keeping with similar gestures in the past, not fielded anyone in the constituency.
 
The BJP had toyed with the idea of putting up former Union Miister Uma Bharti against Ms Gandhi. But she was said to be reluctant to give up her allotted constituency of Jhansi and is finally said to have agreed to contest on the condition that she be allowed to fight from both constituencies. That was not agreeable to the BJP leadership, sources said.
 
Agarwal was earlier with the Samajwadi Party and joined the BJP recently. He earned a name for himself by filing a public interest litigation in the Taj Heritage Corridor case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati. He has also argued against the Congress leadership in the Bofors case.
 
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“I will win against Sonia Gandhi and the BJP will create a record in UP and win majority of seats,” Agarwal told newspersons after the BJP announced his nomination.
 
Earlier, Rahul drove Ms Gandhi through the streets of Rae Bareli on the way to the collectorate. They were given a resounding welcome by the local people, who turned up in thousands to cheer them and showered rose petals on their car. She got out of the car at a few places to meet with people, including women.
 
Ms Gandhi stopped briefly at the Congress office in Rae Bareli to participate in a religious ceremony there, which has been a family tradition for years. Later, she drove to Takia, a nearby village to visit the family of the late Ali Miyan, a well-known Islamic scholar.
 
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Death toll mounts to 67 in Kalka Mail mishap; 245 injured

The death toll in the derailment of 15 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail near Malwan railway station in Uttar Pradesh yesterday reached 67 with the recovery of more bodies from the mangled bogies during rescue operations today.

A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The death toll in the derailment of 15 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail near Malwan railway station in Uttar Pradesh yesterday reached 67 with the recovery of more bodies from the mangled bogies during rescue operations today.

Divisional Commissioner (Allahabad) Mukesh Meshram, who is camping at the scene of the tragedy, told UNI that the toll had gone up to 67 as 16 more bodies were recovered today.

He said the rescue operation was continuing and the Army jawans were searching for bodies inside S-2 coach, which was one of those worst affected in the derailment.

Unconfirmed reports put the death toll at 80.

Superintendent of Police Ram Bharose said 56 bodies were retrieved from the coaches while 11 died at the hospital during treatment.

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A total of 245 people were injured in the accident of which 190 have been admitted to the district hospital here.

Chief District Medical Superintendent Rakesh Kumar said most of the critically injured passengers had been shifted to Kanpur. He said more doctors and paramedical personnel had been called in from nearby districts.

A special train from Howrah, carrying the families of the victims, will reach the accident site later today, officials said.

Commissioner of Railway Safety P K Vajpayee, who will conduct an inquiry into the accident, was expected to reach the site today.

Railway employees engaged in salvage work on July11 following derailment of the Guwhati-Puri express at Bhatkuchi village on the night of July 10 after an explosion set off by suspected militants. UNI PHOTO
Railway employees engaged in salvage work on July11 following derailment of the Guwhati-Puri express at Bhatkuchi village on the night of July 10 after an explosion set off by suspected militants. UNI PHOTO
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi visited the scene of the accident and also the district hospital to meet the injured people.

Railway officials camping at the scene of the derailment said the tracks were expected to be cleared by late tonight.

North Central Railway (NCR) General Manager J C Joshi said normal traffic would start only after repair of the overhead electric wires which could take some more time.

Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force were rushed from Allahabad to speed up the rescue efforts yesterday, but light showers had hampered the work last evening. The Army has also sent an air ambulance to ferry the injured to hospitals.

A 150-member team from the National Disaster Response Force is also at the spot to help in the rescue operations.

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Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and other members of the Board as well as the Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had also reached the scene of the accident by last night and were monitoring the rescue efforts.

Due to the accident, train services on the busy Howrah-Delhi route have been severely affected and long distance trains were being diverted through Lucknow-Uchachar and other routes. Several down trains, including the Rajdhani Express, have been diverted through the Kanpur-Lucknow-Varanasi route. In all, 13 trains have been cancelled and 25 pairs diverted, Railway officials said.

The ill-fated Kalka Mail train, which left from Howrah on Saturday night, was scheduled to reach Kalka this morning via Old Delhi station.

This is the second major rail accident in the state during the past one week. On Thursday, 38 people were killed in a collision between a bus and a train at an unmanned level crossing in Kanshiramnagar district.

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Death toll mounts to 51 in Kalka Mail mishap; 247 injured

The death toll in the derailment of 15 coaches of the Howrah-Kalka Mail near Malwan railway station in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday has reached 51 after more bodies were recovered from the coaches during the night-long rescue operations.

A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The death toll in the derailment of 15 coaches of the 12311-Up Howrah-Kalka Mail near Malwan railway station in Uttar Pradesh yesterday has reached 51 after more bodies were recovered from the coaches during the night-long rescue operation which is continuing round the clock.

Superintendent of Police Ram Bhorase told UNI that 51 people had died so far in the accident. He said the bodies of 37 of the victims had been retrieved from the mangled coaches while 14 people had succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

Mr Bhorase said the rescue efforts were still underway and more bodies could be recovered as the Army personnel were yet to search two sleeper coaches.

A body was recovered from a coach at 0615 hrs today while several others are still trapped inside other coaches, particularly S-1 and S-2.

A total of 247 people were injured in the accident, of whom 190 have been admitted to the district hospital here.

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Chief District Medical Superintendent Dr Rakesh Kumar said most of the critically injured passengers had been shifted to Kanpur. More doctors and paramedical staff had been called in from nearby districts to cope with the crisis, he said.

Railway officials camping at the scene of the derailment said the tracks were expected to be cleared by late tonight.

North Central Railway (NCR) General Manager J C Joshi said normal traffic would start only after repair of the overhead electric wires which could take some more time.

Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force were rushed from Allahabad to speed up the rescue efforts yesterday, but light showers had hampered the work last evening. The Army has also sent an air ambulance to ferry the injured to hospitals.

A 150-member team from the National Disaster Response Force is also at the spot to help in the rescue operations.

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Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and other members of the Board as well as the Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had also reached the scene of the accident by last night and were monitoring the rescue efforts.

Due to the accident, train services on the busy Howrah-Delhi route have been severely affected and long distance trains were being diverted through Lucknow-Uchachar and other routes. Several down trains, including the Rajdhani Express, have been diverted through the Kanpur-Lucknow-Varanasi route. In all, 13 trains have been cancelled and 25 pairs diverted, Railway officials said.

The ill-fated Kalka Mail train, which left from Howrah on Saturday night, was scheduled to reach Kalka this morning via Old Delhi station.

This is the second major rail accident in the state during the past one week. On Thursday, 38 people were killed in a collision between a bus and a train at an unmanned level crossing in Kanshiramnagar district

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37 killed, over 270 injured in two train accidents in UP, Assam

At least 37 people were killed and over 270 injured today when over a dozen coaches of two superfast Express trains got derailed in Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
At least 37 people were killed and over 270 injured today when over a dozen coaches of two superfast Express trains got derailed in Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

At least 37 people were killed and over 200 injured when 12 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwan railway station on the Howrah-Delhi route of the North-Central railway in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh.

In another mishap, at least 70 people were injured, 30 of them critically, when a suspected blast derailed four coaches and overturned four others of the Guwahati-Puri Express in lower Assam's Nalbari district this evening.

Police sources here said 37 passengers have been killed in Kalka Mail accident and the death toll could rise as many passengers were still trapped inside two derailed coaches.  However, unconfirmed report put the death toll at over 50.

More than 250 injured are undergoing treatment in different hospitals. As many as 190 of them were admitted to the district hospital here and 54 were admitted to private nursing homes in Kanpur and Fatehpur.

Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were deployed to help in the rescue operations. Several seriously injured passengers were rushed to hospital by army jawans.

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Passengers of the ill-fated train complained of delay in the rescue and relief efforts by the Railways.

A special train has been made available from Kanpur for the passengers of the Kalka Mail for their onward journey. Besides, food packets and water bottles have been provided to the passengers, railway officials said.

NCR spokesman Sandeep Mathur told UNI from Allahabad that the derailed coaches included two AC three-tier, one AC two-tier, two general, five sleeper, one pantry and an SLR coach.

He said 11 coaches had been totally damaged and gas cutters were being used to bring out the passengers from the derailed coaches. The train was running at a speed of 108 kms per hour when the accident occurred.

"A medical relief train with seven doctors and medical equipment has reached from Allahabad. A similar train from Kanpur has also reached the spot," Mr Mathur said.

All the derailed coaches either had overturned or climbed onto other coaches, he said.

Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal, along with some of the members of the Board and the Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), has rushed to the spot.

The Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the mishap, Rs 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has expressed her grief over the accident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for victims with minor injuries.

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State Cooperative Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party state president Swami Prasad Maurya, along with UP Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra, have reached the spot and were supervising the relief and rescue operations.

Rescue efforts had picked up with Army jawans taking full control of the operation. A 150-member team from National Disaster Response Force had also reached the scene. Railway officials said the rescue work would continue overnight. Official said the restoration of the route would take at least 48 hours.

The railway officials were yet to establish the cause of the derailment.

In the district hospital, there was a shortage of beds and many of the injured were forced to lie on the floor. Most of the deceased were yet to be identified except for one Kallo Devi (35) of Kanpur. A woman died with her infant child on her lap.

The railways have asked Commissioner Railway Safety P K Vajpayee to inquire into the accident.

Regarding the second incident, Northeast Frontier Railway sources said it occurred at Bhatkuchi, between Rangiya and Ghograpar railway stations.

The train had left Guwahati railway station at 1915 hours on its way to Puri and the accident occurred at about 2020 hours, the sources said.

Four coaches of the train derailed and fell into a paddy field, while four more overturned. All the coaches involved were those immediately behind the engine.

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The sources said preliminary findings pointed towards a blast on the tracks, though confirmation is yet to be received. Passengers of the ill-fated train as well as people of nearby villages also claimed that they had heard a loud explosion just before the accident.

The injured were being rushed to Rangiya and Guwahati, where the state government has issued orders for treatment of the victims on a priority basis. The condition of at least 30 injured was stated to be critical.

Rescue and relief teams have reached the spot and were trying to ensure that no person was trapped in the coaches as well as providing medical aid to those injured.

The main railway line through the section has been blocked following the incident and trains were being diverted via Goalpara, the sources said.

The NFR has set up following helpline numbers after the accident: 0361-2737154/2737155/2731621/622/623 and 9957554804.

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40 killed, over 250 injured as Kalka Mail derails in UP

At least 40 people were killed and more than 250 injured when 12 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwan railway station in Uttar Pradesh on the Howrah-Delhi route of the North-Central Railway in Fatehpur on Sunday.

A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
At least 40 people were killed and more than 250 injured when 12 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwan railway station in Uttar Pradesh on the Howrah-Delhi route of the North-Central Railway (NCR) here today.

Police sources here said the death toll could rise as many passengers were still inside two of the derailed coaches.

However, the Railways have put the toll at 22, while unconfirmed reports said more than 50 people had died.

More than 250 injured are undergoing treatment in different hospitals. As many as 190 of them were admitted to the district hospital here and 54 were admitted to private nursing homes in Kanpur and Fatehpur.

Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were deployed to help in the rescue operations. Several seriously injured passengers were rushed to hospital by army jawans.

Passengers of the ill-fated train complained of delay in the rescue and relief efforts by the Railways.

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A special train has been made available from Kanpur for the passengers of the Kalka Mail for their onward journey. Besides, food packets and water bottles have been provided to the passengers, railway officials said.

NCR spokesman Sandeep Mathur told UNI from Allahabad that the derailed coaches included two AC three-tier, one AC two-tier, two general, five sleeper, one pantry and an SLR coach.

He said 11 coaches had been totally damaged and gas cutters were being used to bring out the passengers from the derailed coaches. The train was running at a speed of 108 kms per hour when the accident occurred.

"A medical relief train with seven doctors and medical equipment has reached from Allahabad. A similar train from Kanpur has also reached the spot," Mr Mathur said.

All the derailed coaches either had overturned or climbed onto other coaches, he said.

Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal, along with some of the members of the Board and the Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), has rushed to the spot.

The Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the mishap, Rs 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has expressed her grief over the accident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for victims with minor injuries.

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State Cooperative Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party state president Swami Prasad Maurya, along with UP Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra, have reached the spot and were supervising the relief and rescue operations.

Rescue efforts had picked up with Army jawans taking full control of the operation. A 150-member team from National Disaster Response Force had also reached the scene. Railway officials said the rescue work would continue overnight. Official said the restoration of the route would take at least 48 hours.

The railway officials were yet to establish the cause of the derailment.

In the district hospital, there was a shortage of beds and many of the injured were forced to lie on the floor. Most of the deceased were yet to be identified except for one Kallo Devi (35) of Kanpur. A woman died with her infant child on her lap.

The railways have asked Commissioner Railway Safety P K Vajpayee to inquire into the accident.

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100 injured in derailment of Howrah- Kalka Mail in Uttar Pradesh

More than 100 passengers were injured when 12 coaches of the Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwa
railway station in Uttar Pradesh on the Howrah-Delhi route of North-Central Railway on Sunday.

File photo of the scene after a train accident in Uttar Pradesh on January 2, 2010.
File photo of the scene after a train accident in Uttar Pradesh on January 2, 2010.
More than 100 passengers were injured when 12 coaches of the Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwa railway station in Uttar Pradesh on the Howrah-Delhi route of North-Central Railway near here today.

NCR General Manager H C Joshi, who has rushed to the spot, told UNI on telephone that two railway officials on the spot had informed him that it was a major accident.

"The total number of injured passengers could be around 100," he said.

The derailed coaches include three air-conditioned coaches along with the engine. The impact of the derailment was such that some coaches had climbed on to others. The derailment occurred at around 1215 hrs.

Mr Joshi said the injured passengers were being shifted to hospitals in private vehicles while relief trains have been rushed from Kanpur and Allahabad. "Local people are helping a lot to shift the injured to the hospitals," he said.

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As a result of the accident, train services on the busy Howrah-Delhi route have been paralysed.

The ill-fated train which left from Howrah last night was scheduled to reach Kalka early tomorrow morning via Old Delhi station.

The Railways have set up helplines at Kanpur station for providing information to relatives of the passengers.

The numbers are 0512-2323015,0512-2323016 and 0512-232318. The helpline number at Allahabad is 0532-2207353.

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Airports alerted, police hunt for ex-BSP MP's son

 
Man brandishes gun during argument outside 5-star hotel in Delhi
Authorities alerted airports and a Delhi Police team reached Lucknow on Tuesday in search of a former BSP MP's son who whipped out a pistol during a scuffle with a man at a luxury hotel in the national capital, officials said.
 
The three-member squad, led by Inspector Harish Chandra, went to Ashish Pandey's residence and the houses of his relatives but could not find him, an officer said. 
 
Pandey, son of former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA and MP Rakesh Pandey, pulled out the weapon during an argument with a man at the porch of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in south Delhi on Sunday around 3.40 a.m., police said.
 
In a video of the incident, Ashish Pandey and his friends can be heard abusing the man who used the ladies' washroom, police said.
 
Delhi's Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Chaudhry said: "We are afraid he (Pandey) might leave the country. So, a look-out circular has been issued at airports across the country. 
 
"He doesn't live in Delhi. He has his residence in Lucknow... We are in coordination with the Uttar Pradesh Police and will be able to arrest him soon," Chaudhry said.
 
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter to say that "strong and appropriate action will be taken" against the culprits including the friends of Ashish Pandey. 
 
Police took suo motu cognizance of the incident, which Chaudhry said wasn't reported by the hotel authorities or by the people involved in the fight but was recorded in a video that went viral on the social media.
 
"It happened during a party at the hotel. Ashish had an argument with someone who used a ladies' washroom and the video showed him brandishing a pistol went viral," he said. 
 
The Uttar Pradesh Police is assisting the Delhi Police in the hunt for Ashish Pandey.
 
When the police team reached Pandey's house in Vaibhav Khand in Lucknow's Gomti Nagar area, a domestic help said that Pandey visited the place once or twice a month. 
 
A case under the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the accused. 
 
Chaudhry said the hotel was yet to respond as to why the incident wasn't reported to the police. 
 
Meanwhile, Hyatt Hotel issued a statement saying the safety of their guests was their primary concern and that they were working with the police in this direction.
 
IANS
 

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Allahabad now officially renamed Prayagraj

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Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh will now on be officially known as Prayagraj.
 
A decision to this effect was ratified by the Uttar Pradesh cabinet at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday.
 
Briefing the media, government spokesman and Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh said the decision was taken keeping in mind the rich cultural, historic and religious heritage of the city.
 
He added that the name Prayagraj was found mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures.
 
Adityanath had made the announcement in Allahabad on Saturday. Allahabad will host 'Ardh Kumbh' in January. 
 
The cabinet also took 12 major decisions including allocation of funds for seven medical colleges in the state and assimilation of 23 villages under the 'sadar' tehsil in Lalitpur district.
 
To encourage milk production, the cabinet approved a proposal for granting 'Nand Baba Award' to farmers who excel in milk production. 
 
IANS
 

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Train kills man trying to cross tracks in Ghaziabad

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One man was killed and three others suffered injuries when they tried to cross the tracks in front of an approaching train near  Ghaziabad railway yard in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, an official said.
 
The four were hit by an EMU train around 8 a.m. near a manned level crossing when they tried to cross the tracks after the gates were closed for the approaching train, Northern Railway Spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.
 
"They failed to cross over as swiftly as they expected and instead were hit by the train," he said. 
 
The injured were shifted to MMG Civil Hospital here. A case was registered.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Kathgodam-Howrah Express coach derails in UP, none injured

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One coach of the Kathgodam-Howrah Express train derailed on Thursday near Domingarh station in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, though no one was injured, officials said.
 
A senior railway official said that the last coach derailed around 12.59 p.m. while the train was being shunted to the Domingarh yard, just outside Gorakhpur. 
 
Traffic on the Jagatbela-Domingarh main down line was disrupted for more than an hour due to the derailment. Traffic was restored by 2.15 p.m.
 
On Wednesday morning, at least five persons were killed and over 30 injured after nine coaches and the engine of New Delhi-bound New Farakka Express derailed in rural stretch of Rae Bareli. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Five dead, several injured as New Farakka Express derails near Rae Bareli

A  view of the scene near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, where seven people died when nine coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express derailed, on October 10, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
A view of the scene near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, where seven people died when nine coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express derailed, on October 10, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
At least five people died and several others suffered injuries when the engine and nine coaches of the 14003 Malda-New Delhi New Farakka Express derailed near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh this morning, official sources said.
 
Northern Railway officials told NetIndian from the scene of the accident that about 38 passengers had suffered injuries and they had been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Four of them had grievous injuries, they said.
 
Railway officials had earlier in the day put the number of deaths in the accident at seven, but corrected the figure later after cross-checking information with various hospitals.
 
Minister for Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passengers, Rs. 1 lakh for those who suffered grievous injuries and Rs. 50,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
The mishap occurred at around 0605 hours close to Harchandpur station, about 15 km from Rae Bareli and about 60 km from state capital Lucknow.
 
The sources said senior railway officials of the Lucknow Division as well as district administration and police officials rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also reached the scene, they said.
 
Efforts were being made to restore traffic on the affected section at the earliest, they said, adding that the cause of the derailment was yet to be ascertained.
 
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The Northern Railway identified the deceased passengers as Shambhu (25), s/o Mohan, Munger, Bihar; Sunita (52), w/o Mohan, Munger, Bihar; Rita (1), d/o Munger, Bihar; Ajay Kumri (45), s/o Ghutkha Nand Kumari, Kishanganj, Bihar; and Dinesh S/o Rasiklal Manjhi (7), Munger, Bihar.
 
Those who were grievously injured were: Anita Devi (25), w/o Radha Mohan; Rinku (20) s/o Nadim Sheikh; Rajiv (32), s/o Ram Laghu; Sujan (12), s/o Ram Bilasi.
 
The Railways set up the following helpline numbers for passengers and their relatives:
Malda -           03512-266000, 269055, 9002074480
Bhagalpur-      0641 2422433, 2421232
Sahibganj-      06436-222061, 225384
Jamalpur-       06344-243101
New Farakka- 7595046555
Moradabad-    1072, Railway- 2101
Bareilly-           0581 2558162, Railway- 3101
New Delhi-      011 23341074, 01123342954  Railway- 22280
Varanasi-        Railway- 63733, 0542 2503814
Lucknow-        Railway-25606, 9794830975, 9794830974
Rae Bareli-     0535 2213154
Pratapgarh-    0532 220492
 
Several trains were cancelled or diverted due to the derailment, railway sources added.
 
NNN

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Seven dead as New Farakka Express derails near Rae Bareli

A  view of the scene near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, where seven people died when nine coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express derailed, on October 10, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
A view of the scene near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, where seven people died when nine coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express derailed, on October 10, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
At least seven people died and several others were injured when nine coaches of the 14003 Malda-New Delhi New Farakka Express derailed near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh this morning, official sources said.
 
Northern Railway officials told NetIndian from the scene of the accident that about 30 passengers had suffered injuries and they had been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
 
The mishap occurred at around 0605 hours close to Harchandpur station, about 15 km from Rae Bareli and about 60 km from state capital Lucknow.
 
The sources said senior railway officials of the Lucknow Division as well as district administration and police officials had reached the spot to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also reached the scene, they said.
 
Efforts were being made to restore traffic on the affected section at the earliest, they said, adding that the cause of the derailment was yet to be ascertained.
 
NNN

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BrahMos scientist held on spying charge, 2 others raided in UP

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A young scientist working with the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL)'s missile research centre in Nagpur was arrested on Monday on alleged charges of spying for Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI and other countries, informed sources said.
 
Scientist Nishant Pradeep Agrawal has been working for the last four years in the BAPL, an Indo-Russian Joint Venture, and was nabbed in a joint operation of Uttar Pradesh Police and Maharashtra Police.
 
The UP-Anti Terrorist Squad (UP-ATS) has also raided two other unidentified persons in Agra and Kanpur in the north India state and seized their laptops, an official statement of the Uttar Pradesh Police said on Monday.
 
Following a tip-off, he was placed under surveillance for the past few days by the Military Intelligence as well as Uttar Pradesh Police and Maharashtra Police.
 
The BAPL officer has been booked under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the sources said.
 
The UP Police statement said the UP-ATS had monitored fake Facebook accounts originating from Pakistan in the name of women to "honey-trap" key officials working in sensitive defence-related set-ups in India.
 
The information came to light after the Border Security Force (BSF) recently nabbed a person in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and two fake Facebook IDs of women created in Pakistan were put under observation after they were found to be chatting with Agrawal.
 
Accordingly, the UP-ATS acquired a search warrant from a court and along with Maharashtra ATS, swooped on Agrawal's residence at Ujjwal Nagar in Nagpur.
 
"We have found certain secret and ultra-sensitive information on his personal computer. It should not been there on his personal laptop. It violates the provisions of the OSA, and hence he has been arrested," the statement added.
 
The joint ATS teams of the two states also searched his BMAL office and from another location recovered an old laptop which is being examined to see if it contains anything objectionable.
 
The UP-ATS has moved a local court in Nagpur seeking a transit remand to take Agrawal to Lucknow for further investigations.
 
They said that after the investigations, they would be able to know what kind of chats he was having with the fake women's accounts on Facebook.
 
Depending on the outcome, the accused may be slapped with additional charges, the UP-ATS said.
 
As per preliminary information, Agrawal was reportedly passing on certain highly classified information, including "technological and other details", to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan as well as the USA.
 
However, official circles are not aware of what kind of access to sensitive information or the security clearance levels Agrawal enjoyed in the company.
 
Hailing from Roorkee in Uttarakhand, Agarwal had been recently awarded the "Young Scientist Award" for the year 2017-18. 
 
He had got married earlier this year and had been living in a rented house in Nagpur's Ujjwala Nagar.
 
Among other things, the BrahMos centre is involved in manufacturing certain critical components for the BrahMos missile, considered the world's fastest cruise missile that can be launched from land, ships, aircraft or submarines.
 
The Indo-Russian joint venture's recent development of the latest version of the BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile has elicited keen interest in global defence circles and several major political powers in the world.
 
The missile -- successfully test-fired on July 16 from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore in Odisha -- is an outcome of a joint venture of India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia Corp (NPOM), since 2011.
 
IANS

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