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13 dead as building collapses after gas cylinder blast in Mau district of UP

At least 13 people died when a two-storeyed residential building collapsed after a gas cylinder exploded on Monday morning at Walidpur in Mohammadabad area of Mau district in Uttar Pradesh, official sources said.
The scene at Walidpur in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh where a two-storeyed building collapsed after a gas cylinder exploded, on October 14, 2019
The scene at Walidpur in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh where a two-storeyed building collapsed after a gas cylinder exploded, on October 14, 2019
At least 13 people died when a two-storeyed residential building collapsed after a gas cylinder exploded this morning at Walidpur in Mohammadabad area of Mau district in Uttar Pradesh, official sources said.
 
About 10-12 others were pulled out of the debris and rushed for treatment of injuries to the Government Hospital in Mau, they said.
 
The tragedy occurred at around 7.30 am when the women of the household were cooking breakfast in the kitchen on the ground floor of the building.
 
The blast set off a fire and also brought down the entire structure, trapping those inside under the debris, the sources said.
 
While some of those killed died due to burns, others succumbed to injuries suffered when the structure caved in on them. The victims included some people who had rushed into the building to help those inside and were trapped when it collapsed suddenly.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased and instructed the district administration to provide the best possible treatment for those injured.
 
"Hon CM has taken cognisance of the incident of cylinder blast in a house in Mau which has caused fatalities. He has conveyed deepest condolences to family of deceased and directed the district admin to immediately provide all possible relief & medical help to the injured," a post by the CM's Office said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Residents of the area told journalists that they heard a loud explosion and then saw flames erupting from the building.
 
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had reached the spot and were trying to extricate people still believed to be trapped under the rubble. Police personnel and local residents were assisting in the rescue operations.
 
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Rahul, Priyanka, Scindia roll out Mission UP with mega roadshow in Lucknow

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday made her formal debut in active politics with a massive road show in Lucknow, accompanied by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, enthusing party workers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and General Secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia waving to the crowds that lined up the streets during their roadshow in Lucknow on February 11, 2019.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and General Secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia waving to the crowds that lined up the streets during their roadshow in Lucknow on February 11, 2019.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made her formal debut in active politics with a massive road show in Lucknow, accompanied by her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi and fellow General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, enthusing party workers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The Congress President had, on January 23, appointed Ms. Vadra as the party's General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East and Mr. Scindia as the General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh West. The two young leaders will oversee the party's efforts in the coming Lok Sabha elections in their respective areas, and will, therefore, be each responsible for roughly half of the 80 seats from the state.
 
The Gandhi siblings and Scindia were accompanied on the roadshow by UP Congress chief Raj Babbar and other senior party leaders. They were greeted all along the four-hour, 25 km drive from the airport to the party's office in Lucknow with rose petals, garlands, bouquets, banners and so on by huge cheering crowds on both sides of the road.
 
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Scindia waved and smiled at the people throughout.
 
Congress volunteers distributed food packets, tea and water to people and patriotic songs were played on loudspeakers.
 
For Priyanka, on whom much of the hopes of the Congress workers in Uttar Pradesh now rests, this was the first time that she was campaigning outside the Lok Sabha constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli, held by Rahul Gandhi and their mother and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, respectively.
 
Speaking at the end of the roadshow, the Congress President said his party was committed to playing on the front foot, without any hesitation and without fear, in Uttar Pradesh and the rest of the country in the coming Lok Sabha elections, expected to be held in April-May.
 
He said Ms Vadra and Mr. Scindia would work to better the party's performance in the Lok Sabha polls, but, more importantly, they had been entrusted with the task of ensuring that the party was voted to power in the next Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
 
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"We will not rest until we establish a Congress government in Uttar Pradesh," he declared.
 
"This is an ideological battle. On the one  hand,  there is the Congress ideology of brotherhood, love and harmony. On the other, there is the ideology of the BJP, the RSS and of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi of dividing the people, speading hatred and weakening the nation," he said.
 
He said the people had seen the record of Modi in the past four and a half years. He said the Modi government had failed to provide jobs to the youth as promised, had written off loans worth lakhs of crores of rupees of industrialists but had refused to waive farm loans, and had worked for the benefit of a few industrialists. "This is the reality of the man who had said he wanted to be the nation's 'chowkidar' and not Prime Minister," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said he had decided to send Ms. Vadra and Ms. Scindia to help revive the party in the Uttar Pradesh. "The Congress began in Uttar Pradesh and cannot remain weak in this state," he said.
 
He told Ms. Vadra, Mr. Scindia, Mr. Babbar and the several other state Congress leaders present that it was their collective responsibility to work for the revival of the party in Uttar Pradesh. The party had managed to win only two of the 80 seats from the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
He said the party would work for the youth, women, farmers, workers and the poor. According to him, the people had tried all other parties and now wanted a progressive government. He said the people realised that the Congress was their only option now.
 
He said the party must make every effort to bring to the fore leadership from the grassroots, making it clear that leaders who parachuted into the state could not produce the desired results.
 
Mr. Gandhi spoke briefly about the latest revelations about the Rafale fighter jets deal which, according to him, strengthened the allegations about corruption at the highest levels.
 
About the BSP-SP alliance in UP, which had kept the Congress out, Mr. Gandhi said he had the greatest respect for BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. "But the Congress will fight with all its might for its ideology and for bringing about change in Uttar Pradesh," he added.
 
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Four held for Bulandshahr violence, police mum on killers' links

Four people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a young man in violence in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh after cow vigilantes went on a rampage, police said on Tuesday.
Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh who was attacked and shot dead by a mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr on December 3, 2018. (File Photo: IANS)
Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh who was attacked and shot dead by a mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr on December 3, 2018. (File Photo: IANS)
Four people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a young man in violence in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh after cow vigilantes went on a rampage, police said on Tuesday.
 
The police, however, maintained it would be too early to conclude about the involvement of any organisation in the violence although local officials linked the mayhem to right-wing Hindu groups.
 
The police said the main conspirator behind Monday's mob violence was Yogesh Raj, who is on the run and is said to be a Bajrang Dal activist. 
 
Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said those arrested were Chaman, Devendra, Ashish Chouhan and Satish, who have been named in the FIR, while the prime suspect was Yogesh Raj.
 
"Those arrested have been found to be leading the crowd after being identified in a video. About 40-50 others who are unidentified were involved in the incident and police is confident of identifying them with the video evidence," he said.
 
The official parried questions about the political links of the three key accused who are also said to include an activist each from the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
 
"Yes, Yogesh Raj is the main conspirator," he said, adding that he was yet to be arrested. 
 
He said six teams have been formed to probe the incident and an SIT has been constituted to investigate the matter.
 
On allegations that policemen fled the spot leaving the slain Inspector alone, Kumar said the circumstances in which police personnel left the place would be analysed and till then no action would be taken against anyone.
 
He said the Inspector was first injured by a stone.
 
"He fell unconscious and was taken in a vehicle which was attacked by a mob with stones and gunfire," he added. Videos which went viral showed the Inspector dead with a bullet wound near the vehicle and several activists running around in circles.
 
A .32 bore bullet was found lodged in the head of Subodh Kumar Singh.
 
Earlier reports said the Inspector was killed when he tried to reason with the Hindutva activists blocking a busy road with carcasses of animals they claimed were of cows.
 
About the death of the youth, Sumeet, only a probe can reveal whether he was killed in cross-firing or police firing, Kumar said.
 
A view of vehicles that were damaged after violence erupted on Monday in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr in violence by a mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter, on December 3, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
A view of vehicles that were damaged after violence erupted on Monday in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr in violence by a mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter, on December 3, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
He said a bullet had been recovered from the body of Sumit. 
 
The officer said the dead officer was being treated as a "martyr" and full state honour was given to him in Meerut in the presence of the police brass.
 
The body was taken to his village in Etah where he would be cremated with full honours.
 
In his village, his family broke down on seeing the mortal remains. His wife rued that he had sought leave but it was not granted. If he had been given leave, he would have been alive, she said.
 
His two teenage sons paid glowing tributes to their father, saying he never discriminated people on the basis of religion.
 
The officer's elder son Shreya is studying MBA while his younger son Abhishek is a student of engineering.
 
The uncle of the dead Inspector said the family won't accept the compensation of Rs 40 lakh announced by the government and instead wanted the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the village. 
 
The government has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the violence, the circumstances leading to it and to identify the people and groups involved. 
 
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati blamed the state government for the violence in Bulandshahr, saying the "lawlessness" in the state was a result of its "faulty and wrong policies".
 
In a statement, the four-time Chief Minister said that government was now faced with the same mobocracy it inculcated to make political gains over the past many years.
 
IANS
 

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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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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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Prohibitory orders imposed in UP cites, internet shut down in Agra, Aligarh

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Internet services in Aligarh and Agra have been shut down ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute. The services were shut down shortly after midnight.
 
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police O. P. Singh said that Internet shutdown could be imposed in other districts as and when the situation demands to check spread of communally sensitive posts and rumours.
 
"Our social media cells are keeping constant watch on 673 people active on Internet whose posts or comments can trigger trouble. Our policemen have identified potential threats and hotspots at district, police station and locality levels. We have also identified 31 sensitive districts such as Agra, Aligarh, Meerut, Moradabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Gorakhpur and others to maintain rule of law," he said.
 
Singh said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in the state.
 
In Lucknow, people bought petrol, diesel and vegetables and withdrew money from ATMs after news came of the Supreme Court verdict to be out on Saturday.
 
The vegetable market in Chowk was reopened after 11 p.m. and people bought large quantities of vegetables.
 
Long lines were seen at petrol pumps as people queued up for refuelling. Most of the ATMs in the state capital had run out of cash by midnight as people withdrew money.
 
From early on Saturday too, people queued up to buy milk and other essentials.
 
In Ayodhya, security was heightened from late on Friday, with 4,000 additional paramilitary forces. The temple town has turned into a fortress of sorts.
 
All entry points to the holy city were completely sealed after midnight and two helicopters -- one in Lucknow and one in Ayodhya -- have been kept on standby.
 
A state-level control room has been set up in Lucknow, whereas every district will have its own control room.
 
The railway police issued a seven-page advisory to all its zones giving them a slew of instructions on security preparedness, sources said. The advisory from the Railway Protection Force (RPF) said leave of all its personnel have been cancelled and they have been instructed to be engaged in escorting trains.
 
IANS
 

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Two officials sent to 3-day police remand in EPF scam

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Two senior officials -- Praveen Kumar Gupta, former Secretary of the UP State Power Employees Trust and UPPCL's Provident Fund Trust, and UPPCL's erstwhile Director (Finance) Sudhanshu Dwivedi -- arrested in connection with the Rs 4,000 crore Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) scam were sent to a three-day police remand by the court on Wednesday.
 
The development comes after the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Uttar Pradesh Police demanded for a seven-day custody of the accused persons. However, the court granted a three-day custody.
 
Another official arrested in the scam -- AP Mishra, former Managing Director of UPPCL, was also produced before the court.
 
"The EPF amount investment in PNB Housing was against the rules," said RP Singh, Director General of EOW.
 
He said that sufficient evidence has been found against Mishra.
 
The officials accused in the scam invested over 4122 crore rupees of PF money into Deewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL). However, Rs 2267 crore of the EPF money is still with the company after the Bombay High Court stayed the payments of DHFL.
 
The Uttar Pradesh government has transferred to the CBI the ongoing probe into the scam.
 
IANS
 

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Eight luxury cars parked at car bazaar in UP stolen

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Eight luxury cars parked as part of a car bazaar were stolen from Uttar Pradesh's capital in the wee hours of Tuesday.
 
The stolen vehicles include a BMW, an Audi and a Toyota Fortuner, which were parked in an open space, around 500 metres away from a police station here, police said.
 
The incident came to light when the employees found the lock of the main gate opened. Apparently, the thieves first broke open the locks of a cupboard and then took out the keys of the cars, after dismantling the CCTV cameras installed in the premise.
 
Later, they shifted the vehicles parked in front of the premium cars, before taking them away, police said, adding that investigations were on.
 
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Power dues of UP ministers, MLAs, officers Rs 13,000 crore

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The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh will now install pre-paid power meters in the official residences of all ministers, legislators and officials in order to check non-payment of electricity dues.
 
UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma told reporters here that dues on government departments and houses had added up to a whopping Rs 13,000 crore.
 
"To realise these dues, we will soon give an option for making payments in installments. We have placed an order for one lakh pre-paid power meters and as they arrive, we will start installing them in government offices and residences. I will first install this pre-paid meter in my own residence," Sharma said.
 
Ministers, legislators and officials are known to be major defaulters when it comes to paying electricity dues. Government offices also rank high on the list of defaulters.
 
The minister said that dedicated police stations to check power thefts are being set up in all 75 districts of the state and 68 such police stations have already been set up.
 
"The state government has created 2,050 posts for these police stations and their salaries and other costs will be paid by the UP Power Corporation," Sharma said.
 
IANS
 

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Stunned by rout in bypolls, BSP struggles to save core voters

File photo of Mayawati
File photo of Mayawati
The Bahujan Samaj Party, which won 10 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in May this year, has been handed a washout by the voters in the Assembly bye-elections. Of its 11 candidates, five candidates could not even open their accounts in the bye-elections, and six lost their deposits.
 
With this disastrous performance, the BSP, which was dreaming of making a political comeback in the 2022 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, now seems struggling to save its core voter base in the state.
 
Not just UP, the BSP candidates could also not open their accounts in Maharashtra and Haryana, where party supremo Mayawati herself campaigned.
 
To retain his or her deposit, a candidate must secure 16.66 per cent of the total votes polled. In UP, however, the BSP candidates got 2.14 per cent votes in Rampur, 9.64 per cent votes in Lucknow Cantt, 8.21 per cent votes in Zaidpur, 4.52 per cent votes in Govind Nagar, 14.37 per cent votes in Gangoh and 12.74 per cent votes in Pratapgarh.
 
Not only did it come third in Balha, considered a rather safe seat, its vote share elsewhere was 5 per cent less than that of the SP. While the SP got 22.47 per cent votes, the BSP had to content itself with just 17 per cent.
 
This is a big jolt to the BSP, which severed its alliance with the SP post the Lok Sabha elections in which it walked away with 10 seats while the SP could score just 5. The Mayawati-led party was next aspiring to regain its number 2 position in the state.
 
"Not only have we been outnumbered by the SP, but also by the Congress, which is non-existent in UP. This is not a good omen. Retaining our 18 per cent vote bank is now the biggest challenge before us if we want to win the next Assembly elections. Behenji and the party workers must come out and start working on the ground if the BSP has to survive," said a senior BSP leader.
 
"Mayawati will have to understand that 'firman culture' does not work anymore, anywhere, especially in politics. The voters and the supporters, both want direct communication with their leaders. Leaders, who only raise slogans and make speeches, are not preferred any more. Unless it gets down to the earth, the elephant may lose the ground beneath its feet," said political analyst Prem Shankar Mishra.
 
IANS
 

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Kamlesh Tiwari's wife Kiran to be new Hindu Samaj Party chief

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Kiran Tiwari, the wife of slain Hindu Samaj Party (HSP) chief Kamlesh Tiwari, will take charge as the new president of the party here on Saturday.
 
"Kiran Tiwari, who has been unanimously appointed as our leader, will take charge at the party's Lucknow office today. She will later be presented before the media as HSP's newly appointed national President," said Rajesh Mani Tripathi, National General Secretary, HSP.
 
Kamlesh Tiwari was shot dead by two assailants inside his office in Khurshidbagh area of Lucknow on October 18. The killers have been arrested by a Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat police.
 
IANS
 

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Man caught trying to smuggle in Rs 21 lakh worth of gold in the form of paste

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The Customs Department at the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport here in the Uttar Pradesh capital on Friday apprehended a man trying to smuggle in 542g gold valued at Rs. 21.46 lakh.
 
He flew in from Dubai in flight number IX 194 to Lucknow and was arrested after the precious yellow metal in the form of semi-liquid paste was found attached to his back.
 
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UP bye-elections: BJP leads in 7 assembly seats, Congress in 1

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now leading in seven Assembly seats, Samajwadi Party (SP) in two and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and the Congress in one each.
 
The BJP is leading in Iglas, Manikpur, Balha, Lucknow Cantonment, Govind Nagar, Ghosi and in Pratapgarh which is being contested by BJP alliance partner the Apna Dal.
 
The BJP, at present, seems to be losing two seats in the bye-elections.
 
The SP is leading in Rampur and Zaidpur. Its lead in Rampur is being seen as a personal victory for SP MP Azam Khan who has cashed in on the sympathy wave that built up in his favour after the local administration lodged 84 criminal cases against him in the past two months.
 
The BSP is managing to hold on to its Jalalpur seat and has lost the lead it had in Iglas in the initial rounds. The party is trailing at the fourth position in Lucknow Cantt. and Rampur.
 
For the Congress, the bye-election has brought some hope. The party is leading in Gangoh and has managed to rank at the second position in Govind Nagar and Pratapgarh Assembly seats.
 
IANS

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UP bye-elections: BJP leads in 3, SP 2, BSP 1

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Early leads in the counting of votes in the Assembly bye-elections in Uttar Pradesh show that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in three seats, Samajwadi Party (BSP)in two seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Apna Dal each in one.
 
The BJP is leading in Lucknow Cantonment, Ghosi and Balha seats while the SP is ahead in Rampur and Zaidpur seats. The BSP is leading in Iglas and the Apna Dal in Pratapgarh.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Golf: Abhinav Lohan wins in playoff in season finale at The Palms

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Abhinav Lohan ended a long wait for his maiden title as he won in a playoff over Delhi’s Wasim Khan and Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar at the season-ending Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour at the Palms Golf Club & Resort here on Friday.
 
The trio of Abhinav (29-51-51), Wasim (31-52-48) and Sanjeev (30-51-50) had identical totals of 15-under 131 at the end of regulation play in round three. The three players then headed for the playoff where 2010 Asian Games silver medalist Lohan came out trumps with a long birdie conversion on the first extra hole.
 
The Lucknow duo of brothers Sanjay Kumar and Amardeep Rawat took joint fourth place at 12-under 134 at the Rs. 8 lakh event.
 
As a result of heavy rain for the last one week, a part of the course was rendered unplayable and as such the round was played over 15 holes with the par for the course being 56.
 
Lohan, the joint leader after round two, continued as the top contender on Friday when he birdied the seventh, eighth and 10th thanks to some quality ball-striking. He added two more birdies on the 14th and 15th to sign off with an error-free and classy 51 that helped him make it into the three-way playoff. 
 
In the playoff, Lohan sank a decisive 15-footer for birdie even as his rivals Wasim and Sanjeev missed their birdie putts.
 
Lohan thus continued his rich vein of form over the last three events after having finished tied 21st at the Asian Tour event at Classic and tied 11th at last week’s Jaipur Open.
 
Lohan, who turned professional in 2011, said, “I’m relieved to have finally won my first title. I’ve waited a long time for this. This win gives me loads of confidence as I head back on to the PGTI’s main tour."
 
“I’ve been striking the ball really well since the last three events. All the hard work that has gone into improving my hitting seems to be paying off. I made just three bogeys this week.
 
“I made a few good up and downs today and almost drove the greens on the two short par-4s, the 10th and 15th. Those birdies turned out to be crucial.
 
“I read my winning putt, the 15-footer in the playoff, very carefully and executed it to perfection. I didn’t want to be back for another playoff as I had found the rough with my tee shot on the 18th both during regulation play and during the playoff. So I was glad to finish it on the first playoff hole,” added Lohan who took home the winning cheque worth Rs. 1,01,720.
 
Wasim Khan’s fabulous eight-under, also bogey-free, was the best score of the final round. Wasim, who was fourth and three off the lead after round two, made a chip-in and some long conversions before fighting his way into the playoff with a last hole birdie from five feet.
 
Wasim ’s joint runner-up finish at The Palms helped him secure second place in the Feeder Tour merit list with season’s earnings of Rs. 2,05,120.
 
Sanjeev Kumar, lying one off the lead in third place after round two, joined Abhinav and Wasim in the playoff after his flawless last round of 50 that featured an eagle and four birdies.    
 
Meanwhile Chandigarh-based rookie Yuvraj Sandhu emerged as the 2019 Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit champion at the end of the season as he recorded the highest earnings for the season which stood at Rs. 2,82,480. 
 
Yuvraj, who did not play at The Palms this week, had taken an unassailable lead in the money list after the fifth event of the season.
 
The 22-year-old registered two wins and two other top-10s from his four starts in the season. He has now earned an exemption for the 2020 PGTI season (Main Tour).
 
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Rajnath Singh launches DefExpo 2020 website

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched here yesterday the website of the 11th edition of DefExpo, the biennial mega defence exhibition that showcases defence products  and technologies, to be held in Lucknow from February 5-8, 2020.
 
The website, www.defexpo.gov.in, provides online services to exhibitors, besides hosting informative content about the product profile of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and Ordnance Factories.
 
The website enables exhibitors to register and book space online as per their requirements on a first-come-first-serve basis, make online payments, book conference halls and venues for Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings.
 
Exhibitors can avail early bird discounts by booking space on the website before October 31. Trade visitors will be able to buy their tickets on the website for visiting the show during business days from February 5-7, 2020.
 
Entry for general public will be free on February 8. However, general visitors are required to pre-register on the website and they would be sent e-tickets on their registered email ids.
 
Exhibitors and visitors will be able to send their queries using ‘Contact us’ menu on the website.
 
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35 more deaths in rain-related incidents in UP

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As many as 35 people have died in the past 24 hours in Uttar Pradesh in rain-related incidents, according to official sources.
 
Four people have died in Azamgarh and Mirzapur districts while three people died each in Ghazipur and Ambedkar Nagar.
 
Two people each died in Gorakhpur, Ferozabad, Unnao, Banda, Ballia and Sitapur districts while one person each dead in Bulandshahr, Amethi, Saharanpur, Lakhimpur, Fatehpur, Prayagraj, Chitrakoot, Sultanpur and Deoria, according to information provided by the government.
 
Most of the deaths were a result of house collapses.
 
Forty seven people had died across the state in rain-related incidents over Thursday and Friday.
 
Uttar Pradesh had received record rainfall -- 1,700 per cent above normal -- on Friday. The eastern parts of the state were the worst hit. On Saturday, Prayagraj received 102.2 mm of rain and Varanasi received 84.2 mm of rain, much higher than what is usually received at this time of the year.
 
In Lucknow, Amethi, Hardoi and some other districts, schools were closed on Friday and Saturday due to heavy downpour.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed divisional commissioners and district magistrates to take all measures and extend immediate relief to those affected, an official said.
 
The weather department has issued a warning of "very heavy rainfall" for the next two days in several parts of the state.
 
IANS
 

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Missing 6-year-old found dead with throat slit in UP

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A six-year-old girl, who went missing from her residence here in the Uttar Pradesh capital late on Sunday, was found dead with her throat slit two km away in another house, police said.
 
One person has been arrested and a 13-member probe team has been formed to nab the other accused. The motive behind the crime is yet to be known.
 
The body was found in a Thakurganj house after some people informed the family that they had seen the child with a man who was employed with the victim's father.
 
The family alleged that the police did not act promptly after she was reported missing.
 
The girl's father said that her body was found under the bed of the accused. He also claimed that police took time to arrest the accused even after the family lodged a missing report at the nearest outpost.
 
The Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Vikas Tripathi denied the allegation. He said police raided the house of the 30-year-old accused soon after receiving the report.
 
"The child was found with her throat slit in the house. She was in a dishevelled state. The accused has been arrested. We are interrogating him," Tripathi said.
 
The body has been sent for autopsy to ascertain if she was sexually assaulted before being killed, the officer added.
 
Along with the residents of the area, the family gheraoed the police station and raised slogans. Police had to use batons to restore order. The area remained tense and forces from six police stations and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) had to be deployed.
 
IANS
 

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UP exchequer pays CM's income tax, parties in shock

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The revelation that the Uttar Pradesh exchequer has been paying the income tax of Chief Ministers and their Ministers since 1981 has left all political parties in shock.
 
A report published in a daily on Friday stated that the Chief Minister and his Ministers were deemed to be "poor" and "cannot pay income tax from their own meagre earnings".
 
The law, Uttar Pradesh Ministers' Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981, was enacted when Vishwanath Pratap Singh was the state's Chief Minister.
 
Since then, 19 chief ministers, including Yogi Adityanath, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, Rajnath Singh, Sripati Misra, Veer Bahadur Singh and Narain Dutt Tiwari have availed the benefits of the law.
 
When contacted, none of the spokespersons of various political parties were ready to comment on the issue.
 
"Let us discuss and then we will comment on this," said a Samajwadi Party leader.
 
A veteran Congress leader said that though the V.P. Singh government had enacted the law, the maximum beneficiaries were the non-Congress governments.
 
"Besides, in the early 80s, political leaders came from poor backgrounds and their salaries were also meagre. The non-Congress governments that came later and raised the salaries of Chief Ministers and Ministers should have repealed the Act," he added.
 
A Bharatiya Janata Party Minister however, said that he was not even aware of this perk until now.
 
"I do not have the time to check my accounts but we will see what is to be done now,"
 
A section of the Act says that "the salary referred to in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be exclusive of the tax payable in respect of such salary (including perquisites) under any law relating to income tax for the time being in force, and such tax shall be borne by the state".
 
While getting the Act passed by the state Assembly then, V.P .Singh had told the House that the state government should bear the income tax burden as most ministers were from poor backgrounds and had meagre incomes.
 
The Uttar Pradesh Treasury has paid income tax dues of nearly 1,000 Chief Ministers and ministers since 1981.
 
Even members of the Yogi government have had their income tax deposited from the Treasury in the last two financial years. This financial year, the income tax bill of Adityanath and his Council of Ministers was around Rs 86 lakh and was paid from the state Treasury.
 
Interestingly, majority of ministers, according to the affidavits filed by them during elections, own movable and immovable assets worth crores of rupees.
 
Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Finance) Sanjiv Mittal has confirmed that income tax bills of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers were paid by the state government as mandated under the 1981 Act.
 
IANS

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Ex-UP CM Kalyan Singh rejoins BJP

Kalyan Singh
Kalyan Singh
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who recently ended his term as Governor of Rajasthan, rejoined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here on Monday.
 
He was granted membership of the party by UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh, marking his re-entry into active politics at the age of 87.
 
On his return to Lucknow, Kalyan Singh was given a rousing welcome by his supporters as he went straight to the party headquarters. He will also address party workers at the Mall Avenue residence of his grandson and state minister Sandip Singh.
 
Another BJP veteran Kalraj Mishra has replaced Kalyan Singh as Rajasthan Governor.
 
A chief strategist of the BJP for a long time, Kalyan Singh has started mapping his future political role after being out of politics for the past five years.
 
He could play a key role with the Ayodhya issue back in the news and the Assembly polls in 2022. His son Rajvir Singh is an MP from Etah while grandson Sandip Singh is a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government.
 
Kalyan Singh's return could also prove beneficial for the BJP with the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case expected in the next three months.
 
IANS
 

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20 UP IAS officers shifted in midnight reshuffle

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The Yogi Adityanath government transferred 20 senior IAS officers in a midnight reshuffle on Monday night.
 
The Chief Minister has appointed Alok Kumar-III and Sanjay Prasad as his secretaries.
 
Among the other IAS officers, who were transferred, are Additional Chief Secretary for Science and Technology Kumar Kamlesh, who has been moved to Planning and Programme Implementation in the same capacity.
 
Manish Chauhan, Commissioner, Sugarcane, has been posted as Commissioner, Food and Logistics and his charge has been handed over to Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Principal Secretary of Sugarcane Development and Excise.
 
Anil Garg, Commissioner,  Lucknow, has been transferred as CEO of Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC). He has been replaced by Mukesh Meshram, who was Secretary, Health Education.
 
Rupesh Kumar has been appointed as Special Secretary, Health Education, and Sanjay Kumar Khatri, Special Secretary, Home and Prison Administration, was appointed Joint MD of UP Jal Nigam along with Ramesh Ranjan.
 
Among other senior officers who have been transferred, Special Secretary, Basic Education, Chandra Shekhar, has been moved and posted as Commissioner of Chitrakoot division. Rajesh Kumar-II has been given the charge of Special Secretary, Sports, while Surendra Prasad Singh has been appointed as Special Secretary, Information. Surendra Ram will be the new Special Secretary, PWD.
 
IANS
 

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Mob lynching: Slap NSA against rumour mongers, UP DGP tells SPs

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In a bid to contain widespread rumours of child lifting which have led to several incidents of mob lynching in Uttar Pradesh, the state government has instructed all district police chiefs to slap the National Security Act (NSA) against those found inciting mobs or spreading rumours on social media.
 
More than 20 incidents of mob attacks relating to alleged child lifting, reported in UP in the past two weeks, have become a major law and order problem in India's most populous state.
 
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police(DGP) O. P. Singh told IANS that NSA will be slapped against culprits found involved in such brutal acts. 
 
"If found involved (in such acts), we will arrest them and send them to jail. NSA will be invoked against such culprits so that they are jailed at least for a period of one year," said Singh, known for knocking down several dreaded gangsters in fierce police encounters. 
 
The DGP said he has instructed all Superintendents of Police (SPs) in the state to take tough measures against rumour-mongers who are inciting mobs to lynch innocent people. "The law enforcing agency cannot be lenient with such people who pose a grave threat to peace. Such people cannot be pardoned," said Singh.
 
When asked about any pre-planned conspiracy behind incidents of lynching, the state police chief said that investigation reveals that most such incidents are a result of rumour-mongering. Most of the incidents have happened in the newly established residential areas of different cities. 
 
"We are sensitising the residents to spike such rumours. The most effective strategy to counter such rumours is to take strict action against those found spreading false news about child lifting gangs," the DGP said.
 
In over 20 such incidents in the state, around 45 people have been arrested so far. Most of the victims are either mentally challenged or rag pickers. In Etah district, a woman hailing from Himachal Pradesh was beaten to death by a frenzied mob on suspicion of being a child lifter. In a similar incident in Gonda, a mob tied a woman to a tree on suspicion of abducting a child. While the woman was severely beaten, no evidence was later found of her involvement in any case of child abduction. 
 
Such incidents have happened in Meerut, Mathura, Agra, Bareilly, Ghaziabad and other districts of the state.
 
IANS
 

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Set ablaze by jilted lover, minor dies in Lucknow hospital

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A 17-year old girl, who was allegedly set ablaze by her jilted lover in Sitapur district, succumbed to her burn injuries at the Civil Hospital in Lucknow, police said on Friday.
 
The girl, Sandhya, was admitted to the Lucknow hospital with 75 per cent burns and she died on Thursday night. The accused, Golu, 22, has been arrested.
 
The incident took place on Wednesday, when Golu allegedly barged into Sandhya's house in Hajipur village while her parents were away, poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze. 
 
Sandhya's younger sister, who was in another room, rushed on hearing her cries and tried to douse the flames. Her father Ramesh later informed the police.
 
In her dying declaration, Sandhya said that she had complained to the police about Golu stalking her, but the police did not act on her complaint.
 
She told reporters in hospital that she was watching TV when Golu came, poured kerosene on her and set her afire. She said her parents had also complained to the police on Tuesday, when Golu had tried to abduct her, but cops did not take it seriously.
 
Police have registered a case and ADG (Lucknow Zone) has ordered a probe into the incident and the sequence of events. 
 
Kotwali Station House Officer Amber Singh said: "On the basis of Sandhya's statement, a case of attempt to murder, trespassing, causing injury by weapons and voluntarily causing hurt was registered against Golu of the same village."
 
IANS
 
 

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Unnao rape survivor still critical, lawyer unconscious

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The Unnao rape survivor, who is undergoing treatment at the AIIMS trauma centre here, continues to be critical and on advanced life support systems, a hospital official said on Wednesday.
 
"Her lawyer continues to be critical, unconscious and on advanced life support system. The patients are undergoing treatment under a multidisciplinary team of doctors from critical care, orthopaedics, trauma surgery and pulmonary medicine," said Dr (Prof) Aarti Vij, Chairperson, Media and Protocol Division.
 
The woman and her lawyer were air-lifted here from Lucknow this week on the directions of the Supreme Court.
 
IANS
 

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Unnao rape survivor reaches Delhi, admitted to AIIMS

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The Unnao rape survivor was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) trauma centre here on Monday after being air-lifted from Lucknow.
 
The woman, who was critically injured in a road accident on July 28 in which two of her aunts were killed and her lawyer injured, was flown here by an air ambulance, following a Supreme Court order.
 
"The injured patient was flown from Lucknow to be admitted in AIIMS trauma care. On the advice of the doctors of AIIMS, the journey of the ambulance carrying the injured person was facilitated by providing free passage. The ambulance left T-1 airport at 9 p.m. and reached AIIMS trauma care at 9.18 pm," a Delhi Police official said.
 
The woman was undergoing treatment at the trauma centre at the King George Medical University in Lucknow after her accident.
 
Uttar Pradesh Police had also ensured a nearly 15-km-long 'green corridor' to transport her from the hospital to the airport where the air ambulance was ready to take her to the national capital.
 
The woman has accused then BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar of raping her at his residence in 2017. He was recently expelled from the party after the Supreme Court took up the case.
 
IANS
 

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