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Varanasi

Chemistry defeated arithmetic in elections: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that chemistry had managed to defeat arithmetic in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File photo: IANS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File photo: IANS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that chemistry had managed to defeat arithmetic in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
"Elections are all about arithmetic but there is chemistry that goes beyond arithmetic. This time chemistry has defeated arithmetic," he said while addressing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers at a thanksgiving function in Varanasi.
 
"Some people say that politics is all about perception but we do not create perceptions. For us, transparency and hard work scores above everything else," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that he was a BJP worker and followed the directives of the party.
 
"I was asked to come here and on April 25 (for a roadshow) Kashi welcomed me with its ‘Vishwa Roop' (larger than life image) that had an impact beyond Kashi and Uttar Pradesh. It impacted all parts of the country. Kashi made me PM but I will always remain a worker for you."
 
Modi said that if he seemed complacent and relaxed during elections, it was because of the love and strength that Kashi gave him. "You asked me not to come again for campaigning, so I went to Kedarnath after polling."
 
The Prime Minister thanked local officials, media persons and even his electoral rivals. 
 
"I thank the workers for not making the election a war and the rival candidates for maintaining the dignity of Kashi. Elections were a festival of democracy that was celebrated by all," he said.
 
He said that there are many in politics whose profile runs into 50 pages or more but they are not connected to the poorest of the poor. "We are dedicated to such people," he said.
 
"Uttar Pradesh has elected us in 2014, 2017 and in 2019 and deserves to be lauded for this hat trick which is not a small feat," he added.
 
Modi said that it was the BJP which had maximum belief in democracy. 
 
"When we are in power, the opposition comes alive. Tripura, for years, had no opposition but now that BJP is in power, the opposition is vibrant."
 
He said that the BJP had two main difficulties - selective sensitivity and political untouchability. 
 
"BJP workers are being attacked. When I was the Gujarat Chief Minister and reached out to some people to promote tourism, I was attacked. This mentality is disturbing."
 
The Prime Minister also thanked BJP President Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for their contribution in ensuring the BJP's success in elections.
 
IANS
 

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Modi attacks Congress on corruption at NRI, PIO convention

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the Congress for allegedly doing little to curb corruption during its long years in power and claimed that his government had plugged the leaks and ensured that the fruits of development programmes reached the intended beneficiaries.
 
Modi inaugurates 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today attacked the Congress for allegedly doing little to curb corruption during its long years in power and claimed that his government had plugged the leaks through the use of technology and ensured that the fruits of various development programmes reached the intended beneficiaries.
 
Inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), the high-profile convention of Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) here, Mr. Modi referred to the famous remark by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 in which he said that only 15 paise of every rupee meant for the welfare of the downtrodden actually reached them.
 
Without naming Mr. Gandhi, the Prime Minister said the Congress government had identified the problem but did not do anything to plug the leakage of funds.
 
"At the peak of his party’s power, a former PM said that for every rupee, only 15 paise reaches the poor. Which was the hand that was siphoning off all funds?" he asked.
 
"For so many years, the party that ruled the country accepted this," he said.
 
He went on to say that the paradigm shift in governance brought about by the BJP-led NDA government had ensured that the fruits of development reached the intended beneficiaries.
 
"We have given about Rs. 5,80,000 crore to people, transferred amounts to their bank accounts through various schemes. Imagine, if the country was being run on the older system? Then Rs. 4,50,000 crore would have vanished," he said.
 
He said as many as seven crore fake names had been struck off the list of beneficiaries, which is almost equal to the population of Britain, France and, Italy.
 
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Mr. Modi called upon the NRIs and PIOs to join hands for building a New India.
 
He said that it was the love and affection of the diaspora for the land of their forefathers which had brought them to India.
 
He lauded the role of the Indian diaspora in keeping alive the tradition of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family). The NRIs are not only the Brand Ambassadors of India but also represent its strength, capabilities and characteristics. He urged the diaspora to participate in building a New India, especially in research and innovation.
 
“India is on course to become a global economic powerhouse. It has one of the largest start-up ecosystems and the world's largest healthcare scheme to its credit. We have moved on with great strides in ‘Make in India’. A bumper harvest production has been our major achievement.
 
“With its rapid progress, India is being seen on a high pedestal across the world and is in a position to lead the global community. International Solar Alliance is one such example. Local solution and global application is our mantra. The International Solar Alliance is a step in the direction of One World, One Sun, One Grid,” he added.
 
While the diaspora was equally important in the Government’s resolve for a new India,  their safety was also its concern. In this context, he referred to the challenge of evacuating more than 2 lakh Indians stranded in conflict zones.
 
Speaking about the welfare of Indians overseas, Mr Modi said the passport and visa rules have been simplified and e-visa had made it much easier for them to travel. All Pravasi Bharatiya are now being linked to Passport Sewa and efforts are on to issue chip-based E-passport. A Pravasi Teerth DarshanYojana was being taken up. 
 
He urged overseas Indian to invite five non-Indian families to visit the country. He also requested them to spread the values of Gandhiji and Guru Nanak Dev and become a part of their anniversary celebrations. “We feel proud that the global community has joined us in the compilation of Bapu’s favourite bhajan, Vaishnava Jan," he said.
 
Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, the chief guest on the occasion, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Mr Jugnauth invoked the memories of the Indian diaspora and their connection with the land of their forefathers. Speaking in Hindi and English, he said such gatherings reinforce the identity of overseas Indians as the members of one family with a shared history and culture. 
 
If India is unique, Indianness is universal. An educated and self-reliant diaspora can play a major role in nation building and the Diaspora connect can help multilateralism, he added.
 
While enthralling the crowd with his Bhojpuri dialect, he announced that Mauritius will organise the first International Bhojpuri Festival.
 
In her welcome address, Ms Swaraj said India today feels proud under the dynamic leadership of Mr Modi. She thanked the Indian diaspora for their linkages with the motherland. 
 
The Prime Minister also felicitated the winners of ‘Bharat ko Janiye’ (Know India) quiz competition for the young Indian diaspora.
 
The closing ceremony of PBD will be held tomorrow when President Ram Nath Kovind will confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman to select overseas Indians for their contributions in various fields.
 
On January 24, the delegates will visit Prayagraj for Kumbh Mela. They will then proceed to New Delhi the next day to watch the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath on January 26.
 
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Modi to inaugurate 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention in Varanasi on Tuesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention, the high-profile gathering of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) -- in Varanasi on Tuesday.
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention, the high-profile gathering of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) -- here tomorrow.
 
The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr. Pravind Jugnauth, will be the chief guest on the occasion, an official press release said.
 
Mr. Himanshu Gulati, Member of Parliament of Norway, will be the Special Guest while Mr. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Member of Parliament of New Zealand will be the Guest of Honour.
 
The theme of PBD 2019 is "Role of Indian Diaspora in Building New India". This is the first time that the convention, which got off to a start today with the Youth PBD, is being organized in Varanasi.
 
The convention dates have been chosen in such a way as to enable delegatess to visit the Kumbh Mela at Prayag Raj and then travel to Delhi for the Republic Day celebrations.
 
The valedictory session will be held on January 23, when President Ram Nath Kovind will present the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to selected NRIs and PIOs for their contribution to various fields both in India and abroad.
 
The 1st PBD was celebrated on 9th January, 2003 in New Delhi. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate PBD as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, had returned to India from South Africa.
 
PBD, now held once in every two years, provides a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and reconnect with their roots.  
 
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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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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 Gandhi offers prayers in Varanasi

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday visited two temples in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency of Varanasi after meeting the families of the victims of the  Sonebhadra caste carnage at the Chunar guest house in Mirzapur.
 
After leaving Mirzapur, the Congress leader arrived in Varanasi and went to the Kal Bhairav temple and offered prayers there.
 
She also offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
 
She was accompanied by senior party leaders, former MP Sushmita Deb, party's Varanasi Lok Sabha election candidate Ajay Rai and party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu.
 
Congress workers welcomed her before she entered the temple premises.
 
During the Lok Sabha elections, Priyanka Gandhi had offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple on March 20 during her three-day river ride programme.
 
She visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple in May before holding a road show in favour of party candidate Rai in the city during the Lok Sabha elections.
 
IANS
 

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TMC delegation going to Sonebhadra stopped at Varanasi airport

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A four-member delegation of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was on Saturday stopped from visiting the Sonebhadra district in Uttar Pradesh, where 10 people died in caste violence on Wednesday.
 
The TMC said that a delegation comprising senior party leaders, including Derek O'Brien, Sunil Mondal, Abhir Ranjan Biswas and former MP Uma Saren, was stopped at the Varanasi airport after they deboarded the plane in Varanasi. 
 
The TMC in its tweet quoted O'Brien as saying: "Trinamool Parliamentary delegation detained at Varanasi airport. ADM, SP have not told us under which section. ("Doing as told from topmost"). We have told them that we will cooperate, wish to meet injured and then proceed to Sonbhadra to meet and give confidence to grieving families."
 
On Friday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi was detained in Mirzapur and taken to Chunar guest house. She was also not allowed to go and meet the victims families in Sonebhadra. 
 
At least 10 people, including three women, died and over 24 were injured in a clash between Gond and Gujjar communities over a land dispute in Sonebhadra on Wednesday.
 
The police have arrested 29 people, including the kingpin Yogesh Dutt, in connection with the violence in Sonebhadra. A case has been filed against 78 people.
 
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Modi slams 'professional pessimists' for criticising government's vision

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that those criticising his government's vision of making India a $5 trillion economy were "professional pessimists".
 
"There are certain people who are questioning why the government has set such a target, what is the need, why all this is being done? These people should be called professional pessimists," said Modi while inaugurating a BJP membership drive here in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday presented the Union Budget in which she spoke about making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. 
 
Modi said: "Professional pessimists are different from common people. If you go to a common man with a problem, he will help you find a solution. But if you go to these pessimist people, they will turn it into a threat."
 
The Prime Minister said that there has been a lot of buzz around the $5 trillion economy since the Budget was tabled in Parliament, and it is important to explain to people its meaning. He said to reach the figure, India's economy has to nearly double. 
 
"There is a saying in English, that 'size of the cake matters'... We will increase India's share to double of what it was, and the benefits of it will reach every Indian." 
 
Modi added that the developed nations of the world also went through their own struggles to reach where they are today, and it is India's time now.
 
He said that one of the methods of boosting the economy is to see farmers as wealth creators of the nation and not merely as food producers. "We are now looking at farmers as exporters. There is tremendous potential for our farmers to grow exponentially." 
 
Meanwhile, for the membership drive, BJP workers have undertaken massive preparations to add 36 lakh new members in Uttar Pradesh. Modi launched the drive by welcoming 11 prominent people from various sections of society to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
 
Four counters will be set up at the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Trade facilitation centre to welcome new members to the party. Apart from this, a helpline will also be launched through which people can get membership by calling on the number.
 
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Medical student commits suicide in Banaras Hindu University

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A student at the Institute of Medical Science Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU) allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling of her hostel room at the varsity campus here on Sunday afternoon.
 
Manisha Kumari, a junior resident at the Ophthalmology Department, left behind a two-page suicide note in which she mentioned that she was frustrated with her tuberculosis ailment. 
 
Police said Manisha's body had been sent for post-mortem and her parents had been informed of the tragedy.
 
Manisha, a native of Jamui in Bihar, had joined IMS-BHU as junior resident-I in 2017 and was allotted room number 41 in the lady doctors' hostel. 
 
Inspector Lanka police station, Bharat Bhushan said the BHU proctorial board alerted them after hostel inmates found her body hanging in her room around 12.30 p.m. and raised an alarm. 
 
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Modi in Varanasi: Thanksgiving, temple visit on itinerary

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday arrived here in his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh to thank the people for reposing their faith in him and offer prayers at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple.
 
Modi, who flew in from Ahmedabad, was greeted by BJP President Amit Shah, Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other BJP leaders at the airport.
 
He then went to the Reserve Police Lines by a helicopter and then drove to the Kashi Vishwanath temple where he performed a special 'puja'.
 
Strings of saffron balloons were seen all along the route, fluttering gaily in the winds, and people lined up on both sides of the road to wave out to the Prime Minister.
 
Groups of 'dhol' players played welcome songs and children danced to welcome the Prime Minister.
 
Modi was scheduled to address a gathering of workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during this first visit to his constituency after he won the Lok Sabha elections by the huge margin. 
 
He was expected to travel by road from the police lines to Bansphatak. Following his temple visit at Kashi Vishwanath and Kal Bhairav, he will address a gathering of workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Pundit Deen Dayal Hastakala Academy, said Manish Dixit state in-charge of BJP. The programme was expected to last four hours.
 
On Sunday, Modi was in Gujarat to meet his mother Heeraben. He sought her blessings after leading the BJP to a massive victory in the Lok Sabha polls. 
 
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Ex-BSF jawan moves SC over rejection of nomination

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Tej Bahadur Yadav, the dismissed Border Security Force (BSF) jawan, moved the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the rejection of his nomination papers by the Election Commission to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi.
 
Yadav alleged he was deliberately kept out of the contest to ensure an easy win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi.
 
Yadav, in the petition, contended that the Returning Officer "completely failed to appreciate that he had produced the dismissal letter along with his nomination paper."
 
The dismissal letter indicated the reason for his dismissal from the BSF as alleged indiscipline and there was no evidence of indulging in corruption or any act of disloyalty to the state, the petitioner said.
 
Yadav has sought the apex court's direction to set aside the Returning Officer's May 1 order and that he be allowed to contest the election from Varanasi.
 
The candidature of Yadav, supported by the Samajwadi Party, was rejected by the Returning Officer on finding fault with nomination papers. Yadav's nomination was rejected as he could not bring on record that his dismissal was not on corruption charges or due to any integrity issues.
 
"It seems the decision was taken keeping in mind the sensitivity of the contest in Varanasi and to give a walkover to the candidate (Modi) of the ruling party (BJP) by disqualifying the petitioner," the petitioner contended.
 
Yadav claimed he was a strong candidate against the prime minister and his popularity was "gaining momentum", and added that's why he was supported by the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party combine.
 
Stating that "the mala fide is apparent," Yadav alleged the Returning Officer had shown haste in deciding on his candidature. The poll official could have at least allowed the Election Commission to respond to his application, he said.
 
Yadav had posted videos on social media in January 2017 complaining about substandard food being served at his BSF camp along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir. He was later dismissed from the force.
 
He had filed his nomination as an independent candidate but was later accepted by the Samajwadi Party as its nominee from Varanasi.
 
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Modi files nomination in Varanasi, shows off NDA strength

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday filed his nomination papers in Varanasi for the Lok Sabha elections amid a show of strength by NDA allies.
Prime Minister and BJP candidate Narendra Modi filing his nomination for the Lok Sabha elections, in Varanasi, on April 26, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Prime Minister and BJP candidate Narendra Modi filing his nomination for the Lok Sabha elections, in Varanasi, on April 26, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday filed his nomination papers in Varanasi for the Lok Sabha elections amid a show of strength by NDA allies.
 
Modi was accompanied by Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah.
 
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders including Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, Janata Dal-United chief Nitish Kumar, AIADMK's O. Panneerselvam and Shiromani Akali Dal's Parkash Singh Badal were also in attendance.
 
In a show of strength, he had held a mega roadshow yesterday in the city where he was joined by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
 
Before filing his nomination papers, Modi visited the Kaal Bhairav temple here. He sought blessings from the deity who is also known as the Kotwal of Kashi or the guard of Varanasi.
 
While on his way to the Collector's office, Modi was showered with rose petals by people.
 
The Prime Minister was all smiles as he got down from his vehicle several times to interact with the common man. 
 
Earlier in the day, Modi said: "Whether I win or not is not important. It's the democracy that should win. Forming the government is in people's hands, running it is our duty."
 
Addressing a meeting of booth workers, he said, "A pro-incumbency wave has been seen in country for the first time after independence. 
 
"People across the nation are saying... Fir Ek Baar...?" Modi prompted. "Modi Sarkar," the workers chanted back. 
 
"Earlier governments were formed, but in the past five years, people saw a government run. I never said I am Prime Minister and denied anybody a meeting. 
 
"I never refused to meet a single karyakarta (worker). I never let the Karyakarta in me die. I am aware of my duties as PM, as well as an MP."
 
Modi had won from Varanasi in 2014 by a huge margin, winning 5.8 lakh votes. The Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal came second with around two lakh votes. Ajay Rai, who finished third, was left with a mere 75,000 votes.
 
The Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party have this time fielded Shalini Yadav, the daughter-in-law of a former Congress lawmaker.
 
Varanasi will vote on May 19 in the last round of the seven-phased poll. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
 
IANS
 

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Last five years were of hard work, next five of results: Modi

Making an emotional appeal in his constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people of Varanasi to give him five more years and promised them that, while the last five years were for "hard work (purusarth) and change (badlav)", the next five would be for "results (parinam) and India's prestige (pratishtha)".
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Making an emotional appeal in his constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people of Varanasi to give him five more years and promised them that, while the last five years were for "hard work (purusarth) and change (badlav)", the next five would be for "results (parinam) and India's prestige (pratishtha)".
 
Making a sharp attack at the Congress, he said unlike the previous governments "which only held dialogues after terror attacks", his was a government which did not "tolerate" or holds dialogue with terror but acted against it.
 
Modi also sought assurance from the people of Varanasi to win the election for him. "I would leave after filing nominations tomorrow and would then come back to thank you after I win."
 
Asserting that his commitment was "India First", Modi said his government had given a response to terrorists "in their own language", in a reference to the Indian Air Force (IAF) strike at Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot.
 
Establishing national security as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s main poll plank, the Prime Minister said that along with development, "security is also crucial for a prosperous India".
 
On the eve of filing his nomination papers from Varanasi, Modi said terrorists had frequently targeted "aastha" (faith) till 2014 by carrying out attacks at religious places like Sankat Mochan temple here and Akshardham temple in Gujarat, but the then Central government "only talked about holding talks" (with Pakistan).
 
"But our style is different. In similar circumstances, we told them that the new India does not just talk and tolerate, but we respond to terrorists in their own language," he said about India's retaliatory action in Balakot after JeM carried out the ghastly attack in Pulwama.
 
"Whether it is the Pulwama attack, Uri attack or any other issue, I have only one mantra with which I have lived -- the country comes first, India First," he said, addressing a gathering here after conducting a mega road show and performing "aarti" at Dashashwamedh Ghat this evening.
 
He said in the last five years there had been no attack on any place of worship including any temple and that terrorism was "now restricted to only a small part of Jammu and Kashmir".
 
Talking about the February 14 terror attack on the CRPF convoy in which 40 personnel were killed, the Prime Minister said that after that 42 terrorists had been eliminated till now. "The count could go up as we speak," he added.
 
He also referred to the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday and asked what was the fault of those who had gathered at churches to offer prayers and be at peace.
 
IANS
 

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Modi holds massive road show in Varanasi

Cheered on by a massive crowd, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a mega road show in Varanasi, a day before he is slated to file his nomination papers for a second term from the constituency in the Lok Sabha.
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Cheered on by a massive crowd, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a mega road show in Varanasi, a day before he is slated to file his nomination papers for a second term from the constituency in the Lok Sabha.
 
Huge crowds turned out to cheer the Prime Minister who was symbolically dressed in a saffron kurta and 'angavastram'. Though the road show started almost two hours late, there was no depletion in people's enthusiasm.
 
Modi began his journey from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where he paid tributes to the statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.
 
The road show meandered past ancient temples and ghats such as Assi, Bhadini, Sonarpura, Madanpura, Jangambari and Godowlia and culminated at the Dashashwamedh Ghat where the Prime Minister held a 'puja' and attended the 'Ganga pujan' after the Ganga 'aarti' which had been delayed. The 'Ganga aarti' is held at 6.50.p.m everyday but today it was held almost an hour behind schedule.
 
Just before he began his road show, the Prime Minister tweeted "Grateful for warmth and affection".
 
Top BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah, top Union Ministers and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, accompanied Modi as the convoy moved though the holy town.
 
Ramlila artistes from one of the city's oldest troupes, the Mauni Baba Ram Lila Committee which is 522 years old, accompanied the convoy.
 
Its manager Vikram Bhardwaj said, "Lord Ram's Sena is with PM Modi," pointing towards actors dressed as Hanuman, Angad, Nal and Neel -- the monkey army from the epic Ramayana.
 
Slogans like "Modi pure hai, baaki sab chor hai" and "Har jagah Modi ka danka, haar gayi Priyanka" rang out as rose petals were showered on the Prime Minister.
 
The show of strength, incidentally, took place on a day when the Congress put to rest all speculation about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contesting from Varanasi and announced the candidature of Ajay Rai as the party nominee.
 
On Friday, the Prime Minister will address a gathering of BJP workers before visiting the famous Kal Bhairav temple in the city. He will then go to the district collectorate to file his nomination papers.
 
For the Prime Minister, the election in Varanasi now appears to be a cakewalk with the Congress and the SP-BSP alliance having fielded lightweight candidates. The Congress has named Ajay Rai who had in 2014 contested against Modi and ended up at the third position. The alliance candidate Shalini Yadav is daughter of senior Congress leader Shyamlal Yadav and had lost the mayoral polls in Varanasi.
 
Varanasi will go to polls in the last phase on May 19.
 
IANS
 

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Congress names Ajay Rai as its candidate against Modi in Varanasi

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The Congress today named Ajay Rai as its candidate in the Varanasi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second consecutive term in the Lok Sabha.
 
The announcement puts an end to speculation that the party might field its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, from Varanasi.
 
A contest between Modi and the charismatic Vadra would have been one of the most engrossing battles in  the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
 
Modi is holding a roadshow in Varanasi today and is slated to file his normination papers in the constituency tomorrow in the presence of top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
 
The Congress also named Madhusudan Tiwari as its candidate from Gorakhpur.
 
 

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Top NDA leaders to attend Modi nomination on Friday

Top NDA leaders from across the country are expected to be in attendance when Prime Minister Narendra Modi files his nomination papers for the Varanasi parliamentary constituency on Friday, a party leader said on Thursday.
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Top NDA leaders from across the country are expected to be in attendance when Prime Minister Narendra Modi files his nomination papers for the Varanasi parliamentary constituency on Friday, a party leader said on Thursday.
 
Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Parkash Singh Badal, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Nitish Kumar, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) head Ram Vilas Paswan, leaders of the AIADMK, Asom Gana Parishad, Apna Dal and Shiv Sena Chief Udhav Thackrey will be present, said Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Salabh Mani Tripathi.
 
Modi, who is re-contesting from this Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, will hold a road show here on Thursday.
 
Upon his arrival on Thursday afternoon, Modi will pay a floral tribute to the statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in the city's Lanka before kicking off the road show, Tripathi said.
 
The road show will cover Assi Ghat, Bhadaini, Sonarpura, Madanpura, Jangambadi, Godowlia before concluding at the Dashashwamedh Ghat.
 
"He will then participate in the Ganga Aarti," Tripathi said. 
 
Modi won the seat in 2014 by defeating Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Ajay Rai of the Congress.
 
Varanasi goes to the polls on May 19 in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
 
IANS
 

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BHU student shot dead on campus, 4 arrested

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A Banaras Hindu University (BHU) student was shot dead on the campus in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, leading to tensions, police said, adding that four men have been arrested.
 
On Tuesday night, four bike-borne men opened fire at Guarav Singh near the Birla A intersection on the university campus, Circle Officer, Varanasi Cantonment, Anil Kumar Singh told IANS.
 
"It was a case of personal enmity," Kumar said.
 
Immediately after the incident, police raided the BHU hostels and surrounding area and nabbed the accused, he added.
 
The slain student was pursuing Master in Computer Application (MCA) and was jailed in 2018 for his involvement in a fight in December 2017. He was expelled from the college later.
 
According to the students, Singh was talking to his friends when the bike-borne assailants gunned him down at around 7 p.m.
 
IANS

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BHU student murder: Tension on campus, 4 arrested

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A Banaras Hindu University (BHU) student has been murdered, leading to tension on the campus, police said, adding that four men have been detained so far.
 
The murder took place within the premises of the university late on Tuesday near the Birla A crossroads, when four men on motorbikes opened fire at Guarav Singh, Varanasi Cantt CO Anil Kumar Singh told IANS.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Who let Nirav Modi escape, Priyanka asks BJP

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for describing the arrest of absconding PNB loan fraud case accused Nirav Modi in London as an achievement, asking who let him flee.
 
"Is it an achievement? Who let them escape from the country?" she said.
 
Speaking to reporters in Chandauli after visiting the family of Awadhesh Yadav, who was among the 40 CRPF troopers killed in February 14 suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, she said that her visit was not political.
 
"...I had spoken to the father of the trooper some days after the attack. He had said to me that 'you people come as we want to meet you'. Thus I had come. My visit to his house is not connected to politics," she said.
 
Asked about her three-day river ride campaign in eastern Uttar Pradesh, of which region she is the in-charge for her party, Vadra said, "It felt nice. And I feel that the organisation will be strengthened here and people will come to know that we believe in strong and new kind of politics."
 
Vadra's journey, which began in Prayagraj on Monday, ended in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Modi, on Wednesday. 
 
Asked when she is planning to kick off the second part of her Lok Sabha campaign, she said it will be "soon after Holi".
 
Before going to Chandauli, Vadra offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi for over half an hour.
 
It was her fourth temple visit since March 18, when she kicked off her river ride from Prayagraj.
 
On Monday, she visited the famous Hanuman Mandir in Prayagraj, followed by trips to the Sita Samahit Sthal temple in Bhadohi's Sitamarhi and the Vindhyavashini temple in Vindhyachal on the second day of her campaign. She also offered a 'chadar' at Kantit Sharif dargah on Tuesday.
 
She had arrived at the Vishwanath temple after deboarding from the motorboat at Dashavamedh ghat in Varanasi.
 
Reaching Ramnagar village, the ancestral village of late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, in Varanasi by road from Chunar in Mirzapur, where she had made a night halt on Tuesday, Vadra then went by boat to Assi ghat where she held discussions with the fishermen community.
 
She also paid floral tributes to the former Prime Minister at Shastri Chowk and visited his residence. 
 
A minor scuffle broke out between Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party workers after the latter raised pro-Modi slogans.
 
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Vadra later condemned the violence.
 
"When I was coming to Varanasi, few people raised slogans for the BJP... then people slapped them. We don't believe in such kind of politics. The Congress workers had been beaten by the Britishers. We took all the pain and didn't raise our hand (in return) but only tried to bring the truth," she said.
 
She also accused Modi of not fulfilling any of the eight promises made to the people of the city, citing the BJP's manifesto for Varanasi in 2014.
 
"This politics of advertisements is easy and it can be done by anyone," she said.
 
Vadra, before leaving Chunar in the morning, had also accused the BJP of systematically attacking every democratic institution in the country and advised the Prime Minister to "stop thinking that people are fools and understand that they see through all his antics".
 
She also said that she was not afraid.
 
"Even if anything is done, and we are harassed, we will not feel afraid. We will continue our fight against them. The more we are harassed, the stronger will be our fight," she said.
 
Vadra, who was followed by Congress workers raising slogans like "Gali gali me shor hai, chowkidar chor hai" and "Dahan karne Modi ki Lanka, aa gai behen Priyanka", also seemed to have struck a chord with locals, many of whom pointed out her resemblance to her grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
 
Sanjay Kumar said, "Her arrival augurs a change. People are looking for a new ideology. Now people want to get away from the politics of temple and mosque."
 
"We have felt helpless in the last five years, we feel cheated by the government," he added.
 
Shahnawaz told IANS, "The BJP has not lived up to our expectations. We see a hope in Priyanka Gandhi and the Congress."
 
IANS
 

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Priyanka to reach Varanasi on third day of river ride

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
On the third-day of her campaign along the river Ganga on Wednesday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi will visit former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's memorial in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency, Varanasi.
 
Speaking to reporters before beginning her day, she said, "BJP has systematically attacked every institution in the country in the last five years. You all know it better than I do. So I think the Prime Minister should stop thinking that people are fools and understand that they see through all his antics."
 
According to party workers, Priyanka, who is also Congress in-charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, will interact with her party workers at a guest house in Chunar before leaving for Shastri Memorial by road in Ramnagar.
 
She will then arrive at Ramnagar ghat to take the boat ride to Assi Ghat, where she will interact with the fishermen, the Jain community as well as women.
 
The Congress leader will then reach Dashashwamedh Ghat by motor boat and go to the Vishwanath Temple to offer her prayers.
 
This will be Priyanka's fourth temple visit since March 18, when she kicked off her river ride from Prayagraj on Monday.
 
On Monday, she visited the famous Hanuman Mandir in Prayagraj, followed by trips to the Sita Samahit Sthal temple in Bhadohi's Sitamarhi on day two of her campaign and the Vindhyavashini temple in Vindhyachal thereafter. She also offered a chadar at Kantit Sharif dargah on Tuesday.
 
The Congress leader will then meet her party workers in Varanasi and leave to visit the homes of three Central Reserve Force Police (CRPF) troopers, who died on February 14 attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama.
 
She will meet the family members of Avadhesh Yadav in Chandauli district.
 
On her way back to Varanasi, she will meet the families of Vishal Pandey and Ramesh Yadav.
 
The Congress leader will then return to the Varanasi airport to leave for Delhi.
 
IANS
 

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Likened to Indira as people still love her: Priyanka

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday said that people compared her looks with her grandmother Indira Gandhi as they still remember the late Prime Minister with respect for the work she had done for them.
 
She also countered the Bharatiya Janata Party's allegations about elections as a picnic for the Gandhi family, saying that she has not been to Italy in last three to four years. 
 
Reaching the Chunar ghat in the evening, she paid tribute to Nishad community leader Raj Nishad at the river bank.
 
Also holding a small road show for the party's Mirzapur candidate Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, the great-grandson of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Kamalapati Tripathi, Gandhi hugged and interacted with several women party workers at the Chunar ghat before ending her second day's programme.
 
Earlier in the day, addressing a large gathering waiting for her since afternoon at the Sindaura ghat, she said, "Many people say that I look like my grandmother. You compare us because you have a lot of love and respect for her because she had done a lot of work for you all."
 
She also hit out at the Narendra Modi government for not fulfilling the promises it made to the people.
 
During her river journey from Bhatoli ghat to Sindaura, Gandhi even switched to a smaller boat so that she could interact with the people residing near the Ganga's banks.
 
As the sun was setting, the people switched on the flashlight of their mobile phones and she went to meet them by taking her motorboat near the banks.
 
The Congress leader, who also visited the Vindhyavasini Devi Temple, eight kilometres from here, earlier faced pro-Modi slogans from BJP supporters gathered outside as she reached there.
 
As Gandhi, who was clad in a red sari, got out of her car, hundreds of BJP workers started shouting the slogans and continued even as she entered the temple. Most of the people in the crowd were regular worshippers, who were stopped from entering the temple due to her visit.
 
Even shops and other establishments near the temple had to down their shutters.
 
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Gandhi, who spent some 20 minutes praying at the temple, however, remained unperturbed.
 
As the sloganeering continued, she drove off to offer a chadar at the Kantit Sharief dargah nearby where there was a huge crowd outside waiting to meet her. Most had arrived at 7 a.m., they claimed.
 
Meeting media in Bhadohi, Gandhi asked what the Modi government had done in the last five years.
 
"Be it farmers, youth or anybody, no one is satisfied with the government. Together they will change the government this year," she said.
 
Asked to comment on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's claim that since the Congress was to blame for the state's backwardness since it had ruled the state the most after Independence, she hit back, saying "this 'what they did in last 70 years' has an expiry date."
 
"Now the BJP should tell the people what it did in the last five years. Shiksha mitras and Anganwadi workers did not get anything. The BJP had announced Rs 17,000 per month for them.
 
"It is good to produce report cards but what has actually happened? There is nothing on the ground. I am meeting people daily, they are distressed," Gandhi said.
 
The younger sibling of party chief Rahul Gandhi is on a three-day boat ride on the Ganga as part of the Lok Sabha election campaign that will end on Wednesday in Varanasi, Modi's parliamentary constituency.
 
Having set out from Prayagraj on Monday in a specially-built vessel with supporters, Priyanka Gandhi, who is the party's in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, began the day after offering prayers at the Sita Samahit Sthal temple in Sitamarhi.
 
She also held a meeting with party workers and leaders at the Sitamarhi guest house, where she had halted for the night on Monday. She also met several other delegations including that of the weaver community, Shiksha Mitra, and Anganwadi workers in the area.
 
Shivam Dubey, a party leader who attended the meeting, told IANS: "We will work hard to ensure that the Congress is strengthened and wins with a huge majority."
 
She will again commence her river ride on Wednesday from Chunar ghat and arrive in Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
 
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Priyanka Vadra kicks off 2019 LS campaign from Prayagraj

Congress General Secretary and eastern Uttar Pradesh in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra embarking on a boat ride from  Manaiya ghat in Kachnar tehsil of Prayagraj to Varanasi, on March 18, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Congress General Secretary and eastern Uttar Pradesh in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra embarking on a boat ride from Manaiya ghat in Kachnar tehsil of Prayagraj to Varanasi, on March 18, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
With less than a month to go for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress General Secretary and eastern Uttar Pradesh in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra kicked off her political campaign from here on Monday.
 
Vadra left Swaraj Bhawan, her ancestral home, and arrived at the Bade Hanuman Mandir, popular as 'Lete huye Hanuman Mandir' near Prayagraj Sangam.
 
She offered prayers at the temple, as well as to the river Ganga.
 
She then embarked on her much anticipated boat ride from the Manaiya Ghat in Kachnar tehsil of Prayagraj district, according to party leaders.
 
On the first day of her three-day river ride from Prayagraj to Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she will cover the distance up to Sitamarhi ghat in Bhadohi district.
 
On her way from Manaiya to Sitamarhi, she will make her first pit stop at Dumduma ghat and interact with the villagers.
 
The 47-year-old younger sibling of Congress President Rahul Gandhi will also hold discussions with students onboard the boat that are being called "Sanchi baat". 
 
Priyanka Gandhi is also supposed to meet the family members of a slain Central Reserve Police Force trooper, who died in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
 
After leaving Dumduma ghat, the Congress leader will reach Sirsa ghat and then also visit the Lakshagrih ghat.
 
She is expected to reach Sitamarhi ghat in the evening.
 
On Sunday, she held marathon meetings with party workers at the Nehru Bhawan, the party's state headquarters in Lucknow. 
 
Congress had won only two seats from the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
IANS
 

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Priyanka to kick off steamer poll campaign on Monday

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With less than a month to go for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress General Secretary and eastern Uttar Pradesh in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will kick off a three-day poll campaign from her great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru's birthplace Prayagraj to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi by a steamer on March 18.
 
According to Congress leaders, during her three-day programme, she will cover a distance of over 140 km through four districts of the state -- Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), Bhadohi, Mirzapur and Varanasi -- by steamer as well as car.
 
Priyanka's journey will commence from Prayagraj on Monday and conclude at Varanasi's Assi Ghat and Dashashwamedh ghat on Wednesday evening.
 
She will take the steamer ride from Chhatnag in Prayagraj on March 18 and en route meet elderly citizens of Dumduma in Prayagraj and the family members of Mahesh Raj Yadav, who was killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 in a suicide bombing.
 
Priyanka Gandhi will be back on her steamer ride from Rampur ghat in Bhadohi. From there, she will also visit Vindhyachal temple in Mirzapur and meet the carpet weavers before a night halt there.
 
She will commence her journey on Tuesday from Vindhyachal and visit the Dargah of Maulana Ismail Chisti in Bhadohi's Kantit area and interact with people there.
 
The Congress leader will then again be back on the steamer ride from Mirzapur. She will interact with advocates at Kachahri Ghat in the district and then visit Bhatauli village and meet people there.
 
Thereafter, the newly-appointed General Secretary will reach Chandrika Devi temple and interact with people after offering her prayers there.
 
After leaving Chandrika Devi temple, Priyanka will reach Devri in Mirzapur and interact with local villagers there before arriving at Chunar for the night halt.
 
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In the last leg of her three-day journey on Wednesday, she will visit road Varanasi's Sheetla Mandir by  road and meet women groups there.
 
From Sheetla temple, Priyanka will again take the steamer ride till Ramnagar and interact with the fishermen community there.
 
She will also visit the house of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Varanasi's Ramnagar before arriving at Assi Ghat by the steamer. There she will interact with the local people, people from Jain communities and offer prayers at Vishwanath temple.
 
After performing rituals at the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, she will again take the steamer ride to Dashashwamedh ghat.
 
After that, she will leave for the Congress office in Varanasi and interact with party workers during a Holi Milan programme.
 
She will then leave for Delhi on Wednesday evening from Varanasi airport.
 
The Congress is contesting the Lok Sabha polls alone in Uttar Pradesh which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal are contesting in alliance.
 
In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Apna Dal had won 73 seats while the Congress had managed to win only two. The Samajwadi Party had won five seats and the BSP had drawn a blank in the state.
 
The Congress has to date announced 26 candidates for Uttar Pradesh. Her brother Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Amethi, while her mother Sonia Gandhi will contest from Rae Bareli seat.
 
Polling in the Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
 
IANS
 

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Modi launches development projects in Ghaziabad, Kanpur

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched various development projects in Ghaziabad and Kanpur and attended the National Women Livelihood Meet 2019 in his constituency Varanasi during a day's visit to Uttar Pradesh.
 
In Ghaziabad, Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the inauguration of the Civil Terminal of Hindon Airport. He then visited Sikandarpur and laid the foundation stone of Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System. 
 
He also launched various other development projects and distributed certificates to the beneficiaries of various Government schemes.
 
The Prime Minister visited the Shaheed Sthal (New Bus terminus) Metro Station in Ghaziabad and flagged off the metro rail service from Shaheed Sthal Station to Dilshad Garden. He also took a ride in the train.
 
Addressing a public meeting at Sikandarpur in Ghaziabad, he said Ghaziabad was today know by three Cs: Connectivity, Cleanliness and Capital. In this context, he mentioned about increased road and metro connectivity, the city’s 13th rank in Swachh Survekshan rankings and its stature as a business hub of Uttar Pradesh.
 
With the new Civil Terminal in Hindon Airport, people of Ghaziabad can take off to other cities from Ghaziabad itself, instead of going to Delhi. The new metro service from Shaheed Sthal will reduce the sufferings of travellers between Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
 
Being built at a cost of Rs 30,000 crore, the Delhi-Meerut RRTS system will be the first such transport system in India. Once completed, it will considerably reduce the travel time between Delhi and Meerut. 
 
About the benefits of the newly-launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Yojana, he said the scheme will provide financial security for informal sector workers during their old age. More than two crore farmers have received their first instalment under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, he added.
 
During his visit to Kanpur, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Lucknow Metro Rail project and laid the foundation stone of Agra Metro Rail project. He also laid the foundation stone of Panki Thermal Power plant and unveiled plaques to mark the launch of various development projects at Niralanagar.
 
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Addressing the gathering, Modi said Kanpur was the birthplace of many brave leaders who have contributed immensely for the country. The Panki Thermal power plant, once completed, will end the power deficit situation in Kanpur and Uttar Pradesh. Under the Saubhagya scheme, more than 76 lakh free electricity connections have been provided in the State.
 
About the initiatives taken by the Union Government to clean the River Ganga, he said that it was earlier thought to be an impossible task. Due to several measures taken by the government, including the blocking of drains that discharged waste into the Ganga and treatment of sewage, the water quality has improved. 
 
Referring to the Defence Corridor coming up in Uttar Pradesh, he said it will greatly benefit the people of Kanpur. Major infrastructure development was taking place in the State in the form of roads, air and rail connectivity, besides the various metro rail projects in the cities. 
 
He reiterated that by 2022, every single family in the country will have a house. Under PM Awas Yojana, around 1.5 crore houses have been built in the country so far.
 
Modi paid respects to the brave soldiers from Kanpur who lost their lives in Pulwama attack and Budgam plane crash. He said the Union Government was taking strong action against terrorism.
 
The Prime Minister said that it is important to maintain an atmosphere of unity in the country. He appreciated the quick action taken by the Uttar Pradesh Government against those who had attacked Kashmiris recently. He urged all the State Governments to take stern action against anyone who perpetrated such acts.
 
Later, in Varanasi, Modi attended the National Women Livelihood Meet-2019, held at Deendayal Hastkala Sankul on International Women’s Day.
 
He visited the exhibition on products manufactured by Self Help Groups aided by Uttar Pradesh Rural Livelihood Mission. He distributed Electric Chaak, Solar Charkha and Honey Warp to women beneficiaries and appreciation letters to five women Self Help Groups. 
 
Various women Self Help Groups supported by Deendayal Anthodia Yojana, NRLM-Uttar Pradesh, handed over a cheque of Rs.21 lakh to the Prime Minister as their contribution towards ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ Fund.
 
Paying his respect to all women on International Women’s Day, Modi said the women have an important role in creating a New India. He expressed happiness that more than 65 lakh women from around 75,000 locations were participating in the event through video conference. He added that Varanasi was a shining example of women empowerment.
 
Reiterating the Government’s total commitment towards the empowerment of women, he listed the various schemes initiated by the Union Government for the welfare of women and girl children. These covered the fields of health, nutrition, sanitation, education, skill development, self-employment, new gas connections and also on ensuring the safety and security of women. The maternity leave of six months introduced by the government is one of the best in the world.
 
Women were being given priority in all Union Government schemes. They have been beneficiaries in 11 crores out of the 15 crores Mudra Loans given so far, he added.
 
Appreciating the exceptional work done by Self Help Groups (SHGs) in India, he said their work was not only resulting in the betterment of their family but also leading to the development of the nation. The government was giving new energy to the SHGs in terms of better bank loans and support systems. Around 50 lakh SHGs covering around six crore women were now present in the country. He said that the vision of his government was to connect at least one women member in every family with an SHG.
 
The Prime Minister urged the SHGs to be innovative and understand their market better. He asked them to utilize the GEM portal to sell their products to the Government. 
 
He asked women to fully utilize the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Maan-Dhan Yojana, as it provides financial security during old age. He mentioned about the benefits of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Later, he also interacted with the members of the Self Help Groups in Varanasi.
 
During the visit, Modi offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Addressing a gathering at the temple after a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony, he said he was blessed to be associated with the project of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. 
 
He complimented the officers involved with the project, for performing their task with devotion. He thanked all the people who had property around the temple, and have allowed its acquisition for the project.
 
He said the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has survived the vicissitudes of centuries. He praised Queen Ahiyabai Holkar for her work on the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, over two centuries ago. Since then, not much thought had been given by those in power, to the entire area around the temple.
 
About 40 temples near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple had encroached upon over time, have now been freed of that encroachment. The entire Temple complex is now in the process of rejuvenation, and the results are becoming visible. A direct link is being established between the River Ganga and Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
 
This project will become a model for similar projects elsewhere and provide a new global identity to Kashi, he added.
 
NNN
 

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Modi unveils development projects worth Rs 3350 crore in Varanasi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled development projects worth Rs. 3350 crore in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, today. 
 
These projects pertain to various sectors such as health, sanitation, smart city, connectivity, power, housing and others. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were present on the occasion.
 
At the outset, Modi paid tributes to Ramesh Yadav from Varanasi, who was among those killed in the Pulwama terror attack.
 
Addressing a public gathering at Aaure village on the outskirts of the city, he said the Government was working on two fronts to give a boost to development. The first one relates to building infrastructure like Highways and Railways while the other is to ensure that the benefits of development reach the people. Several announcement were made in the Budget to this effect, he said.
 
Speaking about the projects unveiled here, he said this was an effort towards making Varanasi an important centre of New India. In this context, he mentioned the locomotive flagged off at DLW, earlier in the day and said this initiative under Make in India will help in strengthening the capacity and speed of Indian Railways. 
 
He said that, over the last four and half years various steps were taken to transform Railways, and India's first semi High-Speed Train, Vande Bharat Express that runs between New Delhi and Varanasi, is one such example. 
 
These projects will not only ease transportation but also lead to setting up of new enterprises in Varanasi, Purvanchal and nearby areas.
 
He distributed certificates to the beneficiaries of various schemes. He also released a commemorative postage stamp on completion of 100 years of IIT BHU.
 
The Prime Minister said BHU Cancer Centre and Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara will provide advanced treatment to patients from Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and other nearby states.
 
About Ayushman Bharat, he said around 38,000 people have already availed the benefits in Uttar Pradesh. Around 1.20 crore families in the state will benefit from the scheme.
 
The PM Kisan Samman Nidha Yojana will benefit about 2.25 crore poor farmers in Uttar Pradesh. Yet another scheme for farmers was the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Ayog, for conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.
 
He expressed appreciation for on time completion of projects for which foundation stones were laid earlier in Varanasi. He distributed Aids & Assistive Devices to Divyangjans.
 
Modi visited the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where he unveiled a statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya along with the murals of Varanasi Ghats. He offered floral tributes at statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.
 
He also inaugurated Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Hospital and Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara. These Hospitals will provide comprehensive treatment to the patients from UP and neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
 
The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation, Bhabhatron, the indigenous telecobalt machine, one of the successful products developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai for cancer treatment.
 
He visited Day Care Unit & OPD and interacted with the patients. Mr Modi also interacted with the beneficiaries of PMJAY- Ayushman Bharat.
 
NNN
 

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