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Kolkata

Opposition slams Modi government at Mamata rally, calls for BJP ouster

Leaders of more than 20 opposition parties attended a massive rally in Kolkata organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and joined her in giving a clarion call for the ouster of the BJP government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre in the coming elections.
 
TMC rally: Opposition unites in a show of strength
Leaders of more than 20 opposition parties attended a massive rally in Kolkata organised by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chairperson Mamata Banerjee and joined her in giving a clarion call for the ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre in the coming elections.
 
All the leaders who were present at the "United India Rally", which attracted thousands of people, spoke of the problems being faced by the poor and vulnerable sections across the country because of the present regime's policies and measures and urged the people to vote it out in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Ms. Banerjee also said the question about the Prime Ministerial candidate could be decided later, stressing the immediate task was for all of them to come together and oust the BJP from power.
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not attend the rally but sent their representatives. Mr. Gandhi also sent a message in which he extended his support to "Mamata Di" on the show of unity and hoped that they send a powerful message of a united India together.
 
"Across India, there are powerful forces afoot. Forces that are fanned by the anger and disappointment of hundreds of millions of Indians who have seen through the false promises and lies peddled by the Modi government," he said in the message.
 
"These forces are moved by the hope of a new tomorrow; a tomorrow filled with the idea of an India in which  the voice of every man, woman and child will be heard and respected no matter what their religion, economic status or region.
 
"The entire opposition is united in our belief that true nationalism and development can only be defended on the tested pillars of democracy, social justice and secularism, ideas that the BJP and Mr. Modi are intent on destroying.
 
"We commend the great people of Bengal who have historically been at the forefront of defending our ideas," he said.
 
Those present at the rally included former Prime Minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief H D Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Singhvi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmy Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav,  former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang.
 
Others present included Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) chief Sharad Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M K Stalin,  Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra, former BJP Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Ram Jethmalani, dissident BJP MP and actor Shatrughna Sinha, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren.
 
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"A new dawn is coming. We have taken the pledge to work together," Ms. Banerjee told the huge crowd.
 
"Some people are trying to destroy the country. As Arvind Kejriwal said, what Pakistan could not do in 70 years, the Government at Centre managed to do in just five years. They have managed to drive a wedge between communities. They have destroyed all the institutions. They have started politics of hate. They have destroyed the country’s economy," she said.
 
"Jan Dhan, NPA, Rafale, insurance are big scams. There are other big scams as well. Those who are dishonest are preaching about integrity. They are talking about honesty? How much money did they have five years ago and how did their wealth increase? I don’t want to make personal comments but they initiated it. I believe in politics of courtesy but they do not care about it. They crossed the Lakxman Rekha. They tried to implicate Sonia ji, Lalu ji, Akhilesh, Mayawati ji and even me. Why will they expect to be spared?" she asked.
 
"People are asking who will be the leader. There is no dearth of leaders here. Their party is leaderless, so there is just one Prime Minister. In our gathbandhan, we all are leaders, we all are workers, we all are the subjects and we all are the kings. This is democracy. We will later finalise who will be the Prime Minister. The time has not yet come," she said.
 
"Enough of Achhe Din, it is time to bid goodbye to BJP. It is time for change at Centre. For the sake of youths, farmers, labourers, and people of the country, we have to defeat the BJP," shhe said.
 
"We are against divisive politics. We are against hate. We do not want bloodlust. We are against discrimination. We want constructive politics, not destructive agenda.
 
"Hindu stands for sacrifice, Muslims represent integrity. Christians stand for love and Sikhs represent validaan. This is our country. A person who can work for all, without discrimination, will be the leader of the nation," she said.
 
Addressing the rally, Congress leader Kharge appealed to all parties to unite to save the Constitution and democracy. He said the BJP had promised two crore jobs every year, but has only helped its corporate friends.
 
"A rainbow of 22 parties is replacing dark clouds hovering over the country," Mr. Abhishek Singhvi said.
 
Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said Mr. Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had betrayed the nation. He said the public mandate that brought them to power also had the strength to overthrow them.
 
"If BJP tries to victimize our leaders and harass the public, it will pay a heavy price. We will fight fearlessly to save democracy," he said.
 
"All the leaders forming the Mahagathbandhan have one ambition, ‘Save India, Save Democracy'. Since coming to power, the BJP govt has used every strategy to divide the people. We have united India and a new Prime Minister will rise out of this union," he said.
 
Mr. Kumaraswamy said the government at the Centre was headed by "undemocratic persons". He said demonetisation had hit the poor in the country hard, especially in the rural areas. He said it was sad that the Union Government had turned a deaf ear to the needs and woes of the people.
 
Mr. Stalin said the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be the second war of independence. He said Mr. Modi was sure that he would not get a second term as Prime Minister and that is way he was fiercely attacking the Opposition at every opportunity.
 
"He is afraid of our unity. We must come together to protect India," he said.
 
Dr. Farooq Abdullah said there was a need to save India from the BJP, which  was dividing people on religious lines. He said the parties present must fight the elections together, pointing out that the question of who should become the Prime Minister could be decided later.
 
Mr. Tejashwi Yadav said the opposition parties were united in their diversity and would not be scared by the government's intimidation tactics.
 
Mr. Arun Shourie said no Government had said so many lies or undermined institutions as the Modi regime had done. "We all should have one aim, of removing BJP from the Centre," he said. He said the Opposition must ensure a single candidate against the BJP in all constitutuencies and urged them to hold rallies in every corner of the country.
 
Mr. Yashwant Sinha said it was not about removing one man from power but about coming together to defeat an ideology.
 
Shatrughan Sinha said people kept asking him why he spoke against the BJP when he was still in the party. "The mood of the nation is for 'parivartan' (change). People want a new leader," he said.
 
"If speaking truth is rebellion then you should consider me a rebel. Along with truth, I also don't compromise with principles," he said.
 
Mr. Jayant Chaudhary said Ms. Banerjee had united the Opposition and said it was imperative to get rid of Mr. Modi from the Centre.
 
Hardik Patel, who was invited to be the first speaker, said, "Subhas Chandra Bose had given a slogan to fight against ‘goro’ (Britishers), we are fighting against ‘choro’ (thieves),” he said.
 
Mr. Jignesh Mevani said the country was facing an unprecedented crisis with the exploitation of the poor, minorities and Dalits under the present regime.
 
Mr. Pu Lalduhoma of Zoram Nationalist Party of Mizoram said minorities felt unsafe under the BJP-led NDA government.
 
Mr. Hemant Soren said the BJP must be uprooted from not just the Centre but the States, too.
 
Thousands of people turned up for the rally. The TMC put up flexes and posters with photographs of the visiting leaders on roads leading to the venue of the rally from the airport.
 
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Calcutta HC gives conditional nod to BJP's rath yatra in Bengal

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday gave conditional permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party's Rath Yatra rallies, saying the organisers will be liable for any untoward incident or damage to public property.
Calcutta High Court (File photo: IANS)
Calcutta High Court (File photo: IANS)
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday gave conditional permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party's Rath Yatra rallies, saying the organisers will be liable for any untoward incident or damage to public property.
 
The state government had last week rejected BJP's plea to hold the 'Rath Yatra', touted as the 'save democracy rally', saying there was "grave apprehension of major breach of peace and communal violence during and in the aftermath" of the programme.
 
The BJP had moved a single bench of the Calcutta High Court on December 17 after the Bengal government's decision and proposed December 22, 24 and 26 as fresh dates for the three Rath Yatra rallies.
 
Acting on a fresh plea filed by the saffron party, Justice Tapobrata Chakraborty allowed the rallies to be taken out, but said the organisers have to inform the police superintendent of the district concerned 12 hours before taking out the yatra.
 
He said the organisers would be liable for any untoward incident or damage to public property during the rallies and directed the state police to deploy adequate force to ensure that there is no breach of law and order.
 
The court has also asked the organisers to make sure that rallies do not affect the vehicular traffic on the state highways and arterial roads.
 
Welcoming the verdict, the state BJP leadership termed it as a victory of democracy and said they would hold discussion with the party's senior leadership in Delhi before officially announcing the dates.
 
"We welcome the verdict. It is a victory of democracy and the democracy-loving people of the state. We will follow the court's directives to conduct the rallies. The court has not mentioned any dates in its verdict. As of now our dates are as announced earlier. But we will discuss the matter and take the final call," said state BJP leader Jay Prakash Majumder after the verdict.
 
"We ask the Trinamool Congress activists not to impede us from conveying our message to the common people. Let the people decide whether they would accept us or not. That is how a democracy should function. So Trinamool should not create any obstruction in our programmes," he added.
 
When asked if the party is ready to fight the state government which may move a division bench in the High Court to seek a stay on the current order, the BJP leader said, "They have the right to do so. But we have said before that no one would be able to stop BJP's 'save democracy' rallies. We have full faith in court and the constitution."
 
The BJP was originally scheduled to hold three Rath Yatra rallies from north Bengal's Cooch Behar, South 24 Parganas district's Gangasagar and Birbhum district's temple town of Tarapith, flagged off by party president Amit Shah on 7, 9 and 14 respectively. These rallies were meant to touch all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state before converging at Kolkata in January.
 
IANS
 

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Kolkata bridge collapse: Rescue operations on, suo motu case lodged

Rescue operations continue on Wednesday after a portion of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in south Kolkata a day earlier, even as a suo motu case has been lodged against the persons responsible for the accident. Two persons are still reported missing.
 
Kolkata bridge collapse: rescue efforts on
 
 
Rescue operations continue on Wednesday after a portion of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in south Kolkata a day earlier, even as a suo motu case has been lodged against the persons responsible for the accident. Two persons are still reported missing.
 
A part of the Majherhat Bridge between Taratala and Mominpur collapsed around 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday in south Kolkata, crushing a person to death and injuring 19 others.
 
"Two persons are still missing and a suo motu case has been lodged under IPC 304 and 308 against responsible persons," police said.
 
Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), fire brigade and personnel of disaster management teams are at the spot.
 
Cranes have been deployed and gas cutters are being used for the rescue operation. Three columns of army personnel are also present at the spot.
 
"Our team is still working on the rescue. Overnight and this morning, we tried to dig holes in the concrete slab decks that caved in to find out whether anyone is still trapped underneath.
 
"Cameras are also being used to find out what remains below the debris. Removing the rubble would take more time," a member of the rescue team said on Wednesday.
 
The West Bengal government has initiated a probe into the incident. "Investigations are going on. At this point, we cannot come to any conclusion regarding the possible reasons behind the accident," a member of the forensic team said.
 
Pedestrians and commuters in buses and cars who were on the collapsed structure were rescued.
 
The bridge was the main connector between central and southwest part of the city. Due to the partial collapse of the bridge, traffic has been diverted. Tram services on some routes have been withdrawn, a Kolkata Traffic Control official said.
 
Goods vehicles' movement has been restricted on some of the arterial roads between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
 
State government will pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of Soumen Bagh, who died in the accident.
 
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State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said on Tuesday that heavy construction work of the metro project beside the collapsed bridge could have weakened its pillars.
 
City metro railway authority, however, ruled out any such possibility.
 
Amid blame game over the partial collapse of the bridge, the Eastern Railway said it was not conducting any maintenance work at the accident site.
 
However, experts said the bridge was very old and as such structural defect or use of inferior quality material cannot be cited as the reason for the collapse.
 
They said the bridge has been withstanding heavy vehicles for more than 40 years and that the only reason that may have triggered the collapse could be "lack of maintenance".
 
According to a state official, the 40-year-old bridge was constructed by the Kolkata Port Trust and maintained by State Public Works Department.
 
However, a Kolkata Port Trust official said it does not have any records that show the bridge was constructed by it.
 
IANS
 

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16 dead, 63 injured as under-construction flyover collapses in Kolkata

At least 16 persons died and 63 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata on Thursday.
 
Kolkata: 10 dead in under-construction bridge collapse
 
At least 16 persons died and 63 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata today.
 
Police sources told NetIndian that the 16 dead included 14 men and two women, all of whom were crushed under the tonnes of concrete and steel that came crashing on them around 1215 pm today without any warning.
 
They said nearly 60 others had been taken to various hospitals in the city for treatment of injuries.
 
Officials feared the number of casualties could increase as search and rescue teams made their way through the mangled steel and concrete through the night.
 
Army personnel and teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) joined the local police, the fire brigade, other agencies and hundreds of volunteers in a massive rescue effort with specialised equipment, sniffer dogs and so on.
 
Several people were feared trapped below the debris of the bridge and frantic efforts were being made to reach them without loss of time. As people dug through the rubble, they found cars, taxis and other vehicles trapped under the concrete.
 
Hundreds of people of the locality and passers-by rushed to the spot and began trying to remove the debris with their bare hands, using whatever equipment they could lay their hands on, even as the authorities made arrangements to rush cranes, gas cutters and other machinery as well as ambulancesto the scene. 
 
Scores of witnesses told journalists at the scene that they heard a loud rumble and then a massive thud as the huge bridge suddenly came down without any warning.
 
Footage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera in the area showed people going about their normal business and traffic moving as usual under the flyover when it suddenly came crashing down.
 
Traffic in the entire area came to a total standstill and there were traffic snarls in several nearby areas as a consequence.
 
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was campaigning for the state assembly elections outside Kolkata, rushed back to the state capital and visited the scene of the tragedy.
 
She said stringent action would be taken against officials of the construction company, the Hyderabad-based IVRCL Limited, or any others found guilty of negligence.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in the United States on an official visit, took stock of the situation and expressed shock and grief over the incident.
 
“Shocked and saddened by collapse of under construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation and rescue operations. 
 
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was touring West Bengal as part of the BJP's election campaign, asked the Director General, NDRF, Mr. O.P.Singh, to rush rescue teams to the spot.
 
An official press release said seven NDRF teams had been deputed to the site and two more teams were being mobilized for the rescue operations.
 
"I am deeply saddened to know that precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident," he added.
 
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Modi invokes spirit of Team India; says Centre, states must work together

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the Central government and the 29 state governments in the country as "30 pillars of Team India" which would together take the country forward.
 
Delhi alone will not run nation: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today described the Central government and the 29 state governments in the country as "30 pillars of Team India" which would together take the country forward.
 
Addressing a public meeting after dedicating to the nation the 2.5 million tonne modernised and expanded IISCO steel plant at Burnpur in West Bengal, he mentioned various instances of cooperative federalism of recent months, including the setting up of the NITI Aayog, and the devolution of additional revenues to the States through acceptance of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. 
 
He also mentioned that the decades-old land boundary issue between India and Bangladesh had been successfully resolved through the same spirit of Team India, with all state governments concerned and political parties coming together to support a solution of the problem.
 
He said the nation would move ahead faster when the Centre and the states worked together.
 
"Sadly Centre-State relations were tensed for a long time. I have been Chief Minister for a long time and I know that such behaviour will not be good. We have brought in a change, we focused on co-operative federalism. Delhi alone will not run the nation," he said.
 
"India will not change without a 'Team India'. The Prime Minister and Chief Ministers are one team that will take India ahead. The nation is bigger than any party," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said the time had now come for India to address the issue of "geographical imbalance" along with the economic and social imbalances. He said that eastern India, too, should develop as fast as western India is developing, and for that, development of West Bengal is essential. 
 
"The eastern part of India has immense potential. The people are also skilled," he said.
 
He said District Mineral Foundations would be set up to help speed up progress and welfare of the poor in mineral-rich districts. He said that, within a year, the atmosphere of gloom in the country had lifted, and all global rating agencies were now agreed that India is among the world's fastest growing economies.
 
"A year ago the world had a different perception about India. Now the world says in one voice that India is a fast growing economy," he added.
 
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Anti-CAA protesters torch railway stations in Bengal

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Violence broke out in West Bengal on Friday against the Citizenship Amendment Act as also a possible NRC exercise as protesters vandalised and set fire to railway stations, and squatted on tracks and highways, disrupting train services and vehicular movements.
 
In Beldanga in Murshidabad district, a mob torched the station master's cabin and ransacked the ticket counter before setting it on fire.
 
The protesters, carrying posters against the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), vandalised the Beldanga railway station of Eastern Railway, forcing the railway employees to flee to save their lives.
 
They also blockaded the track, disrupting train movement between Lalgola and Krishnanagar, besides obstructing the National Highway in Beldanga. The protesters also burnt tyres and damaged some vehicles.
 
In Howrah district, angry protesters barged into the Uluberia station under South Eastern Raiwlay and vandalised its premises and a couple of trains. A driver and a railway official were injured by stones pelted by the protesters.
 
The mob earlier blockaded the track, adversely hitting train movements on the Howrah-Kharagpur section on both up and down lines.
 
The Howrah-Coromondol Express and the Howrah-Digha Kandari Express were damaged in the attack.
 
A number of long-distance trains, including Falaknama Express, East Coast Express, Mumbai Duranta Express, Bhubaneswar Janshatabdi Express and eleven suburban trains, were stranded in and around various stations, even as the protesters moved away from the tracks.
 
"Some people asked me to alight from the train as the train won't move. Then they dragged me out and ransacked the train," said the guard of the Kandari Express.
 
"It was a terrifying experience. They broke the window panes. There is no chance of any train movement in the next three to four hours," he said.
 
Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has appealed for peace and asked people to believe in the rule of law and the laws passed by the Parliament.
 
"We must always believe in peace, we must always believe in the rule of law. We must avoid violence," Dhankhar told the media here.
 
He described the violence as unfortunate.
 
"We must believe in the Parliament and the laws passed by it. This violence is unfortunate. But I believe people of Bengal are peace loving and won't indulge in any kind of violence," said Dhankhar.
 
The BJP blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing her of spreading lawlessness through her statements opposing the CAA.
 
BJP National General Secretary in-charge of the state, Kailash Vijayvargiya, alleged that the "shameful incidents" in Bengal were engineered by the infiltrators.
 
Vijayvargiya wondered whether Banerjee should continue in her post for "even a minute more" after the disturbances "fomented by infiltrators" following her statements.
 
"Is it proper to lead the state to the brink of lawlessness and disturbances through the infiltrators just for the sake of opposing the law? The BJP condemns this. The people will give you a befitting reply in the coming days," said Vijayvargiya.
 
IANS

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Golf: Kapil Kumar keeps his lead with 68 in round two of ICC RCGC Championship

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Delhi’s Kapil Kumar kept his lead for the second day running with a roller coaster four-under 68 at the ICC Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) Championship here on Friday. 
 
Kapil, looking for his maiden title, totalled eight-under 136 to be the half-way leader by one shot at the Rs. 40 lakh event. Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (68) moved up one spot to second at seven-under 137 while Bengaluru’s M Dharma was the big gainer moving up 24 spots to third position at six-under 138 as a result of his tournament-best score of seven-under 65.
 
A fog delay of 45 minutes in the morning meant that play started at 7:15 am instead of the scheduled 6:30 am.
 
The cut was declared at five-over 149. Fifty-one professionals made the cut for the weekend.
 
Kapil Kumar (68-68) had an eventful day in stark contrast to his first-round effort as he drained eight birdies in exchange for four bogeys. The 27-year-old was accurate with his irons for the second straight day since he set up as many as five birdie putts from a range of six feet. Kapil, who comes from a golfing family with three of his cousins also competing on the PGTI, made his longest putt of the day, a 14-footer on the 14th.
 
Kapil's chipping let him down as he conceded all of his four bogeys as a result of poor chip shots. Nonetheless, Kapil put up a resilient display fighting back with a pair of birdies each time he dropped a shot.
 
“It was an up and down day for me. I made lesser mistakes in round one but today I made more birdies so can’t really complain about today’s round. My good iron-play has been the common factor on both days.
 
“However, going forward, I’ll need to focus on my chipping and bunker shots which were not up to the mark today. All my four bogeys today were a result of missed chip-putts,” added Kapil currently placed 46th in the PGTI Order of Merit" 
 
Mane (69-68), ranked 64th in the PGTI’s money list and battling to save his card for next season, had reason to rejoice on Friday when he returned a 68 to rise into contention.
 
Struggling in the second half of the season due to a shoulder injury, Mane  played his irons and wedges well to set up three birdie putts within four feet. He also sank two birdies from a range of 18 to 20 feet. Mane’s only bogey of the day came on his closing ninth hole.
 
“After a good Feeder Tour season where I finished third in the Order of Merit, I suffered an injury to my right shoulder that affected my game and my results in the second half of the PGTI season. I’m still playing through pain and that has reduced my distance with the driver and irons.
 
"Therefore, today’s round is all the more special since I’ve done well despite not being in the best of physical shape. I would like to thank Priyanshu Singh’s caddie Sachin who helped me with my putting before the tournament by getting me to do certain drills. My caddie Sushant has also done a great job by giving me good lines on the greens.”
 
Dharma (73-65) made the big move on Friday with eight birdies and a bogey. A marked improvement in Dharma’s tee shots on day two could be attributed to his decision to choose his two-iron over the driver. The 33-year-old currently ninth on the PGTI Rankings landed it close through the round except on the seventh where he knocked in a 20-footer for a birdie. Dharma also ended the day with a good up and down for a par save on the 18th.
 
Dharma said, “Club selection was the big issue with my game during round one. But today I got it right as I changed strategy by teeing off using the two-iron more often than the driver. That helped me keep the ball in play, unlike the first round where I was struggling with my tee shots. I hit 14 greens in regulation today as compared to 10 in round one.
 
“I was really pleased to make a birdie on the seventh, a hole that I consider one of the toughest on this course. A good start and being four-under through seven holes really lifted my spirits and contributed to my good score," he said.
 
Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma (70) was in fourth at five-under 139 while Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha (73), the joint overnight leader, slipped to tied fifth at three-under 141.
 
Mohammad Sanju (71) was the highest-ranked Kolkata player as he joined Ankur Chadha, Sri Lankan Mithun Perera and Noida’s Amardip Malik in tied fifth.  Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia (72) was a further shot back in tied ninth at two-under-142.
 
Delhi-based rookie Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the highest-ranked player in the field being fourth in the PGTI Rankings, occupied tied-12th at one-under 143.
 
The prominent names that missed the cut were local favourite Shankar Das (six-over 150) of Kolkata and Gurugram-based rookie Priyanshu Singh (nine-over 153).
 
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Football : ISL’s attacking forces collide in Goa as ATK come calling

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What do you expect when two of the most attacking sides in the Hero Indian Super League lock horns with each other? Plenty of action, drama and definitely goals. That’s all probably a certainty as FC Goa hosts ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium near here on Saturday.
 
The hosts, known for their fluid attacking style, have not exactly been at their best this season due to a variety of factors including injuries and suspensions. Despite that, they have picked up points even from lost causes, coming up with injury-time equalisers on at least three occasions.
 
The Gaurs find themselves third on the table with 12 points from seven games. Their opponents, ATK, have been brilliant ever since their opening day loss against Kerala Blasters FC. They are unbeaten in six games now and sit on top of the table with 14 points.
 
The match also sees the two best attacks in the league go head to head. ATK have scored 15 goals while FC Goa have pumped 13 so far.
 
Goa’s attack is expected to be further boosted by the return of star striker Ferran Corominas. Also, the form of Brandon Fernandes has been key to Sergio Lobera’s team. He was instrumental in Goa’s 1-0 win over Hyderabad in the last game, assisting Manvir Singh’s winner. With four assists, the midfielder has the joint-most assists this season.
 
“We are playing against FC Goa and not just (Ferran) Corominas. I know Corominas is an important player, but we don’t have any special tactics for him. Normally I don’t choose one player from the opposition or from my team. I understand football is a collective sport and not an individual sport,” said  ATK head coach Antonio Habas.
 
ATK’s attack, however, carries an equal if not a greater threat. Led by Roy Krishna, who leads the scoring charts this season with six goals, and David Williams, ATK have the ability to score at will. Add the creativity of Javier Hernandez and Edu Garcia into the mix, the Goan midfield will have to be at their best.
 
More importantly, ATK wouldn’t mind Goa enjoying most of the possession, given the pace they have going forward. Antonio Habas’ team are deadly on the counter and when given space to attack, Krishna and Williams are near unstoppable as NorthEast United found out in a 3-0 defeat last time out.
 
“For me, you will have to defend your goal and give your best. We have good strikers playing in front for us. We need to play hard and keep the concentration for every game, not only for ATK,” said Goa coach Sergio Lobera.
 
“Sometimes it is not always a very good start to the season. I am very happy now. We are playing good. We are not keeping too many clean sheets, but we will work on that,” he added.
 
Interestingly, Lobera’s Goa has never lost to an ATK side while Antonio Habas’ ATK team has never lost to Goa. There is so much to look forward to on Saturday.
 
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Ankur Chadha, Kapil Kumar take joint lead in round one of ICC RCGC Open Golf

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Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha and Delhi’s Kapil Kumar shot scores of four-under 68 to take the joint lead in round one of the inaugural ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship Powered by Bharat Benz, a Tata Steel PGTI event, at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) today.
 
The Chandigarh duo of rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu and Akshay Sharma, as well as Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane, were in tied-third at three-under 69 on day one of the Rs. 40 lakh event.
 
Sunit Chowrasia and Md Sanju performed the best among the Kolkata golfers on Thursday as the duo was in tied-sixth with matching scores of two-under 70.
 
Ankur Chadha grew in confidence after his good execution of a couple of tricky approach shots early in his round on the 10th and 12th. The 25-year-old was then on a roll as he came up with some quality tee shots and approaches to pick up birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th.
 
Chadha, who turned professional in 2016, found the bunker on the par-3 second where he conceded his only bogey of the day after missing an up and down. Ankur seemed to make up for that error when he recovered well from the rough on the fourth with a chip-putt for birdie.
 
However, the tall and sturdy golfer’s best birdie came on the tough seventh hole where he found the centre of the fairway with his tee shot before landing his approach to within eight feet of the hole, a putt that he converted.
 
Chadha said, “The good execution of the tough approach shots on the 10th and 12th helped settle me down. I then struck it well and sank a couple of 10-footers to get my round going. The approach on the seventh was not an easy one but I managed to land it close enough to pick up a birdie. That was the highlight of my round."
 
“There are some good signs for me this season as my scoring average is much better than last year. I’m also in a position to finish much higher on the PGTI Order of Merit this season as compared to 2018 when I was 38th. The seventh-place finish in Digboi last month was my best of the season. I’ve been in good rhythm since then.
 
“I’m happy with my consistent and solid start as it sets up the week nicely for me,” added Ankur, playing only his second event as a professional at the RCGC.
 
After a steady start with pars on his first five holes, Kapil Kumar made headway when he chipped-in for eagle on the 15th. The 27-year-old Kapil, lying 46th in the PGTI Order of Merit, then collected three more birdies, two thanks to long conversions, against a bogey on the front-nine to join Chadha at the top of the pack.
 
Kapil, a proud holder of three course records who turned professional at the tender age of 16 back in 2009, said, “I hit my irons really well today. A good par save from the rough on the 12th gave me a lot of self-belief.
 
“I’ve not been playing too well this year. But hopefully, this round can turn it around for me. Interestingly, my season-best finish of tied seventh came at the event at Tollygunge earlier this year. So, Kolkata seems to be lucky for me this season.”
 
Delhi’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the highest-ranked player in the field being fourth in the PGTI Rankings, struck an even-par-72 in round one to occupy tied 20th place.
 
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Rookies Kshitij, Priyanshu and Yuvraj promising prospects at inaugural ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship

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Rookies Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Priyanshu Singh and Yuvraj  Sandhu will be promising prospects at the inaugural ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship being played at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) from December 12-15.
 
The young trio will be making their first appearance at the historic RCGC since turning professional.
 
Delhi-based Kshitij Naveed Kaul is the highest-ranked player at the Rs. 40 lakh event as he is currently placed fourth in the 2019 Tata Steel PGTI Order of Merit. The 19-year-old Kaul, who became the third-youngest winner on the PGTI after Shubhankar Sharma and Karandeep Kochhar earlier this year, is raring to have a go at one of his favoured venues.
 
Kaul said, “The RCGC is a great course and I’ve always enjoyed playing here. I’ve played a lot here as a junior. I won here a few times as a junior so I know the course well. This time it’s playing just amazing. One needs good ball-striking to score low here.
 
“It’s nice to be back in Kolkata as I like the food here especially the fish. I would like to thank ICC and RCGC for partnering with the PGTI in helping bring a tournament back to RCGC after two years
 
As for his targets for the remaining three events of the season, Kshitij added, “I never set targets or limits as I see them. Instead, I just focus on hitting each shot as well as I can.”
 
The 23-year-old Priyanshu Singh, another rookie who has won on the PGTI this year, made his first-ever trip to the RCGC on Wednesday. The Gurugram-based lad is excited about playing at the revered venue for the first time.
 
Priyanshu said, “It’s my first time ever here so I’m looking forward to a whole new challenge. The greens are outstanding and the course seems like a true test of golf. The rough is up, so one needs to drive the ball good. Whoever keeps the ball in play and hits the mid-irons close is going to have a good week for sure.
 
“It’s been a good season and now three events coming up in the home stretch so hopefully I get hot and finish the year in an even stronger position. I’m putting well and my iron play has been my strength recently, so hopefully, that will help my cause this week.”
 
The 2019 PGTI Q School champion who is currently placed 27th in the PGTI Rankings, added, “We really appreciate ICC coming on board as a sponsor on the PGTI and helping the game in India. Can’t thank them more for what they’re doing for Indian professional golf.”
 
Chandigarh’s Yuvraj  Sandhu has also had a memorable rookie season on the PGTI having won the Feeder Tour Order of Merit after posting two wins on the tour this year. The 22-year-old goes into the ICC RCGC Open with some higher goals on his mind.
 
Sandhu said, “The last time I was at RCGC I was here as India’s No. 1 amateur during the 2017 All India Amateur. So it’s a good feeling to be back as a professional this time around.
 
“I feel I’m putting my foot down on the PGTI and achieving my goals slowly but surely. My next objective is to earn an exemption into the final stage of the Asian Tour Q School. For that I need to be in the top-20 of the PGTI Rankings at the end of the season. I’m 31st at the moment. So in the last three events I need to put up some solid performances in order to break into the top-20.
 
“I thank ICC for having us here and hosting us this week.”
 
The other names to reckon in the field this week are those of the experienced Mukesh Kumar, Shamim Khan (winner of PGTI’s last event) and Chiragh Kumar as well as local favourites Shankar Das and Sunit Chowrasia. Sunit, nephew of the legendary SSP Chawrasia, is fresh from a career-best tied fifth finish at the last PGTI event in Ahmedabad.
 
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Romanian national gets 10-day police remand for ATM fraud

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Romanian national Siliviu Florin Spiridon, who was arrested in connection with the serial ATM fraud cases involving bank accounts of Kolkata customers, was remanded to police custody till December 20 by a local court here.
 
Spiridon (28) was brought to the city on Tuesday on transit remand, a day after his arrest in Delhi's Greater Kailash area. He was presented before the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore.
 
Though skimming devices, accessories, magnetic chips and batteries were among the materials confiscated from Spiridon after his arrest, the prosecution argued that Spiridon's custodial interrogation was a must for unearthing more documents and getting to know who his associates were.
 
Spiridon was arrested from a flat in Greater Kailash in Delhi after city police ditectives started tracking him after he came to an ATM in the locality to withdraw money.
 
He tried to flee in an auto rickshaw but the sleuths of the anti-bank fraud section of the detective department chased him and finally rounded him up from a flat in Greater Kailash.
 
IANS
 

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Romanian held in Delhi in Kolkata ATM fraud case

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Making its first arrest in the sensational serial ATM fraud cases involving bank accounts of Kolkata customers, the Kolkata police on Monday apprehended a Romanian national from Delhi's Greater Kailash area, an officer said on Monday.
 
Siliviu Florin Spiridon (28) was arrested when he came to an ATM in Greater Kailash for withdrawing money, Kolkata Police Joint Commissioner (Crime) Murlidhar Sharma said.
 
"One Romanian national Siliviu Florin Spiridon (28), resident of Constanta, Romania has been arrested from Greater Kailash by the Detective Department's anti-bank fraud section team," he said.
 
Spiridon tried to flee in an auto rickshaw, but the sleuths went after him and finally nabbed him, Sharma said.
 
A number of skimming devices, accessories, magnetic chips, batteries, PIN hole camera chip among other incriminating documents have been recovered.
 
"Further interrogation is going on for his associates. He has confessed to his crime," said Sharma.
 
IANS

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Football: ATK’s Roy Krishna awarded ISL Hero of the Month for November

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Fijian professional footballer Roy Krishna was awarded the ISL Hero of the Month for November after some scintillating performances for ATK. 
 
The striker saw off stiff competition from the likes of Jamshedpur FC’s Sergio Castel, Odisha FC’s Aridane Santana, FC Goa’s Mourtada Fall and Bengaluru FC custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
 
The 32-year-old, who has his roots in India, scored three goals in as many games and also recorded an assist as ATK remained unbeaten throughout the month of November. Krishna becomes the second successive ATK player to win the Hero of the Month award this season after strike-partner David Williams bagged the same title in October.
 
Krishna started off the month in emphatic fashion with a brace and an assist against Jamshedpur FC at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium – also the home ground to ATK, before featuring in a tough away draw with Odisha FC. He capped off November with another goal in front of his home crowd that turned out to be vital for ATK. Krishna equalised almost with the last touch of the game with ATK trailing 2-1 against Mumbai City FC, making it 2-2.
 
The former A-League top scorer with Wellington Phoenix emerged as the fan favourite in the poll concluded by the League. Krishna received the Hero of the Month award trophy in ATK’s 3-0 win over NorthEast United FC in Guwahati on Saturday where he bagged a brace.
 
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Burnt corpse of young woman recovered from mango orchard

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The burnt body of an unidentified young woman was recovered in Englishbazar block of West Bengal's Malda district, amidst suspicion that she was raped and murdered.
 
The police did not confirm rape, but said there were injury marks in her private parts.
 
According to the villagers, the body was found from a mango orchard in Dhantala area on Thursday.
 
"We found the body on Thursday and immediately alerted the local police station," said a local resident Animesh Das.
 
District police superintendent Alok Rajghoria said the samples have been collected and sent for post mortem. "Once we get the post mortem findings, we will try to identify the corpse and ascertain how she died
 
Deputy police superintendent Prashanta Debnath said there were injuries in private parts. "She was burnt to death. Kerosene oil was used."
 
IANS
 

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Bengal Governor finds gate locked, 'deathly silence' in Assembly

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at the State Legislative Assembly in Kolkata on December 5, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at the State Legislative Assembly in Kolkata on December 5, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Angered over a "deathly silence" greeting him during a pre-announced visit to the State Legislative Assembly where he could not enter through the gate earmarked for him as it was locked, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday described the chain of events as "a threat to democracy" and a "shame".
 
Dhankhar, who drove to the state Assembly in the morning, stood for quite some time outside the locked gate number three, which is used for the entry of the Governor and other VVIPs.
 
He interacted with the media there, before taking a separate gate to go inside the premises.
 
"The gate meant for the Governor as also other VVIPs was closed. I felt bad. But I went inside through a gate that was open. I found inside a deathly silence," said the Governor after coming out.
 
His visit followed the unprecedented decision of Speaker Biman Banerjee on Tuesday to adjourn the House for two days, saying Bills scheduled to be placed before the members were yet to get the green signal from Dhankhar.
 
In a hard-hitting response soon after the Speaker's announcement, the Raj Bhavan denied any delay and said the bills were pending on account of "lack of input or response" from the respective departments.
 
The Governor had then intimated to the Speaker that he would be visiting the Assembly on Thursday. However, neither the Speaker, nor the Assembly Secretary or Special Secretary or any other senior functionaries were present to welcome the Governor.
 
"This is a very, very painful moment. My heart today is bleeding. How can this ever happen in a temple of democracy? I went through the entire building, saw a deathly silence, on a working day.
 
"Not a single soul of the assembly came to direct me or brief me, much less offer anything. This is a threat day for democracy. I have never seen anything of this kind anywhere in democratic functioning," Dhankhar said in a strong response.
 
Quoting a famous dialogue from the iconic Bollywood blockbuster Sholay, he said "I remembered 'Yahan itna sannata kyun hai bhai (Why is there so much silence, brother)?'"
 
Dhankar said the happenings have "humiliated" democracy and the "people of the state", but asserted he would not be cowed down in upholding the spirit of the Indian Constitution.
 
He was sharply critical of the decision not to open gate number three.
 
"These are trends in democracy we need to curb. Democracy doesn't work in this fashion. This is a history which puts us to shame," he said, pointing out that according to the Constitution, the Governor "is at the number one position in the legislature".
 
"We need to engage in soul searching and I would urge everyone, we need to make amends," he said.
 
Dhankhar said he would write to the Speaker that such turn of events should not have happened, as it was "not proper.. not in consonance with parliamentary practice... not befitting the office of the Governor. This is equally belittling the office of the Speaker".
 
Giving the sequence of events in the run-up to his visit, Dhankhar said the Special Secretary, Raj Bhavan, on Wednesday received a call on his mobile from the mobile phone of the Secretary of the Assembly that Banerjee was "very happy" to learn that the Governor would be coming.
 
"And the Secretary conveyed that the honourable Speaker would like to have lunch with me. And there was also an invitation that my wife should also join for the lunch," he said.
 
However, things changed after about one and a half hours.
 
"The Secretary of the Assembly again called the Special Secretary, Raj Bhavan, saying that this (lunch) will not happen. .. And, something more was also told to him. That the Speaker has directed the Secretary and Special Secretary of the Assembly to be busy as well," said Dhankhar.
 
The Governor, a noted lawyer, said that the Assembly not being in session does not mean that it is closed.
 
Asked whether he felt insulted, Dhankhar said: "As Governor I don't have to feel insulted. I have to improve the system. My job is to play a constructive role."
 
Dhankhar said he on his part would have given the highest respect and observed protocol fully had somebody like Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee or the Speaker visited the Raj Bhavan.
 
On whether he was planning an outreach to the Chief Minister to clear out the discord between them, Dhankhar said: "I have done everything under the sun by writing letters, making telephone calls to the highest political executive that we must not engage in such kind of unseemly spectacle."
 
He alleged that half a dozen state ministers have been criticising him like "loose cannons day in and day out which does not befit the culture of Bengal".
 
The Governor also iterated the Chief Minister's narrative about him being a nominated functionary should end. "By saying this you are raising a question mark against the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution."
 
IANS
 

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ISL: ATK, Mumbai City play out thrilling 2-2 draw

ATK and Mumbai City played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in a closely contested Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Saturday.
 
Michael Soosairaj put ATK in front ('39), but the lead was cancelled out by Pratik Chaudhari (62'). Then it was Serge Kevyn (90+3') who put Mumbai ahead only for ATK's Roy Krishna to rescue a point for the hosts with a late goal (90+6').
 
It was a cagey start as the teams struggled to get a foothold in the initial stages.
 
ATK could have drawn first blood in the 19th minute but a timely block from Rowllin Borges kept the scoreline intact. Minutes later, Williams tried his luck from the distance, but his effort went inches wide of the post.
 
After the half-hour mark, Mumbai got their first opening when Diego Carlos delivered a brilliant cross from the left for Modou Sougou, but the striker could not control the ball and the chance went abegging.
 
In the 39th minute, ATK finally breached Mumbai's defence when Garcia produced a defence-splitting through ball to find Soosairaj who made a marauding run from his left wing-back position. The former Jamshedpur FC player then kept his calm and slotted past Amrinder Singh to put his team in front.
 
Around the hour mark, ATK were forced into a substitution when Carl McHugh landed awkwardly on his ankle while trying to win an aerial duel against Amine Chermiti.
 
Against the run of play, Mumbai City scored the equaliser through a flag-kick in the 62nd minute. Paulo Machado delivered the corner near the first post and Chaudhari slipped his marker to head home his first goal of the season.
 
It was end-to-end stuff after Mumbai equalised and both teams got notable goal-scoring opportunities. There was late drama in an intense match as both teams scored in extra time.
 
Mumbai scored first through Serge Kevyn after Bipin Singh fired in a low cross from the left. But ATK responded with an equaliser almost immediately when Roy Krishna pierced the net at the other end, making the most of a failed clearance from Sarthak Golui.
 
IANS
 

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Six killed, 5 hurt in bus-oil tanker collision in Bengal

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Six people were killed and five others were injured after an oil-tanker and a private bus collided head-on near the NTPC crossing in Farakkah in Murshidabad district on Saturday, the police said.
 
The injured, some of them in serious conditions, were admitted to the Jangipur sub-divisional hospital.
 
"Six persons have died. Five persons are in hospital. Some of the injured were released after first aid," Farakka police station inspector-in-charge Uday Shankar Ghosh told IANS over phone.
 
The private bus going from Siliguri to Baharampur collided with the Assam bound oil tanker from Kolkata on National Highway 34 in the early hours of Saturday.
 
Three persons died on the spot, while the others succumbed to their injuries at the hospital.
 
Police suspect that one of the two drivers in the ill-fated vehicles had dozed off.
 
IANS
 

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Football: Toppers ATK to clash with revitalized Mumbai City

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Hero Indian Super League (ISL) leaders ATK will be eyeing a third consecutive win at home when they host Mumbai City FC here at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Saturday. 
 
Antonio Habas' team sit atop the table with 10 points from five matches and have been exceptional in their home games. This will be their third game at home, after thrashing Hyderabad FC 5-0 and then defeating Jamshedpur 3-1 in their first two matches here. 
 
The Kolkata side's form suffered a minor blip on the road to Odisha FC last weekend, ending in a damp squib. It was a rare case of Habas' attack not delivering as Roy Krishna and co. have netted a joint league-high 10 goals so far.
 
But amidst their attacking prowess on show, the defenders' work has gone unnoticed -- the three-man backline, with Soosairaj and Prabir Das as wing-backs, has conceded only three goals and only Bengaluru FC have let in fewer goals. 
 
“Every match is absolutely different. We are trying to find the intensity and pace. We cannot win every match. But we have not lost also,” said coach Habas.
 
Mumbai City are languishing at seventh in the standings with five points from as many games and their last outing was a 2-2 draw away to NorthEast United. They were dominant for most parts of the game and seemed more likely to take away full points and this gives Jorge Costa hope to get back on track and start piling up wins. 
 
City Football Group announced the purchase of majority stakes at the club and this should act as a boost for the players and the staff on the field. 
 
With Modou Sougou struggling with fitness early on, Amine Chermiti has filled the gap seamlessly, scoring three goals in five matches. The likes of Diego Carlos and Paulo Machado have been dangerous on the ball but it will be a challenging task against a rock-solid ATK defence. 
 
Mumbai City have the league's joint-worst defence after five games, and ahead of a fixture against ATK who have been prolific in front of goal, Jorge Costa's top priority will be to shore up his defensive third.
 
“We are making some mistakes that we will try to fix. We can fix. As a team, we are doing well but some individual mistakes are costing us the game. But we have got time to fix this and hopefully, we will finish where we want to finish,” said Costa.
 
ATK edge the contest on paper, but can Mumbai City, fresh from an off-field injection deliver a twist in the tale?
 
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Bengal bye-elections: Trinamool makes clean sweep, humbles BJP

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Bouncing back after the Lok Sabha jitters, West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress won all three seats in the Assembly bye-elections on Thursday, snatching Kaliaganj and Kharagpur from its opponents while retaining Karimpur.
 
It was a disappointing day for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which not only failed to open its account, but also lost in two prestigious seats -- Kaliaganj and Kharagpur -- where its heavyweight candidates had taken massive leads during the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year.
 
The newly stitched Congress-Left Front alliance also came a cropper, with its candidates forfeiting their security deposits in all the three seats that went to bye-elections on November 25.
 
Elated over the results, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it the "victory of ma, mati, manush (mother, land and people - Trinamool's pet slogan)" and dedicated it to the masses.
 
Banerjee was particularly happy about Kaliaganj and Kharagpur Sadar, which the party never managed to win since its formation in 1998.
 
After trailing the BJP in the initial rounds of counting, the Trinamool bounced back in Kaliaganj, where its candidate Tapan Deb Singha emerged victorious with a 2,414-vote margin.
 
BJP's Kamal Chandra Sarkar took the second position, while Left Front-backed Congress candidate Dhitasree Roy finished a distant third.
 
The bye-election was necessitated by the death of Roy's father and sitting Congress legislator Pramathanath Roy.
 
In Kharagpur Sadar, after an up and down battle, Trinamool candidate Pradip Sarkar triumphed by a 20,853-vote margin over his closest rival BJP's Prem Chandra Jha.
 
The Left Front-backed Congress contestant Chittaranjan Mondal, who had surged ahead after the opening round, ended a poor third getting a mere 14.8 percent of the votes in the seat which had once been the party's bastion till state BJP president Dilip Ghosh won in 2016.
 
The constituency in West Midnapore district went to the hustings after Ghosh got elected to the Lok Sabha from the Midnapore constituency earlier this year.
 
In Karimpur, Trinamool's Bimalendu Sinha Roy humbled his nearest rival, state BJP Vice President Jay Prakash Majumder by over 24,000 votes.
 
The constituency in Nadia district had to go for the bye-elections as sitting lawmaker, Trinamool's Mahua Moitra, won the Lok Sabha battle from Krishnanagar.
 
The Congress-backed CPI-M candidate Golam Rabbi lagged far behind in the third position.
 
In the run-up to the bye-elections, the BJP leadership was extremely bullish about winning Kharagpur and Kaliaganj.
 
While Ghosh got a huge lead of over 45,000 from Kharagpur Sadar, present Union Minister Debosree Chowdhury had established a massive margin of about 57,000 votes in Kaliaganj on way to winning the Raiganj parliamentary seat for the saffron outfit.
 
Chowdhury and Ghosh had been camping in their respective strongholds as they led vigorous campaigns, making the election a prestige battle for the BJP.
 
The Trinamool's winning candidate from Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat, Abu Taher Khan had given his party a lead of around 14,000 votes in Karimpur during the general election.
 
Ghosh said "organisational laggardness, overconfidence among the party workers and the way the Trinamool used the official machinery and police to terrorise people" could have played crucial roles in shaping the outcome.
 
IANS
 

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FIFA kicks off U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 inspection in Kolkata

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An eight-member FIFA delegation led by Oliver Vogt is here on a six-day visit for an official inspection to evaluate the progress and preparations for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020.
 
Talking to media persons on Tuesday, Vogt said, “We are very happy to be in India to start the inspection. It is great to be here, and we are looking forward to seeing how things are shaping up. We saw the potential of football in India in 2017 with the men’s edition, and understand how big a success it was here in Kolkata.
 
“We are confident that every stakeholder will work hard to ensure the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 is a success and that the tournament also makes its mark in the history of women’s football. In this visit, besides the infrastructure of the stadium and training sites, we are interested to see the plans that the different venues have for the further development of women’s football in the country," he said.
 
“It is great to be back at this iconic stadium, which put its name in history in 2017. The active involvement of the Chief Minister and the state government was crucial in the success in 2017. Given this is a women’s tournament, and Hon’ble CM’s enthusiasm towards empowerment of women, we’re confident of similar support for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as well. That will be key in creating the same experience for the fans and the teams in Kolkata,” added Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee, Roma Khanna.
 
“The State Government reiterates its commitment not just for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, but also for the build-up to the tournament. We are as committed as we were during the U-17 Men’s World Cup in 2017. Similar, if not better, things will be done this time,” Principal Secretary to the Government of West Bengal Anoop Kumar Agrawal said.
 
Also present at the event was  Subrata Datta, LOC Board Member & Senior Vice President – AIFF, who expressed his pride in India getting a chance to host the second FIFA World Cup in three years.
 
The FIFA and LOC delegation will inspect the stadium and training sites in Kolkata tomorrow, and follow it up with an inspection in Guwahati on Thursday, 28th November 2019.
 
The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 will be held between 2nd and 21st November.
 
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Bengal bye-elections: BJP candidate roughed up, over 75% polling

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A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate was badly roughed up and pushed into a bush, as bye-elections to three West Bengal Assembly constituencies on Monday saw a turnout of over 75 per cent amid sporadic allegations of electoral malpractices.
 
Election Commission (EC) sources said that save some sporadic incidents, the situation was peaceful overall in Kaliaganj, Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur Assembly constituencies.
 
"The average voting percentage was 75.48 per cent. The turnout was 77.17 per cent in Kaliaganj, 67.62 in Kharagpur Sadar and 81.23 in Karimpur," the EC said.
 
Over 7.34 lakh voters were eligible to vote in 801 polling stations to choose their representatives from among 18 candidates, including three women.
 
In Karimpur (Nadia district), the Trinamool Congress and the BJP were engaged in a no-holds-barred fight.
 
BJP candidate Jay Prakash Majumdar, the party's state Vice President and a familiar face in television debates, moved around the constituency since the morning, notwithstanding strong resistance from the Trinamool cadres.
 
He also got involved in a heated exchange with some people, allegedly Trinamool supporters, at a booth in Thanarpara where the BJP alleged that its polling agent had been abducted. Central forces personnel finally intervened and removed those people.
 
Majumdar was shown black flags and 'go back' slogans were raised against him in Sahebpara where he was asked to leave a booth after the Trinamool alleged that he was getting too close to the EVM machines.
 
But things turned ugly outside the Ghiyaghat Islampur primary school booth where Majumdar had gone after receiving news of alleged electoral malpractice and found eight outsiders in the room where meals were purportedly being prepared for polling officials. The officials, however, denied any knowledge of food being cooked for them only 10 metres from the booth.
 
Majumdar removed the 'outsiders' and lodged a complaint with the district administration, but all hell broke loose when he came out of the booth onto the road.
 
Around 50 people surrounded Majumdar, staged a demonstration, and then started slapping and punching him before pushing him into nearby bushes. As Majumdar tried to regain his composure, one of the protesters kicked him hard, sending him hurtling down further into the bushes in full glare of television cameras and the presence of central forces.
 
An enraged BJP filed FIRs against the Trinamool Congress workers as also the Sub-Divisional Officer for failing to protect the candidate, and moved the Election Commission seeking its immediate intervention in the constituency.
 
While state BJP President Dilip Ghosh called it an "attempt to murder", state minister and Trinamool district observer Rajib Banerjee claimed that Majumdar was either the victim of his party's "factional feuds" or had "orchestrated" the incident himself to gain sympathy in the face of "certain defeat".
 
Majumdar's rival and Trinamool candidate Bimalendu Sinha Roy also courted controversy after he was found to have entered a booth with the party symbol displayed on his dress. He was ordered to leave the booth.
 
At Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur district, a presiding officer was removed after the Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against BJP candidate Kamal Chandra Sarkar for breaking rules by showing his wife the EVM button she needed to press.
 
In the final hours of the polling, some voters at booth number 47 in Pirpukur area alleged that the second polling officer was trying to influence people in favour of BJP. The officer was grilled and the EC has asked for a report.
 
The BJP, meanwhile, alleged that booth number 266 in East Goalpara primary school was captured by Trinamool workers after they beat and drove away voters and rival polling agents.
 
In Kharagpur Sadar's booth number 140, the BJP agent complained that the EVM was strategically placed beside a mirrored wall. The wall was later covered with a cloth by the election officials.
 
There were also reports of booth jamming at Kharagpur College.
 
The Congress moved the EC alleging rampant irregularities and partisan attitude of the administration and the police.
 
Congress leader Suvankar Sarkar said: "The central forces are working for the BJP, the state police are favouring the Trinamool. From whom can other parties and voters expect cooperation?"
 
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP are contesting all the seats.
 
The Left Front and the Congress have formed an alliance with the Congress in the fray from Kharagpur and Kaliaganj and Left Front major CPI-M from Karimpur.
 
The bye-elections in Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur were necessitated after sitting MLAs -- Dilip Ghosh and Mahua Moitra -- were elected to the Lok Sabha.
 
The bye-election in Kaliaganj is the fallout of the death of Congress MLA Pramath Nath Roy.
 
IANS
 

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RSP General Secretary Kshiti Goswami passes away

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Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) General Secretary and former West Bengal minister Kshiti Goswami died at the Chennai Apollo Hospital on Sunday following a heart attack, party sources said. He was 76.
 
Goswami is survived by his wife and a daughter.
 
The senior Left Front leader had got admitted to the hospital for the treatment of a throat ailment, but complained of chest pain on Saturday night, and passed away on Sunday.
 
Goswami entered politics by joining the student movement in Balurghat of present South Dinajpur district.
 
Later, he came to Kolkata and rose to become the state Secretary of the RSP.
 
A three-time MLA (1991, 1996 and 2006), Goswami was state PWD minister from 1996 to 2001 and again from 2006 to 2011 during the fifth and seventh Left Front ministry respectively.
 
Condoling his death, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it an "irreparable loss" for politics.
 
IANS

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Kohli, pacers run riot in maiden Pink Ball Test, win series 2-0

Indian skipper Virat Kohli in action on Day 2 of the second Test match between India and Bangladesh, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Indian skipper Virat Kohli in action on Day 2 of the second Test match between India and Bangladesh, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Virat Kohli and his quick-bowling trio trampled Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs to clean sweep the series 2-0 in their maiden pink-ball Test at the iconic Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
 
This was India 12th consecutive home series victory as they also became the first team ever to complete four successive innings victories in the five-day format. India had won the first rubber by an innings and 130 runs.
 
After India declared their first innings on 347/9 on Saturday, Bangladesh slumped to 14/3 by the seventh over and risked losing the match inside two days.
 
But Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, who made 39 before a hamstring injury forced him to retire hurt, forced a third day's play as they went into stumps at 152/6.
 
It then took India less than an hour to wrap up proceedings as Mushfiqur top-scored with a fighting 76 before holing out to Ravindra Jadeja at covers off Umesh Yadav who returned figures of 5/53. All other batters fell around him as Mahmudullah could not come out to bat.
 
Ishant Sharma, who claimed 5/22 in the first innings, was the wrecker-in-chief in the second as well, returning 4/56 with an impeccable display of seam bowling.
 
Bangladesh were shot out for 106 in the first innings and trailed their hosts by 89 runs. They resumed the third day at 152/6, still trailing by 89 runs. Ebadat Hossain walked out to bat with Mushfiqur but it took Umesh little time to have him caught by Kohli at slips.
 
Rahim was next to go as he tried to be aggressive and up the ante. Al-Amin Hossain was the last to go as he was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha off Umesh.
 
Earlier, Kohli slammed a magnificent 136 and added 99 runs with his deputy Ajinkya Rahane who fell for a fluent 51. On Day 1, Cheteshwar Pujara also struck a similar 55.
 
The India captain cover-drove Ebadot Hossain to reach 99 and, with the crowd chanting his name, took two off spinner Taijul Islam to bring up his 27th test century, and 20th as captain.
 
Kohli equalled former Australian great Ricky Ponting's record of 41 international centuries as captain. With the century, the 31-year-old also surpassed Ponting's tally of 19 Test tons as skipper.
 
The talismanic batsman, who now has back-to-back tons at Eden Gardens with the last coming against Sri Lanka in 2017, took 159 balls to get to his century.
 
Kohli shifted gears after getting to his hundred and hit Abu Jayed for four consecutive fours before Ebadat removed him with Taijul moving from deep square leg and hurling himself into the air to take a stunning catch.
 
Kohli hit 18 fours in his 194-ball vigil, which was more than the entire Bangladesh team who had folded in 30.3 overs in their first essay.
 
In Bangladesh's first dig, opener Shadman Islam was the highest scorer with 29 as only three batsmen crossed double figures. Ishant ran amok as Umesh grabbed three and Mohammed Shami snared two.
 
Bangladesh had to call two concussion substitutes after Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan sustained nasty blows to the helmet in the first innings and Mohammad Mithun also took a knock due to visibility being an issue under lights. Mushfiqur too was hit on the helmet.
 
Brief scores: Bangladesh 106 & 195 (Mushfiqur Rahim 74; Umesh Yadav 5/53, Ishant Sharma 4/56; India 347/9d (Virat Kohli 136, Cheteshwar Pujara 55, Ajinkya Rahane 51) won by an innings and 46 runs.
 
IANS
 

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D/N Test: Mushfiqur delays inevitable after Kohli-Ishant show

Indian skipper Virat Kohli in action on Day 2 of the second Test match between India and Bangladesh, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Indian skipper Virat Kohli in action on Day 2 of the second Test match between India and Bangladesh, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Mushfiqur Rahim scored a gritty unbeaten 59 to share the limelight with centurion Virat Kohli as Bangladesh kept India's series sweep celebrations on ice and ended Day 2 on 152/6 in the second Test at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
 
Bangladesh still trail India by 89 runs with four wickets in hand. Taijul Islam (11) was removed off the last ball of the day by Umesh Yadav (2/40).
 
At close of play, Ishant Sharma, who bagged a five-for in the first innings, returned with figures of 4/39 in the second.
 
Earlier, Kohli slammed his 27th Test hundred and equalled former Australian great Ricky Ponting's record of 41 international centuries as captain. With the century, Kohli's 20th as India captain in Tests, the 31-year-old also surpassed Ponting's tally of 19 Test tons as skipper.
 
India were on course to bat Bangladesh out of the maiden pink-ball Test and sweep the series comfortably after declaring at 347/9 in reply to the tourists' paltry 106.
 
A lead of 241 runs meant it was an improbable task for Bangladesh to force even a draw and after being being reduced to 13/4 inside seven overs and looked like it was only a matter of time before the formalities were completed.
 
But seasoned batter Mushfiqur and T20 captain Mahmudullah Riyad forged a 69-run unbroken partnership before the latter retired hurt after pulling a hamstring.
 
Mushfiqur got to his 21st fifty in just 54 balls and added another 51 runs with Mehidy Hasan before Ishant had Hasan caught at first slip by Kohli.
 
The tourists were 7/2 at dinner losing opener Shadman Islam for a duck as skipper Mominul Islam got out for a pair, the 23rd occasion when the captain did not open his account twice in the same Test match.
 
Mohammad Mithun, who survived a knock on his helmet grill off Ishant, pulled a Umesh delivery to Mohammed Shami at short mid-wicket with Imrul Kayes (5) edging Ishant to Kohli at third slip.
 
In the afternoon, it was all about Kohli's hundred as Ajinkya Rahane brought up his 21st half century to help India consolidate.
 
Kohli got to the landmark, his 70th international ton and 20th as captain, by tucking Taijul for two runs past square leg.
 
The talismanic batsman, who now has back-to-back tons at Eden Gardens with the last coming against Sri Lanka in 2017, took 159 balls to get to his century in 234 minutes after being on 59 at Stumps on the first day.
 
Kohli shifted gears after getting to his hundred and hit Abu Jayed for four consecutive fours to go into tea break looking good for a double ton. Rahane, who started the day on 23, smashed his 21st fifty but was dismissed soon after for 51 from 69 balls with the help of seven fours as India resumed on 174/3.
 
This was Rahane's fourth consecutive 50-plus score as he added 99 runs with his captain.
 
Kohli cover-drove Ebadat to reach 99 and, with the crowd chanting his name, took two off Taijul to bring up his century.
 
In the second session, India lost Ravindra Jadeja (12) and Kohli in quick succession just after the break. Jadeja lost his off stump to Abu Jayed by not offering a shot while it took a stunning catch from Taijul Islam to get rid of Kohli.
 
The Indian captain flicked a poor Ebadat Hossain delivery to square leg where Taijul, who was axed from the playing XI originally but returned as concussion substitute for Nayeem Hasan on Day 1, threw himself to his right from square-ish long leg to take the catch.
 
Ravichandran Ashwin (9) was trapped before the wickets as the hosts declared soon after with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha remaining unbeaten on 14.
 
India triumphed inside three days in the series opener in Indore and a similar thrashing appeared on the cards for Bangladesh who were skittled out for 106 in their first innings.
 
Brief scores: Bangladesh 152/6 & 106 all out (Mushfiqur Rahim 59 batting, Mahmudullah 39; Ishant Sharma 4/39) vs India 347/9d (Virat Kohli 136, Cheteshwar Pujara 55; Al-Amin Hossain 3/85)
 
IANS
 

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D/N Test: Ishant snares 2 as India leave Bangladesh on the brink

Indian skipper Virat Kohli in action on Day 2 of the second Test match between India and Bangladesh, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Indian skipper Virat Kohli in action on Day 2 of the second Test match between India and Bangladesh, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 23, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Ishant Sharma snared two wickets to take his tally to seven in the match as Bangladesh were left reeling at 7/2 at dinner on Day 2 of the first pink-ball Test at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
 
The hapless tourists are still behind by 234 runs with eight wickets in hand as India stayed firmly on course for a big victory and series sweep after declaring at 347/9 riding Virat Kohli's magnificent 136 and fifties from Ajinkya Rahane (51) and Cheteshwar Pujara (55).
 
Bangladesh lost Shadman Islam for a duck as skipper Mominul Islam got out for a pair, the 23rd occasion when the captain did not open his account twice in the same Test match. At the break, Imrul Kayes was batting on 3 with Mohammad Mithun (4 batting) who survived a knock on his helmet grill off Ishant.
 
In the second session, India lost Ravindra Jadeja (12) and Kohli in quick succession just after the break. Jadeja lost his off stump to Abu Jayed by not offering a shot while it took a stunning catch from Taijul Islam to get rid of Kohli.
 
The Indian captain flicked a poor Ebadat Hossain delivery to square leg where Taijul, who was axed from the playing XI originally but returned as concussion substitute for Nayeem Hasan on Day 1, threw himself to his right from square-ish long leg to take the catch.
 
R Ashwin (9) was trapped lbw as the hosts declared soon after with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha remaining unbeaten on 14.
 
Earlier, Kohli aced the pink ball challenge with a sparkling hundred, his 27th in Tests, to help India consolidate their position and stay on course to bat Bangladesh out of the second and final test and sweep the series.
 
Kohli got to the landmark, his 70th international ton and 20th as captain, by tucking Taijul for two runs past square leg.
 
The 31-year-old, who now has back-to-back tons at Eden Gardens with the last coming against Sri Lanka in 2017, took 159 balls to get to his century in 234 minutes after being on 59 at stumps on the first day.
 
The right-handed batsman shifted gears after getting to his hundred and hit Abu Jayed for four consecutive fours to go into tea break looking good for a double ton.
 
Ajinkya Rahane, who started the day on 23, smashed his 21st fifty but was dismissed soon after for 51 from 69 balls with the help of seven fours as India resumed on 174/3.
 
This was Rahane's fourth consecutive 50-plus score as he added 99 runs with his captain.
 
Kohli cover-drove Ebadot to reach 99 and, with the crowd chanting his name, took two off Taijul to bring up his century.
 
India triumphed inside three days in the series opener in Indore and a similar thrashing appeared on the cards for Bangladesh who were skittled out for 106 in their first innings.
 
Brief scores: Bangladesh 106 & 7/2 (Mohammad Mithun 4 n.o., Imrul Kayes 3 n.o.; Ishant Sharma 2/3), India 347/9d (Virat Kohli 136, Cheteshwar Pujara 55; Al-Amin Hossain 3/85)
 
IANS
 

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