BJP poised to sweep civic elections in 6 Gujarat cities; AAP makes inroads by winning 8 seats in Surat

Agencies
February 23, 2021

Ahmedabad, Feb 23: The BJP has so far won 300 out of the total 576 seats across six municipal corporations in Gujarat, the State Election Commission (SEC) said on Tuesday afternoon as counting of votes is underway.

Congress won only 36 seats, the SEC said about 4 pm.

The Congress has not won a single seat in Surat where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a new entrant, made impressive inroads by winning eight seats.

The Bahujan Samaj Party has won three seats in Jamnagar.

A total of 192 seats in Ahmedabad, 72 in Rajkot, 64 in Jamnagar, 52 in Bhavnagar, 76 in Vadodara and 120 in Surat were up for grabs in the elections held on February 21.

The BJP has won 62 seats in Ahmedabad corporation, 51 in Rajkot, 50 in Jamnagar, 31 in Bhavnagar, 61 in Vadodara and 45 in Surat.

The Congress has won 10 seats in Ahmedabad, four in Rajkot, 11 in Jamnagar, five in Bhavnagar, seven in Vadodara and zero seats in Surat.

The AAP, which had fielded 470 candidates across six corporations, won eight seats in Surat. Its workers celebrated by cutting cakes after the party won two panels (each having four candidates) in the city.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel expressed gratitude to the voters and BJP workers for the results.

"The grand victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the elections of six municipal corporations is the victory of the people of Gujarat.

"This is a grand victory of the politics of development started by Hon'ble Prime Minister @narendramodi," tweeted Rupani in Gujarati.

The people of Gujarat have provided "a subject" to political analysts who can study how the concept of anti-incumbency does not apply in the state, he said.

"Many thanks and congratulations to all the winning candidates, BJP office-bearers, workers and the voters of Gujarat for the glorious victory of Bharatiya Janata Party in the elections," tweeted Nitin Patel.

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Agencies
February 12,2021

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Varanasi, Feb 12: Police in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi had booked Google CEO Sundar Pichai and 17 others last week over a video that allegedly defamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi but later removed the tech giant officials' names from the FIR, police officials said on Friday.

The names of Pichai and three other Google top officials were removed after they were found “not involved” in the case, a police official privy to the probe told PTI over the phone.

The FIR was lodged following a complaint by a local resident who claimed that he got over 8,500 threat calls on his mobile phone after he objected to the video that he first came across in a WhatsApp group and later on YouTube, where it has over five lakh views, the officials said.

Besides the US-based Pichai, others named in the FIR are three Google India officials including Sanjay Kumar Gupta, according to the FIR lodged at Bhelupur police station on February 6.

Google's response over the case is awaited.

Among the rest named in the FIR are Ghazipur district-based musicians who allegedly made the video song, a recording studio and a local music label company.

The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), 500 (defamation), 120B (party to a criminal conspiracy).

Charges under the Information Technology Act's section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material) have also been invoked against the accused, according to the FIR.

“The names of Google officials were removed from the FIR the same day as it turned out that they were not involved in the case. Investigation on other points is underway,” an official from the local Bhelupur police station said. 

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Agencies
February 22,2021

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Indore, Feb 22: Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath and around a dozen other people escaped unhurt after an overcrowded elevator plunged from a height of 10 feet in an Indore hospital and its doors got jammed on Sunday.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan called up Nath to inquire about his health and also ordered Indore Collector Manish Singh to start a probe into the incident, officials said.

Other Congress leaders who were in the lift with Nath were Sajjan Singh Verma, Jitu Patwari, Vishal Patel and Vinay Bakaliwal.

Nath and the other leaders had gone to DNS Hospital to meet ailing party colleague Rameshwar Patel.

In a release, Indore Collector Manish Singh said an additional magistrate will carry out the probe.

MP Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja demanded action against hospital authorities.

A hospital functionary said the lift was overcrowded and had 13-14 people.

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Agencies
February 23,2021

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Nagpur, Feb 23: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted interim bail to P Varavara Rao on medical grounds in connection with a 2016 case of arson at an iron ore mine in Maharashtra's Surjagarh.

Rao and Surendra Gadling were sent to Yerawada Jail in the year 2019 after their 11-day police custody in connection with the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case in which some 80 vehicles transporting iron ore from the Surjagarh mines in Gadchiroli were allegedly set on fire by Naxals. The incident took place on December 25, 2016.

Justice Swapna Joshi of the high court's Nagpur bench granted bail to Rao on health grounds.

A principal bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday had granted bail to the activist-poet on similar medical grounds in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
Rao has been at a private hospital in Mumbai since November 2020 when he was shifted after his health deteriorated in jail where he was lodged as an undertrial.

He was arrested in 2018 in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case registered in Pune and has been in jail since then. Last year, Rao contracted coronavirus and was admitted to JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

He has been granted bail in Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case on certain conditions, including that he has to remain in Mumbai and should be available for investigation. He is not allowed to talk to witnesses or interfere in the investigation process.

Rao was arrested in November 2018 along with five others, for alleged links with Naxals and for allegedly making provocative speeches on December 31, 2017 that police claimed incited the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district the next day.

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