In huge setback, AAP loses Bhagwant Mann’s seat to SAD(A) in LS bypoll

News Network
June 26, 2022

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Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party faced a huge setback in the Punjab by-elections on Sunday with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann defeating the ruling party's candidate on a Lok Sabha seat held last by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Simranjit Singh Mann beat his AAP rival Gurmail Singh by a margin of over 5,800 votes from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, after a close fight between the two.

Simranjit Singh Mann, 77, is a former MP and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) - not related to the larger Shiromani Akali Dal.

Congress candidate Dalvir Singh Goldy, BJP's Kewal Dhillon and the Akali Dal's Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana were at the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Counting of votes began at 8 am on Sunday amid tight security arrangements.

Sixteen candidates had appeared for the contest on June 23.

The bypoll to Sangrur Lok Sabha seat had witnessed a low turnout of 45.30 per cent as against 72.44 per cent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 76.71 per cent in 2014 polls.

There were 15.69 lakh eligible voters this time.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the resignation of Bhagwant Mann from the Lok Sabha seat after he was elected as an MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year.

Bhagwant Mann, who is the state's chief minister now, had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.

The bypoll was the first major electoral battle after the Aam Aadmi Party's resounding victory in the state assembly polls in March this year.

For the ruling AAP, the bypoll was seen as a battle of prestige for retaining its bastion, while for opposition parties Congress, BJP and SAD were looking to register a victory after being decimated in the assembly polls.

The AAP fielded Singh, 38, who is the party's Sangrur district in-charge, while the Congress placed its bet on former Dhuri MLA Goldy.

The BJP fielded former Barnala MLA Dhillon who joined the party early this month.

Sangrur parliamentary constituency is considered the bastion of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which won all the nine assembly segments -- Lehra, Dirba, Barnala, Sunam, Bhadaur, Mehal Kalan, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Sangrur in the 2022 assembly elections.

Bhagwant Mann had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after defeating SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa with a margin of 2.11 lakh votes.

Mr Mann again contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Sangrur and won it by a margin of 1.10 lakh votes after defeating Congress party's Kewal Dhillon.

While the opposition parties -- Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP - assailed the AAP for an alleged deteriorating law and order situation, murder of popular singer Sidhu Moosewala and "unfulfilled" poll promises, the ruling party focused on its promises of eradicating corruption, creating jobs, improving the condition of schools and hospitals, and paving the way for a "Rangla (vibrant) Punjab" again.

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News Network
August 10,2022

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Patna, Aug 10: After taking oath as Bihar Chief Minister an eighth time, thus continuing in the chair with a change of partners, Nitish Kumar took a shot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the next Lok Sabha elections: "He won in 2014, but will he in 2024?"

Though Nitish Kumar repeatedly spoke of "working towards Opposition unity" to unseat the BJP at the Centre, he told reporters that he is "not a contender for anything", when asked if he wants to be PM candidate. "The question to ask is, if the person who came in 2014 will win in 2024,” he said.

Elections in Bihar are due in 2025, a year after the Lok Sabha contest. Nitish is likely to still be in the chair in 2024, which means the who'll-be-the-challenger speculation isn't likely to die down soon, especially with the Congress weakened and the Opposition still far from united. His deputy once again, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav has said Nitish Kumar is the "most experienced chief minister in India right now".

It helps Nitish Kumar's case that another regional leader with national ambitions -- Bengal's Mamata Banerjee — has had to halt her march after corruption charges against her party colleagues. 

Analysts have for years floated the theory that Nitish Kumar could be the Opposition candidate against PM Modi, if the Congress plays a non-leading role. But that's drowned out as he floats in and out of alliances — with and against the BJP. Till yesterday, he was chief minister with BJP support. And now he is back with the RJD of old pal Lalu Yadav, whose son is his deputy in the new government — a new version of their 2015 alliance. The Congress is among the partners.

The first version of the JDU-RJD-Congress tie-up — called the 'Mahagathbandhan' or Grand Alliance — won power in 2015. Nitish Kumar had broken up with the BJP two years before that, ending a two-decade relationship. He had problems with Narendra Modi's past, particularly the 2002 Gujarat riots, and left the NDA after he became the PM face. 

But he made up with PM Modi's party in 2017, walked out the Mahagathbandhan and took a fresh oath. The JDU and BJP remained together for the 2019 Lok Sabha contest, and then won the 2020 assembly polls. Nitish Kumar remained in the chair. Two years on, he has switched again. 

Today he said he did not want to be Chief Minister after the 2020 win with the BJP. "Ask people in the party (JDU), what they have been reduced too. I did not want to become CM... but I was put under pressure. Then you see what happened. I have not even spoken to you (journalists) in two months." 

He pointed towards the drop in JDU's numbers. "How many seats did we win in 2015? And then we went with the same people (BJP) and look at what we have been reduced to." Besides those in the JDU, Tejashwi Yadav too has said the BJP "wants to finish off regional parties" and "usurps its partners".

In 2015, Nitish Kumar's JDU had won 71 seats as part of the Grand Alliance's 170, in a House of 243. The RJD was the single largest party with 80 seats, but he became chief minister as leader of the pact.

At present, the JDU has 45 seats. The BJP, which has 77, made him chief minister in 2020 despite these numbers — but with two deputies from its stable. Why the switch now? Nitish Kumar and his party, it is learnt, were spooked in the latest by the Maharashtra coup in which the BJP backed a split in the Shiv Sena to return to power.  

On his fate after yet another flip, Nitish Kumar today said, "Whether I will stay or not... let people say what they have to say." After staking claim yesterday, he said he "never allowed corruption", and "we want brotherhood in society". Standing next to him, Tejashwi Yadav accused the BJP of dividing people along communal lines: "We are socialists. All of us want that the BJP's agenda shouldn't be implemented in Bihar."

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News Network
August 16,2022

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Shivamogga, Aug 16: A man, who was suspected to be involved in clashes on Independence Day in Shivamogga, was shot in his leg by the police today morning. The police claimed that he tried to attack them when they went to detain him.

Mohammed Zabi alias Charbi (30), a resident of Marnami Bailu in this district headquarters town, is recovering in a hospital after the incident.

Two men belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities - Prem Singh (aged 20) and Saddam – were hospitalized with injuries after clashes broke out between two communities in the town over putting up banners of Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and 18th century Mysuru ruler and India’s first freedom fighter Tipu Sultan on Monday.

Soon after the clash, prohibitory orders under section 144 of the IPC were imposed in the town.

A case of attempt to murder was also registered under section 307 of the IPC against those who allegedly stabbed Prem Singh, and, in this connection, police arrested Nadeem and Abdul Rehman.

On Tuesday morning when a police team went to detain Zabi, he allegedly tried to attack police team. In self defence, sub-inspector Manjunath S Kuki of Vinoba Nagar police station shot in his right leg, police said. He was rushed to a government hospital where he is recovering.

I-Day clash

Two people were injured on Monday as two groups clashed over displaying banners of their leaders at Amir Ahmed Circle on BH Road to mark Independence Day in the city.

Police sources said that a group of activists from Bajrang Dal and other right-wing organisations led by BJP leader Deen Dayal erected a banner of Hindutva leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar at the circle, an area known to be communally sensitive, around 2.30 pm. The police managed to seize the banner with the help of corporation officials after a brief altercation with the group.

Meanwhile, Muslim youths gathered at the circle and insisted that they be allowed to erect a Tipu Sultan banner if Savarkar's banner is put up, superintendent of police B M Laxmi Prasad said. When the two groups started approaching the circle, the police caned and chased them away. Meanwhile, a few people were running towards the circle to hoist the tricolour. The police took away the flag and hoisted it themselves at the circle, he added. 

Enraged by this, members of right-wing groups staged flash protests demanding that the authorities permit them to display Savarkar's banner. Deputy commissioner R Selvamani pacified the protesters. The police detained the agitators as a precaution and later released them.

Amid the tension, Prem Singh was stabbed in Uppar Keri area by bike-borne youths. Prem Singh, employed at a cloth outlet on Kasturba Road, was on his way home in neighbouring Gandhi Bazaar after locking the shop when he was stabbed. SP Laxmi Prasad said that the stabbing was not related to the banner incident but a random incident after the lathi charge. He also denied reports of another stabbing incident in the city. 

Meanwhile, a youth, Saddam was attacked either with knife or stone and admitted to the District McGann general hospital. Hospital medical superintendent M S Sridhar said that Prem Singh and Saddam were both out of danger. 

On August 13, a man was arrested for obstructing corporation officials from discharging their duty at a photo exhibition of freedom fighters at the City Centre mall on Nehru Road.

Based on a complaint by the deputy commissioner of the city corporation, the police registered an FIR against unidentified youths. Later, Mohammed Sharief, spouse of a Congress corporator, was caught and produced before a court. He has been remanded in judicial custody till August 26.

Tension had prevailed at the exhibition for a while when a group of Muslims objected to Savarkar's photo along with other freedom fighters like Gandhi and Chandrashekhar Azad. They had argued that Savarkar was not a freedom fighter and the corporation had not displayed the photo of a single Muslim freedom fighter though many Muslims had sacrificed their lives during the freedom movement.

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News Network
August 8,2022

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Lucknow, Aug 8: Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Devendra Singh Yadav's car was hit by a truck and was dragged for more than 500 meters in Uttar Pradesh's Mainpuri district.

Yadav is the SP district president in the area. He did not suffer any serious injury.

A video of the freak accident shows Mr Yadav's vehicle being dragged for some distance before coming to a stop. As soon as the vehicle stopped, many people present on the road rushed to the spot to try and rescue the Samajwadi Party leader.

The incident took place near Bhadawar House in Mainpuri Sadar Kotwali area on Sunday night when Mr Yadav was on his way to his residence via Karhal Road. He was alone in the car during the incident.

Mr Yadav is the Samajwadi Party district president of Mainpuri.

According to the police, the truck driver was from Itawa.

"Samajwadi Party leader's car was hit by the truck after which it was dragged for more than 500 meters. The truck driver from Itawa has been arrested. The investigation is underway," said Kamlesh Dikshit, SP Mainpuri as quoted by a news agency.

Following the accident, Mr Yadav lodged a complaint at Mainpuri Sadar Kotwali police station. The police registered a case and arrested the truck driver.

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