Resignation spree in UP: Is undercurrent in favour of Samajwadi Party?

News Network
January 13, 2022

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Lucknow, Jan 13: The resignation of three ministers in three days and the subsequent photos being uploaded with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has changed the dynamics of Uttar Pradesh politics.

Till a few days back the BJP was confident of winning back the state but the resignations have sent jitters down the spines in the BJP camp. The question is, whether there is an undercurrent in favour of the Samajwadi Party which is perceived to be the biggest gainer from these exits from the saffron party.

The SP is having the last laugh in terms of defections as all roads lead to the party office on Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow. The rebels from the BJP BSP and the Congress are lining up at Akhilesh Yadav's door, which analysts believe is in favour of the SP, as leaders like Maurya have a strong ground presence and feedback.

Delhi based independent analyst Shakil Akhtar says, "there is a feeling in the defectors that they can't return to their constituency on a BJP symbol so they went to the party which has social justice in it roots while the BJP was dependent on social engineering."

The experts believe that the real issues are inflation, Covid deaths, stray animals, unemployment and the BJP has not been able to gauge the minds of its own MLAs and ministers.

Dharam Singh Saini on Thursday became the third minister after Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan quit the Yogi Adityanath led BJP government. Saini was Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration.

After sending his resignation to the Governor, he went to meet Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav. Interestingly, in his resignation letter, Saini levelled the same allegation that other legislators had levelled against the Yogi government.

Saini, who represents the Nakud Assembly seat which is in western UP, has returned the security cover and residence allotted to him by the state government. He said he was resigning due to "gross neglect" of Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small traders.

After legislators belonging to the OBC category left the BJP, it is now a Brahmin MLA Bala Prasad Awasthi who has also walked into the Samajwadi Party fold.

Awasthi is a four-term MLA from Lakhimpur Kheri and a known Brahmin face in the Terai region. He also met Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan (both ministers) Roshan Lal Varma, Brijendra Prajapati, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar, Vinay Shakya and Avatar Singh Bhadana left the party in the past two days.

On Thursday, Mukesh Varma from Firozabad sent in his resignation. Then Dharam Singh Saini followed suit.

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News Network
May 10,2022

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New York, May 10: Slain photojournalist Danish Siddiqui is among four Indians honoured with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize 2022 in the feature photography category.

Siddiqui and his colleagues Adnan Abidi, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Amit Dave from the Reuters news agency won the award, announced on Monday, for "images of Covid's toll in India that balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place", according to The Pulitzer Prizes website.

Their work was moved from the breaking news photography category by the judges.

Siddiqui, 38, was on assignment in Afghanistan last year when he died. The award-winning journalist was killed in July last while covering clashes between Afghan troops and the Taliban in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar city.

This is for the second time that Siddiqui has won the Pulitzer Prize. He was honoured with the prestigious award in 2018 as part of the Reuters team for their coverage of the Rohingya crisis. He had extensively covered the Afghanistan conflict, the Hong Kong protests and other major events in Asia, Middle East, and Europe.

Siddiqui graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia in 2007.

He started his career as a television news correspondent, switched to photojournalism, and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.

Marcus Yam of the Los Angeles Times bagged the award in the Breaking News photography category "for raw and urgent images of the US departure from Afghanistan that capture the human cost of the historic change in the country".

Yam's work was moved from Feature Photography by the jury.

Win McNamee, Drew Angerer, Spencer Platt, Samuel Corum and Jon Cherry of Getty Images also won the award in the Breaking News photography category for their "comprehensive and consistently riveting photos of the attack on the US Capitol".

The Washington Post bagged the Pulitzer Prize in public service journalism for its coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

According to the award committee, the newspaper "compellingly told and vividly presented account of the assault on Washington on January 6, 2021, providing the public with a thorough and unflinching understanding of one of the nation's darkest days".

The Pulitzer Board awarded a special citation to the journalists of Ukraine for their "courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting during (President) Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia".

"Despite bombardment, abductions, occupation, and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality, doing honour to Ukraine and to journalists around the world," the committee said.

The Pulitzer Prizes were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.

The 19-member Pulitzer Board is composed of leading journalists and news executives from media outlets across the US, as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia's journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are non-voting members. The chair rotates annually to the most senior member or members.

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News Network
May 10,2022

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Mohali, May 10: A rocket-propelled grenade hit the Intelligence Wing headquarters of Punjab Police in Mohali last night, shattering windowpanes on one of the floors of the building, police said. No one, however, was injured in the explosion, which political parties termed "disturbing" and "shocking". The explosion took place at around 7.45 pm at the office located at sector 77 in Mohali.

The windowpanes on one of the floors of the building were shattered because of the explosion. “A minor explosion was reported at the Punjab Police Intelligence Headquarters in sector 77, SAS Nagar at around 7.45 PM. No damage has been reported. Senior officers are on the spot and an investigation is being done. Forensic teams have been called,” the Mohali police said in a statement.

The police have cordoned off the area and an alert has been sounded. A police official told reporters that there was no casualty in the incident. “A minor blast took place at the intelligence building. The investigation is going on and our senior officials are on the spot,” the police official said. “The blast took place with a rocket type fire. There is no casualty,” said the official. He further said the forensic teams have also reached the spot. He said an FIR was being lodged over the incident. Asked if it was a terror attack, he said the investigation was going on.

A quick reaction team of the Chandigarh police was also deputed near the Intelligence office building. Senior officials of the Punjab police have reached the spot. Police said a search operation has been launched to nab the culprit. The explosion came close on the heels of the recovery of an explosive device near Burail Jail in Chandigarh on April 24.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed shock over the explosion and urged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to take strict action against those who were behind this incident. “ Shocked to hear about the blast at the @PunjabPoliceInd Intelligence headquarter in Mohali. Thankfully nobody was hurt. This brazen attack on our police force is deeply concerning and I urge CM @BhagwantMann to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice at the earliest,” said Singh in a tweet.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said, “Disturbing news of a blast at the @PunjabPoliceInd intelligence bureau building in Mohali. Praying for everyone's safety and well-being.”

Former Punjab Home Minister and Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa dubbed the explosion as a “sign of deep communalism”. “The bomb blast in Mohali is a sign of deep communalism. I strongly condemn this incident and urge the @PunjabPoliceInd to investigate and take stern action against those who are intent on disturbing the peace of Punjab,” said Randhawa who is also a legislator from Dera Baba Nanak.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said he was deeply shocked at the blast. “Deeply shocked at the blast at Punjab Police's Intelligence Bureau HQs, Mohali, exposing serious security lapses and highlighting once again the deteriorating law & order situation in Punjab. Thorough probe required to expose & punish those responsible,” said Badal in a tweet. 

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News Network
May 22,2022

With skyrocketing prices across commodities, the Centre on Saturday took a slew of measures, including cutting excise duty on petrol and diesel.

While the excise duty on petrol was cut by Rs 8 per litre, on diesel, it was reduced by Rs 6 per litre. The move will make pump prices of petrol lower by Rs 9.50 per litre and diesel by Rs 7 a litre, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

In the past two months, however, petrol prices have been hiked by Rs 10 per litre.

The excise duty cut will translate into a reduction of Rs 8.69 a litre on petrol in Delhi and Rs 7.05 per litre in diesel after taking into account its impact on other levies.

Petrol in the national capital now costs Rs 96.72 a litre as against Rs 105.41 previously. Diesel is now priced at Rs 89.62 per litre as opposed to Rs 96.67 earlier.

In Mumbai, petrol rates have been slashed to Rs 111.35 a litre from Rs 120.51, while diesel rates have come down to Rs 97.28 per litre from Rs 104.77.

In Bengaluru, petrol now costs Rs 101.94, down from Rs 111.09 a litre, while diesel is priced at Rs 87.89 from the previous Rs 94.79/ litre.

Petrol now costs Rs 106.03 a litre in Kolkata (earlier Rs 115.12) and Rs 102.63 in Chennai (previously Rs 110.85). Diesel is priced at Rs 92.76 a litre in Kolkata (previously Rs 99.83) and Rs 94.24 in Chennai (earlier Rs 100.94).

Rates differ from state to state depending on incidence of local taxes such as VAT.re.

After the latest excise cut, the incidence of central tax on petrol will come down to Rs 19.9 a litre and that on diesel to Rs 15.8 per litre.

Brent - the world's most known crude benchmark - was at $112.55 per barrel on Sunday.

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