Kejriwal concedes 'complete shift of Muslim votes to Cong at last moment' may hurt AAP in Delhi

Agencies
May 18,2019

New Delhi, May 18: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, who was claiming to be winning all seven seats in Delhi, seems to be less hopeful after the polling on May 12. The Delhi Chief Minister who was riding on the hope that his party would get a big chunk of Muslim votes, which is more than 12% in the national capital, has said that the minority community's votes shifted to the Congress at the last minute before polling.

"Let us see what happens. Until 48 hours before polling, it seemed like all seven seats will come to AAP. But at the last moment, the complete Muslim vote got shifted to Congress. We are trying to figure out what happened," Kejriwal told the Indian Express when asked how many seats would the AAP get in the Delhi.

Conceding that it may hurt the AAP, Kejriwal said Muslims are "12-13 per cent" in Delhi.

Voting for seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi was held on May 12 with the capital recording a voter turnout of 60%, down from 65 per cent in 2014, in a three-cornered Lok Sabha contest among BJP, AAP and Congress.

All seven seats were won by the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

According to a Times of India report, the constituencies with a sizeable population of Muslims saw impressive turnout with higher voter percentage than other areas. Ballimaran, Matia Mahal and Seelampur recorded highest turnouts with 68.3%, 66.9% and 66.5%, respectively. Voting in Trilokpuri, Mustafabad and Babarpur constituencies was also higher than the state average with 65.4%, 65.2% and 62.1% respectively. Only Chandni Chowk, 59.4%, and Okhla, 54.8%, recorded lower turnout than the average.

The voting percentage in 3 out of 7 seats in Delhi got more women to vote than men. The East Delhi constituency, which is seeing a triangular contest between BJP's Gautam Gambhir, Congress's Arvinder Singh Lovely and AAP's Atishi Marlena, saw 61.80 per cent women exercising their right to vote as compared to 61.50 per cent of male voters.

The New Delhi constituency, which has many VVIP voters, recorded the lowest voter turnout among all seven constituencies in Delhi at 56.86 per cent, but saw a better turnout of women than men. According to the data, 57.21 per cent of women voters cast their votes while 56.58 per cent men exercised their franchise in the seat.

South Delhi, which had the second lowest turnout of voters, saw 58.89 per cent of women voters as compared to 58.60 per cent of male voters.

The Northeast Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, where former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and AAP'S Dilip Pandey are contesting, recorded the highest voter turnout at 63.67 per cent.

While 64.46 per cent of men cast their votes, 62.72 per cent women turned out to vote.

According to official data, 60.82 per cent male voters and 60.15 per cent female voters exercised their right this time.

The East Delhi constituency saw 61.80 per cent women exercising their right to vote as compared to 61.50 per cent of male voters.

The New Delhi constituency recorded the lowest voter turnout among all seven constituencies in Delhi at 56.86 per cent, but saw a better turnout of women than men. According to the data, 57.21 per cent of women voters cast their votes while 56.58 per cent men exercised their franchise in the seat.

South Delhi, which had the second lowest turnout of voters, saw 58.89 per cent of women voters as compared to 58.60 per cent of male voters.

The Northeast Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, where former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and AAP'S Dilip Pandey are contesting, recorded the highest voter turnout at 63.67 per cent.

While 64.46 per cent of men cast their votes, 62.72 per cent women turned out to vote.

Counting for votes will take place on May 23.

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35,000 Indian troops deployed in Eastern Ladakh, acclimatised to high altitude, cold

Agencies
July 30,2020

New Delhi, Jul 30: Preparing for a long haul in the Eastern Ladakh sector in extreme winters, the Indian Army has an edge over the Chinese as it has deployed 35,000 troops there who have already done tenures in high altitude and cold conditions.

The Indian troops deployed there are mentally prepared for tackling the weather and terrain.
In contrast, the Chinese troops deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are not used to these conditions as they have been brought from mainland China and are not accustomed to high altitude extreme cold weather conditions.

"We are preparing to provide extreme cold weather portable cabins for around 35,000 troops that have been deployed in the Eastern Ladakh sector," government sources said.

"Our soldiers deployed there have already done a tenure or two in Siachen, Eastern Ladakh or Northeast and they are physically and mentally prepared for a longer deployment there," they said.

The Chinese soldiers deployed on the Indian front include mainly conscripts who join the PLA for a period of 2-3 years and then return to their normal lives, sources said.

Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff situation all along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh from sub-sector north with both sides having deployed around 40,000 troops against each other over there.

The two sides have disengaged at three friction points including Patrolling Point 14, PP-15 and PP-17 and PP-17A.

At PP-17 and 17A, the Chinese have now maintained a small element of close to 50 troops and the remaining elements have gone back into their permanent locations.

The sources said the Army is also not much bothered about the Chinese build-up along the LAC as it has got more than two additional divisions from outside Ladakh sector.

India Army has more troops than what the Chinese have brought there, they said.

For the winter deployment, the Army already has a sizeable stock of clothes and habitat for troops as the Indian army deploys troops at the world's highest battlefield Siachen glacier and is prepared.

For additional requirements, the force is in the process of placing orders for additional tents and shelters from indigenous as well as foreign vendors.

The time for summer stocking is on and we are going to get the additional cabins and tents by that time, the sources.

Months of June, July, and August are considered to be the best time for stocking winter rations and ammunition. The snowfall is expected to start soon in the Eastern Ladakh area where the temperature is already low.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has given financial powers of Rs 500 crore per procurement to the defence forces to address any type of shortages of weapons, ammunition, and habitat.

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Covid-19 vaccine likely to be ready in India by end of 2020, says SII

August 10,2020

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Bengaluru, Aug 11: Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has said the coronavirus vaccine may be ready by the end of this year and that the final price of the anti-virus dose will be announced in two months.

SII is part of an agreement with AstraZeneca, which along with Oxford University, has developed a vaccine that has reported satisfactory progress from the test results.

"We should have a vaccine by the end of this year. We will conduct trials in India on a few thousand patients in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)," Poonawalla told CNBC-TV18, adding the final pricing for the vaccine will be announced in two months.

Poonawalla had earlier said that by the end of August, between 4,000 to 5,000 people in Pune and Mumbai will be injected with the vaccine as part of trials scheduled to last over two month. He said the company aims to manufacture 300 million to 400 million doses by the year-end.

The institute has also inked a pact with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to make 100 million doses of the vaccine. This is for low-and medium-income countries, and with a price cap of Rs 250 a dose.

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'Ramarchan puja' begins in Ayodhya ahead of 'bhoomi pujan'

Agencies
August 4,2020

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Ayodhya, Aug 4: Ramarchan puja begins at Ram Janmabhoomi site ahead of the foundation laying ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Ramarchan Puja is a prayer to invite all major gods and goddesses ahead of Lord Ram's arrival.

Mahesh Bhagchandka, one of the trustees of Ashok Singhal foundation as Yajman in the puja said, "This is being conducted at the temporary seat of Ramlalla. The pooja will be conducted in four phases."

Speaking about the third and fourth phases, he said: "In the third phase, Dashrath, father of Lord Ram with his wives will be worshipped and then all three brothers of Lord Ram - Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan with their wives. Lord Hanuman ji will too be worshipped. Whereas in the fourth phase, Lord Ram will be worshipped."
Meanwhile, security has been heightened in Ayodhya ahead of the foundation laying ceremony.

Temples across the city is decorated with lights, diyas and flowers ahead of the grand event. Patna's Mahavir Mandir Trust is preparing over 1.25 lakh 'Raghupati Laddoos' for the occasion. Thes laddoos will be distributed as 'prasad' to devotees.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday offered prayers at the Hanuman Garhi temple during his visit to Ayodhya to take stock of the preparations for the 'bhoomi pujan'.
He along with officials also visited 'Ram ki Paudi' to inspect the arrangements ahead of the foundation stone laying ceremony.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5. 

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