Pakistan parliament passes crucial bills allowing electronic, overseas voting

News Network
November 18, 2021

Lahore, Nov 18: Pakistan’s parliament on Wednesday passed a bill allowing the use of electronic machines for voting. The opposition said the policy is an attempt to rig the next elections.

Lawmakers also passed a bill to grant the right to vote to expats. The bills still must be signed into law by President Arif Alvi, a formality.

The opposition wants elections to continue under a decades-old system that features paper ballots and manual vote-counting.

Khan, who was present in the parliament, has defended the legislation, saying he wanted to ensure free and fair elections. Khan says millions of Pakistanis overseas should be given the right to vote for the candidates of their choice.

In his speech before the bills were passed, the opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif said Prime Minister Imran Khan was trying to manipulate results of the next parliamentary elections, in 2023. 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who leads the opposition Pakistan People's Party, warned of a boycott of the next elections if electronic counting machines were used.

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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
January 13,2022

Benagluru, Jan 13: The Karnataka Congress on Thursday suspended its Mekedatu foot march amid surging Covid-19 cases in the country.

“We are temporarily stalling our foot march. Once the third wave subsides, we will resume our March from Ramanagara,” says Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah.

The party was holding a 10-day padayatra or 'Walk for Water' demanding a balancing reservoir across Cauvery river at Mekedatu in Ramanagara district.

Several party leaders, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, tested positive for Covid-19. 

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News Network
January 13,2022

Bengaluru, Jan 13: Karnataka may witness 20,000 to 70,000 daily hospitalisations for Covid by the end of January or February 2.

These are the new projections made by researchers at the Indian Statistical Institute and Indian Institute of Science on Tuesday.

Similarly, projections made by the researchers for ICU bed requirement shows that the state will require 1,000 beds to more than 3,000 beds by February 2.

As per projections made by another group INDSCI-SIM (Indian Scientists’ Response to Covid-19), Karnataka, by January 25, will have 35,000 daily cases and 500 to 5,000 severe cases, based on whether individuals are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Prof Gautam Menon, professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, Haryana, who has worked on several Covid models and is a part of INDSCI-SIM, said, “Across the country, we expect six lakh to nine lakh new Covid cases to be reported at the peak between January 21 and February 10. By March, the curve will flatten. Another common thing with projections from other models is that the number of cases will be larger than the second wave.”

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) president Dr H M Prasanna said, “The state’s private sector does not have 1.4 lakh beds as is being reported. When the second wave started, we checked and there were only 66,000 beds. This is as per the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust portal. We don’t know when it increased. Maybe the government is factoring in medical college hospital beds.”

Estimating the number of beds in private hospitals, he said, there are around 6,500 private hospitals in Karnataka, apart from medical colleges.

“In all, there are 70,000 beds in private hospitals and medical colleges. In both the government and private sector, there may not be more than one lakh beds,” he said.

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