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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Assembly Election 2022 highlights: Akhilesh Yadav mocks PM’s security breach; Khattar demands President’s rule during Punjab election

Citing the latest surge in Covid-19 cases, the Congress announced that it would not hold any rallies in UP and urged PM Modi and CM Adityanath to refrain from holding large public events in the state.

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, Lucknow, New Delhi |
Updated: January 8, 2022 9:24:24 am
PM Modi's address at the Ferozepur rally was cancelled as protesting farmers, blocked the highway to the venue. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh )

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said protesting farmers should have allowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach the rally venue in Punjab’s Ferozepur to let him witness and address the “empty chairs” there. Mocking the PM’s security breach, Yadav said due to the cancellation of the public meeting at Ferozepur, the country was deprived of knowing why the three farm laws were brought and later withdrawn. The Samajwadi Party chief made the remarks while narrating his own experience of once addressing a thin crowd of only 25 people at Koderma in Jharkhand despite his party men preventing him for hours from addressing the rally due to the people’s failure to gather in large number.

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday demanded dismissal of Charanjit Singh Channi-led Punjab government and holding of election under the President’s Rule. He alleged that the Congress dispensation was unable to ensure law and order in the state citing Wednesday Prime Minister “security breach” as evidence. Khattar along with State Home Minister Anil Vij and State BJP chief OP Dhankar submitted a memorandum to Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya at the Raj Bhavan regarding the Ferozepur incident.

In another development, hearing a petition on the recent security breach during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve all records related to the prime minister’s travel in the state. The court was hearing a petition seeking an investigation into the security breach in Punjab on Wednesday, where the prime minister was stranded on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway for about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, citing the latest surge in Covid-19 cases, the Congress announced that it would not hold any rallies in Uttar Pradesh and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to refrain from holding large public events in the state.

Live Blog

2022 Assembly elections highlights: PM Modi skipped a Punjab rally over 'major security lapse', says govt.

22:27 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Poll-bound Goa limits gatherings as Covid cases rise

All public meetings and gatherings in Goa will now be limited to 50 per cent capacity for indoor venues and up to 100 people in outdoor venues, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on Friday as the coastal state – which goes to the elections soon – recorded a steep rise in Covid-19 cases.

On Friday, the test positivity rate in Goa was 21.72 percent, with the state adding 1,432 new cases to its count of Covid-19 cases. Test-Positivity rate is the proportion of samples tested for Covid-19 that returned positive. On Friday, there were 5,931 active cases in the state, according to bulletin issued by the state Directorate of Health Services. Read More

21:31 (IST)07 Jan 2022
BJP playing dirty politics, defaming Punjabis, says Navjot Sidhu

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday came in support of his own party government when he said that there was no breach in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security and the Centre was playing “dirty politics” over the issue and warned BJP against defaming Punjab and Punjabis.

“BJP should stop playing politics. All those seeking President’s rule in Punjab are your parrots like former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who always parrots security. Has he raised any other issue of the state?” He asked. Read More

21:00 (IST)07 Jan 2022
PM security breach: Khattar demands President's rule during Punjab election

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday demanded dismissal of Charanjit Singh Channi-led Punjab government and holding of election under the President's Rule.

He alleged that the Congress dispensation was unable to ensure law and order in the state citing Wednesday Prime Minister “security breach” as evidence.

Khattar along with State Home Minister Anil Vij and State BJP chief OP Dhankar submitted a memorandum to Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya at the Raj Bhavan here regarding the Ferozepur incident. (PTI)

20:44 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Akhilesh Yadav mocks PM's security breach

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said protesting farmers should have allowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach the rally venue in Punjab's Ferozepur to let him witness and address the "empty chairs" there.

Mocking the PM's security breach, Yadav said due to the cancellation of the public meeting at Ferozepur, the country was deprived of knowing why the three farm laws were brought and later withdrawn.

The Samajwadi Party chief made the remarks while narrating his own experience of once addressing a thin crowd of only 25 people at Koderma in Jharkhand despite his party men preventing him for hours from addressing the rally due to the people's failure to gather in large number. (PTI)

20:07 (IST)07 Jan 2022
EC organises workshop on social media monitoring ahead of Punjab polls

With social media emerging as a new challenge, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Punjab Friday organised a workshop for all District Public Relation Officers (DPROs) on ‘Social Media Monitoring’ to help them counter fake news and identify paid news during the upcoming Punjab assembly election.

Dr Rubal Kanozia, assistant professor from the Central University in Bathinda was the main speaker at the workshop. Kanozia is a researcher on misinformation and fake news and also a social media analyst. Read More

18:39 (IST)07 Jan 2022
BJP leaders unveil Lord Parshuram statue to counter Akhilesh's Brahmin outreach bid

Days after Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had offered puja at a Lord Parshuram temple as part of his Brahmin outreach efforts, Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma and other BJP leaders on Friday inaugurated a temple of the god in the state capital.

BJP MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi and her son Mayank Joshi, along with deputy CM Sharma and minister Brijesh Pathak, unveiled a statue of Lord Parshuram, venerated by many Brahmins, in Hasoveer temple in the state capital. The six-foot statue of Lord Parshuram has been brought from Rajasthan.

The move is being seen as another attempt by the BJP to placate the electorally dominant Brahmin community which is believed to be unhappy with the state government. (PTI)

16:40 (IST)07 Jan 2022
AAP declares 1st list of candidates for Goa polls

Former BJP ministers Mahadev Naik, Alina Saldanha and lawyer-turned-politician Amit Palekar figure in the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) first list of 10 candidates released on Friday for the upcoming assembly polls in Goa. The AAP's state in-charge, Atishi, has approved the list of 10 candidates whose constituencies are spread across both North Goa and South Goa districts.

The Delhi-based outfit has become the second party, after the Congress, to announce its first list of nominees for the Goa polls. The Congress's first list also featured 10 candidates.

Palekar will contest from the St Cruz assembly constituency, while Vishwajit Krishnarao Rane, who was earlier in the BJP, is in fray from Poriem. Former BJP minister Naik will contest from Shiroda, while AAP leader Satyavijay Naik has been fielded from Valpoi. Premanand Nanoskar, who was earlier with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), is the AAP nominee from Dabolim. Former BJP minister Saldanha, who joined the Arvind Kejriwal-led party last month, is seeking to enter the assembly from the Cortalim seat. Former Goa Pradesh Mahila Congress chief Pratima Coutinho is the AAP nominee from Navelim. Other candidates in the list are: Venzy Viegas (Benaulim), Abhijeet Desai (Sanguem) and Domnic Gaunkar (Curtorim).

The AAP has decided to field candidates in all the 40 assembly constituencies of the coastal state, where poll schedule is yet to be announced. (PTI)

15:17 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Election Commission informed on Covid situation in country: Union Health Ministry

The government on Friday termed as misleading media reports stating that the Union Health Health Ministry has suggested to the Election Commission that there is no cause of "alarm or concern in view of very few cases of Omicron in poll-bound states".

"These reports have a very high tendency to start a mis-information campaign in the midst of a pandemic," the Union Health Ministry said in a statement.

"Some media reports are suggesting that Union Ministry of Health has in a meeting with the Election Commission of India (ECI) yesterday suggested that the 'Covid situation in the country is nothing to be worried about' and 'there is no cause of alarm or concern in the view of very few cases of Omicron in the poll bound states'. Such reports are highly ill-informed, misleading and far from the truth," the ministry said. The Union Health Secretary, in his meeting with the ECI on Thursday, presented the overall global and domestic status of spread of Covid, as well as Omicron, in the country.

Details were also presented on status of preparedness of the public health response within the states for control and management of the increasing numbers of Covid cases, the statement said. The focus of the presentation was on poll bound states and their neighbouring states, it added.

14:03 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Cong, TMC, MGP, Goa Forward must come together for polls: Sardesai

Goa Forward Party (GFP) president Vijai Sardesai has said that time has come for his outfit and those opposed to the BJP to come together for the upcoming assembly elections in the coastal state. He said the GFP, the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) should join hands as part of a broad coalition to take on the ruling BJP keeping aside their egos. Sardesai's GFP has already announced a pre-poll tie-up with the Congress, while the MGP and the TMC have formed their own alliance for elections to the 40-member assembly.

Talking to reporters on Thursday in Margao city, Sardesai said the BJP might try to "play dirty" with other parties during campaigning in the name of COVID-19 restrictions.

12:18 (IST)07 Jan 2022
PM security breach: SC directs HC to secure records of PM Punjab Visit, asks Centre, state to pause probes

Hearing a petition on the recent security breach during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve all records related to the prime minister’s travel in the state.

The apex court also directed the Punjab Police, Special Protection Group (SPG) and all other concerned authorities to assist the registrar general in any way necessary. “We direct registrar general to keep all records in his safe custody,” the court’s order read, according to Bar & Bench. The court also orally directed both the Centre and the state government to put their independent probes on hold till next Monday, Live Law reported.

The court was hearing a petition seeking an investigation into the security breach in Punjab on Wednesday, where the prime minister was stranded on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway for about 15-20 minutes.

12:15 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Akhilesh set to visit Ayodhya, address rallies on January 9

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav is scheduled to visit Ayodhya this weekend to lead the eleventh phase of the party’s Vijay Yatra.

This will be Yadav’s first visit to Ayodhya during the ongoing election campaign. On December 26, Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged that the SP chief was planning to stop the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya if elected to power in the upcoming Assembly polls. Senior BJP leaders on the campaign trail have also pointed out that the SP was in power when the police fired at kar sevaks in Ayodhya in 1990.

11:10 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Goa Polls: Kanhaiya Kumar questions TMC, AAP's decision to contest

Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday took swipes at the Trinamool Congress Party and Aam Aadmi Party for entering the fray for the coming Assembly elections in Goa. Congress joined hands with these two parties at the national level because they were anti-BJP, but in Goa, where Congress has the capability to defeat the BJP, they rushed to contest polls, he said.  Kumar was addressing Congress workers at Mapusa town.

11:07 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Uttarakhand: 5.37 lakh new voters added in last 5 years

In the last five years, 5.37 lakh new voters have been added in Uttarakhand including over 3.11 lakh female voters and over 2.25 lakh male voters. The number of voters in the age group of 18 to 19 also increased from 46,765 to 1,58,008, Sowjanya, State Chief Electoral Officer, said, ANI reported. 

11:04 (IST)07 Jan 2022
Akhilesh slams state govt over ‘video of former MP’ wanted in murder case

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday targeted Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the state government over a purported video of absconding former MP Dhananjay Singh in which he is seen playing cricket amid a crowd of people. Singh is wanted for his alleged role in the murder of former Mau block president Ajit Singh in January 2021.

Taking a dig at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Akhilesh tweeted, “BJP’s work: Criminals roam free. Baba ji, make a list of the top ten of your closest mafia and then make a team. Like the IPL, you should start an ‘MBL’ meaning ‘Mafia BJP league’. The city police chief has already laid out the pitch for him, and he is the captain. This completes the eleven.”

11:02 (IST)07 Jan 2022
UP Polls: Yogi slashes power rates for UP farmers by half

Following in the footsteps of Opposition parties’ poll promise of free electricity, the Yogi Adityanath-led state government on Thursday announced a 50 per cent reduction in the power tariffs for tubewells owned by farmers. As per the government estimate, the decision, to be effective from this month, will benefit nearly 13 lakh consumers.

The decision, ahead of the UP assembly elections, is estimated to set the UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) back Rs 1,000 crore a year. According to a press release, the state government will offset UPPCL’s loss with a grant.

The halved tariff will be applicable for metered, unmetered, energy efficient tubewells in rural areas, and metered ones in urban areas. Adityanath’s office tweeted that his government had taken the decision as it was committed to farmers’ “convenience and prosperity”.(With Lalmani Verma)

10:07 (IST)07 Jan 2022
EC hikes expenditure limits for candidates ahead of Assembly polls

The Election Commission on Thursday announced a hike in expenditure limit for candidates to Rs 95 lakh (up from Rs 70 lakh) for Lok Sabha elections, and Rs 40 lakh (up from Rs 28 lakh) for Assembly polls.

The government’s decision is based on the poll panel’s recommendation.

The EC had formed a committee to study cost factors and other related issues, and subsequently make suitable recommendations. The committee invited suggestions from political parties, chief electoral officers and election observers, and found that there has been a substantial increase in the number of electors and Cost Inflation Index since 2014.

09:09 (IST)07 Jan 2022
UP Polls: AAP cancels election rallies amid rising COVID-19 cases

The Aam Aadmi Party has decided to cancel its rallies in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh in view of spurt in coronavirus cases, senior party leader Sanjay Singh said on Thursday.  The party will instead hold virtual rallies in the state, he said.

'All rallies of AAP in Uttar Pradesh have been cancelled. I will talk to you at the 'Kejriwal Guarantee' public meeting to be held in Varanasi on January 8 through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube,' the AAP MP tweeted in Hindi.

09:04 (IST)07 Jan 2022
PM security breach: Goa BJP delegation meets Guv, demands dismissal of Punjab govt

A delegation of Goa BJP leaders including Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday met Governor P S Sridharan Pillai here and demanded dismissal of the Punjab government over the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to that state. 

The delegation included Goa BJP chief  Sadanand Shet Tanavade amongst others.The governor later told reporters that he would convey the demand to the higher authorities. "It is not right on my part to comment on such issues," he added.

09:04 (IST)07 Jan 2022
PM security breach: Tamil Nadu BJP holds march, announces series of protests against Punjab govt

The Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday held ‘peaceful marches’ throughout the State condemning the Congress government in Punjab for “causing a major security breach” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy in Ferozepur.

The party announced a series of protests for a week to “expose the designs of the Congress” to the public. “The major security breach to the Prime Minister’s convoy occurred about 25 km from the Pakistan border. This only showed the callousness of the Congress government in that State,” BJP State chief K Annamalai claimed.

09:03 (IST)07 Jan 2022
PM security breach: BJP workers in Manipur burn effigy of senior Cong leaders in protest

Members of the BJP in Manipur burned effigies of All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Sonia Gandhi and its senior leader Rahul Gandhi here late on Thursday in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach in Punjab a day ago.

The prime minister was stuck on a flyover in Congress-led Punjab for 15-20 minutes on Wednesday due to a blockade by some protesters, an incident the Union Home Ministry described as a "major lapse" in his security. According to leaders of the grand old party, the protesters also vandalised the office of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).

Navjot Singh Sidhu has to be reined in: 4 Punjab ministers to Congress high command

The Congress high command on Tuesday called four Cabinet ministers and one MP to Delhi to discuss the way forward amid a push by PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu to be named as the party’s Chief Minister face.

Four Cabinet ministers led by Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa met AICC general secretary K C Venugopal in Delhi and are learnt to have told him that an undeterred Sidhu needs to be reined in or the party might end up paying a heavy electoral price in the forthcoming polls.

The Cabinet ministers, who accompanied Randhawa, included Sidhu’s aide Pargat Singh, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring. Fatehgarh Sahib MP Dr Amar Singh was also a part of the delegation that met Venugopal.

Flagging sports varsity, PM Modi says goons had free run in past UP governments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday used the foundation stone laying ceremony for a sports university in Meerut to attack the Opposition, saying that while previous governments had ignored sportspersons and instead allowed criminals to play games, the Yogi Adityanath government played “jail-jail” with criminals.

"During previous governments, criminals and mafia would play their own games. There used be tournaments of avaidh kabza (illegal occupation). People harassing our daughters would roam free. People in Meerut and neighbouring areas can never forget that their houses would be burnt. But previous governments were busy playing their own games. It was because of these games that people migrated, leaving behind their ancestral homes. Now, Yogi ji’s government is playing the game of jail-jail with those criminal elements),” he said, addressing a gathering at Meerut’s Salawa village after laying the foundation stone for the Major Dhyanchand Sports University.

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