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72 die as severe dust storm hits UP, Rajasthan

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Lucknow/Jaipur:A high-intensity dust storm hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, killing 72 people and injuring around 138 people injured.

In UP, the overnight dust storm left 45 people dead and 38 injured, an official said on Thursday.

Agra district was the worst hit, accounting for 36 deaths and injuries to 35 others.

 

“As per figures received till noon, 45 people were killed and 38 injured in the dust storm in different parts of UP,” Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar told PTI here.

Other districts affected were Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao.

Three persons died in Bijnor, two in Saharanpur and one each in Bareilly, Chitrakoot, Raebareli and Unnao districts, he said.

Taking note of the havoc caused by the dust storm, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officers concerned to personally monitor relief operations and provide all necessary medical facilities to the affected.

He also said that no laxity would be tolerated in providing succour to the needy.

“Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar has spoken to Commissioner Agra division and directed him that relief be distributed by the evening and senior officers visit the injured in hospitals,” Principal Secretary, Information, Avanish Awasthi said.

A number of houses collapsed and electricity poles and trees got uprooted as the severe dust storm swept Agra division.

“We have sought a detailed report from the affected districts,” the Relief Commissioner said, adding that 156 cattle heads also perished in the calamity.

Meanwhile, 27 people were killed and nearly 100 injured as a high-intensity squall followed by thunder showers hit parts of Rajasthan overnight leaving a trail of destruction, an official said on Thursday.

Houses collapsed and electricity poles and trees were uprooted as the severe dust storm swept the Matysya region.

“So far, 27 people have died due to the disaster–12 in Bharatpur, 10 in Dholpur and five in Alwar. The squall was reported mainly in three districts,” Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief, Hemant Kumar Gera, told PTI. Two of those killed in Dholpur were from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

He said nearly 100 were injured in the disaster. Twenty were injured in Alwar, 32 in Bharatpur and 50 in Dholpur.

“A few are undergoing primary treatment while others were discharged. One critical patient from Dholpur was referred to Jaipur,” he said.

A detailed report of the disaster is awaited even as relief and rescue teams had been pressed into service to clear debris and restore power supply, he said.

Gera said contingency funds had been released to the respective district administrations. He said Rs 4 lakh would be given to family members of deceased, Rs 2 lakh to persons sustaining 60 per cent injuries and Rs 60,000 to people with 40 to 50 per cent injuries.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and said authorities concerned in the districts had been directed to ensure all possible help to victims. “Condolence for families who lost their loved ones,” she said on Twitter.

In view of the calamity, Congress National General Secretary Ashok Gehlot cancelled his birthday celebrations at his official residence in Jaipur. “We are extremely grieved at the loss of lives in the state and stand with the victims in this hour of tragedy. I cancel all celebrations at my residence. Blood donation camps and Janhit programmes can be continued by organisers,” he said.


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Chaiwala vs doodhwala: Akhilesh’s battlecry in Azamgarh

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AZAMGARH: Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav coined a new battle slogan to counter Prime Minister Narendra’s chaiwala (tea seller) catchphrase.
“If PM Modi is chaiwala, then we are doodhwala. Without good milk, good tea cannot be made,” said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister while addressing a rally at Baitholi bypass after filing his nomination from Azamgarh parliamentary constituency for the Lok Sabha election 2019 .
Targetting PM Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the SP chief said, “BJP is calling the alliance of SP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal as Mahamilawat. And what will be the coalition of 38 parties be called?”
Ahead of the general election, SP, BSP and RLD announced their alliance on March 6. BSP is contesting on 38 seats, SP on 37 and RLD on three seats in Uttar Pradesh.
In a subtle reference to UP CM Yogi Adityanath while urging voters to remove the “dictatorial” BJP government in the state, Yadav said, “BSP, RLD and SP will hold a new history. First the chowkidar will go away from the country and then the thekedar too.”
“The BJP showed just dreams to everyone, but did not even complete the work. BJP’s talk starts with the toilet and ends there. In any case, there is no special difference between the Congress and BJP in the matter of toilets. If one digs a pit for the toilet then the other has two crates,” said the 45-year-old SP chief.
The SP chief said Azamgarh is the ‘karmabhoomi’ of ‘samajwadis’ and that the SP-BSP-RLD coaliton is an alliance of ‘mahaparivartan’ (grand change) and not ‘mahamilawat’ (adulteration) as alleged by the BJP.
Thousands of BSP supporters joined SP chief and raised slogans like Kaam bolta hai (work speaks).
Akhilesh Yadav is seeking election Azamgarh, a seat won by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in the 2014 general elections. The BJP has pitted Bhojpuri superstar Nirahua or Dinesh Lal Yadav against him.
Uttar Pradesh is witnessing polling during all seven phases of the election. The first and second phases were held on April 11 and April 18. The next phases are scheduled to be held on April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. The votes will be counted on May 23.

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Hardik Patel slapped at a Gujarat rally

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New Delhi : Congress leader Hardik Patel was slapped at a public meeting in Gujarat on Friday morning. Patel was slapped in Gujarats Surendernagar district during a Jan Aakrosh Sabha.
Television visuals showed Patel was slapped when he was addressing the gathering. A man could be seen walking on the stage and slap Patel from his right side. Soon, others present at the venue climbed the stage and caught hold of the man.
The man was later detained, reports said.
The incident came a day after a farmer refused to let Patels chopper land on his field. This led to the delay in Congress leaders visit to Lunawada in Gujarats Mahisagar district at the last moment.

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Not going to retire; will be by Rahul’s side when he becomes PM: Deve Gowda

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Bengaluru: Former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda has said that unlike BJP veteran LK Advani, he is not going to retire from active politics, and that if Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister of the country, he will be by his side.
Talking about his decision to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Deve Gowda said, “I announced three years back that I will not contest elections. There are circumstances now in which I have been forced to contest. There is nothing to hide. I have no ambition of anything but what I always said is that I am not going to retire from active politics.”
Deve Gowda is contesting from Karnataka’s Tumkur parliamentary constituency against GS Basvaraj of BJP.
When asked if he wants to retire like Advani, he replied with an emphatic ‘no’, adding, “I want to save my party first and last the office building.”
Commenting on his son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s statement that there is a possibility that Deve Gowda might become the Prime Minister as a consensus candidate, he said: “I am not bothered about this. My concern is Modi will come to Parliament. I have got the guts and conviction to tell it to the face of the PM. I have the courage. If Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister, I will sit by his side. It is not necessary to become the Prime Minister.”
Speaking about his commitment to the Congress, he said: “Madam Sonia Gandhi has taken the decision to support Deve Gowda even though we are a small party. Now it is my responsibility to move forward with Congress, though I do agree in some states there is no question of any coalition. But in Tamil Nadu, there is a coalition between Congress and DMK and with Sharad Pawar’s party in Maharashtra.”
Responding to accusations of saving the family rather than the party, the JD(S) chief said: “Several leaders who worked with me collectively, have left. Some people are in Congress, some in BJP. I was able to keep the party intact but suffered. I have not allowed my family members to become president of the party.”

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