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Jay Panda doesn’t discard BJD’s possibility of joining NDA

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New Delhi: BJP will keep an open mind if other parties want to join their coalition seeing the national mood, which the exit polls show is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s favour, said party vice president Baijayant Jay Panda who recently left BJD to join BJP.

“My party president Amit Shah has said that we are confident of getting more than 300 seats. We will form the government with NDA allies. If other parties seeing the national mood want to also join in, I think, BJP will keep an open mind,” BJP’s Baijayant Jay Panda told ANI on being asked if BJD will support NDA.

“All exit polls are showing that BJP has dramatically grown in Odisha. BJP will form the government in Odisha and get a majority in Lok Sabha. In Odisha, people have seen the Modi government has been taking strong political decisions, which were not easy, whether on the economic or security front. Naveen Patnaik has been chief minister for 19 years, but last five years witnessed a dramatic departure of his party’s image and reputation due to rising crimes and corruption in the state,” he added.

 

Replying to a question on who will be the chief minister if BJP gets a majority in Odisha, Panda said, “I joined BJP after soul searching. I am happy to carry out whatever responsibility the party gives me. Whether it is my friend Devendra Pradhan, K V Singh Deo or Pratap Sarangi, the good thing is BJP has a lot of talent, whosoever takes whichever responsibility, we are going to cooperate with each other.”

He further cornered Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik saying that he had attacked him personally in several interviews. “The BJD has long considered that Kendrapara is its seat, I represented the seat as a BJD member. People have seen how I was eliminated and moved away from BJD. For whatsoever reason, it is little unusual that Patnaik seemed to focus extra on Kendrapara and attacked me personally in many interviews. But then, I had to give a strong response to allegations levelled against me. He spent two days in Kendrapara but he neglected other seats where campaigning was underway,” he remarked.

Speaking about the meeting of 21 opposition leaders with Election Commission in the national capital, Panda said: “It has become a tradition that losing parties claim that EVMs are being tampered with and there is some manipulation. Sometimes, they go to court and hold a press conference. It is very sad this kind of cynical approach is being followed.”

“When BJP lost assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other party leaders humbly accepted people’s mandate. At that time, they had no issues with EVMs but suddenly they are criticising EC,” he added.

On Tuesday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu along with 21 opposition parties leaders urged the EC to count votes through VVPATs instead of EVMs during counting for the Lok Sabha polls.

On Congress accusing BJP of destabilising their governments in states of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP vice-president said his party does not need to destabilise any government.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath have asserted that Congress has a majority in Madhya Pradesh Assembly and accused the opposition BJP of “unnecessarily” creating problems since it feared its scams will be exposed if Kamal Nath government stays in power.

Elections for 542 Lok Sabha seats were held between April 11 and May 19 with counting of votes scheduled for May 23.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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