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Security in North East better, insurgency down by 85: Rajnath

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Shillong:The security situation in North East has “improved drastically” in the last four years since NDA government came to power, with insurgency related incidents coming down by 85 per cent as compared to the 90s, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Shillong in his address at the 67th plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) .
“There is 96 percent reduction in civilian and security forces casualties,” he said as he pointed out how AFSPA has been lifted from Meghalaya and its coverage area reduced in Arunchal Pradesh.
The Home Minister, however, stressed on the need for a forum to address inter-state and security-related issues,including boundary disputes, narcotics and arms trafficking, and common approaches for tackling terrorism and militancy in the region.
“The NEC, having the Governors and Chief Ministers of the North Eastern states as its members, can provide a common forum for discussing the two aspects in a comprehensive manner in the presence of top functionaries of the two Union Ministries,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Singh also asked the North-Eastern states to expedite work on long pending projects of the North Eastern Council (NEC) and ensure maximum utilisation of funds. He urged the eight states for effective implementation of the recently approved financial package of Rs 4,500 crore by the Centre, even as he pushed for civil society-led social audits.
Meanwhile, Singh reminded the audience that the Union cabinet had approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) in March, with an initial outlay of Rs 3,000 crore.
NEC secretary Ram Muivah said that nearly 200 new projects sanctioned in the past year will remain in abeyance until they are examined by a committee consisting of DoNER and NEC secretaries.
According to the NEC secretary, projects delayed for more than two years from the target date of completion should aim to be completed at the earliest with due formalities. Those delayed by more than five years in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram will be shut down immediately, he added.
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who spoke at the plenary beside other chief ministers, meanwhile, criticised how decision to reposition NEC for conflict resolution, development planning and knowledge hub and rolling out of new NEC scheme for 2018-2020 was taken by the Union Cabinet even as “such decision is expected to be determined by the plenary meeting of the North Eastern Council.” He also underlined how “Rs 4500 crores earmarked for the new NEC scheme for the whole north eastern States during 2017-18 to 2019-20 is going to be too less to have meaningful impact for the region’s Development.”
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio demanded clarity on the roles of several bodies. “Another challenge is that there are multiple bodies and agencies like the NEC, DoNER and the recently created North East Forum. There is a need for clarity on the roles between these bodies,” he said even as he explained how the decision to put on hold all the new projects sanctioned from April 2017 onwards may not prove beneficial in the long run.


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National

Time and again exit polls have failed to catch people’s pulse: Naidu

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Amaravati: With most of the exit polls predicting a rout for his party in Andhra Pradesh, Telugu Desam party president N Chandrababu Naidu said that time and again such polls failed.

“Time and again exit polls have failed to catch the people’s pulse. Exit polls have proved to be incorrect and far from ground reality in many instances. While undoubtedly TDP govt will be formed in AP, we are confident that non-BJP parties will form a non-BJP govt at the center (sic),” Naidu said in a late night tweet.

Barring one or two, almost all exit polls predicted a thumping victory for the main opposition YSR Congress in the state elections. They also said the YSRC would win close to 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

 

Though not dismal, the polls gave good numbers to the TDP as well. In another tweet, he said, “We reiterate our demand to the ECI to count VVPATs in at least 50 per cent of polling stations. VVPATs should be counted in 5 polling stations in each Assembly Constituency at the beginning of counting process. In case of discrepancy, all VVPATs of Assembly Constituency shall be counted. (sic)”

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‘What has he achieved by sitting inside the cave?’ LJD on PM’s Kedarnath visit

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New Delhi: Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting and meditating at Kedarnath temple and allowing media to cover it on a large scale even as the last phase of seven-phased Lok Sabha election was underway.

He asked if the Prime Minister wants to convert the Lok Sabha into a ‘Kirtan Sabha’.

“The Prime Minister of the biggest democracy in the world is sitting inside the cave. What has he achieved by sitting inside the cave? Did any invention take place? Does he want to convert the Lok Sabha into a Kirtan Sabha?” Yadav said while speaking to ANI.

 

Prime Minister Modi on Saturday offered prayers at the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath, a day after campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls came to a close.

After spending over 15-hours meditating inside a holy cave of Kedarnath, he visited Badrinath, another temple in Uttarakhand’s revered ‘Char Dham’ on Sunday.

Several opposition leaders have been targeting Modi for his visit to Kedarnath and Badrinath temples stating that his action was a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and it influences voters through a public display of his personal religious activities.

Echoing similar sentiments, the LJD leader said: “I do not understand what people get from such caves? Did people bring him to the Centre to perform religious activities? This is all drama to gain publicity for which the Prime Minister has even violated poll conduct.”

Yadav, on being asked about his view on the exit polls which are giving a clear majority to BJP-led NDA at the Centre, said: “Exit polls have no value. This is unfortunate for the country that we copy everything from the United States and Europe. Exit poll cannot be held in this country. I personally never believe in the exit polls as they have no accurate figures.”

ABP-Nielsen poll projected 267 for the NDA, 127 for the UPA and 148 for ‘Others’. Of the ‘Others’, the grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh is getting an estimated 50 seats.

Voting was held on Sunday for 59 Lok Sabha seats — 13 each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, nine in West Bengal, eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, all four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat of Union Territory Chandigarh.

As per the EC, a voter turnout of 62 percent was registered till 7 pm in the seventh phase. Counting of votes is scheduled on May 23.

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National

Exit polls are shown by media but BJP will be thrown out of power: Babbar

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Agra: Congress leader Raj Babbar claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP government will remain at the Centre only till 6 am on May 23 and they will be thrown out of power by 6 pm.

“Exit polls are being shown by the media. But what is in the people’s heart will be reflected in the results on May 23. People will surely tell their ‘Mann Ki Baat’ to PM Modi. This time, it has been ensured that Prime Minister Modi and BJP government will be in power till 6 am on May 23 and after 6 pm they will not be in power,” Raj Babbar said while speaking to ANI here.

The Congress leader, who is contesting from Agra, took a dig at Prime Minister Modi’s Kedarnath visit and the traditional Garwali outfit which he sported while offering prayers at the temple. “I wore several traditional outfits in my acting career and even went to sacred pilgrimage. I believe one should not comment on an individual’s religious sentiments but this was too much,” he said.

 

Several opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, have been targeting Modi for his visit to Kedarnath and Badrinath temples stating that his action was a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and it influences voters through a public display of his personal religious activities.

Prime Minister Modi on Saturday offered prayers at the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath, a day after campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls came to a close.

After spending over 15-hours meditating inside a holy cave of Kedarnath, he visited Badrinath, another temple in Uttarakhand’s revered ‘Char Dham’ on Sunday.

The exit polls are giving a clear majority to BJP-led NDA at the Centre. ABP-Nielsen poll projected 267 for the NDA, 127 for the UPA and 148 for ‘Others’ while CNN News 18-IPSOS exit poll gave the BJP and its allies the highest number of 336 seats with the saffron party on its own getting 276 seats, four more than it had won in the 2014 elections.

Voting was held on Sunday for 59 Lok Sabha seats — 13 each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, nine in West Bengal, eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, all four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat of Union Territory Chandigarh.

As per the EC, a voter turnout of 62 per cent was registered till 7 pm in the seventh phase. Counting of votes is scheduled on May 23.

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