A T E S T N E W S
Jammu-Srinagar NH reopens for traffic
SRINAGAR/JAMMU: In a boost to relief efforts in the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley, the Jammu-Sringar National Highway today reopened for traffic after remaining closed for 13 days due to landslides triggered by incessant rains.
Engineers of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Army restored the vital road link.
"After sustained effort by the BRO and Army Engineers, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been opened today," a Defence spokesman said.
He said multiple landslides were cleared with simultaneous deployment of engineers and specialist equipment coordinated by the Chief Engineer of Northern Command Headquarters of the Army based at Udhampur to restore this vital road.
"The Highway was reopened for vehicular traffic after remaining closed due to landslide and washing of a portion of Highway in Ramban district," a police officer said.
On the intervening night of September 2 and 3, a five-km road patch was washed way in flash floods besides multiple landslides, sinking of road and flooding at various places in Ramban district.
"The Highway was reopened for only Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs)", he said.
Over 3000 to 4000 vehicles, particularly trucks carrying supplies had been stranded on the Highway.
Earlier, the Military Engineers had restored the land link to flood-hit Kashmir Valley from Ladakh side on September 9 and cleared Sinthan Pass route via Kishtwar on September 13.
"The major impediment to opening the NH was a massive landslide at Ramsoo near Ramban, where over 300 metres of road had been entirely washed away leaving a sheer cliff of 80 degrees slope," the Defence spokesman said.
He said the entire hillside had to be excavated afresh and the effort had to be further intensified due to a repeated landslide on September 12.
"Undeterred, the engineers worked night and day to make a new passage through the mountain slope. Work is now on to construct a new bridge over Ans River near Budhal, which will be completed in two days while several Army bridges have already been constructed and over 40 landslides cleared expeditiously by the Sappers (as Military Engineers are called)," the spokesman said.
He said clearance of remaining debris and slush on several roads in the State continues in an effort to improve traffic movement on all road links in the State. -PTI
Rajasthan poll results: BJP wins one, trails in three
JAIPUR: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won Rajasthan's Kota South assembly constituency, but was trailing in the remaining three constituencies where bypolls were held till reports last came in.
According to the results till 10.45 am, BJP's Sandeep Sharma was declared elected from the Kota South constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shivkant Nandwana by over 25,000 votes.
However, party candidates who led in morning trends, were now left behind their counterparts as Congress candidates led in Weir, Nasirabad and Surajgarh assembly constituencies.
By-polls were held for all the four seats Sep 13.
The elections were necessitated as BJP legislators Sanwar Lal Jat from Nasirabad, Om Birla from Kota South, Santosh Ahlawat from Surajgarh, and Bahadur Singh Koli from Weir got elected to the Lok Sabha in the April-May general elections.
Over 65.25 percent of the 8.95 lakh electorate voted in these constituencies.
In all, 23 candidates were in the fray.
The BJP fielded Sarita Gaina from Nasirabad in Ajmer district, Gangaram Koli from Weir constituency in Bharatpur district, and a close confidant of Vasundhara Raje, Digambar Singh, from Surajgah in Jhunjhunu district.
The Congress fielded Ramnarayan Gurjar from Nasirabad, Bhajanlal Jatav from Weir constituency, and Shravan Kumar from Surajgarh.
In the the 2013 assembly elections, the Congress suffered one of its worst defeats in the history of the state, winning only 21 of the 200 assembly seats. The BJP swept the polls, winning 163 seats. –IANS
Malik, Hindu lawmaker expelled from PIA flight over delay
KARACHI: Angry passengers on board a PIA flight stopped former interior minister Rehman Malik and a Hindu lawmaker of the ruling PML-N from boarding the plane, accusing them of causing over two hours of delay.
The Islamabad-bound Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-370 from Karachi was delayed by two and a half hours yesterday as it kept waiting for the arrival of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) senator Malik and National Assembly member Dr Ramesh Kumar Wakwani.
When they finally came, the passengers stopped them from boarding the aircraft.
According to a video clip repeatedly shown by the local media, passengers were shouting at Malik who was filmed going back hurriedly when confronted by the passengers.
"Malik sahab, sorry. You should go back. You should apologise to these passengers. You should be ashamed of yourself...250 passengers have suffered because of you. It is your fault, sir," a passenger was heard saying in the clip.
"Malik sahab, you are not a minister any more. And even if you are, we don't care...anymore," he said.
The clip, which has gone viral online, showed passengers booing and ridiculing the lawmakers as the crew also joined them.
Kumar was not shown in the video but Dawn reported that he was also not allowed to board the plane.
PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar speaking to Dawn said that the delay in the flight was due to a technical issue and not because of Malik.
"PIA does not promote VIP culture...but this flight was delayed an hour and 30 minutes due to a technical reason," Tajwar said.
"The delay had been conveyed to passengers via SMS. Some passengers who had given the contact details of their travel agent may not have been conveyed the message by their agents," Tajwar said. He said the plane took off at 8:55 pm last night.
"The flight was not delayed because of Rehman Malik. We are looking into what actually happened but after the delay, the flight departed when it was meant to," he added. — PTI
Modi to receive Xi in Gujarat
AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will set aside protocol and himself receive Chinese President Xi Jinping when he arrives here on Wednesday.
Xi will become the first world leader to begin an India visit from Gujarat. The Chinese president will be in India on a three-day sojourn that will also take him to Delhi.
Modi will himself receive Xi on his arrival from Colombo Wednesday afternoon.
A guard of honour will be presented to Xi who will be accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan and a high-level delegation.
It will be the first guard of honour to any head of government on the tarmac of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport of Ahmedabad.
Informed sources told IANS that a contingent of the Indian Air Force will present the guard of honour to Xi.
The Chinese president flies into India onboard a Chinese Airlines Boeing 747 aircraft.
State Minister Nitin Patel said that three MoUs are likely to be signed between China and Gujarat.
Ahmedabad city may become the sister city of Guangzhou.
As many as 100 delegates from China and 80 Indian business tycoons will participate at delegation level meeting between Modi and Xi.-Agencies
CM's brother wins Sikkim Assembly seat as Independent
GANGTOK: Independent candidate R N Chamling won Rangang-Yangang Assembly seat by 708 votes defeating his nearest Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) nominee Kumari Mangar in
While Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling's younger brother R N Chamling, who fought the seat as an Independent candidate polled 4788 votes, Kumari Mangar of ruling SDF got 4080 votes.
BJP's Bikash Basnett came third with 351 votes.
Bishnu Prasad Adhikari of Congress finished last with only 28 votes, less than 46 votes cast under NOTA.
The by-election was necessitated following relinquishing of the seat by the chief minister as he retained Namchi-Singithang constituency which he had also won in the last Assembly election. -PTI
CPI-M candidate wins Tripura seat with record margin
AGARTALA: Ruling CPI-M candidate Pravat Chowdhury on Tuesday won the Manu assembly seat in southern Tripura, defeating his nearest Congress rival Mailafru Mog by a record margin of around 16,000 votes, officials here said.
The returning officer to the Manu assembly by-poll, Rajib Datta said that the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) candidate Chowdhury, a former agriculture department official, secured 21,759 votes while his nearest Congress nominee Mailafru Mog got 5,788 votes.
The by-election was held Saturday.
In the last assembly elections in February last year, CPI-M candidate and former forest, industries and rural development minister Jitendra Choudhury won the seat by a margin of 6,896 votes.
The bypoll in the tribal reserve assembly constituency was necessitated after Jitendra Chaudhury, who won the seat five times on the CPI-M ticket, was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Tripura East constituency.
The Bharatiya Janata Party candidate managed 971 votes in last year's elections and this time party nominee Nirmal Kumar Tripura increased its votes tally to 1,550 votes.
Among the six candidates who contested the bypoll, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee's Trinamool Congress candidate Angthai Mog bagged 1,110 votes.
Candidates of two tribal-based local parties, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura's Kirti Mohan Tripura and the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura's Mithunjoy Tripura got 432 and 3018 votes respectively.
The None Of The Above (NOTA) provision was used by 374 voters.
The CPI-M activists and local leaders immediately after the declaration of results brought out a rally with their winning candidate Pravat Chowdhury.
Railgate: Pawan Bansal seeks exemption on health ground
NEW DELHI: Former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was summoned as a witness in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case, on Tuesday sought exemption from personal appearance on health grounds before a special court.
Bansal's lawyer Puneet Ahluwalia moved an application before Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma saying that the Congress leader is suffering from viral fever and would appear before the court on the next date.
"He (Bansal) is suffering from viral fever. He will appear whenever the court directs him to come," he said.
The court, however, said that it would hear the application at 11.30 am, as it will record statement of one other CBI witness, who has appeared before it.
Bansal, who resigned as Railway Minister after the case came to light, was named as a prosecution witness in the case in which his nephew Vijay Singla is one of the accused along with suspended Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar and others.
The court had commenced the trial in the case on Monday.
CBI court had sent the summons to Bansal to appear before it today for recording of his statement as a prosecution witness.
The court had yesterday recorded statements of Vinay Mittal, the then Railway Board chairman and senior Railway ministry official Jagmohan Rawat, who had given sanction to prosecute accused Mahesh Kumar.
CBI had charge sheeted 10 accused, including Vijay Singla and Mahesh Kumar, in the case last year. - PTI
Cong wins Lakhipur in Assam
SILCHAR: Ruling Congress retained Lakhipur Assembly constituency of Assam as its candidate Rajdeep Goala defeated his nearest BJP rival Sanjay Thakur by 9,172 votes.
Rajdeep garnered 40,090 votes, while Thakur got 30,918 votes, election office said.
The seat was held by Rajdeep Goala's father Dinesh Prasad Goala whose death necessitated the by-poll.
Opposition AIUDF President Badruddin Ajmal's son Abdur Rahim Ajmal is leading over Congress' Bashir Uddin Laskar in Jamunamukh.
In Silchar, BJP's Dilip Kumar Paul is ahead of Arun Dutta Majumdar of Congress. -PTI
Rajasthan results: BJP says it will review its performance
JAIPUR: With the BJP suffering reverses in Rajasthan, the party today said it will review its performance and fix responsibility.
Rajasthan BJP President Ashok Parnami said the party accepts the public mandate.
"We welcome public mandate and accept our defeat on three seats of Weir,
Surajgarh, and Nasirabad with great humility", Parnami said.
"Hum poora vishleshan karenge natizon ka...kya kamiyan rahin dekhenge, tab jimmedari fix kareinge (We will do complete review and introspect results...what were the weaknesses and faults, we will look into it...also fix responsibility on those engaged in electioneering", he said.
Immediately after the results were announced, Parnami called on Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and discussed the outcome of the results.
BJP could retain only one out of the four seats. Weir, Nasirabad and Surajgarh were wrested by Congress candidates. -PTI
Bengal: BJP wins seat after 15 yrs, Trinamool
KOLKATA: After 15 long years, the BJP will have a representative in the West Bengal assembly. Party candidate Shamik Bhattacharya on Tuesday won the Basirhat (South) seat in the bypolls, while the state's ruling party Trinamool retained the Chowringhee seat.
Bhattacharya defeated Trinamool candidate and former soccer captain Dipendu Biswas in a hard-fought battle by a slender margin of over thousand votes.
The constituency in North 24-Parganas district had elected Left Front major CPI-M candidate Narayan Mukherjee, emerging triumphant despite rout in the 2011 assembly polls. Mukherjee's death necessitated the bypoll.
But continuing its poor show in the state, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate Mrinal Chakrabarty finished third. Congress candidate Asit Majumdar was fourth.
In 1999, Badal Bhattacharya had won the Ashoknagar assembly seat - that too in a by-election. It was the only time in past that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had an MLA in the state. However, the BJP was in alliance with the Trinamool that time.
However, Shamik Bhattacharya is yet to receive a certificate as the Election Commission is looking into an appeal from the Trinamool for a recount.
Chowringhee, in the heart of Kolkata, saw Nayna Bandopadhyay defeat the BJP's Ritesh Tiwari by 14,344 votes. Bandopadhyay, actress wife of Trinamool parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, secured 38,328 votes, while Tiwari got 23,984 votes.
Congress candidate Santosh Pathak was a close third with 23,317 votes.
The CPI-M's Faiaz Ahmed Khan finished with 8,890 votes at the fourth position.
Chowringhee went to the hustings prematurely after the resignation of Trinamool legislator Sikha Mitra, who won the 2011 election but quit the party.-IANS
UP bypoll: People have defeated communal forces, says
LUCKNOW: Buoyed by SP's performance in the by-elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said people of the state have shown the door to divisive and communal forces.
"People of the state have given a befitting reply to the communal forces and have expressed intention that they need harmony and brotherhood," he told reporters here.
The Chief Minister thanked people of the state for "failing" the communal powers. "Communal forces tried to gain mileage by spreading hatred, but the people by their power of vote defeated them," he added.
Akhilesh said the SP Government in the state only concentrates on development works and has been working in this direction from day one and after by-polls it would continue to work more responsibly.
"We want to thank the people that at such a time, they have supported the Samajwadis and the direction in which the SP wants to take the state," Akhilesh said.
Senior cabinet minister Shivpal said that the people have voted against communal forces and for development.
"In Lok Sabha elections communal forces lured the people, but now they are aware with the facts," he said.
SP has won the Thakurdwara Assembly seat and was leading in eight others, while the BJP was ahead in two seats in Uttar Pradesh where bypolls were held for 11 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat. -PTI
SP triumphs in UP, Cong wins in
Rajasthan, BJP stuns Bengal
JAIPUR/LUCKNOW/AHMEDABAD:The Congress and the Samajwadi Party, which suffered a rout in the general elections, bounced back Tuesday in the assembly bypolls in Rajasthan and Uttar
Pradesh. For the first time in 15 years, the BJP will now have its lawmaker in the West Bengal assembly.
In Gujarat, the BJP romped home in Vadodara Lok Sabha seat that was vacated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he also won from Varanasi parliamentary constituency. The Maninagar assembly seat, which Modi once represented, too saw a BJP victory. But, the Congress wrested three seats from the
BJP, which retained six seats.
In Andhra Pradesh, the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) retained Nandigama assembly seat, while the Telangana Rashtra Samithi
(TRS) too retained Medak Lok Sabha seat in neighbouring Telangana.
In the northeast, the BJP was leading in an assembly seat in Assam, while the AIUDF won one seat and was leading in two assembly constituencies. An independent candidate won in
Sikkim. Tripura saw the CPI-M candidate emerge victorious with a record margin.
Buoyed by the performance of the Samajwadi Party that won four seats and was leading in four constituencies, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said he was happy that the people of the state have reposed faith in his party and given a thumbs down to the "communal" politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party
"We are happy and thankful that people have preferred development and prosperity over false hopes and communal politics that BJP
practised," he said.
The SP has won from Sirathu, Hamirpur, Bijnore and Charkhari assembly constituencies and had a comfortable lead of over two lakh votes in Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency from where Tej Pratap
Singh, grand-nephew of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, is the party candidate.
The BJP, which had won all the 11 seats in the 2012 state assembly elections, went down to just three as counting progressed. The party won the Saharanpur (City) state assembly seat while its candidates were leading convincingly in Lucknow (East) and Noida seats.
In Rajasthan, the Congress candidates won from Weir, Surajgarh and Nasirabad constituencies while the BJP's Sandeep Sharma was elected from the Kota South constituency.
An upbeat Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan state president of the Congress, described his party bagging three seats as "a win of our party workers".
"Despite the use of official machinery by the BJP, we have won. The BJP did nothing since it came to power and on the contrary it stopped the social welfare schemes...," said Pilot.
Pilot said that the party is now looking forward to the municipal and panchayat polls in the state due in the next few months.
Kailash Nath Bhatt, Rajasthan state spokesperson of the BJP, however, said: "This result does not in any reflect on performance of the
(Vasundhara) Raje government.
It was fought more on local issues. Yes, the party will sit and introspect the results." In West Bengal, after 15 long years, the BJP will have a representative in the assembly. Party candidate Shamik Bhattacharya Tuesday won the Basirhat (South) seat in the
bypolls, while the state's ruling party Trinamool retained the Chowringhee seat.
Bhattacharya defeated Trinamool candidate and former soccer captain Dipendu Biswas in a hard-fought battle by a slender margin of over thousand votes.
In 1999, Badal Bhattacharya had won the Ashoknagar assembly seat - that too in a by-election. It was the only time in past that the BJP had a legislator in the state.
However, the BJP was in alliance with the Trinamool that time.
In Assam, the AIUDF won one seat while it was leading in another constituency. The BJP was leading in a third constituency. The AIUDF was leading in Lakhipur while the BJP candidate was in the lead in Silchar assembly seat.
In Jamunamukh seat, the AIUDF candidate emerged victorious.
The picturesque hill state of Sikkim saw independent candidate Rup Narayan Chamling winning the assembly by-poll from Rangang-Yangang assembly constituency.
The bypoll was necessitated after Chief Minister Pawan Chamling resigned from the seat and retained Namchi-Singhithang after the April assembly elections. R.N. Chamling is brother of Pawan
CPI-M candidate Pravat Chowdhury Tuesday won the Manu assembly seat in southern
Tripura, defeating his nearest Congress rival Mailafru Mog by a record margin of around 16,000 votes.
The returning officer to the Manu assembly by-poll, Rajib Datta told IANS that the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) candidate
Chowdhury, a former agriculture department official, secured 21,759 votes while his nearest Congress nominee Mailafru Mog got 5,788 votes.