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Last Updated : Feb 19 2020 6:14AM     Screen Reader Access
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Text Bulletins Details

Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Campaigning for seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections intensifies.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterates his government's commitment to welfare of the poor, farmers and women.

  • TMC chief Mamata Banerjee says Election Commission's decision to cut short campaigning in West Bengal is unconstitutional; BJP urges EC to take strong measures for peaceful polls in the state. 

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, three terrorists killed and one army jawan martyred in an encounter in Pulwama.

  • Supreme Court seeks response from Centre and CBSE on a plea seeking ten per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in Central Teacher Eligibility Test.


Campaigning has reached its peak for the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections as only two days are left for electioneering to end. Fifty-nine constituencies, spread over seven states and one union territory, will go to polls in this phase on Sunday.

Top political leaders are holding rallies at different places in a bid to win the voters. Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally at Mau in Uttar Pradesh this morning. He said, his government is committed to the welfare of the poor, farmers and women.

"मैं बहुत ईमानदारी से प्रयास कर रहा हूं कि गरीब की जिंदगी आसान हो। दशकों से उन्हें जिन सुविधाओं का इंतजार था, मैं उसे वो मुहैया कराने में जुटा हूं। मैं उन किसान परिवारों के बैंक खाते में सीधी मदद देने में भी जुटा हूं जिनको खेती से जुड़े छोटे-छोटे खर्च के लिए कर्ज लेना पड़ता था।"

Later, speaking at a public meeting in Chandauli, Mr Modi said, his government worked on the principle of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas'. He said, his party's policy on terrorism is very clear and that it will never compromise with the safety of the soldiers.

The Prime Minister also addressed a rally at Mirzapur. He will address rallies at Mathurapur and Dum Dum in West Bengal later in the day.

BJP President Amit Shah held a rally at Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh. He is scheduled to hold a road show at Gorakhpur later in the evening.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi will address rallies at Kushinagar in UP and Patna in Bihar. Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will campaign in Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh.

In West Bengal, campaigning for the final phase will end at 10 tonight, a day ahead of scheduled closing. Electioneering has been curtailed by the Election Commission in the state after Tuesday's violence in Kolkata during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow.

The seventh phase will cover 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh; all 13 in Punjab; nine in West Bengal; eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh; all four constituencies in Himachal Pradesh; three in Jharkhand and the lone seat of Chandigarh.

In West Bengal, Basirhat, Barasat, Dum Dum, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata North and Kolkata South will go to polls in this phase. A total of 111 candidates are in the fray. Over one crore 49 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. More from our correspondent:

"Out of 9 Parliamentary seats,  the contests in Dum Dum, Mathurapur,  Jadavpur, Kolkata North and Kolkata South are very interesting this time. In Dum Dum former Union Minister and Trinamool Congress nominee, Sougata Roy is seeking re-election. Former Mayor of Kolkata and CPI(M) nominee, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee is facing film star, Mimi Chakraborty of Trinamool Congress and last time Bolpur MP Anupam Hazra of BJP in a 13 cornered contest at Jadavpur. Trinamool Congress is seeking votes on the development activities under Mamata Banerjee led Government besides highlighting bad impact of demonetization, unemployment and price-rise in the regime of Modi Government. BJP is highlighting various initiatives taken by the Modi Government for up-liftment of poor and steps taken to ensure safety and security of the country. Arijit Chakraborty, AIR News, Kolkata."


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has described the Election Commission's decision to cut short the poll campaign duration in the state as unethical and unconstitutional. In a tweet, she alleged that the Commission's actions under the directions of the BJP are a direct attack on democracy.


The BJP today approached the Election Commission, alleging that Trinamool Congress is instigating violence in West Bengal. A party delegation, comprising Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vijay Goel, met the poll panel and raised the matter. Talking to media in New Delhi, Mr Javadekar said, the Commission needs to take tougher measures so that election can take place in a peaceful, free and fair manner in the state. He said, the BJP has evidence that a few state police personnel are affecting the electoral procedure.

"पश्चिम बंगाल जो कि पूरे देशभर में चुनाव हुआ। बहुत जगह शांति से हुआ। तो टीएमसी केवल पश्चिम बंगाल में है केवल वहीं दंगे हो रहे है। इसका मतलब साफ है कि टीएमसी हिंसा करा रही है और इसलिए हमने ये सब बातें चुनाव आयोग के संज्ञान में लाई हैं।


The Congress today questioned the independence and fairness of the Election Commission over its order prohibiting and restricting campaigning in West Bengal following violence in the state. Addressing media in New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the poll body is working under the pressure of BJP, and the Commission has abdicated its Constitutional duty. He said, the Election Commission's order seems solely aimed at giving a free pass to public rallies of the Prime Minister at Mathurapur and Dum Dum.

"चुनाव आयोग ने पश्चिम बंगाल में 20 घंटे तक चुनाव प्रचार को रोक दिया। वो दर्शाता है कि ये अपने आप देश के प्रजातंत्र पर एक काला घब्बा है। इस आदेश में संविधान के आर्टिकल 324 की परिपाटी और संविधान के आर्टिकल 14 और 21 दोनों की परिपाटी और मान्यताओं को धूमिल किया है।"  


BSP Chief Mayawati today said, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is being targeted as part of a conspiracy to divert attention from failures of the BJP government. Talking to reporters in Lucknow, Ms Mayawati alleged that the Election Commission curtailed campaigning in the state under pressure of the Central government.

"मुख् चुनाव आयुक् के रहते हुए इस बार लोकसभा का आम चुनाव पूरे तौर से फ्री एंड फेयर नहीं हो पा रहा है। जिससे अब यह हमारे लोकतंत्र को भारी आघात पहुंच रहा है जो अति निंदनीय है।"


In Jammu and Kashmir, three Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Dalipora village of Pulwama district today. An army jawan was also martyred and a civilian killed. Three others, including two Army personnel, were injured. Talking to AIR News, State Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh said two of the slain terrorists were locals and the third one was from Pakistan:

"आज सुबह अरली मॉर्निंग ऑपरेशन हुआ था। इसमें तीन आतंकी मारे गए है। दो लोकल हैं अभी तक की इत्तला के मुताबिक और एक पाकिस्तान का रहने वाला है। ये तीनों का जो जैश मोहम्मद के साथ ताल्लुक जो है एस्टैबलिश हो रहा है और इसमें काफी बड़ी तादाद में आमर्स और एम्यूनेशन पकड़ा गया है।"

The authorities have imposed curfew in Pulwama town. Internet services have been suspended in the southern district.


Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal over the grenade blast in Guwahati. Twelve people were injured in the blast last night. Mr Sonowal apprised the Home Minister of the current situation.

Police and other agencies are investigating the incident. The Chief Minister has ordered the State DGP to conduct an inquiry. More from our correspondent:

"Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal will hold a high level security meeting in Guwahati this evening. Several senior police and Home department officials will attend the meeting. Mr. Sonowal has already ordered the Director General of Police to conduct an inquiry into the blast.  Security has been beefed up in the Guwahati city after the incident. People from all sections of the society condemned the blast. Meanwhile, the surgery of one of the injured persons have been conducted last night at Gauhati medical college and hospital and now he is under doctor’s observation. MANAS PRATIM SARMA, AIR NEWS, GUWAHATI."


The Supreme Court today sought the responses from the Centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on a plea seeking ten per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the Central Teacher Eligibility Test, 2019. A vacation bench, comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna, asked them to respond by the 1st of July, the next date of hearing.

The court was hearing a plea by some petitioners belonging to economically weaker sections and planning to appear in CTET. The petitioners told the court that CBSE published an advertisement in January this year for conducting CTET in which benefit of ten per cent reservation has not been given to candidates belonging to economically weaker sections.


Congress President Rahul Gandhi met the Alwar gang-rape victim at Thanagazi in Rajasthan this morning. Talking to reporters, Mr Gandhi said, justice will be done and the accused will be punished at the earliest. He said, the state government is taking all possible steps to curb such incidents and ensure safety and security of women.

"एक लड़की के साथ गलत काम किया गया है और सिर्फ राजस्थान में ही नहीं, सिर्फ अलवर में नहीं सारे हिन्दुस्तान में हमें मैसेज देना है कि जो हमारी बहनें है, माताएं हैं उनके साथ ये बर्ताव नहीं टोलरेट किया जाए। न्याय मिलेगा और जो भी रिस्पोंसिब् है उनके खिलाफ जबरदस् कार्रवाई होगी।"

BJP and other Opposition parties are agitating in the state, demanding justice for the victim and punishment to the accused.


Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today said, nuclear power is safe and sustainable. He said it is the only source of energy that can meet the increasing energy demand of the country. Mr Naidu visited the Atomic Mineral Directorate of Exploration and Research in Hyderabad today on the occasion of 70 years exploration and research of the organization. He interacted with the scientists on the occasion. Later, addressing a gathering, the Vice President said, nuclear energy can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can be a sustainable alternative to the fossil energy sources.


The website of the Lokpal has been launched. The website, <www.lokpal.gov.in>, was inaugurated by Chairperson Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose in the presence of all the Members of Lokpal in New Delhi today. It provides the basic information about the working and functioning of the anti-corruption ombudsman.


In Sri Lanka, police have busted 17 safe houses and seven training camps used by terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. Police said, 85 suspects, including 10 women, have been arrested in connection with the suicide bomb attacks on churches and hotels.


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