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Elections for 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states to be held on March 26

The Election commission on Tuesday announced elections of 55 members of Rajya Sabha from 17 states. The election will be held on March 26 and counting of votes will also take place on the same day.

"The term of office of 55 members of the Rajya Sabha elected from 17 States is due to expire on their retirement in April, 2020," Election Commission said in a statement. The states include Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur Rajasthan and Meghalaya.

Elections for 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states to be held on March 26

According to the schedule for the elections, the notification would be issued on March 6, the last date of filing of nominations would be March 13 and polling would be on March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The votes would be counted at 5 p.m. on the same day.

Elections for 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states to be held on March 26

Prominent among those retiring are NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Union minister Ramdas Athawale (RPI-Athawale), Congress veteran Motilal Vora and former union minister Vijay Goel (BJP).

(Inputs from Sanjay Jog)


Rape convict and former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar loses UP Assembly membership

Former BJP leader Kuldeep Sengar has lost his Assembly Membership from Bangarmau of Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh after being convicted in the rape case last year.

Kanchan Srivastava

#BREAKING #UttarPradesh 

Former BJP leader Kuldeep Sengar loses his Assembly Membership from Bangamau in Unnao after being convicted in the minor’s rape case last year.

That means the seat will go for bypoll now

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The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Secretariat has said that the seat from where MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was elected from - Bangarmau of Unnao district, is declared vacant from 20th December 2019 onward, reported news agency ANI.


Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Secretariat: The seat from where MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was elected from - Bangarmau of Unnao district, is declared vacant from 20th December 2019 onward. 

Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is a convict in 2018 Unnao rape case.(file pic)

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Sengar, a four-time MLA from UP's Bangermau, was expelled from the party in August 2019. Kuldeep Singh Sengar was on December 16, 2019, held guilty by a Delhi court for kidnapping and rape of a minor girl in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district in 2017.

The case has come as a major embarrassment for the BJP after the victim was left critically injured and two of her had aunts died in a suspicious road accident at Rae Bareli in July last year. The trial was shifted to Delhi on order by the Supreme Court.

(Inputs from Kanchan Srivastava)

Delhi Violence: On the day of Donald Trump's visit, schools in North East Delhi to stay shut

Amid violent clashes, all government and private schools in violence-affected North East Delhi will be closed on Tuesday.

The announcement was made yesterday evening by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. "There will be no internal examinations in violence- affected North East district and all private and government schools will be closed. Have spoken to HRD minister requesting him to postpone the board exams in the district," Sisodia tweeted.

Manish Sisodia

दिल्ली में हिंसा प्रभावित नोर्थईस्ट ज़िले में कल स्कूलों की गृह परीक्षाएँ नहीं होंगी और सभी सरकारी एवं प्राइवेट स्कूल बंद रहेंगे. बोर्ड परीक्षाओं के सम्बंध में मैंने HRD Minister @DrRPNishank जी से बात की है कि इस ज़िले में कल की बोर्ड परीक्षा भी स्थगित कर दी जाए.

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday clarified that there are no centres in North-East Delhi for tomorrow's class 12th board examination. Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE has confirmed that there is no change in the schedule. "Exams tomorrow only in western Delhi at 18 centres. No change in CBSE exams scheduled for tomorrow as there are no centres in rest of Delhi", CBSE tweeted.


# examtime: exams tomorrow only in western Delhi at 18 centres. No change in CBSE exams scheduled for tomorrow  as there are no centres in rest of Delhi.

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A head constable was among four people killed and at least 50 others, including several paramilitary and Delhi Police personnel, were injured as violence spiralled over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi, turning it into a battlefield on Monday with frenzied protesters torching houses, shops, vehicles and a petrol pump, and hurling stones.

Police fired tear gas shells and also resorted to lathicharge as clashes broke out between pro and anti CAA groups at Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Khureji Khas and Bhajanpura. Security personnel conducted flag marches and prohibitory orders were clamped to bring the situation under control. However, sporadic clashes continued late into the night in Maujpur and other areas.

Five Delhi Metro stations in the North East district where violence broke out on Monday to remain closed on Tuesday. Jaffrabad, Maujpur-Babarpur, Gokulpuri, Johri Enclave and Shiv Vihar stations on the Pink Line Metro will remain closed and trains are being terminated at Welcome Metro Station.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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Monkey business: Simians could spoil Donald Trump's upcoming Taj Mahal visit

You can never be prepared enough when a foreign President comes to your country for the first time. Hundreds in India are currently working to prepare the country for Donald Trump's visit on February 24. But one factor that might be harder to be ready for is an attack by monkeys.

Now, many in India may be familiar with monkeys coming dangerously close as you walk down the road, perhaps even grabbing food out of your hands or attacking you. However, we're almost certain that this is not an experience that President Trump is familiar with. Nor is this something that he is likely to enjoy.

With the President scheduled to visit Agra on February 24, many people have reportedly expressed concern that perhaps there hasn't been enough measures taken to prevent a monkey attack .

As one local resident told India Today, with rooftops having been almost taken over by monkeys, there is a perpetual "terror of monkeys" in the city.

"If such a large troop of monkeys attacks Donald Trump's entourage, it will be a disaster," the publication quoted him as saying.

While the number of monkeys appears to have been reduced over time, ASI Superintending Archaeologist Vasant Kumar Swarnkar reportedly added that aid from the forest department had been sought to keep monkeys away from the President and his entourage.

In related news, it would appear that with or without the threat of attacking primates, Donald Trump and his entourage will be visiting the historic monument on their own. According to the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be accompanying President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania to India's iconic monument Taj Mahal in Agra.

Officials sources said the visit to Taj Mahal, a symbol of love and romance, will afford the US President and the First Lady the opportunity to view the historical monument suitably.

"Therefore, no official engagements or presence of senior dignitaries from the Indian side is envisaged there," sources said.

The Taj Mahal will also be closed for the public on February 24. Speaking to ANI, Swarnkar had earlier said, "Due to security reasons, Taj Mahal will be closed for public from 12 noon on the day when US President Donald Trump visits the monument. President Trump will visit Taj Mahal on February 24."

(With inputs from agencies)

Names of Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia dropped from Melania Trump's government school event

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia will not part of Melania Trump’s government school event next week in the national capital.

"Names of CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia dropped from the school event where Melania Trump is scheduled to visit", Delhi government sources told news agency ANI. Sources further added that both were supposed to attend the programme since the school comes under the Delhi government. President Trump and First Lady Melania are scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra, and New Delhi on February 24 and 25.


Delhi Govt Sources: Names of CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia dropped from the school event where Melania Trump is scheduled to visit. 
Delhi Govt Sources claim both were to attend the programme since the school comes under Delhi Govt

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As per the schedule, the President, who will be embarking on his official two-day visit to India, along with First Lady Melania Trump and Prime Minister Modi will visit the Taj Mahal in Agra.

With the President and the First Lady, there will be a 12-person official delegation that includes US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and senior advisors to the President daughter Ivanka Trump as well as son-in-law Jared Kushner among others.

The team will then fly to New Delhi and receive a ceremonial welcome, attend bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister on Tuesday, apart from holding a business event with Indian investors, with a special focus on companies that are investing in manufacturing in the US.

Trump will also have a meet-and-greet with the American embassy staff and a meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind that will further follow a state dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday evening.

FIR filed against Waris Pathan for his '15 crore Muslims can be heavy on 100 crore' remark

Days after the controversial speech, former MLA from Mumbai’s Byculla and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Waris Pathan was booked on Saturday.

According to India Today, an FIR was filed against Waris Pathan by Karnataka's Kalaburagi police under sections 117 (abetting commission of an offence by the public), 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code.

The AIMIM leader while addressing an event against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) said that, “We are just 15 crore, but we can be heavy on the 100 crore,” referring to the Muslim and Hindu population in the country, respectively.


#WATCH AIMIM leader Waris Pathan: ...They tell us that we've kept our women in the front - only the lionesses have come out&you're already sweating. You can understand what would happen if all of us come together. 15 cr hain magar 100 ke upar bhaari hain, ye yaad rakh lena.(15.2)

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“We have to go out and seek freedom together. We are those who are asking for freedom. If we don’t get it, we will snatch it! The time has come. They are saying, we are sending our sisters out, we are sending the women. Arre bhai, only the lionesses have come out, and your people are sweating. Imagine if we came out together,” Pathan said during the event.

After Pathan's comment, a huge political storm erupted. While the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Bala Nandgaonkar has issued an open threat to Pathan, activist lawyer Syed Ejaz Abbas 'Naqvi' has written to the police to lodge a first information report against him.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday said that his party is capable of giving a befitting reply to statements like those made by the AIMIM. "Waris Pathan made a statement that 15 crore Muslims will dominate 100 crore Indians. I warn that Shiv Sena is capable of giving a proper reply to such statements even though we are in the government in Maharashtra," Raut told ANI.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) on Friday said that the party will seek an explanation from its leader Waris Pathan. Talking to reporters here, AIMIM's Maharashtra unit chief and Aurangabad MP Imtiyaz Jaleel said, "Our party does not support the statement made by Waris Pathan. The party will seek an explanation from him over the remarks." "If needed, we will come out with a set of dos and don'ts for the party workers to be while giving a speech," he said.

(Inputs from Agencies)

Uddhav Thackeray requires briefing on CAA, to understand how NPR is basis of NRC: Manish Tewari

New Delhi: Former Union minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari has said that the Maharashtra Chief Minister requires a briefing on the citizenship amendment rules of 2003 to understand how the National Population Register (NPR) is the basis of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

"Chief Minister Maharashtra Uddhav Thackarey requires a briefing on Citizenship Amendment Rules -2003 to understand how NPR is basis of NRC.

Once you do NPR you can not stop NRC. On CAA - needs to be reacquainted with design of Indian Constitution that religion can not be basis of Citizenship," Tewari tweeted on Saturday.


The comments assume significance as the Shiv Sena and Congress are part of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government in the state.

The statement came a day after Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Friday.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister had stated that he discussed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), NRC and NPR in his meeting with the Prime Minister and no one should be scared of the new Citizenship law.

"We have discussed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register. I have already cleared my stance on these issues. This law (CAA) is not to take away citizenship from anyone.

However, this law is about giving citizenship to the minorities of the neighboring countries. No one should be scared of CAA," Thackeray said at a press conference after meeting the Prime Minister.

"Regarding the NRC, the Centre has said that it will not be held nationwide. As for the NPR and Census, Census is conducted every 10 years and I have assured all my state's residents that their citizenship will not be taken away," he added.


PM Modi unlikely to visit Taj Mahal with Donald Trump

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to accompany US President Donald Trump and his family members during their visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra on Monday, official sources said.

The US President will arrive in Ahmedabad at around noon on February 24 for a less that 36-hour visit to India. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including First Lady Melania Trump, the President's daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and a galaxy of top US officials.

After attending an event at Ahmedabad, the Trumps will travel to Agra on Monday afternoon to visit the Taj Mahal before arriving at the national capital for the main leg of the visit.


When asked about reports that Modi may accompany Trump to Agra, official sources said there was no such plan.

They said the visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra by the US President and his family members will afford them the opportunity to view the historical monument suitably. Therefore, no official engagements or presence of senior dignitaries from the Indian side is envisaged there, the sources said.

Modi will be in Ahmedabad on Monday where a public reception will be accorded to the US President and the First Lady. The Prime Minister will also be present for the Delhi leg of the visit where official engagements are envisaged on February 25, the sources said.