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Ayodhya case: CJI condemns UP minister’s ‘Supreme Court is ours’ comment

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Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi today – Thursday, Sep 12 – condemned Uttar Pradesh minister’s comment that the Ram temple the BJP has promised in Ayodhya will be built since the “Supreme Court is ours”.

“We deprecate such statements,” said Chief Justice Gogoi, who is heading the five judge Constitution Bench that is hearing the case on Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute on a daily basis.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Muslim parties, told the court on the 22nd day of hearing that the atmosphere is not conducive to continue arguments on the matter.

Rajiv Dhawan also alleged that he has received a threat message on Facebook and yesterday his clerk was assaulted by few other persons in the apex court premises. He also cited the comments made by Mukut Bihari Verma, the cooperative minister in Uttar Pradesh.

In September last year, the minister had said, “The BJP has come to power on the issue of development but Ram Mandir will be constructed as it is our determination. The matter is in Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is ours. The judiciary, administration, the nation as well as the Ram Temple belong to us.”

Following huge criticism after the video clip of his comment was widely circulated, the minister said he meant that the top court belongs to the people of the country.  “By the word – ours – I meant the 125 crore people of the country. It was not a reference to the BJP or me,” he said.

This morning, when the bench assembled to commence hearing in the decades old politically sensitive case on 22nd day, senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board and others, alleged that he has received a threat message on Facebook warning that “they will see him outside the court”.

Claiming that he was “under pressure”, Dhavan said that some people also messaged him asking which side he was on and whether he is against the deity (Ram).

“I cannot go on filing contempt after contempt,” said Dhavan. He had previously filed a contempt plea after he received a letter on August 14, 2019, from N Shanmugam, a retired education officer, threatening him for appearing for the Muslim parties.

Dhavan said this was only one of several instances of threats received by him for appearing in the case.

“It needs to be mentioned that the petitioner has been accosted both at home and in the court premises with intimidating behaviour by several persons,” he said, and referred to several WhatsApp messages sent by Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi in this context, reported The Hindu. He annexed screenshots of the messages in his petition.

The court also agreed to look into a complaint made by Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya appeals, about an alleged instance of intimidation and attack on him.

Dhavan had informed the Constitution Bench that Ansari was accosted by a couple at his own house in Faizabad. They told him to withdraw from the case or face dire consequences. The woman had even introduced herself as an “international shooter”.

“This should not be happening in the country. We deprecate such statements… Both sides are free to put their arguments before court without any fear,” Chief Justice Gogoi said. The court also asked Dhavan if he needs security, but he declined the offer.

Clarifying that he was not “arguing against Hindu faith”, Dhavan said he had been non-partisan when it comes to arguing a case, which he did while arguing Kashi and Kamakshya cases in past.

The court is hearing appeals against the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court in the case.

On August 8, a five-judge bench headed by CJI and including Justices DY Chandrachud, SA Bobde, Ashok Bhushan and SA Abdul Nazeer, had said that it will hear the Ayodhya title dispute case five days in the week – from Monday to Friday.

The Ayodhya dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, where a 16th century mosque – said to have been built by Mughal emperor Babur – once stood. In December 1992, it was razed by Hindu activists who believe that the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram. In the days that followed, thousands died in riots across the country.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha Elections: Voter turnout 62.02% in Tamil Nadu till 5pm

The voter turnout in Tamil Nadu stands at 62.02%, while Uttar Pradesh records a turnout of 57.5%. Meanwhile, in West Bengal, voter participation surges to 77.5% as of 5 pm.

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The Lok Sabha elections 2024 began today, marking the onset of the world’s largest electoral event. Voting ended in all 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu with a total voter turnout of 62.02%. State BJP chief and Coimbatore Lok Sabha constituency candidate K Annamalai said, they were getting complaints from a large number of voters that their names were missing from the voters’ list.

This incident happened in many places. Annamalai said they are demanding re-poll in places where the names of a large number of voters were missing.He said they had a doubt that there was some political interference because the names of a large number of BJP caders were missing from the voters list.

 The voters in South Chennai showed lukewarm interest to participate in the election process and had a total voter turnout of 57.04% till 5pm. Although the overall percentage is poor, some areas like Thiruvanmiyur witnessed brisk polling from 7am onwards. Elderly, middle aged and young voters turned up and it was a family outing for many as they cast their vote.

Corporation volunteers assisted senior citizens with wheelchairs and guided them to their respective polling booths. The hot weather also had an impact on the polling as it reduced the voter turnout as many booths in the corporation school in MGR Nagar were seen deserted around noon. Senior citizens showed courage as they reached the polling booths in private vehicles to exercise their franchise.

Most of the polling booths had shamianas for voters so that they could wait in a queue. Some people even found refuge in the nearby buildings to save themselves from the scorching heat. The polling officials gave instructions to the voters to keep their phones switched off while they exercised their franchise. The security personnel at the polling booth also regulated traffic outside the polling booth in MGR Nagar.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Deserted by key supporters, the Kamal Nath story looks set to wind to an end in Chhindwara

Nath’s closest allies in his near 50-year reign—Deepak Saxena and Kamlesh Shah—have deserted him. His local team of corporators has also decided to jump ship leaving a gaping hole in Nath’s campaign trail.

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By Neeraj Mishra

The Congress has lost Chhindwara only once since Independence when the wily Sunderlal Patwa was sent there by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to test Kamal Nath’s hold on the constituency. Patwa won the 1997 by-election by a slim margin in the backdrop of Nath having forced his wife to first contest and later vacate the seat for him. Nath, however, returned to his winning ways the very next year and has won the seat nine times.

It seems possible that Chhindwara, the lone surviving Congress seat, will be lost again this time and may be forever. A day ahead of polling, the town was drowned in saffron. Not so much the effect of vigorous campaigning by Vivek Sahu of the BJP but the Ram Navami festival which brought out saffron flags on every rooftop.  The effect is likely to last since the polling is today. At 77, Nath is unlikely to contest another election here and his son Nakul seems like a pale shadow of his father unable to even make a forceful speech. The days of running Chhindwara from Shikarpur kothi are gone.

Nath’s closest allies in his near 50-year reign—Deepak Saxena and Kamlesh Shah—have deserted him. His local team of corporators has also decided to jump ship leaving a gaping hole in Nath’s campaign trail. Nakul had won by a margin of 37,000 votes in 2019 and the biggest lead had come from Kamlesh’s Amarwada Assembly segment. With Saxena in control of Chhindwara and forced to show his strength in his new party, it is highly likely that Nakul will not be depending on these segments. Instead, the Congress campaign was focused on Pandhurna, Parasia and Chaurai.

Amit Shah was in the region a couple of days ago and warned all BJP workers—old and new—against lethargy. His message was clear, the BJP wants all 29 seats this time. Cabinet Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya is camped here and using all his political acumen for the desired results. One such tactic was to raid the Shikarpur Kothi of Kamal Nath for his assistant Miglani who handles almost everything for him. With Miglani temporarily neutralised, BJP is best placed to repeat its win in Chhindwara in 1997.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha Elections 2024:  Nearly 40% voter turnout till 1pm

Chennai recorded an average voter turnout of 34% as of 1 pm on Friday. According data released by the Election Commission of India, Chennai (North) recorded 35%, Chennai (Central) recorded 32.3% and Chennai (South) recorded 34%.

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The first phase of voting for the 18th Lok Sabha elections started taking place in 21 states and Union territories on Friday. Nearly 40% voter turnout was recorded till 1pm across the states. Seats in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Puducherry go to elections on Friday.

There has been a substantial increase in the voter turnout charts across the Northeast states, with Tripura leading at 53.04% until 1 pm, as per the data released by the Election Commission of India. Other northeast states like Manipur (46.92%) and Meghalaya (48.91%) are also witnessing high voter turnout. After Tripura, West Bengal is experiencing a high voter turnout of 50.96%.

Chennai recorded an average voter turnout of 34% as of 1 pm on Friday. According data released by the Election Commission of India, Chennai (North) recorded 35%, Chennai (Central) recorded 32.3% and Chennai (South) recorded 34%.

Over 33% voter turnout was recorded in the first 6 hours of voting on Friday in 12 parliamentary constituencies of Rajasthan. According to the Election Commission, voting started at 7 am amid tight security arrangements and 33.73 % voting took place till 1 pm. The highest voter turnout of 40.72 % was recorded in the Ganganagar Lok Sabha seat while Karauli-Dholpur saw the lowest turnout of 28.32 %. Jaipur recorded a poll percentage of 39.35 %.

Over 37 % voter turnout was recorded till 1 pm in the Lok Sabha election being held for five parliamentary constituencies in Uttarakhand on Friday. Elections began at 7 am and the five constituencies recorded an overall poll percentage of 37.33 % up to 1 pm. The Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar seat recorded the highest turnout of 40.46 %, followed by Haridwar with 39.41%, Pauri Garhwal with 36.60 %, Tehri Garhwal with 35.29 % and Almora with 32.29 %.

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