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Gyanvapi case: Mosque survey by ASI begins amid tight security

The aim of the survey is to determine whether the mosque was established on top of an ancient Hindu temple. 

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Gyanvapi mosque survey

A team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Monday, according to reports. The survey is being carried out even as the mosque management committee lodged a petition in the Supreme Court against the Varanasi district court’s order allowing the inspection.

Reportedly, a 30-member team from the Archaeological Survey of India along with four Hindu plaintiffs and their counsels, and councils for Gyanvapi mosque management committee are inside the mosque complex for the survey. The aim of the survey is to determine whether the mosque was established on top of an ancient Hindu temple. 

Notably, the survey by ASI coincides with the Supreme Court hearing today on a petition lodged by the mosque management committee. As per reports, the petition challenges Allahabad High Court’s decision that upheld the right of five Hindu women to worship inside the Gyanvapi mosque.

The muslim side is seeking an urgent listing of the plea in light of the latest order by the Varanasi district court ruling an ASI survey in the Gyanvapi mosque premises. Earlier on Friday, district judge AK Vishvesh ordered the ASI to hand over a report to the court by August 4, along with videos and photographs of the survey proceedings. In addition, the court also directed the use of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology for survey just below the three domes of the building in question. It also ordered an excavation if necessary. 

As far as reports are concerned, the mosque’s wazukhana, where a structure claimed by the Hindu petitioners to be a shivling exists, will not be a part of the ASI’s scientific survey, in accordance to an earlier apex court order protecting the spot in the complex. Meanwhile, the Masjid Committee has asserted that the district court’s order allowing the ASI survey is in clear contempt of the top court’s May order deferring the survey of a stated shivling. 

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PM Modi inaugurates 3 major space infrastructure projects, announces names of astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

The four pilots have been training at the astronaut training facility in Bengaluru.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today revealed the names of four pilots preparing for the country’s historic Gaganyaan human space travel program. Group Captain P Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander S Shukla, are the four pilots who are selected for this mission.

The PM also bestowed astronaut wings to the four astronaut-designates.

PM Modi addressed the people there and said, he is happy that today he got the opportunity to meet these astronauts and present them in front of the country. He also congratulated the astronauts on behalf of the entire country. PM Modi also hailed the astronaut as the pride of the country.

Meanwhile, the PM inaugurated three major infrastructure projects of ISRO valued at 1800 crore during his visit to Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Kerala on Tuesday. PM Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu starting Tuesday, February 27.

The projects include the PSLV Integration Facility at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, the new Semi-cryogenics Integrated Engine and stage Test facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri, and Trisonic Wind Tunnel at VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram.

Before the inauguration ceremonyISRO chairman S Somanath extended his respects to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a felicitation ceremony held at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

The ISRO chairman said, with the support of the honorable Prime Minister, the space sector is undergoing rapid transformation for expansion. He added that the long-term space vision for Amrit Kal had already been announced by the Prime minister. He further added that the vision had been created for Amrit Kal with the space sector as the torch bearer.

After the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister is scheduled to address public gatherings in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu. Additionally, he will participate in the program called Creating the Future – Digital Mobility for Automotive MSME Entrepreneurs in Madurai.

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Rajya Sabha election: Samajwadi Party leader Manoj Kumar Pandey steps down as Chief Whip, voting underway

Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey on Tuesday resigned from the post of party chief whip amid the voting for 10 Rajya Sabha seats.

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In the midst of voting for the Rajya Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party leader and MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey resigned from his position as the party’s chief whip in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday.

His resignation from the position was announced barely one day after eight Samajwadi Party MLAs failed to show up for a meeting that the party Chief Akhilesh Yadav had called.

Eight BJP candidates and three Samajwadi Party candidates have applied for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh as the voting has begun.

The main opposition SP and the ruling BJP both have enough members to send seven and three members to the Rajya Sabha, respectively, without opposition. However, since the BJP is fielding an eighth candidate, a competitive race is expected in one of the seats.

The results will be announced by the end of the day.

The BJP has put up seven other candidates which includes, former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind); former MLA Sadhna Singh, and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain.

Actor-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan, former IAS officer Alok Ranjan, and Dalit activist Ramji Lal Suman are the candidates officially nominated by the Samajwadi Party.

In Uttar Pradesh, a candidate needs around 37 first-preference votes to be elected to the Rajya Sabha.

Voting will end at 4 p.m., and counting will start at 5 p.m.

With 252 and 108 members, respectively, the BJP and the SP have the majority of seats in the 403-member state assembly. The SP’s alliance partner, the Congress, holds two seats.

Thirteen seats are held by the BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal), six by the NISHAD Party, nine by the RLD, six by the SBSP, two by Jansatta Dal Loktantrik, and one by the BSP. There are presently four open seats.

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Rajya Sabha elections: Voting underway for 15 seats in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh

The list of 41 unopposed elected Rajya Sabha MPs includes former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Ashok Chavan, and union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan. The voting for the remaining seats – 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Karnataka, and 1 in Himachal Pradesh started at 9 am in the Upper House of the Parliament and the results will be announced later in the evening.

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Voting for 15 Rajya Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh is taking place on Tuesday, amid concerns about cross-voting by the Congress and Samajwadi Party MLAs. 41 of 56 Rajya Sabha have already been elected unopposed which leaves the three states to witness heated contests between BJP and the INDIA Bloc.

The list of 41 unopposed elected Rajya Sabha MPs includes former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Ashok Chavan, and union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan. The voting for the remaining seats – 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Karnataka, and 1 in Himachal Pradesh started at 9 am in the Upper House of the Parliament and the results will be announced later in the evening.

The term for Rajya Sabha MPs is 6 years and the elections take place after every 2 years for 33% of the seats. The Rajys Sabha has strength of 245 members. In Uttar Pradesh a heated contest between the SP and the BJP will be witnessed. 8 candidates are contesting from BJP, while the SP has fielded 3 candidates.

According to reports the BJP is likely to win 7 seats and the SP is likely to win 3 seats. But there are concerns that many MLAs may cross vote, especially after some of the SP MPs went missing from a dinner hosted by party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday. Currently the BJP has 252 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative assembly while the SP has 108 MLAs along with Congress 2 seats.

BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has 13 seats, NISHAD Party has 6 seats, RLD has 9 seats, SBSP has 6 seats, Jansatta Dal Loktantrik has 2 seats, and BSP has 1 seat. The BJP alliance and the SP-Congress alliance were negotiating with other parties to gather support for their candidates.

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