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Kedarnath: High-level panel to investigate gold plating scam

The issue is extremely sensitive to the state government. Whoever is found culpable will face punishment, according to Satpal Maharaj.

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Kedarnath

A high-level committee will be formed by the Uttarakhand government to look into claims of a 1.25 billion rupee scandal involving the gold plating of the Kedarnath temple’s sanctum sanctorum.

The state’s Tourism, Religion and Culture Minister Satpal Maharaj announced on Friday, he has directed the secretary of culture and religious affairs Harichandra Semwal, to set up a high-level inquiry committee with the Garhwal commissioner as its head to investigate the situation.

He proposed that the inquiry committee include both technical experts and goldsmiths.

The issue is extremely sensitive to the state government. Whoever is found culpable will face punishment, according to Satpal Maharaj.

He explained that the donation was accepted and permission was sought from the state government to gold-plate the sanctum sanctorum of the Kedarnath temple by the stipulations of the Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee Act, 1939.

The minister said, the gold plating was carried out under the direction of specialists from the Archaeological Survey of India and that a donor had purchased the gold and had it inlaid on the sanctum sanctorum’s walls without consulting the temple committee first.

According to Satpal Maharaj, the donor gave the temple committee the cost for the work after it was finished, along with other paperwork.

He charged that the opposition parties were attempting to ruin the Chardham Yatra by giving the issue unnecessary weight.

In an earlier declaration, the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee claimed that the sanctum sanctorum of the temple had 23,777.800 grams of gold. The overall weight of the copper plates used for the gilded work was 1,001.300 kg, with a total value of Rs 29 lakh, and its current worth was around Rs 14.38 crore.

In a recent video posted to social media, Teerth Purohit of the Kedarnath Temple and Santosh Trivedi, vice president of the Chardham Mahapanchayat, claimed that brass had been placed on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum in place of gold plating, and that the swindle cost around Rs 1.25 billion.

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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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Amit Shah files nomination from Gandhinagar

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah was accompanied by Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel.

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Ahead of the upcoming general elections, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah submitted his nomination today from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency. During his nomination, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhuperndra Patel accompained him.

Former deputy prime minister and BJP chief LK Advani, who earlier served as a representative of this seat during Shah’s successful run for re-election.

Soon after filing nomination, Shah said, today he has submitted his nomination from the Gandhinagar seat. He said it is a matter of pride for him that this seat was represented by the former Prime Minister  Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and the seat where Narendra Modi himself is a voter. He also said he has been an MLA and MP from this seat for 30 years. The people of this region have given him immense love, Shah said.

With an astounding vote share of 69.67 percent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Shah maintained the BJP’s stronghold in Gandhinagar with a resounding victory. Election turnout has been consistently high in the city.

In 1984–85, Amit Shah joined the BJP. His political skills and organizational prowess were recognized, and he soon became the national treasurer of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha.

Amit Shah’s political career took a significant turn in 1991.

Shah became the national president of the BJP in 2014, and he was promoted to the position of Home Minister five years later.

In the context of Indian politics, Gandhinagar is a historical landmark. The former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, won seats from Gandhinagar and Lucknow in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections. However, he decided to stay to his Lucknow seat, opening the door for other leaders to set their mark in Gandhinagar.

Meanwhile, Congress has fielded its party secretary Sonal Patel from Gandhinagar.

Gujarat is scheduled to go for a single phase of elections on May 7. The results of the election will be announced on June 4.

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