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Madhya Pradesh bypolls: 67.77% voter turnout recorded

Chief Electoral Officer Arun Tomar told PTI that the last hour of voting will be for Covid-19 patients and people suspected to be suffering from the disease.

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MP Polls

Polling for 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh ended on Tuesday with the voter turnout recorded at 67.77 percent at the end of the day’s voting.

By-elections were held on Tuesday for 54 Assembly seats across 10 states, which included 28 crucial seats in Madhya Pradesh, 8 Assembly seats in Gujarat, 7 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 2 seats each in Nagaland, Odisha, Jharkhand and Karnataka. Polling in MP began at 7 am and ended at 6pm while adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions. Chief Electoral Officer Arun Tomar told PTI that the last hour of voting will be for Covid-19 patients and people suspected to be suffering from the disease.  

The voter turnout in Chhattisgarh was recorded as 71.99 percent, Gujarat (58.14 percent), Haryana (68 percent), Jharkhand (62.51 percent), Karnataka (51.30 percent), Nagaland (88.10 percent), Odisha (68.08 percent), Telangana (81.44 percent) and Uttar Pradesh (52.21 percent) respectively.

The by-elections in Madhya Pradesh were needed after former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and 21 MLAs switched sides to the BJP, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath government.

A total of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers are contesting in bypolls on 28 seats in the state. An official said around 33,000 security personnel have been deployed in 19 districts to hold free and fair elections. He said 173 static surveillance teams, 250 flying squads, and 293 police check-posts have been pressed into service. The number of voters in 28 Assembly constituencies are 63.67 lakh, he added. As many as 9,361 booths have been set up for voters to exercise their right including 3,038 booths that are placed under the critical category, the official added.

An official said it is for the first time in Madhya Pradesh that bypolls are being held in 28 Assembly seats in the 230-member House in one go.

According to political observers, there is a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP in most seats, while in two or three seats of the Gwalior Chambal region, a triangular contest is on the cards in the wake of the BSP’s presence there.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia, state BJP chief V D Sharma, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, and former Chief Minister Uma Bharti were prominent campaigners for the BJP.

Also Read: Bihar Elections 2020 Phase 2: Polling underway in 94 constituencies, CM Nitish Kumar casts his vote

Former Chief Minister of the state Kamal Nath, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh, Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, and Rajasthan’s Sachin Pilot campaigned for the Congress nominees.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays foundation stone for redevelopment of 553 railway stations at a cost of Rs 19000 crore

These redevelopment projects are spread across 27 states and union territories which were inaugurated at a cost of Rs 19000 crore. The Prime Minister’s Office emphasised that these stations will serve as City Centres seamlessly integrating both sides of the cities. These train stations will have modern passenger amenities such as roof plazas, landscaping, intermodal connectivity, improved facades, kids’ play areas, kiosks and food courts.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a series of railway infrastructure projects valued at over Rs 41,000 crore on Monday under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme. PM Modi also laid down foundation stones for redevelopment of 553 railway stations. These redevelopment projects are spread across 27 states and union territories which were inaugurated at a cost of Rs 19000 crore.

The Prime Minister’s Office emphasised that these stations will serve as City Centres seamlessly integrating both sides of the cities. These train stations will have modern passenger amenities such as roof plazas, landscaping, intermodal connectivity, improved facades, kids’ play areas, kiosks and food courts.

These city centres have been envisioned to be environment friendly and accessible to differently-abled individuals. Their design will draw inspiration from local culture, heritage and architecture, as stated in a press release. The Indian Railways is known as the world’s busiest and oldest railway systems which serves a staggering 3.52 billion passengers and transports 1512 MT of freight in 2023.

The Railway network is known as the lifeline of India and operates over 13,000 trains daily, connecting 7,325 stations across the nation. According to the Amrit Bharat scheme aims at redeveloping 1309 stations nationwide. The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of 508 railway stations on Auguast 6 last year.

The primary objective of the scheme is to enhance station facilities with  modern infrastructure, including roof plazas and city centres, fostering a more convenient and comfortable experience for passengers. With a substantial allocation of over Rs 24,470 crore by the government, the initiative underscores a commitment to bolstering India’s transportation infrastructure.

 As part of the scheme, Indian railways is crafting comprehensive Master Plans, integrating urban development around railway stations. This integrated approach signifies a holistic vision aimed at fostering overall urban development which is centred on these pivotal transport hubs.

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Maratha quota protesters set state transport bus on fire in Tirthpuri city

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has filed a police complaint and all bus services have been suspended in Jalna. MSRTC’s Depot Manager of Ambad Taluka has also lodged a complaint at a local station demanding action against the accused who set the bus on fire.

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Maratha protesters set a state transport bus on fire at Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj Chowk in Tirthpuri city, Ambad taluka while protesting against the state government over Maratha reservation row on Monday. After the incident a curfew has been imposed in the area to maintain law and order situation.

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has filed a police complaint and all bus services have been suspended in Jalna. MSRTC’s Depot Manager of Ambad Taluka has also lodged a complaint at a local station demanding action against the accused who set the bus on fire.  Jalna collector Srikrushna Panchal said there is a possibility that quota supporters may arrive at Antarwali Sarati village in Ambad Taluka of Jalna, where the activist has been staging a hunger strike and stop him from going to Mumbai.

The curfew order said there is a possibility that traffic on Dhule – Mumbai highway and Tehsils near Ambad may get affected. The collector said government offices, schools, movement on national highways, milk distribution, media and hospitals have been exempted from the order. Maharashtra Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar appealed to Maharashtra reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil to protest peacefully and stated that he should ensure that nobody is harmed and law and order should be maintained in the area.

He further added everybody knows who has groomed Manoj Jarange, and whose people used to visit Manoj Patil. Maharashtra government ministers used to meet the activists. He said they are reaping what they had sown in the past.

The Maharshtra Legislative assembly (lower house) unanimously passed the Maratha reservation Bill tabled in February, which intended to extend 10% reservation to Marathas above the 50% cap. Maharashtra reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil had demanded that the NDA government should implement the ‘Sage Soyare’ ordinance notification within 2 days, failing which the majority community in Maharashtra will launch a fresh round of agitation on February 24.

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Farmers take out tractor march near Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar

The Noida police had issued an advisory for daily commuters and warned them of traffic jams at many places which also included the Delhi-Noida border. The farmers are planning to carry out the tractor march along the Yamuna Expressway, Luharli Toll Plaza and Mahamaya Flyover and traffic diversions have been imposed by the police at these places.

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Farmers took out a tractor rally near the Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar on Monday to protest against the central government for accepting their demands, which included a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops. Videos showed many tractors being driven on the road. The rally was stopped by the police at the Yamuna Expressway’s entry point.

They were not allowed to carry out their rally on the expressway. The development comes even as farmers have delayed their march to the national capital till February 29 after a decision is made and are staying at the Khanauri and Shambhu points on the Punjab-Haryana border.

The Noida police had issued an advisory for daily commuters and warned them of traffic jams at many places which also included the Delhi-Noida border. The farmers are planning to carry out the tractor march along the Yamuna Expressway, Luharli Toll Plaza and Mahamaya Flyover and traffic diversions have been imposed by the police at these places.

The police have barricaded the Delhi-Noida border and police will conduct checking of vehicles entering Delhi or Noida. Daily commuters have been advised not to use the Yamuna Expressway and to use alternative routes or the metro to avoid inconveniences.

Farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa said a farmer named Pritpal Singh was doing Langar seva at the Khannauri on the Punjab-Haryana border when he was allegedly dragged by the policemen from his tractor trolley and was badly beaten. He said Pritpal Singh was admitted to a hospital in Rohtak. But he got shifted to PGIMER at Chandigarh.

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said Pritpal Singh has suffered multiple injuries and they strongly condemn the action of the police. He said the prime minister should take action against policemen who indulge in such barbaric acts. Former Punjab chief Minister and senior BJP Leader Captain Amarinder Singh condemned the barbaric act of violence against Pritpal Singh.

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