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Keshav Prasad Maurya stops interview midway, snatches reporter’s mask over Haridwar hate speech questions

In the interview, the journalist asks Maurya about Dharam Sansad oraganised in Haridwar and Raipur and the silence of ruling BJPs top brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on hate speeches.

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Keshav Prasad Maurya

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Tuesday ended an interview abruptly when a BBC journalist asked him to comment on Muslims genocide call at Haridwar Dharam Sansad which was held in Uttarakhand last year in December.

On a furious questions on hate speeches at the Haridwar Dharma Sansad, Maurya stopped an interview midway and snatched the reporter’s mask. He also forced the crew to delete footage, the BBC said.

In the interview, the journalist asks Maurya about Dharam Sansad oraganised in Haridwar and Raipur and the silence of ruling BJPs top brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on hate speeches.

On the question of BJPs silence on the hate speeches at Haridwar and Raipur Dharam Sansad, Maurya replied no such calls were made at the event. To this, the BBC journalist replied that there is video evidence of it. Then Maurya told the BBC journalist to ask questions about elections.

When pressed about genocide calls raised at the Haridwar Dharam Sansad, he replied that he and his party doesn’t know anything about the genocide call video. “You are not talking like a journalist, you are talking like an agent,” the deputy chief minister said and took his microphone off and stopped the interview.

Taking a U-turn on it, Maurya said it was an unfortunate incident.

On the question why only Hindu religious leaders were in the spotlight, Maurya replied that what about comments made by other religious leaders? Dharma Sansad is not a BJP event, it was the religious leaders event. Seers can say what they believe in. This is not related to politics. And there are Muslim and Christian leaders too. Talk about them too, Maurya said.

Maurya also said the part people don’t need to prove themselves as the BJP believes in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (development and support of all). Religious leaders have the right to express themselves, he said.

Notably such comments have been against the Muslims a few months before assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa.

The BBC journalist also asked Maurya about the dozens of sedition cases registered over sloganeering during India Pakistan T20 World Cup match. Sedition is a different issue. This is a Dharma Sansad, Maurya replied.

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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