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Meerut to Mathura, Modi and Yogi to spearhead BJP’s electoral blitz

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MEERUT: Prime minister Narendra Modi will kickstart the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh from Meerut. The PM will address a rally in Meerut in the presence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Choudhary on March 30. BJP has fielded Arun Govil, who played Rama in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, from Meerut, encapsulating a message on the Ayodhya temple, which was inaugurated earlier this year.

All these districts of western UP cover 14 Lok Sabha seats, and BJP won seven seats. (Sourced)
All these districts of western UP cover 14 Lok Sabha seats, and BJP won seven seats. (Sourced)

Five years ago, on March 28, Modi had begun the party’s election campaign from here in the previous Lok Sabha election and infused a sense of pride and nationalism by highlighting the surgical strike in Pakistan after the attack in Pulwama.

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Meanwhile, in a bid to lay the electoral groundwork for the ‘Modi government once again’, Yogi Adityanath will also embark on a whirlwind tour of western Uttar Pradesh. He will address ‘Prabudh Sammelan’ in fifteen districts of western UP in five days, commencing from Mathura on March 27 and concluding in Rampur on March 31. Yogi aims to engage in dialogue with intellectuals, including doctors, engineers, professionals, and teachers from these districts, to lay the electoral groundwork for the ‘Modi government once again’ before the elections.

According to the programme released by the Bharatiya Janata Party, CM Yogi will cover 15 districts in 5 days from March 27 to 31. His enlightening conferences will commence on Wednesday from Mathura, Meerut, and Ghaziabad, where he will interact with dignitaries as well as the common people. The next day, CM Yogi’s programme is proposed in Bijnor, Moradabad, and Amroha, where he will also engage in dialogue with intellectuals. On March 29, CM will participate in conferences in Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, and Saharanpur. On March 30, he will interact with intellectuals in Baghpat (Modinagar), Bulandshahr, and Gautam Buddha Nagar, while on March 31, he will attend conferences in Bareilly, Rampur, and Pilibhit.

This entire belt is known as the ‘Sugarcane belt,’ with the BKU’s headquarters situated in Sisauli town of Muzaffarnagar. The farmers’ 13-month-long movement against the three farm laws had its effect on the Assembly election of 2022, as the party lost 9 out of 15 seats in constituencies of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, and Shamli districts. It lost 2 seats in Meerut district’s constituencies, however, made a clean sweep in 20 constituencies of Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Budh Nagar districts. Its candidates, however, faced defeat in 6 out of 10 assembly constituencies of Amroha and Sambhal districts.

All these districts of western UP cover 14 Lok Sabha seats, and BJP won seven seats. SP, BSP, and RLD had an alliance in the previous Lok Sabha election of 2019, and BSP won four seats and SP managed to win three seats.

The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has now formed an alliance with the BJP, and the latter has assuaged the anger of Jats, who are primarily farmers, by announcing the posthumous ‘Bharat Ratna’ to former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, the grandfather of Jayant Choudhary. The RLD chief had expressed his approval with the comment ‘Dil Jeet Liya’ (Heart won) after the announcement and snapped his party’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The RLD has been allotted two Lok Sabha seats – Bijnor and Baghpat – as part of this alliance.

Additionally, the BJP has given one legislative council seat to the RLD. With this alliance, RLD’s national president Jayant Chaudhary will now be seen campaigning for BJP candidates, while senior BJP leaders will campaign for RLD candidates. In this sequence, Jayant Chaudhary’s presence in Meerut alongside PM Modi is significant.

Fielding Arun Govil from Meerut has made it clear that the BJP will make the ‘Pran Prathistha’ of Ram Lalla a major election plank in the west. This was also evident from the party’s move to organise a rally in Bulandshahar district on January 25, three days after the Pran Pratistha in Ayodhya.

The region has a significant share of Lodh Rajputs, the clansmen of the late Kalyan Singh, whose emergence was also from the Ram temple movement. Under such circumstances, people of the area will experience a double dose of ‘Ram,’ and experts believe that it will help the party polarize Hindu voters cutting across caste lines.

The PM could also highlight the construction of the Delhi-Meerut expressway, the ongoing construction of the Ganga expressway between Meerut and Prayagraj, Namo Bharat between Meerut and Delhi, construction of the sports university in Meerut, along with many other projects and welfare schemes of the union and state governments, to present a holistic governance of his government.

The first phase of polling will take place on April 19, the second phase on April 26, the third phase on May 7, the fourth phase on May 13, the fifth phase on May 20, the sixth phase on May 25, and the seventh and final phase on June 1. Polling in Meerut will take place on April 26, during the second phase.

(With inputs from ANI)



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Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield’s missing daughter ‘at risk’ due to ‘previous threat of suicide,’ cops say

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The runaway daughter of Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield is believed to be “at risk” because of a “previous threat of suicide,” police have said. 16-year-old Mint Butterfield was reported missing earlier this week. The teen, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, reportedly fled their mother’s home in Bolinas, California.

Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield’s missing daughter, Mint Butterfield, ‘at risk’ due to ‘previous threat of suicide,’ cops say (Marin County Sheriff's Office)
Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield’s missing daughter, Mint Butterfield, ‘at risk’ due to ‘previous threat of suicide,’ cops say (Marin County Sheriff’s Office)

Flickr founder Caterina Fake, Mint’s mom, alerted authorities after finding a letter they had left behind. It is believed Mint could have been on her way to San Francisco’s very dangerous Tenderloin District neighbourhood.

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“At this time, we have no information to believe that Mint was taken against their will. The Sheriff’s Office is considering Mint a voluntary-missing juvenile, who is “At- Risk” due to a reported previous threat of suicide,” a statement by the Marin’s County Sheriff’s office read.

How did Mint Butterfield leave the area?

Mint fled the house with a suitcase “during the night or early morning,” according to authorities. “Fake and Mint also share a home in San Francisco, and it is believed, based on statements from Fake, that Mint may have left for the Tenderloin District of San Francisco,” the statement says.

The sheriff’s office also noted that Mint did not have access to a phone or any kind of vehicle, so it is unclear how they left the area. The San Francisco Standard reported that Mint has a history of substance abuse. They had been living with their mother before they went missing. Mint was enrolled at a private school in the Napa area.

Mint was known for having frequently visited the Tenderloin area. The area is notorious for open-air drug markets, homelessness, and violent crimes.

“Marin County Deputies entered Mint into the Missing and Unidentified Persons System (MUPS) and sent out All Points Bulletin flyers to surrounding law enforcement agencies with a description and photograph of Mint,” the sheriff’s office said.

It added, “In collaboration with San Francisco Police Department, detectives from both agencies have attempted to find Mint, but have been unable to locate them.”

Mint’s father, Stewart, co-founded Slack back in 2013. He left the company after it was acquired by Salesforce for $28 billion in 2021.

The sheriff’s office has urged people with information on the incident or Mint’s whereabouts to contact the Marin County Sheriff’s Office at (415) 479-2311 or email tips@marinsheriff.org.

Discussing suicides can be triggering for some. However, suicides are preventable. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).



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KKR vs PBKS, IPL 2024: Catch all the action in images

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Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:11 AM IST

  • PBKS defeated KKR by eight wickets in their IPL 2024 fixture, on Friday at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

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Punjab Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets in their IPL 2024 fixture, at Eden Gardens.(PTI)
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Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:11 AM IST

Punjab Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets in their IPL 2024 fixture, at Eden Gardens.(PTI)

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Chasing 262, PBKS reached 262/2 in 18.4 overs, courtesy of an unbeaten ton by Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow smacked an unbeaten knock of 108* runs off 48 balls and Shashank slammed 68* off 28 deliveries.(AP)
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Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:11 AM IST

Chasing 262, PBKS reached 262/2 in 18.4 overs, courtesy of an unbeaten ton by Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow smacked an unbeaten knock of 108* runs off 48 balls and Shashank slammed 68* off 28 deliveries.(AP)

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For KKR's bowling department, Sunil Narine took a wicket.(PTI)
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Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:11 AM IST

For KKR’s bowling department, Sunil Narine took a wicket.(PTI)

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Initially, Phil Salt (71) and Narine (71) took KKR to 261/6 in 20 overs.(KKR-X)
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Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:11 AM IST

Initially, Phil Salt (71) and Narine (71) took KKR to 261/6 in 20 overs.(KKR-X)

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For PBKS' bowling department, Arshdeep Singh took two wickets.(ANI)
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Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:11 AM IST

For PBKS’ bowling department, Arshdeep Singh took two wickets.(ANI)



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UWW threatens to suspend WFI and India’s wrestlers too

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Ten days after sports ministry told the Delhi High Court that it will neither recognise nor provide any support to Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), United World Wrestling (UWW) has warned that government interference could lead to WFI being suspended again. This time, the suspension could extend to the wrestlers as well.

Nenad Lalovic during the ASOIF General Assembly earlier this month(Getty)
Nenad Lalovic during the ASOIF General Assembly earlier this month(Getty)

In a strongly-worded letter signed by UWW president Nenad Lalovic, wrestling’s global governing body has reiterated its determination to uphold WFI’s independence and autonomy.

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“We have been informed that the Wrestling Federation of India is once again threatened by your Ministry of Sports with the imposition of an ad hoc committee to oversee its affairs,” UWW wrote.

“In case any decision or order should be made against your federation, and a third party be designated to run the daily affairs of our sport in India in violation of the UWW Statutes, UWW would have no other option than to re-impose a temporary suspension of your federation until further notice, and which, this time, could maybe include your athletes.

This suspension would apply to the final Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in May, and will certainly attract the attention of the IOC on this matter, who may also consider further action,” UWW noted.

On Wednesday, a day before UWW’s letter, WFI appointed the Athletes Commission in accordance with the world body’s demand. Former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Narsingh Yadav was elected chairman of the commission.

Ban lifted in February

UWW had placed the WFI under provisional suspension in August 2023 after WFI’s continued delay in holding elections. The ban was lifted this February. A month later, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) reinstated WFI and dissolved the three-member ad hoc committee constituted to run the sport.

WFI, however, continues to remain under suspension since last December by the ministry. Earlier this month, the ministry told the Delhi High Court that it might review the suspension only after there is visible improvement in WFI’s governance.

The ministry, in the affidavit filed through standing counsel Anil Soni, added that it would treat any national championships or competitions organised by WFI as unsanctioned and unrecognised. The Sanjay Singh-led WFI has held national championships as well as selection trials for the Olympic qualifiers.

“It is further submitted that the Ministry is continuously monitoring the governance of the WFI and at present does not deem it appropriate at this stage to review its decision dated 24/12/2023. Any review will be undertaken only after marked and visible improvement its governance, demonstration of compliance of UWW’s order and IOA’s order dated 18.03.2024 and steps taken Expiry Date 15/03/2025 WFI with regard to its democratic functioning, adherence to the Government guidelines aiming towards good governance practices including grievance redressal mechanism and safety of wrestlers,” the ministry had told the court.

In an earlier hearing this month, the court had considered setting up an ad hoc committee for running WFI.

“UWW’s letter must be taken very seriously. WFI is an autonomous body and there is no need for ministry’s suspension or interference,” Sanjay Singh said.

“The fact that UWW’s ban may extend to the wrestlers is a first in our history. The government must allow us to function independently,” a senior WFI official said.

While WFI continues to grapple with the government, Indian wrestlers’ performance has been a major cause of concern. At the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek last week, Indian bagged quotas through Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Anshu Malik, (57kg) and Reetika (76kg), adding to Antim Panghal’s 53kg berth. The male wrestlers, both freestyle and Greco Roman, drew a blank.



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