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Last Updated : Feb 19 2020 4:52PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
US President Trump says he is looking forward to his India visit            India to send military aircraft to China to evacuate its nationals from Wuhan            First meeting of Shree Ramjanmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust today            Fifth year of launch of Soil Health Card being observed across the country            UK announces new points-based visa system           

Text Bulletins Details

Midday News

1400 HRS

THE headlines:

  • Electioneering gains momentum for fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections; Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi among the leaders addressing rallies.

  • Scrutiny of nominations being held for sixth phase.

  • Seventeen coordinators appointed to help Indians leaving war-ravaged Libya, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

  • Sri Lankan government says, nine suicide bombers carried out Sunday's attacks; death toll mounts to 359.

  • PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma enter pre-quarterfinals of Badminton Asia Championships in China.

  • And in IPL Cricket, Royal Challengers Bangalore to take on Kings Eleven Punjab at Bengaluru this evening.


Electioneering has gained momentum for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections. Seventy one constituencies, spread over nine states, will go to polls in this phase on Monday. Top leaders of various political parties are campaigning at various places to garner support for their candidates.

Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally at Lohardaga in Jharkhand today. He said, his government has never discriminated on the basis of religion or caste and tried to secure justice for every India citizen in distress. Mr Modi said, the government secured the release of numerous Christian priests and Church workers from the grip of foreign terrorists of Afghanistan and , 46 nurses of Kerala from terrorists of Iraq in the past. He said, the Congress and other Opposition parties have sensed their defeat in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections after the end of the third phase yesterday.

"देश की जनता जब अपने चौकीदार पर इतना प्रेम बरसा रही है, बेचारी उस मशीन को भी गाली खानी पड़ रही है, उसके नसीब में भी गाली रही है। ईवीएम पर विपक्षियों का ये रोना इसलिए भी हो रहा है, क्योंकि लोग इन महामिलावटियों को वोट देकर अपना वोट बेकार नहीं जाने दे रहे हैं।" 

Mr Modi will address rallies at Birbhum and Nadia in West Bengal later in the day.

Addressing a rally at Munger in Bihar, BJP President Amit Shah said:

"आप बिहार की सड़कें देखिए, बिहार के गांवों में बिजली की आपूर्ति देखिए, अगर नीतिश बाबू और नरेन्द्र मोदी होते, तो ये संभव था क्या ? बिहार के अंदर सुशासन और कानून और व्यवस्था लाने का काम भारतीय जनता पार्टी और जदयू की सरकार ने किया है। "

Our Patna correspondent reports that top leaders of NDA and the grand alliance are making whirlwind tours in various parts of Bihar:

"JD( U) President Nitish Kumar, in his election rallies in Madhubani and Darbhanga said the centre has given 50 thousand crores rupees to Bihar for developmental work. Mr.Kumar said India's reputation enhanced in foreign countries under the Modi government. RLSP Chief Upendra Kushwaha, alleged in his election meeting at Benipur in Darbhanga that BJP is dividing people in the name of caste and religion. LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan, criticised the grand Alliance saying that opposition is misguiding people in the name of reservation. Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh addresed a rally in Vaishali and CPI leader D Raja held an election meeting in Begusarai. With KK Lal's report from Patna, Tripti Srivastava AIR News.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi held a public meeting at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. He said, whatever the Congress has promised, it has fufilled. He said, the party will give benefit to farmers and unemployed youth. Mr Gandhi will address rallies at Unnao and Kanpur later in the day.

Party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a public meeting at Fatehpur. She criticised the NDA government at the Centre.

"जैसे उनको ये सत्ता मिली है पिछले पांच सालों की और आप सब ने इतना विश्वास किया, इतने भारी बहुमत से जीताया, तो मुझे लगता है कि कहीं वो जो जमीनी पकड़ है, जनता से जो नाता है, जो रिश्ता है, जनता की समस्याओं को समझने का जो प्रयास है, वो पूरी तरह से खत् हो चुका है। कभी जनता के बीच में उन्हें आप लोगो ने नहीं देखा होगा। "

In this phase, voting will take place for 17 Parliamentary seats in Maharashtra; 13 each in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan; 8 in West Bengal; 6 each in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh; 5 in Bihar, and 3 in Jharkhand.

Of the eight seats in West Bengal, here is a profile of three prominent constituencies of Bahrampur, Bardhaman-Durgapur and Asansol:

In Baharampur, total 11 candidates are in fray and the main fight is between Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister of State, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and TMCs Apurba Sarkar (David). In Bardhaman-Durgapur seat, total eight candidates are in fray. BJP candidate and Union Minister of State S.S Ahluwalia is pitted against Trinamool Congress MP Dr. Mamtaz Sanghamita. In Asansol, total 10 candidates in the contest including BJP candidate and Union Minister of State Babul Supriyo and TMC's Moon Moon Sen who represents Bankura seat in the outgoing Lok-Sabha.<><>

Besides the 71 Lok Sabha seats, forty two of the total 147 Assembly seats in Odisha will also go to polls in this phase.

Meanwhile, scrutiny of nominations is taking place for the sixth phase today. The filing of nominations ended last evening. Friday is the last day for withdrawal of candidature. Fifty nine constituencies, across seven states, will go to polls in the sixth phase, on the 12th of next month.

In Assam, around 50 percent re-polling has been reported till 1 PM in four polling stations under Karimganj constituency. 54 percent polling has been reported at Autonomous District seat where re-poll is on at one booth.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, hygiene and fitness are the two biggest issues before the country and is the way to tackle diseases. In a non-political interview with actor Akshay Kumar, Mr Modi gave the credit of construction of more than nine crore toilets to the nation. The Prime Minister also said, serving as Gujarat Chief Minister gave him immense experince to work for the betterment of the country.

"प्रधानमंत्री बनते समय शायद और प्रधानमंत्रियों को ये बेनिफिट नहीं मिला है, जो मुझे मिला है। मैं गुजरात का लम्बे सर्विंग चीफ मिनिस्टर था। चीफ मिनिस्टर होने के नाते आपको बारिकियों से काम करना पड़ता है। ये तजुर्बा शायद मेरे पहले के किसी प्रधानमंत्री को नहीं मिला। मैं समझता हूं कि इसने मुझे देश की सेवा करने के लिए बहुत बड़ी ताकत दी है, जो देश के काम रहा है। "

Mr Modi added that he has several good friends in the Opposition. He said, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sends him sweets and clothes.


BJP MP from North West Delhi, Udit Raj today joined the Congress. He joined the party in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. He was not given a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections by the BJP.


In Jammu and Kashmir, District Election Officer in Kargil Baseer Ul Haq has inaugurated 'Campaign Sveep'. SVEEP is an Election Commission's initiative which is an acronym for Systematic Voter's Education and Electoral Participation. More from our correspondent:

"Under the initiative, over 1000 employees conducted a sanitation drive along the banks of Suru river, covering an area of more than 4 Km. The programme is aimed at sensitizing the voters to participate in the polling in the area, scheduled to be held on 6th of next month. Kargil's District Election Officer said, just like people clean their houses ahead of the festivals, elections, the Nation’s Biggest Festival, should also be celebrated. With Md Abdullah, Anayat Ali for AIR News from Kargil.  


Welcome back, you are listening to Midday News:

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said, 17 coordinators have been appointed to help Indians leaving Libya. In a tweet, Mrs Swaraj said, the Indian Embassy is helping them with Exit Visa even in cases where their visa has expired. She said, presently, the airport is operational. She urged Indians in Libya to avail this opportunity. The Minister had earlier asked Indians living in Tripoli to immediately leave the war-ravaged country as the Government of India will not be able to evacuate them later.


In Sri Lanka, a total of nine suicide bombers were involved in Sunday's attacks. State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena told a media briefing today the bombers were involved at eight locations and identity of eight of them have been established. He said, one of the bombers acted as the leader and was part of a splinter group from National Thoweed Jamath. The Minister said, investigations have revealed that the attackers were motivated by Christchurch shootings though no direct links have been established.

The death toll in the attacks has mounted to 359, including 39 foreigners. Our Colombo correspondent reports that 60 suspects have, so far, been arrested and 32 are in CID custody for interrogation.

"Tensions remain high in Colombo and other parts of the country as there are suspicions of few groups trying to repeat the Sunday attacks. Police carried out couple of controlled explosions to diffuse suspicious materials found in Colombo. The state defence minister asserted that security forces are in control and the situation will return to normal within couple of days. The Minister acknowledged that they knew of the fundamentalist group and some of the suicide bombers were under arrest in small incidents but there was never a perception that attacks of such magnitude could be carried out. SANTOSH KUMAR, AIR NEWS, COLOMBO"


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un today reached Russia's Pacific port city of Vladivostok for a summit with President Vladimir Putin. Kim arrived on his private train. It will be his first talks with the Russian President. The Kremlin said, the two leaders are scheduled to meet near the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok tomorrow.


The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and the India Pavilion was inaugurated by UAE’s Deputy Prime Minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahayan today. Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura Bint Mohd Al Kaabi, Ambassador Navdeep Suri and the Chairman of National Book Trust Prof Govind Prasad Sharma along with other important international dignitaries were present on the occasion. More from our West Asia correspondent:

"As renowned authors and the cultural troupes from India weave the colourful tapestry of literary and folk tradition, India Pavilion at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair draws continuous stream of visitors. India is the Guest of Honour country at the Book Fair. Adults and Children alike are soaking in the literary presence of renowned authors and the variety of books which have been showcased. Ambassador Navdeep Suri said  that this is not only a feast of Indian literature, music and dance but cultural bonding of India and UAE. 50 countries and more than 1000 publishers are participating in the Book Fair. Kanchan Prasad, AIR News, ABU DHABI " 


The Supreme Court today directed the CBI, Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police chiefs to appear before it and meet in chambers the judges hearing a lawyer's claims of a larger conspiracy to frame CJI Ranjan Gogoi on allegations of sexual harassment. The matter is being heard by a three-judge special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.


Ace Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma today advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia Championships at Wuhan in China. In the Women's Singles opening round, Sindhu, seeded fourth, got the better of Japan's Sayaka Takahashi, while seventh placed Saina beat Han Yue of China. 

In the Men's Singles, Sameer defeated Kazumasa Sakai of Japan.


In IPL Cricket, Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Kings Eleven Punjab at Bengaluru this evening. The match will begin at 8 PM. Both teams have played 10 matches each and are currently in the bottom half of the eight-team points table.



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