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All-party meeting held in New Delhi ahead of Parliament session            Election Commission announces by-polls to six Rajya Sabha seats            Maharashtra Cabinet expanded with induction of 13 new ministers            Death toll mounts to 83 due to Encephalitis in Bihar            CC World Cup: Arch-rivals India and Pakistan face off today           

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News at Nine

2100 HRS
20.05.2019
THE HEADLINES
  • Hectic parleys on to discuss post poll scenario; Top leaders of NDA to meet in New Delhi tomorrow; Opposition leaders prepare for eventuality of a fractured mandate.
  • Counting of votes for Lok Sabha and four state assemblies to take place on Thursday.
  • Domestic stocks register biggest single day gain in 10 years; Sensex surges 1,422 points to close at 39,353.
  • In Sports: Indian women's Hockey team defeat hosts South Korea 2-1 in first match of three-match series in Jincheon.
  • And Second India Open International Boxing Tournament begins in Assam.

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Political activities have gained momentum in the National Capital, with leaders of various parties holding consultations on setting up of a new political order.
Top leaders of National Democratic Alliance will meet over dinner tomorrow ahead of declaration of Lok Sabha poll results on Thursday. The meeting will take place in New Delhi where NDA leaders including BJP President Amit Shah will chalk out a strategy on possible outcome of the General elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to be present  there besides Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) President Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party head Ram Vilas Paswan.
A meeting of senior BJP leaders is also scheduled to be held at party headquarters before the dinner meeting. The two meetings are  taking place in the backdrop of exit polls which have predicted a return of BJP led NDA government at the Centre.
Opposition leaders, on the other hand, are preparing for the eventuality of a fractured mandate. In such a case, they are banking on consolidation of non-NDA parties and other splinter groups for formation of a new government at the Centre.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has been holding talks with top opposition leaders, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, in New Delhi. Mr Naidu has been meeting with leaders of different parties to rally support for a non-BJP government at the Centre. Here is a desk report:

"BJP did not have pre-poll alliances apart from the regular NDA constituents. Congress also desisted from having alliance at the national level. The party tried to have some state-level tie-ups with smaller parties other than the members of the United Progressive Alliance. An Alliance was formed in Uttar Pradesh, jointly led by former Chief Ministers Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party and consisting Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal along with several other constituents including the leftist parties as well. While almost all the exit polls conducted by different agencies have predicted return of the NDA in power with a clear majority, there is a divergence with regard to the outcome in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which together account for 122 seats. It remains to be seen how the things take shape in case of a fractured mandate. The post-poll reorganization of forces and the regional parties would play the key role in formation of the new government at the Centre in such a situation. Swati Rakheja, News Desk."

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The News Services Division of All India Radio will mount a special bilingual programme on the Post Poll Political Developments. Tune into the FM Gold Channel of All India Radio at 9.30 tonight to listen to this special discussion.

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With only two days left for the results of the 17th Lok Sabha elections, preparations are in full swing in all the states for smooth conduct of the counting process. Counting of votes for Lok Sabha and four state assemblies- Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha- will take place on Thursday. In Nagaland, district collectors and the concerned officials are inspecting the counting arrangements. Election to the State’s lone Lok Sabha seat was held in the first phase on 11th April along with the by-election to Aonglenden Assembly constituency. More from our correspondent:

"In the recently concluded Polls, people from all sections of the society in Nagaland came out to cast their votes. The enthusiasm of the young people and the first time voters were witnessed in this election. For the first time, Braille Dummy Ballot Sheets and Braille Voters’ Slip were introduced in polling stations across the state to enable visually challenged voters to exercise their franchise. Preparation is on full swing in all the districts for smooth conduct of the counting process. As per the instruction from the Election Commission of India, five Polling stations will be randomly selected for verification of VVPAT slip. Asonuo, AIR News, Kohima"

In Goa, a noticeable feature of the elections was the large participation of persons with disabilities, in line with the Election Commission’s motto of 'No Voter Be Left Behind'. Around 7,500 Divyangs are registered as voters in Goa. Our correspondent has filed a report:  

"Special drives to sensitize polling staff for appropriate treatment of people with disabilities were undertaken in Goa. Focused training sessions including basic sign language introduction were provided to Divyang voters. Arrangements such as wheel chairs, manual magnifiers, Braille ballot papers and ramps were made at all polling booths. Divyangs were provided a special badge for identification for smooth access to polling stations, free wheel-chair taxi services were provided and dedicated officials were posted at each booth. Moreover, two polling stations were entirely managed by persons with disabilities. These initiatives made high participation of divyangs a highlight of the election process. With Saikat Sarkar, Mukesh Thali from Goa for AIR News."

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The News Services Division of All India Radio (AIR) has made elaborate arrangements for providing authentic and latest results of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in four states. For the first time, AIR, the biggest radio network of the country, will continuously broadcast special programmes on the election results for 40 hours. Similarly, all 46 Regional News Units of AIR through out the country will mount special programmes and news bulletins in regional languages of their respective states. Hourly news bulletins will be available across the country through various channels like FM Gold, FM Rainbow, Vividh Bharati and other local channels of AIR.

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Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley today attacked exit poll doubters saying when multiple exit polls convey the same message, the direction of the result broadly will be in consonance with the message. In a blog, Mr Jaitley said, the exit polls are based on personal interviews and the EVMs have no role. He added that the opposition’s fake issue of the EVMs would also lose its non-existent rationale if the results of the exit polls and final results on Thursday are in the same direction.

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sacked estranged BJP ally OP Rajbhar of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party from the cabinet today. The development comes after Mr Rajbhar's prolonged defiance of BJP-led NDA and also acting against the alliance. Mr Rajbhar fought the current Lok Sabha election on several seats separately on his party symbol. According to a Press release from Raj Bhawan, Governor Ram Naik has given his consent to the Chief Minister's recommendation to remove Mr Rajbhar.

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In Madhya Pradesh, Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava has written a letter to Governor Anandiben Patel to convene a special session of the state Assembly at the earliest. In his letter, Mr. Bhargava said, in the changing political scenario, the Kamal Nath-led Congress government should prove majority in the House. Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Govind Singh Rajput said, the Congress will run the government for a full five year term. In the present house, Congress has 114 seats while the BJP has 109. BSP with Two and SP with One seat are supporting the Congress.

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Domestic markets posted the biggest single day gain in a decade today after most exit polls predicted a comfortable majority to the ruling NDA in the Lok Sabha polls. The rupee also registered the biggest single-day rise in two months against the US dollar. A report :

"The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange skyrocketed 1,422 points to end at a record high of 39,353. The Nifty at National Stock Exchange too zoomed 421 points to end at a fresh all-time high of 11,828. The rupee appreciated 48 paise to end at a nearly two-week high of 69 rupees and 74 paise against the dollar. And in global crude oil market, Brent prices were trading above 72 dollars and 50 cents per barrel in intra day trade. V. Ravi Kumar for AIR News."

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The Army has said the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is under control. Talking to media persons on the side-lines of a function in Udhampur today, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said that 86 terrorists were killed this year in Jammu and Kashmir state.

"We have been able to neutralize 86 terrorists so far. And our operations for neutralizing more of them continue in the same manner. There are nearly over 20 of them we have been able to apprehend and so many of more who are trying to pick up arms, we have been able to impress upon them the futility of picking up the gun. A large number of them have been able to come back and join the national mainstream."

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Today is World Metrology Day. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and National Physical Laboratory, today introduced redefined International System of Units for the country. These are kilogram, kelvin, mole and ampere. The purpose of a system of units is to enable world-wide coherence of measurements.

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In Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy today took oath as the country's new President. He announced snap parliamentary elections and dissolution of the parliament at the same ceremony. The announcement is seen as a strategic move to bring the October parliamentary elections forward to boost his party's chances of securing a majority.

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In Hockey, Indian women's team defeated hosts South Korea 2-1 in the first match of the three-match bilateral series in Jincheon today. Young striker Lalremsiami in the 20th minute and Navneet Kaur in the 40th minute scored for India, while Shin Hyejeong found the net for Korea in the 48th minute. High on confidence after its impressive outings in Spain and Malaysia earlier this year, India made a strong start against the hosts. India will play its second match of the tour on Wednesday.

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The 2nd India Open International Boxing tournament has begun in Guwahati this evening. Assam Education Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya inaugurated the 5-day long competition. Seven Indian boxers are playing tonight in the preliminary round. We have a report:

"10 Indian boxers have already confirmed medals with 6 in men and 4 in women . On the Men’s side, Brijesh Yadav, Sanjay, Naman Tanwar,  Sanjeet, Satish Kumar and Atul Thakur are in the Semi Finals. In Women’s, local girls Lovlina Borgohain and Bhagyabati Kachari along with Anjali and  Saweety are through to the last-four. Last year, India won 6 gold medals . 10 countries have participated in the event this year. Competitions are being held in a total of 18 categories, 10 in men and 8 in women. Manas Pratim Sarma, AIR News, Guwahati"

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