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President's Address on the eve of 68th Republic Day of India

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2100 HRS.

21st February, 2017


  • Campaigning for 53 Assembly seats in 12 districts of Uttar Pradesh going to polls in the fourth phase ends; Polling on Thursday.
  • Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar holds talks with China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Beijing ahead of a key strategic dialogue to improve bilateral ties.
  • Nagaland People's Front president Shurhozelie Liezitsu to be sworn in as new Chief Minister tomorrow.
  • Seven Maoists killed in an encounter in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh.
  • In Tamil Nadu,  the case filed by DMK in Madras High Court seeking to nullify the trust vote fails to reach for hearing; DMK serves a notice of no-confidence motion against Speaker P. Dhanapal.
  • Jammu-Srinagar national highway remains closed for second consecutive day following landslides triggered by rains; heavy snowfall in higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh.
  • IN CRICKET; India beat South Africa by one wicket in the final of ICC Women World Cup Qualifier 2017 at Colombo.


Campaigning for the fourth phase of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh ended this evening. Voting for 53 seats, spread over 12 districts, will be held on Thursday. The districts include Raebareli, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Chitrakoot and Fatehpur. A total of 630 candidates, including 50 women, are in the fray.

On the last day of campaigning, Allahabad was the major centre where BJP president Amit Shah, SP-Congress alliance leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi  BSP supremo Mayawati and BJP ally Apana Dal President Anupriya Patel conducted road shows and also addressed public meetings.

On the last day of campaigning, Allahabad was the major centre where Bhartiya Janata Party President Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi and BJP ally Apana Dal President Anupriya Patel conducted roadshows and also addressed public meeting. Large number of people attended the both the shows and greeted the leaders in the route. Mr. Shah addressed the people during the journey and sharply criticized the Samajwadi Party Government in the state. Bahujan Samaj Party Supremo Mayawati has addressed two rallies in Gonda and Bassi districts and directed Bhartiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party on several issues. A total of 680 candidates including 50 women are in the fray in the forth phase of elections. Sunil Shukla, AIR News, Lucknow.

It will be a litmus test for BJP, in Bundelkhand region where the elections in 2014 were dominated by the party sweeping all the four Lok Sabha seats.

Development of the region has been the central point in all public meetings with the issues of public coming to forefront. Common issues voiced by the people include proneness to drought affecting the productivity of agriculture and crops in the region, inadequate progress made by Industrial sector specially agrobased industries and employment opportunities. Bundelkhand is known for pulses cultivation and there has been a demand for upgradation of agricultural infrastructure and technological improvement in water harvesting for sustaining crop productivity. Other issues voiced by the people in this election are law and order situation and migration of  agricultural labourers. With Sanjeev Jasrotia, this is Samrat Bandopadhyay, Election Desk.


The Election Commission today corrected its poll percentage figures for Uttarakhand. It said, 65.64 per cent of the total electorate in the state cast their votes as against 68 per cent announced earlier. Six days after assembly elections were held in the state, office of the State Chief Electoral Officer released final figures of polling percentage in Dehradun today.


In Maharashtra, moderate to brisk polling has been reported during elections of ten Municipal Corporations and Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis today. According to preliminary estimates, around 62 per cent of voters exercised their franchise for the Municipal Corporations and 65 per cent voted during the second phase of voting for Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis. With this, the fate of over nine thousand candidates vying for 1,268 seats of civic bodies has been locked in voting machines. The Municipal Corporations which went to polls today included Brihanmumbai, Thane, Pune, Solapur, Nashik along with Nagpur, Amravati and Akola in Vidarbha region. The counting of votes would be taken up at different places throughout the state in decentralized manner on Thursday.


Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar today held talks with China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi ahead of a key strategic dialogue tomorrow to improve bilateral ties hit by Chinese reluctance to support India's admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and back a United Nations ban on Jaish-e-Mohd. leader Masood Azhar. Jaishankar, who arrived in China from Sri Lanka, met Yang, who besides being the State Councillor is Beijing's Special Representative for border talks between India and China.

During the meeting, they expressed strong commitment to develop positive relations. Referring to the first Strategic Dialogue to be held tomorrow, Mr Jaishankar said, this is not just a meeting between him and his counterpart, it is preceded by consultations on a host officials. The Foreign Secretary flagged India's concerns on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and counter-terrorism in an interview with China's-state run Global Times. He said, counter-terrorism is one area in which China and India should make special efforts together.


Nagaland People's Front president Shurhozelie Liezitsu will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the state tomorrow. He will be administered the oath of office and secrecy by the Governor PB Acharya. He was invited by the Governor to form a new government yesterday after emerging as a unanimous choice for the post and formally staked his claim.

Meanwhile, Nagaland Tribes Action Committee has called off its statewide bandh following the resignation of TR Zeliang as the Chief Minister. 


 In Chhattisgarh, seven Maoists were killed in an encounter in Narayanpur district today.

Based on specific inputs, a joint team of police & District Reserve Group (DRG) was sent from Dantewada's Barsur this morning into the deep forests near Pushpal village of Abujhmad. The Maoists hidden there suddenly started firing on the  team, which was retaliated promptly by the forces. At least 7 Maoists were killed while many others were injured in the resultant encounter. Apart from the bodies of these insurgents, weapons have also been recovered from the spot. The three of the killed Maoists carried cash awards of 5 lac rupees each on their head. There have been no casualties on the side of security forces. With Naresh Mishra from Dantewada, Tushar Karmarkar, AIR News, Raipur.


In Chennai, the case filed by the DMK in the Madras High Court seeking to nullify the trust vote results failed to reach for hearing today. It is likely to come up for hearing at a later date. Besides, two more public interest litigations were filed against the trust vote in the High Court today.

Meanwhile, the principal opposition DMK served notice of a no-confidence motion against Speaker P. Dhanapal. The party working president and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly MK Stalin charged that the Speaker’s actions during the special session of the Assembly on 18th of this month for the trust vote has been partisan and against the laid up norms.

After the trust vote in the Assembly last Saturday preceded by pandemonium, eviction of the DMK members and walk out by the Congress, the House was adjourned sine die. It is expected to be convened soon for the Budget Session.

The opposition DMK is spearheading its campaign against the trust vote by chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy both legally and politically. However, reaction from the ruling party is mute so far, though the government is announcing a series of welfare measures involving huge financial allocations. The High Court in a separate case has directed the State Election Commission to hold the local bodies elections before May 14, and its results would be viewed as an indicator of the popularity of the present government. Jaya Singh, AIR News, Chennai.


Standard Operating Procedure for protection and care of children in street situations was released in New Delhi today. Speaking on the occasion, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said government is committed to the well-being of every child in India. She said the Procedure will help Government ensure that health education and protection mechanisms are made available to children living on streets.

Our correspondent reports National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) collaborated with Civil Society Organization (CSO) and Save the Children to develop the strategy for street children.

The Standard Operating Procedure was drafted after taking inputs from 35 NGOs as well as children who survived from the street. Children living in streets are among the most vulnerable groups as they have little or no adult supervision and protection. They also do not have access to education and basic health care which exposes them to abuse, exploitation and neglect. A survey by Save the Children last year found over 84 thousand children living on the streets in Lucknow, Kolkata, Patna, Hyderabad and some other cities. By 2030, with the increase of population in urban areas, child population is also expected to increase. As such, it is important to integrate the needs of children in street situations into urban policies and planning. With Sant Bahadur, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Delhi.


The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second day today following closure of 300-kilometre Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The highway was closed following landslides triggered by rains at some places.

An official of the Traffic Control Room said, men and machinery have been pressed into service to clear off the muck left behind by landslides and traffic is expected to ply from Jammu to Srinagar tomorrow.


In Himachal Pradesh, heavy snowfall occurred in high altitude tribal areas and other higher hills today while mid and lower hills had widespread rains.

 The high altitude tribal areas recorded 50 cm of fresh snowfall in the day today. Shimla and surrounding areas were lashed by a thunderstorm accompanied by intermittent rains. The cold wave condition has once again intensified after change in the weather. In Lahaul-Spiti district due to danger of avalanches the authorities have issued general alert and advised people to remain in their homes. Shishu Sharma Shantal, AIR News, Shimla.


The domestic stock markets moved higher yet again, to  once more end at a multi-month high.

The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange gained 100 points, or 0.4 percent, to a five-month closing high of 28,762. The Sensex has now advanced over 600 points in four trading sessions. The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange rose 29 points, to also close at a five-month high of 8,908. Gold gained 250 rupees, to 29,950 rupees per ten grams in Delhi. And Brent crude oil futures climbed 50 cents, to 56.58 dollars a barrel. Pradeep Kumar, AIR News.


India beat South Africa by one wicket in the final of ICC Women World Cup Qualifier 2017 at Colombo this evening. India achieved the target of 245 runs on the last ball of the 50th over.

For India, Deepti Sharma was the highest scorer with 71 runs while Mona Meshram made 59 runs. Harmanpreet Kaur remained unbeaten at 41. Earlier, Rajeshwari Gayakwad claimed three wickets to help India bowl out South Africa for 244 in 49.4 overs.


The News Services Division of All India Radio in its “Spotlight and News Analysis” programmes will bring you a discussion on : "Air Pollution - a serious health hazard". The participants are : Dr. C.K. Varshney, Environmentalist and Prashant Sood, Journalist. It can be heard on Rajdhani and FM Gold channels and additional frequencies from 9.15 p.m.


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