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

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1400 HRS

21stFebruary, 2017


  • Campaigning for the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly election ends this evening; 53 constituencies in 12 districts go to polls on Thursday; Election Commission removes SP crime Allahabad and 19 SHOs in different districts following complaints against them.
  • Nagaland Tribes Action Committee calls off the state wide shut down following resignation of Chief Minister T R Zeliang; New CM designate Shurhozelie Leizietsu to be sworn in tomorrow.
  • CBI arrests Chhattisgarh Principal Secretary B L Agrawal and two others in a corruption case.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir, BSF foils infiltration bid along the LOC in Rajouri district; One terrorist killed in the operation.
  • Madras High Court to hear today DMK's plea seeking to declare Chief Minister EK Palaniswami's trust vote null and void in the state Assembly.
  • In Pakistan, five killed and several injured in three bomb blasts at a court in Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
  • And in Women's Cricket, India to clash with South Africa today in the Final of ICC Qualifying tournament in Colombo.


Campaigning for the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly election ends this evening. 53 constituencies, spread over 12 districts, including the Bundelkhand region, will go to polls in this phase on Thursday, 23rd February. The districts include Raebareilly, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Jhansi, Chitrakoot and Fatehpur. A total of 630 candidates, including 50 women, are in the fray.

Our correspondent reports that BJP President Amit Shah, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi are campaigning in Allahabad district today.

BJP president Amit Shah and SP- Congress alliance leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi will be conducting a road show at Allahabad.  They will also be addressing rallies in different districts.  BJP leaders have accused the SP and BSP to avoid developmental issues and adopting only appeasement policies towards particular communities. SP leader Akhilesh Yadav has said that BJP leaders are trying to undermine the works done by the Samajwadi Party. The Election Commission has removed 29 administrative and police officers including ADM Deoria, SP crime Allahabad and 19 SHO in different districts including Jaunpur,  Banda, Mahoba,  Jhansi, Jalaun and Lalitpur.  The commission has taken the decision after getting complaints against them. Sunil Shukla, AIR News, Lucknow."

For the seventh and final phase of elections, 535 candidates are left in the fray after the withdrawal of nominations yesterday. Polling will take place on the 8th of March for 40 seats of the Assembly.


Polling is underway for the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and 9 other civic bodies across Maharashtra. 17,331 candidates are in the fray for 3,210 seats in 10 municipal corporations, 11 zilla parishads and 118 panchayat samitis in the second phase of polls. Polling began at 7:30 A.M. and will end at 5:30 PM.

The districts where polling is taking place in this phase are Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli.

Counting of votes will take place on February the 23rd.


Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) has called off its statewide bandh following the resignation of TR Zeliang as the Chief Minister of Nagaland. In a press release, the NTAC said that the decision to withdraw the bandh, which had paralysed  normal life for the past 20 days, was taken yesterday evening after resignation of Mr Zeliang was accepted by the Governor. 

Speaking to media person, NTAC convener KT Vilie appreciated Mr Zeliang for listening to the voice of the people, and thus tendering his resignation. Authorities have decided to restore mobile internet/data and SMS services which were  snapped since January the 30th.


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 at a grand ceremony. Mr. Liezitsu was invited by the Governor to form a new government yesterday after he emerged as the unanimous choice for the post and formally staked his claim. He was chosen to replace Zeliang at a meeting of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland legislators.


The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested a senior IAS officer of Chhattisgarh BL Agrawal. Agrawal is presently posted as a Principal Secretary in the Department of Higher Education. CBI arrested two more persons including his Brother-in-law. Earlier, CBI registered a case against Agrawal on the allegations related to payment of about one and a half Crore rupees by the officer to private persons as gratification for help in a case against him being investigated by the CBI. CBI raided different premises at Raipur, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Greater Noida, including the residence of B.L. Agrawal on Saturday evening. During searches, CBI recovered 2 Kg of gold and about 20 Lakh rupees in cash. CBI officers have taken both of them to Delhi for further interrogation.

CBI today also arrested Joint Director of Enforcement Directorate, Indian Revenue Service officer JP Singh in corruption case. Three others have also been arrested, which include ED official Sanjay Kumar.


The Tamil Nadu government has announced a financial package of 2247 crore rupees for farmers who have lost their crops due to drought. In a statement today, Chief Minister E K Palaniswamy said more than 32 lakh farmers will be given the compensation package by crediting the amount in their bank accounts directly. The state has pegged the total loss due to the severe drought at 39,565 crore rupees in a report submitted to the Union Home Ministry.

Representatives of farmers bodies have expressed dismay at the package saying it is far below the actual damages suffered by the worst ever drought recorded in the last 140 years.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India's oral tradition has evolved constantly to adapt to changing times and circumstances keeping the eternal values intact. He said false perception was created about India that India needed social, political and economic reform initiated by outsiders. The Prime Minister was delivering the inaugural address via video conferencing at Sri Ramakrishna Vachanamrita Satram, Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, Tiruvalla in Kerala today. Mr. Modi said India's soil is the soil from where change has always originated and our civilization stands tall, overcoming obstacles.

"India's Soil from where change has always originated and this change originated from within.  Our saints integrated each and every citizen in their quest for social reform.  This is why our civilization stands tall, overcoming obstacles. Those civilizations that did not change with time, vanished."

The Prime Minister said to reach the common people there was a need to make Dharma or right living more accessible and closer to their daily lives. He said bhakti saints used music, poetry and local languages to bring God closer to people and they broke barriers of caste, class, religion and gender.


In Jammu and Kashmir, Border Security Force foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Rajouri district and gunned down a terrorist. BSF Spokesperson told AIR that the incident occurred around midnight when BSF troops deployed along the LoC fence in Keri sector detected some suspicious movement. A heavy exchange of fire ensued for about 30 minutes.        

"Terrorists also heavily fired  on BSF troops and the exchange of fire continued for half an hour. A massive  search operation was launched in the area in the morning. A dead body of terrorist with AK-47 Rifle and Magazine and some miscellaneous items were recovered. It is believed that remaining terrorists taking advantage of undulating hilly ground and jungle  returned back to POK. Yogesh Sharma, AIR NEWS, Jammu."


The Madras High Court will hear the DMK's plea today seeking to declare null and void, Saturday's vote of confidence in the Tamil Nadu Assembly by Chief Minister E K Palaniswami. The opposition had moved the court yesterday and the two judge bench posted the matter for hearing today.

Mr Palaniswami had won the trust vote 122-11 in the 234-member Assembly, aided by the eviction of DMK and walkout by its allies. DMK has 89 MLAs in the Assembly. 


The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second day today following closure of Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Our correspondent reports, a large number of Jammu-bound empty trucks and oil tankers are now stranded at Qazigund and other places.

"With overcast conditions in Kashmir, the Srinagar Jammu national highway remained closed for the second consecutive day today. Heavy rains triggered multiple landslides and shooting stones on the road stretch in the Ramban sector of the highway. All precautionary measures are being taken to ensure safety of passenger vehicles and trucks carrying supplies to the Valley. A senior traffic official told AIR that the decision to resume vehicular traffic on the highway will be taken on the basis of improvement in weather and safe road condition. TARIQ RATHER, AIR NEWS, Srinagar."


In Punjab and Haryana minimum temperature continued to hover above normal levels, including Chandigarh. For the past few days, at most places in the states, the minimum temperature has hovered two to six notches above normal. Met office said, Chandigarh, which received traces of rainfall, recorded a low of 15.5 degrees, which is seven notches above normal. The temperature in Amritsar settled at 9 degrees Celsius, up two degrees.


In Pakistan, at least five people were killed and 12 others injured in three bomb blasts at a local court in Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province today. District Police Officer of Charsadda, said three attackers attempted to enter the court premises through the main gate and opened fire and also threw hand grenades, prompting retaliatory fire by police and security forces. He said, security forces shot two of them dead, while one suicide bomber blew himself up. Emergency has been declared in all hospitals of Charsadda and Peshawar. The banned Jamaat-ul-Ahraar has claimed the responsibility for the attack.


US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said that the American forces will remain in Iraq to fight Islamic State terrorists. Speaking at the end of a day of meetings in Baghdad with military commanders and Iraqi political leaders, Mattis said he is open to any request from his military commanders to aid the battle to retake Mosul and launch an operation against IS in Syrian city of Raqqa. He said there is no doubt that the Iraqi people, military and political leadership have recognized the value of the coalition and the partnership, particularly with the United States. 


Pakistan has said that Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed can pose a serious threat to the nation, and was thus placed under house arrest. Addressing an international security conference at Munich in Germany, Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said Hafiz Saeed was arrested in the larger interest of the country.

The action against Saeed was taken after Pakistan was hit by at least eight terror attacks this month in which more than 100 people died.


Nepal has announced the date of local body polls. In a cabinet meeting held at Kathmandu last evening it was decided to hold local body elections in a single phase on May the 14th. Prior to the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal held consultations with the Election Commission of Nepal. The civic polls have been announced despite the protest from Madhesi parties, who had been demanding an amendment to the Constitution before the poll announcement.

The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties has announced to protest against the decision. The Morcha has said that announcement of polls would not change their position that the constitution should be amended before the polls at any cost. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the constitution amendment process and the poll preparations will go on side by side.


In Australia, at least five people have died after a light plane crashed into a Melbourne shopping centre today. Victoria's Police Minister Lisa Neville said, the five people were traveling to Tasmania's King Island, in nearby Bass Strait. Authorities said, the shopping complex was not open at the time and police do not believe anyone inside died.


In Women's Cricket, team India are playing against South Africa  in the Final of the ICC Qualifying tournament in Colombo today. Both teams have already booked their berths in this year's ICC World Cup. India is the only unbeaten team in the tournament, while South Africa's only loss so far has been against the Mithali Raj-led side.


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