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‘V-P poll is referendum on how Parliament should run’

She said if she is elected as Vice President, she will commit herself to work tirelessly to uphold the Constitution and to strengthen parliamentary democracy…reports Asian Lite News

Opposition’s candidate for the Vice President’s post, Margaret Alva has written a letter to the MPs across the party lines and said this V-P election should be seen as a referendum on how Parliament is being run.

“I’ve written to Members of Parliament, across parties, explaining why I think the VP election on Aug 6th is not just another election, but must be seen as a referendum on how Parliament is being run. The MPs have the power to bring about change. I’ve urged them to use that power,” she tweeted.

In the letter she said the Vice President’s election, in which only members of Parliament vote, is not just another election. “It must be seen as a referendum on the manner in which Parliament is being run and the breakdown in the fundamental democratic process of building consensus on important national issues, in which you, as the representative of the people, are an important stakeholder.”

She alleged that Parliament is virtually at a standstill, with communication between the members broken and there is distrust, anger, and the inability to debate issues of critical national importance without personal attacks and abuse. This diminishes Parliament and its members in the eyes of the people.

“The time for change is now. The reason the election to the Vice President’s post is not subject to a party whip and is by secret ballot, is to give members an opportunity to vote without fear for a candidate they believe will do justice to this critical position. A candidate who will be impartial, fearless, and run the upper house in a manner befitting its stature. I believe I am that candidate, and I’m writing to ask you for your support and your vote on August 6th,” she wrote.

She said if she is elected as Vice President, she will commit herself to work tirelessly to uphold the Constitution and to strengthen parliamentary democracy. As Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, she will work to build bridges between different political parties, forge consensus on issues of national importance, and help restore the glory of Parliament.

She also mentioned that she has 50 years in public life, as a member of both Houses of Parliament, a Union Minister, a Governor, and a proud representative of India at the United Nations and on other global platforms.

ALSO READ-Tunisians vote on new constitution referendum

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Boris Seat in Danger Zone

The survey of 10,000 respondents carried out by multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) in April also looked into the opposition Labour Party’s prospects in the election. It found that it would emerge as the single largest party, but fall short of a majority by 18 seats, reports Ashis Ray

An opinion poll in Britain — amid a grim economic situation and a spiralling tension in Northern Ireland — says Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lose his House of Commons seat in the next general election.

Johnson is an MP from the west London constituency of Uxbridge and Ruislip.

The survey of 10,000 respondents carried out by multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) in April also looked into the opposition Labour Party’s prospects in the election. It found that it would emerge as the single largest party, but fall short of a majority by 18 seats.

On the other hand, if Labour Party undertakes seat adjustments with Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, the combination would win a comfortable majority. The figure of 326 is the magic mark for a party or alliance in a chamber of 650 lawmakers.

Correspondingly, if the hard-line pro-Brexit Reform Party stands down in seats where Johnson’s Conservative Party is vulnerable, this could further dent Labour’s prospects.

A spokesperson for ‘Best for Britain’, an internationalist organisation, said: “Once again, Best for Britain’s seat level analysis shows the safest route to victory in defeating this (Johnson’s) corrupt government is for the opposition parties to work together during election time.”

If Labour Party falls short, it could be dependent on the separatist Scottish National Party, which could demand independence for Scotland or at least another tricky referendum as a condition for its support.

Analysis for ‘Best for Britain’ by Focaldata indicated that 54 per cent of Labour supporters and 56 per cent of Liberal Democrats supporters want their respective leaders to work more closely with the Greens.

However, after its showing in this month’s countrywide local elections, Labour Party will hope its chances will progressively improve as Johnson and the Conservatives plummet further in public esteem.

Appearing before a House of Commons Select Committee, the Governor of the Bank of England, Britain’s central bank, Andrew Bailey warned of “apocalyptic” food prices. He of course blamed it on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Figures due out on Wednesday are expected to reveal that the annual inflation rate has climbed above 9 per cent and it going beyond 10 per cent when the energy price cap is lifted even more in the autumn.

“Another factor that we’re dealing with at the moment is a further leg of Covid-19, which is affecting China. We have seen a series of supply shocks coming one after another and that’s unprecedented.”

In such circumstances for Johnson to contemplate a unilateral scrapping of parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol with the European Union (EU) is considered in political circles to be ill-conceived, as an introduction of tariffs by the EU by way of retaliation, could have a devastating inflationary impact.

In refusing to agree to tax-free trade with the EU and opting for a customs border between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea, the Prime Minister has predictably created an economic and political crisis in Catholic and Protestant conflict-ridden Northern Ireland.

So much so that the United States (with a significant Irish American population, including President Joe Biden, as a powerful pressure group), which stands as guarantor of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ushered relative peace to the region after nearly 75 years of unrest or violence, has been compelled to intervene.

However, Rishi Sunak, the Indian-origin Chancellor of the exchequer, is reported to be working on fiscal measures to ease the cost of living crisis, having refused to incorporate these in his budget statement in March.

The steps could include relief for pensioners and benefits claimants and cutting duties on imported food.

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UP registers 60%, Punjab 65% polling

Punjab voted to elect MLAs to its 117-member legislative and recorded a turnout lesser than 2017, as per the Election Commission of India, reports Asian Lite News

The voting percentage on Sunday in the third phase Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh was 60.46 per cent and 63.44 per cent in Punjab, the Election Commission said.

In Uttar Pradesh, third phase polling was held in 59 Assembly seats spread over 16 districts. Lalitpur district recorded the highest polling at 67.37 per cent followed by Etah with 63 per cent, and Mahoba 62.01 per cent till 5 p.m.

Tough battle in Punjab

Punjab voted to elect MLAs to its 117-member legislative assembly on Sunday. The state recorded 65.32 per cent voter turnout compared to 77.36 per cent in 2017, as per the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Trends show that voter turnout was slow in the early hours of polling on Sunday and picked up pace towards the evening. Voter turnout was 57.58 per cent as of 3 pm with urban pockets witnessing lower participation compared to rural Punjab.

The state is witnessing a multi-cornered fight with Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Akali Dal-BSP and BJP-Punjab Lok Congress in the fray. This resulted in a high-decibel campaign with drugs, corruption and employment emerging as key issues.

The 2022 Punjab Assembly polls are being viewed as a prestige battle for the Congress, which is contesting to retain power in the state. Congress won 80 of 117 seats in Punjab in 2017.

Its main contender, the AAP, has been trying to advertise its ‘Delhi model’ in a bid to vote the voters of Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party has declared Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate.

However, the AAP was also seen engaging in damage control in the run-up to the election after former AAP leader Kumar Vishwas accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal of having ties with pro-Khalistani separatists. Kejriwal has categorically denied the charges.

Battle in Malwa

This election in Punjab is also a prestige battle for Captain Amarinder Singh, who brought the Congress to power in the state in 2017 and served as chief minister until September of last year. Congress then chose Chamkaur Sahib MLA Charanjit Singh Channi as Captain’s successor.

Captain Amarinder Singh later floated his own party – Punjab Lok Congress – and entered into an alliance with the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).

All eyes are now on Patiala, which is seen as Captain Amarinder Singh’s bastion. A princely state during British rule, Patiala has gained a reputation in Punjab’s political circles as a power centre.

Led by Captain Amarinder Singh, the Congress had won seven out of the eight seats in Patiala in Punjab’s Malwa belt in 2017 with the remaining one seat going to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

However, the AAP had emerged as the second biggest party in Malwa region in the previous assembly polls.

Long battle in UP

An average of 60.46 per cent voting was recorded in 59 Assembly constituencies Uttar Pradesh in the third phase of elections on Sunday.

As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in this phase, in which over 2.15 crore people are eligible to vote in 16 districts.

Among the high-profile candidates is Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav who is contesting from Karhal assembly seat. The BJP has fielded Union minister S P Singh Baghel against him. Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav is contesting from his traditional Jaswantnagar seat.

Among the prominent political leaders who cast their votes on Sunday are Akhilesh Yadav, Dimple Yadav, Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ramgopal Yadav, Congress leader Salman Khurshid, UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and UP minister Satish Mahana.

Meanwhile, Kanpur Mayor Pramila Pandey and former BJP office-bearer Nawab Singh have landed in trouble for posting videos in which they are seen casting their vote inside the polling booth.

Pandey took her mobile phone inside the polling booth at Hudson School, and clicked a selfie while exercising her right following which an FIR has been lodged against her, said a senior official.

The Election Commission has banned the use of mobile phones inside polling stations.

The mayor has shared a video that has gone viral on social media platforms.

District Magistrate Neha Sharma said the Kanpur Mayor has violated the rules of the Election Commission by revealing the name of the party she voted for.

Former city president of BJP’s Yuva Morcha was also allegedly caught while violating rules. Singh also took a mobile inside the booth and shot a video while casting vote.

In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the polling percentage in these 16 districts was 62.21 per cent, the Election Commission said.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 49 of the 59 seats while the SP had settled for nine. The Congress had got one seat while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) drew a blank.

The 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases. The results are scheduled to be announced on March 10.

ALSO READ-Punjab goes to polls

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Modi appeals to first-time voters

The Prime Minister said that the double engine governments in Lucknow and Delhi had taken a lead to address the aspirations of the youth…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called upon first-time voters to support the BJP in forming the government again so that their aspirations can be fulfilled.

Addressing the first virtual rally for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Prime Minister said: “Uttar Pradesh is working towards ensuring its progress. The Yogi government is making sure that all benefits of our schemes percolate down to the last beneficiary. The number of houses we built for the poor has risen to 800 in Baghpat in the previous government to 33,000 in the same district in Yogi regime.”

The Prime Minister came down heavily against the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government on the law-and-order issue.

“Five years ago, there was the ‘dabbang’ and ‘dangai’ in Uttar Pradesh. The mafia ruled the state and women and girls could not move out safely. When the riots took place here (Muzaffarnagar), some people were enjoyed an ‘utsav’. The land of the poor, Dalits, OBCs and deprived sections were forcibly taken away,” he said.

He further said that when BJP came to power here, it was with the resolve to serve people.

“Yogi Adityanath has dealt with the mafia and made them understand the meaning of law. Today, the same people are using all their force to bring back a government that remains favourable to them. Today, employees, farmers, traders are all safe and secure.

The Prime Minister said that the double engine governments in Lucknow and Delhi had taken a lead to address the aspirations of the youth.

“We have new avenues for jobs and career building-from medical colleges, universities to IITs. A number of industries have come to Uttar Pradesh and this will ensure more jobs. The defence corridor and other projects will create new employment,” he stated.

The Prime Minister said that the ban on triple talaq had brought immense relief to Muslim women, adding that his government had raised the marriageable age of girls to 21 years so that they could study further and make their career.

Lauding the leadership of Yogi Adityanath, the Prime Minister said that the BJP was being opposed by those who are arrogant and cater to the rich.

ALSO READ-Budget has betrayed middle and salaried class, says Congress

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This man will contest his 94th election

Ambedkari contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Agra and Fatehpur Sikri seats, but forfeited his deposit. He fought the zila panchayat elections in 2021…reports Asian Lite News

The Kheragarh Assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra will witness a unique contestant — 74-year-old Hasanuram Ambedkari, who is all set to contest his 94th election this time. He has filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate.

Ambedkari said he works as a farm labour and has a MNREGA job card. He does not have any formal schooling, but can read and write Hindi, Urdu, and English. A member of the All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) founded by Kanshi Ram, Ambedkari said that he fought all elections according to the ideology of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

He has been unsuccessfully contesting elections since 1985 for various bodies, including the Lok Sabha, state Assembly, and panchayat elections from different seats.

In 1988, his nomination for the post of the President of India was rejected. He said, “I contest elections to lose. The winning politicians forget the masses. I want to set a record of losing elections 100 times. I do not care who my opponents are as I contest elections to give an option to voters who believe in Ambedkar’s ideology.”

Ambedkari contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Agra and Fatehpur Sikri seats, but forfeited his deposit. He fought the zila panchayat elections in 2021.

He secured the highest number of votes (36,000) in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections from the Firozabad seat. Ambedkari has started door-to-door campaigning with his wife and supporters. He said, “My agenda has always been impartial and corruption-free development and welfare of the marginalised in society.”.

He was also briefly a member of the BSP as well. “I was a dedicated worker of BAMCEF and also worked for the BSP to strengthen its roots in UP. In 1985, when I asked for a ticket, I was ridiculed and told that not even my wife would vote for me. I was deeply disheartened and since then, I have been contesting every election as an independent candidate,” he said.

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Why Lucknow Cantt seat is now so important

Aparna, wife of Prateek Yadav, had contested the 2017 elections from the Lucknow Cantt seat but lost to BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi…reports Asian Lite News

The Lucknow Cantt seat has suddenly turned into a much-coveted Assembly segment with several BJP leaders making a bid for it even though the party has a sitting legislator on it.

BJP MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who won the seat in 2017, now wants to field her son Mayank Joshi, who is making his political debut.

She had vacated the seat in 2019 after she won the Lok Sabha seat from Allahabad.

Joshi has been lobbying hard for the ticket and her supporters claim that if Rajnath Singh, an MP, can get a ticket for his son Pankaj Singh, and Rajvir Singh, also an MP, can get a ticket for his son Sandeep Singh, they Rita Bahuguna Joshi also deserves to field her son.

Suresh Tiwari, a former MLA, regained the seat for the BJP in 2019 when he won the by-election from here. He had won the seat in 1996, 2002 and 2007 also.

According to party sources, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma also has an eye on this seat that has a sizeable upper caste vote.

While the other Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya has been named as a candidate for the Sirathu seat in Kaushambhi district, Sharma’s candidature is yet to be cleared.

According to a party leader, Dinesh Sharma would prefer the Cantt seat which has 1.5 lakh Brahmin voters, 60,000 Sindhi and Punjabi voters who are traditionally BJP supporters, 25,000 Vaishya voters and Muslim voters are only about 40,000.

What has suddenly made this seat into a VIP seat are reports that Aparna Yadav, younger daughter-in-law of Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, is all set to contest this seat.

Aparna, wife of Prateek Yadav, had contested the 2017 elections from the Lucknow Cantt seat but lost to BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

There have been speculations that Aparna is preparing to join the BJP, but sources close to her claim that this is likely to happen only if she is denied a ticket by the Samajwadi Party.

Her uncle Shivpal Yadav has already advised her to stay in the family and the party and work. “She will get a reward at the right time,” he said.

BJP leaders, on the other hand, feel that Suresh Tiwari should be renominated for this seat since he got barely two years after he was elected in the by-election.

ALSO READ-Punjab poll dates shifted by EC

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Punjab poll dates shifted by EC

Assembly polls in Punjab will be held on February 20 instead of February 14, as originally scheduled, the Election Commission decided today, reports Asian Lite News

The Election Commission of India on Monday changed the February 14 date of polling in Punjab to February 20 after request from the political parties due to Sri Guru Ravidas Jayanti.

After a detailed meeting on the rescheduling of the poll date, the Commission changed the poll schedule as announced by it on January 8.

According to the new schedule for Punjab assembly polls, now the date of notification will be January 25 (Tuesday), 2022, last date of nomination will be January 2022 (Tuesday), date of scrutiny – February 2, 2022 (Wednesday), date of withdrawal would be February 4 (Friday) and date of polling will be February 22, 2022 (Sunday). Counting of Votes will be taken up on March 10, 2022 (Thursday).

The Election Commission received several representations from State Government, Political Parties and other organizations drawing attention regarding movement of a large number of devotees from Punjab to Varanasi for participation in Sri Guru Ravidas Ji Jayanti celebrations, which is observed on February 16, 2022, the EC said in a statement.

It was brought to the notice of the Commission that a large number of devotees start moving for Varanasi around a week before the day of celebration and keeping the poll day on February 14, 2022 will deprive a large number of electors from voting. In view of this, they had requested to shift the poll date a few days after February 16, 2022, the EC officials said.

“Commission has also taken inputs from State Government and Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab in this regard and after considering these new facts emerging out of these representations, inputs from the State Government and Chief Electoral Officer, past precedence and all facts and circumstances in the matter, now Commission has decided to reschedule the General Elections to Legislative Assembly of Punjab,” the ECI said in a statement.

Earlier, the ruling Congress party, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party had requested the Commission to defer the polling on February 14 as it is close to the Sri Guru Ravidas Jayanti on February 16. Submitting a written request by the Congress Party on January 13, it said that over 20 lakh of Schedule Caste voters go to the religious visit to the places related to Sant Ravidas ji. The Party further said that a sizable number of SC voters visit Varanasi from February 10 to 16 every year, therefore, the scheduled date for the poll in Punjab should be postponed till Ravidas Jayanti.

Later the BJP and Aam Aadmi party also made a similar request to the EC, reiterating the same reason stating that many of the voters will either miss their religious trip or skip voting on February 14.

The BJP and its allies including the Punjab Lok Congress led by former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had also requested the Election Commission to defer the February 14 election in Punjab.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on Sunday, Punjab BJP General Secretary Subhash Sharma said, “The state has substantial population of followers of Guru Ravidas ji, including the Scheduled Castes (SC) community which is about 32 per cent of the population of Punjab. On this pious occasion, millions of devotees would visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate the gurparb. So it would not be possible for them to participate in the voting process…”

Punjab Aam Aadmi Party chief Bhagwant Mann tweeted his party’ request to the Election Commission to defer the election by a week.

MHA to provide security cover to more BJP leaders in Punjab

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is to provide central security cover to important BJP leaders in Punjab after reviewing the security situation in the state in view of the forthcoming assembly election, sources in the security set up said.

The sources also said that the security cover of some union ministers and BJP leadership will also be enhanced during the election campaign, though they did not disclose the names of the protectees due to security reasons.

Besides, the Centre will also accord VIP security to the leaders of the RSS, some Hindu religious outfits and the turncoats who have recently joined BJP, the sources added.

The Centre’s move came after the Intelligence agencies’ inputs indicating that the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has activated all its terror wings to derail the poll process in Punjab. The sources in the security set up, quoting the intelligence inputs, said that the ISI sponsored Sikh terror outfits may target the election rallies and may attempt to hit some important leaders or VVIP during the electioneering in Punjab, parts of UP and Uttarkhand.

Considering Punjab election as an apt opportunity to reactivate the Khalistani movement in the state and also in other poll bound states wherein the Sikh voters are in majority, the ISI has activated all small or big terror groups which have been tasked to derail the poll process in the state, they further said.

The ISI has instructed the Sikh militant groups which are active abroad to channelize the supply of weapons and explosives in Punjab and the organizations like International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and Khalistan Zindabad Force to arrange the supply of weapons through Pakistani handlers. Recently, the security cover of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been upgraded from Y category to Z during his stay in Delhi and Punjab. He is also BJP’s election in-charge of Punjab.

ALSO READ-

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BJP to replace number of sitting MLAs

The state leadership, which met on Monday night, indicated that they favoured dropping a significant number of incumbents…reports Asian Lite News

The BJP plans to counter the anti-incumbency factor in Uttar Pradesh by replacing over 100 sitting legislators for the Assembly elections slated to begin next month.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other state leaders are expected to reach Delhi on Tuesday with their recommendations for the first two phases of the polls for western Uttar Pradesh.

The state leadership, which met on Monday night, indicated that they favoured dropping a significant number of incumbents.

The party is banking on the “goodwill over welfare schemes” and the robust law and order situation prevailing in the state to deliver a “pro-incumbency” sentiment in the polls and leaders believe that the discontent against individual MLAs might see the party losing a few seats that it should win.

However, these reports have made the sitting BJP legislators increasingly restive.

BJP MLA Radha Krishna Sharma, who won the Bilsi Assembly seat in Badaun, joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Monday. Earlier, BJP MLAs Madhuri Verma (Bahraich) and Rakesh Rathore (Sitapur) also shifted loyalty to the SP.

“We should have been informed in advance about the party decision. The nomination for the first phase begins in two days and we are yet undecided about our fate. This is bound to lead to discontent and, perhaps, even internal sabotage,” said an MLA from western Uttar Pradeh.

“There is no doubt that one-third of the sitting legislators will be replaced, mainly because of non-performance. However, it will be done in a way that denial of tickets does not result in too many rebels,” said a senior party functionary.

He said that replacements of the existing MLAs will be announced on the last dates of filing of nominations.

The BJP’s poll in-charge and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has already held consultations with leaders from various regions to discuss the electoral prospects of sitting MLAs and other candidates for seats that the party had lost in 2017.

ALSO READ-First phase in UP is challenge for BJP, hope for SP

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BJP to showcase law and order, Hindutva to woo voters

The party has been sounding confident on the issues it has taken up for the elections, as well as on the popularity of its faces in Delhi and Lucknow…reports Asian Lite News

With the announcement of polling dates for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, all major political parties have intensified their campaign, apart from taking pot-shots at one another.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident of making a comeback in the state despite the opposition parties — the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, giving the saffron party a tough fight.

The party has been sounding confident on the issues it has taken up for the elections, as well as on the popularity of its faces in Delhi and Lucknow.

In fact, the BJP veterans have been continuously claiming that the party will repeat its last election’s performance.

The party which has often backed the idea of “a double engine government”, is constantly putting forth the issues and agendas related to Hindutva along with the development work. According to party sources, the BJP leaders will try to woo people on the basis of this strategy.

Apart from listing the achievements of the public welfare work of the Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath governments, the BJP leaders will also discuss the issue of Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura, its core agenda.

Terming the issue of law and order as the biggest achievement of the Yogi Adityanath government, the BJP leaders are likely to be seen appealing to people to vote in favour of the party to keep the momentum going.

The BJP has also prepared a blueprint for the digital campaign in an attempt to reach out to the voters amid restrictions imposed by the Election Commission following rise in the number of Covid cases.

A BJP leader associated with the election campaign told, the party would be making an effort to woo every section of the electorate to vote in favour of the party. Hence, “the party has taken special care of the youth, women, elderly, the workers as well as the voters associated with the party over the Hindutva ideology”.

The party will continue to focus on its core agenda of “Ayodhya-Kashi-Mathura” as well, he said.

ALSO READ-First phase in UP is challenge for BJP, hope for SP

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Modi’s Rs 2,097 crore poll bonanza for poll-bound Uttar Pradesh

He said he was of the strong belief that the dairy sector has the potential to transform the lives of over 10 crore small farmers in the country as their earnings would shoot up…reports Asian Lite News.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stones of 22 development projects that will see an investment of Rs 2,095 crore flowing into Varanasi.

The projects include “Banas Dairy Sankul” spread across a sprawling 30 acres of land which will be built at a cost of about Rs 475 crore and have a capacity to process five lakh litres of milk per day.

Addressing a massive rally ahead of the UP assembly elections, the Prime Minister said the mega dairy project would be a game-changer for Varanasi and the adjoining districts.

The dairy project would generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs as milk collection and chilling centres would come up all over the region before it was transported to the dairy.

He said he was of the strong belief that the dairy sector has the potential to transform the lives of over 10 crore small farmers in the country as their earnings would shoot up

Taking a swipe at the opposition, he said that they have ignored the dairy sector whereas the BJP’s “double-engine” government has accorded it top priority as raising livestock was an indispensable part of India’s culture and rural economy.

“The success of the government’s policy is evident from the fact that milk production in India has increased by about 45 per cent in the last six to seven years. Today, India produces about 22 per cent of the world’s milk. I am happy that today UP is not only the largest milk producing state in the country, but it’s also ahead in the expansion of the dairy sector,” PM Modi said.

PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for a biogas-based electricity generation plant for a Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union plant in Varanasi’s Ramnagar. He said this would make the plant self-sufficient in energy.

Besides, farmers would see an increase in earnings as cow dung from their farms would be purchased at a remunerative price by the biogas plant. The slurry would be used for fertiliser that would be made available to farmers at cheap prices, he explained. 

The Prime Minister said that the “Varanasi model” of development had now taken shape where both the traditional culture and modern enterprise were both moving ahead in tandem.  

He also digitally transferred a bonus of about Rs 35 crore to the bank accounts of more than 1.7 lakh milk producers associated with the Banas Dairy as part of what he called Gujarat’s Amul model that was being implemented in the state.

PM Modi also launched a portal and a logo dedicated to the Conformity Assessment Scheme of milk products, developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) with the help of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).

He said consumers face a big problem as far as the quality of milk and milk products are concerned and this new logo which will reflect a sign of good quality would help to solve their problem.

The unified logo, featuring both the BIS logo and the NDDB quality mark, will simplify the certification process for the dairy sector and reassure the public about dairy product quality.

In another effort to resolve the problems regarding home ownership at the grassroots level, the prime minister virtually distributed the rural residential rights record, “Gharauni”, under the Swamitva scheme of the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj to over 20 lakh residents of Uttar Pradesh.

He said apart from securing the property of the poor sections, these legal documents would also enable them to raise loans.

ALSO READ-Ayodhya set to welcome 12 BJP ruled states’ CMs