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Congress wins Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll with record margin

GURDASPUR, Oct 14: The Congress party has wrested the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election with its nominee Sunil Jakhar winning the seat with a margin of 193219 votes trouncing his nearest rival SAD-BJP candidate Swaran Salaria and literally routing Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Suresh Khajuria on Sunday.

Right from the beginning of the counting of votes, Jakhar had maintained a steady increase over his rivals giving indication of his victory.

Congress had laid its bet on Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar even risking annoyance of Rajya Sabha Member Parliament and former PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa who hails from Qadian in Gurdaspur district while BJP picked up industrialist Swaran Salaria over Kavita Khanna, widow of Vinod Khanna, and AAP fielded retired army officer Suresh Khajuria banking on his Rajput lineage.

Jakhar and Salaria polled 499752 and 306533 votes respectively while Khajuria could manage only 23579 votes. Among independent candidates Pavinder Singh received the highest 6825 votes and the lowest 996 votes were polled to Satnam Singh.

Interestingly, 7587 votes were registered under None Of The Above (NOTA) category.

Gurdaspur Lok Sabha parliamentary seat fell vacant after demise of BJP's Vinod Khanna's death. The voting was held on October 11.

Reacting on his victory, Jakhar told media persons that his victory was people's endorsement to Congress party's policies and development in the state while adding that the same also indicated at people's disenchantment from Center's Modi government.

Chief minister Amarinder Singh in his reaction said, "Jakhar's victory has comes as a strong rebuttal to the persistent Akali efforts and campaign of the past six months to undermine the work being done by his government in the state and for AAP this election marks the end of its political ambitions in Punjab".

Yashwant Sinha Alleges Many BJP Lapses In Handling Jay Shah Case

PATNA, Oct 11: After his recent slapdown of the government's handling of the economy, former union minister Yashwant Sinha today said that his party has "lost the moral high ground" due to a corruption scandal involving the son of its chief Amit Shah. Yashwant Sinha, 79, said that the BJP appears guilty of many lapses: producing senior ministers to defend Mr Shah's son, entrepreneur Jay Shah, and farming out a top government lawyer, Tushar Mehta, to represent Jay Shah in court.

Jay Shah has suedThe Wire, a news website, for 100 crores for defamation for reporting his firm's revenues escalated by 16,000 times after the BJP came to power. The report also questioned allegedly unsecured loans given to Jay Shah's firms, including from a state-run firm that reports to the Power Ministry.

"The way the loan was given to Jai Shah by the Power Ministry and the way (minister) Piyush Goyal defended him, it gives the impression that there's something wrong," said Mr Sinha, whose son, Jayant Sinha, is a minister in the union government.

"Even Additional Solicitor General (Tushar Mehta) representing a private individual in court is something that never happened before," Mr Sinha, a former finance minister, said in Patna. Mr Mehta said he sought and obtained the clearance of the Law Ministry to advise Jay Shah.

"The government should order an inquiry because too many government departments are involved," said Mr Sinha, backing what the opposition has demanded. "The BJP has lost the high moral ground of zero tolerance on corruption," he added.

Last month, Sinha provoked his party by expounding in detail on the economic slowdown which he attributed to the poor timing and handling of the key reforms of demonetisation and the new national sales tax or GST. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, whom he singled out for sharp criticism, responded by describing the party veteran as "a job applicant at 80."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a lengthy speech last week said that pessimists were misrepresenting the slowdown of one quarter (5.7 percent growth for the last quarter) to claim an economic failure.

Top Jaish terrorist Khalid killed in encounter in J&K

SRINAGAR, Oct 9: In a breakthrough, a joint team of security forces on Monday killed top Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Khalid in Ladoora area of North Kashmir, police said.

Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid said it was a major breakthrough for the security forces as the terrorist was involved in many attacks on security camps in North Kashmir as well as targeting policemen in particular.

"He was killed in a joint operation by the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Special Operation Group, local police, the CRPF and the Army," he said.

Khalid, who is a Pakistani national, had been operational in the area for last two to three years and was also instrumental in arranging recruits for the terror outfit, police said.

He had recently carried out an attack on a Special Police Officer and his seven-year-old son at Handwara, they said and added that Khalid was a A++ category top ranking terrorist and carried a cash reward of nearly Rs 7 lakh.

Giving details of the encounter, the police said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Ladoora area following information about the presence of terrorists in the area.

The search operation turned into a gun battle when the terrorists opened fire on the search party, the police said, adding more troops were rushed to the area to prevent the terrorists from escaping.

The Jaish commander was killed in the encounter, they said.

The police is also probing his role in the recent attack carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammed on BSF battalion headquarters near high-security Srinagar airport and attack on the District Police Lines at Pulwama.

It is expected that he was a part of the conspiracy behind these dastardly attacks, the police said.

Gorakhpur: 16 more children die in the last 24 hours

LUCKNOW, Oct 9: Sixteen children, out of which ten were infants, died at the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in UP's Gorakhpur. Ten out of the sixteen children were admitted in the NICU, while the other six were admitted in the ICU.

According to reports, 20 patients -- including six from Deoria, two from Kushinagar, four each from Gorakhpur and Maharajganj, and one patient each from Basti and Balrampur -- afflicted with encephalitis have been admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours.

Around a dozen patients of encephalitis were being treated at the BRD college.

After this incident, the count of dead in BRD Medical College has gone up to 310.

Officials said that around 1,470 patients, mostly with cases of encephalitis, have been admitted in BRD Medical College this year.

In August this year, BRD Medical College was in news when around 63 children died within a span of one week due to unavailability of oxygen. FIR against nine people including the owner of the oxygen supplying company was lodged.

Doctors said that the latest deaths did not occur due to lack of oxygen, treatment or anything else but the fact that they were brought to the hospital in a very critical condition.

Rahul unquestioned choice to lead Congress: Randeep Singh Surjewala

NEW DELHI, Oct 4: Rahul Gandhi continues to be the “unquestioned choice” of all workers and leaders for the post of party president, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said here on Wednesday.

He was responding to a question on the subject against the backdrop of the organisational elections under way in the Congress right now.

Asked if the party would welcome a situation in which a worker or a leader chooses to contest the top organisational post, Mr. Surjewala said Mr. Gandhi is “democratic enough” and the party “resilient enough” to welcome any of its workers or leaders who wish to contest any post, including that of the president. In this context, he cited examples of similar contests.

Asked whether Mr. Gandhi would be anointed president by the end-October, Mr. Surjewala said the question would be answered when the organisational polls conclude.

Congress can fix unemployment issue in 6 months: Rahul

AMETHI, Oct 4: Mr. Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over unemployment and asked him to address the issue instead of “wasting time” of the countrymen.

On a visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi, he said Mr. Modi should say if he was unable to address the problems like unemployment.

“Farmers and youth are the two main issues concerning India and if Modiji cannot address these, he should say so and the Congress will come and do it in six months,” Mr. Gandhi said at a ‘chaupal’ (village gathering).


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