Daily Bulletin: Counting of votes for 81 Jharkhand Assembly seats begins; Congress to stage silent 'satyagraha dharna' at Rajghat against CAA; day's top stories
Here are today's top stories: Jharkhand Assembly elections results: Counting to begin at 8 am; BJP faces uphill task as exit polls favour JMM-led alliance; Nine dead after fire breaks out at cloth godown in Delhi’s Kirari; and more
Jharkhand Assembly elections results: Counting begins at 8 am; BJP faces uphill task as exit polls favour JMM-led alliance
The counting of votes for 81 Jharkhand Assembly seats, which went to polls in five phases from 30 November to 20 December, begins at 8 am on Monday.
Jharkhand had a five-phase poll from 30 November to 20 December to elect a new Legislative Assembly.
The BJP is hoping to retain power in Jharkhand following setbacks and winning fewer seats in both the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly election as compared to the 2014 polls in the two states. However, several of the NDA allies, including BJP's current Jharkhand alliance partner AJSU contested the 2019 Assembly polls on their own. Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) also contested the polls solo.
The Opposition Grand Alliance led by Hemant Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and which includes Congress and RJD, however, is hoping to unseat the BJP. And two of the three exit polls have favoured the JMM-led alliance.
Times Now and India Today-Axis My India exit polls have predicted that the Opposition alliance is likely to storm to power while the ruling BJP is expected to be restricted to just 30 seats. However, the IANS-CVoter-ABVP exit poll predicted a hung Assembly, in which case smaller parties like the JVM(P), AJSU and Independent candidates are likely to play kingmakers in the tribal state.
Congress to stage silent 'satyagraha dharna' at Rajghat today against CAA
Amid nationwide agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Congress, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, has decided to stage a silent protest at Rajghat on Monday afternoon demanding protection for the Constitution and the rights of people as enshrined in it.
Top leaders of the party including its former president Rahul Gandhi and its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are likely to participate in the 'satyagraha dharna' till the evening, sources said. The decision to hold the silent protest was taken at a meeting of top party leaders at Sonia Gandhi's residence on Saturday evening, they said.
The leaders initially decided to hold the protest at Rajghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, on Sunday but later postponed it to Monday as permissions for the same were yet to be obtained from the authorities, the sources added.
Nine dead after fire breaks out at cloth godown in Delhi’s Kirari
Nine people have lost their lives so far in the Kirari fire tragedy. The fire had broken out in a cloth godown in Kirari in the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. The fire has been doused and the injured have been admitted to a hospital. Earlier this month, 43 people lost their lives in a major fire tragedy at Anaj Mandi factory in Delhi.
OIC expresses concern over CAA; says 'closely' following developments
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on said it was "closely" following the recent developments "affecting" Muslims in India as it voiced concern over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the verdict in the Ayodhya case. The OIC is a 57-member grouping of Muslim majority nations, including Pakistan. The body has usually been supportive of Pakistan and often sided with Islamabad in its disputes with India.
"The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has been closely following recent developments affecting Muslim minority in India,” the OIC said in a brief statement.
The body "expresses its concern over the recent developments pertaining to both the issue of citizenship rights and the Babri Masjid case," the statement said. The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Parliament and signed into law by the President this month.
The OIC urged the Indian government to ensure the safety of the Muslim minority and the protection of their religious sites
Anti-CAA protests to be held across the country
The DMK is expected to hold its anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in Chennai at 10 am on Monday. A similar anti CAA Protest at UP Bhawan, Chanakyapuri, Sardar Patel Marg, Delhi at 11 am. Meanwhile, another anti CAA protest is to be carried at Assam Bhawan, in Delhi at 2 pm. Protesters are likely to demand the release of Akhil Gogoi and make an appeal to end to repression in Assam.
More than 35 organisations have called for a gathering for peace and communal harmony at Quddus Eidgah ground in Bengaluru from 10 am to 1 pm, while an anti CAA protest in Kochi, Kerala is to be held at 1 pm. Students at Pondicherry University area also to boycott their convocation which will be helmed by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Noida schools to reopen today
Schools and colleges will reopen in Noida and Greater Noida on Monday after remaining shut over the last week due to cold, officials said on Sunday. District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar, BN Singh also quelled rumours about schools remaining closed in Monday and Tuesday.
"I have come to know that a fake order for closure of schools tomorrow has been circulated under my signature. No such order has been issued. The criminal case for fraud and panic in public is being lodged," Singh tweeted. Educational institutions were ordered to remain shut for as much as four days across Uttar Pradesh last week due to cold weather amid protests against the citizenship law in the state and elsewhere in the country.
Afghanistan's incumbent president claims narrow win in preliminary presidential vote results
Afghanistan’s incumbent President Ashraf Ghani won a slim majority of votes in a 28 September election, delayed preliminary results showed on Sunday, after a poll that plunged the country into political crisis and was marred by allegations of fraud.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the total turnout in the presidential election was more than 1.8 million with Ghani securing 50.64% - enough to win the first round of voting - beating his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, who currently shares power with Ghani in a unity government. In a television speech on Sunday, Ghani welcomed the result and said the country was now on the right path towards prosperity and development.
“With the announcement, we are moving now from darkness to light and from uncertainty to a bright future,” Ghani told a jubilant crowd gathered at the presidential palace in Kabul.
The head of IEC, Hawa Alam Nuristani, told a news conference in Kabul earlier that the outcome could change after final results and was still subject to a review by the election complaints’ commission.
With inputs from agencies
In terms of casualties, Friday's fire at the commercial building was the largest since the blaze at a factory in the Anaj Mandi area and the second largest since the Uphaar Cinema tragedy in 1997
There are nearly 800 vacant posts of firefighters and fire officers in the department. These vacant posts are being manned by hiring people on contract
Imam was arrested in 2020 by the Delhi Police from Bihar's Jahanabad. A charge sheet was filed against him for giving speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central government during the anti-CAA agitation