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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Third phase of WestBengal Assembly polls record 78.3% voting

Kolkata, 27 April : A total 78.3 per cent of the electorate today cast their votes in 75 seats in the metropolis and adjoining North and South 24 Parganas districts which went to polls in the crucial third phase of West Bengal Assembly elections.
78.3% turnout in crucial third phase of West Bengal assembly poll, says Election Commission.
The polling percentage might rise as reports from remote areas of South and North 24 Parganas districts were still awaited, the state''s chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta told reporters here. He said polling was 82.6 per cent in South 24 Parganas district, 80 per cent in North 24 Parganas districts, while Kolkata (south) registered 63.5 per cent and Kolkata (north) 61.6 per cent.

Barring for some stray incidents ,the polling was by and large peaceful, Gupta said. Tight security arrangements have been made in polling booths with deployment of central forces.
The total electorate of the 75 seats is 1.44 crore. Enthusiasm among the voters, mainly new voters, were evident at many booths. Serpentine queues could be seen before many polling booths where people stood in line to cast their voters even before the polling began.
Malfunctioning of EVMs were reported from a few places which were promptly replaced, Election Commission sources here said. Left Front chairman Biman Bose demanded repoll in 40 booths - 22 of Bijpur and 18 of Haroa in North 24 Parganas district - accusing the Trinamool of driving out CPI(M) agents and indulging in electoral malparactices.
Prominent candidates in the poll fray included Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Finance Minister Dr Asim Dasgupta, leader of opposition Partha Chaterjee, city Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and former FICCI secretary general Dr Amit Mitra. The six-phased election is scheduled to end on 10 May. Photos : Ekram Ali, Dipak Chakraborty

Sk Hasina's Awami League for 90day caretaker government
Dhaka, 27 April : Awami League president Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said her party is in favour of restricting the tenure of caretaker government (CG) to 90 days, suggesting the CG’s failure to hold elections by the stipulated time would result in reinstating the previous government to do so.
Hasina, also the prime minister, opined for having Islam as state religion and said people of other religions will enjoy equal rights and respect.
She said these at a press briefing at Gonobhaban in the afternoon after making clear her party's stance on some crucial constitutional issue before the parliamentary special committee on constitutional amendments at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
The meeting started at about 12:20pm(BDST) after Hasina reached there along with some of her party leaders. Briefing journalists later in the day, Hasina expressed her party’s stance for having the CG system.
Saying that her party is in favour of restricting the CG’s tenure to 90 days, the AL chief said: “The caretaker government will must have to hold elections within this stipulated time.” Photo : PID

Ordinary people do not get level-playing field in polls : CEC
PTI, New Delhi, 27 April : The prevalence of money and muscle power in elections has created a situation where ordinary people do not get a level-playing field, Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said today.
Asked at an anti-corruption summit here if any common man can enter politics and expect a level-playing field in polls, he said, "At the present moment, the answer is no. If you have money in lakhs and crores you have a chance. Or if you are a ''dada'' (strongman), you have a chance. People talk against limiting poll expense. But otherwise no ordinary person gets a chance. If one party puts up a dada, the other will field a bigger dada, so it is a level-playing field only for those guys," he said evoking laughter among the audience...... READ FULL STORY @ www.westbengalelections2011.com

Tripura CM demands 50 % share of Central tax for states
Agartala, 27 April : Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar today demanded 50 per cent share of the Central tax for the states instead of the current 32 per cent.
Inaugurating a check post at Churaibari on the Assam-Tripura border in North Tripura district, Sarkar said, Centre should sanction 50 per cent share of the Central taxes for the states to ease tax burden on the common people instead of sharing only 32 per cent of the Central taxes to the states.

Mamata alleges CPI(M) tried to rig booths in Jadavpur seat
Kolkata, 27 April : Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today alleged that the CPI(M) tried to rig some booths in the Jadavpur assembly polls, saying the Election Commission had been informed about it.
"Attempts at rigging in some booths in the Jadavpur seat have been reported to me and I have information that central para-military personnel have been rendered idle and the state police asked to do the duty, slowing polling process at the instruction of the chief minister," Mamata told Bengali TV news channel, Star Ananda.
Jadavpur constituency witnessed a keen contest between the chief minister and state's former chief secretary Manish Gupta (Trinamool Congress) in a 13-cornered contest.
Alleging that CPI(M) activists had been indulging in intimidation and harassment of Trinamool workers in Buidhannagar, Rajarhat, Bijpur and Khardah seats, she said, "Attempts have been made to harass our candidates. File Photo : PTI

Only 55 Bru refugees return to Mizoram from North Tripura
PTI, Aizawl, 27 April : Only 55 Bru refugees, belonging to 12 families, returned to Mizoram from Naisingpara relief camp in neighbouring North Tripura district today as the officials were making arrangements for the return of 123 families, a senior police official said.
H. Sangawia, the SP of Mamit district on Tripura border, told PTI that though the officials had initially expected that at least 53 families would be repatriated today, the majority refused to return. "I do not know why they turned against as I could not contact the officials who went to Tripura to oversee the repatriation process," he said.
World Bank to provide record amount $ 2.2b to Bangladesh
Dhaka, 27 April : World Bank will provide Bangladesh a record amount of 2.2 billion US dollars in the current fiscal year, visiting World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announced on Wednesday
“We will give 1.2 billion US dollars of the total amount as confessional credit for the construction of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project,” she told reporters after a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his ministry.
Ngozi said it is possible to complete the work of Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the country's largest ever infrastructure development project during the regime of the present government if the work will be done properly. “We’ll give priority to three issues - very often procurement, no corruption and transparency - in implementing the project,” she further said.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the World Bank is giving the highest aid to Bangladesh in the single project of Padma Multipurpose Bridge.

Crazy Sourav Ganguly fans continue to live in "IPL" hope
PTI, New Delhi, 27 April : In what appears to be a perfect example of madness sans method, a group of about 40-odd die-hard fans is planning to enter the Eden Gardens during the Kolkata Knight Riders-Kings XI Punjab IPL match on Saturday, protesting the absence of Sourav Ganguly from the home squad.
This despite the fact that the Indian Premier League has already entered its halfway stage.
Fibbed into believing that their hero may still make it to the IPL, thanks to the endless speculations in the media, a group called "No Dada, No KKR" has been actively campaigning for Ganguly's return to the Knight Riders squad.
The former India skipper went unsold in the January auction, but those associated with this group are yet to come to terms with the fact that their hero is no more a part of the KKR squad.

Little impact on flight movement at Kolkata NSCB Int airport
Kolkata, 27 April : Air India pilots' strike has had little impact so far on flight operations at the city airport.
While Delhi-Kolkata flights were a little delayed, other Air India flights left on time from the N S C B International airport here today, AI sources said.
Delhi-bound passengers were sent in two combined flights, while 12 other flights for Mumbai, Port Blair as well as Delhi departed according to schedule, sources said here. Airport sources said flights from Delhi were, however, delayed by 10-30 minutes.
AI management said efforts were being made to run operations in a normal manner and customer care officials have advised to keep the passengers informed of changes in flight schedule. "We urge our passengers to bear with us," the statement said.

Slight intensity earthquake on Assam-Meghalaya border
Guwahati, 27 April : A slight intensity earthquake with epicentre on Assam-Meghalaya border tonight shook the North-East.
Indian Meteorological Department said that the 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck at 22.31 hours yesterday. There was no immediate report of any loss to life or property.
Diversity Visa 2012 results to be available on or after 1 May
UNB, Dhaka, 27 April : The results of the 2012 Diversity Visa lottery will be available on or after 1 May, 2011 online at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/
The Congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 permanent resident visas available each year to nationals of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
Diversity Visa recipients are drawn from a random selection among all entries worldwide.
Once online at the Entry Status Check for Diversity Visa 2012 webpage, applicants will be required to enter information that can be found on the printed confirmation page from their online DV entry. This confirmation page must have been printed at the time the online submission was made, and retained by the applicant. If the applicant did not keep the printed confirmation page, there is no way to recapture that information.
Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Department of State will be able to replicate this confirmation page and the applicant will not be able to check their status online nor process their visa case further. Receiving a “winning” notification through the online status check does not in itself qualify an entrant for a visa. There are two criteria that all entrants must meet in order to qualify for a Diversity Visa. First, entrants must accurately complete the online entry form and submit a recent photograph.
Second, entrants must show that they have either the required education or work experience. We strongly encourage prospective entrants to evaluate their educational and occupational qualifications against the DV program requirements before entering the lottery.
Those who see on the Entry Status Check webpage that they have won the Diversity Visa lottery will receive instructions on the website for the next steps in the visa process.