Lok Sabha Elections 2019: At 67.1%, 2019 turnout’s a record: Election Commission | India News


NEW DELHI: The voter turnout for the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls was the highest ever, at a tentative 67.11% across 542 constituencies, barring Vellore where polls were rescinded, and 1.16% higher than the 65.95% turnout in 2014. The figure could be subject to revision after re-polling is completed.
The final overall turnout for all 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 was 66.4%, which too is lower than the polling figure for 542 seats in 2019. Before 2019, the highest ever poll percentage recorded in a parliamentary election was in 2014.
Consolidated voter turnout data for 2019 Lok Sabha sourced from Election Commission is tentative and subject to change, said an EC official.

A look at statewise voter turnouts in the current Lok Sabha poll show that the polling percentage was higher in 18 states/UTs and lower in 16 states/UTs compared with 2014. The comparative figures for Telangana and Andhra were not available as the former came into existence only after the last Lok Sabha polls and the 2014 turnout figures pertain to a pre-bifurcated Andhra.
The highest increase in the turnout between 2014 and 2019 was in Madhya Pradesh (71.2% from 61.6%, a jump of 9.6%), followed by Himachal Pradesh (71.5% from 64.5%).
The biggest dip in terms of turnout was in Jammu and Kashmir, with 29.4% polling, down sharply from 49.7% recorded in 2014.
81.9% turnout in Bengal just short of 2014 figure
Lakshadweep recorded the highest turnout at 85% in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. North-eastern states of Tripura (83.2%), Nagaland (83.1%) and Manipur (82.7%) were not too far behind. The overall high turnout in West Bengal at 81.9% was still short of the 2014 figure of 82.2%.
Not surprisingly, the terror-inflicted state of J&K had the lowest polling percentage at 29.4%. Only two states recorded sub-60% turnouts – Bihar 58.1% and UP a slightly higher 59.6%.
Voter turnouts have fluctuated over the past 16 Lok Sabha elections, the lowest being in the first election, held in 1951, with 45.7% voter participation. Thereafter turnouts were 47.7% in 1957, 55.4% in 1962, 61.3% in 1967 (the first elections when Indira Gandhi led Congress), 55.3% in 1971, 60.5% in 1977, 56.9% in 1980, 64% in 1984-85 (held in the wake of assassination of Indira Gandhi), 62% in 1989 (when National Front won under V P Singh), 55.9% in 1991-92 (during which Congress president Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated), 57.9% in 1996, 62% in 1998, 60% in 1999, 58% in 2004, 58.2% in 2009 and 66.4% in 2014.

Make sense of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and results on May 23 with TOI. Follow us to track latest news, live updates, news analysis and cutting-edge data analytics. Track live election results, the big trends and fastest updates on counting day with India’s largest news network.

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BJP demands probe into Delhi police officer’s death


A Delhi Police Sub Inspector was killed on Sunday night in Kasturba Nagar area of the national capital.

The accused Vijay alias Bhuri has been arrested by the police.

The accused Vijay alias Bhuri has been arrested by the police.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on Monday condoled the death of a police Sub Inspector, who died in a scuffle with some miscreants, and demanded a probe into the incident.

“Saddened by the loss of Sub Inspector Rajkumar… May God give strength to the family to bear this calamity. Proper enquiry should be conducted and culprits should be punished as goondaism and Urban Naxalism should have no place in the society,” Tiwari tweeted.

His remarks came after Rajkumar, a Delhi Police Sub Inspector was killed on Sunday night in Kasturba Nagar area of the national capital.

According to Rajkumar’s family, the police officer had gone for a walk after dinner. Later, he got involved in a fight with some miscreants as the police had set up a permanent picket in the area where bootleggers reside.

One person has been arrested.

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First black woman sworn in as Chicago mayor; vows big reforms


First black woman sworn in as Chicago mayor; vows big reforms
Lori Lightfoot speaks after being sworn in as Chicago’s 56th mayor by Judge Susan E. Cox during an inauguration ceremony at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. May 20, 2019. (Reuters Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski)

Lori Lightfoot told aldermen and other city powerbrokers assembled at her inauguration Monday as Chicago’s first black woman mayor that she meant what she said on the campaign trail about top-to-bottom reforms in the nation’s third largest city.

“For years, they’ve said Chicago ain’t ready for reform,” said Lightfoot, speaking minutes after her swearing-in at the Wintrust Arena. “Well, get ready, because reform is here.”

She spoke about curtailing some powers of city council members to lessen temptations for corruption and that structural changes to reduce gun violence would be among her top priorities. Hours later, she signed an executive order limiting aldermanic prerogative, a custom that allows each alderman to direct zoning and period decisions in their ward.

Among her toughest challenges _ and perhaps the one most scrutinized by those outside the city _ will be overhauling the beleaguered Chicago Police Department.

Lightfoot isn’t the first incoming Chicago mayor to have pledged to overhaul a department accused for decades of abuses. But with a court-monitored plan, or consent decree, recently approved by U.S. District Judge Robert Dow, she has the best chance of actually getting it done.

Lightfoot, who made history in April when she defeated a longtime political insider to become the first black woman and openly gay person elected to lead Chicago, signaled days before her inauguration that she’s serious about transforming the 13,000-officer force by appointing top staffers with histories as strong police-reform advocates.

Even with court backing, Lightfoot faces obstacles to enacting the meaningful changes that protesters sought after the 2015 release of video of a white officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.

“I believe she’s a true reformer,” said Phil Turner, who like Lightfoot, is a former federal prosecutor in Chicago. “But there’s a difference between trying to reform police and reality. She is up against a lot of entrenched forces.”

The fiercest resistance will come from rank-and-file officers and the union that represents them, which has been openly hostile to key provisions, arguing that many will tie officers’ hands and make it impossible for them to do their jobs right.

One requirement that the union singles out for criticism _ and that Lightfoot has heralded _ is that officers document each time they point their weapons at someone, even if they don’t shoot. The union says it will cause police to hesitate, potentially putting them at risk.

There’s also no guarantee officers will fully comply with any new policies. Dow’s ability to hold people in contempt if they don’t adhere to reforms only goes so far, Turner said.

“You can’t hold entire entities, like officers on the street, in contempt,” he said. “The person nominally in charge and who a judge can charge with contempt is the mayor. But she’s a proponent of reforms.”

The plan that Dow approved in January was a culmination of the scandal surrounding McDonald’s death and came after a Justice Department investigation concluded that racial bias and poor training contributed to a pattern of abuse by police. Illinois’ attorney general sued the city to force the court’s supervision after years of inaction by the City Council, which dealt with systemic police misconduct in recent years by approving millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements.

Lightfoot is likely to fill top posts in her administration with people who support the changes. Her chief of staff, named Wednesday, is Maurice Classen, a former prosecutor in Seattle, where he lobbied for “systemic and deep reform” of city police. He later helped develop anti-violence and policing strategies in cities nationwide.

He told the Chicago Sun-Times that Lightfoot’s administration will be focused from her first days on the job on better management of city costs and ensuring that “compliance with the consent decree is a high priority for the Police Department.”

Money will be an issue. City officials recently said Chicago’s 2020 budget shortfall was around $740 million, worse than previously thought. Some changes, including to police training, will require funds. But the consent decree doesn’t spell out how much the city should spend _ something Lightfoot has criticized.

Lightfoot’s campaign platform called for changes that go beyond the consent decree, including the adoption of a policy in place in New York requiring that newly hired officers spend two weeks meeting residents in the neighborhood they will police.

Among her other priorities is improving the percentage of homicide cases detectives solve from the current 20%. A specific proposal is for a mobile lab that can cut the time it takes to process ballistics evidence from days to just a few hours.

During her Monday speech, Lightfoot repeatedly returned to the issue of violence, saying “there is no higher calling than restoring safety and peace in our neighborhoods.”

“People cannot and should not live in neighborhoods that resemble a war zone,” she said, adding later that “Public safety must not be a commodity that is only available to the wealthy.”



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Delhi Police sub-inspector dies after attack by bootlegger


A 58-year-old Delhi Police sub-inspector died after he was allegedly attacked by a bootlegger in the Vivek Vihar area of Shahdara district on Sunday night.

The sub-inspector, Raj Kumar, was reportedly filming illegal liquor trade on his mobile phone when the accused, Vijay alias Bhuri, assaulted him following an argument. The accused has been arrested.

Police said a PCR call was received at 10.06 p.m. regarding a quarrel at Kasturba Nagar in Vivek Vihar. Both Kumar and Vijay lived in the same area.

“Kumar, out on a post-dinner walk, saw Vijay illegally supplying liquor to a person. He started filming the act on his mobile phone,” said a police officer. Vijay saw Kumar recording the video and asked for his mobile phone. “Kumar refused and this led to a scuffle between them,” the officer said.

Taken to hospital

Kumar felt uneasy after reaching home and left for Garg Hospital nearby with his daughter on his two-wheeler, said the officer. The hospital authorities referred him to Max Hospital in Patparganj instead. Kumar was declared dead on arrival at the second hospital.

Meghna Yadav, DCP (Shahdara), said that an examination of the body prima facie revealed “a cut injury below the chin and a blunt injury mark on the chest”. The preliminary post-mortem report suggested that he died of a heart attack; a detailed report is awaited, she said.

“We have registered a case under IPC Section 302. The accused has been arrested,” she said.



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Situation under control, but Pak attempting anti-India activity says Army


India

oi-Oneindia Staff

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Udhampur, May 21: Asserting that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “under control”, the Army said that Pakistan is continuing with its anti-India activities along the Line of Control (LoC) by trying to infiltrate terrorists into the Valley and promoting drug trade.

General Officer Commanding in Chief (GoC-In-C), Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said 86 terrorists were killed this year in the state and vowed that operations against the ultras will continue.

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh

“The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in under control,” Lt Gen Singh told PTI in reply to a question here.

PDP leader succumbs to injuries after terrorist attack

He said the terror infrastructure across the border was intact and Pakistan is continuing with its anti-Indian activities.

“Pakistan has been continuing with its activities which are mainly anti-India, whether it is violating ceasefire, promoting cross-border infiltration, drug trafficking, narcotics, circulation of fake Indian currency,” he said.

He said the neighbouring country wants to continue with its proxy war against India.
“But I must assure you that our efforts to thwart each of these actions is in place and Pakistan will not able to succeed in its designs,” Lt Gen Singh said.

He said the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was peaceful and “we have been able to ensure peace and tranquility with China”.

Lt Gen Singh said the established mechanisms for confidence building have ensured that there are no “fraction points” between the two sides.

“If at all there are any kind of transgressions and incursions, which do take place, the established mechanisms take care of that,” he added.

He said the security forces helped the administration in Jammu and Kashmir to conduct the Lok Sabha polls in a peaceful manner.

“We recently finished with the elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The credit is due to the security forces and the administration,” Lt Gen Singh said.

He said while security forces killed a number of terrorists in the past four months in the state, some ultras shunned the path of violence and returned to the mainstream.

“During this year, we have been to neutralise 86 terrorists so far. Twenty terrorists were also apprehended. Our operations against terrorists will continue. A number of ultras have been brought back to the mainstream with the help of the parents, teachers and senior citizens,” Lt Gen Sinbh said.

Killing of Aurangazeb avenged: Three Hizbul terrorists wiped out

He said the Army was able to check and and arrest terror activities in south of Pir Panjal in the Jammu region.

At present, there are no confirmed reports about the presence of terrorists in the region, Lt Gen Singh said.

“Our resolve, our commitment to operations (against terrorists) continues to be same in south of Pir Panjal. We will not allow the area to slip into terrorism,” he added.

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Arvind Kejriwal says Delhi’s Muslims shifted to Congress. What does it mean for AAP?



As the general election drew to a close, Arvind Kejriwal seemed to hint that the Aam Aadmi Party could lose in Delhi. The chief minister claimed on May 18 that the city’s Muslim vote, which his party had been banking on, shifted to the Congress at the last moment. “Until 48 hours before polling, it seemed like all seven seats will come to AAP,” he said. “But at the last moment, the complete Muslim vote got shifted to the Congress. We are trying to figure out what happened.”

If this is indeed the case, what does it portend for AAP?

It could spell trouble for AAP in next year’s Assembly election, said Biswajit Mohanty, a political science professor at Deshbandhu College, Delhi. “It is a fact that the Muslim vote is going en bloc to the Congress in Delhi,” he said. “If the Congress does well now, then they will be upbeat.”

In the immediate term, it is an admission that the party will not win any seats when the results are declared on May 23, argued Praveen Rai of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. “A significant number of voters has shifted to the Congress and AAP’s support may dip below 15%. After the results, AAP is going to blame EVMs, the Congress party and Muslims for its electoral rout,” Rai said, referring to the electronic voting machines. “It is totally unfair and absurd to blame a religious community. AAP failed to consolidate its support base and it gradually moved away.”

Muslims are about 13% of Delhi’s population and they largely backed AAP in the 2015 Assembly election in which the party garnered 54.3% of the vote, winning 67 of the 70 seats. It was a huge jump in support from the 2014 parliamentary election where AAP had won 32.9% of the total vote. In the municipal polls held in 2017, however, the party’s vote share crashed to some 26%, putting it neck and neck with the Congress, which had failed to take a single seat in the Assembly election.

Rai contended that “sections of the Delhi electorate opposed to the BJP perceived the Congress to be the main challenger and, hence, voted for the grand old party instead of AAP”. The resulting split likely helped the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Indeed, most exit polls predict the BJP will retain all seven of Delhi’s seats, with a few giving a seat each to the Congress or AAP.

If Kejriwal’s party does come up empty, its future prospects would be severely damaged, said Rai. “Such an outcome will have an adverse impact on AAP,” he explained, “as hordes of its cadres and MLAs will dump the party for greener pastures.”

Mohanty agreed with Rai’s assessment. “Anti-BJP Hindus will definitely go to the Congress rather than AAP,” he said. “AAP will retain some of the lower class and lower caste votes but that support too might dwindle later if the Congress puts up a good show in this election.”

Scroll.in tried contacting AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and Lok Sabha candidates Atishi and Pankaj Gupta for comment on Kejriwal’s remarks, but none of them responded to phone calls or text messages.

‘Muslims will always be blamed’

Several Muslim voters Scroll.in with in Delhi confirmed they voted for the Congress to make, as one of them out put it, “the strong party stronger to defeat the BJP”. Others, however, insisted that they voted for AAP because of the party’s work on healthcare and education.

“Muslims will always be blamed,” Masoom Azam, a tailor in Trilokpuri, East Delhi, responded when asked about the chief minister’s remarks.

Azam voted for the Congress “because they had better candidates”. “Kejriwal has no place in Lok Sabha,” he said. “He never had a big vote bank among Muslims anyway. But we will vote for AAP in the Assembly election.”

It is Kejriwal’s fault that his party did not get the Muslim vote, Azam contended: “Why couldn’t he just take the four seats the Congress gave him and form an alliance? Why did he get greedy for Punjab?”

Faizan Khan, a student in Trilokpuri, said his vote would have “gone to waste” had he supported AAP. “This is an election to defeat the BJP,” he added. “They will blame us, that is what political parties do. But we voted for a strong party to make it stronger.”

He too criticised AAP for not allying with the Congress. “We would have blindly voted for the alliance if we had one in Delhi like Uttar Pradesh has mahagathbandan,” Khan said.

Nahim Abbas, a plumber from the same locality, said Kejriwal’s “thinking is wrong”. “Nothing would change with AAP winning two-three seats, so we gave our vote to a stronger party,” he said. “I knew he wouldn’t win the Lok Sabha election but we will vote for him in the Assembly election.”

Mohammad Furquan, a bus driver in Trilokpuri, faulted AAP for making its demand for full statehood a central theme of the campaign. “We know Delhi will never get full statehood,” he explained. “People didn’t believe in their campaign. This election is for choosing the prime minister.”

In Chandni Chowk, Mohammad Zahid said the majority of the Muslim vote went to the Congress. “We haven’t seen as much trouble in our business as in these last five years,” said Zahid, who runs a business renting out load carriers. “Sealing is also a very big issue. Now, we just want the BJP to go. AAP didn’t do anything for us even though they have full majority in the Assembly.”

Not all Muslims said they voted for the Congress, though. “Most Muslim votes went to AAP,” said Mohammad Rashid, an East Delhi resident who works at a trading firm. “Kejriwal is wrong. You cannot blame the whole community. Even if Muslims don’t vote for AAP, their vote share will not go down.”

Abbas Athar, an electrician, also in East Delhi, said he voted for full statehood. But he posed a question to Kejriwal: “It’s a matter of suspense. Till the results don’t come out, how can he say that Muslims did not vote for him?”

Also read: The Election Fix: What you need to know about the exit polls that are projecting a BJP sweep

Inside Atishi’s campaign: What will it take for an urban liberal to win a seat in Delhi?



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Tough time for cops in tracing Ravi Prakash



Investigators also found that he was making calls through WhatsApp to avoid the police from identifying his location.

By Author  |  Published: 21st May 2019  12:56 am

Hyderabad: Three special teams that were constituted to trace former TV9 Chief Executive Officer V Ravi Prakash and actor S Shivaji are searching for them at three places – Amaravati, Guntur and Vijayawada – in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Sources said Ravi Prakash was reportedly taking shelter with the help of a few politicians in AP in Amaravati, Guntur or Vijayawada. As he was said to be frequently changing SIM cards, the police are facing problems in tracing his actual location.

Investigators also found that he was making calls through WhatsApp to avoid the police from identifying his location. Shivaji was also taking shelter at the house of his close acquaintances, it is learnt. Even as a search is on for Ravi Prakash and Shivaji, the Cyberabad cybercrimes sleuths examined 10 witnesses in collection with the cheating and forgery case that was registered against the duo.

The statements of witnesses would be crucial for the investigators to nail Ravi Prakash and Shivaji. On the other hand, the investigators continued to question the channel’s former Chief Financial Officer M.V.K.N. Murthy to collect more information from him. A few days ago, the Cyberabad police issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against Ravi Prakash and Shivaji across all airports in the country after they failed to appear before the investigating officer in spite of issuing three notices to them.

Apart from two cases that were booked by the Cyberabad cybercrime sleuths, the Banjara Hills police also booked a cheating and criminal breach of trust case against Ravi Prakash, Murthy and others on Thursday.



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Pak radicalizing youth, 40 join militancy: Army Comdr


‘Won’t allow terror to take roots in Jammu’

No record of surgical strike before Sept 2016

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 20: Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said today that Pakistan was trying to keep the pot of militancy boiling by radicalizing Kashmiri youth through social media to pick up guns saying 40 youngsters have joined militancy in the Valley this year so far though the number has declined over the previous years due to outreach programme of the Army with teachers and families of the youth. At the same time, he said, 86 militants have been neutralized this year while 20 others have been apprehended in the Valley till date.
Describing situation in Jammu and Kashmir as “under control”, the Army Commander, who has regularly been taking visits to forward areas on the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K as well as hinterland, said Pakistan continued to indulge in anti-India activities by trying to infiltrate militants and promote drug trafficking. However, he declared that Army will not allow terror to take roots in Jammu region.
Speaking to selected group of media persons with number of them not getting any invite from the Northern Command Headquarters, at Udhampur, Lt Gen Singh said Pakistan army has failed in infiltrating militants and, therefore, was trying to radicalize local youth through social media to pick up guns in the Valley.
“About 40 youngsters have joined militancy in Kashmir this year,” he added.
Still, the General said, there is decrease in the youth joining militancy this year as compared to last year due to outreach programme of the Indian Army to their families and teachers, which resulted in return of large number of misguided youth back to mainstream.
“Pakistan has been continuing with its efforts to show this (terrorism) as indigenous movement. Today, they feel absolutely starved because of the very effective counter infiltration grid of the Indian Army. Successful infiltration from the Line of Control is virtually becoming very difficult”, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said.
However, he asserted, the local recruitment of militants remains a matter of concern for all of us. “Last year, 217 local youth had picked up guns. This year number has significantly reduced. As on date, there are only 40 youth, who have picked up arms”.
The Army Commander spelled out that one of the key reasons for local recruitment is the “radicalization and exploitation of social media by Pakistani agencies.”
However, he said, realization is now coming among the youth and people of Kashmir that they don’t want to become fodder by the Pakistani agencies and various inimical elements, who were trying to promote terrorism and violence in the State. “I am sure with the help of all the stakeholders we will be able to arrest this trend in the times to come as we are doing now”.
Lt Gen Singh said the Army was able to prevail upon the youth through their social outreach programmes with the help of family members, teachers and other stakeholders and brought number of youth back from clutches of the militancy, to national mainstream.
Asserting that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “under control”, the Army General said Pakistan is continuing with its anti-India activities along the Line of Control (LoC) by trying to infiltrate militants into the Valley and promoting drug trade.
The Northern Army Commander said during this year, 86 militants have been neutralized and 20 others arrested and declared that operations against the militants will continue.
He said the Army has been able to check and arrest terror activities in south of Pir Panjal in the Jammu region. At present, there are no confirmed reports about the presence of terrorists in the region, Lt Gen Singh said, adding: “Our resolve and commitment to operations (against militants) continues to be same in South of Pir Panjal. We will not allow the areas of Jammu region to slip into terrorism,” he added.
As far as security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, he described it as “well under control”.
However, he added, the terror infrastructure across the border was intact and Pakistan is continuing with its “anti-Indian activities”.
He said Pakistan has been continuing with its activities which are mainly anti-India, whether it is violating ceasefire, promoting cross-border infiltration, drug trafficking, narcotics and circulation of fake Indian currency etc.
He added that the neighbouring country wants to continue with its proxy war against India.
“But I must assure you that our efforts to thwart each of these actions is in place and Pakistan will not able to succeed in its designs,” Lt Gen Singh said.
Referring to the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China as peaceful, the Northern Army Commander said: “We have been able to ensure peace and tranquility with China”.
Lt Gen Singh said the established mechanisms for confidence building have ensured that there are no “fraction points” between the two sides.
“If at all there are any kind of transgressions and incursions, which do take place, the established mechanisms take care of that,” he added.
Lt Gen Singh said the security forces helped the administration in Jammu and Kashmir to conduct the Lok Sabha polls in a peaceful manner.
“We recently finished with the elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The credit is due to the security forces and the administration,” he added.
Lt Gen Singh termed the IAF’s Balakote airstrike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan as a “major achievement”.
He also confirmed that the first surgical strike was carried out by India in September 2016 while quoting an RTI reply by Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and the Indian Army.
Asked if India conducted any surgical strike before September 2016, Lt Gen Singh replied in the negative.
Citing an RTI reply given by the DGMO and Indian Army, Lt Gen Singh said, “A few days ago DGMO said in a reply to an RTI that the first surgical strike happened in Sept 2016, I don’t want to go into what political parties say as they’ll be given an answer by Government. What I told you is a statement of fact.”
During Lok Sabha elections, Congress leader and former Prime Minister-Dr Manmohan Singh had stated that India had conducted six surgical strikes during UPA tenure but they weren’t publicized. Other Congress leaders had also joined the chorus and claimed that number of surgical strikes had been conducted during the UPA regime.
“The action by the Indian Air Force on the February 26 for carrying out airstrikes on Balakote terrorist infrastructure was indeed laudable,” he said.
“It was a major achievement wherein our aircrafts went deep into enemy territory and struck terror launch pads and camps,” he added.
Lt Gen Singh said Pakistanis carried out their air operations very close to the Line of Control the following day but were given a “befitting reply”.
“I want to assure you, the Indian Armed Forces have the capability, the resolve and operational plans absolutely geared up to take on any challenge from Pakistan whenever it arises,” he added.
Lt Gen Singh declared that Indian Army remains committed to take on any challenge of external threat as well as internal disturbances whenever called for. Indian Army, he said, is a very potent, responsible and accountable instrument of national power.
Lt Gen Singh batted strongly for “energizing” Village Defence Committees (VDCs) calling them a “useful instrument” for the State.
“They (VDCs) are always to be energized and they shall be able to take on responsibility (of securing the villages in remote and hilly areas) tasked to them,” he added.
The Army Commander said that it must be ensured that the volunteers are provided weapons so that they can defend their villages and pass information to the security forces regarding movement and presence of terrorists.
“All have to play a role to ensure peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The GoC-in-C Northern Command further said that Pakistan was insincere in ensuring peace and tranquility along the Line of Control.
“Whenever ceasefire violations take place, it is initiated by Pakistan. It shows their insincerity towards ushering in peace and tranquility along the LoC,” he said.
He added that the ceasefire is violated so that they can provide cover to large number of infiltrators or terrorists who are waiting to enter into India and carry out large scale destruction and violence.
“We have strong multi-tier grid and don’t allow the Pakistan Army or any other agency to take advantage of that situation,” Lt Gen said.
As far as terrorist infrastructure is concerned, it remains intact in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, he said.
If Pakistan wants peace, it must dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, militant camps and launch pads on its soil.
On modernization of weaponry and equipment, he said the Army has a very articulated military strategy.
“We have operational plans for the deployment and employment of all the resources at the disposal of the Army. So, Army air defence is one such resource. It is a part of the overall defensive and offensives measure of Indian Army,” he said.



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Overall voter turnout 2% lower than in 2014


NEW DELHI: Polling for the 17th Lok Sabha saw many more women casting their votes, with the difference between male and female electors falling to just 0.4% from 1.4% in 2014. The overall turnout of 64.2% was 2 percentage points lower than in 2014, though the figure may change once data for the seventh and final phase is updated, from 64.3% announced on Sunday.
“The gap between turnout of male and female voters has narrowed down significantly from 9% in 2009 to only 0.4% in this election. It was 1.4% in 2014,” deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha said. The narrow difference indicates that the number of women voters would exceed men in some states.
The EC said polling on Sunday was peaceful, barring a few incidents in West Bengal. In 2014, 64.6% voters had voted across the 59 seats spread over seven states and one UT covered in the polling.

Polling was held in 13 LS seats each in UP and Punjab, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and MP, all four constituencies of Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and one in Chandigarh. With this, polling for all 542 parliamentary seats is over.
The EC is yet to announce dates for the Vellore LS seat where polling was rescinded earlier. EC officials said over 90 crore citizens were registered to vote in these elections.
Sinha said the 2019 elections were more peaceful, including in J&K and Maoist-affected areas, than in 2014.
2,800 rowdies were held in Bengal to foil poll trouble
Though exact percentage of people who cast their votes during all the seven phases is still being compiled, senior EC officials said up to the completion of sixth phase of polling, 67.37% had exercised their franchise as compared to 66.12% in 2014, marking an increase of nearly 1.24 percentage points.
On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest turnout at 75.5% as compared to 66.87% in 2014. In West Bengal, it was 73.51% against 79.15% during the last Lok Sabha election. Jharkhand followed with 71.16% compared to 68.87% in 2014.
Similarly, in Himachal Pradesh, the turnout on Sunday was 70.62% against 65.06% during the last general elections. The voter turnout was also higher in UP and Bihar as compared to 2014. Chandigarh saw maximum dip in voter turnout at 63.57% as compared to 73.84% in 2014. Only Punjab also saw a decline in voter participation.
EC officials said preventive steps were taken in West Bengal where nearly 2,800 rowdies who could be potential trouble-makers, were detained. Deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain told reporters that over 400 quick response teams were deployed strategically so that they could reach any trouble spot within 10 minutes. These vehicles were fitted with GPS and monitored by police observers.
Jain said there was a complaint about central forces influencing voters in one of the booths in Basirhat. He dismissed the complaint saying central force personnel were not allowed inside the polling booth and there was no question of influencing voters.
In another incident, three bombs were hurled in Mathurapur parliamentary constituency and since this happened far from the poll station, it did not impact voting. In Kolkata South, there was temporary chaos at a polling station where both BJP and Trinamool Congress candidates complained of being stopped by central forces, but this did not impact voting.

Make sense of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and results on May 23 with TOI. Follow us to track latest news, live updates, news analysis and cutting-edge data analytics. Track live election results, the big trends and fastest updates on counting day with India’s largest news network.

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Here is your horoscope for May 20, 2019


ARIES

Observe balance in all areas or chaos will result. There is too much going on at work, so it is important to keep perspective. The extreme intensity in your relationships might cloud your vision; wait for feelings to pass before taking important decisions. Lucky number 7. Colour grey.

TAURUS

You make changes to move towards expansion and independence. Intellectual prowess in your field gains you repute. You need to be flexible about ideas and policy. It is advisable to uphold fair play at work. You are clear about feelings in a romantic involvement. Lucky number 1. Colour red.

GEMINI

Opportunities are progressive and lucrative. You demand balance and freedom in all your partnerships; otherwise you lose interest in them. You are intuitive and creative, gaining the respect of people. Overdoing and indulgence in habits must be curtailed. Lucky number 2. Colour blue.

CANCER

You let go the past and move into new situations today as the third eye of Lord Shiva opens for an infinitesimal moment to allow restructuring after destruction. Inner attitudes and values change as you bring about outer changes. Ego stands should be avoided. Lucky number 16. Colour red.

LEO

Focus on values and relationships that are important or you could confuse yourself and others. A Scorpio person proves to be a friend. Communications and visitors arrive unexpectedly. Living totally in the moment and going with the flow are great virtues. Lucky number 6. Colour saffron.

VIRGO

You enjoy success in a project but beware of giving up at the brink of winning due to lack of energy. You tend to be fascinated with display but its best to look deeper for truths. Avoid being double-faced in any area of life, as you don’t gain from it. Lucky number 7. Colour silver.

LIBRA

Family and children are happy and supportive as they prepare for an event. Health and well-being are important, as there is much to be done professionally. You are at your dynamic best to start new ventures and deal with people. Your relationship is rejuvenated. Lucky number 7. Colour blue.

SCORPIO

You stand in the middle of a doorway trying to make decisions today! Listen to your judgment and do what is good for you rather than worry about what people have to say. As you take definite steps towards professional matters there is clarity about goals. Lucky number 20. Colour blue.

SAGITTARIUS

You are enthused with youthful energy in professional matters and passion in relationships today. You can mentally slay as fast as you create, so be aware. Don’t allow your mind to dictate the heart in emotional matters or you stand to lose trust of people. Lucky number 5. Colour blue.

CAPRICORN

You need to view defeat in a certain aspect from a higher perspective. Learn from past experience and get on with your life rather than repeat old patterns. New beginnings develop! Positive attitudes in relationships bring healing. You celebrate an event! Lucky number 12. Colour green.

AQUARIUS

You achieve targets with goodwill and support. A short trip is on the cards! Don’t allow personal feelings to influence professional decisions. You enjoy work and play equally as interesting projects take shape. Health and finances need to be conserved. Lucky number 2. Colour pink.

PISCES

You complete an important assignment and can look forward to more opportunities. This is a good time to deal with details, practical matters and health problems. Be expansive and share your richness, wisdom, experience, feelings and expertise with others. Lucky number 9. Colour pink.

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