February 21: Top news at noon

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Photo courtesy: Twitter.com/PawarSpeaks
Photo courtesy: Twitter.com/PawarSpeaks


Civic polls: Voting underway across Maharashtra

Polling for the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and 9 other civic bodies across Maharashtra got underway at 7 am on Tuesday. A total of 3.77 crore voters will determine the fate of 17,331 candidates for 3210 seats up for grabs in 10 municipal corporations, 11 zilla parishads and 118 panchayat samitis in the second phase of polls being seen as "mini general elections." Polling began at 7.30 am at 43,160 polling stations spread across the state. The districts going to polls in the second phase are Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli. Elections are being held in 118 panchayat samitis in these districts. The ten municipal corporations include Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur. Counting of votes will be taken up on February 23.

Nitin Gadkari's car gheraoed in Nagpur

Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari's car was gheraoed in Tandapeth area of Nagpur on the eve of Nagpur Municipal Corporation election. The incident took place in the evening when the minister accompanied by the city unit BJP president Vikas Kumbhare went to meet a party worker at his residence. While Gadkari was inside, the members of the crowd raised slogans against him claiming he has failed to resolve certain issues. In the meantime, Gadkari left the house. Talking to PTI, Kumbhare alleged those raised the slogans were Congress workers. Kotwali Police refused to discuss the matter.

BJP leader shot man dead in 2006, claims ex-driver

BJP candidate in Goa Vishwajit Krishnarao Rane's ex-driver was detained by police after a video went viral on social media where he claimed to have witnessed a murder of a man by the leader. "Witness Pandurang Adarkar who is from Kolhapur in Maharashtra has been detained. He has confessed to being witness to the murder of one Shanu Gaonkar, who is missing since 2006," said inspector Dipak Pednekar. In the video, Adarkar purportedly claimed he was witness to Rane shooting Gaonkar dead in Sattari tehsil of Goa in 2006 to avenge the killing of his brother Prithviraj Rane. Prithviraj was murdered at Saleli village of Sattari tehsil in 2005. Preliminary inquiry had begun under the supervision of Superintendent of Police Karthik Kashyap, Pednekar told PTI. No one had been arrested yet, but the statements of all the people named by Adarkar would be recorded, he said. The police officer, however, ruled out questioning Rane at this juncture. Vishwajit Krishnarao Rane could not be reached for comments. He contested the Assembly election earlier this month on the BJP ticket against Congress' Pratapsinh Rane from Poriem constituency.

Rajasthan BJP MLA's husband thrashes police official

Rajasthan BJP MLA Chandra Kanta Meghwal's husband Narendra Meghwal allegedly thrashed a police official over issuing a challan for the vehicle of a party worker in Kota. SHO of Mahaveernagar Police Station Ram Basaida said a police personnel was allegedly manhandled and thrashed, but denied reports of detention of the MLA and other BJP leaders. DSP Cunaram Jat said a meeting, involving senior police officials, the MLA concerned, MP O M Birla, other BJP leaders, is underway to resolve the issue.

Private airline denied permission by IAF to operate flight

The Indian Air Force today denied permission to a private airline to operate its flight from here to Jaisalmer citing security reasons. Operations of the Jaisalmer airport is under the control of IAF. "A private airline, which had sought permission to operate a non-scheduled flight to Jaisalmer, could not be permitted due to failure on its part to fulfill requisite conditions pertaining to safety of the aircraft and passengers as per the guidelines and non-coordination of ground logistics prior to flight operation," Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha said on Monday night. Following this the airline threatened to initiate legal action against the IAF for "disrupting" the flight and "causing monetary loss" to it.

SP's Ribu Srivastava withdraws nomination from Varanasi Cantt seat

Samajwadi Party candidate Ribu Srivastava withdrew her nomination from the Varanasi Cantonment Assembly seat today. Following the SP-Congress tie-up, Congress' Anil Srivastava was named as candidate from the seat in the joint list released by the alliance. Ribu had filed her nomination papers on Thursday, while Anil Srivastava had already filed his papers on Tuesday. On Thursday, Ribu claimed that after getting consent from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, she had filed the papers to contest from the seat. However, she withdrew her nomination on the instructions of the SP's senior leadership, party sources said.

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