The world’s biggest pop band, One Direction, have just returned from an inspiring trip to Ghana, where they visited projects that receive support from money raised through Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day.The band filmed scenes for the video of the official Red Nose Day single in Ghana and also made a film which will be shown on the Red Nose Day Night of TV in March.Whilst away in Africa Harry tweeted “Today was the most amazing day I’ve had so far.. In my life ever,” before adding on his return to the UK “@rednoseday Thank you so much for having us. It was amazing and we’ll see you soon .xx”The band’s Red Nose Day single, One Way or Another, will be released in February. A cover of Blondie’s 1978 smash hit, the single will be available to pre-order from iTunes from 31st January.Red Nose Day is back on Friday 15th March 2013, for more information, visit rednoseday.com.
Small Steps Project is pleased to announce its annual Celebrity Shoe Auction will be back in November, and will be bigger and better than ever.The Small Steps Project Celebrity Shoe Auction is back for it’s fifth year, with some of the biggest celebrities in the world taking a small step by donating their signed shoes to help support children living on landfill sites.Among the stars who have donated their footwear this year are Beyonce, Benedict Cumberbatch, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Andrew Garfield, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Jonah Hill, Jack Nicholson, Renee Zellweger, Kevin Spacey, Jodie Foster, Isla Fisher, Joaquin Phoenix, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Joanna Lumley, Helena Bonham Carter, Vivienne Westwood, Richard Branson, Elizabeth Hurley, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Annie Lennox, One Direction, Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, Carrie Underwood, Gwen Stefani, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, Didier Drogba, Rio Ferdinand, Usain Bolt, Rory McIlroy, and Ozzy, Sharon and Kelly Osbourne.How celebrity shoes help children on rubbish dumpsSmall Steps Project’s new sustainable project on Cluj dump in Romania with their partners FDP has gone from strength to strength over the past six months. Thanks to the funds raised in last years’ Celebrity Shoe Auction, they have been able to set up a Nursery and Mother & Baby unit, as well as help reintegrate the older children into main stream school. They have a fantastic team of doctors, social workers and psychologists, who ensure that the children are cleaned and fed, educated and cared for. However, unlike other dumps, Romania has harsh, unforgiving Winters. Most families live in small shacks built from scavenged materials, with no electricity. This means that minus temperatures make it extremely uncomfortable, especially for young children. Small Steps Project wants to protect these families by consistently providing warm clothing, comfortable footwear and food. This is why the celebrity shoe auction is so important.The auctions will be live for bids on the following dates: Film 2nd-16th November, Music 9th-23rd November, Sport 16th-30th November, Fashion & Entertainment 23rd November- 6th December.Find out more about how to get your hands (or feet) on some celebrity shoes, click here.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, has announced that some of the biggest stars in the country music industry are uniting with pediatricians and child welfare advocates, civil rights organizations, the business community and supporters of equality to oppose legislation in Tennessee attacking transgender students in public schools and universities.Emmylou Harris, Chely Wright, Ty Herndon, Miley Cyrus, and Country Music Television are speaking out against HB 2414 and SB 2387 – discriminatory proposals that would further marginalize transgender students and make it illegal for them to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.“For a moment a few weeks ago, it seemed like lawmakers in Tennessee had really heard the brave testimony of a transgender young person and her parents,” said Miley Cyrus. “A mother’s simple ask to legislators about what they would do if it was their child who was transgender hit a nerve, and the anti-transgender bill was sent to a summer study session, seemingly killing if for this year. But that was two weeks ago – a lifetime ago, it seems, in light of all that has happened since – and that bill is back.”“Transgender youth already face incredibly high levels of discrimination, bullying, and harassment, and it is appalling that the state of Tennessee would consider requiring public schools to discriminate against them, too,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, some of the biggest stars in the country music industry are using their voices to try and protect these young people. They join a broad chorus of parents, teachers, child welfare advocates, pediatricians, businesses and civil rights organizations urging Tennessee lawmakers to do the right thing and stop discrimination against transgender youth. Tennessee should block this hateful legislation and commit to ensuring every child has the right to learn without being subjected to discrimination or fear.”On Wednesday, HRC also released an open letter from executives at the Dow Chemical Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Choice Hotels International, Inc., and Alcoa, Inc. urging Tennessee’s lawmakers to abandon the legislative assault on transgender students in Tennessee. Major CEOs and business leaders are speaking out because they know the legislation is bad for business and bad for Tennessee.“Those who love and make country music do so because at its best it speaks to the pain and suffering everyone shares in this life,” said Emmylou Harris. “Let’s not make that life harder still for some, with this mean spirited and unnecessary legislation.”Over the last month, bills with language similar to Tennessee’s proposal were vetoed in South Dakota, but enacted in North Carolina, where lawmakers have faced serious backlash. While South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard listened to child welfare organizations, pediatricians, parents, and met with transgender children before deciding to veto a similar bill, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the state legislature rammed through a measure that, among other discriminatory provisions, includes a similar appalling attack on transgender students. As a result of North Carolina’s HB2 law, which puts thousands of youth, citizens, employees, and visitors to the state at risk, more than 130 business leaders are calling for a repeal effort during the upcoming legislative session and a number of businesses have begun to remove investments from the state.“As an artist living and working in Nashville for more than 20 years, I know how hard it was to struggle for acceptance as a gay woman,” said Chely Wright. “The deck is stacked even higher against transgender students who face dramatically increased rates of bullying. This bill will send a devastating message to transgender youth that they are not welcome, included or valued. It goes without saying that their classmates and their communities will hear this message loudly and clearly too; emboldening many of them to double down on that harassment. I have a lot of friends in Nashville with great, big voices and it’s time that we all use our voices to stand up against this scourge of unnecessary, hateful legislation in Tennessee.”
Mack, Jack & McConaughey (MJ&M), the joint fundraising effort of ESPN analyst and legendary football coach Mack Brown, ACM award-winning recording artist Jack Ingram and Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, announces today that Grammy award-winning, Vanner Records/Sony Nashville recording artist, Miranda Lambert will headline its gala night on Thursday, April 20, 2017 with Jack Ingram opening as part of MJ&M’s two-day event in Austin, Texas.Mack, Jack & McConaughey Announces Miranda Lambert to Perform at ACL Live at The Moody TheaterTickets will be available to the public on Friday, February 3, at 10 a.m here.Texas native Miranda Lambert is the reigning ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, having been bestowed the honor for seven consecutive years. Her recognitions include two Grammy Awards, 13 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, and 25 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards as well as many other accolades. Miranda released her most recent effort, a double album titled The Weight of These Wings in November 2016, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.“I am thrilled to join my dear friends for the 5th Annual Mack, Jack & McConaughey event in April. The impact of their effort is off the charts and I am glad to help. We are going to have an incredible night,” said Lambert.This spring marks the 5th year of the Mack, Jack & McConaughey event. Every year thousands of guests enjoy two full days of events, all benefitting charities working to empower kids through health, wellness and education programming.“There is nobody better than Miranda to take year five of MJ&M to the next level. Matthew, Mack and I are so proud to have seen MJ&M grow from a fun idea into an impactful effort already investing more than $5 million into charities working to empower kids,” said Ingram.On Friday, April 21, MJ&M will continue with a golf tournament at Spanish Oaks Golf Club. Simultaneously, MJ&M will host a fashion show and luncheon chaired by Lifestyle expert and co-founder of Yummy Spoonfuls Camila Alves McConaughey. Friday wraps up with the Jack & Friends concert at ACL.Funds raised at MJ&M 2017 will support Cure Duchenne, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, HeartGift, just keep livin Foundation and The Rise School of Austin.Sponsors of this year’s event include: Allstate, Fashion Forms, H-E-B, Wild Turkey, American Campus Communities, Nike, Target and The Mrs.
UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, and R&B singer, Akon joined some of the world’s coolest amateur athletes at the 3rd annual Global Goals World Cup (GGWC).The 3rd Annual Global Goals World Cup The stars and dignitaries fought it out on the pitch at the tournament which shines a light on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), bringing together 16 amateur women’s football teams vying for the trophy designed by world-renowned artist, Olafur Eliasson.Each team rallied around one of the SDGs, 17 goals that address critical issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality and climate change. The winning team, Goleadoreas from Queens, New York, championed SDG5, gender equality.On hand to deliver the trophy to the triumphant team were Crown Prince Haakon and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who has refereed previous Global Goals Tournaments in New York, Bangkok and Nairobi. This year he brought his two daughters to the event which took place on the 48th floor of the SAP building in New York City.“I’ve brought along my daughters this year so they can see all these remarkable women; scientists, activists, chief executives and policy-makers, all playing soccer,” Coster-Waldau said. “Sports unite people around the world, and can unite people to achieve the SDGs as well.”Co-founder of the Global Goals World Cup, Majken Gilmartin, said she was always impressed at the enthusiasm of all those taking part in the tournament.“This year’s Global Goals World Cup was such a success. Wherever the tournament takes place around the world, women answer the call to help achieve the SDGs. At the core of this is the women and the change they are making in their communities,” Gilmartin said.The Prime Minister of Norway played in the VIP Champion’s game alongside SDG Advocate, Alaa Murabit, Coster-Waldau, Akon, and Ulrika Modeer, Assistant Secretary-General and UN Development Programme’s Director of the Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy.Other events during the day included panel discussions in front of a crowded house, and a pop-up Girls Lounge hosted by The Female Quotient, a company and community dedicated to achieving workplace equality.For more information, visit ggwcup.com/nyc201820.
Ottawa writer Amal El-Mohtar’s short story “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” published in the edited anthology The Starlit Wood, was declared best short story by the Hugo Awards at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, Finland.The Hugo Awards, established in 1955, are considered one of the world’s top prizes for science fiction writing.El-Mohtar previously won the Locus Award for her story “The Truth About Owls.” Her poetry collection The Honey Month was published in 2010. Twitter Advertisement Best novel at the Hugo Awards was given to American writer N.K. Jemisin for The Obelisk Gate, her second win in two years. She won this category in 2016 for The Fifth Season.Canadian director Denis Villeneuve also got a nod for the film Arrival. Based on a short story by Ted Chiang and adapted by screenwriter Eric Heisserer, the film won the best dramatic presentation, long form category.By Jane van Koeverden Login/Register With: Facebook Canadian writer Amal El-Mohtar (left) & American author N.K. Jemisin won Hugo Awards at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in 2017. (Jessica P. Wick/Laura Hanifin) Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
APTN National NewsThere are growing fears about the extent of a massive oil spill from a pipeline in northern Alberta.Millions of litres of crude oil have been spilled near the traditional territory of the Lubicon Cree.A school is closed and a community may have to be evacuated.For the Lubicon, who have spent years fighting against pipeline and oil development on their traditional lands, the spill is a source of growing fear and anger.APTN National News reporter Keith Laboucan reports from Edmonton.
APTN National NewsThe family of a homeless man who died waiting in an Winnipeg hospital emergency room….says the Province of Manitoba is to blame.
By Jorge Barrera and Tim FontaineAPTN National NewsTORONTO–After one of the most fractious election campaigns in recent memory, Shawn Atleo secured a second three-year term at the helm of the Assembly of First Nations Wednesday and used his first post-vote speech to hammer home a message of unity.Atleo fended off seven challengers to win re-election on the third ballot of voting in Toronto garnering 341 votes of a total of 512 votes cast by chiefs or their representatives.“Going forward, I reflect back to what the ancestors remind us of, we are stronger together,” said Atleo.Atleo’s opponents could not gather enough support to knock him off despite firing off heated criticism that he was too close to the Conservative government and not listening enough to chiefs.Mi’kmaq lawyer and Ryerson Professor Pam Palmater emerged as his main challengers, but despite her second place showing on all three of the ballots, her support was miles away from Atleo’s. She ended with 141 on the third ballot, 107 on the second ballot and 95 on the first.Dene National National Chief Bill Erasmus was the only other candidate to stay on all three ballots and he finished with 30 votes.It was the unity of British Columbia chiefs backing Atleo that secured his victory. With about 200 British Columbia votes in hand, Atleo entered the race with a numerical advantage in an election where only chiefs are eligible to vote.Ontario, with potentially 133 votes, could not come together to form a bloc, despite a large number who were upset with the way Atleo handled the Attawapiskat housing crisis late last year and his endorsement of a joint AFN-Aboriginal Affairs education panel to study on-reserve education.Manitoba chiefs also found themselves divided among several candidates, including two who came from the province, former Ojibway chief Terry Nelson and Ojibway lawyer Joan Jack.Nelson dropped out on the second ballot and Jack on the first.Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel, who rose to prominence as a calming voice during the Oka crisis, dropped out after the second ballot and supported Palmater.Former Treaty 3 grand chief Diane Kelly also bowed out after the second ballot.Atleo praised all the candidates and returned to the theme of unity throughout his victory speech.“Who would think that with over 50 language groups covering every inch of the territories we share that we could find a way to come together?,” said Atleo. “We will work together, recognizing we share inherent rights and titles…we will reject government’s attempt to deny or extinguish our rights.”Atleo also addressed the perceived view that he’s detached from the grassroots population, which, based on social media activity, had primarily gravitated to the female candidates Palmater, Gabriel, Jack and Kelly.“I was asked here…by one of the chiefs to speak directly to the people and so I do want to do that,” he said. “To all of our people we refer to as the grassroots, the grassroots people, all voices must be heard and included.”Atleo’s electoral victory, however, left behind some poisoned feelings.Nelson said up to 10 First Nations would leave the AFN as a result of Atleo’s victory.Palmater also left with parting shot at Atleo.“There is a joint plan between Alteo and Harper and this vote shows that a majority of chiefs are okay with that plan, but there is a good 40 per cent that are not,” said Palmater. “Somehow there is going to have to be a bridging.”Erasmus struck a more conciliatory tone.“Let’s give a strong mandate to the national chief so when he leaves here he knows that the people are with him,” said Erasmus.Much of the early part of this election focused on speculation over where votes would originate. With British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario holding the most First Nation communities, many wondered which candidate they would support – and if they would do socollectively.Even before voting began, there was word that Atleo had garnered the support of British Columbia’s over 200 First Nation chiefs, a powerful voting bloc. But none of this was announced and few chiefswould admit who they – or others in their region were supporting.And while Atleo clearly dominated the first round of voting, it became difficult to pinpoint who among his opponents could challenge him. Palmater, Nelson and Erasmus refused to concede or confirm whether they would strike deals among themselves or with the incumbent.As the candidates would go from caucus room to caucus room, often with supporters in tow, there was speculation over whether they had garnered more votes. Caucus rooms are traditionally off-limits for journalists and this election was no different.When candidates would emerge, often they would refuse to speak directly with reporters, leaving many to wonder about their next move.Missing from this election were the often very deliberate actions by candidates seen in previous races. In 2009, when a candidate was ready to strike a deal or concede defeat, they would walk toward the othercandidate with supporters following behind – often to applause. Far different than this year where these sorts of announcements were announced quietly or not at all.Even the candidate entries to the main hall were subdued and without much of the fanfare seen in previous elections. Only incumbent Shawn Atleo entered the hall accompanied by drums and singing – but even those entrances were toned down by the last firstname.lastname@example.org@aptn.ca
APTN National NewsThe Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador will be sitting down with Premier Pauline Marois today.The chiefs will be looking for a clear commitment from the newly elected Quebec government on the economic development of First Nations.During the Quebec election last August the chiefs decided to hold a summit on territories and resources.They requested the government sit at the table with Quebec First Nations within a hundred days following the election.
APTN National NewsA group committed to raising awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and children is on the move.It’s the fifth time Tears 4 Justice has walked coast-to-coast.But as their goal gets closer the journey itself is still a big challenge.APTN’s Chris Stewart met the walkers in Saskatchewan.
(Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council Grand Chief Verna Polson in front of her wigwam across from Parliament Hill. Photo: Todd Lamirande/APTN)Todd LamirandeAPTN NewsAlgonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council Grand Chief Verna Polson vows to continue occupying a small wigwam on the sidewalk in front of 100 Wellington Street through the Canada Day long weekend.Polson has been living in the wigwam since last Thursday morning.It’s to send a message that 100 Wellington—a former embassy given to Indigenous people by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau two years ago—sits on unceded Algonquin territory and the Algonquin Nation should share a 25 per cent partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) , and Metis National Council (MNC).The building, which is to be re-purposed as an Indigenous space, sits on prime real estate right across the street from Parliament Hill.Last week at a news conference the Algonquin announced their desire to be equal partners in the building and be able to make decisions about its use.“And it’s time we take our rightful place here at the capital city where our people are from. Our ancestors gave up this land for everyone to live here in harmony. Still yet, they don’t respect Algonquin people,” Polson said last week.She says she wants a meeting with the leaders of the AFN, ITK and MNC to resolve the issue.“The longer I’m kept waiting (for a meeting), the higher our demands will be,” said Polson. However, she wouldn’t specify what those demands will be yet.A possible meeting with the three national Indigenous organizations fell through when Manitoba Metis Federation President, and MNC Vice-president, David Chartrand was tasked with handling the file.But Polson insists on meeting MNC President Clem Chartier and not the vice-president, something Chartrand says won’t be happening.“We allow no one to dictate to us who they’ll meet,” Chartrand told APTN News. “I’m the minister responsible for the file and if (the Algonquin) don’t want to respect our governance then that’s their prerogative. And then there’s no meeting.”“They don’t respect our government if they’re not willing to meet with (myself), but they’re only willing to meet with (President Chartier),” continued Chartrand.Chartrand also states that this issue can only be fixed by the AFN and that the MNC will not be giving up any of their one-third stake in the new Indigenous space.“Algonquins are a member belonging to the AFN and if AFN want to give their seat and their one-third share to the Algonquins, they’re more than willing to do so,” said Chartrand. “But that doesn’t mean the MMF and ITK has got to give up their one-third to appease the Algonquins when it’s an AFN issue.”AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde was at an event in Victoria, B.C. Monday.APTN News asked him about the position of the MNC.“We’re going to try to meet as soon as we can to bring all parties together to dialog and discuss this,” he said. “And hopefully we’ll find a common ground because it’s a good news story, especially 100 Wellington (Street) is right across the street from the House of Commons.“So it’s prime real estate in that territory. But it is on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin territory and we have to respect that.”The ITK put out a statement late last week saying it was committed to exploring options to achieve a resolution.“Furthermore, ITK has not asked for title related to 100 Wellington, and has no interest in anything but a lease agreement with the appropriate entity/entities to secure use of the building,” it says.Meanwhile, Polson says she has received a lot of support over the weekend. Liberal Member of Parliament Will Amos and NDP MP Niki Ashton said they stood behind what Polson is doing. As well, Senators Lillian Dyck, Dan Christmas and Dawn Anderson did the same email@example.com@toddlamirande
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John RCMP are investigating an aggravated assault.Police tape could still be seen Sunday morning in the back parking lot of the Northern Grand Hotel, near the Lonestar Bar.The RCMP haven’t released any detailed information about the assault, and we expect more details to be released on Monday. If you have any information to share about this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A peer-to-peer after-school program to help students with completing homework is coming to Fort St. John.This program, in partnership with the Fort St. John Literacy Society and the North Peace Cultural Society, will provide homework tutoring to students needing a little extra help outside of school hours.Executive Director of the Literacy Society, Jessica Kalman, says she is thankful for the volunteer support that the program is receiving. “We are so excited to be able to offer this service and thankful to all of the volunteer tutors that have already signed up to help out.”The After-school Homework Help Program is taking place at the North Peace Cultural Centre on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m. starting on Monday, November 26.To register as a learner, you can call 250-785-2110 or email email@example.com to ensure a tutor in the subject needed is available.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) is reminding residents to not feed deer as this causes issues for public safety and becomes a major issue for the deer’s health.The BCCOS has received multiple reports in the Peace area of individuals feeding deer which encourages deer to congregate and stay in the urban environment shares Conservation Officer Tristan Montjoy.With the exposure and desensitizing to humans, these deer become habituated and food-conditioned to people which makes them lose their natural response behaviours to predators which can lead to conflict between humans and the deer. Sometimes habituated deer can act aggressively in some cases towards pets and humans, especially in cases where a Doe and fawn might be present. Creating risks to humans within the urban environment.Another issue with deer in urban environments is the damage they can cause to private property by eating ornamental trees, garden and lawns.The other concern voiced by Montjoy is that deer are prey species so congregating in an urban area is likely to attract predators to the same environment. By having positive encounters with pets, especially dogs the deer cannot differentiate between coyotes and wolves.With deer being fed items that are not natural to their diet or their environment this can lead to malnourishment and nutrient deficiencies which is not ideal for these animals, as well as the increase of transmitting diseases as these deer are in a concentrated area.BCCOS knows feeding deer is not illegal yet they encourage you to be mindful to clean your yard of food sources to discourage the deer from foraging.Deer are healthiest in their natural environment. If you have a concern with a deer and your property call the RAPP line at; Call 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network
London: Manchester United sent the club’s support to a fan stabbed by a taxi driver in Paris in the wake of the English giants remarkable Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday. “We were shocked to hear about the incident with one of our fans who was stabbed while in Paris for the Champions League game,” said United in a statement. “Everyone at the club wishes him well during his recovery.” A French police source confirmed to AFP that a man had been wounded on Wednesday after an argument with a cab driver but that his condition was not believed to be life-threatening. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together According to Sky Sports the fan, who is 44, was travelling to the centre of the French capital with three friends when the driver objected to their boisterous celebration of United’s 3-1 win to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals. A spokesman for Britain’s foreign ministry said: “We are in touch with the French authorities following an incident involving a British man in Paris on March 6 and stand ready to offer assistance if required.”
Ghaziabad: Two employees of a road transport company in Ghaziabad have been booked by police after they were found to have been involved into defrauding the company with over Rs 7 lakhs. Police said that the duo of accused persons were into cash collection and delivery department of the company.According to police, the two employees of the company who have been alleged of conducting the fraud were identified as Puneet Kumar, native of Allahabad district and Vijay Kumar Tiwari, a native of Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAs per the complaint, Vijay had been working with the associated road carriers limited company since 2006 while Puneet joined in 2013. “While going through the details of cash collected and deposited between December 2018 to January 2019, around Rs 7,16, 055 were found missing. An internal enquiry was set up and it came to light that Puneet and Vijay had collected the money from market but didn’t deposit into company’s bank account. Upon asking them about where the money has gone, they first denied but next day deposited some amount into company’s bank account. As we asked them about rest of money, they denied paying back,” said Sanjay Kumar Sharma, trans shipment manager at the company. Sharma further said that both the employees then stopped coming to the company and even didn’t pick any calls further. Meanwhile, police have registered a case under relevant sections of IPC against the two accused persons.
NEW DELHI: The Congress is expected to announce its candidates for the seven seats in Delhi on Sunday, putting to end speculation of an alliance with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national capital for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.Different names from different seats were being discussed in the party, said sources. Party president Rahul Gandhi to finalise the list thereafter the party will announce. Sources said that one list is like Ajay Maken from New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, while Sheila Diskhit could be nominated from Chandni Chowk. Wrestler Sushil Kumar is likely to contest from West Delhi, Ramesh Kumar from South Delhi, JP Agarwal from North East Delhi and Rajkumar Chauhan from North West Delhi, IANS quoted the Congress leader as saying. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThere is also another possibility that Ajay Maken, is likely to be given ticket from New Delhi. Senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal is likely to be fielded from Chandi Chowk, which he represented twice earlier. The other former parliamentarians expected to contest are Mahabal Mishra, JP Agrawal, Ramesh Sharma and Rajkumar Chauhan. Congress leader PC Chacko said that the AAP was adamant that along with Delhi, the two parties should fight together in Haryana and Punjab, a demand that was not acceptable to his party. Meanwhile, on Saturday AAP said that an alliance just in Delhi is not possible after the Congress refused to have a tie-up anywhere else with AAP. The AAP accused the Congress of playing “spoilsport” in alliance talks and “being unfair” by not giving them any seat in Punjab and asking for too many seats in Delhi.
April 23 will witness the most crucial Lok Sabha Election of 2019, the date on which 117 constituencies across 14 states will vote. NDA, UPA, and anti-Modi alliances have been leaving no stone unturned because there are very high stakes in this phase. It would be opening the window on the next government formation, not only because the largest number of seats is going to poll but also it would mark the end of the election on 303 seats leaving only 240 seats for the next four phases. Also Read – A special kind of bondWith the election on four seats – Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, and Gauhati – election process in Assam will be over. Barring Gauhati, which BJP is most likely to retain, NDA nowhere has the upper hand. The effect of NRC is clearly visible on voters. They are sharply polarised on communal lines. However, the poll mathematics is not that much in BJP’s favour as they have presumed. In the final reckoning, BJP is most likely to lose two seats out of seven they have in the state which has 14 altogether. Also Read – Insider threat managementFive seats – Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura, and Khagaria – in Bihar are being contested tooth and nail. It is NDA vs UPA, and no one is assured of their victory. The impact of NYAY is visible. Anti-incumbency against NDA working. But the alliance of the BJP, JD(U), and LJP have tilted the poll arithmetic in their favour except in Araria which is an RJD seat presently. With seven seats – Surguja, Raigarh, Janjgir-Champa, Korba, Bilaspur, Durg, and Raipur – going to poll in this phase, election in Chhattisgarh will be over. INC is clearly winning Durg and Korba and giving a tough fight to BJP in Surguja and Raipur. However, BJP seems to have the upper hand in Raigarh, Janjgir-Champa, and Bilaspur. In the final reckoning, BJP is likely to win five, and INC four out of 11 in the state. The rest two seats are emanating conflicting signals which may go to any side depending on the swing of votes on the polling day. The UTs, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, have two seats altogether, one in each. Both seats are presently held by BJP, albeit with a very small winning margin of 3.83 and 10.73 per cent respectively. Due to their proximity to Maharashtra and Gujarat, where BJP is strongest compared to all other states in the country, the party seems to have considerable influence on voters. However, INC in Dadra and Nagar Haveli is not far behind. In Daman and Diu too, INC has made the BJP’s walk-over a little difficult. Anti-incumbency against BJP seems to be working. BJP seems to be comfortable in North Goa, but they are in trouble in South Goa this time. Both the seats are presently held by the party. Their winning margin in South Goa in 2014 was only 7.96 per cent. The party has been weakened since then and there is anti-incumbency too. They need to exert more to save this site for themselves from the INC onslaught. Gujarati pride is working more effectively in favour of Modi in Gujarat than his so-called charisma. All the 26 constituencies in the state are going to poll in this phase, and in most of them, BJP is comfortably placed. However, in Anand, Bardoli, and Sabarkantha, BJP candidates are in a close contest with INC. BJP had won these seats in the height of Modi wave in 2014 by margins of only 6.65, 10.44, and 7.88 per cent which has given great hope to INC of snatching these seats from BJP. INC and all other political parties are putting their best efforts to make this happen. Since the election in Anantnag constituency of Jammu and Kashmir will be held in three phases from now, it is not clear which side the wind is blowing. Mehbooba Mufti of PDP had won this seat in 2014 defeating Mirza Mehboob Beg of JKNC by a margin of 17.71 per cent. This is the only constituency in the country where elections will be held in multiple phases. She has lately become Modi’s bête noir and, therefore, BJP is trying its best to sabotage her chances of a win. Mehbooba has more than once voiced her concern about the misuse of security forces by Modi at the helm of affairs in the Centre, and there is a rumour in the area that the administrative system is indirectly, and by default, in favour of JKNC. However, it would be too early to say anything about this constituency before the fifth phase of the election. With the election in 14 constituencies – Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Koppal, Bellari, Haveri, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, Davanagere, and Shimoga – in this phase, the election in Karnataka will be complete. Anti-incumbency and counter-anti-incumbency against BJP and UPA respectively had made the situation volatile in the state. BJP has upper hand in Shimoga, and Uttar Kannada, but in Bagalkot, Dharwad, and Bidar they are in a close contest with UPA. In Belgaum, Bijapur, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, and Devangere, BJP candidates are struggling to retain their seats which the party had won with a slender margin in 2014, even while riding on Modi Wave. INC is most likely to retain their Chikkodi, Gulbarga, and Raichur seats. In the final reckoning, it seems, BJP may lose eight seats out of 17 they presently hold among the 29 seats in the state. Even in the worst of situations, UPA is likely to bag at least 16 seats. All the 20 constituencies will be voting in Kerala. There is UPA vs LDF this time too, and BJP or NDA may not be able to even open their account. With Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad, prospects of INC have brightened a little compared to LDF. There are close fights in almost all seats except in Ernakulam, Kottayam, Malappuram, and Palakkad held presently by INC, KEC(M), IUML, and CPM respectively. They are most likely retaining their seat. However, there will be no cake-walk for Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad, the seat which was won by the INC in 2014 by a slender margin of only 2.31 per cent. There are 13 constituencies in the state where the winning margin was less than 5 per cent. Obviously, the state is witnessing toughest political battle compared to all the states in the country. BJP and Shiv Sena have an edge over their adversaries in Maharashtra. A total of 14 seats are going to poll in this phase. BJP is comfortable in Jalgaon, Raver, Pune, Ahmednagar, Sangli, and Jalna. SHS is comfortable in Aurangabad and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, but struggling to retain its Raigad seat which it had won by a very slender margin of 0.22 per cent in 2014. NDA has put NCP in a vulnerable position in Baramati, Madha, and Kolhapur which NCP had won by small margins of only 6.63, 2.36, and 2.65 respectively. NCP is comfortably placed in Satara and SWP in Hatkanagle. Out of six seats – Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Puri, and Bhubaneswar – in Odisha, only Sambalpur presents a challenge to BJD which the party had won by a slender margin of 3.15 per cent in the last election. In all others, they will have a comfortable win. There is a triangular fight on Sambalpur seat where BJD, BJP, and INC are pitted against each other. BJP was runner-up last time and INC was not also far behind. Ten seats of Uttar Pradesh – Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly, and Pilibhit – are to vote in this phase. BJP is most likely to retain Utah, Bareilly, and Pilibhit, but will be losing Moradabad, Rampur, and Sambhal to SP-BSP alliance which they had won by a slender margin of 7.79, 2.47, and 0.49 per cent respectively despite the Modi wave in 2014. There is a tough fight in Aonla between the two with a slight edge of SP-BSP alliance. SP will retain its Firozabad, Mainpuri, and Badaun seats. Among the five constituencies in West Bengal, INC is comfortably placed in Maldha Dakshin and AITC in Balurghat. However, in Malda Uttar, Jangipur, and Murshidabad, the fight is between INC and CPM. Unexpected results may come out from these seats. INC had won the first two of three by small margins of only 5.70 and 0.74 per cent while the CPM had won the last by a margin of only 1.44 per cent. (The views expressed are strictly personal)
Bengaluru: Describing the Congress-JDS coalition dispensation in Karnataka as a hub of infighting and confusion, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa Friday expressed doubts over the government’s continuation after the Lok Sabha elections.The BJP leader made the remark in Hubballi when asked about the Twitter war between chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge becoming the chief minister. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghKumaraswamy’s remark that Kharge should have been offered the top post long ago had triggered a twitter debate between him and Siddaramaiah, who is also the ruling coalition coordination committee chief. In response to Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah had suggested that Kumaraswamys elder brother H D Revanna too was quite capable to lead the state as chief minister. Yeddyurappa said, “Congress and JD(S) have become a hub of squabbling. What will people be thinking when Siddaramaiah says Revanna should be the chief minister and then Kumaraswamy counters him that Kharge should have been the chief minister… It is like betraying the masses.” Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe BJP leader was confident that the people of Kundgol and Chincholi would teach the two parties a befitting lesson for “betraying” them and creating confusion. To a question on the next chief minister, Yeddyurappa said, “The question will arise when the government survives. Future depends on the results of Lok Sabha election and the two bypolls (Chincholi and Kundgol assembly segments). After the election there will be upheaval in politics (in Karnataka). I dont think Congress and JD(S) will continue for long in the government.” Predicting BJPs victory in the Lok Sabha election, Yeddyurappa said Narendra Modi would return as prime minister again and the election results will have a bearing on Karnataka. He said he would wait and watch what changes the Lok Sabha elections would usher in. “We are going to win about 280 to 290 seats (in Lok Sabha). Narendra Modi will 100 per cent become prime minister again. We have the support of various political parties. So, not a single seat we will lose….,” the BJP leader said.