Lok Sabha elections are starting today in India



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Voting for the 18th Lok Sabha elections in India, the world's largest democracy, begins today on Friday. In seven phases, about 97 crore voters of the country will vote and elect their preferred representatives in different parts of the country. In the first phase, polling will be held today in a total of 102 constituencies in 21 states and union territories of the country. Among them are three centers in West Bengal. The constituencies are Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri.

Voting will start from 7 am on Friday (April 19) and will continue till 6 pm. Besides the central forces, the Election Commission has also trusted the state police for election security.

The main battle in the election is going to be between the ruling BJP-led NDA alliance and the Indian National Congress-led 'India' alliance. Bharatiya Janata Party, the main party of the ruling NDA alliance, is moving ahead with the target of 370 seats. And their target for alliance is 400 seats.

The Election Commission of India has completed all preparations for the polls on Friday. In the first phase, polling will be held in 102 constituencies on April 19. Security has been beefed up across the country ahead of polling.

   

Slovakian Prime Minister Fico is in critical condition after being shot



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in the shooting. He was shot several times. As a result, the condition is critical. He is being taken by helicopter to Banska Bystrica. This measure has been taken because it will take a long time to get him to Bratislava because he needs urgent treatment. It will be understood in the next two or three hours what is his condition. Online Al Jazeera reported that this was said on his verified Facebook account. He was shot in the town of Handlova on Wednesday afternoon. President Zuzana Kaputova condemned the brutal and merciless attack.

A person has been arrested on suspicion. Parliament was in session at the time of the incident. Deputy Speaker Lubos Blaha informed the members about the matter. He then adjourned the session until further notice. President said - I am saddened by this news. I am wishing Robert Fico much strength and a speedy recovery during this difficult time. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the attack. He told X- Such violence has no place in our society. It undermines democracy. My condolences to Prime Minister Fico and his family, she added.

Meanwhile, local media reports said he was shot four times in the stomach outside the House of Culture in Handlova town on Wednesday afternoon. As soon as he was rescued from there, the police surrounded the spot and arrested a suspect.

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India may face US sanctions!



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India has taken over the management of Iran's Chabahar port for the next 10 years. An agreement in this regard was signed by New Delhi and Tehran on Monday (May 13) which was not taken well by the United States. In this incident, Washington issued a warning to India and said that the US sanctions on Iran are still in place. So those who want to do business with the country should consider the US sanctions.

In a press conference on Tuesday (May 14), when asked about the Tehran-New Delhi agreement, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said that the US sanctions on Iran are still in force. Those looking to do business with Iran should consider the 'risks involved'.

He also said that we are aware of the agreement between India and Iran regarding the port of Chabahar. I have nothing to say about India's foreign policy. However, their agreement with Iran on the port of Chabahar falls under the bilateral relations of the two countries. US sanctions on Iran are in force and will remain in force.

Vedanta Patel said, if anyone is thinking of doing business with Iran, then sanctions may also be imposed on them. Let them remember that.

According to the report of the Indian media NDTV, due to the control of the port of Chabahar, India will be able to dominate the water transportation through Afghanistan, Iran to Russia. It can be used as an alternative route to reach Afghanistan and West Asia bypassing Pakistan. The port is also set to become the country's main gateway to the greater Eurasian (Europe-Asia) region.

Sources say that this could be New Delhi's trump card to compete with Pakistan's Gadar Port and China's Belt and Road.

A weapon to strengthen India's strategic position, Chabahar's nearest port is Kandala in Gujarat. The distance is 550 nautical miles. Distance to Mumbai is 786 nautical miles. India's Shipping and Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that there is a plan to link Chabahar with the 7200 km wide international North-South Transport Corridor. It can be a hub for increasing connectivity between India, West Asia, Eurasia and reducing transport costs and time.

Pakistan was offering West Asian countries to increase trade using Karachi port. But India presents Chabahar as a profitable alternative. Countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan want to increase business in the Indian Ocean region through this. Businessmen of this country can also reach West Asia easily and cheaply. America also wants to join Chabahar port through INSTC.

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Eight dead, 59 injured as a 'huge billboard' falls in Mumbai dust storm



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Eight people died after being buried under a huge billboard in Ghatkopar, the capital of Maharashtra state of India, in a strong dust storm. 59 people were injured. And 67 people were rescued alive, according to Mumbai police.

The country's media reported the accident on Monday (May 13), NDTV.

According to the report, around 4:30 pm on Monday, a strong storm suddenly darkened the sky in Mumbai. Before you know it, the dust storm starts. A huge metal advertisement board was uprooted in Ghatkopar area due to the storm. Many were buried under the collapsed billboard.

Several videos of this incident have been released. They showed an advertising billboard collapsing over a petrol pump; Due to which the roof of the petrol pump collapsed. Some cars standing at the petrol pump were also crushed. The metal structure of the billboard penetrated the roofs of many cars. After calculating the size, the police said that many people may be buried under the billboard.

Swapnil Khupte, an eyewitness to the incident, told news agency ANI, "I was there when the billboard fell in the dust storm. The place was already crowded with cars, bikes and people. As a result, they all got stuck after the billboard fell. We were trying to rescue the trapped people. But we couldn't find them." We couldn't figure it out."

According to the police, members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are on the spot. Rescue operations are underway for survivors trapped under the debris.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shindhe said, rescuing people is our first goal. The government will take responsibility for the treatment of those injured. And the families of those who lost their lives will be given Tk. 5 lakh.

He also said that the authorities concerned have been instructed to check such billboards in Mumbai.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Farnavis said in a post on X that the state government has ordered an investigation to find out how the incident happened.

A warning was issued by the Maharashtra Meteorological Department shortly before the storm hit on Monday afternoon. Residents of Mumbai, Palghar and Thane were warned of any major change in weather. A few minutes after that, the city of Mumbai was destroyed by the storm.

As a result, all traffic in the city came to a standstill. The storm also uprooted many trees and electricity poles in Mumbai. Rail and metro services also stopped. Meanwhile, the billboard in Ghatkopar also collapsed due to the storm. 

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India fears highest power shortage in 14 years



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Heavy summer heat wave in India could set electricity demand at record highs. And due to lack of such supply, the government fears that the electricity shortage in June could be the highest in 14 years.

The Central Electricity Authority has said that the maximum power shortage at night in June this year may reach 14 GW. Due to solar power generation being stopped in the evening and night and water power not being as expected, there is a risk of increasing the deficit level.

According to government statistics, India's electricity demand and supply deficit is at its highest since 2009-10. Hydroelectric production is at a four-decade low.

Alternative power generation has not grown that way. All gas-based power generation plants in India have already been ordered to operate at full speed.

In this situation, Power Minister RK Singh sat in an emergency meeting last week to check the situation. In the meeting, it was decided to postpone the maintenance work of the power plant. It has also been said that the closed thermal power plants of 5 GW will be restarted.

Last September, India's electricity demand reached a record peak of 243 GW. Centre's estimate, this time April-June it could be 260 GW.

According to Grid India Projects, the peak demand at night in June could stand at 235 GW. Out of this, 187 GW is supposed to come from thermal power. About 34 GW could come from non-conventional electricity.

In such a situation, the central government is taking various steps including postponing the maintenance of production plants to meet the deficit in June.

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