Opposition parties on Wednesday hit out at the Congress-led Punjab government, accusing it of “murdering democracy” by resorting to ‘goondagardi’ (hooliganism) to stop their candidates from participating in the upcoming zila parishad and block samiti polls.The Aam Aadmi Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP questioned the role of the State Election Commission in holding fair and free polls, and alleged that it was working under “pressure” of the State government.They claimed that the candidatures of their nominees at most of the places were rejected on “flimsy grounds with mala fide intention”, reducing the entire poll process to a sham.“Over 200 nominations of our party were rejected on flimsy grounds in the entire State. There had been large-scale rejection of nominations. It is a total murder of democracy,” SAD spokesperson and former Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said.“Earlier, our candidates were forcibly stopped from filing nomination papers at several places. Those who managed to file nominations now faced rejection,” he further said.The Akali Dal is considering to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking probe into the “large-scale” rejection of nomination papers of the opposition parties, said Mr. Cheema. “We will also question the role of the State Election Commission,” he said.Mr. Cheema said the Akali Dal will not to be cowed down by the “gimmicks” of the ruling party.Echoing similar sentiments, the BJP accused the Congress of threatening candidates of the opposition parties with arrest.“In these elections, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is trying to murder the democracy the way West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had done in the panchayat polls,” said BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh.‘Humiliating defeat’“The Congress government knows if free and fair polls take place they will face humiliating defeat and that is why they are trying to crush the voice of the opposition parties by indulging in violence,” Mr. Chugh alleged.AAP MLA Aman Arora also lashed out at the Congress, accusing the State government of denying the right to fight the zila parishad and block samiti polls.“Complete ‘goondagardi’ (hooliganism) is taking place in Punjab during these polls,” claimed Mr. Arora.He pointed out that the nomination of his party candidate in Ubhowal zone in Sangrur was shown as withdrawn even as the candidate had not done so.“The signature of candidate on the withdrawal form was forged by someone in order to elect a Congress candidate,” claimed Mr. Arora.Notably, the body of AAP candidate Harvinder Singh Hinda was found at his home in Jethuke village in Bathinda district.Meanwhile, Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Baja denied all the charges of the opposition parties, claiming that they were levelling allegations out of sheer frustration.“Everything going on in the polls has been free and fair,” said Mr. Bajwa.Elections to zila parishads and panchayat samitis will be held on September 19. The counting of votes will take place on September 22.A total of 354 member of zila parishad and 2,900 members of panchayat samitis will be elected during the polling.
Ban on single-use plastic came into effect in all urban areas of Odisha on Wednesday on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Manufacture, sale, trade, import, storage, transportation and distribution of single-use plastics are prohibited as per a notification issued by Odisha Forest and Environment Department on September 30, an official said. The ban is imposed on polythene carry bags of any shape, thickness and size (excluding compostable), Polyethylene Terephthalate (Pet/Pete) bottles of less than 200 ml capacity, he said. The vendors will not be allowed to use polythene sheets of less than 50-micron thickness for storing, transporting, dispensing or packaging of any article or commodity.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex met former rugby players who have suffered life-changing injuries and their families during the charity’s annual forum at Twickenham Stadium.Duke of Sussex visits RFU Injured Players FoundationCredit/Copyright: Royal.ukThe RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF) provides support and information to rugby players in England who have sustained catastrophic injuries playing the game, and help prevent future injuries through research and education. The charity’s assistance is available to any player and their families, from grassroots up to professional level, to empower them to lead their lives as fully and independently as they are able to.The Duke met a number of the IPF’s clients as they take part in activities including archery, tennis and boccia, and heard how these former rugby players have been supported by the charity following their life-changing injuries. The Duke also met a number of the charity’s partners, including rehabilitation organisations who work to support the players on their journeys to recovery.The Client Forum is designed to enable injured players and their families to learn about the IPF’s support programmes, its research and try out some of the activities as part of the IPF Engage programme. It is also an opportunity for IPF clients to let the charity know what their priorities are and what they think of the IPF’s support so they can learn how to further improve their services.Source:Royal.uk