LIVE: PM to hold meetings with not more than 500 people in Bengal, says BJP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: PTI
Voting for the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat elections is underway with Covid-19 protocols in place. The polls are being held for the posts of members of zila panchayats, and kshetra panchayats.

Over 30 million voters will decide the fate of the candidates in 20 districts of the state. Voting started from 7 am and will end at 6 pm .

The second phase assumes significance as state capital Lucknow and Varanasi will go to polls in this round.

Apart from Lucknow and Varanasi, polling will be held in Amroha, Azamgarh, Etawah, Etah, Kannauj, Gonda, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Chitrakoot, Pratapgarh, Budaun, Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Mainpuri, Maharajganj, Lakhimpur Kheri, Lalitpur and Sultanpur districts.

The counting of votes will be done on May 2.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day.


LIVE UPDATES

Schools closed, political parties shun mega poll rallies as Covid cases rise sharply in WB

The raging Covid-19 crisis cast its long shadow in West Bengal, which is in the midst of its long drawn assembly election, as all schools were ordered on Monday to close early for summer vacation and political parties announced that they would shun mega rallies for the remaining three phases of the poll.

The state reported the highest single-day spike of 8,426 new Covid-19 cases on Monday and 38 people died of the infection in the state, as per the Health Department.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday said her government disfavoured lockdown or night curfew but ordered all government and private offices to function with 50 per cent attendance.

The state government issued a notice this afternoon stating that summer vacation in schools which are aided and run by it will begin early from Tuesday itself in view of rising Covid-19 cases and heatwave sweeping across the state.

Bengal Cong chief urges EC to defer last three phases of assembly polls

Amid the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in West Bengal, the Congress on Monday urged the Election Commission (EC) to defer the last three phases of assembly polls in the state.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked him to take a call on what was more important at this juncture - lives of people or polls to choose their representatives.

"I plead that election, if at all is to be done, should be after 'Ramjan' (Ramadan) is over and the present pandemic is diluted," the senior Congress leader said, reminding the CEC that two candidates in Bengal have died after contracting Covid-19.

LIVE: BJP says it has set a target to distribute 60 million masks, sanitisers in Bengal

We have set a target of distribution of 60 million masks and sanitisers in West Bengal: Bharatiya Janata Party

West Bengal: PM Modi to hold only small meetings with not more than 500 people, says BJP

LIVE: Delhi schools' summer vacation rescheduled to April 20-June 9

LIVE: Delhi schools' summer vacation rescheduled to April 20-June 9 amid coronavirus spike
 

National lockdown can dent GDP growth by 2%, states should do with local curbs: Report

A month's national lockdown can hurt GDP growth by 2 percentage points, an American brokerage warned on Monday while expecting governments to continue with localised restrictions to arrest the Covid spread.
 
Stating that there has been a 7x jump in the new cases to 2.61 lakh a day from a month ago's 35,000 cases, analysts at Bofa Securities said they have grown "even more concerned that rising Covid-19 cases pose a risk to our still shallow recovery".
 
In its base case, the brokerage said it sees a 9 per cent growth in the gross value added growth in FY22 after a 6.4 per cent contraction on a GVA basis.
 
"It remains to be seen if this second wave of Covid-19 cases subsides without a serious national level lockdown. A month of nationwide lockdown costs 1-2 per cent of GDP. Given the high economic cost, we expect the Centre and state governments to try to contain the spread with the tightening of Covid-19 regulations, night curfews and localised lockdowns," it said. (PTI)

West Bengal: Election Commission transfers four police officers

LIVE: NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity has achieved the first powered, controlled flight on another planet

LIVE: NASA's experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity has achieved the first powered, controlled flight on another planet
 

An 'alibi' in the face of defeat: Ravi Shankar Prasad on Rahul Gandhi cancelling rallies

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's decision to cancel rallies over coronavirus an 'alibi' in the face of defeat. 

Latest News: NTPC makes Bilhaur solar project commercially operational

State-owned NTPC on Monday said the 85 MW solar power project in Bilhaur in Uttar Pradesh is now fully commercially operational.
 
The last leg of 15 MW capacity of the project was commissioned earlier this month.
 
"Consequent upon successful commissioning of last part capacity of 15 MW of 85 MW Bilhaur Solar PV Project atBilhaur, UP, the unit is declared to be on Commercial Operation from 00:00 Hrs. of April 8, 2021," a BSE filing said.

Urge EC with folded hands to curtail poll schedule: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged the Election Commission to re-consider its decision to stick to the original poll schedule, as she stressed that wrapping up the last three phases of polls on a single day or at least in two days would check the spread of Covid-19 to a certain extent.
 
Indicating that the EC may have decided against clubbing the remaining phases at the behest of the BJP, Banerjee, while addressing her rally here in Uttar Dinajpur, requested the poll panel to prioritise public health. (PTI)

LIVE: UK PM Boris Johnson won't be able to travel to India next week, says report

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday cancelled a planned trip to India, scheduled to take place next week, due to the current coronavirus situation in India, Johnson's office said.

"In the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week," a joint statement from the British and Indian government, released by Johnson's office, said.

"Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India." (Reuters)

West Bengal: JP Nadda holds a roadshow ahead of the 6th phase of polls


LIVE: Kejriwal appeals to migrant workers to not leave Delhi in lockdown

LIVE: Kejriwal appeals to migrant workers to not leave Delhi in lockdown
 

Radical Islamist party frees 11 Pakistani police hostages

An outlawed Pakistani Islamist political group freed 11 policemen almost a day after taking them hostage in the eastern city of Lahore amid violent clashes with security forces, the country's interior minister said Monday, according to the Associated Press. Supporters of the hardline Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party attacked a police station near their rallying point and on Sunday took the policemen hostage. The group is protesting the arrest of their leader, Saad Rizvi, and pressuring the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately expel France''s envoy over the publication of blasphemous caricatures.

HDFC Bank faced five instances of downtime in 28 months

HDFC Bank faced five instances of downtime in last 28 months, said its managing director Sashi Jagdishan in a letter to employees as he talked about ''Technology Transformation Agenda", PTI reported. India’s central bank, in December 2020, temporarily barred HDFC from launching new digital banking initiatives and issuing new credit cards after taking a serious note of service outages at the lender over the last two years.

Indian automakers say they fear for sales as Covid-19 cases surge

Automobile companies like Maruti Suzuki India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Honda Cars fear dent in sales as COVID-19 cases surged across the country.
Maruti, the country''s largest carmaker, said auto sales were related with economic growth and also (being a discretionary purchase) with the consumer sentiment, PTI reported.

Oil drops after weekly surge as Covid-19 sweeps through India: Bloomberg

Bloomerg reports oil is headed for a back-to-back loss after posting the biggest weekly advance since March, with the pandemic sweeping key importer India and the global case count hitting a weekly record. West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.3, while Brent shed 0.3%. Last week, crude futures were boosted by a wave of positive economic data from the U.S. and China, another drawdown in crude stockpiles, and optimistic assessments about prospects for consumption over 2021 from both the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency.

Investors lose Rs 3.70 trn as markets crack

Investors' wealth in morning trade on Monday tumbled over Rs 3.70 trillion as markets went into a tailspin amid record surge in coronavirus cases in India, PTI reported. The 30-share BSE benchmark index tanked 1,469.32 points to 47,362.71 in early trade.
 
 

Macrotech Developers shares tumble in debut trade

Shares of Macrotech Developers on Monday made a tepid market debut, listing with a discount of over 10 per cent from the issue price of Rs 486. The stock listed at Rs 439, registering a decline of 9.67 per cent from the issue price on BSE. It further tumbled 13.34 per cent to Rs 421.15, reports PTI.

Amid rising Covid-19 cases, Mamata Banerjee not to campaign in Kolkata anymore

Market news: Sensex crashes 1,257.56 pts to 47,574.47 in opening session; Nifty tanks 379.10 pts to 14,238.75

Market news: Sensex crashes 1,257.56 pts to 47,574.47 in opening session; Nifty tanks 379.10 pts to 14,238.75

Polling begins for second phase of UP Panchayat elections amid Covid-19

Voting for the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat elections began on Monday with Covid-19 protocols in place.
 
Over three crore voters will decide the fate of the candidates in 20 districts of the state including, the state capital Lucknow. Read on...

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