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AAP gets 53.6%, marginally below its 54.2% share in 2015BJP wins 8 seats, 5 more than 2015, with 38.5 % vote shareCongress candidates likely to lose deposits in 63 seats

Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were voted back to power with a massive mandate in the Delhi Assembly election as the party won 62 seats in the 70-member House.

The party dropped just five seats and less than a percentage point in vote share from its stellar 2015 showing.

Despite a hard-fought and bitter campaign that saw big guns, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah address rallies, the BJP managed to win only eight seats, up five from its 2015 tally. The Congress, yet again, failed to open its account — the party’s candidates looked set to forfeit their deposits on 63 of the 66 seats contested.

Speaking after the victory, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The people of Delhi have given birth to a new kind of politics — the politics of work. This is a vote for those who build schools, who provide electricity and healthcare. This augurs well for the country.”

Ministers post wins

The AAP secured 53.57 % of the vote share, while the BJP got 38.5% and the Congress 4.3%. Though three of the AAP’s incumbent Ministers — Manish Sisodia, Kailash Gahlot and Satyendar Jain — were trailing after the first few rounds of counting, they went on to retain their seats.

Raghav Chadha, Atishi Marlena and Dilip Pandey from the AAP, who lost in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, strode into the Assembly.

On the other hand, former AAP Minister Kapil Mishra, who left the party and fought on a BJP ticket, was defeated. Anil Bajpai, also a former AAP legislator, however, retained his Gandhi Nagar seat.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, while accepting responsibility for the dismal performance, argued that the party had been able to increase its vote share. “I congratulate Arvind Kejriwal... In comparison to 2015, the BJP’s vote share has registered an increase, which is the result of the hard work put in by its workers... these results also seem to herald the dawn of a new political era in the city, which has become bipolar instead of triangular,” he said.

He and wife Melania will travel to Ahmedabad and Delhi

Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump will visit India on February 24 and 25, as per an official announcement from the White House on Monday.

Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit New Delhi and Ahmedabad. The White House said Ahmedabad was chosen for the visit as Gujarat was home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and played an “important role” in Mahatma Gandhi’s life.

“The President and The First Lady will travel to New Delhi and Ahmedabad, which is in Prime Minister Modi’s home State of Gujarat and played such an important role in Mahatma Gandhi’s life and leadership of the Indian independence movement,” a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary said.

Confirming the visit, the Ministry of External Affairs in statement on Tuesday said, “During the visit, President Trump and the First Lady will attend official engagements in New Delhi and Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and interact with a wide cross section of Indian society.”

Prime Minister Modi and Mr. Trump had spoken over the weekend, the White House said.

System based on need for long-term predictions; will begin as research

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is planning a ‘decadal forecast’ system along the lines of the United Kingdom’s Met Office to ensure better predictability in the climate time scale, said Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES recently.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 6th International Conference on Climate Services being held at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Dr. Rajeevan said the system, based on a coupled climate model, would first be taking shape in the form of a research programme and would be operational only after its merits had been evaluated.

“This is a new idea with more relevance to present climate forecasting needs. So, given the need for longer-range prediction for 10 or 20 years, we will be starting a new programme in the country using a coupled climate model by utilising signals emanating from deep oceans to predict decadal climate changes,” he said.

Refusing to elaborate on the operational aspects of the programme, Dr. Rajeevan said the system would be explored as a research programme to be taken up by IITM along with collaboration from the India Meteorological Department and other entities.

“The operational part will be discussed later. First, we will have to conduct significant research and determine the system’s effectiveness,” he said.

The World Meteorological Organization has set up global producing centres, coordinated by the U.K. Met Office, for annual to decadal projections that are already providing global-scale information.

“As there is a lot fundamental work [on the decadal forecasting system] that has already been done, we feel India should not lag behind,” Dr. Rajeevan said.

Once the system was established, it would initially function for long-range forecasting at the national level and the model, if successful, would later be downscaled to the state or even district-level, he said.

Dr. Rajeevan said there were a number of gaps in the understanding of regional climate variability and its connections to global phenomena like Indian Ocean Dipole. Indian forecasters, he said, faced a challenge in maintaining the quality of climate observations, and there is a need on the part of researchers to develop applications for specific sectors based on the available climate forecast.

The number of people who died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country increased by almost 62% from 68 in 2018 to 110 in 2019, according to a reply given by the Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) Ministry to the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

National survey

SJE Minister of State Ramdas Athawale replied to the question asked by Bharatiya Janata Party MPs Anil Firojiya, Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya and Lallu Singh about the incidents of manual scavenging, which is banned under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

The reply said a total of 14,559 manual scavengers had been identified by Municipalities and Gram Panchayats in 13 States from 2013-2014 till January 31, 2020. Apart from that, a national survey was conducted in 194 districts in 18 States where 48,345 manual scavengers were identified till January 31, taking the total to 62,904.

While saying “there have been no reports regarding death of persons due to manual scavenging”, the Minister’s reply stated that the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis had received reports about the death of people cleaning sewers and septic tanks.

These cases were reported from 18 States and Union Territories, while 13 States and UTs submitted “nil reports”.

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