In a first, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav invited journalists to his official residence in 5 Kalidas Marg to discuss their concerns. In the meeting lasted over an hour, he heard their problems individually and assured them of all possible help.
This was an exercise to keep journalists in good humour in view of the impending assembly elections. Nevertheless, scribes who experienced Akhilesh's hospitality were happy and appreciated his gesture.
In fact Akhilesh is a very accessible chief minister compared to his predecessor Mayawati, who always kept her distance from the media.
BSP banks on Muslim community
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded a record number of Muslim candidates for the Uttar Pradesh elections due next year .
BSP chief and former Chief Minister Mayawati is eyeing to topple the Samajwadi Party government by winning over electors from Muslim and Dalit communities. She has given tickets to 130 Muslim candidates this time as she is aware of the fact that Muslims vote for the SP in large numbers.
In 2007, when she came to power with a majority, she had favoured Brahmins. But this time exodus of leaders from Brahmins and backward communities from her party has forced her to change the strategy and rely more on Muslim candidates.
Major explosive bust
In a major breakthrough Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) in Uttar Pradesh has seized 30,000 detonators , 20,000 gelatin rods and six quintal ammonium nitrated used in explosives besides arresting three youths.
The ATS officials said they intercepted a Bihar-bound truck near Kanpur based on a tip off and found materials worth Rs 6 lakh in it. The suspects revealed that they acquired these explosives from Jhansi, a south-west district in Uttar Pradesh, to supply Naxal groups in Bihar and Jharkhand.
Floods wreak havoc in UP
Eastern UP districts of Varanasi, Mirzapur, Balia and Allhabad are reeling under a flood crisis. The floods caused by overflowing of river Ganga have affected around 16 lakh people in these regions rendering them homeless. The NDRF personnel have been deployed in these regions for rescue and relief operations. Even the helicopters have been pressed into the operations to distribute relief materials. According to principal secretary (revenue) Arvind Kumar the government has deployed over 3000 boats and 38 motor boats for rescue operations.
The government has sanctioned Rs 23.84 crore for these flood-hit regions to provide relief measures.
Welcome to the zoo
A pleasant surprise came to Lucknow zoo. First time in 15 years, four white tiger cubs were born in the zoo. However, one of them died soon after the birth. The mother of cubs Vishaka was brought to the zoo in 2014 from Chattisgarh under an animal exchange programme. She had been paired with Aryan.
About 10 months ago, Vishaka had given birth to four cubs, but none of them survived.