Bhopal/New Delhi: A journalist from a Delhi-based TV channel investigating Vyapam scam mysteriously fell ill and died in a hospital on Saturday, officials said.
Akshay Singh of TV channel Aaj Tak died in Jhabua on Saturday afternoon.
The Congress party voiced concern about the “more than 40 mysterious deaths of individuals associated with the Vyapam scam”. The party said the issue needs to be probed thoroughly.
Akshay Singh was in Madhya Pradesh for coverage of the recent deaths due to the scam in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) or Vyapam.
On Saturday, he was in Meghnagar in Jhabua to talk to the family members of scam-accused Namrata Damor, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances.
Jhabua Superintendent of Police Abid Khan told IANS that Akshay Singh and his two colleagues interviewed the family members for around an hour, after which the journalist suddenly fell ill. He was taken to a hospital, where doctors declared him dead.
Sources said that after the interview was over, Akshay Singh and his colleagues went to get some documents photocopied, when he fell ill and began foaming at the mouth.
The alleged manipulation in the selection process for government jobs in Madhya Pradesh, conducted by Vyapam, is being probed by a Special Investigation Team.
Congress leader R.S. Surjewala said in a statement: “The Congress party is pained at and condoles the untimely death of Akshay Singh, the Aaj Tak/India Today reporter investigating the Vyapam Scam in Madhya Pradesh.
“His death, coming after more than 40 mysterious deaths of individuals associated with the Vyapam scam raises very serious concerns and questions and needs to be investigated thoroughly and impartially.”
The India Today Group, in a statement, said it was deeply saddened by the untimely death of Akshay Singh, who was working with Aaj Tak as a special correspondent since December 2013.
It said Akshay Singh was part of Aaj Tak’s ‘special investigation team’ and was on an assignment in Madhya Pradesh investigating the Vyapam scam for the past four days.
“The cause of his sudden demise is not yet clear,” it said adding “We hope that doctors and law enforcement agencies are able to establish the cause of Akshay’s death.”
Finance minister Arun Jaitley paid condolences on the death of the journalist.
Indian internet users largely consume music content on Youtube, while they prefer to catch news updates on Facebook, a study has shown.
The findings showed that over three billion views music videos scored the highest viewership on Youtube, followed closely by entertainment videos with 2.4 billion views, while video content for kids ranked third with 1.3 billion views.
On Facebook, news videos ranked first with over 1.58 billion views, while entertainment videos with 1.06 billion views secured the second spot. “Undoubtedly, Youtube is India’s default music player and the most popular source for accessing music content,” Subrat Kar, CEO at Vidooly Media Tech — a Video Intelligence platform said in a statement on Tuesday.
“On Facebook, however, news videos garner higher viewership compared to entertainment. We have witnessed a rising trend across music, entertainment and news videos as viewership and the average watch time across these platforms has grown by over 40 percent with growth primarily rising in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns,” Kar added.
With a user base of over 400 million in India, Youtube is the biggest platform for video content. While with over 241 million users, Facebook is India’s leading social media platform. For the study, Vidooly tracked anonymous viewership habits of over 641 million viewers between the age of 18 and 65 on Youtube and Facebook across all platforms including desktop and mobile in September.
T-Series, SET India, Zee TV, ChuChu TV, Wave Music, SAB TV, Zee Music, CVS Rhymes, Speed Records and Eros Now were found to be the top 10 most viewed Youtube channels in India. On the other hand, ABP News, Dainik Bhaskar, Aaj Tak, Vijay Television, ABP Majha, ABP Live, Hebbar’s Kitchen, The Amit Bhadana, The Times of India and Aashqeen1, were identified as the top 10 Facebook pages with most views.( IANS)
Shimla, Nov 2, 2017, 1:00 IST: It’s literally a do-or-die battle for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministerial faces in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh assembly polls. Both veterans — one in his eighties and the other in his seventies — are struggling for their political survival.
One is veteran Congress leader and incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 83, who is pushing hard to get to the helm for the seventh time. The other is the BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, who is making a strong bid to ensure the party’s victory with a record margin to silence his detractors within the party.
For almost two decades, both the parties in the state have fought almost every assembly and parliamentary polls under their leadership.
“This time, Virbhadra Singh is fighting on two fronts — one is to establish his son Vikramaditya Singh, who is contesting his maiden assembly election, and the second is to ensure the party’s repeat as he forced the Congress to announce him as the chief ministerial candidate despite all odds,” a political observer told IANS.
For Dhumal, it’s simply the battle for “self-survival” after facing a humiliating defeat in the 2012 assembly polls. Since then, he was almost marginalised by the BJP faction led by Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda.
After thwarting foes within, Virbhadra Singh donned his battle gear much ahead of this arch rival Dhumal, whose name was cleared by the BJP as its chief ministerial candidate just days ahead of the polling for the 68-seat assembly on November 9.
“The announcement of Dhumal as the chief ministerial candidate was part of the BJP’s strategy to boost the morale of the cadres as the party for long was divided in two camps — one led by Dhumal and the other by Nadda,” a senior state BJP leader admitted.
Interestingly, both Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal are seeking re-election from new seats and that is not going to be easy for them.
The Congress leader is in the fray from Arki in Solan district, the BJP’s pocket borough that he chose himself, while Dhumal is contesting from Sujanpur, the seat he was asked to contest from.
The Sujanpur contest seems interesting as the Congress has fielded Rajinder Rana, who knows the Dhumal family well.
Virbhadra Singh knows the assembly poll will be a vote on the performance of his five-year-old government.
“We are seeking votes on the basis of development by our government, especially in the education, health and connectivity sectors,” a confident Virbhadra Singh, who first became the Chief Minister in 1983, told IANS.
The Chief Minister, who has been in active politics for over 50 years, is a regular target of the top BJP leadership, who point to his being out on bail and facing corruption charges in the Delhi High Court during the time he was the Union Steel Minister 2009-11.
But against all odds, he alone tours across the state seeking votes for the Congress. Party leaders said the Chief Minister is single-handedly campaigning and he is conducting 15 to 20 meetings in two to three constituencies every day.
He starts his campaign at 9 a.m. and continues till late into the night. He holds closed-door meetings with party workers in the evening for their feedback.
The only saving grace for the Congress is that its Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, will tour the state on November 6, a day before the campaigning comes to an end.
Contrary to this, the BJP has fielded its entire top brass — from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his cabinet colleagues, including Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and J.P. Nadda.
Even party President Amit Shah is aggressively touring the hill state.
“The Congress has failed to handle even sensitive cases like gang-rape of a schoolgirl. Our focus on coming to power will be eliminating forest, mining, liquor and transfer mafias that are active in the state for long. This will greatly help restoring the faith of the public,” Dhumal told IANS.
Political observers say issues like development have been pushed to the background as personal attacks dominate most of the election rallies.
“Apart from mudslinging, there is no public-specific agenda with both the leaders. They are just trying to woo voters by raking up personal issues,” an observer said.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Singh is the main “star” of the party campaign in the state.
“Virbhadra Singh is campaigning on the ground and the BJP is baffled at the response he is getting. We don’t have to be loud to impress the people, like the BJP is doing,” Surjewala told reporters in Shimla on Thursday.
Virbhadra Singh is targeting Dhumal by saying he has always worked with a political vendetta against him.
But a confident Dhumal believes there is a favourable wind prevailing for the BJP’s return as the present government has wasted much time in the ongoing corruption cases against Virbhadra Singh and his family rather than focusing on development.
The future of the arch rivals will be pronounced on December 18, the day the votes cast will be counted along with those in Gujarat.
The Congress won 36 of the 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh in 2012 with a 42.81 per cent vote share, while the BJP bagged 26 seats with a 38.47 per cent vote share.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) –IANS
Kangra(Himachal Pradesh), November 2, 2017: Terming the Congress a “laughing club”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it was losing its hold in every corner of the country.
“We all need to look at the Congress. We should appreciate them. Nothing is left for them and they have lost their hold from every part of the country,” Modi said in his first election rally in Kangra ahead of the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.
“Wherever people have a chance, they have voted for change. They (Congress) have become a laughing club,” he said.
Assembly polls in Congress-ruled Himachal will be held on November 9.
Attacking the Himachal Pradesh government, Modi said Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was talking of action against corruption when he himself was out on bail on a corruption case.
“Despite the case, Singh ‘saheb’ is claiming there will be zero tolerance against corruption if the Congress is back in power. Can anyone believe him?” asked Modi.(IANS)