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Politics of iftar parties: holding them, avoiding them

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Politics of iftar parties: holding them, avoiding them

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Above: Finance Minister Jaitley seen at an earlier iftar party at Rashtrapati Bhavan

Modi Government was unrepresented at President’s last iftar party

By Rajesh Sinha

For quite some time, many believed that holding Iftar parties by was a way to endear or appease the Muslims. Hosting Makar Sankranti, Diwali or Holi never gave rise to such notions. Besides, iftar party is an annual affair even at the White House in US.

BJP, the flagbearers of opposition to “appeasement of minorities”, seems to have decided to put an end to it. This reached a high point yesterday, the last Friday of Ramzan before Eid: none of the ministers of Modi government went for the Iftar hosted by outgoing President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This was the last iftar the President hosted before his term ends next month.

In their non-attendance, Modi’s ministers have followed his example. If this was intended to send out a message, it succeeded.

Modi has stayed away from the presidential iftar party ever since he became Prime Minister. Ministers like Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley attended it on previous occasions, but chose to avoid it this time. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Naqvi also did not turn up, later claiming he could not could not attend the iftar party because of a hurriedly called meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs which went on till 8 pm and could not be avoided as the PM was going abroad the next morning.

Rashtrapati Bhavan had made seating arrangements with ministers in mind: Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar was to share a table with Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Rashtrapati Bhavan invites all members of the Union Council of Ministers to the iftar.

Opposition leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad were present at the event. “There was not a single minister, not a single government representative and not a single BJP leader. In all these years, I have never been to an iftar hosted by the President where there has been no representative of the Government of India,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Indian Express.

Modi’s entire ministry not going to an Iftar party, that too by the President of India, is going a step ahead – or backward. After becoming PM, Modi started by breaking a long standing convention of holding iftar party at 7 Race Course Road, the residence of the Prime Minister. The previous BJP PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s iftar parties were grand affairs.

BJP’s other Hindutva icon to be elevated to the position of head of government, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has also ignored iftar parties. He skipped an Iftar party hosted by governor Ram Naik at Raj Bhawan in Lucknow on Friday and, unlike his predecessors but like Modi, did not host one either.

He had, however, organised ceremonies like ‘kanya poojan’ and hosted ‘falahari’ feast at the chief minister’s residence during the ‘Navratri’ fasting. Yogi is also the Mahant, or head priest, of the Gorakhnath temple. Other BJP chief ministers, Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh, had hosted iftar parties during their tenure.

In Uttar Pradesh it was, in fact, the RSS Muslim wing – Rashtriya Muslim Morcha, that held an iftar this Ramzan period, in their own way, serving cow milk and extolling its health benefits over beef – as if Muslims in the State regularly and routinely consume beef.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

Himachal Pradesh exit polls: BJP may retain power, Congress a close second, AAP flops

The single-phase polls in Himachal Pradesh on November 12 registered a record 75.6 per cent polling on all 68 seats.

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Himachal Pradesh exit polls: Neck and neck race between BJP and Congress, AAP not in it

Himachal Pradesh is to witness a close fight between the BJP and the Congress for the 68-member Assembly, said exit polls on Monday, the day polling ended in the second phase in Gujarat.

With the halfway mark at 35 in the Himachal House, four exit polls predicted a BJP victory with the party expected to win 36 seats, just one over the halfway number. The exit poll projections seemed to favour the Congress’s return in the state. Congress is also expected to get some 30 seats. Thus, the BJP and the Congress are in a neck and neck competition. This also holds true if one goes by the trend in Himachal Pradesh of people alternating between the two big parties.

The single-phase polls in Himachal Pradesh on November 12 registered a record 75.6 per cent polling on all 68 seats. In the 2017 Assembly elections, the voter turnout was 75.57 percent.

While 76.4 percent of women voters exercised their franchise, only 72.4 per cent of male voters did the same in 2022. The voting percentage for the third gender was 68.4 per cent. There were 27.88 lakh men and 27.36 lakh women in the electorate overall, with 38 voters registered as third genders.

The state election department focused heavily on 11 constituencies with low voter turnout in the 2017 elections for the assembly, according to the SEO statement.

The voter turnout finally increased in nine of these constituencies—Dharampur, Jaisinghpur, Shimla, Baijnath, Bhoranj, Solan, Kasumpati, Sarkaghat, Jaswan Pragpur, Hamirpur, and Badsar—by up to seven per cent of the 11 seats.

The Dharampur seat had a 6.93 percentage point increase from 63.6 per cent in 2017 to 70.54 per cent in the recent election. However, the percentage decreased significantly in Shimla and Baijnath, from 63.93% in 2017 to 62.53% and from 64.92% in 2017 to 63.46%, respectively.

The exit polls predict a close fight between the grand old party and the saffron party according to Aaj Tak-Axis My India the BJP is at 29 whereas its counterpart is at 35, however, as per the ABP News-Cvoter exit poll prediction the BJP is at succeeding with 37 whereas the Congress is at 28. The Aam Aadmi Party has failed to change any flare in the voting trends as the exit polls predict nothing for AAP in Himachal Pradesh.

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Exit poll results 2022 for Gujarat: BJP’s clean sweep, Congress trails behind, AAP not there yet

According to the Election Commission of India, approximately 58.68 per cent of polling was recorded till 5 pm in the second phase of voting.

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Gujarat Exit Polls

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 concluded on Monday with the second phase of voting. The first phase of voting took place on December 1. With the end of voting at 5 pm today, exit poll results for the 182 seats across Gujarat are finally out.

According to the Election Commission of India, approximately 58.68 per cent of polling was recorded till 5 pm in the second phase of voting.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to clean sweep in Gujarat, polls of exit polls predicted. The News X-Jan Ki Baat Exit Polls 2022 says BJP will win 117-140 seats while Congress+NCP will secure 34-51 seats and AAP is likely to win 6-13 seats.

Exit Polls of TV9 Gujarati predicted BJP to win 125-130 seats, Congress+NCP 40-50 seats, and AAP 3-5 seats. The Republic- P-MARQ exit polls had BJP winning between 128-148 seats, Congress+NCP 30-42 seats, and AAP 2-10 seats.

The Times Now-ETG exit polls say the BJP is likely to win 131 seats, the Congress+NCP is expected to secure 41 seats, and AAP is likely to win 6 seats.

Prominent seats in the second phase of voting were Viramgam from where Hardik Patel is contesting on the BJP ticket, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel’s Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad, and Gandhinagar South from where BJP’s Alpesh Thakor is contesting.

For those unversed, exit polls are surveys carried out by media organisations outside the polling booths through sampling methods to forecast the likely results of the elections before the final outcome is declared. The counting of votes for the Gujarat Assembly polls will be conducted on December 8.

Read Also: Rampur Bypolls: Voters say they were denied their voting rights, allege brutality by police | Watch

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party fielded candidates in all 16 seats this year while Congress is contesting in 90 seats and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has pitted candidates in 2 seats.

Reports said around 833 candidates contested across the 93-seat polling for the second phase of voting in the state. These are prominent seats for the Bharatiya Janata Party which has dominated for almost three decades now.

This year, Gujarat witnessed a three-way tough fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party, Aam Aadmi Party, and Congress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also cast their votes and PM Modi also urged people to step out to vote.

Reports said the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls saw low turnout with a 34.7 per cent turnout was recorded till 1 pm on December 1.

The final results for the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 will be out on December 8 and India will find out which party retained its power and serve Gujarat for the next five years.

The Exit Polls hint at a clean sweep for the ruling BJP in the Gujarat Assembly election as according to Aaj Tak-Axis My India the saffron party is at 140 and the grand old party is trailing behind at 23, the Aam Aadmi Party has predicted to have performed poorly as they are at 15.

As per the ABP News-Cvoter, the BJP is again sweeping the election at 134 as opposed to Congress, who are at Congress 37 as per exit polls; the Aam Aadmi Party is also falling behind at just 7.

MP: Congress top leaders Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh hug each other after Rahul Gandhi urges them | WATCH

Gujarat elections: CM Bhupendra Patel, Amit Shah cast vote, voter turnout 19.17 pc till 11 am

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MCD exit polls: Pollsters say AAP victory near definite

Though it may have been a civic poll, the BJP and the AAP had put forward their whole machinery to win.

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MCD exit polls: Pollsters say AAP victory near definite

The Aam Aadmi Party, which has been in power in Delhi since 2015, looks set to emerge victorious in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. The BJP, which has been holding the MCD for quite a while, looks like it will come second while the Congress will return single figures in the elections held to the city’s 250 wards.

An Aaj Tak exit poll said the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is expected to win on 160 seats or thereabouts. The Times Now exit poll predicted a similar end for the Aam Aadmi Party, projecting it winning some 150 wards.

The Aaj Tak exit poll predicts BJP winning 69-91 wards and on the other hand, Times Now exit poll predicts the BJP will gain power in 84-94 wards.

The returns for the Congress seem below par as mentioned earlier. The voter turnout for the municipal polls was just 50 per cent, the elections were held on December 4. It needs to be remembered that this is a municipal election and not a high-stakes Assembly election unlike the one in Gujarat, the results for which will be out on Thursday, December 8, along with results for Himachal Pradesh.

Though it may have been a civic poll, the BJP and the AAP had put forward their whole machinery to win.

Data from the State Election Commission showed that there were 1,45,05,358 registered voters in Delhi overall, of which 78,93,418 were men, 66,10,879 were women, and 1,061 transgenders.

This is the first civic election after delimitation. From 2012 to 2022, Delhi had 272 wards and three corporations—North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation—which were later reunified into a single MCD, which came back into being on May 22 this year. The North Delhi body is not to be confused with the New Delhi Municipal Council which is the civic body for what remains Lutyens’ Delhi.

The campaign promises the BJP had put forward, included waiver of property tax dues of 12 years among other things. This will be a fillip for the AAP since the Delhi government has been at the mercy of the MCD following the sweeper wage row which had led to the piling up of garbage all across the Capital.

Disclaimer: These are just exit polls and for the real results, you will have to wait for Wednesday.

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