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Bad news for BJP in by-polls touted as test for Modi govt



Bad news for BJP in by-polls touted as test for Modi govt

In the end, the results of by-elections to four Lok Sabha and 11 Assembly seats spread over ten states came as bad news for the BJP.

In the ‘give no quarter’ style of electoral politics, with slogans like ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’, pushed by BJP president Amit Shah, the saffron party has gone all out to win every election, raising its stakes to heights other parties seldom bother to.

This was evident as much in the bypolls whose results were declared today, Thursday, May 31. It would be wrong to say that the BJP had to be content with only one Lok Sabha seat it won in Palghar, Maharashtra – the party can hardly be said to be content with the result: that is not in the nature of the party under Amit Shah.

The BJP won one Lok Sabha seat of Palghar in Maharashtra, its ally got one in Nagaland, and it bagged one of the 11 Assembly seats – the lone seat coming from Uttarakhand.

In Palghar constituency, BJP’s Rajendra Gavit, who defected from Congress, won by 29572 votes. Shiv Sena had fielded Shriniwas Wanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, further straining its ties with BJP.

The Palghar seat saw a multi-cornered contest between Rajendra Gavit (BJP), Baliram Jadhav (Bhaujan Vikas Aghadi), Shriniwas Wanaga (Shiv Sena) and Damodar Singhda (Congress). The election was necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga in January 2018 and the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypolls were necessitated following the resignation of sitting BJP MP Nana Patole.

When BJP secured a lead, Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena, said, “Many EVMs were faulty, names of about 50-60,00 people were missing from voter list. Also, within 12 hours of voting ending, EC changed vote percentage. So all this is very doubtful.”

In Nagaland, BJP ally and ruling party Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s (NDPP) candidate Tokheho Yepthomi was expected to defeat Congress supported Nagaland People’s Front’s candidate. The bypoll here was necessiated when the sole Lok Sabha seat from the state fell vacant when after Neiphiu Rio became CM.

In Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondiya, it was a direct fight between NCP’s Madhukar Kukde and BJP’s Hemant Patle and the NCP, leading by over 50,000 votes, was expected to win. NCP has the support of the Congress. Election in the seat was necessitated after the resignation of sitting BJP (MP) Nana Patole over his criticism of the PM. Patole later joined the Congress. The election here was a prestige issue for the BJP as Patole had resigned blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “doing nothing for the farmers’ community in the last four years”. BJP defeat here was a jolt to BJP.

It was the Kairana Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh that would hurt BJP the most. It was seen as a test for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the BJP suffered setbacks recently in Phoolpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats – especially the latter which was UP CM’s home constituency and his stronghold – in the state.

Here, late Gujjar leader Hukum Singh’s daughter and BJP’s nominee Mriganka was trailing behind Tabassum Hasan of Rashtriya Lok Dal, (RLD), who is backed by SP, BSP, and Congress, by over 41,000 votes after nine rounds of counting.

The BJP had thrown in five state ministers, led by CM Adityanath himself. After the shock defeat in Gorakhpur, he campaigned hard, addressing public meetings on almost a daily basis. This was topped by a meeting by PM Narendra Modi himself, just a day before voting, after the campaigning came to a halt, when he did a road show in nearby Baghpat while inaugurating the Eastern peripheral expressway.

On the day of voting, there were large scale complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs, especially in Dalit and Muslim dominated areas. While complaints came from over 150 booths, re-polling was held yesterday on 73 booths and it saw high turnout. Finally, however, the RLD overcame the hurdles.

RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan said, “This is the victory of truth. I still stand by what I said, there has been a conspiracy & we do not want any future elections to be conducted on EVM machines. The path for united opposition is clear in 2019.”

The Kairana result is indeed being seen as another signal for Opposition unity against BJP: both of its success and the necessity. It still remains to be seen how – or if – it would work out.

There was little for BJP to cheer even in Assembly bypolls.

The Congress secured wins in four seats: Maharashtra’s Palus Kadegaon, Meghalaya’s Ampati, Karnataka’s RR Nagar and Punjab’s Shahkot. In Kerala’s Chengannur, meanwhile, the CPM registered a massive win with its candidate Saji Cherian winning by over 20,000 votes. In Bihar, the RJD has trumped Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) to win the Jokihat seat. The Samajwadi Party has won Uttar Pradesh’s Noorpur seat.

In Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party won Noorpur, defeating BJP candidate by over 6,000 votes. SP candidate Naeemul Hasan enjoyed the support of the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the AAP.

At Jokihat in Bihar, RJD trounced JD(U) by a margin of 40000 votes. Bye-elections in Jokihat was necessitated after the resignation of JD-U’s Sarfaraz Alam. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who camped in the constituency, had hoped his minority welfare schemes will sway the Muslim and Yadav vote towards JD(U). However, his alliance with BJP has diminished his hold while it may have helped the BJP at his cost.

Speaking about the result, Lau Prasad’s son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, “The number of votes JDU got, is less than our victory margin. People of Bihar are continuing to avenge the uturn taken by Nitish Kumar.”

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha won both Assembly seats in Jharkhand, Gomia and Silli. The Gomia seat has been won by Babita Devi defeated AJSU nominee Lambodar Mahto. In Silli,Seema Mahto defeated AJSU chief and former state Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto by 13,000 votes.

In Shahkot Assembly seat in Punjab, the fight was between SAD and Congress and Congress’s Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia emerged winner.

In Meghalaya, Congress candidate Miani D Shira, who is also the daughter of former chief minister Mukul Sangma, won the Ampati seat. The victory gave the Congress 21 seats, making it the single largest party in the state. Both NPP — National People’s Party or NPP-led alliance led by chief Minister Conrad Sangma and the Congress had 20 seats each.

In West Bengal’s Maheshtala, TMC candidate Dulal Das won Maheshtala assembly bypoll in Bengal after beating BJP’s Sujit Kumar Ghosh by 62,827 votes. The BJP would be happy to be at second position, ahead of the Left-Congress combine.

The BJP won the seat in Uttarakhand with a margin of over 1,990 votes. Munni Devi Shah defeated Congress’ Jeetram. The bypoll was necessitated after the death of BJP’s Maganlal Shah.

In Karnataka, the Congress won the RR Nagar seat. Its candidate Muniratna won with a margin of over 41,000 votes over BJP rival Tulsi Muniraju Gowda. Polling for the seat was postponed by the Election Commission ahead of the Karnataka elections after the poll body found nearly 10,000 voter ID cards in an apartment in the constituency.

In Kerala, CPM won Chengannur Assembly seat. CPM Candidate Saji Cherian won by 20,956 votes, the biggest margin in the constituency so far. LDF led in all the 10 panchayats. Congress was in second spot with 46347 votes. The BJP, which was third, did not do too badly with 35270 votes

In Maharashtra’s Palus Kadegaon Assembly constituency, Congress candidate Vishwajeet Patangrao Kadam was elected unopposed. The seat fell vacant after the death of Congress MLA Patangrao Kadam. Vishwajeet Kadam, son of Patangrao Kadam, was the lone candidate in the fray after BJP withdrew its candidate Sangramsingh Deshmukh.

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Rahul Gandhi claims Congress is winning upcoming elections in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan



Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed his confidence in his party’s ability to win the upcoming legislative elections in Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan on Sunday. The Wayanad MP asserted at an event in the nation’s capital that there is no way we are not going to win any of them.

They are really close and he thinks they will be able to win, he said. Rahul Gandhi said, right now, he would say we are probably winning Telangana, they are definitely winning Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. By the year’s conclusion, elections are scheduled for the aforementioned states, he said.

The Congress MP said that the BJP wins districts and doesn’t allow the opposition to create a narrative as an important lesson that the party learned in Karnataka, where it staged a comeback earlier this year with overwhelming majorities.

He further said, they battled in a way in Karnataka that stopped the BJP from controlling the narrative, contrary to what they did there.

Gandhi claimed that the party sought to stray from the Opposition’s call for a caste census by using the insults leveled by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri against Bahujan Samaj Party MP Danish Ali as a distraction in the Lok Sabha.

He continued, every time we bring a topic to the table, they use this type of nonsense to divert, and they have now learned how to deal with it. They know that a caste census is a fundamental thing that the people of India want, and they don’t want to have that discussion.

Gandhi claimed that one of the key elements in Telangana, MP, and Chhattisgarh was controlling the narrative, which contributed significantly to Congress’ victory in Karnataka.

He stated, what we did in Karnataka was we provided the state with a clear vision and then we controlled the narrative.

Rahul Gandhi referred to the One Nation, one-election debate as one of the side problems the BJP used as an excuse to sidetrack from the important issues.

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Ganesh Chaturthi: Home Minister Amit Shah offers prayers at Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja | Watch here

Amit Shah visited Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s official residence Varsha and offered prayers to the Ganapati idol installed there.



Ganesh Chaturthi: Home Minister Amit Shah offers prayers at Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja | Watch here

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday visited Mumbai’s famous Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh Pandal. On the auspicious occasion, the Home Minister along with his family offered prayers to Lord Ganesha. Every year, Amit Shah visits Lalbaugcha Raja to offer prayers to Lord Ganesha.

Lalbaugcha Raja is one of the oldest and the most popular mandals in the metropolis attracting around one crore devotees including celebrities and politicians. Celebrities who visited Lalbaugcha Raja to offer prayers to Lord Ganesh this year includes Shah Rukh Khan, Kartik Aryan, Vicky Kaushal, Pulkit Sharma, Manjot Singh and Varun Sharma, Varun Dhawan, Esha Deol, Sunny Leone, Urfi Javed among others. 

Following his visit to Lalbaugcha Raja, Amit Shah visited Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s official residence Varsha and offered prayers to the Ganapati idol installed there. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also seen along with the Home Minister seeking blessings from Lord Ganesha. 

In the evening, Amit Shah is set to take part in the Laxmanrao Inamdar Memorial lecture, which will be organized at the Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Convocation Hall on the Fort campus of Mumbai University. He will depart for Delhi at 7 pm. According to an official statement from the Mumbai University, Governor Ramesh Bais, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar will also attend the event.

The Memorial lecture is being conducted by the varsity in association with Sahakar Bharati, a pan-India organisation of Co-Operators and Co-Operatives, founded by Inamdar, popularly known as the ‘Vakil Saheb’ of RSS.

Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was present at the first official meeting of the High-Level ‘One Nation, One Election’ Committee that took place under the chairmanship of former President Ram Nath Kovind. The first meeting was held at Jodhpur hostel. 

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One Nation, One Election: Former President Ram Nath Kovind chairs first official meeting in Jodhpur

During the meeting, the members decided to hold discussion and get suggestions from the stakeholders and the political parties on the idea of the ‘one nation, one election’.



One Nation, One Election: Former President Ram Nath Kovind chairs first official meeting in Jodhpur

The first official meeting of the High-Level ‘One Nation, One Election’ Committee was conducted on Saturday under the chairmanship of former President Ram Nath Kovind. The first meeting was held at Jodhpur hostel. The meeting witnessed the participation of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad among others.

During the meeting, the members decided to hold discussion and get suggestions from the stakeholders and recognised national political parties on the idea of the ‘one nation, one election’, according to reports. In addition, the committee members also decided that if any of the political parties want to seek an appointment with the committee, it will be allowed to give their suggestions.

The committee members also deliberated to get the views of the stakeholders like the Election Commission of India, Law Commission Of India and other bodies. Reportedly, the members also primarily discussed how the committee will function and on which issues it needs to have deliberations with the concerned to build a consensus on the idea of the ‘one nation, one election’.

Furthermore, the panel also discussed how it needs to examine various scenarios for the simultaneous elections and make recommendations on how situations like a hung assembly or adoption of a no-confidence motion will be tackled.

Along with Kovind, Azad and Shah, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former chairman of the 15th Finance Commission N.K Singh, former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap, senior advocate Harish Salve and former Chief vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari are the other names, who are the part of the eight-member panel.

However, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury declined an invitation to be part of the eight-member committee formed by the Union government to examine the ‘One nation, One election’ concept. The Congress leader also did not attend the first official meeting in Jodhpur. As per reports, the committee will look into the feasibility of holding not only Lok Sabha and assembly elections simultaneously, but also elections to municipalities and panchayats.

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