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Raghuram Rajan declines AAP’s Rajya Sabha berth offer, will stick to academia

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Raghuram Rajan

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party wanted former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to be one of its three nominees for the Rajya Sabha polls in January

In a setback for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajanon Thursday, declined its offer to contest the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from Delhi as an AAP candidate. Rajan has chosen to pursue his career as an academician instead of taking the plunge into the rough and tumble of the grisly world of politics.

The renowned economist’s decision comes in the wake of reports that surfaced on Wednesday about the Aam Aadmi Party planning to field professionals, like Rajan, for the three Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi that will fall vacant in January, 2018.

The Rajya Sabha berths from Delhi that are set to expire in early-January are currently occupied by Congress leaders Dr Karan Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi. However, with its brute majority of 66 members in the 70-seat Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal can easily ensure the victory of his party’s nominees for all three seats.

While the AAP had reportedly decided against fielding its own leaders for the Rajya Sabha polls and instead opt for professionals and subject experts, Rajan’s decision could force a re-think in the Delhi-based political party. AAP is already fraught with factional feuds and Kejriwal’s decision of fielding ‘outsiders’ as the party’s Rajya Sabha candidates has already irked his former confidante Kumar Vishwas. Not one to hide his political ambitions, Vishwas has told several mediapersons that he is vying for a Rajya Sabha berth and that he deserves it as a reward for the work he has put in to build the Aam Aadmi Party.

A statement issued by Rajan’s office at the University of Chicago, USA, where he is currently engaged in an academic role, must have thus come as a ray of hope for Kumar Vishwas, even if it upset Kejriwal’s plans.

“While Professor Rajan is engaged in a variety of educational activities in India, he has no plans to leave his full-time academic job at the University of Chicago,” the statement released by Rajan’s office said.

If Rajan had accepted AAP’s proposal, his presence in the Rajya Sabha would have added to the troubles of the Narendra Modi-led government. The Modi government has been under fire for its economic policies – particularly over the Prime Minister’s demonetisation decision and the Goods and Services Tax rollout. Rajan’s opposition to the demonetisation initiative is now publicly known and is also touted to be the reason behind his unceremonial departure from the RBI, shortly after Modi forced the note ban on Indians.

Rajan has a keen sense of economic and financial issues. Along with former finance minister P Chidambaram, Rajan he would have been a major cause of concern for the BJP whenever the Centre wished to or was forced to discuss economic issues in Parliament.

With the other celebrated orator on issues of economy and social sector, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, no longer a member of the Rajya Sabha (his term ended earlier this year), the Upper House of Parliament is desperately in need of a member who doesn’t indulge in mere political rhetoric to take on the government but also makes a sound, balanced and not over-the-top argument.

AAP’s plan to rope in Rajan may have failed but perhaps its quest for professionals as its Rajya Sabha nominees may continue and be instrumental in adding some heft to the debates in Parliament’s Upper House – something that the former RBI governor would have achieved with ease.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Voter turnout of 56.68% recorded till 5pm in 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections

Elections are being held in 49 constituencies across eight states and Union Territories in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

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A voter turnout of 56.68 % was recorded in phase 5 till 5 pm as per the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App, with the highest voting percentage in West Bengal (73 %) and the lowest in Maharashtra (48.66 %). Lok Sabha elections are taking place in 49 constituencies across 8 states and Union Territories in the 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Voter turnout of 56.68% was recorded till 5pm. The breakup is as follows: J&K: 54.21%, Bihar: 52.35%, Ladakh: 67.15%, Jharkhand: 61.90%, Maharashtra: 48.66%, UP: 55.80%, Odisha: 60.55% and West Bengal: 73%. The fate of 4 Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be decided in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Former UP CM Mayawati, BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratep Singh, Smriti Irani were among the early voters today who cast their vote in the morning.

 The Lucknow East Lok Sabha seat will also hold a bypoll on the same day. The Lok Sabha seats which are participating in this phase include Rae Bareli, Mohanlalganj, Jalaun (SC), Amethi, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Banda, Kaushambi (SC), Fatehpur, Faizabad, Barabanki (SC), Gonda  and Kaisarganj. The candidates also include and minister of state of consumer affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and minister of state for housing and urban affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj). Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat which was previously held by his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

 The total number of voters expected to cast their vote in this phase is over 2.68 crore voters, with 144 candidates looking for their support. 11 BJP incumbent Lok Sabha MPs are contesting in this phase, while nominating new candidates in Kaisarganj and Barabanki (SC) Lok Sabha seats.

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AAP leader Sanjay Singh accuses BJP of planning an attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh on Monday accused BJP of planning an attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Singh was addressing a press conference in New Delhi where he said the BJP has been in a state of panic ever since Arvind Kejriwal came out of jail.

He said BJP is now plotting to launch a deadly attack on Arvind Kejriwal. This conspiracy is being conducted directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. A threat of attack on Kejriwal ji has been written at Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar Metro stations.

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal. He pointed out that Kejriwal had not been given insulin for 23 days when he was in judicial custody in Tihar jail.

Singh said a 3 time elected chief minister is being openly threatened with attacks and murder, and nobody is saying anything. He said AAP leaders are writing letters to the Election Commission and if Kejiriwal gets a scratch, the PMO, BJP and PM Modi will be held responsible.

The Supreme Court has given interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party supremo till June 1 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi. But according to the terms of his bail, the Delhi chief minister cannot make any comments about his role in the Delhi liquor scam case.

 Kejriwal has spent over 50 days in Tihar Jail and the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in an excise policy case on March 21, days after the election schedule for the general elections was announced. The bail is applicable until June 1 and Kejriwal has to surrender to authorities on June 2.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

36.73% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections

36.73% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 8 states and UTs; Maharashtra continues to put up a poor show

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Voter turnout at 1 pm was recorded at 36.73% for the 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections. As this unfolds, significant political showdowns are set to take place across eight states and union territories. Bihar: 34.62%, Jharkhand: 41.89%, Jammu and Kashmir: 34.79%, Maharashtra 27.78%, Ladakh: 52.01%, Uttar Pradesh 39.55%, Odisha 35.31%, West Bengal: 48.41%

Voters in 49 Lok Sabha seats will decide the fate of 695 candidates, with many high-stakes contests featuring political dynasties and senior leaders striving to retain their influence. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Raebareli, a seat held by his mother, Sonia Gandhi, since 2004. He is also contesting the election from Wayanad in Kerala. After losing Amethi to Union Minister Smriti Irani in 2019, the Congress has fielded dedicated worker KL Sharma to challenge Irani this time.

Rohini Acharya, daughter of former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, makes her political debut from Saran Lok Sabha seat. Chirag Paswan of the LJP (Ram Vilas) aims to retain the legacy of his late father, Ram Vilas Paswan from Hajipur Lok Sabha seat.

13 out of 48 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra are undergoing elections including high-profile candidates: Dindori: Union Minister Bharati Pravin Pawar (BJP) vs. Bhaskar Bhagare (NCP). Dhule: BJP’s Subhash Ramrao Bhamre vs. Congress’s Shobha Dinesh Bachhav.

Palghar: Hemant Vishnu Savara (BJP) vs. Bharti Kamadi (Shiv Sena UBT). Nashik: Rajabhau Waje (Shiv Sena UBT) vs. Godse Hemant Tukaram (Shiv Sena). This election phase will also serve as a crucial battleground for the factions of Shiv Sena to measure their support among voters.

In Ladakh, an independent candidate is posing a significant challenge to both BJP and Congress contenders. Simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls are taking place in Odisha with the fifth phase, covering 5 Lok Sabha seats and 35 assembly constituencies. Voters in 3 parliamentary Lok Sabha seats — Chatra, Koderma, and Hazaribagh—will cast their votes in this phase.

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