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SP-BSP announce UP seat sharing without Congress; Mulayam Singh unhappy with tie-up



SP-BSP announce UP seat sharing without Congress; Mulayam Singh unhappy with tie-up

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati today (Thursday, Feb 21) announced the seat sharing formula between them in Uttar Pradesh (UP), upsetting any Congress plans or hopes of finding a place in the arrangement to form a larger coalition – a grand alliance – against BJP in the state for 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The SP-BSP alliance also annoyed SP founder and Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh who viewed this as a decline of the party that, under him, had formed government thrice in the state on its own strength.

The arrangement should also be a relief for the BJP which was staring at a major decline in its existing tally of 71 out of 80 seats from UP. With Congress getting energised under its revamped state leadership under Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia and its campaign expected to pick up steam, the contest is set to become three-cornered. The resultant split in anti-BJP votes would be a boon for the party.

The list announced today has 75 of the state’s 80 seats, of which Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party gets 38 seats and the Samajwadi Party 37.

The seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli – represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively – have been left untouched as promised by Mayawati. The remaining three are expected to go to Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.

While Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had said the Congress will contest all 80 seats in the state, a section within the party still held onto hopes of a rethink by Mayawati after the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics.

But the Dalit leader, upset with the Congress after seat sharing talks for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh fell through, did not budge.

To questions whether the entry of the Congress will divert votes from the SP-BSP alliance and help the BJP, leaders of both parties had responded in the negative. They said the hopes were rather that the Congress will draw upper caste votes, which would have gone to the BJP.

The two leaders had announced a tie-up for the parliamentary elections last month, ignoring the Congress in their election strategy to counter the ruling BJP. Explaining the reason of not including Congress in the alliance Mayawati said there’s “no real vote transfer” from Congress.

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The BSP and the SP had then decided to put up candidates on equal number of seats. But the release signed by the two party chiefs named one less constituency for the Samajwadi Party.

Under the arrangement announced today, Yadav’s party will contest some of the key urban seats. The 37 seats in the SP quota include Kairana, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Badaun, Bareilly, Lucknow, Etawah, Kanpur, Kannauj, Jhansi, Banda, Allahabad, Kaushambi, Phulpur, Faizabad, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Varanasi and Mirzapur. The SP is also going to fight on Varanasi seat, the home turf of PM Modi.

The BSP will contest from Saharanpur, Bijnor, Nagina, Aligarh, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Dhaurahara, Sitapur, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaiserganj, Basti, Salempur, Jaunpur, Bhadohi and Deoria, among other constituencies.

The Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed his displeasure over the alliance in a press conference in Lucknow today.

Addressing party workers at the SP headquarters in Lucknow, Mulayam Singh made clear that he was unhappy with Mayawati’s BSP being given half of the seats in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

“Party ko khatam kaun kar raha hai? Apni hi party ke log. Itni mazboot party bani thi. Akele 3 baar sarkar banai, teeno baar hum CM rahe, Raksha Mantri bhi rahe, mazboot party thi. Hum rajneeti nahi kar rahe, lekin hum sahi baat rakh rahe hain (Who is finishing the party? Its own people. It was such a strong party. Thrice it formed government on its own, all three times I became chief minister, also became Defence Minister. It was a strong party. I am not talking any politics, but saying what is correct),” ANI quoted him as saying.

He reportedly told the party workers that the BJP’s election preparation was better.

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“Today, we are contesting only on half the seats. It is my son who has forged this alliance. Had it been me, things would have been different,” he rued, adding that despite his status as the party patriarch, his work has remained undefined.

“The female representation has also gone down drastically in the party, which is a matter of concern. And the names of the candidates should have been finalised by now, else BJP will take lead,” he criticised further.

“We have a direct fight with the BJP. However, now our seats have been halved, which has also trimmed down our workers in turn. Somebody should tell me on what basis we are fighting only on half of the seats,” he added.

The party’s patriarch had earlier raised eyebrows in Parliament on the last day of Budget Session when he wishing for Narendra Modi to return as the prime minister. The gesture was a marked departure from the anti-Modi stand taken by son Akhilesh and the opposition parties.

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Rahul Gandhi wouldn’t need to fear disqualification if he had not done this

Observers had been upbeat on the Congress’s chances despite the “Aayega Modi hi” slogan and potential allies talking of a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance.



Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh

Rahul Gandhi is finding himself in the eye of the news cycle storm after a Gujarat court convicted him of defamation for his 2019 remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi faces up to 2 years in jail for taking the Prime Minister’s name along with IPL founder Lalit Modi and fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and wondering if all Modis are thieves. The complaint against Gandhi was filed by BJP leader Purnesh Ishvarbhai Modi at Adajan police station in Surat district.

While convicting Gandhi, Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma granted him bail for 30 days for him to file his appeal, which would be in a higher court.

It is a coincidence that if Rahul Gandhi had not ripped up a Manmohan Singh government ordinance to protect legislators (MPs/MLAs/MLCs) convicted of criminal offences from disqualification, he could have escaped this Surat court judgment unscathed. But since the ordinance was withdrawn by the Manmohan Singh government, a legal protection that could have saved him and others can be looked upon wistfully.

The United Progressive Alliance-II regime had been at the receiving end of Opposition assaults over perceived corruption scams including 2G, coalgate and the railway cases, implicating ministers of allies Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Rashtriya Janata Dal among others.

The general perception of those years was that the allies were responsible for the falling goodwill of the Congress minority government. Though multiple parties including the Aam Aadmi Party went on the offensive, the biggest gainer from the hit on the Congress was the BJP.

Possibly, the UPA bigwigs could read among the tea leaves what lay ahead of them. Rahul Gandhi’s trashing other ordinance happened in the first few weeks of September 2013 when then PM Singh was away in the United States. The highlight of the next week was Narendra Modi being chosen as the BJP’s PM candidate above veteran leader LK Advani. What happened hence is well-known.

The Rahul Gandhi-led march, the Bharat Jodo Yatra, had won some eyeballs at the man’s ability to pull off the march with relative elan. Following the Hindenburg Research report on Adani, the Congress had shown some verve and fight in a marked departure from the grand old party dismissal.

A remark from spokesperson Pawan Khera on Modi saw Delhi Police armed police haul him off a flight at Delhi airport in connection with three FIRs against Khera, one in Assam and two in Uttar Pradesh.

Observers had been upbeat on the Congress’s chances despite the “Aayega Modi hi” slogan and potential allies talking of a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance. The Surat court decision could spark greater opposition coherence since Arvind Kejriwal himself came out in support of Gandhi.

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Shiromani Akali Dal offers legal assistance to those arrested during Amritpal Singh clampdown

Recently the Akali Dal Chief also put out a series of tweets that stressed on the unity and integrity of India and further condemned the divisive outfits for polarising the communal harmony in Punjab.



Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal

Day after Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal slammed the AAP government over the law and order situation by dubbed the hunt of pro-Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh and his aids as a conspiracy to defame the Sikh community for communal polarisation and electoral benefits. Akali Dal on Wednesday swung in to offer legal assistance to those arrested during the clampdown.

As per the reports, Sukhbir Singh Badal took to Twitter for the second consecutive day to talk about the Amritpal Singh crackdown and wrote that his party has agreed to offer complete legal assistance to all Sikh youth arrested in the ongoing extra-constitutional crackdown in Punjab.

The tweet by Badal also read that they are offering legal aid in order to safeguard the rights of the youth from being violated by the AAP Government in Punjab. The tweet also put out the contacts of the legal aid that the families of the arrested can approach to access.

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Recently the Akali Dal Chief also put out a series of tweets that stressed on the unity and integrity of India and further condemned the divisive outfits for polarising the communal harmony in Punjab. The tweet also read that the Sikh community has always been at the forefront of making sacrifices for the nation.

In another tweet, Badal wrote and claimed that attempts are being made to malign the Sikh community for electoral benefits. He further wrote and affirmed to the Punjabi community that Akali Dal will fight for every community including all minorities. Another tweet also slammed the arrest of the innocent youth and dubbed it to be a bid done under the garb of the crackdown of Amritpal Singh.

He further urged the authorities to stop the arrest to clear the Punjabis from feeling insecure in the state. As per the reports, so far the Punjab Police have arrested more that 100 associates of Amritpal Singh and held them for questioning. The prime accused Amritpal Singh, who spoke in favour of Khalitan, continues to be at large as the man hunt continues.

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Delhi Police crackdown on anti-Modi posters, police arrest 4 including owner of printing press, 44 cases registered

According to the reports, the posters were slapped on several walls and poles of the National Capital. The reports said that over 2000 posters were removed and 2,000 more seized after a van was intercepted by the Police authorities.



Narendra Modi

The Delhi Police has taken cognizance of the cases of the posters that slammed Prime Minister Modi and in a bid to curtail such incidents, the police have rained down on the several accused. So far, the Delhi Police has registered 44 FIRs in the matter and arrested 4 people including two owners of a printing press.

The clampdown by the police comes after a reported operation on Tuesday as the Delhi Police nearly 2,000 posters from various parts of Delhi. As per the reports, the posters that were removed by the Delhi police had promoted the idea of unseating Prime Minister Narendra as the posters read Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao.

According to the reports, the posters were slapped on several walls and poles of the National Capital. The reports said that over 2000 posters were removed and 2,000 more seized after a van was intercepted by the Police authorities.

The Special Commissioner of Police (North), Dependra Pathak, who informed the media about the police intercepting the van, also told the media that the police traced and nabbed down the van at IP Estate and also added that the van was coming from AAP headquarters on DDU Marg.

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It was reported the man driving the van was arrested by the police and upon being questioned, he told the authorities that his employer instructed him to deliver the posters to AAP’s headquarters and also added that he made a delivery day before as well.

Pathak also informed that 2 other men have also been arrested in the case and two printing press firms were given an order for making 50,000 more anti-modi posters. It was also reported that the workers of the company also pasted posters from late Sunday night to Monday morning. The police have arrested the owners of the printing press for reportedly not publishing the names of their company on the posters. The police are investigating further about the face behind who placed the order.

The AAP government has yet to make a statement on the matter after being accused of being linked to the poster pasting that goes against PM Modi.

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