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53 per cent voter turnout in Delhi municipal polls




New Delhi, Apr 23 : The high-stakes Delhi municipal polls today saw a turnout of around 53 per cent, with a sluggish start and a brisk end, even as rancour over “faulty EVMs” coloured the entire exercise with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal railing at the state election body.

As the dust settled, the incumbent BJP, which based its campaign largely on the image and popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared confident of pulling off a victory, two years after the assembly poll debacle.

The figures shared by State Election Commissioner S K Srivastava suggested that the polling percentage could inch past the 2012 mark of 53.23 per cent, which was the highest in 15 years.

The BJP and the Congress had then bagged 138 and 54 seats respectively. This time, the counting will be held on April 26.

Srivastava told a press conference that North Corporation’s Bakhtawarpur ward recorded the highest turnout at over 68 per cent, while south Delhi’s Lado Sarai registered the least turnout at 39 per cent.

Despite a sluggish start, as the day progressed and the heat waned towards the afternoon, people, including the women and the elderly, trooped out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.

The AAP, which the exit polls suggested was headed for a drubbing, led the charge against the Commission over technical glitches in EVMs, which the party has claimed can be “tampered with”.

Kejriwal alleged in a tweet, “Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people wid voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing? (sic).”

Srivastava said 18 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were replaced owing to battery or button-related issues.

“Out of 13,000 polling stations, EVMs were changed in only 18 polling stations. It shows our EVMs are unhackable, robust and no wrong can be done,” he said.

To a question on allegations that voting slips were not properly distributed in some areas, he said people were welcome to approach the commission with genuine grievances.

There were no reports of violence. However, a candidate of Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India claimed that he was roughed up by a Congress candidate and his supporters during polling at a booth in Rohini after he tried to stop him from carrying out “bogus voting”.

Congress, desperate to regain some lost ground, said the matter should be probed by the Election Commission and ensure that people do not have any doubt over the country’s democratic process.

“If the chief minister of Delhi has raised some questions on EVMs, and if it has even one bit of truth, then the commission should look into the matter and ensure that the trust of people on the electoral process does not get hit,” Jaiveer Shergill of the Congress said.

Polling was held in 270 of the 272 wards of the three municipal corporations. The election to two wards has been postponed due to the death of candidates.

A total of 1,32,10,206 voters were entitled to exercise their franchise in electing councillors for the 270 wards falling under the three corporations – NDMC (103), SDMC (104) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (63).

The verdict will determine the standing of the three main players — the AAP, the BJP and the Congress — in Delhi and its ripples will be felt beyond the city’s borders, as it comes within 10 days of the Rajouri Garden bypoll where the Kejriwal-led party had finished third.

Incidentally, in May last year, bypolls to 13 wards were held, in which the AAP had finished on top with five seats, followed by the Congress with 4, the BJP at 3. One seat had gone to an independent candidate.


BJP avenges by-poll defeat, wins UP Rajya Sabha cliffhanger



Yogi Adityanath, Akhilesh Yadav

New Delhi, March 23: Avenging its defeat at the hands of SP-BSP combine in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies, the BJP on Friday scored a major victory when its candidate defeated a BSP nominee for the 10th seat in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and actor Jaya Bachchan of the SP were re-elected.

In all in the elections held for 25 seats on Friday, the BJP won 12, the Congress five, Trinamool Congress four, Telangana Rashtra Samiti three and the Samajwadi Party one.

Smarting under the loss of by-poll elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the BJP left no stone unturned to win the battle against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) when its candidate Anil Agarwal, a Ghaziabad-based businessman, defeated Mayawati’s candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar in a cliffhanger of a contest that went to the wire.

While the BSP candidate got 33 votes — short by four — in the first preference votes against 22 of the BJP, the ruling party nominee was declared winner on the basis of second preference votes.

The votes of SP MLA Nitin Agarwal and Anil Singh of the BSP, who cross voted in favour of the BJP, were declared invalid.

In Uttar Pradesh alone, the BJP won nine seats including those of Jaitley and Agarwal. Other winners were Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav.

While the BSP cried use of money, muscle power and state machinery by the BJP to win the elections, it refused to blame the Samajwadi for defeat.

On the other hand, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath blamed the BSP’s loss on the Samajwadi Party’s “opportunism” as it failed to transfer votes.

The other major battle was in the Congress-ruled Karnataka where the ruling party won three seats and one went to the BJP. While the Congress was sure of two seats on its own, it wrested the third in a fight with Janata Dal-Secular that complained irregularities. B.M. Farooq of the JD-S lost to G.C. Chandrasekhar of the Congress in the state.

Others elected from Karnataka were I. Hanumanthaiah and Syed Naseer Hussain of the Congress and Rajeev Chandrashekar of the BJP.

West Bengal went on predicted lines as the ruling Trinamool Congress bagged four seats and while Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi backed by the Trinamool defeated CPI-M’s Rabin Deb.

The four Trinamool candidates are sitting Rajya Sabha member Nadimul Haque and first time nominees Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santanu Sen.

According to election officials, Trinamool’s Chakraborty secured the highest number of 54 votes. Haque and Biswas got 52 each and Sen 51. Singhvi garnered 47 votes. The votes of two Trinamool lawmakers – Jakir Hossain and Mrigendra Nath Maiti – were rejected.

Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged all three Rajya Sabha seats. B. Prakash, J. Santosh Kumar and AB. Lingaiah Yadav were declared victorious while Congress candidate and former union minister P. Balram Naik was defeated.

In Chattisgarh, BJP candidate Saroj Pandey defeated Congress’ Lekhram Sahu by a comfortable margin, getting also the votes two MLAs who cross voted in her favour. Pandey secured 51 votes while Sahu got only 36.

In the by-election held in Kerala, the Left Front-backed candidate M.P. Veerendra Kumar won by securing a huge margin against Congress candidate Babu Prasad. Kumar, who resigned from the Rajya Sabha after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP, contested the seat after shifting from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

The 80-year-old former Union Minister and newspaper baron secured 89 votes as against 40 that Babu Prasad got.

Out of a total of 58 Rajya Sabha seats to be filled, 33 candidates from 10 states were already declared elected unopposed on March 15. Of the 33, the BJP won 17. These included seven union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar.

The Congress had won four, the Biju Janata Dal three, the RJD, JD-U and TDP two each and the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the YSR Congress one each.

In the elections held to 58 seats, the BJP won 29, the Congress nine, Trinamool four, TRS and BJD three each, JD-U, TDP and RJD two each and Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, NCP and YSR Congress one each.


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Congress wins 3 seats, BJP 1 in Karnataka RS polls




Bengaluru, March 23: The ruling Congress on Friday won three seats and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) one in the Rajya Sabha biennial election for four seats in Karnataka, said an official.

“All three Congress candidates and one from the BJP won the contest while the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) candidate lost for the fourth seat,” an Election Commission official told reporters here after counting of votes.

L. Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and G.C. Chandrasekhar of the Congress and Rajeev Chandrashekar of the BJP were declared elected by the Returning Officer.

B.M. Farooq of the JD-S lost to G.C. Chandrasekhar of the Congress.


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Rajya Sabha election results: Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi wins from West Bengal, TMC clinches 4 seats




New Delhi, March 23: Voting for the high-level Rajya Sabha elections to fill 25 seats in six states- Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Telangana held on Friday. 

Out of 58 Rajya Sabha seats, polling is being held for 25 vacant seats as 33 candidates from 10 states have been elected unopposed.

The voting began at 9 am and continued till 4 pm. Counting of votes started from 5 pm.

Below we have enlisted states and the number of seats which will be filled with today’s verdict: 

Andhra Pradesh (3), Bihar (6), Chhattisgarh (1), Gujarat (4), Haryana (1), Himachal Pradesh (1), Karnataka (4), Madhya Pradesh (5), Maharashtra (6), Telangana (3), Uttar Pradesh (10), Uttarakhand (1), West Bengal (5), Odisha (3), Rajasthan (3) and Jharkhand (2).

Apart from the Rajya Sabha elections, a by-poll will also be held for one seat in Kerala where MP Veerendra Kumar, the Left-backed candidate of Sharad Yadav faction of the JD(U), is fielded against Babu Prasad of the Congress.

Check here updates:

Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) wins all three seats 

B. Prakash, J. Santosh Kumar and AB. Lingaiah Yadav were elected to the Upper House.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee shows victory sign

Following polls results, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee  showed victory sign.

Trinamool Congress bags four seats 

All four TMC candidates — sitting Rajya Sabha member Nadimul Haque and first time nominees Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santanu Sen — emerged victorious in the vote count.

Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi attains triumph from West Bengal 

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi won Rajya Sabha elections from West Bengal. After winning he said ‘it is humbling and uplifting, it is a result of cooperation between different groups and MLAs.’

Counting begins in Karnataka

Counting of votes started at 7 pm.

Counting begins in UP 

Counting of votes began after clearance from the Election Commission in Uttar Pradesh at 6.33 pm.

TDP leader C M Ramesh unanimously elected

TDP leader C M Ramesh, has been unanimously elected to Rajya Sabha consecutively.

Counting of votes stopped  in Karnataka

Congress’ G. Parameshwara, said “counting of votes has not started as yet because Janata Dal had complained to EC about some discrepancy. Janata Dal has boycotted the voting now, so that will also enhance our chances of victory”.

Counting of votes halted in Uttar Pradesh

Election Commission has not given permission to begin the counting of votes for Rajya Sabha election due to some objections in ballot papers. Counting to begin only after EC gives clearance.

SP and BSP demand from Election Commission to declare votes of BJP’s Nitin Agrawal and BSP’s Anil Singh invalid alleging that they did not show their ballot paper to the polling agent.

BJP wins from Chhattisgarh

BJP’s Saroj Pandey wins Rajya Sabha Election from Chhattisgarh

Visuals from Kerala Legislative Assembly

Visuals from Bengaluru 

BSP MLA Anil Singh cross voted for BJP

Visuals from Telangana Assembly

No cross-voting is going to take place, but BJP MLAs will cross-vote in our favour, says SP

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav stated there will be no cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls being held in Uttar Pradesh, but BJP MLAs will cross-vote in their favour.

MLAs queue up in West Bengal Assembly to vote in Kolkata

Image: ANI

Five seats are being contested in the state. Altogether six candidates, including Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, are in the fray for the five Rajya Sabha seats from this seat.

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath meets party MLAs in Lucknow

Javadekar, Yeddyurappa met BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrashekar in Bengaluru

Samajwadi Party leader, Rajendra Chaudhary said “SP candidate Jaya Bachchan Ji & BSP candidate, (Bhim Rao Ambedkar) whom we are supporting, will win the Rajya Sabha elections. Considering BJP’s condition I’d say that its own MLAs are annoyed & some of them may even end up siding with the opposition”.


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