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53 per cent voter turnout in Delhi municipal polls

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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.

Election

‘Janashakti’ of Congress to defeat BJP’s ‘Dhanshakti’: Chavan

The Shiv Sena and its ally BJP were clamouring over taking credit on the deceased Chintaman Wanga.

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Prithviraj Chavan

Thane, May 24 : Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan on Thursday said that the ‘Janashakti’ (people’s power) of his party will defeat the BJP’s ‘Dhanshakti’ (money power) in the Palghar Lok Sabha by-poll.

Addressing an election rally for the party nominee Damoo Shingada at Wangaon of Dahanu, he made this observation. He said that the BJP was making every effort to win this election by illegal means with use of money and power but the people of Palghar will defeat the ‘Dhanshakti’ of BJP. The former chief minister exuded confidence that the people of Palghar would elect the loyal candidate Mr Shingada of the Congress in this election. He said that both the Shiv Sena and its ally BJP were clamouring over taking credit on the deceased Chintaman Wanga.

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Election

Maha MLC biennial polls: Counting of votes underway

In the 78-member Legislative Council, the NCP is the single largest party with 23 seats, followed by the Congress (19), the BJP (18) and the Shiv Sena (nine).

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Mumbai, May 24 : Counting of votes was underway today for five out of the six local bodies seats where biennial elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council were held on Monday.

The counting began at 8 am, an election official said.

The Election Commission deferred the counting process for the election to Osamanabad-Beed-Latur seat in view of a court order pertaining to suspension of some members of local bodies in Beed district.

The election was held as three members of the NCP, two of the BJP and one of the Congress are retiring from the Upper House of the state Legislature on June 21.

As many as 16 candidates are in fray in the six seats where there are total 4,621 voters, comprising members of 128zilla parishads, municipal corporations, municipal councils, nagar panchayats and the cantonment board.

In the 78-member Legislative Council, the NCP is the single largest party with 23 seats, followed by the Congress (19), the BJP (18) and the Shiv Sena (nine).

The JD(U), the PWP and the Peoples’ Republican Party have one member each while there are six independents.

The term of NCP’s Anil Tatkare, who represents the Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg local bodies’ constituency, will end on May 31.

Besides, the terms of NCP’s Jayant Jadhav (Nashik) and Abdullah Khan A Latif Khan Durani (Parbhani-Hingoli), BJP’s Pravin Pote (Amravati) andMitesh Bhangdia (Wardha-Chandrapur -Gadchiroli) and Congress’ Dilip Deshmukh (Osmanabad-Latur- Beed) would end on June 21.

Pote is Minister of State for Industries in the Maharashtra government.

The Osmanabad-Beed-Latur seat contest is being viewed as a battle of prestige between state Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde (BJP) and her cousin Dhananjay Munde (NCP), the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council.

Earlier, Ramesh Karad of the NCP had withdrawn his nomination from the seat at the last minute.

Karad, a staunch supporter of Pankaja Munde, had joined the NCP and was immediately declared the party candidate.

But after Karad’s withdrawal, the NCP extended its support to independent candidate Ashok Jagdale. The BJP has fielded former NCP minister Suresh Dhas for this bypoll.

The ruling BJP and the Shiv Sena, the warring constituent in the Maharashtra government, are contesting three seats each.

The Sena is contesting Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Nasik and Parbhani-Hingoli seats.

The NCP is taking on the Sena in Raigad-Ratnagiri- Sindhudurg and Nashik.

In the Parbhani-Hingoli local authorities constituency BJP rebel Suresh Nangare is in fray, along with Shiv Sena’s Viplav Bajoria and Congress’ Suresh Deshmukh.

BJP’s Rajya Sabha member and former chief minister Narayan Rane has declared his support to NCP candidate Aniket Tatkare in the Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg local authorities constituency, against Sena’s Rajeev Sabale.

Pravin Pote of the BJP is contesting from Amaravati constituency against Anil Madhogaria of the Congress.

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Election

Palghar bypoll: CM accuses Sena of betrayal by fielding

In a jolt to its ally BJP, the Sena fielded Shriniwas Wanga for the by-election after his father and sitting BJP MP from the Palghar seat, Chintaman Wanga, died.

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Uddhav-Thackeray_Devendra-Fadnavis

Palghar (Maharashtra), May 21 : Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has accused the Shiv Sena of betraying the BJP by fielding the son of late MP Chintaman Wanga for the Palghar Lok Sabha seat bypoll.

He claimed the Sena knew that the BJP was already planning to nominate someone from Chintaman Wanga’s family for the by-election, scheduled on May 28.

Lauding Wanga’s association with the BJP, Fadnavis said the late leader represented the party’s ideology.

In a jolt to its ally BJP, the Sena fielded Shriniwas Wanga for the by-election after his father and sitting BJP MP from the Palghar seat, Chintaman Wanga, died.

Fadnavis, at an earlier rally in the district, said he had told Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that the BJP was planning to give ticket to a member of Chintaman Wanga’s family for the by-election.

“Our ally (on one hand) was welcoming our decision to give ticket to the Wanga family and on the other hand hatching a conspiracy,” the chief minister said at a campaign rally in Palghar’s Nallasopara area last night.

Chintaman Wanga’s wife had yesterday filed a complaint of model code violation against the BJP, accusing the party of using her husband’s pictures on publicity material for the upcoming bypoll illegally.

However, Fadnavis said only the BJP had the right to use the late leader’s photos.

“Only we have the right to put up Chintaman Wanga’s photo. He wasn’t an individual but our ideology,” he said.

Urging the people of Palghar to vote fearlessly without succumbing to any threats, the chief minister said those come between the BJP and the people will be “crushed”.

Nobody should indulge in extortion in the name of the saffron flag, he said without naming any party.

Fadnavis said this was not an election of ‘galli’ (a local street), but ‘Delhi’ (Parliament), and asked other parties to do politics for the welfare of the society.

For the bypoll, the BJP has fielded Rajendra Gavit, who recently left the Congress to join the saffron party.

Fadnavis asserted that Gavit was the right successor to Chintaman Wanga.

“Why vote for those who don’t know whether they exist or not. Rajendra Gavit is like (Chintaman) Wanga who struggles for people…send him to the Modi team (Parliament),” he said.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also spoke at the rally.

Apart from the BJP and the Sena, the Congress is also in fray for the bypoll to the tribal-dominated constituency, located about 110 km from Mumbai, and has fielded former MP Damodar Shingda.

Local outfit Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), which has three MLAs in total six Assembly segments in the Palghar constituency, has nominated former MP Baliram Jadhav.

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