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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

Bihar Assembly Polls : Separate queue for Covid patients at polling booths

An ECI officer said that different political parties have urged that the expenditure limit be raised to Rs 2 lakh owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Patna, Sep 18 : The Election Commission of India (ECI) has has asked authorities to prepare a separate voters list for Corona-positive patients.

The decision was taken on Friday amid campaigning for the Bihar elections, expected to be held in October or November this year.

The idea is to prevent the transmission and spread of the virus, while allowing patients to exercise their right to vote.

As per the Commission’s strategy, there would be separate queues for Covid patients at polling stations.

The ECI has also made it mandatory for polling officers, presiding officers and polling agents of different political parties to be equipped with proper safety gear.

In another development, the ECI is expected to raise the limit for expenses which can be incurred by individual candidates on the election campaign.

An ECI officer said that different political parties have urged that the expenditure limit be raised to Rs 2 lakh owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The earlier limit was set at Rs 26 lakh.

The officer said that ECI may consult the law ministry on the issue.

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NDA candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh re-elected as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman

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Harivansh Narayan Singh

New Delhi, Sept 14 : Rajya Sabha on Monday re-elected Janata Dal (United) parliamentarian Harivansh Narayan Singh as deputy chairman of the Upper House by voice vote.

Harivansh’s name was proposed by BJP president and party MP Jagat Prakash Nadda. Leader of the House Thavarchand Gehlot seconded it.

The opposition had fielded Manoj Jha, an RJD member.

Soon after the election, MPs from various political parties congratulated Harivansh.

In 2018, Harivansh had defeated Congress’ BK Hariprasad in the election to the post.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated him for being re-elected.

The election was necessitated as Harivansh completed his term as a member of Rajya Sabha this year.

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Bihar Assembly Polls: Politicians vying to pass the baton to GenNext

In the ruling JD(U), too, there are many leaders trying to get their next generation into the electoral fray.

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Tejashwi Yadav

Patna, Sep 12 : A political storm is brewing ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar. Crowds of ticket-seekers to contest the upcoming elections are gathering outside party offices as well as residences of many senior leaders.

Several political leaders are also switching loyalties to other parties to secure their political future.

However, many politicians are ready to pass on their political legacy to the next generation. It is not that such leaders are present in a lone party. Instead there are many leaders in all prominent parties in Bihar who are in the process of handing over their ‘political reins’ to their sons.

There are many leaders who are trying to carve the political career of their relatives by giving them election tickets. Even though such leaders are in all parties, the Congress leads the list of such leaders.

A Congress leader preferring anonymity said there are many senior leaders who are doing rounds of the party circles in Delhi to ‘set’ the political career of their sons. However, the party workers do not like it.

Sources say the party’s Bihar unit President Madan Mohan Jha is trying to get his son Madhav Jha an election ticket from Benipur. Senior party leader from Kahalgaon Sadanand Singh is planning to pass his political baton to his son Shubhanand Mukesh.

Congress leader Dr. Ashok Kumar is trying to field his son Atirek from Dalsinghsarai on the party’s election symbol while Garibdas wants to get a ticket from Bachwada seat to inherit the legacy of his late father and former Congress MLA Ramdev Rai.

Speaking to IANS, senior Congress leader and former MLA Narendra Kumar said, “If a leader wants to retire from politics and bring his next generation into it, there is no harm in it. After all the party will be robust only with the youth coming forward.”

However, he said that it should not so happen that a politician himself is an election ticket contender and also seeks ticket for his/her son or daughter from other areas as well.

It is not that such a situation is prevalent just in the Congress. In the BJP, too, many leaders are involved in the race to seek election ticket for their progeny. Union Minister Ashwini Choubey is believed to be trying for a ticket from Bhagalpur for his son Arijit Sashwat een as BJP MP Chhedi Paswan wants to field his son Ravi Paswan in this election.

Both Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, sons of RJD President Lalu Prasad, are expected to contest the upcoming elections. However, RJD sources say that party’s State President Jagdanand Singh is trying to get his son Sudhakar Singh a ticket from the Ramgarh assembly constituency.

In the ruling JD(U), too, there are many leaders trying to get their next generation into the electoral fray.

However, more or less all parties are full of politicians who are desirous of pushing their future generation in the political arena in this election, but it remains to be seen how many will succeed and who the voters will elect to power.

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