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Election

62 seats up for grabs in Bengal polls third phase

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Kolkata, April 20 : The high-octane West Bengal assembly election reaches an exciting leg on Thursday, with the poll caravan moving to the historic Murshidabad district that was once the capital of the Nawabs of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, and reaches upto a part of Kolkata in the third phase of the staggered month-long exercise.

Polling will also take place in Nadia district, the birthplace of Vaishnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and also for some of the seats in Burdwan, considered the rice bowl of India.

Over 1.37 crore (1,37,42,000) voters are eligible to choose their legislators in 62 constituencies across 16,461 polling stations, including 10 auxiliary booths, from a field of 418 candidates — 34 of them female.

All 22 constituencies are going to the hustings in Murshidabad, regarded as a bastion of the Congress, and particularly of its dashing state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Besides, the entire lot of 17 constituencies in Nadia will also be up for grabs. Seven seats in north Kolkata and 16 in Burdwan complete the list.

Murshidabad is a crucial test for the newly formed Congress-Left Front alliance, with the partners locked in a fight among themselves in 10 of the 22 constituencies.

Congress candidates are up against Revolutionary Socialist Party nominees in five constituencies, and take on Communist Party of India-Marxist contestants in four and the All India Forward Bloc in one seat.

The state’s ruling Trinamool Congress is traditionally weak in the district, but political pundits feel the lack of total unity in the Left-Congress camp may give it a boost in a few seats.

Close fights are also on the cards at Nadia, where the alliance has achieved unity in all but the Krishnaganj seat — that pits the Congress against the CPI-M.

The erstwhile ‘red fort’ of Burdwan, that collapsed like a pack of cards in the Trinamool surge in 2011, when the Left Front was ousted from power in the state, is also likely to witness a see-saw battle between the alliance and the Trinamool. Nine constituencies of the district had voted on April 11.

The Trinamool Congress is hoping big on the seven seats in Kolkata north, but the alliance is also keen to pull up some surprises.

In the assembly polls in the 62 constituencies five years back, then allies Trinamool and Congress had captured 45 seats, with the Trinamool taking 29 and the Congress 16.

Among the Left Front partners, the CPI-M had won 14, and the Revolutionary Socialist Party, Samajwadi Party and All India Forward Bloc one each.

In this phase, Ranaghat South in Nadia is the largest constituency electorate-wise, and Ausgram in Burdwan district the biggest in terms of area. Shyampukar constituency in Kolkata (North) has the least number of electors.

Among the major candidates in this phase are state ministers and Trinamool contestants Sashi Panja, Sadhan Pandey, Subrata Saha, former state minister and CPI-M candidates Anisur Rahaman and Debesh Das, Congress legislature party leader Md. Sohrab and former state party presdient Somendranath Mitra and Ritesh Tiwari from the BJP.

Of the 418 candidates in the fray, 61 are crorepatis, 80 have criminal cases against them, with 65 of them declaring serious criminal offences like murder and rape against their name.

So far, voters in 105 of the total 294 constituencies have exercised their right to franchise on three dates — April 4, 11 and 17 — in the first two phases.

West Bengal is having a staggered six-phase election. Polling for the remaining phases will be held on April 25, 30 and May 5.

Election

Bihar polls: To thwart RJD and capitalise on Hanuman, BJP picks next ‘Tuesday’

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bihar election

New Delhi/Patna, June 1 : When the Prime Minister said Indians need to learn to live with the coronavirus, BJP took it to heart. Now, notwithstanding the lockdown 5.0, the ruling BJP will sound its Bihar poll bugle next Tuesday.

A BJP functionary says, it has two reasons to choose June 9 for the purpose – it is a Tuesday which is considered auspicious for Hindus since it is the day of Lord Hanuman, a deity who is popular in the Hindi heartland. Another reason being, on June 9, RJD”s Tejaswi Yadav has announced to hold a ”Gareeb Adhikar Diwas”, where his party is expected to raise the offensive against BJP-JDU alliance”s handling of the migrant situation.

Tejaswi Yadav has said that he will appeal to all that on June 9, everyone should come forward and protest with a plate, bowl or banana leaf. “Lalu ji used to say that if we can”t have ”aata” (flour) in our stomach, then what will people do with ”daata”?” Yadav is clearly up for an offensive to harp upon the hunger and light of the poor and marginalized during the subsequent lockdowns.

But to thwart that, the BJP ”Chanakya” himself is likely to sound the poll bugle with his Facebook live on the very same day, where Amit Shah is likely to give a white paper on what the Centre has done for people of Bihar during the pandemic.

Though the central BJP hasn”t either confirmed or denied about the event, the Bihar BJP has already started its work. Sources say, it is likely to be a live stream of Amit Shah which will be broadcast through different social media platforms of the BJP on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and its website.

There are 243 assembly constituencies in the state. Bihar BJP has already started working to ensure one giant screen in each of the 243 assembly constituencies at least where people can be arranged to watch the address of Shah. Given maintaining social distancing is a concern for the party, most of these arrangements will take place not in party offices but in auditoriums, community halls of gram panchayats to ensure there is “do gaz ki doori” among those sitting there.

BJP”s National Chief of Social Media Amit Malviya said that his department hasn”t been notified about the address, so far. But BJP”s Bihar chief Sanjay Jaiswal confirmed that Shah will indeed be the first among many faces who will hold such digital rallies and it will be on June 9. While he claims, more than 1 lakh people will watch that, it includes 38,000 of its cadres who the Bihar BJP expects to connect their phones with Android TVs and arrange a small group of people to watch.

According to the BJP website, Shah’s last rally in Bihar was on January 16, in Vaishali, which was part of a series of such rallies to make a case for the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Meanwhile, the election commission hasn”t taken any decision on whether to hold the Bihar polls, which are scheduled for later this year, on time or defer it due to the pandemic. But that hasn”t stopped BJP from sounding the poll bugle on a ”Tuesday”, considered as the ”day of Bajrang Bali” in this part of India, which state BJP leaders claim will put the party at an advantage.

–IANS

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Election

Deferred due to coronavirus, elections to 18 Rajya Sabha seats to be held on June 19: Election Commission

After the last date of withdrawal on March 18, a total of 37 candidates were declared elected. Obviously, the states from where they got elected saw exactly as many candidates as the number of vacant seats.

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Parliament of India

New Delhi, June 1 : The Rajya Sabha biennial polls, which were deferred in March, will now be held on June 19. The results will be declared the same day.

The Election Commission had issued a notification on March 6 for filling 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states. The polling was scheduled for March 26. The last date for filing nominations was March 13.

After the last date of withdrawal on March 18, a total of 37 candidates were declared elected. Obviously, the states from where they got elected saw exactly as many candidates as the number of vacant seats.

Those who made it to the Upper House in the first go included NCP President Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of State and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale (both from Maharashtra) and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.

The elections for the remaining 18 seats were postponed due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown and the curfew that followed.

Of the 18 outstanding seats, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat account for four each, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan three each, Jharkhand two and Manipur and Meghalaya one each.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who defected to the BJP along with 22 MLAs and paved the way for the overthrow of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, is in the Rajya Sabha fray on a saffron party ticket from MP.

Also pitted in the contest is senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh. While both are expected to sail through comfortably, Sumer Singh Solanki of the BJP and Phool Singh Baraiya of the Congress will fight it out for the third seat. Congress” prospects are marred by defections and continuing factionalism.

Similarly, Gujarat has four seats, while a total of five people are in the race, three on behalf of the BJP and two as the nominees of the opposition Congress. The BJP is working hard to pick up three seats, leaving only one for the Congress.

The ruling YSR Congress may make a clean sweep of all four seats in Andhra Pradesh. The Telugu Desam Party, with barely 23 people in the 175-member Assembly, is not in a position to garner the 36 votes needed for winning a single seat.

The JMM has fielded party patriarch Shibbu Soren in Jharkhand. The party has left the second seat for its ally, Congress. The BJP has put up its state president Deepak Prakash. The Congress may end up putting up a token fight.

AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal is the Congress nominee in Rajasthan. The BJP nominee is Rajendra Gehlot, senior party leader from Jodhpur.

In Manipur, the BJP has fielded former royal Leisemba Sanajaoba. The Congress has put up T. Mangi Babu. The BJP is certain to win the solitary seat.

In Meghalaya, ruling National People”s Party candidate Wanwei Roy Kharlukhi is expected to win by defeating Congress nominee Kennedy Cornelius Khyiem.

–IANS

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Election

Lalu Yadav gives 18 names to Nitish regime in own style

Presently, he is admitted in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi. But he is continuously targeting the state government through Twitter.

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Lalu Yadav

Patna, June 1 : The Assembly elections are expected in Bihar this year and almost every political party is gearing up for this. Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who is currently in jail after being convicted in Fodder scam, is also constantly targeting the state government and its regime in his own style on social media.

On Monday, a tweet from his account gave 18 names to the Nitish regime and appealed to the public to remove this government in the next election.

A satirical tweet in Hindi said: “Pandrah saal se Bihar mein chhal-bal raj, daladal raj, anargal raj, vaakchhal raj, nishphal raj, viphal raj, amangal raj, kolaahal raj, halaahaal raj, akushal raj, bandal raj, adiyal raj, mariyal raj, ghaayal raj, illegal raj, anaitik raj, dushaasan raj, vishvaasaghaatee raj. Ise ukhaadane ka karo kaaj, lao gareeb-gurabe ka raj.

Significantly, Lalu Prasad, the former chief minister of Bihar, is serving a jail term following his conviction in the fooder scam. Presently, he is admitted in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi. But he is continuously targeting the state government through Twitter.

–IANS

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