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Election

Abe sweeps to resounding victory in Japan vote

The new centre-left Constitutional Democratic Party fared slightly better than expected but still trailed far behind Abe with 58 seats.

Shinzo Abe, Japan's PM and President of the LDP, center, raises his arm during an election campaign rally in Tokyo.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swept to a resounding victory in a snap election today, winning a mandate to harden his already hawkish stance on North Korea and re-energise the world’s number-three economy.

Abe’s conservative coalition was on track to win 311 seats in the 465-seat parliament, according to a projection published by private broadcaster TBS, putting the blue-blooded nationalist on course to become Japan’s longest-serving leader.

The comfortable election win is likely to stiffen Abe’s resolve to tackle North Korea’s nuclear threat, as the key US regional ally seeks to exert maximum pressure on Pyongyang after it fired two missiles over Japan in the space of a month.

Abe was heading for a “landslide win”, the top-selling Yomiuri daily said on its website, as the premier’s gamble to hold a snap election appeared to be paying off.

But it was unclear in the immediate aftermath of the vote whether Abe’s coalition would retain its two-thirds “supermajority,” requiring 310 seats, as some media had it falling just short.

A “supermajority” would allow Abe to propose changes to pacifist Japan’s US-imposed constitution that forces it to renounce war and effectively limits its military to a self- defence role.

Millions of Japanese braved torrential rain and driving winds to vote as a typhoon bears down on the country, with many heeding warnings to cast their ballots early.

“I support Abe’s stance not to give in to North Korea’s pressure,” said Yoshihisa Iemori as he cast his ballot in a rainswept Tokyo.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) benefited from a weak and splintered opposition, with the two main parties facing him created only a matter of weeks ago.

Support for the Party of Hope founded by popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike fizzled after an initial blaze of publicity and it was on track to win around 50 seats, the TBS projection suggested.

Speaking from Paris where she was attending an event in her capacity as leader of the world’s biggest city, a sullen- faced Koike told public broadcaster NHK she feared a “very severe result”.

“As the person who launched the party, I will take my responsibility.”

The new centre-left Constitutional Democratic Party fared slightly better than expected but still trailed far behind Abe with 58 seats.

“The LDP’s victory is simply because the opposition couldn’t form a united front,” political scientist Mikitaka Masuyama from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, told AFP.

The short 12-day campaign was dominated by the economy and the global crisis over North Korea, which has threatened to “sink” Japan into the sea and has traded barbs with US President Donald Trump.

Nationalist Abe stuck to a hardline stance throughout, stressing that Japan “would not waver” in the face of an increasingly belligerent regime in Pyongyang.

Despite the sabre-rattling from North Korea, many voters said reviving the once-mighty Japanese economy was the top priority, with Abe’s trademark “Abenomics” growth policy failing to trickle down to the general public.

The three-pronged combination of ultra-loose monetary policy, huge government spending and structural reform has catapulted the stock market to a 21-year high but failed to stoke inflation and growth has remained sluggish.

“Neither pensions nor wages are getting better… I don’t feel the economy is recovering at all,” said 67-year-old pensioner Hideki Kawasaki.

Although voters turned out in their millions to back Abe, support for the 63-year-old is lukewarm and surveys showed his decision to call a snap election a year earlier than expected was unpopular.

Voter Etsuko Nakajima, 84, told AFP: “I totally oppose the current government. Morals collapsed. I’m afraid this country will be broken.”

“I think if the LDP takes power, Japan will be in danger.

He does not do politics for the people,” added the pensioner.

Koike briefly promised to shake up Japan’s sleepy political scene with her new party but she declined to run herself for a seat, sparking confusion over who would be prime minister if she won.

In the end the 65-year-old former TV presenter was not even in Japan on election day.

“I thought that I would vote for the Party of Hope if it’s strong enough to beat the Abe administration. But the party has been in confusion … I’m quite disappointed,” said 80-year-old pensioner Kumiko Fujimori.

The campaign was marked by a near-constant drizzle in large parts of the country and rallies frequently took place under shelter and a sea of umbrellas.

But this did not dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of doughty, sash-wearing parliamentary hopefuls, who have driven around in minibuses pleading for votes via loudspeaker and bowing deeply to every potential voter.

Election

MIM shares BJP’s ideology of hatred, says Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi also said both Modi and KCR were indulging in corruption and both have gone back on the promises made to people.

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Rahul Gandhi Telangana
Rahul Gandhi Election Rally in Telangana.

Hyderabad, Oct 20 : Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged that Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) shares Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideology of hatred and divisiveness.

In the first direct and bitter attack on the former ally of Congress, Gandhi said both the parties have the same ideology and thinking.

Gandhi was addressing a public meeting to mark Rajiv Sadbhavana Yatra at the historic Charminar here on Saturday night. Speaking in the old city of Hyderabad, the bastion of MIM, he spared no words to target the party.

The Congress president said for the first time in India’s history, a prime minister and his followers were engaged in spreading hatred and working to divide the country.

He said a Dalits, tribals, Muslims, women and other weaker sections were living in fear across the country due to the ideology of hatred.

He said the country was witnessing a fight between two ideologies. Stating that Congress believes in unity and wants to carry all people with it, Gandhi said it was fighting against the forces which are spreading hatred.

He said state after state, MIM was supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This is because their ideology and thinking are same…the ideology of divisiveness, the thinking of breaking the country and thinking of spreading hatred. Congress is fighting these forces,” he said.

“This country does not belong to one particular religion, caste or region. This is the country of all people,” he said and pointed out that the Constitution gives right to every Indian to live peacefully.

The Congress president alleged that BJP, TRS and MIM were hand-in-glove. He said TRS chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao backed demonetisation though economists world over have termed it as the biggest mistake.

“In Parliament your CM and his party support BJP and Modi. All three support each other. They don’t want country to stand united because if it happens, they will have no space.”

Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi installed the portrait of Savarkar in Parliament despite the fact that when Mahatma Gandhi and Congress leaders were in jails for fighting against the British, he wrote a letter of apology to British and requested them to release him.

“He was not Veer (brave),” remarked Gandhi.

The public meeting at Charminar was the third and final meeting addressed by Gandhi during his day-long visit to Telangana to kickstart party’s campaign for December 7 assembly elections.

The Congress president, who earlier addressed meetings at Bhainsa and Kamareddy towns, slammed KCR for corruption in irrigation projects. He alleged that KCR’s family cornered all benefits since the formation of Telangana state while all hopes of people were dashed.

Gandhi also said both Modi and KCR were indulging in corruption and both have gone back on the promises made to people.

The Congress president described Rafael deal as the biggest scam and alleged that Modi snatched the contract of making fighter jets from public-sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to give it to his friend Anil Ambani.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi presented Rajiv Sadbhavana award to former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah.

The annual event was organised to commemorate former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Charminar in 1990. After hoisting the party flag, Rahul Gandhi flagged off Sadbhavana Yatra to promote communal harmony.

IANS

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Election

Jammu Municipal Corporation: BJP wins Jammu, Independents and Congress do better in Valley

After completion of the counting process, the BJP emerged as the largest party in the Jammu province and the Congress doing marginally better in the Kashmir valley.

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Counting
Counting Pic : ANI

Jammu/Srinagar, Oct 21 : As a hassle-free counting of votes in the Jammu and Kashmir civic elections ended on Saturday, the BJP emerged winner in the Jammu Municipal Corporation, while majority of seats in Srinagar Municipal Corporation went to Independent candidates.

Thanks to the presence of security forces in large numbers around the counting centres, the counting process ended peacefully in both Jammu province and the Valley.

Due to very poor turnout of voters in the Valley and the boycott by regional National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an overwhelming majority of those who won these elections were new and unknown faces.

It was only during the result declaration announcements by the poll authorities that the people came to know who the contestants were.

Due to security reasons the poll authorities had not made the names of the contestants in the Valley public.

In Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the Independents won 49, Congress 12 and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) four wards.

After completion of the counting process, the BJP emerged as the largest party in the Jammu province and the Congress doing marginally better in the Kashmir valley.

In the Jammu region that includes the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri, the BJP candidates won 212 wards, the Congress 110, National Panthers Party 13 and the Independents 185.

In the Valley, with Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, Badgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Bandipora and Ganderbal as its districts, the Congress won 79 wards, the BJP 75, Independents 71, Peoples Conference two and others two.

In Leh, the Congress swept the polls winning all the 13 seats, while in Kargil, the Congress won six and Independents seven wards.

Independents supported by former Minister and Peoples Conference Chief Sajad Gani Lone won all the 13 seats in the Handwara Municipal Committee polls in Kupwara.

In Anantnag, Kokernag and Dooru municipal committees, the Congress candidates won most of the wards.

In Srinagar Municipal Corporation polls, among the prominent winners was Junaid Azim Mattu, who left the National Conference (NC) after he disagreed with the poll boycott decision by the NC.

Prominent among the losers was Asifa Tariq Karra, the wife of senior Congress leader Tariq Hameed Karra.

The municipal elections, taking place in the state after 13 years, were held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh electors.

A total of 3,372 nominations were filed for 1,145 wards and the voting was held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16.

The Valley witnessed very low voter turnout while Jammu and Ladakh recorded heavy polling.

Of the 598 wards in Kashmir, 231 candidates were elected unopposed, while there were no candidates in 181 wards.

The overall voting percentage for these polls in the state was 35.1 per cent.

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Election

BJP releases first list for Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Mizoram assembly polls

The party decided to field Chief Minister Raman Singh from the Rajnandgaon seat.

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Amit shah
File Pic of BJP President Amit Shah

New Delhi, Oct 20 : The BJP on Saturday released its first list of 77 candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls after a long deliberations at party’s central election committee meeting.

The party decided to field Chief Minister Raman Singh from the Rajnandgaon seat.

Among the 77 candidates announced out of a total of 90 Assembly segments, 14 are women candidates and 14 sitting MLAs have been replaced with new names, Union Minister J. P. Nadda told reporters after the CEC meet attended among others by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

Among those fielded by the BJP include former IAS officer O.P. Chaudhary and tribal leader Ramdayal Uike, who recently left the Congress and joined the BJP.

Chaudhary, the former collector of Raipur, has been fielded from Kharsia constituency while Uike will contest from Pali Tanakhar (ST) seat.

Besides, Chaudhary and Uike, the BJP named Ama Agarwal from Bilaspur, Brij Mohan Agrawal from Raipur city south and Chief Minister Raman Singh would contest from Rajnandgaon constituency seat.

Nadda also said that BJP will also contest Mizoram Assembly elections on 13 seats.

The BJP also released the list of 38 candidate for the upcoming Telangana.

“The party has considered the aspirations of our dedicated workers in Telangana region. Adequate representation has been given to representatives of all communities,” Nadda said.

Elections in Chhattisgarh is scheduled in two phases on November 12 and November 20, while the election in Mizoram and Telangana are scheduled on November 28 and December 7.

The counting of votes would take place on December 11.

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