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After Bihar loss, Rahul Gandhi takes stock of poll preparedness in Assam, Tamil Nadu

Sources said the BJP government in Assam is likely to bank on the NRC and CAA issues, which had paid the party rich dividends in the stste.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Nov 30: After the Bihar defeat in which the Congress was found to be the weakest link in the Grand Alliance, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has started taking stock of poll preparedness in the states where the party is likely to go with an alliance partner.

Last week Rahul Gandhi took stock of the West Bengal poll preparedness and on Monday he held a meeting with Assam and Tamil Nadu Congress leaders. He took feedback from the leaders about the alliances.

Sources say in Assam after the demise of its tallest leader Tarun Gogoi, the Congress may work out an alliance with the AIUDF to counter the BJP after the NRC fiasco. However, the final decision will be taken by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Sources said the BJP government in Assam is likely to bank on the NRC and CAA issues, which had paid the party rich dividends in the stste.

While in Tamil Nadu the Congress already has an alliance with the DMK, stitching together a larger alliance is necessary sources said to defeat the AIADMK which will be fighting its first election without its charismatic leader, late Jayalalithaa.

While in Assam the Congress will be the senior partner, in Tamil Nadu the party won in the Lok Sabha polls along with the DMK, but the challenge is to defeat the AIADMK which has announced its alliance with the BJP will go on. After the Congress defeat in Bihar which led to the fall of the Grand Alliance the party will have a tough task to get more seats.

The Congress’ tallest leader in the state P Chidambaram had also said after the Bihar elections that the party should not have fought on too many seats.

On Friday, the Congress state leadership along with state in-charge Jitin Prasada had a meeting with Rahul Gandhi, in which the state leaders gave a feedback to Gandhi about the current political situation in the state.

Sources say Rahul Gandhi listened to all the leaders carefully and asked about the election preparedness in the state which is going to the polls next year.

The sources say that Congress state leaders have held informal talks with the Left parties but the final decision will be taken by Sonia Gandhi.

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“Tremendous Growth In ‘GDP”’: Rahul Gandhi’s Dig Over Fuel Price Hike

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the record hike in petrol and diesel prices, claiming that his government was busy collecting taxes while the public is plaqued with inflation.

“Modi ji has shown tremendous growth in ‘GDP’ i.e. gas-diesel-petrol prices! The public is plagued by inflation, Modi government is busy in tax collection,” Mr Gandhi wrote in a tweet in Hindi.

Petrol and diesel prices in the country on Saturday touched new all-time highs after rates were increased for the fourth time this week.

Petrol is currently being sold at ₹ 85.70 per litre in Delhi and ₹ 92.28 in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Diesel rate climbed to ₹ 75.88 a litre in the national capital and to ₹ 82.66 per litre in Mumbai, the price data showed.

This is the second consecutive day of rate increase and the fourth this week. In all prices have gone up by Re 1 per litre this week.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier this week blamed Saudi oil output cut for the surge in oil prices but remained non-committal on tax cuts.

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PM salutes ‘nation’s daughters’ on National Girl Child Day

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the ‘daughters of the nation’ on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day and praised all those working towards the empowerment of the girl child and ensure them a life of dignity and opportunity.

In a series of tweets, Modi said: “On the National Girl Child Day, we salute our #DeshKiBeti and their accomplishments in various fields. The central government has undertaken many initiatives that focus on empowering the girl child, including access to education, better healthcare and improving gender sensitivity.”

“Today is also the day to specially appreciate all those working towards empowering the girl child and ensuring she leads a life of dignity and opportunity.”

The National Girl Child Day was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008 to spread public awareness on inequalities girls faced in Indian society.

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Dates for Gujarat local body polls declared

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The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday announced the local body elections in the state, involving six municipal corporations, 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats. The terms of these seats had ended last year, but the elections were postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic. With Saturday’s announcement, the model code of conduct (MCC) becomes effective in these constituencies.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has declared the dates for the polling for the local bodies like Municipal Corporations, municipalities, the district and Tehsil Panchayats in Gujarat.

The notification for the Municipal Corporation elections will be February 1, the last date of filing nominations will be February 6, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 8, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 9 and polling on the February 21. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on February 22. The counting and the results are scheduled for February 23.

The notification for the Municipality, District Panchayat, Tehsil Panchayat elections will be February 8, the last date of filing nominations will be February 13, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 15, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 16 and polling on February 28. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on March 1. The counting and the results will be on March 2.

“After the latest electoral roll, we have 4.09 crore voters in the state. There will be 47,695 polling stations, out of which over 11 thousand are sensitive and over 6 thousand extremely sensitive, but these are not final figures and they are dynamic. The total areas for which the elections will be held will be 6,577 and total elected seats will be 9,049,” said Sanjay Prasad, the State Election Commissioner.

“For these elections, more than 91,700 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be utilised. The Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) won’t be used in these elections, as the standing Committee constituted technical Committee had recommended that as the EVM are tamper-proof, the VVPAT are not required. So none of the state election Commissions are using them,” added Prasad.

According to the programme, polling for Municipal Corporations will take place on Sunday, February 21 from 7 am to 6 pm while that for municipalities and panchayats, polling will take place on February 28th from 7 am to 6 pm. Counting for the Municipal Corporation polls will take place on February 23 while that for municipalities and panchayats will take place on March 2.

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