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Agatha Sangma, Pala file nominations in Meghalaya

Pala, 51, who was a Union Minister in the Congress-led UPA government, asserted that his party would return to power.

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P A Sangma and Agatha K Sangma

Tura, March 22 (IANS) In a bid to return to Parliament after ten years, former Union Minister Agatha Sangma on Friday filed her nomination papers as a candidate of the National People’s Party (NPP) for the Tura parliamentary seat in Meghalaya.

Sitting Congress MP Vincent H. Pala on Friday filed his nomination papers for the Shillong parliamentary constituency, seeking a third straight term in the Lok Sabha.

Meghalaya has two Lok Sabha constituencies — Shillong and Tura — that will go to the polls on April 11.

Agatha, 38, who is the younger sister of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Sangma, was elected twice to the Lok Sabha from Tura and served as a minister in the UPA-II government.

Tura has been without a Lok Sabha member since last year as Conrad was the sitting member and had resigned after he was elected member of Meghalaya Assembly last year.

“I have strong faith in my people. My father (Purno Sangma) has nurtured this constituency for more than four decades and people have seen the fruits of development. The electorate of Tura will vote for NPP that ensures peace and development in our region,” Agatha told IANS.

The NPP candidate, who is pitted against Congress heavyweight and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, is supported by the ruling parties of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance barring the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP has decided to fight the elections on its own.

Pala, 51, who was a Union Minister in the Congress-led UPA government, asserted that his party would return to power.

“There is no doubt that the Congress will return to power as the BJP has lost control in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and even in southern states. Its (BJP) allies are also running away from the party,” he said.

“There is no way that the BJP will retain power except if they plant a bomb in a jungle or kill some people or raise some other issue to win the elections. But even that will not help them to translate the situation into votes,” Pala said.

The engineer-turned-politician was confident that the voters of Shillong will elect him for the third straight term as he ensured development in the region.

The total number of candidates who have filed their nomination papers for the Shillong seat has reached five, including Khun HynAiewtrep National Awakening Movement’s T.H.S. Bonney and United Democratic Party’s Jemino Mawthoh. Kennedy Khyriem filed his nomination papers as a standby candidate of Pala.

Election

Did PM Modi have tea with you all? Rahul Gandhi asks at Champaran rally

Blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for migrant crisis, Rahul Gandhi asked why PM Modi has stopped talking about creating employment opportunities.

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Addressing his election rally at Champaran, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday doubled down on BJP-JD(U) for “destroying” Bihar as polling is underway in 71 constituencies of the state in the first phase of Bihar Assembly Election 2020.

“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi came here last time he promised that a sugar factory will be set up here and he will have tea with you all. Do you remember? Did he have tea with you?” Rahul Gandhi said. The Congress leader said he was surprised to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effigies getting burnt in Dussehra in Punjab. This is sad and should not happen as he is the prime minister of the country, but this how Punjab farmers feel about him, Rahul Gandhi added.

WATCH: ‘Did PM Modi have tea with you?’: Rahul Gandhi’s jibe in Bihar

“What Nitish Kumar did to Bihar in 2006, PM Modi is doing the same to Punjab and to the rest of the country,” Rahul Gandhi said referring to the three farm laws recently passed by Parliament.

Talking about Bihar’s unemployment, Rahul Gandhi said, “ Nowadays, PM Modi does not talk about jobs. Because Bihar people won’t believe in his lies anymore. Congress has been in Centre for decades. We know how to rule. But of course, we have some shortcomings. We can’t lie through our teeth.”

“Why do Bihar people have to go to other states for jobs? Do our Bihar brothers and sisters lack in anything? No, your CM and PM lack,” Rahul Gandhi said.

On Covid-19-induced lockdown, the Congress leader said, “Noteban and lockdown followed similar trends. PM Modi announced both at the last moment. Middle class and lower middle class people suffered the most, while the industrialists were cushioned.”

Rahul Gandhi will address another rally on Wednesday at Kuseshwar Sthan in Darbhanga. Earlier, he addressed two election rallies, at Hisua in Nawada and Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur, to boost the electioneering for the first phase polls.

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Election

Bihar Election: 53.54% vote in ‘peaceful’ first phase

Due to security and logistical reasons, polling was held in some areas till 3 pm and in some areas till 4 pm while 36 seats were held till 6 pm.

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2019 Election India

Patna: A total 53.54 per cent voters exercised their franchise as polling was conducted peacefully on Wednesday in 71 assembly constituencies in Bihar for the first phase of assembly elections.

H.R. Srinivas, Chief electoral officer of Bihar said elections for the first phase were held across 16 districts including the four Naxal-affected districts of Gaya, Aurangabad, Lakhisarai and Shekhpura.

“The polling was conducted in Naxal-affected constituencies till 4 pm and 37 constituencies till 6 PM. We have allowed voters to cast their votes beyond 6 pm as they entered the polling premises. We have also extended time for some of the booths where polling was started late due to technical errors in EVM and VVPATs,” added Srinivas.

Srinivas pointed out that the polling percentage was almost similar to 2015 when the turnout was 54.57 per cent.

An official of the state Election Commission said that the first phase of polling was peaceful, with no major untoward incident reported from anywhere so far.

In the first phase of elections, 53.54 per cent voters exercised their franchise. The voter turnout was 59.57 per cent in Banka, 54.2 per cent in Bhagalpur, 47.36 in Munger, 55.44 in Lakhisarai, 55.96 per cent in Sheikhpura, 52.51 per cent in Patna and 48.29 per cent in Bhojpur.

In addition, 54.07 per cent people exercised their franchise in Buxar, 56.20 per cent in Kaimur, 49.59 per cent in Rohtas, 53.85 per cent in Arwal, 53.93 per cent in Jahanabad, 52.85 per cent in Aurangabad, 57.05 per cent in Gaya, 52.34 per cent in Nawada and 57.41 per cent in Jamui.

In the first phase, polling was held in 71 assembly constituencies spread over 16 districts of the state. According to the state election commission, 31,371 polling booths were set up for 2.14 crore voters In the first phase, 1066 candidates including 114 women are in the fray.

According to the Commission, EVMs were initially reported to have malfunctioned in several polling booths, but the glitch was later corrected. Paramilitary forces were deployed at all polling booths for the first phase of polling and special preparations were made for the corona.

Due to security and logistical reasons, polling was held in some areas till 3 pm and in some areas till 4 pm while 36 seats were held till 6 pm.

In the first phase, international shooter Shreyasi Singh from Jamui, contesting on a BJP ticket, was one of the prominent faces in the electoral fray. Other prominent candidates include BJP’s Prem Kumar, former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Krishnandan Prasad Verma, Jai Kumar Singh, Ramnarayan Mandal, Vijay Kumar Sinha and Brij Kishore Bind, among other ministers.

Out of these 71 seats, the RJD has 25 seats while the JD(U) has 23 seats. In addition, the BJP has 13 and the Congress eight.

In Bihar, elections are being held in three phases for 243 assembly seats. Counting of votes will be held on 10th November.

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Election

Karnataka voter turnout up by 20% in biennial polls

In the 75-member Legislative Council, Congress has 28 members, BJP 27, Janata Dal (Secular) 14, one Independent, one Chairman while four seats are vacant.

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Bengaluru: Seemingly defying the pandemic fears, the voter turnout for the Legislative Council polls to four constituencies on Wednesday registered almost 20 per cent rise compared to 2014.

According to officials, polling began at 8 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., and was peaceful across the four constituencies.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had modified the timings due to the pandemic situation from the usual 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.

According to a statement released by the Chief Electoral Officer’s office, the Karnataka North-East Teachers’ (Kalaburagi) constituency recorded a poll percentage of 73.32 per cent, compared to 60.3 per cent recorded in 2014, up by 13 per cent.

The Bangalore Teachers’ constituency registered 66.2 per cent polling, while the figures were 44.9 per cent in 2014, up by 21.3 per cent.

The statement further said that Karnataka South-East Graduates’ (Bengaluru) constituency recorded a poll pecentage of 74.84 per cent compared to 52.25 per cent in 2014, up by 22.59 per cent. Karnataka West Graduates’ (Belagavi) constituency registered 70.17 polling, while the figures were 49.48 per cent in 2014, up by 20.63 per cent.

The elections assume significance for the BJP as it lacks a majority in the Council to pass crucial bills. The ruling BJP could not pass the farm bills and labour reforms amendment bills in the recently held legislative session as it could not get through the Upper House despite getting them passed in the Assembly.

The Council polls were necessitated by after the constituencies fell vacant due to the retirement of R. Chowda Reddy Thoopalli of JD(S), S.V. Sankanur of BJP, Sharanappa Mattur of Congress and Puttanna of JD(S).

As many as 40 candidates are in the fray in these four constituencies. Among them are the four whose retirement on June 30 warranted the elections. There are 2.35 lakh voters in these four constituencies.

Security was beefed up at the polling stations and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were also imposed in and around the booths.

The Election Commission had directed the returning officers to ensure that wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing are followed by the staff as well as the voters.

Following the guidelines, arrangements were been made for hand sanitisers and thermal screening at all the booths.

In the 75-member Legislative Council, Congress has 28 members, BJP 27, Janata Dal (Secular) 14, one Independent, one Chairman while four seats are vacant.

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