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Amid hung assembly, Congress and BJP stake claim in Goa



Goa Assembly

Panaji, March 11 : Goa appeared headed for a hung assembly on Saturday even as both the Congress and the BJP claimed they will form the new government in the coastal state.

The Congress inched towards becoming the single largest party in the 40-member house winning 14 of the 35 seats for which results had been declared.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had won 12 seats and was leading in one constituency. The Congress led in two other seats.

While a Congress spokesperson said the party would soon stake claim to form the government, BJP President Amit Shah also announced the party’s ambition to take power in the state.

“A lot of like-minded people have been elected, including my friend Vijai (Sardesai of Goa Forward). Let the party leadership decide. Of course we will form the government,” Congress MLA from Valpoi Vishwajeet Rane told IANS in Panaji.

In Goa, as many as seven cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, were defeated.

Parsekar finished second with 9,371 votes while the winner of the Mandrem assembly seat was Dayanand Sopte of the Congress (16,490 votes).

Sopte told the media: “The margin of nearly 5,000 votes shows the people were unhappy with the CM’s work.”

Among other cabinet ministers who were defeated was Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar who lost the Saligao seat to Jayesh Salgaonkar of the Goa Forward, a regional party, by 2,137 votes.

Water Resources Minister Dayanand Mandrekar also lost to Goa Forward’s Vinod Palyenkar by 1,441 votes. Industries Minister Mahadev Naik lost to Congress candidate Subhash Shirodkar by 4,870 votes.

Minister for Factories and Boilers and state MGP President Deepak Dhavalikar was defeated by Independent candidate Govind Gawde in Priol by 4,686 votes.

Dhavalikar and his brother Sudin Dhavalikar were sacked from the cabinet by Parsekar, about a month before polls were announced in Goa.

Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado lost to Congress state president Luizinho Faleiro by 2,478 votes in Navelim constituency while Forest and Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar lost to Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s (MGP) Manohar Ajgaonkar by 6,030 votes.

According to former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, the verdict was a slap in the face of the BJP-led coalition’s governance.

“Ministers are losing everywhere, even the Chief Minister has lost. They (ministers) are even leaving counting halls after the first round. People were disgusted with them,” Kamat said.

The declared winners from the Congress till Saturday evening were Clafasio Dias (Cuncolim), Dayanand Sopte (Mandrem), Digambar Kamat (Margao), Luizinho Faleiro (Navelim), Wilfred D’Sa (Nuvem), Ravi Naik (Ponda), Pratapsingh Rane (Poriem), Chandrakant Kavlekar (Quepem), Subhash Shirodkar (Shiroda), Francisco Silveira (St. Andre), Antonio Fernandes (St. Cruz), Jennifer Monserrate (Taleigao), Vishwajeet Rane (Valpoi) and Nilkanth Halarnkar (Thivim).

BJP’s winning candidates included Sidharth Kuncalienker (Panaji), Pramod Sawant (Sanquelim), Mauvin Godinho (Dabolim), Pravin Zantye (Mayem), Francis D’Souza (Mapusa), Milind Naik (Mormugao), Glenn Ticlo (Aldona), Rajesh Patnekar (Bicholim), Michael Lobo (Calangute), Alina Saldanha (Cortalim), Pandurang Madkaikar (Cumbharjua) and Nilesh Cabral (Curchorem).

NCP’s Churchill Alemao, making a political comeback after being arrested in connection with the multi-crore Louis Berger bribery scam two years back, won from Benaulim, beating his nearest rival Royla Fernandes of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by 5,191 votes.

The Goa Forward and the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party, both regional parties, won three seats yet, while three Independents were also elected.

The role of these regional parties as well as Independents would be crucial as far as government formation is concerned, with no political party securing a majority in the 40-member Goa assembly.

The AAP, which had made a determined bid to take power, could not win a single seat, with its Chief Ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes coming fourth in Cuncolim, polling only 3,336 votes.

Conrgess’ Clafasio won from Cuncolim, defeating Independent Joaquim Alemao by just 213 votes.

“We have to respect the people’s will. The fact remains that the AAP has made an impact on Goa and we will continue to work,” Gomes said.

The Goa Surakha Manch, formed by ex-RSS leader Subhash Velinkar who had the Shiv Sena as his ally, also could not open its account.


By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar 


Nitish, Tejashwi to campaign in Karnataka assembly polls



Tejashwi Yadav and Nitish Kumar

Patna, April 26 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be the star campaigner for his party Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in the Karnataka assembly polls, a party leader said here on Thursday.

Besides Nitish, Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is one of the star campaigners for the Congress in the Karnataka assembly elections. He will also campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Nitish, also the JD-U President, will campaign for 35 candidates of his party who are contesting the polls.

“Nitish Kumar is the party’s star campaigner in Karnataka polls. He will visit Karnataka either at the end of this month or in first week of May,” Vashisht Narayan Singh, JD-U’s Bihar unit President, said here on Thursday.

According to Singh, JD-U’s Rajya Sabha MP, the party has announced the names of 20 star campaigners for the Karnataka polls. The party has already announced the names of its candidates.

Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, has been made the star campaigner by party ally Congress for the Karnataka polls.

Tejashwi, 27, is likely to visit Karnataka soon to campaign for Congress candidates, RJD spokesperson Shakti Yadav said.


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Karnataka Election: 3,374 candidates have filed nomination



Karnataka Election

Bengaluru, April 25 : A whopping 3,374 candidates have filed nominations for the May 12 Karnataka assembly elections, as per the revised figures from the Election Commission released on Wednesday.

According to the ECs data, of the total nominees, 250 were from the ruling Congress, 282 from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 231 from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), 1,673 from Independents and 938 from regional parties and fringe outfits.

Nominations, which began on April 17 after the elections in a single phase across the state was notified, ended on Tuesday.

Congress has fielded a total of 16 women, BJP 17 and JD-S 14. In addition, 90 women have filed their nominations as Independents from various constituencies.

Among the nominees, five belong to the age group of 81-90, the EC said.

Congress leaders Kagodu Thimmappa, 87, who filed his nomination from Sagar in Shivamogga district, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, 86, from Davanagere South assembly segment, A.B. Malakareddy, 82, from Yadgir, JD-S leader Mallappa Channaveerappa M., 82, from Sindgi constituency in Vijayapura district and BJP’s nominee from Hangal in Haveri district C.M. Udasi, 82, are the oldest among the nominees.

As more than 224 candidates have filed from the Congress, BJP and JD-S, their spokesmen told IANS earlier that the additional 26 from the Congress, 58 from the BJP and seven from JD-S would have filed without the mandatory B-Form from their respective parties and hence were likely to be rejected after the EC’s scrutiny on Wednesday or if they pullout by the last date of withdrawal on April 27.

The EC is yet to release the list of accepted nominations after its scrutiny on Wednesday.

Polling will be held in a single phase for all the 224 seats, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 15 for Scheduled Tribes (STs). Votes will be counted on May 15.

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Karnataka polls: Congress names Sonia, Manmohan, others as campaigners

In a letter to the Election Commission (EC) written by senior party leader Motilal Vora on Tuesday, the 40 leaders have been chosen as the “star campaigners” for the Congress.




Bengaluru, April 25 : The Congress party will have 40 of its senior leaders including the party’s former chief Sonia Gandhi, senior leader and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and current President Rahul Gandhi, to campaign ahead of the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls.

In a letter to the Election Commission (EC) written by senior party leader Motilal Vora on Tuesday, the 40 leaders have been chosen as the “star campaigners” for the Congress.

To ensure the ruling Congress’ success in the ensuing polls, the party will also fly in to the southern state its leaders like Lok Sabha lawmaker from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Shashi Tharoor, Rajasthan unit Congress chief Sachin Pilot, the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party’s Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia and former cricketer and party leader Mohammad Azharuddin among others.

In addition, Congress leaders from Karnataka like the state incharge K.C. Venugopal, state unit chief G. Parameshwara, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Lok Sabha lawmaker and former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily and state unit working President Dinesh Gundu Rao, among others, will also be a part of the campaign.

The party said it will also bring in popular faces from the film industry for campaigning like actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, actor and party spokeswoman Kushboo Sundar, renowned Kannada actor and sitting MLA from Mandya M.H. Ambareesh and former Kannada actor and Congress social media incharge Ramya.

In a related development, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which is also contesting in a few of Karnataka’s 224 constituencies, has also named its “star campaigners”.

The AAP President and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other party leaders like its Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and actor and party member Gul Panag among a few others, are expected to visit the poll-bound state in the coming days.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of Union Ministers and senior leaders campaigning for the party in Karnataka.

Besides Modi and BJP national President Amit Shah, Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs), Smriti Irani (Information and Broadcasting), Nirmala Sitharaman (Defence), Ravi Shankar Prasad (Law and Justice), Piyush Goyal (Railways) and the party’s Lok Sabha lawmaker and veteran actress Hema Malini will soon be making a beeline to the state for campaigning.

Modi is expected to visit each of the state’s four regions — coastal, north, central and south — besides Bengaluru and Mysuru, starting May 1, addressing two-to-three rallies a day till May 10.

Polling will be held in a single phase on May 12 for 224 Assembly seats, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes. The votes will be counted on May 15.

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