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Election

Assembly by-polls: BJP-led NDA dominates in two NE states

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Imphal/Kohima, Nov 10 : The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Tuesday won five seats including one unopposed out of the seven Assembly seats in Manipur and Nagaland, where bypolls were held last week. Independent candidates won the remaining two seats.

BJP’s ally and ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) bagged one Assembly seat in Nagaland, while an Independent candidate succeeded in winning the second seat in the bypolls, officials said.

The Congress secured second position in Saitu and Wangjing-Tentha Assembly seat while National People’s Party led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma secured second position in Wangoi Assembly seat.

With four legislators, the NPP is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Manipur.

With the winning of five assembly seats, including one uncontested, the BJP dominated coalition government in Manipur further strengthened its position in the 60-member house.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the Congress emerged as the single largest party securing 28 seats, but the BJP, which bagged 21 seats, stitched together a coalition government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four Naga People’s Front members, the lone TMC MLA and an Independent member.

The by-polls were necessitated after Congress MLAs, elected in the 2017 elections from these five seats, resigned from the Assembly and joined the ruling BJP.

Soon after the announcement of the bypoll results, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and central BJP leaders congratulated Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for the saffron party’s success in the by-elections. Ruling BJP candidates won three Assembly seats in Manipur bypolls while an Independent candidate won the fourth seat in the state.

Election officials in Imphal said that BJP candidate Oinam Lukhoi Singh bagged 10,960 votes to win the Wangoi bypolls, defeating his nearest rival Khuraijam Loken Singh of the National People’s Party (NPP) by 257 votes.

The Wangoi seat witnessed a triangular contest among the BJP, the NPP and the Congress nominees. The NPP is an ally of the BJP-led government in Manipur.

In the Lilong seat, Independent candidate Y. Antas Khan secured 17,106 votes to defeat nearest BJP-supported Independent rival Mohammad Abdul Nasir by 3,078 votes.

In the Wangjing-Tentha seat, BJP candidate Paonam Brojen Singh got 15,147 votes to defeat Congress rival Moirangthem Hemanta Singh by 1,560 votes.

In the Saitu seat, BJP nominee Ngamthang Haokip, who has managed 24,549 votes, beat his Congress rival Lamtinthang Haokip by a margin of 12,257 votes.

“Congress supporters led by party candidate Lamtinthang Haokip have been agitating to conduct re-polling in a few polling stations of the Saitu assembly seat. The Election Commission after examining the demand rejected the appeal and declared the result on Tuesday night,” an election official said.

By-elections were held in four Assembly seats in Manipur on November 7 while the BJP won one seat unopposed, and two Assembly seats in Nagaland on November 3.

BJP nominee Ginsuanhau was elected unopposed from Singhat seat in Churachandpur district in Manipur on October 22 after Independent nominee Chinlunthang withdrew his candidature.

In Nagaland, the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate Medo Yhokha bagged 4,773 votes to win the Southern Angami-1 seat, defeating his Independent rival Seyievilie Peter Zashumo by 598 votes.

The BJP is an ally of the NDPP-led government in Nagaland.Independent candidate T. Yangseo Sangtam, who secured 8,747 votes, won the Pungro-Kiphire seat, beating his Independent rival S. Kiusumew Yimchunger by a margin of 1,527 votes.

The by-elections were held in Southern Angami-I and Pungro-Khipre seats on November 3 after the death of sitting legislators Vikho-o Yhoshu and T Torechu, respectively.

Election

Congress forms 5-party Mahagathbandhan to take on BJP in Assam

AIUDF General Secretary Aminul Islam said the Mahagathbandhan is good for Assam as it would fulfil the expectations of the people of the state and throw the BJP out of power.

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Guwahati, Jan 20: The opposition Congress on Tuesday announced a five-party ‘Mahagathbandhan’ to take on the ruling BJP-led coalition in Assam in the upcoming Assembly elections expected to be held in April-May.

Announcing the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), Assam Congress President Ripun Bora said that his party would contest the elections in alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the three Left parties – Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) – and the Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM).

He said that regional parties are welcome to join the Mahagathbandhan to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party from power in the state.

“The Congress is always keen to oust all communal forces for the best interest of the country. People are ready to vote out the BJP as its misgovernance caused a lot of distress to the people, who have become fed up with the BJP,” he said.

AIUDF General Secretary Aminul Islam said the Mahagathbandhan is good for Assam as it would fulfil the expectations of the people of the state and throw the BJP out of power.

AGM President Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, also a Rajya Sabha member, termed the formation of the grand alliance as a historic moment. He sounded optimistic that the grand alliance would defeat the BJP in the forthcoming elections.

Besides the AIUDF, a Muslim-dominated party in Assam, and the Left parties, state Congress leaders had held several meetings in the past few months with the ‘like minded parties’.

AIUDF President and Lok Sabha member Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has been stating that the two parties (Congress and AIUDF) have decided to contest the Assembly polls together since their tie-up for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls held last month.

Recently, interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi had appointed three central leaders — Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh Chief Minister), Mukul Wasnik (AICC General Secretary) and Shakeel Ahmed Khan (Bihar MLA) — to oversee the election campaign in Assam in close coordination with the AICC general secretaries and the party in-charge for the state.

Baghel and other central leaders held meetings with the state party leaders in Guwahati before Assam Congress chief announced the Mahagathbandhan.

The Congress had suffered a setback in the recent elections to the BTC and the Tiwa Autonomous Council. Two of its MLAs – Ajanta Neog and Rajdeep Goala – had joined the BJP last month, delivering another blow to the party.

In the 2016 Assam assembly elections, the Congress had contested on its own without an electoral alliance with any party, securing 24 seats.

After the last Assembly polls, the BJP formed the government in Assam for the first time after winning 60 seats following the formation of an alliance with the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which won 14 and 12 seats, respectively. The ruling alliance also has the support of an Independent MLA.

The 126-member Assam Assembly is likely to go to the polls in April-May along with West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

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Election

Sonia forms 10-member election panel for Kerala chaired by Chandy

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, Jan 20: Eyeing the assembly polls in Kerala, the Congress on Tuesday announced a 10-member Election Management and Strategy Committee under the leadership of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as its chairperson along with senior party members like Shashi Tharoor and K. C. Venugopal.

Venugopal, who is the party’s General Secretary (Organisations) in a statement said that party chief Sonia Gandhi has approved the appointment of Election Management and Strategy Committee of Kerala Congress for the upcoming assembly elections with immediate effect.

He further said that the Committee shall meet frequently to discuss matters related to electioneering, co-ordination and formulation of election strategies.

Besides Chandy, Tharoor and Venugopal, the party has also named Mullapallay Ramachandran, Ramesh Chennithala, Tariq Anwar, K. Muraleedharan, V.M. Sudheeran, K. Sudhakaran and Kodikkunnil Suresh as the panel members.

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Election

Bengal: Left, Congress leaders hold talks; to finalise candidates by Jan end

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Kolkata, Jan 18: Top leaders of the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress conducted a meeting here on Sunday to discuss the seat-sharing and other election-related strategies, leaders of both the parties said, adding that their candidates would be finalised by the end of this month.

However, both the Congress and Left leaders said that they would hold more such meetings this month to finalise the candidates’ list for the upcoming Assembly elections, expected to be held in April-May.

Both the party leaders would meet again on January 25 and 28 to settle the seat-sharing issue and other poll-related preparedness.

In 2016 West Bengal Assembly polls, the two parties had forged an alliance and won 76 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

Post meeting, Left Front Chairman and CPI-M politburo member Biman Bose said that their discussion with the Congress was cordial and fruitful.

“To defeat the communal force BJP and the fascist TMC (Trinamool Congress), the Congress-Left parties’ alliance is must. The alliance would definitely thrash the binary rule in Bengal,” the veteran Left leader told the media.

Bose said that leaders and workers of Left parties and Congress should fight against the BJP and the TMC with shoulder to shoulder.

Party sources said that the Congress wanted to contest in 130 seats but the Left leaders did not concede the demand.

Bengal Congress chief and the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Chowdhury said that the seat sharing with the Left parties would not be completed in a single meeting, however, the seat sharing process would be concluded within this month.

CPI-M state secretary Suryakanta Mishra, Congress leaders Abdul Mannan and Pradip Bhattacharjee were present at the meeting.The Left and Congress parties are likely to hold a mega joint rally in Kolkata soon to kick start their election campaign.

The all important elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May along with Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.In the 2016 West Bengal polls,

Trinamool had retained its majority and won 211 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party won three seats.

However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Left and Congress had fought separately with the Congress won two seats, the Left Front dominated by the CPI-M, which ruled Bengal for 34 years (1977-2011), drew a blank.

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