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Election

Biden, Harris appear together for 1st time as running mates

Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, later took to the podium saying she was “incredibly honored by this responsibility” of the vice presidency, and that she was “ready to work.”

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 : U.S. presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attended Wednesday a campaign event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, together with Kamala Harris, his choice of Democratic vice presidential candidate, in what was the duo’s first public appearance as running mates.

Postponed for several hours due to power outage on site, the event, held in a basketball venue, finally saw the former vice president and the senator from California walk out side by side, both donning masks.

“I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America and that’s senator Kamala Harris,” Biden said, praising the first African as well as South Asian-American woman to be nominated for vice president in a major party as being “smart,” “tough,” “experienced,” and “a proven fighter for the backbone of this country – the middle class.”

Sitting next to the podium and keeping social distance with Biden as he spoke, Harris, however, took off the mask as she listened to Biden, who spoke without wearing the mask either.

Biden in his remarks pledged that a “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration will have a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic,” adding that they will adhere to “masking, clear science-based guidance,” meanwhile “dramatically scaling up testing, getting states and local governments the resources they need to open the schools and businesses safely.”

Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, later took to the podium saying she was “incredibly honored by this responsibility” of the vice presidency, and that she was “ready to work.”

She said she was “so mindful of all the heroic and ambitious women before me whose sacrifice, determination and resilience make my presence here today even possible.”

The California Democrat, who on Tuesday emerged from about 10 women finalists to become Biden’s vice presidential pick, bluntly blamed President Donald Trump for his “mismanagement” of the coronavirus, claiming that as a result of Trump’s failures, “our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all the major industrialized nations.”

Recalling how her parents met each other while protesting for civil rights in Oakland, California, in the 1960s, Harris said her mom and dad would bring her to protests as a little girl “strapped tightly in my stroller.”

Being someone who spent most of her political career as a prosecutor, Harris suggested that it was the family tradition that made her devote her life to “making real the words carved into the United State Supreme Court: Equal justice under law.”

While Biden said he and Harris “were in a battle for the soul of the nation,” Harris said the moment right now “is a moment of real consequence for America,” encouraging voters to “vote like never before because we need more than a victory on November 3rd.”

Election

Madhya Pradesh: Task cut out for Kamal Nath and Congress in, Gujarat bypolls

Besides, one parliamentary seat in Bihar and two Assembly seats in Manipur will also go for bypolls on November 7. The counting of votes will be take place on November 10.

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Political stakes are high for former Chief Minister Kamal Nath in the bypolls for 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh and for the Congress in neighbouring Gujarat, where eight seats are vacant.

All these seats were in Congress’ kitty after the Assembly elections, but slipped out of its hands after the party MLAs resigned — in Madhya Pradesh, they opted to support Jyotiraditya Scindia in March 2020 and walk into the camp of a waiting BJP to ensure the fall of the then government led by Kamal Nath; and in Gujarat, they resigned to ensure the defeat of the Congress nominee in the contest for the second Rajya Sabha seat in June 2020.

The Congress will need to bag all the 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh to again get a majority in the Assembly, which is a tough task. The party has already announced 24 candidates.

On the other hand, the ruling BJP needs only nine seats to reach the magic figures of 116. In case the Congress wins less than 28 seats but manages around 24, it will still be in the game. Otherwise, it will have to depend on Independents, two MLAs of Bahujan Samaj Party and the lone Samajwadi Party MLA.

In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the BJP has 107 MLAs, Congress 88, BSP 2, SP 1 while 4 are Independents.

“The Congress will come back to power again. We will defeat the BJP on these seats. The people will give a befitting reply to those who dishonoured the public mandate and murdered democratic values,” Kamal Nath said.

Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh are visiting each of the 28 Assembly segments to ensure their party’s victory, though it remains to be seen what they can do since most vacant seats are in the Gwalior-Chambal belt — considered a Scindia stronghold.

However, the Congress is banking on the fact that the belt has a sizeable population of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The party is also hopeful of reaping the public goodwill due to waiver of farm loans announced by then Chief Minister Kamal Nath and the ongoing agitation by the farmers over the new farm laws.

In Gujarat, the Congress MLAs had resigned, which led to the defeat of Congress leader Bharat Singh Solanki on one Rajya Sabha seat. Had all these MLAs remained in the Congress, it could have won the second RS seat in Gujarat as well.

Congress leader Rajeev Satav, who is in-charge of Gujarat party affairs, said, “I will meet leaders of various frontal organisations, cells and departments and district presidents of the Congress. Looking forward to having substantial discussions with the party leaders and workers.”

Apart from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, seven Assembly seats are also vacant in Uttar Pradesh, two each in Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Telangana.

Besides, one parliamentary seat in Bihar and two Assembly seats in Manipur will also go for bypolls on November 7. The counting of votes will be take place on November 10.

The EC has decided not to hold by-elections in seven constituencies in four states. Polling for these seats will be held early next year.

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Election

Shiv Sena to decide soon on contesting Bihar polls

He reiterated that the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray — comprising the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress will complete its full five-year term, despite all effort by the state Opposition to topple the coalition.

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Mumbai, Sep 29 : The Maharashtra-based Shiv Sena will soon take a decision on contesting the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, party MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut said here on Tuesday.

“There are a lot of demands from our people there. We shall discuss it with party President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and decide on whether to contest the Bihar Assembly polls or not,” Raut told mediapersons.

On the move by ex-top police official of Bihar, former DGP Gupteshwar Pandey’s decision to join politics, the Sena leader said he was free to do whatever he wants since that’s his personal choice.

“Our objection was to the manner in which he painted the Mumbai Police in a bad light in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. He tried to drive a wedge between the police and people of the two states for his advantage when he was the DGP,” Raut said.

To a question whether the Sushant case was a conspiracy to tarnish the image of state Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, Raut replied in the affirmative, but declined to elaborate.

However, he pointed out that the Shiv Sena has emerged unscathed from the entire episode, but those who attempted to throw muck at the party, screaming at the top of their lungs on television channels, will meet a similar fate.

“They were criticising the Mumbai Police probe in the Sushant case. Now, the probe is with the CBI for over a month. The people want to know what’s the outcome. If they (Sena critics) have the guts, then they should be asking questions to the CBI now, just as they demanded answers from Mumbai Police earlier,” Raut dared.

Referring to the fracas surrounding his meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, Raut put at rest all speculation and claimed that “it was purely to finalise the interview schedule” between Sena and Fadnavis.

He reiterated that the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray — comprising the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress will complete its full five-year term, despite all effort by the state Opposition to topple the coalition.

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Election

No by-elections yet for 7 vacant Assembly seats: Election Commission

The decision to defer the by-elections was taken largely in view of the Covid-19 situation.

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New Delhi, Sep 29 : The Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided not to announce by-elections to seven Assembly seats in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal owing to “difficulties in conduct of elections”.

Rangapara and Sibsagar seats are vacant in Assam; Kuttanad and Chavara in Kerala; Tiruvottiyur and Gudiyattam in Tamil Nadu; and Falakata in West Bengal.

The Commission has received inputs expressing difficulties in conduct of elections and issues related to it from Chief Secretaries or Chief Electoral officers from four states: Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, where the term of House is upto May 31,2021; June 1, 2021; May 24, 2021; and May 30, 2021 respectively.

In view of the inputs, the Commission has decided not to announce the conduct of elections at this stage in the seven vacant seats in the legislative assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Regarding other, recent vacancies in the Parliamentary Constituency and Legislative Assembly, the Commission will decide after taking necessary inputs from the state concerned.

The decision to defer the by-elections was taken largely in view of the Covid-19 situation.

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