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Election

BJP loss in bypolls, civic polls highlight party factionalism

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BJP and Congress Flag Poster

Jaipur, Nov 22 : The BJP’s consecutive losses in by-polls and municipal elections have left the party red faced highlighting the deep factionalism prevalent in the party.

With former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje maintaining a distance from party activities since last many months and her loyalists failing to ensure the success of BJP candidates in the local elections, whispers are circulating among party workers that all is not well within the state BJP.

Raising this concern, BJP MLA Kailash Meghwal said: “There has been too much factionalism happening within the party which the party heads need to look into.

“BJP seems sulking going towards defeat”, he said referring to the party’s recent losses in by-polls and municipal elections.

The statement, by a senior leader who has served as Speaker in the state assembly and Union Minister earlier, is being discussed internally, although party leaders are tightlipped about it.

Raje has not at all been seen around either for campaigning or for strategising.

In fact, soon after the appointment of Satish Poonia as state BJP chief in September, Raje’s keeping distance from the party office and party affairs became very evident.

In the recent municipal body polls, her loyalists failed to win even in their home turfs. Rajendra Rathore who is the MLA from Churu and presently the deputy leader of opposition, Kiran Maheshwari, former Ministers Yunus Khan and Shrichand Kriplani representing Deedwana and Nimbaheda, respectively, could not help the party win the local elections.

Soon after the bypolls held in October, Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal accused the Raje camp of denting the BJP’s vote share and helping the Congress, which reduced its winning margin to a mere 4,000 votes.

Meghwal further said that Mandava defeat with a margin of over 30,000 votes is a shame for the party when the party candidate had won this seat 10 months earlier.

BJP state president Satish Poonia, however, denied any kind of factionalism in the party.

“Mandava, since years, has been Congress seat. We won once there in the December 2018 assembly elections. However, Narendra Kumar is now MP as he won Lok Sabha elections. Our party, following its principle, did not give a ticket to his son. In Khinvsar, our alliance won the elections,” Poonia said.

“If these election results, as termed by Congress, show people’s trust in party, then why did the enable BJP win elections with majorities in Udaipur, Bikaner and Bharatpur?”, he asked.

State Congress Minister Pratap Khachriyawas told IANS that BJP has been facing major factionalism.

“Although they have been attacking Congress on factionalism, but it has failed to set its own house in order which is clearly seen in the bypolls and municipal election results. They talk big but the ground work remains zero. Even as an Opposition, they have failed to make a mark,” he said.

(Archana Sharma can be reached at [email protected])

Election

Scrap the amendments to poll rules, DMK urges Election Commission

Stalin said the amendment also includes senior citizens, persons with disability, and persons employed in essential services as absentee voters.

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MK Stalin

Chennai, July 13 : The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Monday urged the Election Commission to recommend to the Centre to scrap the amendments made to The Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2019 and The Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2020.

In a letter to the poll panel, DMK President M.K. Stalin also urged it to hold a consultative process with all political parties and relevant stakeholders across the country to find the best solution that can ensure the safety of citizens without compromising their statutory right to cast their vote independently.

Terming the amendments an attempt to bring an ocean of voters under the purview of a newly carved-out class of “absentee voters”, he said: “This exercise is done by the ECI without studying the ramifications of the move. The move will certainly destroy free and fair elections in the world”s largest democracy.”

Prior to the amendment of the rules, there were three classes of voters – service vote, special voters and voter on election duty and the old rules specified the persons who are entitled to vote by postal ballot.

“These voters are a definite class of persons who are identifiable and are less in number. The classification is reasonable and there are strong, valid and underlying reasons for providing with postal ballot in favour of these classes of persons,” Stalin said.

However, he said that the new amendments introduces a bunch of divergent groups of persons all rolled in to one group called “absentee voters”, all of whom would be entitled for postal ballot voting.

“These persons by no stretch of imagination can be called as a ”class of persons” to satisfy the mandate of Section 60(c) of RP Act (Representation of Peoples Act),” Stalin told the EC.

He also said the class of persons who are absentee voters could have been defined when the amendments was made instead of reserving it for a later date.

“This shows that there is a hidden agenda, to add class of persons from time to time, depending on the election schedule, and there is a total lack of transparency as to who all can be part of this ”class of persons”. The Rule therefore gives enormous power to notify the class of persons entitled for postal ballot by the Election Commission at a later date. Such a sub-delegation is illegal as it suffers from the vice of excessive delegation of powers,” the DMK leader said.

Stalin said the amendment also includes senior citizens, persons with disability, and persons employed in essential services as absentee voters.

“Here again the group of persons mentioned in the definition of absentee voters has no rational nexus with each other. The mischief which the amendment would cause is that any group of persons could be named as absentee voters without any rationale or without being a class by themselves which is contrary to the reasonable classification recognised by law,” he said.

According to Stalin, the amendment does not define a person with disability for postal vote. The reduction of the age to qualify as senior citizen from 80 to 65 to be eligible for postal voting is illegal, he added.

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Election

Joe Biden wins Louisiana primary

The state is not likely to be competitive in 2020, with President Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in 2016.

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Joe Biden

Washington, July 12 : Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the primary in the state of Louisiana, a media report said.

The former Vice President won with 82.2 per cent of the vote, leading Senator Bernie Sanders, who received 5.3 per cent, with 1 per cent of precincts reporting, The Hill news website quoted the New York Times as saying on Saturday.

The win on Saturday comes as he continues to march toward his formal nomination at the Democratic convention in August.

The Louisiana primaries were delayed twice from their original April 4 date, first to June 20 and finally to Saturday, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Louisiana will award 54 pledged delegates.

The state is not likely to be competitive in 2020, with President Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in 2016.

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Election

Like 2018, Kamal Nath starts MP poll campaign from Ujjain

Asked about the “Tiger zinda hai” comment from Scindia and Chouhan, Kamal Nath said the public will soon hand its verdict on who is a tiger or a cat or a mouse, as it knows everything.

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Kamal Nath INC

Ujjain/Badnawar/Bhopal, July 8 : Blowing the traditional conch before the war cry and whispering “earnest wishes” for public welfare in the ears of Lord Shiva’s vehicle Nandi, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath tried to reach out to devout Hindus as he on Tuesday launched the campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats.

In Badnawar, Kamal Nath, who is also the state Congress chief, visited the Baijnath Temple before addressing the first Loktantra Bachao rally.

Barbs and counter-barbs between the Congress and the BJP have gone on for quite some time in Madhya Pradesh. By picking on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP’s recent acquisition Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath seems to have focussed on voter’s sympathy for a “wronged party.”

The BJP’s quick reaction through virtual rallies intensified the battle. Leader after leader from the BJP kept blaming the Congress of spreading lies and indulging in corruption.

About the BJP’s allegations of corruption, Kamal Nath said his party would welcome a thorough investigations into the 15-month rule of his government. “We have the public as our witness. The farmers will decide if our government was true to the promise or not.”

Asked about the “Tiger zinda hai” comment from Scindia and Chouhan, Kamal Nath said the public will soon hand its verdict on who is a tiger or a cat or a mouse, as it knows everything. He said people of Madhya Pradesh are straightforward and sensible. They know who the betrayer is and where the state is headed under the new government which earned the power under a deal and is still haggling with the wheelers and dealers.

There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. Kamal Nath had started the campaign with a pooja at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convenor then.

Though Kamal Nath and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Scindia was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Digvijaya Singh was asked to bring about a patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status.

Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Chouhan’s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.

Kamal Nath also held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters’ feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda will be set on local issues.

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