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BJP may ‘play a role’ in US poll, party top gun warns, then deletes

In the Howdy Modi event, PM Modi had used the phrase, ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’.

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New Delhi, Feb 27 : Ever since the glitzy congregation at ‘Howdy Modi’ in the US last year there was a murmur, but now a senior functionary of the ruling BJP here has confirmed it with a tweet — India may “play a role” in the US Presidential election.

Though late on Wednesday minutes after the tweet was posted, it also was deleted, the man who posted it added “seriousness” to the matter.

That man was none other than B.L. Santosh, the national general secretary (Organisation) of BJP and among the top four influential members of the party.

BJP National General Secretary BL Santosh Tweet

After Democrat leader Bernie Sanders criticised US President Trump’s silence on the ongoing Delhi riots calling them an internal matter of India, Santosh spit fire.

He tweeted: “How much ever neutral we wish to be you compel us to play a role in Presidential election. Sorry to say so… But you are compelling us.”

That unusual and strongly worded tweet came in response to Sanders saying: “Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, ‘That’s up to India’. This is a failure of human rights.”

The senior BJP leader’s anguish is believed to have stemmed from making the Delhi violence look like a one-sided, anti-minority pogrom, than Sander’s rant at Donald Trump.

While addressing a press conference in Delhi, on the second day of his tour, the US President was asked many times, both about the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and the ongoing stir in North East area of Delhi. Speaking on the violence, President Trump had said, “As far as the individual attacks, I heard about it, but I didn’t discuss that with him (Modi). That’s up to India.”

Sanders, a left leaning democrat and a staunch critic of Donald Trump labelled the US President’s much publicised India visit that show rare bonhomie between PM Modi and him, as “failure of leadership”.

Sander’s barb, which was perceived by the BJP leader as against Indian government led by the BJP, comes in the wake of another Democratic presidential nominee — Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke out against the Delhi stir.

This is not the first time, Sanders hit out at Modi, either directly or indirectly. He criticised Modi just ahead of the “Howdy Modi” event that saw the two world leaders publicly bond. Though invited to the event, many Democrat leaders like Nancy Pelosi, and Brad Sherman had opted out of Modi’s mega show in Houston, citing prior commitments. At the end it turned out to be a Republican-dominated event, where Modi happily talked about ending Article 370 and Trump about “radical Islamic terrorism”. The entire stadium gave him Trump a standing ovation which seemingly did not go well with the democrats with a looming US presidential election.

In the Howdy Modi event, PM Modi had used the phrase, ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’.

Now, with Sanders upping the ante, one of BJP’s most influential leader and increasingly seen as BJP President J.P. Nadda’s eyes and ears — Santosh’s public warning, though deleted, will surely not go unnoticed with the Democrats who have raised objections with Article 370, India’s decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir or the recent Citizenship Amendment Act.

Election

Congress ropes in Prashant Kishor for Madhya Pradesh bypolls

By-elections are due in 24 seats following the demise of two MLAs and rebellion by 22 MLAs from the Congress.

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Prashant-Kishor

Gwalior, May 22 : The Congress has roped in political strategist Prashant Kishor to lend edge to its by-election campaign in Madhya Pradesh. The state will witness by-polls to 24 seats in the next four months due to the rebellion by former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who bolted with 22 MLAs into the BJP.

The unprecedented situation has put doubts in the minds of both Congress and BJP supporters

It took the Kamal Nath-led government just 15 months to spill the power it earned through 15 years’ struggle. Prashant Kishor played a crucial role even during 2018 assembly elections to help the party return to power. The Congress is weighing the proposal from three advertising and image-building firms to take charge of its campaign.

First thing, the party plans to take the battle to the Scindia stronghold of Gwalior-Chambal region by setting up the war-room in Gwalior. This is to overcome logistic issues during the lockdown. Some former close associates of the Gwalior scion like Ramniwas Rawat and Anil Singh who have stayed back in the Congress will lead the charge. They believe Scindia’s desertion has not gone down well with his constituents and he is no longer invincible given his miserable failure to retain the Guna Lok Sabha seat in May 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Former Leader of Opposition, Ajay Singh, is likely to be fielded in Surkhi against Govind Singh Rajput whom Shivraj Singh Chouhan had included in the first lot of ministers.

Congress is also seriously considering pitting former MP Premchand Guddu against another minister Tulsi Silavat. Guddu has been an MLA in the past, from the Sanwer seat reserved for the Scheduled Castes. He had joined the BJP in the last elections, but claims to have left it in February while the party served a notice on him for anti-party activities.

Congress leaders are also persuading former MP Meenakshi Natarajan to contest the by-elections from Suwasra against her former supporter Hardeep Singh Dung, who left the Congress to join the BJP.

The Congress is also considering former minister Ramnivas Rawat, Ashok Singh or a Brahmin leader from Badnawar against Pradyuman Singh Tomar in Gwalior.

The Congress has made strategic organisational changes to take on the twin challenge of Scindia supporting ex-members of Congress as also the BJP rivals. It appointed 11 district Presidents on Wednesday. The party hopes to harness the anger among the people over the way the BJP has handled the recent Corona crisis and its aftermath among the workers.

By-elections are due in 24 seats following the demise of two MLAs and rebellion by 22 MLAs from the Congress.

Of these, 16 seats are Gwalior-Chambal division. These by-elections will decide the political future of the Chouhan government and Congress.

In Gwalior Rural, Congress has appointed Ashok Singh as district President. Ashok Singh, once an ardent supporter of Scindias, believes the royalty lost much of its influence by submitting before the BJP. The party has also appointed a new district President in Guna district, a stronghold of Scindia.

Chief Minister Chouhan has the unenviable task of balancing the aspirations of old BJP hands who will have to make sacrifices for the recent arrivals from the Congress. They would also have to seek support for the former adversaries.

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Election

Governor’s rule in Tripura autonomous tribal body

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Ramesh Bais

Agartala/Guwahati, May 18 : After the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam, Governor’s rule was imposed in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) on Monday as the polls have been postponed indefinitely due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus, officials said.

Chief Executive Officer of the TTAADC Balin Debbarma said that G.K. Rao, former Tripura Chief Secretary and a retired IAS officer, has been appointed as the Administrator of the autonomous body. Tripura Governor Ramesh Bais appointed Rao, who of late was the member of the Tripura Police Accountability Commission, to run the politically important tribal autonomous body on his behalf.

The 30-member TTAADC, until Sunday, was governed by the opposition CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and its five-year term expired on May 17. An official of the TTAADC said that within the next six months, the elections to the council would have to be conducted as per the mandate of the Constitution.

Opposition CPI-M state Secretary Gautam Das and Tripura Pradesh Congress President Pijush Biswas separately asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government to conduct the elections of the TTAADC within the stipulated period. The politically important TTAADC, which was constituted under the sixth Schedule of the Constitution in June, 1985, has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km are, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

In Assam, on the recommendations of the state government, the State Election Commission recently put off the 40-member BTC polls for an indefinite period. Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, who is the constitutional head of the Sixth Schedule areas like that of BTC, had also earlier suggested postponement of the council polls.

Mukhi on April 27 appointed Rajesh Prasad, a 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, as the administrator of the BTC following the promulgation of Governor’s Rule.

The politically important BTC, which started functioning in December 2003, comprises four districts of western Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri and is home to over 31,00,000 people, the majority of whom are tribals. Before the Governor’s rule in BTC, since 2003 it was governed by the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), a local party and an ally of the BJP-led Assam government.

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Election

Supreme Court’s relief for Gujarat minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, High Court order stayed

Supreme Court issues notice in the matter. Justice Shantanagoudar says that the Gujarat High Court order has to be stayed.

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Bhupendrasinh Chudasama

New Delhi: Supreme Court stays Gujarat High Court order which had nullified the election of BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on the grounds of malpractice and manipulation.

Supreme Court issues notice in the matter. Justice Shantanagoudar says that the Gujarat High Court order has to be stayed.

Senior Lawyer Kapil Sibal, “When have your Lordships stayed matter’s like this which are based on corrupt practices?”

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