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Election

BJP to get mandate bigger than in 2014: Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that the BJP would get a bigger mandate than in 2014 in the general elections and the “New India” is a positive India which does not accept the “negativism of Rahul, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee and TDP”.

In a blog post, “Has the Congress Thrown its Hands up?”, Jaitley said voting for the first three rounds of the elections covering 303 parliamentary seats is over and electoral battle now enters the Hindi heartland.

He said that in most of the states where elections are to be held in the coming rounds, it is a direct contest between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition party “is in no position to effectively take on the regional parties or the BJP”.

“Therefore, the only issue in the future rounds is the width of the margin of victory of the BJP. Will it be a repeat of 2014 in terms of votes, or will it be more? A euphoric reaction at the ground suggests a mandate larger than 2014. A 65 per cent to 70 per cent approval rating for an incumbent Prime Minister is unprecedented in India. It is reflecting in the groundswell,” Jaitley said.

He said the Congress has announced 424 seats, though the proposed grand alliance at the national level died before it was born.

Jaitley said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in the last one year, built up “a fake narrative” on Rafale and loan waiver to business houses, which was contrary to the truth.

“The fake issues evaporated and now strike no chord with the electorate. Having to apologise to the Supreme Court for false public narrative significantly diminishes the credibility of a political leader. Rahul became a victim of his own falsehood,” Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said that the “desperation reached a peak” when Gandhi, “without realising that Arvind Kejriwal was playing games with him”, offered him four seats contrary to the advice of the party’s state unit and “displayed the desperation of a loser”.

Attacking the Congress leader further, Jaitley said that instead of sharing the nationalist mood in the country post Balakot, Gandhi positioned his party against both the national interest and the national mood.

“He considered Balakot not a blow to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism but to the Congress party. When the Kashmir parties take a position of soft separatism, the Congress has been unable to reveal either its stand for or any opposition to it.”

Jaitley said that the desperation reached climax when the Congress and the NCP had to “outsource” the job of attacking Prime Minister to MNS leader Raj Thackeray without realising the fallout of such a move in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other north Indian states.

He said the Congress manifesto on national security was completely against the nationalistic mood in the country.

“Rahul had to seek cover at Wayanad and Priyanka had to skip Varanasi and feel satisfied not to contest because there was no Wayanad available to her. The ‘New India’ is a positive India. It does not accept the negativism of Rahul, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee and TDP. The ‘New India’ wants to look up rather than be cynical and critical about their own country,” he said.

Jaitley said that the Congress and Rahul Gandhi are 48 years behind the times.

“2019 and 1971 are 48 years apart. India’s social combination and economic profile has completely changed. The Congress is contesting the 2019 election on the 1971 agenda. It is not in tune with the times. The writing on the wall is loud and clear. Those who lived a life of entitlement all through, give up when office seems to be a distant dream,” the Minister said.

He said that in the North East, Bengal and Odisha, the contest was between the regional parties and the BJP and the party also appears to be making significant gains in the east.

Among the southern states, Karnataka appears to be going the BJP way.

“With the regional parties dominating Andhra and Telangana, the Congress in both states and the TDP are staring at a washout.”

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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