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Candidates imported from Congress saves blushes for BJP in Goa




Panaji, March 11: The BJP may have faced a lot of flak for roping in tainted Congress MLAs and other leaders from the party weeks before the February 4 elections, but decision to induct them may have just helped the BJP save some face on Saturday, when it is facing a tough contest from the Congress.

The BJP inducted two sitting MLAs, namely Mauvin Godinho and Pandurang Madkaikar, from the Congress in December. While Godinho won the Dabolim assembly seat by defeating his nearest rival from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party by a margin of 2,494 votes, Madkaikar won the Cumbharjua seat by 8,434 votes, beating Congress candidate Xavier Fialho.

Speaking to reporters after he was announced the winner, Madkaikar justified his move to join the BJP. “I was confident of winning these elections. Joining BJP helped me all the more. The margin shows that, he said.

Madkaikar and Godinho had been repeatedly accused of corruption by the BJP, whose leaders had also filed corruption cases against the duo in the past.

At the time of their induction into the BJP, the state party leadership including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had to face a lot of flak from the Opposition, which accused them of doing a u-turn on graft charges.

The BJP, which won 21 seats in the 40-member Goa legislative assembly in 2012, is currently tied with the Congress, with both parties winning 12 seats each out of the 33 constituencies where results have been announced. Both the Congress and the BJP have also secured leads in two constituencies each.

Among others who were inducted in the BJP from the Congress party on the eve of the February 4 polls, is newly elected MLA from Bicholim Pravin Zantye, who defeated Congress candidate Santosh Sawant by 4,974 votes.

Speaking to IANS after being declared winner, Zantye said that he had to overcome disgruntled elements in the BJP to emerge victorious. “I had to fight the Congress as well as some people within my party to earn this victory,” Zantye said.

Zantye’s entry into the BJP had irked sitting MLA and Speaker Anant Shet, who was denied a ticket by the saffron party.

Vijay Pai Khot, who is contesting the Canacona assembly seat, is yet another candidate who had been roped into the BJP from the Congress. Counting for the Canacona assembly seat is still on.



Congress workers protest outside EC office, detained



congress workers protest-min

New Delhi, Dec 14 : Several Congress workers were detained on Thursday as they staged a protest march against the Election Commission for issuing a notice against party’s President-elect Rahul Gandhi for his TV interviews but alleged that it had failed to apply the same standards for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for holding a roadshow after casting his vote.

The party also submitted a fresh memorandum to the EC on Thursday demanding action against Modi for the roadshow in Ahmedabad. In its memorandum, the party called upon the EC to follow the dharma of the Constitution, implement the law and register an FIR against the Prime Minister.

Police detained Congress workers who were marching to the Election Commission in protest against Modi’s roadshow in Gujarat after casting his vote on Thursday.

Party workers were stopped by police outside Sardar Patel Bhawan near Patel Chowk.

“ECI is a constitutional institution. It is not dependant on anyone. Democracy and election process are being being murdered. This is surprising since we gave them prima facie evidence – a video of Modiji’s roadshow. Why was there no notice against him,” said Congress leader and Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev.

“Notice has been issued against us, We are not sad about it. But why notice has not been issued against them (BJP),” asked Dev.

“When Modiji is appealing to the people on December 8 to vote for BJP on December 9, is that not violation of model code of conduct. Why notice is not being issued to them?” Dev added.

Dev said: “BJP is in power, they can go anywhere. We are in opposition, so the police has stopped us. This is what is happening in the country. They are misusing power in front of the ECI.”


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Opposition slams ‘inaction’ by EC, says it has failed to uphold constitutional mandate



Opposition Parties Meet
Opposition Parties Meet, Photo Tweeted by ANI

New Delhi, Dec 14 : Opposition parties on Thursday strongly criticised the Election Commission over its “inaction” regarding alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat and said the “attitude” of the poll body has cast an “ominous shadow” on its “credibility”.

In a statement issued by opposition parties after they meet here at Parliament House to chalk out the strategy for the winter session beginning on Friday, they said, “The opposition parties strongly criticised the violation of model code of conduct by Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues during the Gujarat elections and on the day of polling when he held a road show in Ahmedabad.

“Inaction of the Election Commission is indeed shocking as it has failed to uphold its constitutional mandate under Article 324,” the statement read.

The meeting of the opposition leaders was attended by Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, SP’s Naresh Agrawal, CPI’s D. Raja, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, NCP’s Tariq Anwar and RJD’s J.P. Yadav.

The opposition leaders said that instead of taking action for violations, the poll panel has allowed violations by the ruling BJP and been indulgent in allowing the Prime Minister to dedicate the submarine ‘Kalvari’ on the day of the poll.

“These actions directly influence the voters to the advantage of the BJP, the ruling party.

“This attitude of the EC has cast an ominous shadow on the credibility of the EC and the integrity of the electoral process,” it said.

The opposition party leaders also expressed their disappointment and outrage over the “hasty decision” to disqualify Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar from the membership of Rajya Sabha, “without following due process”.

“The decision is unfair and unjust,” the leaders said.

The opposition parties will meet again on Monday to chalk out the strategy for the winter session.


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Gujarat battle ends amid Congress-BJP war of words




Gandhinagar, Dec 14 : The second and final phase of the bitterly fought Gujarat Assembly polls ended on Thursday evening amid a war of words between the ruling BJP and an aggressive Congress.

Balloting closed at 5 p.m. with an estimated 60 per cent of the 2.22 crore electorate exercising their franchise in 93 constituencies across 14 districts of northern and central Gujarat.

Nearly 50 per cent polling was seen by 3 p.m., the Election Commission said. One official said the overall polling could even cross 70 per cent.

Thursday’s fight for Gujarat, ruled by the BJP for 22 long years, ended more or less peacefully. Voters, however, complained about malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some places.

The sluggish voter turnout in the first few hours due to the winter chill gave way to visible enthusiasm as the day progressed. Long queues of men and women were seen outside polling booths almost everywhere.

But with the stakes high in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress were locked in a war of words after Prime Minister Narendra Modi voted in Ahmedabad and then went around the area, flashing his finger with the voter mark.

A furious Congress complained to the Election Commission that Modi held a roadshow in Ranip area.

Afer casting his vote, Modi stood on the steps of his vehicle and waved to the cheering crowds. His 97-year-old mother Hiraba, who lives in Gandhinagar with Modi’s younger brother Pankaj Modi, also voted in Gandhinagar North.

The Congress accused the Election Commission of ignoring the BJP’s and Modi’s violations of the model code of conduct. Congress activists staged a demonstration outside the office of the poll panel in New Delhi.

BJP veteran L.K. Advani, the Lok Sabha member from Gandhinagar, cast his vote at a booth in Hindi Vidyalaya in Shahpur area of the old city. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley voted at a booth in Chimanbhai Institute at Vejalpur area.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel too voted on Thursday. Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who has virtually thrown his lot with the Congress, exercised his franchise in Viramgam.

A skirmish took place between two groups in Hasanpur village in Visnagar at Mehsana. The police used batons to disperse the mob. Ten persons have hospitalised.

The districts were elections were held on Thursday included Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Dahod, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur.

A total of 25,575 polling booths were set up in 14,523 places.

There were several complaints regarding malfunctioning EVMs in and around Vadodara city, halting polling temporarily.

A clash also erupted in Dhanera town in Banaskantha district, police said.

The first round of polling to elect a 182-member Gujarat Assembly took place on December 9. The votes will be counted on Monday.


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