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Chirag Paswan’s fresh swipe at Nitish Kumar has cautionary note for PM Modi

Nitish Kumar, who has been on the winning side in all elections since 2005, is aiming for a fourth straight term.

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Chirag Paswan

Alluding to the volte-face by chief minister Nitish Kumar in the past, Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan on Thursday sounded a word of caution to the electorate and also sent out a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose party is fighting the election in alliance with the JD(U).

“Last time, honourable Nitish Kumar ji became the chief minister with the blessings of Lalu Prasad ji and then betrayed him and became the chief minister with the blessings of the Prime Minister. This time, he is taking blessings from Narendra Modi but what if he jumps to Lalu Prasad’s camp,” tweeted Paswan in Hindi.

Nitish Kumar, who has been on the winning side in all elections since 2005, is aiming for a fourth straight term. In his first two stints – in 2005 and 2010 – he led the NDA to power in Bihar. In 2014, the CM refused to accept Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate and parted ways with the BJP. In 2015, he engineered an unlikely alliance by teaming up with archrival Lalu Prasad’s RJD and formed the government yet again. However, the bonhomie was short-lived and Nitish Kumar called off ties with the RJD in 2017 and returned to the BJP fold.

On Wednesday, the three-time CM lost his cool when a section of the crowd started chanting ‘Lalu zindabad’ slogans at his poll rally. Halting his speech midway, he surveyed the section of the crowd from where the chants were coming and thundered “What are you saying”. As if for greater effect, he repeated it two more times. He then demanded that the person identify himself by raising his hand. There was a brief lull and then someone shouted “ chara chor hain sab, chara chor (fodder thief)”, a reference to Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has been convicted in four fodder scam cases and is serving jail sentences of different periods. The RJD chief is currently undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi.

“Yahan pe hall mat karo, vote nahi dena hai toh mat do (Don’t make chaos here. If you don’t want to vote for me, then don’t),” the CM admonished the unknown hecklers. He then roped in the crowd, asking if such slogan shouting be allowed at the JD(U) rally, the crowd roared back in the CM’s favour.

The same day, Chirag Paswan faulted Nitish Kumar for “failing to develop the state at the same speed as other states have developed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisioned”.

“Still talking of nali-gali (drains and lanes) and water to farms after 15 years in power is not going to serve any purpose,” Paswan said, referring to schemes introduced by Nitish Kumar to strengthen infrastructure. “Nali-gali is no yardstick of development.”

The LJP had pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar and is contesting the polls on its own, citing ideological differences with Nitish Kumar’s party.

The LJP is contesting 137 seats in the 243-member assembly and has fielded candidates, including the BJP rebels, in all the seats being fought by the JD(U ).

Despite being young, the Jamui MP said he was contesting the elections without caring about the outcome. “If Nitish Kumar has confidence in his work, he should also have the courage to contest election on his own,” he had said.

The JD(U) is contesting on 122 seats while the BJP is fighting on 121. The JD(U) has given seven seats out of it to the alliance partner Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha. The BJP has given 11 seats from its quota to Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insaan Party, the new entrant to the NDA alliance in Bihar.

Election

Recount of presidential votes in Wisconsin ends, reaffirms Biden’s win

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Joe Biden

Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin has been reaffirmed after two of the state’s largest counties completed the recount of the ballots cast in the November 3 presidential election, with just a little change in the tally.

The Democratic former Vice President’s lead over incumbent President Donald Trump in the key swing state grew by 87 votes, after the latter gained 45 votes in the Dane County recount and Biden got a 132-vote net gain in the Milwaukee county recount, Xinhua news agency reported.

The statewide tally showed Biden won Wisconsin by over 20,000 votes.

The Trump campaign has, as required by state law, paid $3 million for the recount, only to see his defeat more apparent.

A day before the recount results, Trump had tweeted on Saturday that he would file a lawsuit “Monday or Tuesday” to continue challenging the results.

“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally,” he said.

“We have found many illegal votes.”

Wisconsin is set to certify the results on Tuesday.

Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative voter group, has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, asking the state’s Supreme Court to prevent the certification.

But Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ attorneys filed a response to the lawsuit on November 27, calling the group’s effort a “brazen attack on democracy itself” and asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss it.

The Democratic Governor said the lawsuit was a “mishmash of legal distortions” that attempted to disenfranchise millions of Wisconsin residents.

He said failing to certify the election results would alter other election results across the state, throwing the government into chaos.

Trump also suffered consecutive legal defeats in Pennsylvania, as the state’s Supreme Court on Saturday ruled against a Republican-filed case alleging voting irregularities, after a federal appeals court denied his re-election campaign’s effort to appeal its own case that was rejected by a lower court.

Trump told Fox News on Sunday that he “would like to file one nice big beautiful lawsuit” in the US Supreme Court, complaining that “it’s hard to get into the Supreme Court”.

He said the high court needs to be “willing to make a real big decision”, adding he’s got “the best Supreme Court advocates, lawyers that want to argue the case if it gets there”.

Last week, US District Judge Matthew Brann rejected the Trump campaign’s lawsuit accusing Pennsylvania of allowing voters to fix errors in the mail-in ballots and seeking to prevent the state from certifying the results.

The judge also refused the campaign to file an amended complaint.

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Election

Around 52% Polling recorded in 1st phase of DDC Polls in Jammu and Kashmir

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

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Election

Jammu: State Election Commissioner (SEC) K.K. Sharma said on Saturday that the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been conducted successfully with a voter turnout of 51.76%.

The polling was by and large peaceful in the 43 constituencies of DDC that went to the polls on Saturday in which 3,62,766 voters, including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females, out of 7,00,842 voters, exercised their franchise to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC said in a press conference.

Sharma said that Reasi district recorded the highest polling at 74.62 per cent, followed by Rajouri (70.52 per cent), Poonch (68.69 per cent), Samba (68.61 per cent), Doda (64.49 per cent), Kathua (62.82 per cent), Jammu (61.49 per cent), Ramban (64.21 per cent), Udhampur (57.13 per cent) and Kishtwar (55.16 per cent) — all in Jammu division.

In the Kashmir division, Budgam district recorded the highest polling at 56.96 per cent, followed by Kupwara (50.74 per cent), Ganderbal (48.62 per cent), Bandipora (43.57 per cent), Anantnag 43.32 (per cent), Shopian (42.58 per cent), Kulgam (34.35 per cent), Srinagar (33.76 per cent) and Baramulla (32.51 per cent).

The SEC further said that large number of people came out to cast their votes in the first phase of DDC polls and panch/sarpanch bypolls. Long queues could be seen despite severe cold conditions in the Kashmir division and the hilly areas of the Jammu division, Sharma added.

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

He also appreciated all the stakeholders for their tireless efforts for the successful conduct of the polling process. Adequate security personnel were deployed at all the polling stations to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls, he said.

The SEC further informed that arrangements for the second phase of polling — to be held in 43 constituencies, 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division — have been put in place.

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Ahead of DDC polls, BJP targets Abdullahs over ‘land grab’

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: Ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir beginning Saturday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad trained his guns on the Abdullahs for their alleged role in the Roshni scam.

Prasad alleged that the key leaders of the erstwhile state, including Farooq Abdullah, used their “influence and power for land grabbing”.

“In 1998, Farooq Abdullah had purchased 3 kanals of land but he encroached upon 7 kanals of land which were double the size of the purchase,” Prasad alleged while speaking to the media. He further said that under the Roshni scam, the name of Farooq Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Mattu has also appeared, who, the minister alleged, is also a beneficiary of 3 kanals of land.

“There was a conscious land loot by the powerful people of J&K who were getting benefits under the Roshni Act which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K High Court. This is low level politics by the powerful people of J&K and we condemn it,” alleged Prasad.

Prasad said the J&K High Court has declared the Roshni Act as unconstitutional and has stated that the names of people who have acquired land under this Act should be listed and made public.

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