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Congress finalises 85 seats for Maharashtra polls

The Congress and the NCP had parted ways in 2014 Assembly polls after sharing power for 15 years in the state.

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New Delhi, Sep 26 : With less than a month left for the 288-member Maharashtra assembly elections, the Central Election Committee of the Congress on Thursday discussed over 45 seats taking the total number of finalised candidates to 85.

The Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting was held at the residence of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, which was attended by several party leaders such as Ahmed Patel, Ambika Sonia, Joytiraditya Scindia, Mallikarjun Kharge, K.C. Venugopal, Veerappa Moily, Balasaheb Thorat and several others.

After the meeting, Tharot told IANS, “Today we finalised over 45 seats taking the total number of finalised candidates to 85.” Tharot, who is also the Maharashtra Congress chief, said the party would clear the candidates for all the assembly seats in the coming days.

“The party’s Screening Committee will meet again to discuss the candidates for the rest of the seats soon,” he said, adding the party will contest over 150 seats.

The Congress and the NCP have decided to contest 125 seats each, leaving the rest for smaller allies.

The Election Commission on Saturday announced assembly polls in the state on October 21. The vote count will take place on October 24, it said.

The Congress’ CEC also met on September 13 in which the party decided to field all its sitting MLAS in the elections. During the last CEC meeting, the party had disccused over 50 seats and finalised over 90 per cent of them.

The Congress and the NCP had parted ways in 2014 Assembly polls after sharing power for 15 years in the state.

On Enforcement Directorate (ED) registering a money laundering case against former Union Minister and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Balasaheb Thorat said, “Sharad Pawar is one of the biggest leaders of farmers and others. He was named in the ED FIR despite not even having held any position in the co-operative bank. This speaks for itself — he will make a huge comeback.”

The Congress has faced desertions in the last few months as several of its leaders have joined the ruling BJP.

In June, senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who was also the leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, resigned as MLA. After him another Congress MLA and former Minister Abdul Sattar quit as a legislator and told media he would also join the BJP along with 10 other MLAs.

Earlier this month, senior party leaders such as Kripa Shankar Singh, once projected as the Congress’ begign north Indian face in Mumbai, quit the party.

The Congress was ousted from power by the BJP and the Shiv Sena in 2014 assembly polls. The BJP had won 122 seats and its ally Shiv Sena 63 seats.

The Congress could manage to win only 42 seats, while the NCP won 41 seats. Twenty seats went to others.

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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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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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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